Two brick and mortars, a thriving online store, a podcast, a new lifestyle brand, an upcoming bible study series…and all conceived, carefully curated, and managed by the 25-year-old owner of Poppies Boutique, Sarah Collins. Impressive isn’t it!? Before sitting down with Sarah, I did a little research. Given all that she has going on, I assumed she was in her mid-30’s. When I found out she was just 25-a full two decades my junior, I felt like Chris Farley’s character in Tommy Boy. Then I met her. She’s smart, kind, creative, and has one of the most infectious laughs you will ever hear. Plus, she shares my affinity for all things Golden Girls. She’s like a unicorn! Continue reading “Things are ‘Poppin’ at Poppie’s Boutique”
If you ask Shawn McBrien, what he’d bring to the bench if elected as the next Circuit Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District, he stops for a minute, and then thoughtfully answers back, “I’d hope to bring some simple common sense
This from a man with over 33 years of legal experience as both a lawyer and mediator. A man who has been married for over 35 years to his wife Karen, a local nurse, and who together with her, has raised four children in their hometown of Lebanon, Tn. A man who many know as a generous person who has given of his time both to his church and various civic organizations by helping those in need both close to home and far away.
“I’d also bring a strong work ethic and my sense of fairness,” he adds.
Hard work is a quality that Shawn McBrien is known for. Ask any attorney in town and they will tell you that Shawn works hard, is honest and always shoots you straight. “For over a decade, I have known Shawn as someone that has used faithful morals and years of legal experience to serve his clients selflessly. There is no doubt Shawn will serve from the bench using the same legal expertise and faithful morals.” notes Jason Denton, a local attorney.
Shawn started practicing law 33 years ago and during these past three decades has handled almost every kind of civil or criminal case there is. “I’m ready on day one to take over Judge Wootten’s docket. I handled many cases in front of Judge Wootten and greatly respected his knowledge of the law, his decorum, and his patience. I certainly was saddened to hear he was retiring because I loved to try a case in front of him and I hope if elected to continue to handle cases just like he did.”
A Tennessee native, Shawn received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee in 1983 and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Cumberland School of Law at Samford in 1986. He began his legal career in Chattanooga, Tn and for several years practiced law in the same town as his late father, also an attorney, and then later moved to Wyoming where he continued to expand his practice. A growing family and a yearning to be closer to home led he and Karen to move back to Tennessee in 1992 and since that time Shawn has been representing local citizens throughout the District. Upon his return, Shawn initially worked for the Law Offices of Hugh Green for two years before establishing his own practice in 1994. Ten years later, he formed a partnership with Brody Kane and together they formed the law firm of McBrien and Kane. In 2018, Shawn opened the McBrien Law Group where he currently practices both as an attorney and mediator.
McBrien has handled hundreds, if not thousands of cases, in both State and Federal courts during the last 33 years. He has been involved in jury and non-jury cases and argued for his clients in front of state judges, federal judges, mediators, arbitrators, and appellate court judges. And in the last few years added Mediator to his long list of experiences.
“It’s during these mediations that I realized being a Judge is what I wanted to do. For years I’ve advocated one side or another for my clients but being a mediator taught me to see both sides of an issue. I read documents provided to me, listen to both parties and their attorneys and then work out the issues. But when we get so close and their decisions come down to emotion or just a lack of common sense, it is frustrating. As a mediator, I cannot make a decision and it becomes the Final Order, as a judge can. In those cases, I feel sorry for the parties because now they are going to a trial. And I know first hand the cost, pressure, and emotions that these parties are going to face. It is in those situations that I wish I could make a decision so that they can move forward with their lives.
Being a mediator and lawyer has enabled me to help so many people in my community. I take pride in knowing I made a difference and did all I could to right a wrong.”
But law isn’t the only place Shawn has made a difference, from coaching all four of his children in sports to being on the Board of Directors of The Glade Church in Mt. Juliet and local non-profits such as the Lebanon Noon Rotary Club, to being a board member of Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl, Shawn is definitely a man of varied talents. And getting down and dirty is one of those things that Shawn never shies away from. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Shawn with his children traveled with his church to help with the recovery. He has also helped in his own community such as moving people, mentoring children, chopping firewood and making repairs. When the floods hit Nashville several years ago, Shawn took off work and with his children helped his fellow neighbors there as well.
“Raising my children and being a good example to them as a provider and protector has been my greatest accomplishment thus far. I’m so proud of my wife for what she does as a nurse in our community and our children bring us our greatest joy. They are all adults now making their way in life and so the time seems right for me to do this. I’ve had a long, solid history of being a lawyer in my community and I’m ready, if the people honor me with their vote, to take on the role of Judge”
Being a Judge is not an easy job. Someone always leaves the court a little unhappy. But the best Judges I’ve ever practiced in front of were the ones who gave my clients a fair shot. They listened to the evidence, carefully reviewed the law and then when they made their ruling they explained the why behind their decision. Even when I lost the case, I felt the court had allowed my client to be heard. This is what I plan to do if elected.
Listen carefully, apply the law, treat people with respect, be fair and use common sense, if elected I pledge to do all these things.
To learn more about Shawn McBrien visit his website teammcbrien.com or find him on Facebook @mcbrienforjudge, Instagram @mcbrienforjudge or Twitter @mcbrienshawn.
This is an advertorial paid for by the Committee to Elect Shawn McBrien Circuit Court Judge, Bill Easley, Treasurer.
Javin Cripps was the first to announce his commitment to run for Judge Wootten’s seat upon his retirement in early January. And since that day has relentlessly worked to earn the vote of the citizens in Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Macon and Jackson county – the counties that make up the 15th Judicial District.
Earning each and every vote by getting out and meeting the people of the community has been priority number one in the Cripps household. On any given day, you’ll find a squad of people knocking on doors, handing out flyers, wearing Cripps For Judge t-shirts and espousing all the reasons Javin Cripps would make a good Judge.
Those working hard not only include Assistant District Attorney Javin Cripps but also his wife Melanie Cripps, a local Smith County Chiropractor, as well as Javin’s daughters Addie and Anna and the family pet, German Shepard Gus.
“It’s a family affair for sure,” notes Cripps. “I love getting out there and meeting folks and telling them about my background and what qualities I’d bring to the bench. What I love the most though is that my girls are with me when I’m doing all this. I want them to know that if you work hard and put in an honest day’s work, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
Javin Cripps certainly has the experience for the job having served the citizens of the 15th Judicial District as an Assistant District Attorney for more than 13 years and before that was an attorney in private practice handling civil cases – everything from divorces to business litigation to worker’s compensation and social security cases.
“I had the privilege of practicing in front of Judge Wootten and understand all the different perspectives of a courtroom. As an Assistant District Attorney I’ve had to make some very tough decisions. I’ve met with the victims of crimes and their families, and I’ve been involved in jury trials and non-jury trials. I’ve made decisions in over 10,000 cases in the last five years alone.”
Cripps believes one of the biggest problems our community is facing is drug addiction.
“I’ve seen it first hand as an Assistant District Attorney in the 15th Judicial District because with my job I work in all 5 of our counties. All our counties are a little different, some being more rural than others, each having different economies, some having more crime than others, but in all, drugs are our biggest problem. The court dockets are jam packed with drug cases. Drugs impact our criminal court as well as our civil, domestic courts. Knowing this first hand, I’ve met with the Sheriff in every county as well as all of our local Judges, trying to determine, if elected, how best we can all work together to help solve our growing problem. My kids are 12 and 10, their mother and I were raised in this community, our families are here, this is where we are going to raise our girls and hope one day they choose to make this area their home. I’ve got a vested interest in making sure my girls are safe and that your children are safe too. It’s why I left private practice to join the District Attorney’s Office and why I’m now seeking the office of Circuit Court Judge. I want to help my community.”
And preserving and protecting his community is something Cripps holds dear to his heart.
Cripps grew up on the family cattle farm between Smith and Wilson County and worked every day on that farm when not in school. During summer breaks he’d join his father, a general contractor, at work. Thereafter, Cripps continued to work 30 to 40 hours a week, in construction, while earning his undergraduate degree at MTSU. He went on to earn his contractor and plumbing licenses before entering law school.
While in law school at University of Memphis, he interned for the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office and returned home to Middle Tennessee to start his career. First working with a well-established private practice handing civil matters and later joining the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting crimes within the 15th Judicial District.
“I have built relationships with the people in my community and with the legal and law enforcement communities in every county in the district. Over the years, I have prosecuted every type of case from speeding tickets to first degree murder. Justice has always been my goal. I know when to prosecute a case but at the same time will work with a defense counsel, to hear the accused’s side of the story. Justice is not just about throwing people in jail but also about preserving and protecting our constitution and the rights of all citizens to a fair and impartial legal system.”
This Court, however, is not the Criminal Court. It’s a Circuit Court that handles quite a bit of civil work such as divorces and termination of parenting rights as well as criminal cases, so it’s important whoever is elected has a good understanding of both areas of the law.
On the domestic front, Javin notes that “not only have I handled divorces for other people, but I’ve experienced a divorce first hand. I’m proud to say the mother of my children and I work very well co-parenting our two amazing girls. We share custody and so I know first hand what many of the people are going through who will be coming before this Court. Part of the job of a circuit court judge is to help families navigate the process of becoming co-parents, and I having experienced that process as an attorney and as a father. I can bring a level of understanding and insight that families who go through this difficult transition often need.
This is a big job but I’ve got the experience as well as the energy to make some positive changes in our community as the next Circuit Court Judge. I’ve been privileged to work for this community as an attorney for many years and I’d be honored if this community would elect me to take over where Judge Wootten left off.
All I can do is work hard day in and day out to earn your vote. I took a leave of absence in January from my job because I’m committed to getting out there and meeting our citizens. I want to answer their questions, I want to show them I’m relentless and hard working and if elected will bring this same passion, energy and tenacity to our Circuit Court.”
To learn more about Javin Cripps go to
Crippsforjudge.com or follow him on FB @ Javin Cripps for Circuit Court Judge or on Instagram @CrippsForJudge or Twitter @ CrippsForJudge.
This is an advertorial paid for by the Committee To Elect Javin Cripps Circuit Court Judge, Madeline Jennings, Treasurer.
By Judge Brody Kane,
Criminal Court Judge for Wilson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, and Jackson County
In 2020, the Judges who cover the 15th Judicial District comprised of Wilson, Smith, Macon, Trousdale and Jackson counties will undergo a bit of a makeover.
The path to this election is different than most as Circuit Court Division II Judge, John Wootten, retired effective January 1, 2020, five and a half years into his eight-year term. Continue reading “2020 – JUDICIAL ELECTIONS EXPLAINED”
By Becky Andrews
When my youngest child was six- months old, my little sister came for a visit. One of her many visits
trekking from the northwest to Tennessee that summer. That was the last summer we had we our mom.
When I picked her up from the airport, she asked how I was doing. “I’m fine,” I responded.
With a laugh, she said, “When I started labor and delivery rotation in nursing school, one of my
professors told us that fine is just an acronym for Frustrated Insecure Neurotic Exhausted.”
I don’t like to brag, but I WAS NAILING IT! FINE was my jam.
So every time someone says, “I’m fine” that’s what I think of. Maybe it’s just easier to say what we think
someone wants to hear instead of going into a 30-minute rant about how life stinks sometimes.
With social media pages that showcase photographic evidence of how fabulous life is, it’s no wonder no
one wants to reveal those warts. If we tell the truth about our less than perfect life, kids, jobs, in-laws,
we then become what we fear most…human. If you are anything other than fine, you’ve failed at this.
Whatever this is.
How’s the new baby?
“He’s perfect. A gift from God. I don’t know what we did before he/she was here. I feel complete. I was
made to nurse. Bloody nipples be damned! My baby is going to be a genius because of me.”
That’s wonderful! How are you?
“Me? I’m fine. I get to watch the sun rise and set and rise and set. I can’t remember the last time I
showered, but I’ve discovered that a baby wipe shower works great in a pinch. I’m totally fine.”
I’ve perfected the art of being fine since having children. I was fine when our oldest didn’t want to learn
his letters in preschool. I was fine when he didn’t get invited to a friend’s birthday party in first grade
(This is a lie. I’ll never get over that.) I was fine when he started high school. I was fine when he started
driving and dating. I was fine when he made stupid teenager mistakes that left my gut steaming with
worry. I was fine when he experienced his first heartbreak. I was fine when he graduated from high school. I was fine when he went on his first road trip with friends without REAL adult supervision. I was fine when he came home from that unsupervised trip with something pierced! (That’s a lie. I was pissed. He was smart enough to remove “the ring” before coming home, but still stupid enough to let a friend post it on Instagram.) I was fine when we moved him into his college dorm. I’m fine now even though I have no idea if he’s washed his sheets since we moved him into that dorm more than six months ago. I’m fine not knowing or having any control over what he’s doing while away from my admittedly overbearing, watchful eye. I’ve been the walking embodiment of FRUSTRATED INSECURE NEUROTIC EXHAUSTED more times than I’d like to admit. And I’m sure I will feel the sting of that acronym with my youngest who will begin high school in a few short months. Today I am fine. Really!
For now, I’m done with the “How are you” questions. Common sense and a little life experience prove
that you are probably not fine if you just lost a parent or a job or if you just had a baby eight days ago or
your oldest child only came home from college THREE TIMES DURING HIS FIRST SEMESTER OF COLLEGE! You are entitled to feel all those inconvenient, complicated emotions that go hand in hand with being human.
You know, the ones that are left out of our Snap Chat stories. Because even if things aren’t really “fine” now, it will be eventually. But don’t get too cocky when things are going well. And don’t say, “My kid would never…” As soon as you utter those words, little Kevin might be headed home with some shiny new
hardware on his nipple!
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Written by Amanda Crowell
Once upon a time in the last year of the last century, there were two moms of two little girls, both of whom
were two years old. Both moms were fairly new lawyers who had ended up in Wilson County after marrying Wilson County boys whom they met while attending school in their own hometowns.
The moms first met at their local Bar Association luncheon in Lebanon. After a brief conversation, they learned that they were both practicing law with part-time schedules, and their little girls were attending the same daycare on the same three days each week. It didn’t take long to discover that Angel was the mom
of little Madison that my Maggie was always talking about –our little girls were best friends!
Top photo: Amanda’s daughter, Maggie (left) and Angel’s daughter, Madison at their kindergarten graduation in 2003.
Bottom photo: Maggie and Madison shortly after Madison’s high school graduation in 2015.
Fast forward twenty plus years, and Angel and I are engaged in something we never dreamed of that day when we first met. After more children and many years of practice, three years ago we joined forces to create our own law firm, Kane & Crowell Family Law Center.
Housed in a historic Victorian building built in the late 1800’s, the office has been transformed over the last century from a family home to a doctor’s office, to a dress shop, to a church building and finally into our law office. Today each room is filled with the everyday hubbub of lawyers, paralegals and law clerks taking care of clients and running to the courthouse, conveniently located right across the street.
Back when we first started practicing law, like many women we were determined to have it all. Raising children, working in a demanding field and trying to find a balance between the two. We laugh now because back then, we were known as the “part-time” lawyers because we often worked around our children’s school schedules. It sure didn’t feel like part-time when we were sitting at our dining room tables preparing for
court after putting the kids to bed! But at the time, very few others were doing it our way so it was nice to have someone as a sounding board who was facing similar struggles.
As the years passed, we went from part-time lawyers to each managing our own large, family law practices. And as Madison and Maggie graduated from high-school and our other children seemed to need us less, the decision was made to come together and build a different type of law firm.
The office of Kane & Crowell is family oriented, both in our areas of practice as well as how we choose to
manage our team. A team that now consists of another attorney with three children of her own, three paralegals, a law clerk, receptionist, and bookkeeper.
And plans are in the works for more growth. We practice what we preach in that family comes first. We chose to distinguish our practice as a family law center because family law is what we know and
what we do best. Every family is likely to find itself in need of legal services in the area of family law at some point.
Our practice encompasses beginning of life issues such as parentage and adoption actions to mid-life issues such as divorce, custody, and child support, to end of life issues such as probate and elder law. Along the way, everyone needs a good Last Will and Testament and the appropriate powers of attorney. We take care of these family needs on a daily basis.
People often ask if we represent more men or women, and it is impossible to say. We represent our clients,
whoever they may be, and we strive to represent them with excellence. We have a wonderful, experienced staff who are crucial to the success of our business. The staff can empathize with our clients in that they or their children have often been in the same need of legal services as our clients find themselves.
We are a small office – predominantly of women–and we strive to maintain a family atmosphere. Angel and I know the importance of balancing work and family, and we try to accommodate the family needs of our employees just as our prior employers did for us. Many of our staff members leave early to pick up kids or attend school events and every Friday one team member takes a half-day. Practicing law can be demanding
and we are mindful of that so we strive to ensure our team likes coming to work– spa days, office lunches and holiday parties to enjoy a good laugh are a must!
A business partnership is a lot like a marriage—you need to share the same values and goals, but it is best if
you bring different strengths to bear in the operating of the business. Angel and I took a series of personality tests when we first joined forces to work on this new business model and found that
although we had thought we were a lot alike, our strengths were actually different from each other and were complementary to each other. Being aware of this and understanding our different personality types helps us work better together. I could paint a rosy picture of two friends going into business together
and living happily ever after, but truth be told, business relationships require lots of communication and compromise.
At the end of the day, friendship and shared goals can be the glue that holds it all together. The practice of law is stressful. Family law is especially stressful for all involved. Having a business partner who is equally experienced and who walks the same legal paths as I do allows us to bounce ideas off of each other and
commiserate when things get difficult. Two heads are definitely better than one.
In a couple more decades, I hope that we can look back and say that we accomplished something good together and that families in Middle Tennessee were better for our having put our heads together to build a family law practice. For these two moms, there have been many blessings along the way.
Our little girls are now in their third year of college and becoming strong young women in their own right. And yes, they are still close friends despite having gone to different schools since first grade.
Last year, Madison visited Maggie on campus for a weekend despite the seven-hour drive. Our husbands are also good friends. The Kane and Crowell bonds of friendship, whether formed in daycare or over a professional luncheon, are sure to endure.