By Rachel Clark, R.N.
As a young woman in my 20’s, I’ve asked myself this question many times. I am a young, vibrant, and healthy individual that doesn’t participate in risky behaviors. So why would I need a medical power of attorney? The answer is simple: should anything happen to me and I not be able to express myself, any and all decisions about my health and life could legally be made by two medical doctors. These would be people who likely do not know me, my values, or necessarily have my best interest at heart. Two medical doctors could decide to do anything they wanted to me without my consent, including but not limited to, invoking a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and withholding food and/or water should they think that my “quality of life” would be compromised by prolonging my life.

What exactly is a Medical Power of Attorney? It is a document that allows an individual to name delegates to make healthcare decisions on that individual’s behalf should they become unable to make them for themselves. These delegates named by the signer are then able to make any and all healthcare decisions for the signer, such as giving consent for surgical or other procedures. Before signing such a document, it is critical that you are familiar with your state’s laws in regard to requirements for a medical power of attorney.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that there are multiple options out there for this document. As I’ve been researching, I’ve found that the best option for me is something called the “Will to Live.” The “Will to Live” is a legally binding document that is also a pro-life alternative to traditional living wills. It lays out the signer’s wishes in clear, explicit terms so that should the signer become “incompetent” to make decisions, their “healthcare agent” has the authority to carry out those wishes. Be sure to discuss your standard of care choices with your “agent(s)” to ensure that your choices are carried out. That way, when and if the time comes for the document to be used, there is no question as to what you would want.
There are specific documents for the state of residency of the signer. In order to obtain the correct “Will to Live” for you, visit After downloading the document specific for your state, sign it and make copies for yourself and those named as your “agent” and “alternate agents.” Most states require that a “Will to Live” be notarized by a public notary, making it an official legal document. Each copy should be notarized before being given to those named as “agents.”

There are trying times coming up in the American healthcare system. It will become more and more common for doctors to participate in activities that are against the oaths they took when becoming physicians. It is your responsibility to protect yourself from being acted upon in ways that are against your conscience. In my career as a R.N., I see too many people who have not named anyone to make these hard choices for them should they become unable to do so themselves. It is my sincere hope that you will download and sign your copy today to ensure that your wishes are made clear and carried out, should the need ever arise.
By: Rachel Clark, RN BSN

By: Jackie Warner
The other day, I was in the gym rushing (of course) to get finished so I could be on to the next task on my list before heading home. You know the drill. First I started with the treadmill and then was on to the leg machine. I thought to myself “I am on a roll and will soon be finished and out of here!” Well, as I was getting ready for my next piece of equipment this lady came up to me to say hello. She then made it a point that I keep working out and not stop while she was speaking to me.

She said as seriously as she could “I know you because I have been you and been where you are.“ As I listened to her, she told me to slow down and really take time for myself and my workout without harboring those mental interruptions of all the activities and tasks I needed to complete. She told me to stop running so much around in my mind because all I was doing was making myself less available mentally for when I truly needed to be.

She then proceeded to correct me on the way I was doing my exercises. She again told me to slow down and really allow the work out to enhance me and not harm me. She said “me time” should really be used for “me.” All I could do was listen to her because everything she was telling me was so true and I needed the wisdom she was sharing.

This never-ending checklist we call life does make it almost impossible to relax wouldn’t you say? Let’s take it a step further and really be truthful-most of the items on our list were put there by us with every intent to complete them all! What are we thinking? Well of course we are thinking of others as we so often do. In this life we find ourselves always doing for others, making sure they have what is needed, planning our lives around theirs, whether that be our spouses, parents, children, co-workers, relatives, or friends. Then we hope that maybe, just maybe in all that we do for others we find a few minutes left to steal away in all the madness.

Hey! Wake up! Who are we kidding? It is great to have the drive and will to give and care so much for others, but if you don’t care for yourself then you will not be here to do any of the items on your checklist of life.

Before I left the gym that day, believe me, I felt rejuvenated and refreshed after my encounter with the lady I had been talking to. I did slow down and lived in the moment for me, if only for a little while. I finished my workout without all those mental interruptions that I so often take with me. When we fail to give to ourselves, we fail to be successful in our giving to others.

I encourage you to also take the advice of the lady I met in the gym: slow down because stress kills!

I’ll leave you with a few tips for “Me Time Success”:
1. Self-time is not being selfish—it’s necessary. Say yes to “you time” for real for a change.
2. Learn to say no. Not every task has to be completed by you.
3. Take 2 minutes first thing in the morning to stretch and breathe.
4. Put your headphones on and listen to your favorite music.
5. Pray!
Lesson Learned: You never know who is watching and waiting to impart much needed wisdom in your life so LISTEN.

By: Paul Foreman
In light of the news about the recent mass shooting in Vegas, I thought a rerun would be appropriate.
After reading advice from numerous sources. I have come up with my own more realistic steps to take. I know the last thing this old sheepdog is going to do is curl up in a corner and wait to die.

1. Escape if you can. Go! Get out of there, even if others are frozen in place. Leave all your belongings BEHIND! I saw a video of a shooter in a school board meeting in Northwest Florida. When the shooter came in waving his gun around and announced his intentions to open fire, people in the audience spent time gathering up their coats and purses before getting out! Help others escape if they will cooperate. Warning: some people will freeze in fear. There is not a whole lot you can do unless you start dragging or carrying them. That’s a negative, UNLESS they are family.

2. Once you are safe, stop others from unknowingly walking into a deadly situation.

3. Call 911 as soon as possible. While you are waiting for 911 to answer, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Most 911 operators will answer by saying, “911, what is your emergency, fire or police?” When stressed, most people will talk way too fast and too loud. Talk in short concise sentences, such as, “There is a shooting at University Plaza.” Take a breath. “I saw three of them at the main entrance.” Take a breath. “All are wearing black, with long guns.” Take a deep breath and wait patiently for the operator to ask questions. Waiting five or ten seconds, while she is typing, will feel like forever. If the 911 operator tells you to stay on the phone, cooperate with her if safe to do so. Yes, give your name. The last thing responding officers want to hear is, “The caller refused his name and hung up.”

4. If you cannot escape, try to hide out of the shooter’s view. Barricade the doors with anything heavy you can find. Get behind heavy furniture, such as desks or file cabinets. If possible, keep an escape route open. Use bathrooms as a last resort; you could get trapped. Lock the doors. Wrapping a belt or pants leg around the door closer might slow down someone trying to force their way in. Sometimes janitors will leave a wooden or rubber door stopper; jamb it under your side of the door. Many restrooms will have a janitor’s closet. Look for objects to barricade the door.

5. If none of the above will work due to time or situation, FIGHT! Attempt to disable the shooter. Get mad and defend yourself! What do you have to lose?

6. In a restroom, use toilet tank lids or toilet seats, metal trash cans or mirrors as improvised weapons. You might find good weapons stored in the janitor’s closet, such as mop handles or a heavy bucket. You might find cleaning chemicals to throw into the bad guy’s face. In office areas, use fire extinguishers, chairs, lamps, broken glass from a picture frame, or mirror, heavy vase, broken furniture, scissors or glass ashtray. Spray the bad guy with the fire extinguisher, and then hit him in the face with it. Use hot coffee, full soda cans, hair spray, bug spray, anything heavy; hit him and hit him hard. Don’t stop hitting him until he is unconscious. Your life depends on it.

7. If you have a gun, use it! If you don’t know how, get trained! Just in the last few days I have heard, on national news broadcasts, numerous sheriffs and police chiefs advising citizens to arm themselves. GET TRAINED, by me or some qualified trainer. Get trained beyond just knowing how to shoot a gun. Get trained on knowing when to shoot and when NOT to shoot.

8. If you are evacuating from a crowded theater, church or mall, get away from the center of the hallway. Get next to the wall. You do NOT want to get caught up in the rushing mob of terrified people who might care less if you get trampled. Next to a wall, you will be able to use the wall for support if you get shoved or knocked down. Walls have windows and doors. You might find an escape route. Malls have numerous stores, often with “back doors” that you can escape through. You do NOT want to get caught up in a mob of dozens or even hundreds of people all trying to escape out the same door. Grab hold of small children and carry them if possible. If children are too big to carry, grab the child’s belt rather than trying to hold onto their arm. The same with adults. Grab each of your family members by the belt and hold on for dear life.
By: Paul Foreman

By: Lisa Philippart
The purpose of my previous article was to introduce you to the trait of high sensitivity. If you completed the self-test at and decided you were not highly sensitive, the chances are that you know someone who is. This article is part two of three parts designed to present you with specific characteristics to hopefully give you a clearer picture of yourself or the HSP in your life. We will look at the mental, physical, sensory, spiritual, and psychological/behavioral characteristics in an abbreviated form.


  • Better at spotting errors and avoiding making errors
  • Highly conscientious
  • Able to concentrate deeply (better without distractions)
  • Often thinking about our own thinking
  • Deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions


  • Specialists in fine motor movements
  • Good at holding still
  • “Morning people”
  • More right-brained
  • More easily affected by stimulants
  • Nervous systems are designed to react to subtle experiences

Sensory: (sensitivity to)

  • Touch—fabrics, water, temperatures
  • Sound—loud noises, music, white noise
  • Sight/Light—visual beauty, fluorescents, bright lights
  • Taste—warm foods, textures, alcohol, caffeine
  • Smell—chemical sensitivity, aromatherapy


  • Meditative, prayerful, soulful
  • Intuitive
  • Search for meaning, purpose, and wholeness
  • Vivid dreams and active imaginations
  • Visions, divine intervention, miracles


  • Empathic
  • Affected deeply by environmental stimuli
  • Big picture/serious thinkers
  • Conscientious, methodical, perfectionist
  • Boundary difficulties
  • Avoid conflict and criticism
  • Require meaningful work and personal relationships

So, what do you think? Do you see yourself or someone you know with most or all of these characteristics? The next step is for HSPs to figure out how to function in a non-HSP world. I’ll share some tips and ideas in my next article. Until then…..Take time to appreciate the HSP!
By: Lisa Phillippart
Licensed Professional Counselor

By: Deb Kitchenmaster
I chuckled as I read about a Harvard-trained brain surgeon and his relationship with horses. What a paradigm! Whereas, a brain surgeon operates on the brain, a connecting relationship with a horse has the potential of rewiring the brain.
How is that? When a master predator and an ultimate prey animal “scalpels” by cutting through judgments, traumas, and toxic mind-sets to the center of understanding the flow of vital energy, intention, and focus, the gate of an inside arena opens and welcomes you! Should you choose to step through the open gate, you simply say “YES” to a continuous lesson of awakening sensitivity and leadership.

Let me give you an example. When I approached one of our mares the other day, I literally ‘sank’ on the inside. I connected with low energy, sadness, and a sensation of being overwhelmed. Sensitivity led me to pause and observe. I noticed the other mare in her paddock was dominant in a subtle way. These two have shared a paddock area for weeks. However, this day, the white blazed Morgan mare needed a break! We spent the next hour together and what a connection we had. I continue to reflect upon that moment, and it was beautiful. This horse needed a “Debbie connection” and I equally needed one with her! I want to point out here, I had the time to give to her that day. If my schedule was penciled in with timelines and deadlines, I would have chosen another solution, such as put her with another horse or give her area to herself. The difference between being merely attached to your horse and being connected to your horse is your state of mind.

Here’s a fun eye-opener exercise in understanding the energy of your presence and focus. Go out with a halter and lead rope to a pasture with horses. Find a spot like a nice tree where you can safely sit down and relax. Curiosity will be the look on the horses’ faces as you sit down. This is “unusual” behavior in their minds. Most horses have never experienced a human coming into their pasture without wanting something from them. When the horses have returned to grazing, randomly pick out one horse from the herd. Get up and start walking toward him. Picture you catching, connecting, and haltering that one particular horse. Once you have made a decision on which horse it is, don’t change your mind. Stay focused on your horse. Keep walking straight toward him. Observe what happens! The horses you are not focused on will let you walk around them as they are grazing. However, the one you intend to halter may start to pick up his head and possibly move off. What did the selected horse sense that the others did not? This horse is aware of the intensity of energy toward him. Simply making a selection in your mind creates a change in your energy that is easily perceived by the horse, even across an entire pasture. What about miles?

When we moved to the South we lived in town and leased pasture several miles east of Huntsville. I had met a man from Canada who heard about my connection with horses, and he scheduled a session. When I drove out to the barn for that session, one of the six horses was standing at the gate waiting for me! She KNEW she was the ONE for this person. What got my attention big time was this particular mare loved pasture time. Here she was waiting! Harvey remembers this round pen session like it was yesterday. Abba Father and mare Annie tattooed Harvey’s heart with a NOW moment in permanent ink.

Whether you are reading this article because you are a horse lover, a horse owner or simply reading because you are holding Athens Now in your hands, I want to encourage y’all to go ahead and get the scalpel out. Be willing to cut between cognitive mindsets and the possibility of an intuitive lifestyle. We find comfort in holding a compass in our hands as we journey on. We want a map to reassure us where we are on our journey. Horses simply have faith. Whether walking in darkness, fog, storms, or carrying a confused human asking, “Where are we?” – to find the trail that leads us safely home. Horses have a way, as we connect with them, to return us home to our author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Himself.

By: Wanda Campbell
Every fall, the Center for Lifelong Learning engages in a flurry of activity. From the end of September to near the end of November we are busy with community events, class activities, and planning future classes, events, and activities.

Community Activities

Starting the last weekend in September this year, we hosted the Grease Festival. The next weekend was the Ol’ Time Fiddlers Convention. Starting on October 26, the Athens Storytelling Festival comes to town. And just three weeks after Storytelling, we are geared up for Christmas Open House. If you have not had the opportunity to participate in the community activities, I invite you to come on down. Although the Grease Festival and Fiddlers Convention have already passed, you still have time to attend the Athens Storytelling Festival and Christmas Open House.

The Athens Storytelling Festiva
l is jam-packed with great stories, nationally recognized storytellers, and lots of opportunity to mingle and buy author recordings and books. Donald Davis, Bill Lepp, Bill Harley, Geraldine Buckley, and The Dill Pickers are the featured artists. Get “the Whole Schebang” to come and go as you please throughout the entire festival, including Tuesday’s 5th Annual Dan Williams Local Tellers Competition. Or you can pick and choose what days you’d like to come. Tickets are available online.

The Christmas Open House event is sponsored by the Greater Limestone Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Athens. With activities scattered around the Courthouse, everyone enjoys the sounds and smells of Christmas. Carolers will be singing many of your favorite Christmas carols as they stroll through downtown. Santa will arrive in style at the Center for Lifelong Learning Center and will take toy requests. During the Christmas Open House, we will host Merry Market in the Mezzanine of our building. Merry Market gives home-based businesses an opportunity to sell on the Courthouse Square. Call Jennifer Williamson at 256-232-2600 for more information about fees and spaces.

Upcoming Classes
It is not too early to mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, April 11. The 2018 theme is Women Who Serve and the line-up of speakers is just fabulous. We are trying something new and offering three Dessert and Discussion Series. The first is a series on Caring For Older Adults. The four-week series will focus on Dementia, Social Security, and more. The second series will focus on Foreign Affairs. The topics for that discussion include Trade, Jobs, and Treaties, Crisis in the South China Sea and more. Our third series will focus on Our Town. Topics include Streets and People and so much more. We hope you will come out and discussion our topics while enjoying a dessert.

Like the iceberg that floats in the sea, what I have mentioned is just the beginning. There is so much more in the planning stages. We have trips, professional development courses, leisure fun, and so much more coming up.

Wait for more here, on our website – or stop by to see us at 121 South Marion Street. We would love to talk with you.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

By: Janet Hunt
Below is a list of fitness classes offered in the Athens area, outside of a gym, that are targeted to older adults. These classes are open to all. No sign up is needed and classes are ongoing. All equipment is provided. Donations are accepted. Below is a schedule:

Youth Center at the First United Methodist Church
203 N. Jefferson St. (next to LCCI)
Strength and Balance – this class uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Exercises are both standing and seated. Classes meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 – 9:15 a.m.

Gym at Round Island Baptist Church
14790 Brownsferry Rd.
Strength and Cardio – this classes uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Because we have the entire gym, we walk laps indoors. Most of the exercises are standing with some seated work. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 10 – 11 a.m.

East Limestone Senior Center
25820 Nick Davis Rd
Strength and Balance – this class uses hand weights, elastic tubing, and a small ball. Exercises are both standing and seated. Classes meet on Monday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

East Limestone Senior Center
25820 Nick Davis Rd
Stability – this class includes standing and walking exercises that will be beneficial in decreasing the risk of falling. Chairs are encouraged for warm-up and cool-down only. Class meets on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Above listed classes are offered by Janet Hunt, an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and ACE Certified Health Coach. For additional information please call 256-614-3530 or email at

For those that are looking for more personal instruction (one-on-one or with a partner), Janet offers personal training to fit your special needs whether is it strengthening your core, increasing your flexibility, working on increasing strength, or losing weight. If you have a small group interested in starting fitness classes at your location, Janet is available or can refer you to instructors to fit your group’s needs.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

By: Rosemary Dewar
Acts of evil are much easier to define than it is to define those who commit them. Our culture has a serious problem with sustaining standards of morality, and the lack of thoughtful consistency and honesty leaves people logically and emotionally vulnerable. It should not be difficult for anyone to conclude that violation of choice correlated with violation of life is socially harmful. Humanity is not short on examples of frailty, and identifying that frailty is dependent on one’s ability to define it.

Mankind is inherently capable of doing great good as well as great wickedness. Anyone who has had or has babysat a toddler can affirm that they can be willful and selfish dictators. Without healthy discipline and stability, any child is at a higher risk of cultivating irregular levels of vanity and validation in their character. Should these behaviors go unchecked, having someone develop into a sophisticatedly manipulative adult is a plausible outcome.

Our culture has acknowledged a new level of awareness in two particular stories: the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock and sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein. Both men perpetrated the most degrading and heartless acts, each violent in their own way. Weinstein used his influence to limit choice and violate the self-worth of his victims. Paddock fed a still-undefined delusion so fervently that he committed the largest mass shooting in United States history.

These men are equally guilty of their crime, yet society does not want to hold them solely responsible. For Paddock, the left looks to blame America’s Constitutional right to bear arms in order to defend ourselves against those like him.

Condemning an inanimate object will not resolve the character issue. As for Weinstein, the left aims to denounce masculinity for his abhorrent behavior. However, conflating sexual abuse and aggression with masculinity is culturally detrimental and, in fact, inaccurate.

Simply because men disproportionally commit more crime than women, does not mean that society has the privilege of convicting all men carte blanche of being subhuman. Absolving women who have committed heinous acts also does not cultivate a stable society. Humanity is broken, but society must do a better job at promoting and honoring men and women who excel at their morality.

Our current culture has yet to define what darkness is. It ought to do so before dancing with it.

In Act I, Scene III of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Banquo warns exactly as noted below:

But ’tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.

Ambition without mercy is the death of the human soul.

The Judeo-Christian worldview asserts that mankind is feeble and that there are those who choose darkness knowing full well that they betray the light afforded them. They forfeit their humanity. That is not a masculine trait or a feminine trait, but a godless one.

Greek philosopher Socrates stated, “Worthless people live to eat and drink, people of worth eat and drink to live.”

Those who feed on the vulnerability of others are never satisfied, and they do not consider what comes forth from them as they devour every person they encounter. In contrast, those who consider how they affect others are far more conscious of what they are willing to consume.

Should culture continue to worship self-gratification, it will find itself consumed by the very darkness it cultivated. The light is one choice away, accessible by simply refusing to indulge in another’s discomfort.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis said it best when he stated, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
By: Rosemary Dewar

Fall in the South brings with it school festivals, bonfires, hayrides and, of course, football. Football to most Southerners, especially this Alabama girl, is not just a fun afternoon activity, it is a lifelong love affair. From a young age, you’re taught to yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” or maybe even “Go Vols.” No matter what team you cheer for, one thing we all can agree on is that every football tailgating party needs good food. Chips and dip, pizza, hamburgers, chicken wings—these are all your usual suspects on the buffet. Why not change things up this year and make a Southern classic, Pimento Cheese. Pimento Cheese can be used as a spread for sandwiches, a topper for burgers, or as a dip. Now this recipe is not your typical Pimento Cheese; this one is packed with protein and offers a healthy alternative to the neon-orange tub of mystery cheese found in the super market. All the heavy mayo is swapped out with lite mayo and non-fat Greek yogurt. For an extra boost of protein, I’ve added a scoop of unflavored protein powder. Make this delicious Pimento Cheese the day before the big game and it will be creamy and delicious by kick-off. I hope you enjoy this healthy take on this Southern classic and Roll Tide!

2 8oz. blocks of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbsps. light mayonnaise
3 Tbsps. non-fat Greek yogurt
1 6oz. jar of diced pimentos, undrained
½ cup of unflavored protein powder
1 small onion, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend the mayonnaise, yogurt, grated onion, salt and pepper, and protein powder in a medium bowl. Fold in the grated cheese. Cover and chill overnight for best results.
By: Anna Hamilton