American Forces

Red, White, and Blueberry Beet Salad


Here’s a fun, festive, 4th of July salad for your holiday table. My sister made this one up just for the occasion (and because she knows I LOVE beets, even if she doesn’t!)

It calls for 4 very basic ingredients as well as a basic vinaigrette dressing made with red-wine vinegar. You can whisk one up yourself, or use a bottled one you’ve purchased, whichever get’s the job done to your satisfaction and gets you out of the kitchen and back into the celebration as quickly as possible.

You’ll wow your guests (or your hosts) when you place this on the banquet table!

Red, White, and Blueberry Beet Salad


  • 5-6 large beets, peeled, cooked (you may boil or roast - your choice), cooled, and cubed

  • 2 pints of blueberries, washed and drained

  • 6-8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  • a bed of baby spinach

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

  • ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Make the vinaigrette dressing:

    1. In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the ingredients except oil. Stir well with a small whisk.

    2. Drop a single drop of oil into the mixture and whisk briskly, add another drop and continue to whisk, then add remaining oil in a stream, continuing to whisk until well blended.

    3. Taste, and adjust as necessary.

  2. Place cooked cubed beets in large bowl, add blueberries, pour viniagrette over top and mix well.

  3. Place baby spinach leaves on serving platter.

  4. Layer dressed beets and blueberries over the top of spinach, then sprinkle liberally with crumbled feta cheese.

  5. Refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy this salad, bursting with red, white, and blue flavor, as we celebrate our great nation’s birthday! I hope your 4th full of your favorite ingredients, and mixes up to be a happy and safe holiday!

Veterans: Make The Connection!

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May is Mental Health Month, and before we turn a page on the calendar, I wanted to take the opportunity to spread the word about an organization that helps our military heroes called Make The Connection.

By nature, military service exposes our brave men and women to traumatic events. While trained to act and react in the moment for the best possible outcome, the emotional imprints can last long after service has ended. Most of us could never comprehend the situations they find themselves in…

There are millions of Veterans and family members who have needed support during tough times. Their lives got better. And so can yours, or that person you’re concerned for, because there’s a place to turn to: 

Make The Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members, friends, and other supporters, with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives. There, you can hear personal stories of recovery from Veterans that have served during many different time periods such as: Post-9/11 Era (2001 - Present), Desert Era (1990 - 2000), Post-Vietnam War Era (1976 - 1989), Vietnam War Era (1960 - 1975), Post Korean War Era (1954 - 1959), and, WW II through Korean War Era (1941 - 1953).

They've worn the uniform, shared similar experiences, and found a supportive path to recovery by reaching out for help. If you, or someone you know could use some support, this is the place to come.

I simply can’t begin to express how much gratitude I have for our active military members and the Veteran’s who have served! I want to think that anyone needing support can find it, because they are owed that. For everything our freedom providers do for us, kindness, caring, and tangible support is that least that they should receive in return. That’s why I’m honored to share the services of Make The Connection.

Need some help? Get it here! Make The Connection.

Thank you for your service and for the safety and freedom it provides for all of us! I am so very humbled and grateful!

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Two Great Fall Movies | Unbroken & Indivisible

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Unbroken: Path to Redemption
In theaters September 14th

Unbroken: Path to Redemption


Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book Unbroken, and the 2014 film of the same name, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, called a spiritual successor to the first movie, tells the rest of WWII veteran Louis Zamperini's story after his liberation from a Japanese prison camp and return home from World War II.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption takes off where the film Unbroken, left off.  In that, we saw Louis as a bombardier who crash landed in the ocean due to engine failure and floated on a raft for 47 days before becoming a prisoner of war. This is the rest of the story: 

Haunted by his experiences as a Japanese POW, Louis doesn't think of himself as a hero, anything but, actually. In fictional romance, Louis' love for Cynthia, whom he married in 1946, would be the only balm necessary for his wounds, but as reality would have it, their marriage is being held prisoner by Louis' past and his wrathful quest for revenge is driving him deeper into despair, putting the couple on the brink of divorce.   

This is the story of how Cynthia finds a born-again faith in the Lord at a Christian revival crusade led by Billy Graham in 1949. Renewing her commitment to the marriage she had all but given up on, and to Louis. Now, her most fervent prayer is for God to help Louie find the peace and forgiveness he so desperately needs.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption stars Samuel Hunt, as Zamperini, as well as evangelist Will Graham portraying his grandfather. It opens September 14th in theaters everywhere bringing to life the rest of this powerful real-life story of forgiveness, redemption, and amazing grace.

Watch the Trailer & Get Tickets

In theaters October 26th


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Every marriage faces challenges. The small every day type that come with the reality of two people living in close proximity, ever jostling to give one another the right balance of attention and space. And the large ones that accompany unexpected circumstances - upsets, upheavals, sickness, and the unknown.

INDIVISiBLE is based on the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather who, with a strong, faith-filled marriage, are ready to follow their calling: serving God, family, and country. Idealism is met with the reality of an abrupt and lengthy deployment in Iraq, the horrors of war, of lonliness, of two realities that are so very different from one another.

Darren and Heather have anchored themselves as pillars of strength amongst those who need it the most; the deployed soldiers fighting to stay alive, and the families left behind tensing at every phone call and knock at the door. Who can they cling to when realizing that they too have been deeply wounded by this incomprehensalbe experience?

INDIVISIBLE, is the story of one marriage … one family … under God.
In theaters beginning October 26, starring Sarah Drew, Justin Bruening, Jason George, Tia Mowry, and Madeline Carroll.

Watch the Trailer

Now through September 9th, you can enter my Red Carpet Movie Flyaway Sweepstakes for an opportunity to win a trip for two (2) people to fly to Memphis, Tennessee to watch INDIVISIBLE on October 2, 2018 at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis! 

The sweepstakes package includes:

  • Round trip coach airfare for TWO people

  • Two nights hotel accommodations

  • Two tickets to the red carpet movie event

  • And a $100 cash gift card!

Memphis is waiting for you!


A Portrait of a Boy

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Zachariah by Michael Reagan

Recently I was gifted the most remarkable thing; a portrait of my son, Zachariah.

There is a man, by the name of Michael G. Reagan, an internationally recognized artist who has an amazing heart and an amazing talent. I heard of Michael's work some years ago. He has drawn over 4500 portraits of fallen soldiers, providing them to surviving families, free of charge.

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He has also provided portraits of children lost to violence in schools, including all victims of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and the many other horrific school shootings. He is working currently on the most recent Florida victims.

Michael lives in the same corner of the world as I do and our paths have crossed a few times. He drew my portrait, which hangs in my studio, many years ago, and a few years back attended one of my Fall Harvest parties which was a military theme, honoring our men and women in uniform.

After I lost Zack, Michael wrote to me and asked me to send him some photos of my son, he chose one that I think best captured Zack's spirit; in it he is wearing his green beanie, snowboarding jacket, and a mysterious smile. 

Michael visited me at the farm recently and presented me with Zacky's portrait, which brought me to my knees. I am eternally grateful to Michael for this gift, and for the abundant generosity of his heart.

You can learn more about Michael and the remarkable work that he does at the
< Fallen Heroes Project >
Donations are gratefully accepted.

A Few of My Favorite Things | New Christmas Music!

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Here comes Santa Claus with his sleigh full of musical gifts!

There are so many great Christmas albums out this year, and I'll be playing selections from each on the air.  Here's a sampling of some of my favorites:


Five For Fighting | Christmas Where You Are


Five For Fighting's new single, Christmas Where You Are, ft. Jim Brickman is special. Very special. Exceptionally special. Why? It honors our troops. Those whom I am so dearly fond of, who stand up and say "I will" protect our country, protect our people, protect our freedoms. These are the same men and women who very often find themselves separated from family and loved ones at Christmas and other holidays. 

Listen to Christmas Where You Are.
(But grab a tissue before you do!)


for King & Country | Christmas, LIVE from Phoenix. 

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If you don't know about for KING & COUNTRY, you should! This incredibly famous Christian pop duo, who credit U2, OneRepublic, the Beatles and Goo Goo Dolls as influences, have an awesome sound. Their version of The Little Drummer Boy is unique and amazing! A great stocking stuffer for music lovers on your list.  Available now everywhere.

LISTEN to Little Drummer Boy


Holidays Rule | Volume 2  


Collaboration is a beautiful thing. Especially so when it comes to great artists and lovely music! A new album from Capitol records, Holidays Rule, Volume 2, is today’s artists with wonderfully fresh takes on holiday classics. A joyful and diverse collection of seasonal music featuring an array of superstars including Paul McCartney with his spirited new version of Wonderful Christmastime featuring, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots! Interested now, aren't you?! 


Lindsey Stirling | Warmer in the Winter

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Do you remember when dancer/performance artist/violinist, Lindsey Stirling, visited the farm earlier this year? She was so delightful and while she was there, became a 'mother' to a brand new baby goat we named "Stirling" in her honor! Lindsey has a new holiday CD, Warmer In The Winter.

The album features renditions of holiday classics like Jingle Bells, the gorgeous Angels We Have Heard On High, and a playful You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. And, on her newly penned original, Christmas C'Mon she teams up with guest vocalist, Becky G!!

You can catch Lindsey on tour by following this link:  TOUR


Pentatonix | A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe

Take one listen to Away in a Manger and you'll know that Pentatonix has done it yet again. The incredible harmonies and sound effects that define this group is still hauntingly beautiful. I could listen to them all day and all night! The new Deluxe album features Jennifer Hudson on How Great Thou Art.

Don't miss their holiday special, Monday, November 27th at 10pm ET/PT on NBC! 


SIA | Every Day is Christmas

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The fun and talented Sia gifts us with her brand new holiday album, Every Day is Christmas! For those who crave a little new with all the old classics, this is the album for you. SIA has written and composed  modern-day holiday songs that will be the next generations classics like Santa’s Coming For Us, Candy Cane Lane, Sunshine, and the so-adorable-it-can’t-be-real, Puppies Are Forever. 


Train | Christmas in Tahoe DELUXE

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One of my favorite bands is back this year with a DELUXE version of their holiday album Christmas in Tahoe. With 17 tracks on the album, there are old and new favorites.

Run Run Rudolph and Blue Christmas, This Christmas, and Shake up Christmas are all included as well as bonus tracks like, Please Come Home for Christmas.

Put a little Christmas Train under your tree!



Trolls | Trolls Holiday  

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Troll lo lo lo lo, lo lo, lo lo... Trolls are back this sparkling season with a brand new holiday album and TV show, Trolls Holiday. The seven-track album features musical performances from the entire cast. The gang is all back including Anna Kendrick as Poppy, Justin Timberlake as Branch, and Zooey Deschanel as Bridget. Trolls Holiday is available everywhere right now!


Trolls Holiday, the showwill premiere Friday, November 24th, on NBC.