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Visit from Tennessee makes hearts full

by Dorothy Kleindienst For the Fulton Sun | August 13, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Steven and Kirsten Nelms, and their children Creed and Lydia.

Editor's note: This column originally ran in the Aug. 6 issue, but the bottom of it was cut off and the people in the photos were misidentified.

A couple weeks ago, we had a call from our first-born, Daniel. He and his wife, Camilla, were coming from Tennessee to visit for the weekend. And they were bringing some little treasures along. Two of their grandchildren, Creed and Lydia, along with their parents, Steven and Kirsten.

Daniel, Camilla and kids moved to Tennessee around 23 years ago when the kids -- Cortney, Kirsten and Caleb -- were little. Daniel had been making trips to Nashville, so they decided to move on to Tennessee for a couple years (they said). He is a musician and songwriter.

Well, they got settled in good and are in the music business. They began a well-respected full-service publishing, production and management company called Banner Music, located on Music Row in Nashville. So, those two years turned into the Kleindienst Family starting a lineage of our family in Tennessee. And that's how our granddaughter Kirsten and family ended up in Tennessee.

All three of Daniel and Camilla's children are now married with wonderful spouses, and all have successful careers.

As we met them at the door, we were excited to see every one of them, but the two little ones stole the show. They are such outgoing and friendly, loving kids.

Steven, our grandson through marriage, lives and works on the nearly 200-acre Tennessee Walking Horse breeding farm where he was raised. Their farm and his family's farm are joined. His operation breeds to raise horses with strong pedigrees and unique color.

He has a way with horses and he truly enjoys his career, though it is very hard work. Most of the colts are born between March and June, which is strategic so the brood mares have the richest alfalfa for nutrition in their milk. The TWHNC (Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration) is in August, and this will be the 83rd year of the 10-day tradition in the industry. They love going to The Celebration and seeing horses from their farm compete in their natural gait, which gives them the nickname "Tennessee Walkers."

David and I loved listening to Steven talk in his charming Tennessee accent about the horses and what he does. I can't imagine having up to 35 colts at one time. That would be quite a sight!

Our granddaughter Kirsten has been a nurse for 10 years, beginning as an LPN, progressing to RN and BSN. She has worked in surgery and oncology, but her work-home is at Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital in the emergency department where she is a charge nurse. She said, she really loves her job, and her passion is to advocate for patients and staff at every opportunity.

Kirsten is co-chair of the Unit Council in the ED and a delegate on the Nursing Bylaws Taskforce for her regional hospital. She has received The Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Extraordinary Hero Award for exceptional patient care and has acted as preceptor to new hires in her experience as an ED nurse.

We always kid her about wanting everything done "just right" when she was a little girl. We didn't realize at the time it was a prelude to her becoming a great nurse. We were laughing and telling stories and I asked Steven if he would like to hear some of the stories about her wanting everything done just right when she was little. He said, "No, I know about it, I live it." We all laughed.

Kirsten says, "I love my job and the opportunity it gives me to share God's love to strangers in need."

Great grandson, Creed, is going to be in first grade this year. He's so smart. He was reading books and counting money before the end of kindergarten. He loves fishing at their creek that runs at the edge of their farm.

He and his daddy, Steven, sometimes go out and catch fish for supper. He is the best big brother and is always looking out for his little sister, Lydia. He will sit and talk like a big boy with you.

Lydia is in preschool and keeps them on their toes. You never have to guess what she needs, wants, likes or dislikes. We say she is like her mommy. She is smart too, counting in English and Spanish and spelling her name before she turned 3 years old.

She is a farm girl, loves animals and shows no fear. They're beautiful kids with great southern manners. Yes ma'am, no ma'am, to teachers, adults known and strangers. Lydia was interested in all the pictures I have sitting around. She would carefully pick one up, then ask who it was, then very carefully set it back just as it was. Steven and Kirsten agree, "They are our biggest blessing."

David and I talk about what good parents Steven and Kirsten are. They were both brought up well by their parents and now are training their children and doing such a great job teaching their own. They don't have to be ashamed of their behavior when they go anywhere. They count their children as blessings, but those babies are blessed by having such caring parents as well.

As they left, Steven told us to come to visit when we could. I told him if he got us there, he may not get David to leave. He said, "That's fine, I can always use some help on the farm." Although we are miles apart, they are thoughtful and keep us up to date sharing pictures and videos.

We did get to make the trip to their wedding in Tennessee. Then when they were expecting at any time, Kirsten called and told us. We got to share in the babies' births via video.

They are in the process now of remodeling their home. Since they have both a son and a daughter, they needed more room. They refer to it as their cabin. We refer to it as paradise. To be looking out over your farm, a creek running at the edge of the property and two little precious kids, life is good.

There's a lot of work and a lot of love there, as a family should be. Thanks for the visit and making your grandpa's and grandma's hearts full and happy.

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