Buddy Check Week – Talk to 10!

As part of the STRONG Veterans Act of 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is conducting an inaugural Buddy Check Week October 16 – 20, 2023. During Buddy Check Week, we invite all Veterans to complete peer wellness, resiliency, and VA S.A.V.E. training with a pledge to contact or Talk to 10 Veterans. Our goal is to support peer networking, increase access to Veteran resources, improve mental health, promote suicide prevention, and build connections. VA and partners will provide training tools, resources, and other forums to ask questions and share stories about Veterans connecting with peers and battle buddies.

Everyone can be part of the solution by checking in with the Veterans in their life and encouraging them to reach out if they need help. Many of your friends may be doing well, while others may need assistance from the community or VA in some way. Share the 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) phone number, VA.gov/REACH website, and VA Welcome Kit as gateways for needed resources.

1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) can help your friends with health care, community care, memorial affairs, crisis, debt management, facility locator, benefits assistance, homelessness, and PACT Act information. Sharing the VA Welcome Kit may also prove helpful for your buddies who need more information on VA services and benefits.

Get Prepared Now

Start by accessing the VA S.A.V.E. training here: VA S.A.V.E. In just 30 minutes, you’ll be better equipped to reach your buddies and friends offering the support they may need.

Find Friends

Explore new ways to find your battle buddies and friends using Together We Served and RallyPoint. Check out other Veteran serving organizations efforts such as Buddy Check | The American Legion and the Veteran Wellness Alliance Check In to get involved.

Veterans Crisis Line

Your battle buddies and friends from service may be experiencing a variety of stressors in their life. It’s important to have the right resources handy when talking about life–past, present, and future. The Veterans Crisis Line is the fastest way to get help if your buddy is in crisis or at risk of killing themselves. Dial 988 then Press 1 if you encounter a friend needing help now.


Embrace Change

Managing our homes, families, careers and finances during unprecedented times while adhering to the Safer at Home order can take a toll over time.  When each passing day, starts to run together with another and you can’t remember if it’s a weekday or weekend, our patience runs thinner.   Burnout can manifest in many ways whether it’s from volunteering, being a caregiver, overburdening our need to multi-task or from Zoom exhaustion.

Embracing this change to our routines may require more self-care and being intentional in what we do.

Be authentic and true to yourself. If you need help or someone to talk to, reach out to a trusted friend or call a national hotline or local counselor. Many mental health specialists offer telehealth support.

Stay connected!

Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Mental Health Resource Hub “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the mental health of every American. We hope that by pushing these free tools out as widely as possible, we can empower individuals, families, and health providers to prioritize mental health and take necessary actions when needed. Connectedness and support for one another will get us through this.”

The Refuge Center for Counseling  works with individuals, couples and families 615-591-5262

Living With Presence, Connection and Intention after trauma

Elizabeth Ledford with Body & Mind Consulting works with children, adolescents and parents 615-310-1491

Shelli Tripp-Norvell, MMFT with Shelli Norvell Counseling works with women and men in recovery from abusive relationships 615-716-9902

Image by chezbeate from Pixabay


Rediscover The Drive-In Movie Experience

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback!

There is a generation that has never visited a drive-in movie theater. If you haven’t been to a drive-in, there is still time to visit one this summer.   No speaker rentals, phone or tablet needed as most drive-ins now transmit sound through your car’s FM radio.

Plan to arrive early, secure your parking spot, turn your vehicle headlights off, then enjoy the pre-show vibe outdoors.  

Hang out and visit with other movie goers while you await movie time.  Kids can be seen and heard running around playing before dusk.  A great reminder of when we spent more time outdoors.

One difference you may notice from the old days, is you may see cars parked the wrong way for watching from the back of an SUV or truck instead of from the front seat.  If you are wanting to watch the movie from the back of your vehicle, you can bring a bluetooth speaker to sync to your car stereo system.

Grab your blanket, frisbee, soccer ball, bug spray and lawn chairs and plan to leave your car running to prevent the car battery from dying.  Watch from a lawn chair or from your vehicle, but either way get out and experience something nostalgic.  

Here are four drive-in cinemas near Nashville that you may want to visit for a family night out:

1.  Hi-Way 50 Drive-In

1584 Fayetteville Highway, Lewisburg, Tennessee 931-298-9463

Adults (12+): $7 Children (6-11): $5 Children (under 5): Free

Gates open at 6 p.m.  First movie begins at dusk. Cash and Credit Cards accepted at gate and concession stand.  Leashed pets welcome.  Outside food prohibited without a $6 food voucher, per vehicle.  Offers double features.

2.  The Moonlite

931 W. Main Street, Woodbury, Tennessee 615-563-7900

Adults: $8 Children (5+): $6 Children (under 5): Free

Gates open at 6 p.m.  Movies start at dusk.  Cash and Credit Cards accepted.  Pets welcome. Outside food and drinks prohibited without an $8 food pass, per vehicle.  Offers double features.

3.  Pink Cadillac

2506 TN-100, Centerville, Tennessee 931-729-2386

Adults: $9 Children (12 and under): Free

Gates open at 7 p.m.  Movie starts at 7:55 p.m.  Cash only accepted at the gate/box office.  Cash and Credit Cards accepted at the concession stand.  Outside food prohibited. 

4.  Stardust

310 Purple Tiger Drive, Watertown, Tennessee 615-237-0077

Adults: $8.50 Children (6-11): $6.50 Children (under 5): Free

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from March through November.  Open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend until mid-August.  Gates open 1 1/2 to 2 hours before movie start time.  Movies start at dusk.  Outside food and beverages prohibited without a $6 food and beverage permit.  Leashed pets welcome.  Offers double features. Cash and Credit Cards accepted at box office (ticket booth) and concession stand.

COMING SOON: August Moon Drive-In

The East Nashville venue which will be very similar to the one opening in Pigeon Forge, is still in the works and will be located on James Robertson Parkway.


Should You Get A Home Inspection?

The home inspection phase is a pretty exciting time in the home buying process! 

Buying a home is a huge investment and one of the most important purchases you will make.  This is your chance to make sure you understand the condition of the home.

Wikipedia defines a home inspection as a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections.

A good idea and worth the peace of mind, a home inspection is an inexpensive way to determine the current condition of the home and is typically performed after an offer has been accepted.  Inspections should be performed for existing homes and new construction as a home inspector can uncover potential defects or improper installation of systems regardless of age.  Refer to the inspection and resolution clause of the purchase and sale agreement for the length of time you have to perform all inspections.

You should choose a home inspector you trust and who is licensed.  The inspection process takes roughly two to four hours and is usually attended by the buyer, home inspector and buyer’s real estate agent.

The cost of a home inspection can range from $300 to $500 depending on the size of the home and location and is typically paid for by the buyer at the time the service is rendered, as it benefits the interests of the home buyer.

The purpose of the inspection is to find any defects or safety hazards throughout the home in areas such as the foundation, roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and appliances. There may also be a need to inspect the environment, pools & spas and septic & wells if those systems are present.  You will have the opportunity to walk through the home with the inspector and ask any questions you may have pertaining to the home and its integrity. The home inspector will then provide a detailed report that can be used to negotiate necessary repairs.

If you are planning to sell your home, a pre-listing home inspection can be performed before the home is listed on the market.  This inspection, paid for by the home seller, provides a written report to the seller as to the condition of the property and can uncover issues that may compromise a sale.  This type of home inspection allows the seller time to perform necessary repairs before the home is made available for sale.

UltraSound Home Inspections shares a sample report so you can see what you can expect from an inspection report.

If there’s a subject concerning home inspections that I didn’t cover or you have a specific question, let me know in the comments.


Disasters Happen. Make a Plan!


Plan ahead for disasters

  • Gather and scan important documents including insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, credit and bank account information, vehicle registrations, wills and appraisals of valuables and keep a digital copy saved to the cloud or on a thumb drive to keep in your emergency kit.
  • Prepare a digital home inventory, take video or photos of each room
  • Prepare your finances. Set up online banking, have cash on hand
  • Appoint a person that lives away from your immediate area that can keep family and friends updated
  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and shelters
  • Download the free Zello app for community updates and information
  • Fill vehicles with gas
  • Stock up with non-perishable foods
  • Prepare a list of emergency telephone numbers (police, sheriff, fire, hospitals, veterinarians, ASPCA, FEMA)
  • Six things to know before a disaster video


  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting
  • Unplug appliances and electronics
  • Turn off air conditioner and propane tanks
  • Store food using the USDA Food Safety and Information Service (FSIS) guidelines
  • Bring in anything that can be moved by high winds (pots, outdoor furniture, bicycles, trash cans, etc)
  • Install hurricane shutters or board windows
  • If you plan to remain in home, purchase a generator, lanterns and NOAA weather radio
  • Identify the location of home’s water, gas and electric main shutoff valves and switches


  • Ask friends and family outside of your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your family, including pets, if necessary use a rolling suitcase for emergency kit so that you can easily take with you in case of evacuation
  • Make a Plan Checklist
  • Family Emergency Communication Plan Card
  • Family Emergency Plan Information
  • Family Emergency Plan in Various Languages
  • Family Emergency Kit


  • Gather and scan current photo of all pets, pet registration and immunization records
  • Familiarize yourself with local animal control, animal shelters, pet friendly hotels and emergency shelters that allow pets
  • Microchip pets and update registration information
  • Attach a weather resistant, smart pet tag with current contact information on all pets
  • Ensure you have pet medications with you in case of evacuation
  • Have a secure carrier for each pet and mark with pet identification and contact information
  • Pet Disaster Plan
  • Pet Disaster Preparedness


  • Assist the injured and provide first aid where appropriate
  • Be calm, patient and understanding during recovery process
  • Report loose or dangling power lines to the electric company, fire or police department
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate or dry your home
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Look for electrical system, sewage and water line damage
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage
  • Take photos of damage
  • Save receipts of lodging and food for reimbursement
  • Use bottled water or boil water until public announcement of water safety
  • Report damage to homeowner’s insurance and FEMA

Homeowner’s Insurance: Why do you need it?

Your mortgage lender does not like to take risks!

When you purchase a home with a mortgage loan, you’ll be required to get homeowner’s insurance to protect your lender’s interest in the property. Even if you don’t have a mortgage–it is a good idea to carry homeowner’s insurance. And the cost is not as much as you might expect! Homeowner’s insurance costs depend on a few factors including type of home, pets and neighborhood.

You’ll need to pay the first year in advance which will be wrapped into your closing costs due at settlement. After that, your lender will put a little of your mortgage premium you pay each month into what is called an escrow account. Your mortgage company will usually pay your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance premiums from this escrow account–which is very convenient for homeowners!

How much insurance do you need?

That depends on your lender’s policies. You may just need to have enough to cover your lender’s interest at market value. But most experts agree that you should cover the “replacement cost” of your home. Replacement cost is the cost of all materials required to rebuild your home.

What is covered?

Homeowner’s insurance protects your home if it were to be destroyed by fire, theft or a natural disaster. You’ll find a basic policy covers most of your needs and will cover regular home issues like roof replacement or a fallen tree damage to your property. However, if you have an expensive jewelry collection or other unusual and costly items, you may need additional insurance.

Standard homeowner’s policies do not insure against floods, earthquakes or sinkholes. If you live in a flood zone, your lender will probably require you to purchase additional flood insurance. Even if you are not required to purchase specific hazard coverage, you may ask what it would cost if those events are most likely to occur in your area.

You’ll want to consider a Home Warranty for protection from the expense of repairing or replacing covered home system components or appliances when they break down. Most basic home warranty plans cover central heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, water heaters and ductwork.