Meet our three children, James, Sarah and Drew
These are the ones that have filled my life with joy
and are now beginning their own adult life adventures.
They all three make me mighty proud !!
Sarah Love. Drew is my twin brother. Upon completing my high school studies at home, I stepped into the position of Proprietress of Southern Touch Farm, LLC and Southern Touch Soap Works, Inc. I help manage the various affairs of both our farm business and soap company. It has been a natural process of events that now places me in this position of responsibility. I have always been an active participant in the management, care and breeding decisions of our goats and other farm animals. I am very pleased with how our herd of show quality goats has developed over the years. I also had some very successful years of raising and showing show quality rabbits winning quite well at state, regional, and national levels. I received a first place national Management Award from the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) as well. You can see that I love to raise quality animals that meet their breed standard of perfection and can prove themselves worthy of top wins at the shows!! When I was twelve years old, I was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHMD) and so, this causes me to be limited in my physical abilities because of my continued and progressive muscle loss. I'm a "Jerry's Kid". Muscular Dystrophy does not keep me from enjoying our farm life and maintaining an active participation in its various chores, duties, decisions and pleasures. I love to cook and read and music is a passion of mine. It is important to me to able to reveal my love and dependence upon GOD as my source of constant daily help and hope. May HE receive the glory! I know that through HIM all things are possible. My favorite Scripture was given to me by GOD at a point in my life when I was having a hard time adjusting to the reality of my diagnosis of MD. I'd like to share it with you. The Scriptures is found in the Book of Habakkuk, Chapter 3, verse 19 and it reads: "The LORD is my strength, and HE makes my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places". How encouraging and comforting these WORDS are to me!!
Recognition for Service to the Mississippi
Dairy Goat Association
Muscular Dystrophy Association State
Hi, my name is
Drew. I am Sarah's twin brother. Upon completing my
tenure as a home-educated student, I entered the University of
Southern Mississippi located in Hattiesburg, MS and received my
degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science in May of 2007.
I am an Eagle Scout and still enjoy getting away to go camping,
hiking, exploring and being in the "great outdoors". As a teen,
I had the privilege of participating in a summer tour of high
adventure in Philmont, New Mexico. Another of my interests is in
the area of shooting sports. I was able to attend the National
4-H Shooting Sports Competition in San Antonio, Texas when I was
16 year old and came home with some high placings from
participating in this event. I am very pleased with the results
I have attained from my years of practice in the discipline of
pistol shooting which I now bring to my current job as a
policeman. Like my sister and brother, I enjoy listening to
music and I love to read. I am a member of the Phi Theta Kappa
International Honors Society. I held the position of President
of the Alpha Phi Sigma International Criminal Justice Honors
Society at my University. I am employed at the Madison Police
Department in Mississippi and I have a new home in Brandon, MS
that I share with my cat, Caesar. I am very blessed to have been
given the opportunity to pursue and become accomplished in so
many of my varied areas of interest. I see they each point me
toward my purpose in life. For this, I am grateful to GOD.
Hi, my name is
James. After I completed my studies as a home-educated
student, I earned my degree in Christian Science from
Mississippi College in Clinton, MS in December 2009. I am proud
to say that I am an Eagle Scout. I currently serve as an intern
alongside my Youth Pastor while I work to find a new church home
where I will serve as a youth minister. I love to read and
travel and I enjoy spending time writing songs. My highest goal
in life is to spread the good news of JESUS CHRIST so that the
kingdom of GOD will be expanded here on earth and so many will
come to know HIM. GOD is so good to me! May HE receive the
praise and glory!
On March 13,
2010, the love of my life, JoAnna Angela Rigazio, will become my
wife! We will reside in Brandon, MS. JoAnna is also a graduate
of Mississippi College and will be a school teacher.
Early in my days as a home-educator, when my children were very young, GOD blessed me with an introduction to the topic of tidepools. To this day, I do not believe there has ever been a concept that had as much impact on my choices of how I raised my children as did this one particular subject. I recognized that not all "tidepools" are located near the ocean. The concept of "tidepools" was far-reaching and was not to be held within the confines of only a sandy beach. At that same point in time, I became aware that there was a revelation of truth in the fact that for me and our children, there would be no better place for spending "free" hours for learning and exploration than at the edge of a favorite
"tidepool." A true tidepool or tidal pool is, of course, found on the shores of an ocean or other body of water that brings the tides in and out from it's shores. These delightfully fascinating tidepools empty out and then fill anew with each wave that comes ashore so there is a constant ebb and flow of exciting things to see and find in the confines of the pool. Over time, I realized it was a great gift from GOD to have been given the idea and then the ability to allow our children time to sit, observe, and explore the "tidepools" of their life's interests. I was brought to clearly understand these "tidepools" to be the areas of interest children will desire to pursue on their own accord without prodding or prompting from the adult influences in their lives. As I embraced the concept of encouraging and allowing our children to spend time at their "tidepools", I became aware I would find them engrossed in an area of interest that I had not directed them to notice or dragged them to participate in simply because I thought it would be "good for them". I also realized that just as the tidepools will change with each wave, so will the interests of a child change as they grow but it remained clear to me that each new interest had it's own rewards and purposes. I quickly noted that once a favorite "tidepool" was discovered, my children were happy, willing and eager to spend time there. Little were they concerned with the fact that they were learning more of what GOD would have them know and understand about their future life purposes. I now understand that by having allowed my children the opportunity to pursue lots of free time playing at the side of their favorite "tidepools", I was actually giving GOD the space and time to grow them in an easy and natural way to be the person HE has in store for them to become so they can be used completely by HIM to advance HIS kingdom here on earth. You see, this concept of tidepools is really all about recognizing the "bents" of a child and I learned to patiently wait and to trust in GOD to show me the individual bents of each of my children. It became easy to recognize their GOD given bents because I could see that all learning had become pure joy and my children grew in
knowledge and stature at an easy and comfortable pace that brought great feelings of accomplishment no matter their age. So, I can declare that once a bent is recognized it
will be original and unique to that particular child's nature. So, I encouraged and allowed my children the space and time to spend many hours of enjoyment "playing at the edge" of their very own and individual "tidepools" - learning and growing in the way they should go. Now that my children are grown, I can honestly say that it is my pleasure to now witness the blessed rewards of seeing the childhood interests and bents of my children actually blossom into their life purposes allowing them to be ready and eager to step into GOD's chosen place HE has planned just for them for these days and times. They are now enabled to be HIS servant and to do HIS work so they may glorify HIM in all they are, all they do, and all they say.
This concept of playing at the tidepools that I hold so near and dear to my heart began with a story I heard when my children were very young. The story was told by Robert D. Ballard, the man who found the Titanic in 1985. As best I can remember, Ballard tells his own story and in so doing, greatly honors his mother. Ballard, having grown up in San Diego, California, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, tells how he was naturally
fascinated with the ocean. He stated he firmly believes that he grew to be who he is and to do what he does because, when he was a child, his mother allowed him time to explore the ever changing contents of tidal pools. Ballard "became" the person who would go on to discover not only the Titanic but also the Lusitania, the Yorktown, the Bismarck, and the Andrea Doria. Ballard also founded the Institute for Exploration where others will be trained in the field of deep-water
archaeology. Ballard attributes much of his adult opportunities and accomplishments to his mother who allowed him to spend time at the tidepools exploring marine life and enjoying his natural bent - a fascination with the ocean. Just think, Ballard's life adventure all began as play on a sandy beach because a mother was willing to allow her child the time to explore his interests. I love it that Ballard openly attributes the basis of his life's accomplishments in part to the sweet remembrances of his mother's willingness to watch him play at his tidal pools.
Mississippi Dairy Goat Association
Resolution of Appreciation for the
Service of Sarah Love Davis
(L-R) Sarah Love Davis;
Carroll Pierce, President of the Mississippi Dairy Goat
and Taylor King 2010 winner of the Sarah Love Davis Showmanship
On May 14,
2010, Sarah was given the honor of being presented with an
Award from the Mississippi Dairy Goat Association at their
annual Spring Dairy Goat Show held this year in Raymond, MS.
The wording of the Resolution as shown below says it all and I
would like to simply add that ever since Sarah was diagnosed
with Muscular Dystrophy at age 12 she has continued to show
her “winning attitude and perseverance in the face of
obstacles” as was said of her by the Muscular Dystrophy
Association in 2004.
was such a surprise! 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the
Mississippi Dairy Goat Association. Each year, the President
of the Association, Carroll Pierce, has held a youth dairy
goat show along with a showmanship show on Friday night before
the open shows are held on Saturday. It is always a great
family fun event. I have always appreciated the extra time and
energy given by the MDGA to promote the future of the dairy
goat industry by encouraging family participation through the
offering of these youth events. Thank you, Carroll and Chris
Holland, the secretary of the Association, and to all of those
who work together to ”put on” a terrific youth event and ADGA
sanctioned shows each Spring!
past ten years, President Carroll Pierce has lovingly
presented a special award to honor one youth individual who
has exuded great interests and efforts and improvement with
themselves and their dairy goat herd over the previous year.
During the youth show the award for the Most Improved Showman
has been presented to that young person by Carroll. Ten years
ago, Sarah received the very first Most Improved Showman award
at age 16. Each year, all of the previous winners are invited
to join Carroll in the ring while he makes the new
presentation. It is a marvelous event to say the least!
the beginning of the award presentation process was no
different from the past ten years until Sarah was called by
Carroll to come stand beside him because he had a special
presentation for her. At that time, a beautiful document
framed in gold was brought from its hiding place and Carroll
read the resolution aloud to those attending the show and to
Sarah. The crowd roared, I cried and tried my best to find my
camera so I could take some picture in the low lights and
shadows of night in the barn. A beautiful floral arrangement
was also given to Sarah by Chris Holland. After this wonderful
presentation, Carroll went on to present the first Sarah Love
Davis Showmanship Award to the most improved showman. Taylor
King was the winner and Taylor’s mom, Tammy, said to me later
that it was so fitting for her daughter to receive the first
award named for Sarah because it was Sarah who ‘got Taylor
into goats’ and has encouraged her and her sister, Joanna,
over the years to be successful with their dairy goats.
that Sarah simply goes about her life being just who GOD has
created her to be. She somehow makes it look so easy in the
face of adversity. I know, as her Momma, that she is mighty
special and it feels amazing to bask in the opportunity to see
others feel the same and recognize how very uniquely true to
herself and wonderful she is deep down inside. I am so very
grateful to Carroll Pierce, Chris Holland, the members of the
Mississippi Diary Goat Association and all of the other dairy
goat breeders in Mississippi and across the country who have
encouraged and helped Sarah through the years. There are no
words to express my full appreciation except to say Thank you
to each one of you!
Below is a
copy of the resolution and also a few of the not so very good
pictures I was able to take:
COUNTY OF HINDS
Resolution of Appreciation for the Service of
Sarah Love Davis
Sarah Love Davis, has promoted the dairy goat industry and its
products for many years in her home state of Mississippi and
throughout the United States and
WHEREAS, during her time of showing goats and learning to
compete in showmanship clinics and American Dairy Goat
Association shows she has exhibited an extremely positive
attitude and willingness to overcome any obstacles thrown in
her path and
WHEREAS, she has provided leadership and character to those
fellow exhibitors that she has been associated with and
WHEREAS, she has earned the respect and esteem of everyone
that has had the opportunity to meet her and
WHEREAS, her achievements through the Mississippi Dairy Goat
Association and the American Dairy Goat Association serve as a
shining light for all of us to behold and marvel;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mississippi Diary Goat
Association commends Sarah Love Davis for her commitment to
the dairy goat industry as a whole; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Most Improved Showman Award
given by the Mississippi Dairy Goat Association will
henceforth be named the Sarah Love Davis Showmanship Award and
shall be given each year with all of the rights, privileges,
distinction and responsibilities such status may carry.
Given this day the 14th of May, 2010, by the power vested in
the Mississippi Dairy Goat Association.
Carroll Pierce reading the Resolution aloud to Sarah while
the youth await the presentation of the annual
Most Improved Showman award.
Sarah told me later that she was
shaking all over and weak
in the knees!
Chris Holland, Secretary of the Mississippi Dairy
Goat Association, is shown here presenting a
pretty floral bouquet to Sarah!
(L-R) Taylor King, Sarah Love Davis, Carroll Pierce,
Miss Leaf River Valley, Chris Holland.
I want to
mention here that Carroll received a unique decorative dish in
honor of his ten years of service as President of the
Mississippi Dairy Goat Association. He is well deserving of
this gift of appreciation! Also, included in this picture is
Miss Leaf River Valley who will be a contender for the title
of Miss Mississippi in July of this year. We wish her the best
and enjoyed having her come to speak and encourage our youth.
Animal Breeder Receives
MDA State Achievement Award*
Davis of Brandon has been named recipient of the Muscular
Dystrophy Association's 2004 Personal Achievement Award for
Mississippi. Davis, 20, was selected for the honor because of
her winning attitude and perseverance in the face of obstacles
as well as her success in breeding champion animals.
is part of MDA's annual national award program recognizing the
personal and professional accomplishments and community
service of people with any of the neuromuscular diseases in
animal lover all her life, Sarah has been a rabbit and goat
breeder, earning numerous awards at the local, state and
national level. She's currently practicing her entrepreneurial
skills by hand-making specialty soaps.
is proud to recognize Sarah Davis as Mississippi's MDA
Personal Achievement Award recipient for 2004," MDA
President & CEO Robert Ross said. "Her achievements
exemplify the talents and abilities of people with
neuromuscular diseases across the country, and the important
contributions they're making to their families, professions
and communities." Always willing to lend a hand, each year
Davis helps out with the local broadcast of the Jerry Lewis
MDA Telethon. She also takes part in a variety of MDA
fund-raisers. In the past she has taken some of her baby
animals to the local MDA summer camp to share her love and
knowledge of farm animals with the children.
facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a genetic
muscle disorder in which the muscles of the face, shoulder
blades and upper arms are among the most severely affected.
Davis often uses crutches and sometimes relies on a
*MDA View of the South,
August 2004, Vol.4 Issue 2, Muscular Dystrophy Association, 1307 Airport Road, #1 - B, Jackson, MS 39232
Information about Muscular Dystrophy and how you can help,
In Mississippi: 601-936-6862 or 1-800-972-4815
And, you can visit the national website at:
Sarah’s Surprise – December 2006
1) A wise, faithful, experienced, trusted adviser, counselor or guide. ) An experienced person in an organization or institution who trains and counsels new employees or students. A mentor is much like a tutor or coach.
Davis family definition: A blessing sent by GOD.
One whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential person. A young person who is helped and taught by an older and usually famous person. A protégé is someone who is under the patronage of another. This protégé is usually a young person who receives help, guidance, training, and support from somebody who is older and has more experience and influence.
Davis Family Definition: One who is richly blessed by the influential teaching, caring, and giving nature of a generous, selfless person who is experienced and wise.
A December to Remember
It is our belief that GOD has HIS perfect plan in place for each one of us and that HE has a perfect time and way of bringing each of HIS planned life events into fruition for our good. We also deeply believe that GOD never makes a mistake. We believe GOD sends to us in HIS perfect timing the one’s that HE knows will edify, encourage and make HIS chosen pathway for us easy to follow. We know these special people to be our mentors and we see them as beautifully wrapped gifts from our loving, creative, generous and Holy GOD. They usually appear in perfect timing as an unexpected surprise.
As the truths and realities of these concepts are lived out in our moment-to-moment daily lives, we understand and delight in witnessing and participating in the reality of the truth that GOD loves us and enjoys blessing us beyond our imagination. He is our true foundation source of help and ever-flowing fountain of all joy! May HE eternally and forever receive the recognition and praise for all good things that are given to us!
Today, I am joyful and I am grateful and I want to praise GOD for yet another one of those awesome and unexpected giftings that only HE could have orchestrated. It is exciting to witness how GOD has presented Sarah with yet another Mentor in her life. Sarah finds herself in the blessed position of having been chosen as a protégé of Sheila Nixon who is an ADGA Judge and Linear Appraiser. Sheila is renowned, respected and admired within the dairy goat community in the United States. She is the owner and breeder of the long standing, famous Nixon herd of Alpine dairy goats from Hilmar Farms located in Hilmar, California.
Here is their story as told by Sheila Nixon in her e-mail written to Sarah in December, 2006:
Sheila has told me to be sure to understand and impart to others that this is all about Sarah and who she is and not about Sheila and what she does. Sheila goes on to
state that “it is genuinely my pleasure to be able to share my herd with her (Sarah)”.
I hope all is well with you and your family and you are planning for a wonderful holiday season. I so enjoyed visiting with you and your mother at the National Show and hope that we will get to visit again someday. I do have a plan that would enable me to see you for a short time early next year, but we will have to see if my plan is acceptable and workable for you and your family.
We first got acquainted when you called and then emailed me about the possibility of purchasing a Nixon's Alpine buck kid. We were not able to work any thing out at that time, but I think I have a deal that might work for both of us and a buck kid that might be useful in your herd.
I started my dairy goat herd as an eleven year old 4-Her and have been blessed by being mentored then and all these years later by what has been most of the ADGA "Hall of Fame" Breeders. They have taught me, encouraged me, enabled me to either buy or obtain outstanding animals and mentored me in every way possible. I am very grateful for their assistance and I would like to extend my appreciation for their almost 55 years of help and encouragement by passing something on to a young person who shows a great deal of promise. You are that person.
I think you are an outstanding young woman and would like for you to have one of my goats (a Vanguard son) in your herd. I am driving to Texas, then through Mississippi, possibly to Tennessee, to North Carolina, to Ohio, to Missouri and back home.
I don't have a picture of him as yet, but he is a very dark classic cou blanc with black face and legs. He is a breeding buck of value.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Nixon's Hilmar Farms
What an awesomely wonderful opportunity has been given to Sarah who is humbled to have been chosen by Sheila to own one of Vanguard’s buck kids! Her excitement abounds and she is blessed beyond measure. There really are not enough words to adequately express Sarah’s gratitude for the magnificent blessing Sheila is providing to her as she continues to faithfully work to develop and raise a quality herd of Southern Touch Farm dairy goats. Sheila, thank you so much!!!
UPDATE August 2007
The best laid plans will sometimes not come to fruition no matter how hard we try.
There were some unforeseen circumstances that interfered with Sarah being able to obtain the Alpine buck Sheila had originally
chosen for her to receive earlier this year. We did get to have a lovely visit with Sheila and her good friend and traveling buddy
when they made their journey across the country and it was at that time that Sheila told Sarah she was going to be able to get
her a buck later in the year.
On August 5, 2007, I took Sarah to the airport in Jackson to pick up a beautiful little buck that Sheila had sent to her from
California. Oh, thank you once again Sheila for this wonderful opportunity you have given to Sarah to help and to encourage her
to improve her Alpine dairy goat herd. The little buck’s name is Nixon’s Vanguard Xpert. He is the son of Nixon’s Showy Vanguard who is the sire of the 2006
Spotlight Sale buck, Affirmed, who sold for $4700.00. Xpert is the paternal half brother of Affirmed!! Xpert is a modified Cou
Blanc and he was born at the end of May. His dam is Nixon’s Showy Tonga. She is actually a paternal half-sister to Vanguard
as they have the same sire – Nixon’s Enduring Showman. Tonga is a three-year-old and at age 2 years and 4 months, she was
appraised at EX91 EEEE. At 1 year and 11 months, she started her milk tests and produced:
305 days 2270 milk 84 pounds butterfat ( 3.7%) and 77 pounds protein (3.4%)
325 days 2350 milk 87 pounds butterfat and 81 pounds protein
There was instant love and affection exchanged the minute Sarah was able to get her hands on Xpert after he arrived here in his
airline crate. Xpert has a very gentle spirit and fits right into our group of spoiled kids born in 2007!
We are excited to have him here and are overwhelmed once again by the generous blessings bestowed upon Sarah by the good
graces of GOD and Sheila Nixon!
We certainly do claim James 1:17 believing that “Every good and perfect gift is from above”.
||At left is my
mother, Jane Keller Watts Fitts, during her University
of Alabama days.
At right is a picture of my dad, Charles M. Fitts, Jr., affectionately called "Charlie" - as he is reading to our entire family on Christmas Eve from the Book of Luke....THE Christmas story. It's one of our family traditions.
12th Armored Division POWs
Charles M. Fitts, Jr.
66th Armored Infantry Battalion
Private First Class
Charlie Fitts, of C Company, 66th Armored Infantry
Battalion, was one of the 12th Armored men captured when the
Helicats attacked the Steinwald Forest on January 16, 1945.
Pinned down by heavy machinegun fire, he lay in the snow for
hours before German soldiers came out and took him captive.
marched PFC Fitts to a barn a mile or so from the
battlefield. There a German colonel who spoke excellent
English and had been educated at Princeton interrogated him.
When the initial interrogation was over PFC Fitts and other
POWs, from both the 12th Armored Division and the 106th
Infantry Division, marched further into Germany. After
walking for four days the prisoners came to Stalag V-A
in Stuttgart. There the Germans locked the POWs in cattle
cars on a train and shipped the prisoners to Stalag Xi-B
PFC Charlie Fitts
ended up on a work detail in Hannover, Cleaning bricks from
bombed-out buildings. While on his detail, the men had very
little food. Breakfast consisted of colored water, a slice
of bread, and sometimes a little margarine. Noon and evening
meals were the same, very weak soup, sometimes with
vegetables, and rarely with meat. One day Fitts found a
horse tooth in his soup. In the three months he was a
captive, PFC Fitts lost 52 pounds. On April 1945, a tank
unit of the British Army liberated Fitts and his companions.
The men were then flown to England for medical treatment and
return to the United States.
Fitts Davis and Family
2005-2010, Southern Touch
Farm LLC and Susan Fitts Davis.
All rights reserved.
The four photographs at the top of the
page are by Heather Bailey Shelton, Photographer, Brandon, MS,
and used with permission.
Last modified: June 2, 2010