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A Father’s Love Grows Into A Business For His Daughter

Q&A with Jennifer Whitehead Lucas

Jennifer Whitehead Lucas tells of her love for this work while making a fall wreath for her Mother.

Where were you born?
Lake Village, Ark.

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Water Valley High School and Northwest Mississippi Community College

Where have you lived in addition to Water Valley?
Memphis, Tenn.; Greenwood, Ind.; and Long Beach, Miss.

Who are your parents?
Jeanette Whitehead and the late Mike Whitehead

Do you have a spouse and/or children?
My husband of 24 years, John Lucus and our son, Tripp Lucus.

What does your spouse do for a living?
He worked in roofing all of his life until he became disabled.

Are you a member of any clubs or civic organizations?
The Garden Club of Water Valley and past member of The Junior Auxiliary of Water Valley. Both clubs are very rewarding to be a part of and involve all things that I love like flowers, nature, and helping others.

Who has had the most influence on you in your lifetime?
My mom, Jeanette Whitehead. There are so many times that I would not have made it without her.  She is my support, my friend, my cheerleader and she never fails to love me along the way.

Where do you work if you have a full time job?
Odom Rural Health Clinic- I have worked a total of 12 years between Yalobusha General Hospital and Odom clinic.

What are your job duties? 
I do referrals and prior authorizations for all providers.

The “Home Sweet Home” cross-stitch framed art made by her Dad and given to her Mom, along with a love letter attached to the back is among the work that initially inspired Jennifer to love creating beautiful things. “Dad loved it so much and he rubbed off on me and I am so thankful for that, Jennifer explained. “It’s when I work on projects I feel closest to him now.” Her Dad passed away in September, 2015.

What made you want to do flowers and wreaths? 
Early on as I was growing up my dad was very talented and creative.  He did calligraphy writing, paper cutting (Scherenschnitte), and was very good at cross stitching. I think his creativity molded me to be the creative person I have become.  I am, just as he was, the kind of person who could make something out of very few items. So, I think with all of that being said, that all of that led me to just be creative whether it was with flowers, decor, whatever was on hand.  I have a love for pretty things and like to make others happy so it just makes sense to do what I do.

How did you get started and when?
I actually started doing wreaths for other people when I revamped a Fall wreath for my Mom several years ago and posted it to my Facebook.  It took off from there with people ordering here and there to now I have many customers who order from me seasonally along with daily orders for bows, wreaths, or arrangements of all sorts.

What different kinds of items do you offer? 
Bows, wreaths, arrangements, cradles and hand painted birdhouses.  I also take any challenge that is brought to me. I will try just about anything someone asks me to do.

What do you enjoy most about doing this and why? 
I have a love for pretty things and I am addicted to ribbon, so it just makes sense that this is my favorite hobby. I love a challenge and it makes me proud to see the finished product and even happier to know the customer loves it just as much.  I enjoy getting to see them when they come to get their stuff from me and their encouraging words are what keeps me going.

Does your business have a name?
Jenn’s Designs

What are your plans for the future with this?
I would love to open my own store front business one day.  I am aware a lot of work goes in to doing that but as time has gone and business has beefed up, I may just be able to make my dream come true one day.

What do you enjoy most about living and working in Water Valley?
Water Valley is my hometown and I have lived here most of my life.  I enjoy being able to help others when needed, being a part of clubs and organizations, participating in events in town and even helping businesses decorate their windows during the holidays or special events. I enjoy helping everyone especially the people who have helped me throughout my life.  It is very rewarding.

Do you have other hobbies you like to do in your spare time?
Shopping for ribbons and flowers for my arrangements, enjoying time with family and friends, and SEC football especially the Ole Miss Rebels.

What do you think Yalobusha County or Water Valley needs to have that it doesn’t have now?
I would love to see a place where you can buy good quality crafts and materials, creative avenues for kids and adults and more places to eat where there is entertainment.

In the last 10 years what has been one of the best things you have seen come to or happen here in the Valley? 
Base Camp Coding school, more jobs and opportunities for our small town, food places, and our growing medical community.

If you could give advice for our younger generation growing up behind you, what would it be?
Stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams. Inspire others, even if it’s just one person.

How do you want to be remembered?
I am a giver and not so much a taker, so I would like to be remembered as a kind and loving giver to my friends, family and community.  I accept everyone and I love helping whenever I can; and I want to be remembered by my acts of kindness.

What do you hope to make your greatest accomplishment in your lifetime?
To continue to raise my only son, who is my greatest joy in my life, to be a strong, successful, giving and loving man to himself and his community.

This is one of my favorite appetizers and I make it a lot.  I also eat a lot of it. This has nothing to do with crafting, but I like eating it while I am crafting. Enjoy!

Captain Rodney’s Dip

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
• 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
• 2 whole green onions sliced thin
• 1/3 cup Ritz crackers crushed
• 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled, or bacon bits
• 1/2 cup Captain Rodney’s Sweet and Spicy glaze

Instructions
• Preheat the oven to 350°F. For easier mixing, allow
the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
• Mix together the mayonnaise, cream cheese,
cheese, and green onions.
• Spread in an 8 or 9-inch pie dish. Top with crushed
butter crackers.
• Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until heated
through.
• Remove from the oven and top with cooked, crum-
bled bacon and Captain Rodney’s Sweet and Spicy
glaze.  Serve with Fritos or crackers of your choice.

A shabby chic wreath made Jennifer for a special friend.

The beautiful red flower arrangement was created by Jennifer for a “Grove” get-together.

A large fall wreath she made that was just beautiful.

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