June 2017, Millennial Life

Balancing Faith, Talent and Humility


Balancing Faith, Talent, and Humility

by Trapper S. Kinchen and photos by Beth Townsend

The Foto sisters work hard to remeber the purpose behind their music: to serve the Kingdom of God.

Millennials often look inward for answers to important problems, and that allows anxiety, panic, fear, and insecurity to overwhelm our faith. However—when we take a step back, look to Jesus for guidance, and put our skills to good use—there is nothing that can stop us from reaching our full potential.

The Foto Sisters are three Millennials leading incredibly interesting lives. Addy, 24, Katie, 22, and Gaylyn, 20 perform professionally as a vocal/strings trio. With sixteen years of musical experience under their belts, the sisters are well familiar with the difficulties of balancing faith, talent, and humility.

They began studying piano as little girls. Their parents wanted them to be as well rounded as possible, and music seemed like the ideal outlet for creative self-expression. It didn’t take long for the sisters to develop an aptitude for sound and rhythm, and, eventually, they began training on string instruments.

Not long after they got started, their mother signed them up for their first public performance. Addy said, “There was an ad in one of our home school papers asking for children to perform at an assisted living facility. So, our mom, who has a heart for elderly people, took us to play the piano.” Their recital was a hit, and the rest is history.

Their parents have also encouraged them stay humble, reminding them to use their talents for God’s Glory. Over time, they have reconciled their faith with their artistry by working together to express Jesus’s love through melody. And, even though they’re three members of a single group, each sister has maintained her own unique identity.

Sixteen years later, the Foto Sisters have become deeply accomplished and well-respected musicians. All three women are composed, confident, and wonderfully expressive. Katie says their father taught them professionalism, and she credits their mother for teaching them poise. She said, “Whenever we were being shy as kids, Mom would say, ‘girls, stop being so shy. That’s thinking about yourself and not considering others. It’s pride’.”

The Fotos: Jimmy (dad), Katie, Gaylyn, Adelyn, and Carolyn (Mon)

Their parents have encouraged them to stay humble, reminding them to use their talents for God’s Glory. And, even though they’re three members of a single group, each sister has maintained her own unique identity. Like the Body of Christ, they use their individual strengths to support the group as a whole.

Like the Body of Christ, they use their individual strengths to support the group as a whole. They even described the different roles each of them plays within the trio:

Addy said, “Katie is a mix between Gaylyn and myself. She’ll follow with creative ideas, and she’s amazing at getting tasks done. She’s just so diligent.”

            Gaylyn said, “Addy is the most creative. She handles our arrangements and, most of the time, decides what we wear on stage.”

            Katie said, “Gaylyn’s a very merciful person with lots of heart. She’s always driving us to feel the music from within. We call her the lioness or the sergeant, because she keeps us practicing.”

Of course, even though they often get along, the Foto Sisters have their fair share of arguments. Katie said, “We have strong disagreements sometimes.” But, in the end, they resolve their issues with compassion and mutual respect.

Like many Millennials, the sisters live at home with their parents. And like most of us, they sometimes struggle with finding a balance between asserting their independence and respecting their parents and one another. Addy said, “As of now, we’re three adults—plus mom and dad—living in the same house. So, we have daily struggles. Especially with mom and dad learning how to allow we three girls to make our own decisions. And it’s up to us to show them grace as they figure that out.”

They also rely on God’s Grace to help them muster the courage and energy to perform. Adrenaline and anxiety often well up before a show, but the Foto Sisters are professionals. They say a prayer, step out in faith, and let the Lord work through them to reach the audience. Here’s what they had to say about being on stage:

Addy said, “To be honest, my favorite part of music is the involvement of people. Getting to talk with people after a performance is the best.”

            Gaylyn said, “For me, performing is about the buildup. You practice and practice for that goal, and when you’re performing you get to express yourself.”

            Katie said, “I like to perform. It’s kind of thrilling. I like a little bit of pressure on stage.”

As artists, the Foto Sisters are constantly checking their pride. They work hard to remember the purpose behind their music: to serve the Kingdom of God. Katie said, “There are many times when you think you don’t even want to step out onto that stage. And you have to ask God to work through you, otherwise you’d have nothing to offer the audience.”

Even though their lives might seem a little idealistic, the sisters face the same emotional, spiritual, and psychological hurdles as the rest of us. It isn’t always easy for them to rely on God, but they spend a great deal of time seeking His presence. They also count on the emotional support of their friends. Katie said, “It’s all about being honest with the Lord and being accountable to people.”

Music is the Foto Sisters’ fulltime job, and it takes up most of their time. They practice on weekdays, perform most weekends, go back and forth between Baton Rouge and Nashville for recording sessions, and spend quiet time with God every day. Yet, on top of all that, they still manage to find ways to have fun. When they aren’t busy practicing, they play Ultimate Frisbee, cook, romp outdoors, shop, and spend time with close friends.

Long term, they aren’t sure what lies in store, but they are excited to continue making music for as long as God keeps opening doors for them to do so. For now, though, they have a sincere passion for sharing His Love with audiences through song. Katie said, “We definitely want to travel and perform more in the coming years.”

Their newest project, which will be released this month, is—as yet—untitled. The album, produced in Nashville, mixes incredible production value and epic arrangements with their signature, airy, performance style. Their new record—and all their other music—is available via their website www.thefotosisters.com, on iTunes, and through most other online music resources. You can also check them out on YouTube and Facebook.

No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, God has an ideal plan for your life. But it’s up to you to surrender your pride, tap into your talents, and answer His calling. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without hard work. Just ask the Foto Sisters. If you’re willing to put forth the effort and seek God, Christ will help you meet every challenge with courage.


Trapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into South Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from LSU in 2013 and Wayne State University in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life.

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Healthy Life, June 2017

Celebrating 100 Years at the YMCA




at the YMCA


The volunteers who helped fund raise to help start a YMCA in Baton Rouge.

Cindy Robinson with her Tri Y patch from when she was a child.

Clayton Guillory with his membership card from 2001.

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Healthy Life, June 2017



New research provides

Keeping off the pounds for good once they’re gone can often be even more challenging than losing the weight—but what if an accountability partner could increase your chances of staying trim?

New research shows that maintaining weight loss may be improved through regular contact with someone who can help keep you accountable

In a research study published in the journal Obesity , scientists found that people who received regular telephone calls with a specialist could better overcome barriers to weight maintenance, and keep weight off more successfully than people who did not receive regular counseling.

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center was one of four U.S. sites that participated in the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial, aimed at comparing three different strategies for maintaining weight loss. The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

During phase one of the study, volunteers participated in a six-month weight loss program. Those who lost more than 8.8 pounds during that time continued on to phase two of the program, a two and a half year weight maintenance phase. During those two and a half years, participants were assigned to one of three groups.

The first group was encouraged to continue using the tools they received during the weight loss phase —calorie counting, adherence to the DASH diet and physical activity monitoring. The second group had around-the-clock access to a website where they could check in regularly to report their weight status and receive advice. The third group received monthly telephone calls from an interventionist who provided motivational counseling and helped participants try to overcome barriers to maintaining their weight.

At the end of those two and a half years of weight maintenance, researchers found that without personal
contact, participants tended to regain lost weight; while participants with access to personal help and support kept the weight off better than the other two groups. Continuing personal support beyond two and a half years did not further improve weight maintenance.

The concept of personal motivation and support in maintaining weight loss may seem elementary. “After decades of research, scientists have learned how to produce highly effective methods for weight loss, but we still have not completely cracked the code on maintaining that weight loss. This study provides a foundation for us to move forward in improving ways in which we help people prevent weight regain,” said Dr. Phil Brantley, associate executive director for scientific education at Pennington Biomedical and an author on this study,

“This study is unique in that it had one of the largest and most diverse populations to take part in it. We looked at weight maintenance among people of varying genders, races, ages and risk factors. It was also one of the longest-running studies of its kind, so it provided us with a closer look at how different weight loss strategies can work over time,” added Brantley.

Pennington Biomedical is continuing its work to better understand the triggers of chronic disease such as obesity, and seek sound strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. For more information on how you can volunteer for one of Pennington Biomedical’s research studies, please visit www.pbrc.edu/healthierLA or call 225-763-3000.


Dr. Phillip Brantley is the Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education for Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Georgia College and State University,
Masters and Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 1980, Clinical Psychology, and completed his clinical psychology internship at Medical University of South Carolina and Charleston VAMC. His research interests include Weight loss techniques that promote long term weight management and their impact on biomarkers and health outcomes.

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Healthy Life, June 2017

Sesame Spiced Chicken with Chickpea Salad


Sesame Spiced Chicken with Chickpea Salad

Serves 4 / Prep time 15 min / Total time 35 min

Recipe from RealSimple.com

Chickpea Salad Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Sesame Spiced Chicken Ingredients

  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 8 bone-in, skinned chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)


  • In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas, cucumber, basil, and shallot with the oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  • Heat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the sesame seed mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere.
  • Grill, covered, until cooked through, 9 to 10 minutes per side.
  • Serve with the chickpea salad

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