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december 2018

Seasons eatings

Greet your holiday guests with tasty treats


Pitfalls to avoid when helping grandkids with tuition

Physical therapy Causes and treatment options for hip pain

Muscle mass

Sarcopenia can lead to damaged brain function


A light-hearted look at making the best of the season

seasoned PUBLISHER

Crystal Dupre’

A monthly publication of The Eagle 1729 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan, TX 77802



Linda Brinkman


Kelli Weber


3 Pitfalls to avoid when helping grandkids pay for college 4 Hip pain: causes and treatment options 5 “Skinny fat” is bad news for brain 6 Season’s eatings 8 Tips for making these holidays the worst ever 10 Calendar

Metro Creative Connection Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is often mistaken as something that only affects aging men and women. While the Alzheimer’s Association¨ notes that age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the group also warns that even men and women nowhere close to retirement age

can develop the disease. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that, in the United States alone, roughly 200,000 people under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many people with earlyonset are in their 40s and 50s. Recognizing that Alzheimer’s is not just for retirees but capable of affecting younger men and women with families and careers is important, as the Alzheimer’s Association points out that healthcare providers typically do not look for signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s in young people. In such people, symptoms of Alzheimer’s may be incorrectly attributed to stress. Adults who suspect they might be suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s should have a comprehensive medical evaluation, which may include a neurological exam and/or brain imaging, conducted by a physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease.

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2 | December 6, 2018


Pitfalls to avoid when helping your grandkids pay for college Helping your grandkids pay college tuition can only be a good thing, right? Actually, it’s not quite as simple. In some cases, well-meaning grandparents can do some serious damage. A poorly advised contribution can compromise the amount of money the student might be getting from the school or the government as financial aid. It can also hurt your own retirement prospects. Before you take out that checkbook (or make a promise to do so), here are three common pitfalls to avoid.

Not understanding the full financial picture

For many families, paying for college involved weaving a complicated web of personal resources, financial aid, scholarships, work-study programs and loans. Simply handing over the money might do more harm than good. And so, you must understand the student’s financial situation first. If your grandchild has received merit-based scholarships, they aren’t likely to be affected by your contribution. However, needbased financial aid is dependent upon assets and income reported by student and immediate family (i.e. custodial parent or parents). The type of financial aid that your grandchild is counting on matters, too. Some need-based packages are a combination of free grants and subsidized loans that must eventually be repaid. Your money can eliminate the possibility of a need-based grant or reduce the amount of the award. The actual impact of your choices will vary depending on the situation. If your resources only allow you to help pay freshman year tuition, your gift may disqualify the student from financial aid for sophomore or junior year. This could create considerable hardship for the family. If, on the other hand, the student was only going to receive a small loan, and if your financial situation allows for future contributions, eliminating student loans may be a good thing. Bottom line: Make sure you have your arms around the full financial picture before you make your move!


Giving them money directly

Colleges expect students to contribute up to 20 percent of their assets to paying for their education (a 529 plan doesn’t count as the student’s asset). Parents are only TracY Stewart required to commit 5.6 percent of financial literacy their assets. Therefore, it is better to give the money to the parents because it may position your grandchild to qualify for more financial aid. Consider contributing to the parent-initiated 529 plan instead of starting your own. Payments from the custodial parent’s 529 plan don’t count towards the student’s income, which can allow the student to get more financial aid. On the other hand, payments from a 529 plan sponsored by someone else (such as a non-custodial parent, grandparent, aunt, cousin, etc.) must be reported as student’s income. Colleges expect students to contribute as much as 50 percent of their income towards college expenses, so an $8,000 withdrawal from a grandparent’s 529 plan could potentially reduce financial aid by up to $4,000. The same $8,000 payment from the parentsponsored 529 plan would not affect financial aid at all. Of course, by contributing to a 529 plan maintained by the student’s parents you are forgoing the ability to control what happens to the money, but most grandparents are comfortable with that. The timing of your gift can make a significant difference, as well. Any tuition help received after January of the grandchild’s junior year won’t show up on financial aid applications for senior year (because the student will have already filled them out). In some situations, it might make the most sense to save grandparents’ contributions until the student reaches the middle of junior year.

Not taking care of your own retirement needs first

One of the biggest mistakes a grandparent can make is helping a grandchild with college tuition before funding emergency savings and retirement accounts. We all want what’s best for our kids and grandkids, and it’s important to remember that ensuring your own financial stability is a critical part

of taking care of your family. It is not “selfish” to make a contribution to your 401k or IRA first. Also, think twice before applying for loans to help cover your grandchild’s tuition. You may have the financial resources to make the monthly payments right now. But an unexpected event (such as job loss or a medical diagnosis) might leave you struggling to make ends meet and potentially compromise your Social Security payments. So, talk to a financial planner first. Make sure that you have all the facts, including the family’s current plan for covering college tuition. Think carefully about timing your contributions and keep a close eye on funding your own retirement needs. By using this approach, you can make a loving gift that will have the most positive impact on your grandchild’s life. Tracy Stewart, CPA consults on financial issues related to elder planning and divorce. She can be contacted at Source: jhtml?articleId=10089


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December 6, 2018 | 3

Hip pain Causes and treatment options Hip pain, especially as we get older, is more common than you realize. It can come on without apparent cause while at other times it follows an accident, trauma, injury, prolong sitting with legs crossed or an episode of overuse. First, let me describe the most common musculo-skeletal causes of hip pain and then I’ll address the different treatment options. QQ Bursitis – inflammation of the fluid filled sacs between the tendon and skin/ bone (bursa). Bursitis is often caused by overuse, trauma, arthritis, gout or infection. QQ Tendonitis – tendons (rope-like tissues connecting muscles and bone) become inflamed due to repetitive or strenuous movement. QQ Muscle strain – small tears in the muscle from overuse, trauma or overexertion. QQ Nerve irritation – Pain, weakness and numbness resulting from nerve irritation. A common example is sciatica pain coming from the sciatica nerve. QQ Herniated disc – A disc is the small spongy “shock absorber” that separates the vertebrae in your back. If the disc is moderately damaged, it may bulge or break open. Trauma, injury, overexertion, work-related injury and the aging process can all contribute to a herniated disc. If the disc presses against the nerve, it can cause the nerve to become irritated. QQ Arthritis – Bones are protected by cartilage. Loss of this cartilage from trauma, injury, age and inflammation can create pain, stiffness and swelling, restricting normal daily activities of life. This is one of the most common causes of hip pain in those 65 and older. QQ Osteonecrosis – Occurs when insufficient blood flows to the bone,

destroying bone cells. Years of Corticosteroid use, alcoholism and other conditions can cause osteonerosis and the hip is the most leon bradway common site affected physical therapy by this condition. QQ Hip fractures – Most hip fractures occur in people older than 65 because bones weaken with age, patients take multiple medication or have poor vision and balance problems. All of these factors can increase the risk of falls, which is the most common cause of hip fracture. In all of the above, except numbers osteonecrosis and hip fractures, treatment often begins with rest and over the counter pain/antiinflammatory medication as your own doctor prescribed. If rest and medications don’t do the trick after two to three weeks, you’ll most likely be referred to a physician specialist (orthopedist, rheumatologist, pain physician and sports medicine). However, a doctor of physical therapy should be your primary care physician’s first choice for a specialist referral. Even if your problem appears to be more than just inflammation, it’s a fact that 85 to 90 percent of hip pain has to do with soft tissue and movement problems. Let me describe several possible treatment options. Physical therapy is your best choice for bone, joint and muscle pain problems. A more conservative approached is the best! Physical therapy is natural (does not involve medications, injections or surgery), with no side effects and will address the root cause(s) of the pain problem.

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While some people remain on pain medication being treated by a physical therapist, others do not and many reduce or stop the amount of medication needed as the therapy progresses. The physical therapist will address, eliminate or appropriately manage all the causes noted above except for osteonecrosis and hip fractures. In these instances you must see your doctor for other treatment options. A highly skilled physical therapist will tell you exactly why you’re having hip pain and will have many treatment options available at his or her disposal. These treatments include manual therapy (hands on treatment), manipulation, trigger point dry needling, targeted exercises, taping and stretching, electrical stimulation, occasionally ultrasound or traction and hot/cold treatments. In addition, the physical therapist will work with you to adjust your plan of care if you are not progressing as planned. Your physician will be informed about your pain problem and plan of care. Injections of corticosteroid are administered by a physician directly into the hip joint. The purpose is to reduce the inflammation and thus the pain and discomfort. The injections are normally done at specific intervals. When swelling is severe, fluid may need to be drained from the hip – a temporary solution that does not address the root cause. Prescription medications are often given to those with arthritis depending on the severity of their disease. However, someone with arthritis might also use physical therapy to decrease pain, protect the joint and increase ease of movement and decrease the amount of medication or number of injections they receive. Medications are not a

cure, and pain medication addiction is a possibility. Surgery is required if you’ve fractured your hip or if more conservative methods have not been successful (physical therapy). However, after surgery it is important to being referred to physical therapy. This is the key to your full recovery. In many cases, physical therapy can begin immediately after surgery. As always, speak with your physician about a referral to physical therapy. You will be pleasantly surprised about how much medical knowledge and conservative treatment options physical therapy offers. Be your own health care advocate and request physical therapy. Lean more towards a more conservative treatment approach before seeing a physician specialist who may or may not diagnose the cause of your continued hip pain problem. You can also contact a physical therapist directly. As more insurance companies and the government reduce or restrict your healthcare benefits, it is imperative that you become a wise consumer of healthcare services. You can no longer afford to be passive in your recovery process; you must ask questions and become involved in your treatment options. Further, just as any other consumer, you need to choose wisely. Ask questions about experience, training, and specific treatment options, because the final choice is yours. As a healthcare provider I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with your decisions. You deserve the best care. Don’t be afraid to call a physical therapist today. Dr. Leon F. Bradway, PT MS, OMPT – for more information on hip pain, visit our website at T H E B R YA N - C O L L E G E S TAT I O N E A G L E

“Skinny fat” is bad news for brain “Skinny fat?” Sounds crazy right? But there really is such a thing. It means being fat at the expense of muscle mass and strength ... like a 98 pound weakling swathed in fat. Sedentary lifestyles and overeating cause “skinny fat.” The dr. bill klemM upcoming holidays may promote the memory medic both causes. The problem is more common in the elderly, because muscle development requires exercise, and for most people, the older you get the less exercise you do. Also, as you age, muscle mass automatically decreases, unless you have a special exercise regimen to build muscle. Most men, for example, will lose about 30 percent of their muscle after age 30, at a rate of about 3 to 5 percent per year. Meanwhile, people continue to eat as usual as they age and typically gain weight – weight due to fat and not muscle, because exercise may not involve much more than moving fork and spoon. Only exercise can slow down loss of strength. More steaks and burgers won’t do it.

So what’s the problem?

You might ask, “What is the problem with some loss of muscle mass, as long as you don’t fall down and your fat does not cause health problems?” First of all, older people do fall—often. Loss of muscle mass and strength are part of the natural aging process (recall the TV commercial “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”). Secondly, getting fat usually does cause health problems, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But even if your blood pressure and cholesterol/lipid levels are okay, skinny-fat people have serious health risks. Obesity is associated with higher levels of Alzheimer’s disease and other structural abnormalities in brain. Low muscle mass (sarcopenia) by itself damages brain function; one study suggests this is due to inflammation. A team of investigators at Florida Atlantic University reasoned that even greater brain damage would occur in people who were both obese and had low muscle mass. Their study of 353 elderly, average age of 69, measured obesity as Body Mass Index over 30kg/m2, percent body fat, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. Muscle mass was measured with a commercial instrument, and strength was measured in terms of hand-grip strength, and speed of standing from a chair five times in a row. They compared all measures in four groups: normal controls, obesity, sarcopenia and obesity plus sarcopenia. Cognitive function included separate tests for working memory, mental flexibility, T H E B R YA N - C O L L E G E S TAT I O N E A G L E

A team of investigators at Florida Atlantic University suggest that the obvious preventive/ cure for low muscle mass is to reduce the fat by better diet control and improve strength by more exercise.

Metro Creative Connection self-control and orientation. A global cognitive score constructed from all cognitive tests reveal a progressive decline in cognitive score in the order of controls, obesity, sarcopenia and obesity plus sarcopenia. Thus, there was an additive deleterious effect of the “skinny fat” condition of obesity plus sarcopenia.

What to do about it?

The obvious solution – don’t get fat – is not so easy to achieve. Obesity may result from impaired executive function brought about by vascular, behavioral, metabolic and inflammatory mechanisms. Or the obesity may result from the reduced impulse control, self-monitoring and goal-directed behavior in individuals brought on by the obesity effect on executive control. It’s a vicious cycle. Sarcopenia, in turn, has been linked to impairments in abilities that relate to conflict resolution and selective attention, which apparently reduce or correlate with other unknown influences on the willingness to exercise. The authors suggest that the obvious preventive/ cure is to reduce the fat by better diet control and improve strength by more exercise. Most people know what good and bad diets are. They may not know that the most effective exercise involves both aerobics and muscle building. Most communities have commercial gyms that have the necessary equipment and provide training on how to use the equipment. The solution is a matter of will power to eat and exercise right. A couple of years ago, I bit that bullet, especially the gym part. I not only slowed loss of muscle, I see more muscle in the mirror, and I can lift more weight as the months roll by. It made me a believer, and much healthier I am certain.

Get the most out of life as you age. Get my e-book, “Improve Your Memory for a Healthy Brain. Memory Is the Canary in Your Brain’s Coal Mine.” I present research evidence to show that doing the things that help your memory will also help your brain’s general functions. You can delay and may even prevent ageinduced mental decline. Authoritative, well researched and documented, this book explains topics such as brain aging, how poor memory indicates diminished brain health, the diseases of aging, and diet and supplements that do and do not help memory. Sources: Tolea, Magdalana I., Chrisphonte, Stephanie, and Galvin, James E. (2018). Sarcopenic obesity and cognitive performance. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 13:1111-1119. Tolea, M. I., and Galvin, J. E. (2018). Sarcopenic obesity and cognitive performance. Clilnical Inerventions in Aging. 2018, 1111-1119. ________(2016) Preserve your muscle mass. Harvard Health Publishing. February.

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n’s Season’s eatings gs Greet your holiday guests with these tasty treats

Easy Christmas morning breakfast Metro Creative Connection Christmas morning is an exciting and joyous time for families. Children are anxious to rush downstairs and see what Santa has left under the tree, and parents are eager to see the looks on youngsters’ happy faces. Having a fast and easy breakfast at the ready on Christmas morning allows families to jump right into the festivities rather than spending too much time in the kitchen. This recipe for “Spiced Yogurt Muffins,” courtesy of the National Dairy Council, Dannon and McCormick, can be made in advance and then enjoyed while peeking into Christmas stockings or watching holiday parades on television. This big-batch recipe is ideal for feeding a houseful of overnight holiday guests. Or it can be prepared in advance and doled out as needed throughout the week. The muffins also can be made as a treat for holiday office luncheons. Cut the recipe in half for smaller yields.

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Spiced Yogurt Muffins (Yield: 50 servings)

• 6 1/2 cups Dannon plain fat-free Greek yogurt • 4 cups water, room Metro Creative Connection temperature • 1 box (5 lbs) Gold Medal® Muffin Mix, Whole Grain Variety • 3 tablespoons McCormick pumpkin pie spice • 2 tablespoons McCormick chipotle cinnamon 1. Combine yogurt and water in mixing bowl. Whisk until blended. Set aside. 2. Add spices to dry muffin mix in a large bowl. Add yogurt and water mixture to the muffin mixture. Mix until just blended. Don’t overmix. 3. Using a scoop, portion into greased or lined muffin pans. Bake at 350° F for 24 minutes, or 17 to 20 minutes in a convection oven, until the tops are golden brown.

Be prepared for unexpected company Metro Creative Connection The latter part of the year is full of social engagements with family and friends. Pew Research Center says 92 percent of all Americans plan to celebrate Christmas as a holiday, with 69 percent using it as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. While many social occasions surrounding Christmas are anticipated for months in advance, unexpected pop-ins are also the norm this time of year. Rather than being caught off guard, individuals can take steps to prepare for unexpected guests. Q Have food available. Even if guests pop in for a little while, it’s nice to be able to offer them something to eat. Keep cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, pretzels and other snacks on hand. Make-ahead, crowd-friendly foods can be prepared and frozen. Casseroles, pasta dishes and stews are hearty and can serve in a pinch when unexpected visitors arrive. Simply take out to defrost and heat up. Keep cookies in air-tight tins and purchase a premade frozen pie to serve, if necessary. In a pinch, you can always order out, but over time the cost of having food delivered can add up. Q Keep the bar stocked. Toasting to a happy holiday season is the norm during this time of year. Toasting requires hosts have some spirits on hand. Stock the bar with a few staples, such as red and white wine, vodka, rum, whiskey, and mixers. Also, you may just want to create a signature or seasonal cocktail that can be served when guests arrive, such as a spiced punch or a holiday eggnog. Q Cue the playlist. Put together a playlist of favorite holiday music that will provide the ideal ambiance should guests ring your doorbell. Thanks to services like Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora, holiday music that fills a home with the sweet sounds of the season is now always accessible. Q Keep things neat. Set aside a closet or space that can serve as a catch-all where errant items can quickly be stored should guests arrive. Gather loose toys, books or stray papers in a basket and then stash the basket in the closet until guests depart. Routinely empty the dishwasher so dirty dishes left in the sink can be quickly loaded before guests arrive. Q Create an aromatic atmosphere. Scented candles that evoke the aromas of the season can refresh stale indoor air. Butter cookie-, apple pie- and cinnamonscented candles can make it seem like you just finished some holiday baking. Guests tend to drop by on a moment’s notice come the holidays. Preparing for the unexpected can make such visits more enjoyable. T H E B R YA N - C O L L E G E S TAT I O N E A G L E

Holiday hosting and toasting like this Holiday Hot Tea featuring Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea, which If the very notion of holiday hosting has been fresh brewed from customhas you feeling a bit overwhelmed, get blended tea leaves with no added acids organized with these simple ideas that or preservatives for generations. can help you serve up a successful holiday celebration. favors Send guests home with a sweet memory of the event, such as an eNtertaiNmeNt Ensure guests enjoy a good time by ornament that connects to the party’s offering entertainment that is suitable theme or a bag of seasonal treats like for their personality types. If your guests homemade cookies or candy to nibble are more drawn to energetic activities, on during the trip back home. choose light-hearted, competitive games like charades. For guests who simple sNacks are more laid back, organize classic Building your menu around simple board games. There are many popular snacks and finger foods guests can games available in special holiday nibble on while they mingle is perfectly editions for extra-festive fun. You can acceptable for almost any type of also simply play holiday movies and holiday gathering. Include options music in the background for crowds that can satisfy all the taste buds. that would rather just mingle. You can even combine sweet and sour with a seasonal crowd-pleaser like this Lemonade Cranberry Orange beverages Stock up on refreshments all ages Bread, which draws its flavor from a can enjoy. Keep a kid-friendly favorite secret ingredient: Milo’s All Natural like lemonade on hand, and tea is a Lemonade. traditionally well-received option for Find more holiday hosting ideas and the grownups. Put a special holiday touch on your drink menu with a recipe recipes at Family Features

Lemonade Cranberry Orange Bread Courtesy of

• • • • • • • • • •

1 can cranberry sauce 3/4 cup Milo’s All Natural Lemonade 1 orange, zest only 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 egg 2 cups flour 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Heat oven to 350° F. 2. In large bowl, mash cranberry sauce into small pieces. Add lemonade, orange zest, vegetable oil and egg; mix until blended. 3. In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Combine wet and dry ingredients; mix until batter is formed. 4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Getty Images

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Servings: 8

Holiday Hot Tea Courtesy of

• 12 cups Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea • 2 cans (12 ounces each) frozen limeade juice concentrate • 1 orange, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish (optional) • 12 whole cloves • 4 cinnamon sticks • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 1 cup fresh cranberries • 1 cup ginger ale • raw sugar, for garnish (optional)

1. In large slow-cooker, combine sweet tea, limeade concentrate, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cranberries and ginger ale; stir. 2. Heat on high 30 minutes then reduce heat to low for 2 hours, or heat on low 2 hours then reduce setting to warm overnight. 3. Invert moistened glass rims in sugar then fit orange slice over rim, if desired. Note: For easier serving, place cloves in tea ball or double layer of coffee filters sealed with kitchen twine.


Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes Servings: 12

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Tips for making these holidays the worst ever You’re reading this because of the title, aren’t you? Admit it. You’re intrigued. Holidays are stressful. We never measure up. Neither does anyone else. Something always goes wrong. We’re also haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past. Better times. Easier days. We’re reminded of what and who we’ve lost. And at the end of it all, we’re exhausted. We need a vacation to recover from our vacation. Surely there’s a better way. Allow me to go at this backwards by sharing five tips for making these holidays the worst yet.


Run yourself ragged. Accept every invitation. Go. Move. Buy. And buy some more. Eat. Eat some more. Drink. Drink a lot. Run to anything that promises distraction and relief. Sleep. Sleep some more. Smile. Be nice. Don’t let anyone know how much you’re hurting. And when you’re too exhausted to move, hunker down and isolate. Pull the covers over your head and pray for the season to pass as quickly as possible. Yuck. Sadly, most of us are selfdestructing somehow – especially at holiday time. What if we did things differently and made taking care of ourselves our priority this season? You’re more important than you realize. The best gift you can give to yourself and those around you is the healthiest version of you possible.

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be perfect!

Expect the absolute best – happiness, harmony, peace and fulfillment from yourself, family, friends, co-workers, GarY roe and the world around hospice you. Utopia. That’s what you’re shooting for. Of course, meeting all these expectations requires the ability to read minds. No problem. That’s part of being perfect. Right. Sadly – or fortunately – mindreading is not in our everyday skillset. We’re all flawed, wounded and very human. Perfectionism only crushes our hearts and separates us from ourselves and those around us. Expectations are sneaky. They slink in unnoticed. If you don’t manage them, they can steal the holidays right out from under your nose. What are your expectations of yourself and others this season? What do you sense others expect from you? Identify these phantoms. Write them down. Are these expectations healthy? Are they realistic?

Never, ever have a plaN.

Go with the flow. Let the craziness around you set the agenda. Believe the messages being hurled at you from every direction. Give in to all the urges. Say yes to everything. Get swept along with the torrent of shopping, gatherings, parties and events. Don’t evaluate. Do it all. And along the way, do whatever it takes to please and delight those around you. Sigh.

Simply going with the flow will lead you somewhere you don’t want to be. If your priority is taking care of yourself so you can love others, you’ll need to manage these swirling holiday expectations. How? Plan. Make proactive choices. What do you want to do, when, how and with whom? Be specific.

refuse to grieve or feel sad.

We’re all missing someone. Sadness knocks. Grief begins to exert its pressure. Don’t give in. Stuff the sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, guilt and depression. These things are completely unacceptable this time of year. Ignore all loss, pain and grief. Good luck with that. You have a heart. Grief is normal and healthy during holidays. Instead of stuffing it, use your grief for good. Find ways to celebrate loved ones who have died. Continue a holiday tradition they enjoyed. Donate in their name. Serve in their honor. Light a candle, set up an empty chair or share memories. Do what fits you. Be creative. Honor them with your grief.

make everythiNg about you.

Talk about yourself. When the conversation goes elsewhere, turn it back around to you – your thoughts, opinions and experiences. This will impress people and endear them to you. Give advice by sharing what you know and what works for you. They’ll be stunned by your wisdom.

Constantly evaluate everything around you based on how it affects you personally. You are the ultimate measure of things. Life is a selfie. Ugh. When we make things all about us, life doesn’t work. Our pain and loneliness increase. Our mission and purpose shrink. A huge part of loving yourself is serving others. Service gets you out of your own head. It brings perspective. When you serve, you receive. This is the miracle of service. Everybody wins. Instead of self-destructing, make self-care your priority. Manage those swirling expectations. Celebrate loved ones who have died. Exercise your heart by engaging in service. Keep a watch on your internal Grinch. These holidays will be different. Make them good. Gary Roe is an award-winning author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. His latest book, Comfort for Grieving Hearts, was recently honored as a 2018 USA Best Book Awards Winner. Visit him at, or contact him at 979-821-2266 or groe@

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The holiday season is a great time of year to reconnect with one’s faith and spirituality.

Spiritual Christmas traditions to embrace Metro Creative Connection The holiday season is a special and spiritual time of year. It can sometimes be easy to get lost in the more commercial aspects of the holiday season, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with shopping for gifts that will show your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them. For those who want to focus back on the spiritual side of this special time of year, the following suggestions can help in those efforts.

Share the story of Christmas

The Gospels of Mark and Luke


Attend Mass

offer differing accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ. Both indicate that Jesus was born to Mary, who was engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. Mary became pregnant through immaculate conception, as she was a virgin when visited by an angel who informed her that she was to carry God’s son. At the time of Christ’s birth, all Jewish people had to be counted by Roman soldiers for tax purposes. That required people to return to their places of birth. As a result, Mary and Joseph set out on an arduous journey to Bethlehem. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, inns had no vacancies, but Mary and Joseph were given shelter in a stable where Jesus was ultimately born.

Churches traditionally hold religious services on Christmas Eve and Christmas. These services are joyful expressions of faith, music and community spirit. But Christmas mass is not the only time to head to church. During Advent, the four-week period preceding Christmas, Catholics prepare and repent. Advent calendars help count down the days until Christmas.

Focus on gifts for good

Families can focus their energies on faithful endeavors and the spirit of giving that’s synonymous with the season. Do good deeds for others, embrace peace and love and share special time with others.

Sing carols

Spread the holiday spirit through song. Get together with a group of friends or neighbors and go door-todoor, or hold a caroling performance at Set out a nativity scene Make a nativity scene the primary a centralized location. Select religious focus of Christmas decorations and hymns, but also include some secular encourage children to play with the favorites. figures and act out the Christmas story.

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they line dance to the hottest tunes and enQQEnglish Conversation Circle – Practice joy a great low impact aerobic workout. The speaking English on Mondays starting at 6 group meets every Tuesday and Friday from p.m. at Larry J. Ringer Library, 1818 Harvey 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Southwood ComMitchell Pkwy in College Station. Contact munity Center located at 1520 Rock Prairie Hilary at or 979- Road. For more information, contact Southwood Community Center at 979-764-6351, 764-3416 for more information. or QQBCS Newcomers Club – The BCS Newcomers club is a women’s social club with QQSit & Fit – Join other adults 55+ for a membership open to both new and es- gentle exercise class while sitting. Particitablished residents of the Bryan-College pants follow a video that features fat-burnStation area with a mission to provide op- ing aerobics and weight lifting exercises. portunities to develop lasting friendships. Sit & Fit meets every Monday, Tuesday, The club hosts a luncheon at the College Thursdays and Friday from noon to 1 p.m. Station Hilton every first Thursday of the at Southwood Community Center. The Cenmonth, as well as activities such as bridge, ter is located at 1520 Rock Prairie Rd. For bunco, Mah-jongg, coffees, tours and dining more information, contact Southwood Comout throughout the year. For more informa- munity Center at 979-764-6351, kpetertion, contact membership director Carolyn or More, 979-255-3412 or visit www.newcomQQClassic Country & Bluegrass Jam sion – Open to all adults 55+ who enjoy QQSaturday Senior Social – Need a change listening or playing Classic Country or Blueof scenery or to get away from your kids? grass music. Bring string instruments and Come enjoy an afternoon of coffee with invite a friend! Join us every Tuesday for friends, play games, dominoes or cards. a Jam Session at Southwood Community Bring a friend or come make new ones. For Center, located at 1520 Rock Prairie Rd. more information, call 979-764-6351 or from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. All levels welcome including beginners! For more information, email contact Southwood Community Center at QQLine Dance Workshop for Beginners 979-764-6351, or – Adults 55 + are invited to learn the lat- est line dance steps and terminology. Join us at Southwood Community Center from QQGame Night – Adults 55 + are invited 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Monday of each to join the fun every Tuesday evening from month. No registration necessary. For more 7-9 p.m. at Southwood Community Center. information, contact College Station Parks Table games and table tennis available or and Recreation Department, Senior Servic- bring your own favorite game. Meet friends es at 979-764-6371, and enjoy a fun game night. For more information, contact Southwood Community or Center at 979-764-6351, kpeterson@cstx. QQBeginning Tap Dance – Adults 55+ are gov or invited to learn basic tap dance steps and terminology with Instructor Sue Engbrock. QQLearn to Play 42 – Learn the popular Join us at Southwood Community Center dominoes game of 42 every Wednesday from 1:30 to2:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Tap from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Southwood shoes are recommended but not required. Community Center, 1520 Rock Prairie For more information, contact College Sta- Rd. For more information, contact Southtion Parks and Recreation Department, wood Community Center at 979-764-6351, Senior Services at 979-764-6371, kpeter- or or QQForevercise – Forevercise is an exercise QQLine Dance – Join other adults 55+ as class for adults 55 + and offered on Mon-

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day, Wednesday and Fridays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Southwood Community Center. Class offers individuals healthy lifestyle practices and exercise. Exercises may be done while standing or sitting in a chair. For more information, contact Southwood Community Center at 979-764-6351, or QQIndoor Walking Group for Seniors – Join our Instructor, Ms. Susan Lehr in our free Indoor walking class weekly to get your heart rate up with a fun, go-at-your-own pace environment. Class is offered at Southwood Community Center on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 10 a.m. No registration necessary. For more information, contact College Station Parks and Recreation Department, Senior Services at 979-764-6371, kpeterson@ or QQMah-jongg – Adults 55+ interested in playing the game of Mah-jongg meet at Southwood Community Center on Thursdays from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Beginners welcome! For more information, contact Southwood Community Center at 979-7646351, or

December 8 QQ Age of Elegance Senior Pageant – Ages 50+ are invited to enjoy an evening of fashion and fellowship while enjoying music, entertainment, light refreshments and door prizes from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Recreation Center located at 1000 Eleanor Street in College Station.

December 13 QQMonthly Dance – Adults 55 + are invited to enjoy an evening of dancing with a live DJ at Southwood Community Center,1520 Rock Prairie Rd. The dance is held from 7-9 p.m. Door prizes and light refreshments served. No reservation needed. For more information, contact College Station Parks and Recreation Department, Senior Services at 979-764-6371, or

December 20

QQMovie & Popcorn – Join us for a movie and popcorn every third Thursday at Southwood Community Center from 1-3 p.m. No registration needed. For more information, contact College Station Parks and Recreation Department, Senior Services at 979764-6371, or cstx. QQBible Study at Lincoln Center – Join oth- gov/seniors. er senior adults every Thursday morning at Lincoln Center, 1000 Eleanor Street in Col- December 21 lege Station, for Bible Study from 9:30 to QQBingo & Birthday Celebration – Join us 10:30 a.m. Contact Annie Williams at Lin- on the last Friday of each month from 1:30 coln Center at 979-764-3779or awilliams@ to 2:30 p.m. at Southwood Community for more information. Center for bingo and cake as we celebrate monthly birthdays! Prizes donated by SigQQPlay “42” Dominoes – Adults 55 + meet nature Select Services. No registration every Thursday to play “42” at Southwood necessary. Call 979-764-6351 for more Community Center, 1520 Rock Prairie Rd. information. from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact Southwood Community Center December 24 at 979-764-6351, or QQClosed – The Southwood Community Center and the Lincoln Center are closed from Dec. 24, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019 for the QQFriday Bridge – Southwood Community holidays. Center offers a senior friendly environment to play bridge every Friday from 9 to 11:30 If you have an event you would like a.m. Southwood Community Center is lo- listed in the monthly Seasoned calendar, cated at 1520 Rock Prairie Rd. For more please e-mail the details to information, contact Southwood Community Center at 979-764-6351, kpeterson@cstx. gov or T H E B R YA N - C O L L E G E S TAT I O N E A G L E

Improve crossword-solving skills Metro Creative Connection Crossword puzzles are an integral component of newspapers. In addition to their entertainment quality, crossword puzzles can help improve cognition and brain health in individuals of all ages. The first known crossword puzzle to be published was created by a British journalist named Arthur Wynne, who is often credited as the inventor of crosswords. The first puzzle appeared in the New York World on December 21, 1913. The original crossword was diamond-shaped and did not feature the familiar black squares. Throughout the 1920s, crossword puzzles became a standard offering in many newspapers. During this period, puzzle shapes evolved to the more familiar form, and certain puzzle standards were established. Puzzles now appearing in most North American newspapers and magazines feature solid areas of white squares. Each letter is usually part of both an “across” word and a “down” word, and usually each answer must contain at least three letters. In these puzzles, shaded squares are typically limited to about one-sixth of the total.


It is estimated that around 50 million people in America routinely partake in crossword puzzles. Each year, one best-of-the-best is crowned in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Everyone wants to improve his or her crosswordpuzzling skills. These tips can help. QQ Practice – a lot. Practice makes perfect, even with crossword puzzles. Start with simple puzzles and work up to the more difficult ones.

QQ Divide and conquer. Divide the puzzle into smaller sections and complete each cluster before moving on. It’s easier than completing all of the across or down clues. QQ Watch “Jeopardy.” Puzzles used to be comprised largely of definitions, but they now incorporate just about every subject. Improving general knowledge and perhaps watching trivia shows can help with puzzle completion. QQ Learn repeat offenders. Over time you may recognize certain words appear in puzzle after puzzle. You’ll soon be able to match the clues to these repeat words. QQ Familiarize yourself with multiple word meanings. Remember to think like a puzzle creator, who is probably trying to stump you. The word “flower” may not imply the blooming plant. It may represent something that “flows.” QQ Take a break. Taking a few moments to step away from the puzzle before returning to it can clear the mind and make answers more apparent. Crossword puzzles are a popular component of daily and weekly newspapers. They’re fun to fill out and boast a rich history.

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SERVING OUR NEIGHBORS CHI St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network CHI St. Joseph Health and Texas A&M University have a shared history of serving the Brazos Valley. And now, we’re coming together to achieve our vision of a healthier tomorrow. Together, we can prioritize your preventive health, reach your wellness goals, and further meet your healthcare needs.

We’re your partners in health. And the most important member of your care team is you.

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