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Volume 10, Issue 9

Office Park West 209 S. Danville, Suite B-103 Abilene, Texas 79605 (325) 701-9505 [currently under construction]

PUBLISHER David A. Hernandez EDITOR HispanicLife Magazine ADVISING EDITOR AND ACCEPTOR OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS Amy Hernández (325) 701-9505 Office

ADVERTISING SALES • Terri Collum (325) 439-1214

• Donna Lee (325) 518-8994

• David Hernandez (325) 518-7091


About Us

We are dedicated to serving the Abilene and the Big Country by providing up-to-date information and resources that promote healthy families and homes. We also promote our clients businesses by increasing their customer bases and enhancing their public images within the Hispanic community. HispanicLife Magazine is published on a monthly basis and is owned & operated locally. Advertising rates are available upon request. While we use great care in creating our display ads, mistakes can happen. HispanicLife and the publisher are not liable for any damages arising from any typographical or mechanical errors beyond the cost of the ad. HispanicLife does not necessarily endorse any of the advertisers, products or services listed in this publication. 2019 HispanicLIfe Media

All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without permission from the publisher.

Well happy 2020 to us all! Kinda crazy to even type that number out; it’s a whole new decade for us all, WOW! Time sure does fly when you are having fun, at least we hope you are having fun. I am sure many of us compared Facebook pictures or marriage pictures from 10 years ago and realized that so much has changed, in such a short time, including ourselves. All of us have lost weight, hair, jobs, dreams, and loved one’s along the way. We all have also gained weight, jobs, and loved ones along the way as well. It is all part of our journey of life, it looks different for us all, but what matters most is that we realize that we are all here for a purpose. God doesn’t make mistakes, and when HE created you, HE knew exactly what HE was doing. You were created for such a time like this! If “it” didn’t happen for you in this last decade, then know it wasn’t your time, but that doesn’t mean you give up! Keep working hard and praying hard. Your plan and timing isn’t as good as HIS, and HE knows exactly when and what you need. Keep trusting and believing that this decade is only going to be better than the last and realize all the blessings you already have. If you are breathing, you have a purpose! We are praying God’s best for each and everyone of you and your families in this New Year. Have a great month and as always…. First God, then Family and finally Friends….

Amy Hernández & the girls and all the staff here at HispanicLife

4 | COMMUNITY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Girl Scouts Unveil New Cookie for 2020 Season By Sarah Caviness | Sinclair Broadcast Group

If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth after the holidays, Girl Scout cookies are now officially for sale and there’s a new flavor in the lineup.

financial literacy skills girls learn through the program are proven to build their leadership skills and position them for success in the future. When you purchase cookies you are helping girls power their Girl Scout experience and The Lemon-Up can be described as a “crispy you’re supporting female entrepreneurs.” lemon cookie baked with messages inspired by Girl Scout entrepreneurs,” according to a press The new Girl Scout cookies will only be availrelease. able in certain areas but all of the boxes will feature new packaging this year. Messages like “I am a go-getter” and “I am an innovator” are two of eight phrases printed into According to the organization, authentic cookthe cookie. ies can only be purchased from a registered Girl Scout. “Everyone loves Girl Scout Cookies—but the program is about so much more than cookies,” To find Girl Scouts selling cookies near you, vissaid GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girls learn it or contact your loabout entrepreneurship as they run their own cal cookie representative for more information. cookie businesses. The important business and

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country



Air Force Veteran Gene Burgess Welcomes Home His Family For His 80th Birthday Abilenian is noted for speaking his mind, and his life experience give his opinions weight. By Greg Jaklewicz | Abilene Reporter-News

“He doesn’t hit it far,” said Rey Padilla, who manages Mesquite Grove Golf Course on the base. “But he hits it straight.”

Gene Burgess said his 80th birthday was not so much about him as it was a chance for his three daughters, who flew to Abilene from the Southeast, to work on a project together.

Padilla said Burgess prefers to play alone but is enjoyable in a group. He showed a photo of ball cap with the logo for the course, drawn by Burgess years ago.

“We all had a part, but It’s about him,” countered Desiree “Desi” Burgess, from Huntsville, Ala. She was here with her sister D’Edra Burgess, also from Huntsville, and D’Arcy Burgess, from Atlanta, Georgia. They joined their brother Darryl, who lives here. Another brother, Dennis, who lives in Huntsville, could not attend. “He is a wonderful father,” Desi said while keeping him away from the party room at Golden Corral, where others had gathered and balloons and a cake awaited.

Vietnam veteran

Chief Master Sgt. Eric Dugger, the command chief for the 7th Bomb Wing, shakes hands and hugs Gene Burgess at Golden Corral Saturday. Burgess, a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt., was honored by family and friends with a birthday party at the restaurant. He turned 80 on Sunday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

Dressed ball cap to comfortable shoe in Air Force blue, the 20-year (and one month) veteran who served in Vietnam rolled with it. He was all smiles when finally allowed to enter the room and saw family and friends, who sang “Happy Birthday.”

Guests included Chief Master Sgt. Eric Dugger, command chief of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base and the base’s highestranking enlisted man, and Abilene Police Department Sgt. Will Ford, who is related to the Burgess family. Brother-in-law Nelson Wilson was there, too. He is one of Gene Burgress’ biggest fans.

Golf is his game

There were hugs, handshakes, photo ops and, of course, some kidding around. Dugger made it known that his own efforts to serve his country are challenged when he arrives at the base golf course to learn Burgess is using his cart. Burgess worked for 10 years at the course and plays pretty much daily. He admitted he’s no Tiger Woods but his 6 handicap is not shabby. He recently made good on that, shooting a 78.

Born in 1940 and raised in Stamford until his family moved to Abilene in 1956 to take advantage of better educational opportunities, Burgess is proud of his military service. He was in Vietnam briefly in 1965 (radar operations crew member) and for a month in 1969 (ground radar), when he was stationed at Clark AFB in the Philippines, before serving for nine months in 1971 at Quang Tri, near the DMZ. When the Vietcong pushed south, he was among the troops that were pulled out. The respect he was shown as an American in uniform faltered when he returned to the States, where he was considered lesser as a black man, he said. That compounded the less than warm welcome most in the military received. He retired in 1979, returning to West Texas. Desi said her father viewed the phrase “thank you for your service” as hollow until a 2016 visit with his daughters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Continued on page 9

6 | COMMUNITY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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Neal McCoy, Lindsay Ell Headlining 50th West Texas Rehab Telethon and Auction

By Erica Garner | BigCountryHomePage

Meet Oliver, 1-year-old Coonhound mix. This big boy is already neutered, microchipped, and is currently 74 pounds of love. He has been with us since December 9th and originally was adopted from us as a puppy earlier in the spring. He has seen the shelter from the inside a few too many times and needs a loving furever home. He is very sweet and calm. The person who recently brought him in as a stray also noted he was great with kids and other pets. We always recommend a meet and greet with the whole family to ensure the perfect fit for you, and at the adoption fee of $25 he is definitely a good financial fit for anyone! Oliver’s partially sponsored fee of $25 will include a voucher toward his rabies shot, and he is ready to meet you and your family at Abilene Animal Services. We are located at 925 South 25th Street in Abilene, Texas. Be sure to mention his animal ID 41019713, his kennel number 60 or ask for him by name! If you would like more information, feel free to give us a call at (325) 698-0085.

Neal McCoy and Lindsay Ell will be headlining the 50th edition of the West Texas Rehab Telethon and Auction. The event will take place at the Abilene Convention Center on January 18 beginning at 7:00 p.m. In addition to live entertainment, there will be an auction featuring 400 items of merchandise and services available for bidding. Bidding for the auction is already taking place online at The auction will run through midnight on January 19 and all items will be on display at the Convention Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. on January 18. Entertainers joining Neal McCoy and Lindsay Ell include Charlie Chase, Red Steagall, The Boys in the Bunkhouse, Rion Paige, Jennifer Douglas Smith, Braid Blanks, Brad Maule, and Tyla Foreman. The entire event will be live-streamed online at and brodcast on KTAB TV from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


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Technology to Protect Soldiers a Cornerstone of Modern Warfare, Army Futures Command Says By Wes Rapaport |

Military leaders in Texas say the future of the na- “Did a couple of tours to Iraq,” he recalled. tion’s fighting force relies on technology to pro- There, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. tect American soldiers. “It’s memory loss, and being around blasts and General John “Mike” Murray, commanding gen- so forth, it is still something that I am working eral of Army Futures Command, joined Capital through,” he explained. Factory founder and CEO Joshua Baer for a discussion about convergence of military, technol- During Wednesday’s discussion, Freyburger ogy and entrepreneurship. Capital Factory con- asked Gen. Murray what Army Futures Comnects entrepreneurs in Texas with investors and mand was doing for troops like him. consumers. “Are y’all looking at actually being able to preWhat started as 40 people in July 2018 has dict, plan, and act on different combat-related turned into 26,000, including 400 at headquarters injuries prior to it becoming a VA issue?” Main Austin. The operating budget has ballooned rine veteran Daniel Freyburger asked Murray. to approximately $38 billion, Murray said at Wednesday’s panel with Baer. Murray said the Army is collaborating with companies that make football equipment, speAsked about how to sustain current activity with cifically headgear and helmets, to establish new forward-thinking ventures, Murray emphasized techniques that could protect soldiers. “figuring out the right balance between how do we fund everything that is important to us and “It’s not only TBI, so the body armor, research how do we sustain everything else we’re trying goes into that, all kinds of research that goes to do.” into how we are equipping our soldiers from a protection standpoint,” Murray added. On recent developments with Iran, Murray said he had been in touch with the Pentagon, but is Baer said Capital Factory and other Texas orresponsible for looking further ahead. ganizations have been eager to partner with the military, which he believed was a factor in the “I think it’s important that a portion of the Army, Army choosing Austin as its home base for the and that is Army Futures Command, stays fo- new division. cused on the future, and does not get themselves wrapped into the day-to-day business of the “How can we help be part of the mission?” he Army, which is exactly why we set up Army Fu- asked. “I think they felt something different tures Command,” Murray said. from Texas than maybe other places.” As the military looks to modernize the the country’s fighters, service members are turning to Murray and others in similar leadership positions for answers. One of the Army’s top modernization priorities is soldier lethality, meaning giving soldiers the best tools possible on the battlefield. Part of that includes protecting those troops.

Army Futures Command has grown sizeably since it was announced in July 2018. Murray said it started as a group of 40 people, which has ballooned to 26,000 worldwide, including 400 on the ground in Austin. The budget has grown, too.

“FY19, the fiscal year we just completed, it was Daniel Freyburger served in the Marines from just south of $38 billion,” Murray said, adding 2001 through 2009. that the Army has also budgeted approximately $10 billion over a five-year period to invest in companies working on solutions to Army problems.

Veterans, let us

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Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

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**Must consent to & pass criminal background check & be DRUG Free**

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Continued from page 5

Washington, D.C. He was quoted as viewing the war as “an exercise in futility.” But that day, a volunteer, seeing him look with emotion at photographs placed against the wall by visitors, told him, “Welcome home.” Those two words brightened his outlook, Desi said. On Saturday, his attire, complete with a bow tie and pocket square, suggested Burgess today is immensely proud of being a veteran.

“We meet for fellowship and discuss any and For example, he affirmed Saturday his coneverything,” he said. tinued distaste for former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current TV football analyst Does he help solve important issues, he was Terry Bradshaw, who, he said, vowed in the asked. early 1970s not to play behind African-American quarterback Joe Gilliam. Burgess and “Nobody ever agrees with me,” he said, smil- others believed Bradshaw was racially rather ing. “I’m so far out there.” than competitively motivated when he called Gilliam “that guy.” His daughters appreciate that boldness. Burgess lamented the days when stellar Af“He was ahead of his time,” Desi said, adding rican-American quarterbacks were believed he’d be more suited to being a young man in not smart enough to be an NFL quarterback, today’s world. and were moved to another position.

A ‘real man’

After his military service, Burgess finished his degree at McMurry. He had gone to Wiley It’s all OK at the Corral Burgess is known for speaking his mind. He College in Marshall, in East Texas, before joins a group of 20 to 30 African-American marrying in June 1959, just before joining the males of all ages the second Saturday of the service. month at Golden Corral to talk. The organizer, he said, is Dr. Morris Baker, McMurry University’s first African-American undergraduate and later professor.

Burgess noted the notable who hail from Stamford, including Masters winner Charles Coody and former Congressman Charles Stenholm. Their mothers gave birth in the same hospital there as his mother, but they had rooms. His mother, he said Saturday, bore him in a bed placed in the hallway in the basement. Burgess pays attention to events like this and doesn’t forget their impact. He wants others to pay attention, too. Not everything shows up in history books.

He said Saturday the topics are wide open.

That’s why he speaks his mind.

“We meet for fellowship and discuss any and everything,” he said. Does he help solve important issues, he was asked.

Gene Burgess (center, in blue) with his son Darryl (left), daughters D’Arcy, Desiree,and D’Edra. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

“Nobody ever agrees with me,” he said, Despite his completed college education, he said he never landed in the right job in Abilene, smiling. “I’m so far out there.” he said. He found work at the golf course. His daughters appreciate that boldness. D’Edra called her father a “real man,” who “He was ahead of his time,” Desi said, add- provided for his family whether he was at ing he’d be more suited to being a young home or across the world. “He always took care of us.” man in today’s world.

He will challenge you, too. Are you listening?

Better days

Burgess said he has a “rough go” in life at times. “Thank God I survived,” he said Saturday, “and my children don’t have to go through that.” The most famous person from Stamford today is NFL receiver James Washington, who is African-American.

A ‘real man’ After his military service, Burgess finished his degree at McMurry. He had gone to Wiley College in Marshall, in East Texas, before marrying in June 1959, just before joining the service.

Her father was demanding, D’Arcy said. He was insistent his children take advantage of education, and learning proper grammar and enunciation. This would, in his view, gain his children more respect and opportunity as African-Americans.

Despite his completed college education, he said he never landed in the right job in Abilene, he said. He found work at the golf course.

For example, Desi, is an Army veteran who today is executive officer for the Civilian Human Resources Agency-South Central Region.

Burgess is known for speaking his mind. He joins a group of 20 to 30 African-American males of all ages the second Saturday of the month at Golden Corral to talk. The organizer, he said, is Dr. Morris Baker, McMurry University’s first African-American undergraduate and later professor.

The girls agreed he was big on “details” in their own lives. Bradshaw now is analyzing them.

He said Saturday the topics are wide open.

Washington, ironically, plays on Bradshaw’s old team, the Steelers. A party guest, who is related to Washington, wore a Pittsburgh ball cap Saturday. This weekend, NFL playoff teams Houston (Deshaun Watson) and Seattle (Russell Wilson) started black quarterbacks. Next weekend, biracial quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start for Kansas City and Lamar Jackson for Baltimore.

“Those little things add up to big things. It’s an example of change that Burgess has Paying attention to details stuck with us,” seen in his 80 years. D’Arcy said.” After viewing the wall in the nation’s capital, His view of the way it was Burgess remarked, “It’s a little late. But it’s Gene Burgess has his opinions, many rooted not too late.” in how history has played out in his lifetime.

10 | COMMUNITY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Stamford Teenagers Save Cancer Patient Trapped Inside a Burning Vehicle By Martín Mercado |

Three teenagers from Stamford, Texas are be- After he was dragged away from the vehicle he ing held heroes after they rescued a man who was still concerned and trying to get his medicawas trapped inside a burning vehicle. tion from inside the vehicle. Brett Patterson, Luke Thane, and Keith Rich- “Your medication is replaceable, your life is ards were coming home from Abilene when not,” said Luke Thane to the man a few minutes they saw a car engulfed in flames on the road. before the car exploded. The three teenagers did not hesitate to help.

According to Brett Patterson, the explosion set the other side of the road on fire as well.

They stopped their car and then realized there was a person trapped inside. Aside from the man with third-degree burns on his leg. No one else was injured. The teenagers did not waste time and started to do everything they could to help. They The three teenagers have set up a GoFundMe called 911, grabbed some water they had in account for the man they saved, hoping they’ll the car, and pulled the man out of the vehicle raise enough funds to help him with his expenswith the help of another person who stopped es. when he saw them on the road. If you wish to donate for the cause of these The man who was trapped inside the car was ‘heroes,’ you can visit his GoFundMe page at on his way home from his cancer treatment when his car caught fire.

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Abilene Man Kept His New Year’s Resolutions, Lost 75 lbs.

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By Cortney Brown | KTXS

As a father of two boys, Andrew Hubbard had one goal in 2019 -- to be a better version of himself. “Really all I wanted to do was be better than I was the day before,” said Hubbard. He hit the the gym several times a week and went on a low-carb diet. Hubbard lost 75 pounds in nine months. “Something that was nutritional and easy that can be consistent,” Hubbard said. “So something easy to do that I’m not going to quit doing because it’s difficult three months down the line.” As he started to see his body transform, Hubbard decided to give up an addiction of 15 years -- smoking. “Got that first day behind me and it was horrible,” Hubbard said. “Second day, third day, fourth day, next thing you know by three weeks it wasn’t even in my mind anymore.” Hubbard also started taking martial arts classes with his kids. “They’re excited that they’re involved in something,” Hubbard said, “Their dad is involved in the same thing and its something we can both do together.” Hubbard plans to continue his health jour-

ney in 2020. “I have more confidence in myself than I used to and so by having more confidence in myself I am more inclined to reach out and open up to people.,” Hubbard said.

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Hubbard said if he can do it, anyone can,. His best advice? Just take it one day at a time. CALL US TO ADVERTISE (325) 701-9505

Music and Merriment Support Day Nursery

12 | COMMUNITY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

At Dueling Pianos on Valentine’s Day gives you can wow your sweetie and support the community. By Sandy Lowe | HispanicLife Magazine

Looking for a fun way to spend the evening and support a great cause? Day Nursery of Abilene has just the thing: Dueling Pianos.

provide affordable quality child care for a diverse community. Quality child care benefits everyone. It promotes positive developmental outcomes for children and allows parents to pursue their own education and career goals, eventually increasing their earning power and their contribution to the economy.

This is the second Dueling Pianos fundraiser Day Nursery of Abilene has hosted. To quote the invitation “How Sweet It Is” that Day Nursery of Abilene has been part of the community for over forty-five years and has cared for thousands of Abilene’s children while their parents work, attend school or job training programs.”

Dueling Pianos will support the great work Day Nursery does for families, and there’s much more to the evening than music. The fun will start with cocktails and mingling. Then on to dinner catered by The Shed. Valentine sweets and flowers will also be available for purchase. And you can choose a special song to be sung for your sweetie during the entertainment. When the program starts at 7:45 “dueling” bidders can compete to see whose tune will be played. Sponsors are already signing up to support Day Nursery through the Valentine’s Day Dueling Pianos event. The Steinway sponsor level includes publicity, center stage seating for one table of ten, buffet dinner and twenty cocktail tickets. The Baby Grand sponsorship adds a plated dinner and table beer and wine. The Grand Piano sponsorship moves up to two tables of ten with forty complimentary cocktail tickets.

Sliding fee scales and scholarships help those who need it.

Professional development opportunities are The School Readiness on-going for staff and volunteers. Integration (SRI) partnership with Abilene Tickets for Dueling Pianos will go quickly so

At the Sherry Lane Center, Vine Street Center and Cedar Street Center, children enjoy a safe and caring environment. Each child’s developmental milestones are supported and strengthened. A new center located at between Beech and Orange Streets on North 17th is tentatively scheduled to open January 20. Known as the Orange Street Center, it will serve children of parents connected with Hardin-Simmons University and Hendrick Medical Center in addition to others needing child care services; 115 of the 150 spots are already filled.

Day Nursery of Abilene participates in Texas Rising Star (TRS) program, a voluntary plan to improve the quality of child care by meeting program criteria that exceeds the State’s Minimum Standards for Child Care Licensing. Each Day Nursery center is 4-star rated, the highest available.

Currently the Steve Arthur Family Foundation, Battles Home Improvement, the Clavel Corporation, Batjer Heating and Cooling and First Financial Bank/First Financial Trust have all purchased sponsorships.

call (325) 673-1110 or email events@ to reserve your spots. You’ll enjoy the singing, laughing, dancing and eating even more because you’ll know you’re contributing to caring for kids and our community.

Dinner catered by

Individual ticket sales will begin in January for $125 per person. Dueling Pianos will be held at the 201 Mesquite Event Center. At Dueling Pianos you can enjoy a fun Valentine’s Day celebration knowing you are helping Day Nursery make a difference in Abilene. Here are just a few reasons to participate: The mission of Day Nursery of Abilene is to

ISD incorporates certified AISD teachers that spend their day in preschool classrooms delivering certified instruction, mentoring staff and monitoring children to assure they are on the road to being school ready.

Pick us up at Drug Emporium, Monterrey Mex Rest & Lytle Land & Cattle | COMMUNITY | 13

with Cynthia Pearson President and CEO of Day Nursery of Abilene

1. Day Nursery has a ton of things 4. What areas do you serve with

going on right now. Can you touch Day Nursery of Abilene? How on that? Day Nursery ALWAYS has a ton many locations? Day Nursery of Abilene of things going on…with 500+ children, nearly 400 families and over 100 staff there’s always TONS of activity happening. But specifically, Day Nursery is working on the final stages of its expansion project which has been in the works for almost 2 years. It’s a collaborative partnership with Hendrick Medical Center and Hardin-Simmons University whereby Day Nursery is renovating much of the old College Heights Elementary school (owned by Hendrick) converting it to usable child care space.

2. How long have you

been the President/ CEO of Day Nursery of Abilene? I have been the

President/CEO of Day Nursery since January 1994 when our founding executive director, Bea Ganson retired. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work under her for just over 2 years before she retired on 12/31/93. I was hired by the board in October 1991 to succeed her. I tell her that other than my mother, she’s probably the most significant female role model in my life and taught be everything that I know professionally about the Day Nursery of Abilene and this business.

currently has three-licensed facilities all of which provide child care for children beginning at birth through the age of 10 years. The current capacity is close to 500 children. With the addition of the new center, the capacity will exceed 650 children.


Besides working hard for Day Nursery of Abilene, what else keeps you busy? Any Hobbies?

I don’t have a lot of time outside of my professional life but do throw in movies, time with friends, and although my boys are grown, I still enjoy spending time with them when they are in town and want to hang out with their mom!


What inspires you to get up every morning? I am very self-motivated (and responsibility is my #1 strength according to Strength Finder) so it doesn’t take much to inspire me to get up every morning; I also know that people are relying on me to get up and show up every day and to do and the job that I was hired to do each day!

7. If someone needs informa-

tion about the services that Day

3. What made you decide to get Nursery offers, how do they get in

into this business? I always knew that I touch with you? (Phone Number, wanted to do something career-wise with chil- Website? Facebook? Twitter? Insdren but didn’t think it was teaching, maybe as tagram?) Administration office number is a counselor, etc. I loved Psychology and especially child development which ended up being my degree focus and added in management to throw in some business sense into the mix.

325.673.1110 which offices the support team for the Day Nursery child care centers. They can answer almost any general question. More specifics can be answered by the centers which are all included on are on our website Day Nursery also has social media, including Facebook and Twitter too.

14 | COMMUNITY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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Courtesy of: HispanicLife Magazine

To place your loved ones obituary or to honor them with a special message, please contact our offices at: (325) 701-9505 Email:

Victoria Lynn Gutierrez, 36, passed away January 02, 2020. Victoria was born October 08, 1983, in Abilene, Texas to Robert Clark and Lydia Martinez. She spent most of her life in Abilene and a short time in Brownwood, Texas. Left to cherish her memories are her mother Lydia Martinez of Abilene, her father Robert Clark, husband Jacob Gutierrez of Abilene, sons Daniel Xavier Gutierrez of Abilene and John Paul McCabe of San Antonio, brothers Christopher Robert Clark, Michael Jacob Clark, and Isaiah Andres Hoffman of Abilene, sister Dianna De Luna and husband Roberto of Abilene. Debby Ann Duran, 52, passed away December 31, 2019. Ms. Duran was born March 20, 1967, in Colorado City, Texas to Guadalupe Pequeno and Nora Laureles. She spent most of her life in Abilene. Ms. Duran was preceded in death by her father. Survivors include her mother Nora Laureres of Abilene, sons Joel Silva and Luis Silva of Snyder, daughter Mallory Silva of Lubbock, brothers Isreal Pequeno, Bobby Laureles, Abram Laureles, Key Laureles, Abel Laureles all of Abilene, sisters Margie Fabio of Abilene, Ludy Avalos of Colorado, and Reyna Valenzuela of San Antonio, as well as fourteen grandchildren. Raymond Sanchez, 78, passed away December 25, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Mr. Sanchez was born December 31, 1940, in Abilene to the late Antonio and Pauline Sanchez. Mr. Sanchez was preceded in death by both of his parents, a son Juanito Sanchez, two brothers Guadalupe Sanchez and Tony Sanchez, and sister Juanita Ortiz. Left to cherish his precious memories are his devoted wife Ofelia Sanchez of Abilene, sons Raymond Sanchez Jr. of Phoenix, Az, and

San Pablo Sanchez of Abilene, daughters Rosa McDonald of Orange, Tx., Debra Escamilla and husband Jose of Abilene, sister Dolores Acosta and her late husband Margarito, grandchildren Angelica Sanchez of Abilene, Abel Lee Sanchez of Abilene, Naomi Ann and Noam Cohen of Hanover, Maryland, Jose M. and Dani Escamilla of Abilene, great grandchildren Felix Cortez, Ignacio Prieto, Lilliana Prieto, Karisma Prieto, and Rebekah ‘Lane’ Prieto, and numerous extended family members.

Johnathen Curtis Jr, 32, passed away December 28, 2019. Johnathen was born October 07,1987, in Abilene, Texas to Johnathen Curtis Sr. and Ramona Alvarez Curtis. Johnathen was preceded in death by his mother; Ramona Alvarez Curtis, maternal grandmother; Josephine Alvarez, two cousins; Rustin Alvarez and Micheal Ramirez, paternal grandmother; Mary Louis Curtis, four uncles; Ricky Gene Curtis, Robert Lee Curtis, Kenneth Wayne Curtis, Edwin Lee Curtis and one aunt; Athena Curtis. Johnathen is survived by his father; Jonathen Curtis Sr. and his companion, Cynthia Kaye Farley of Abilene, sister; Monica Mayes Leija and husband Ernest Leija of Abilene, two uncles; Fidencio “Chic” Alvarez and Victor Ramirez Sr., two aunts; Josie Garcia and Ruth Ramirez and two nieces; Madison Mayes and Mckinley Leija. Luciano Rodriguez Jr, 68, passed away January 06, 2020. Luciano Jr. was born May 31, 1951, in Rosebud, Texas to Luciano Rodriguez Sr. and Simona Saucedo Rodriguez. He spent most of his life in Abilene where he attended school and worked as a machine operator. He was an avid basketball player and loved the Dallas Cowboys. Mr. Rodriguez was preceded in death by both his parents; his beloved wife Janie; brothers Joey Rodriguez, Mario Rodriguez, Edward Rodriguez, Maximo Rodriguez and a sister Josephine Pecina. Left to cherish his memory are his sons Domingo Rodriguez, Johnny Rodriguez and wife Maria all of Abilene; daughters Alice Rodriguez and husband Genara Saavedra, Eva Gutierrez and husband George, Josie Rodriguez, and Victoria Martinez all of Abilene; a brother Cleofus Rodriguez and wife Mary of Abilene; sisters Juanita Gonzalez and husband Gil of Waco, Tx, Simona Gonzales and husband Victor of Abilene, Donna Lopez of Abilene and Margaret Villanueva and husband Carlos of Fort Worth as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

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Super Bowl-Winning Coach Jimmy Johnson Selected for Hall of Fame

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Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl championships in the 1990s, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The hall announced his selection Sunday night as part of a centennial class that was chosen on Wednesday by a special committee. Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher was revealed Saturday night as the other coach being inducted. “The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches who worked for me, all the great players who played for me are the reason,” said a tearyeyed Johnson. “I can’t talk. “This is so special to me because when you put in the work that we put in, it is nice for those people to appreciate it.” One of his best players, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, could be seen tearing up as he heard the announcement from Green Bay, where he was announcing the Seahawks-Packers playoff game.

A successful college coach at Oklahoma State and Miami, where he won a national championship in 1987, Johnson was hired in 1989 by new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. His initial team went 1-15, but Johnson rebuilt the roster — including trading star running back Herschel Walker to Minnesota for a slew of draft picks and players who were converted into draft choices. That deal is considered among the most one-sided in sports history, and it netted, among others, the draft pick that brought Emmitt Smith to Dallas.




Johnson left the Cowboys after the back-toback championships for the 1992 and ’93 seasons in a dispute with Jones. But the roster he built, under his college rival Barry Switzer, won the 1995 NFL crown, too. Johnson later coached the Miami Dolphins before becoming a Fox TV analyst. “Think of all the great players I have coached over the years,” Johnson said. “From me to you: Thank you.”

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ArtHEALs for Warriors (Healthy Empowerment through Arts Learning) is a program developed by The Center for Contemporary Arts, and funded by the United Way of Abilene to offer warriors an opportunity for self-expression and healing. This program fosters trust between participants, thereby increasing their trust and confidence in themselves and others, as well as increase each warrior’s (and their family’s) scope of social networks. Warriors often struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression due to horrific experiences in their military service. To help warriors express and cope with emotions and build resiliency, The Center for Contemporary Arts offers arts and music therapy, ArtHEALs uses creative methods to help veterans and active-duty personnel, both individually and as a group, address social, behavioral and emotional issues, thus helping them make sense of how they fit into their world. Therapeutic activities include artistic expression through closed eye drawing to music, movement, creating simple clay figures. Funding from the United Way of Abilene makes it possible for us to offer this program to groups at no charge. For more information contact Manny De Los Santos 325.677.8389

Upgrades Coming to Minter Park in Downtown Abilene in 2020 By Austin Burkes | KTXS

Minter Park in downtown Abilene is getting upgrades. The renovations will include a storybook garden, limestone walls and a digital waterfall. The park will also act as a small venue for outdoor concerts. Some downtown business owners are excited about the changes and are hoping they will bring more visitors into their stores. “I think it will be fantastic,” said Jonathan Carroll, Executive Director of The Center for Contemporary Arts. “Minter Park has always been an iconic part of downtown and we have seen it grow so much.” Construction is scheduled to start in January. “Right now there is a lot of development happening here,” said Allison Carroll, owner of Monks Coffee Shop. “People are starting to have visions of what downtown could be from the different buildings and businesses and this park just adds another piece to that.”

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AISD Now Hiring for BUS DRIVERS By KTXS Staff

The Abilene Independent School District is in In November, the school board approved “dire need” of school bus drivers, according several incentives: to a job fair listing by Workforce Solutions. $1,500 sign on bonus / $750 per semester atSince the beginning of tendance bonus - drivDecember, the AISD ers who miss less than has been short nine three days drivers. $500 referral fee • Transportation ManagWhile it’s a part-time er Student Services Kris job, bus drivers are ofWilson said the spots fered full-time benefits are hard to fill because like medical, dental there is a high demand and vision insurance. for drivers that have a Commercial Driver’s Bus drivers start License (CDL) and not a large supply. around $13.50 per hour. AISD will “train/assist with obtaining the Apply at: Class B CDL with passenger endorsement,” Workforce Solutions is also hosting a job according to Workforce Solutions. fair from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Help The Abilene Zoo Support the Australian Bushfire Crisis The Abilene Zoo is committed to matching the first $5,000 raised to assist the animals impacted by the Australian Bushfires. The funds we collectively raise with the Abilene community will be sent to Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund. Dr. Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria, expressed the following, “We are also concerned for animals after the fires as even if they survive the fires there will be no food or shelter available. We anticipate a number of responses both at our zoos and in the wild to address the problems. Finally, there will be a significant impact on endangered species, many live only in the fire area, once the area is safe we will get an idea of the scale of loss.” All funds raised will be used for critical care and long-term recovery of Australian Wildlife. Thank you for helping us in the fight to save wildlife and wild spaces locally and around the world.

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Thousands of Food Stamp Recipients Prepare to Find Jobs Under New Policy By Allysa Cole | KGBT News

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According to Texas Health and Human Services, more than 100,000 Texans applied for SNAP benefits in December. However, thousands of Americans are preparing to say goodbye to the last of their food stamp benefits this spring. “If someone is receiving SNAP benefits and they are not employed they are going to be asked to come and see us so we can help them find employment,” Workforce Solutions Career Center Manager, Geri Escobar said. The policy will require able-bodied-adults without dependents also known as ‘Abawds’ to visit state agencies like workforce solutions where they will explain the new requirement to receive food stamps for a limited time. Under the new policy change, Abawds would receive benefits between 3 to 36 months and will be required to work or volunteer a minimum of 20 hours a week. “We do have positions in constructions, in retail, in transportation and hospitality...the positions are in high demand,” she explained.

According to Workforce Solutions, the agency receives hundreds of local jobs postings a month that Abawds are qualified to fill. “They’ll be working with a career counselor to establish what their goals are and what their needs are to work towards becoming employed. We will also offer supportive services to help remove any barriers.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP agencies can only extend the food stamp time deadline if the valley reaches a 10 percent unemployment rate or if there are insufficient local jobs available.

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Hardin-Simmons Alumnus Returns to Campus for Book Reading By Felicity Neptune | Hardin-Simmons University, Staff Writer Ten years after graduating from Hardin-Simmons with a degree in business, Roy Juarez returned to campus for a book reading of his recently published autobiography, Homeless by Choice. Juarez names his book after recent speaking tour where he traveled the country speaking at places such as schools and churches, sharing his life story, teaching kids how important education is and that they, too, can achieve anything they want in life. Juarez’ read several chapters from his book and then followed up with extra content for those who hadn’t read the book, sometimes adding information that is not included in the book. Throughout the presentation, Juarez frequently engaged the audience and answered questions. With several people attending who were mentioned in the book, Juarez always looked at the person with a smile when reading their part of the story. Due to domestic violence, Juarez grew up living on the streets of San Antonio. At 17 years old, Juarez was looking for a meal when he stumbled across several women gathered in a conference hall filled with food. His intentions were just to look as though he was part of the crowd while he received a free meal. Instead, he heard Retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch speak the words that would inspire him to change his life forever.

until his mother was stable enough to take care of him again. Juarez then took “Baby Ray” to their pastor’s house where they both lived until graduating high school. Juarez began school at HSU in 2005, seeking a business degree. After his first year had passed, he was advised to pack his dorm room due to being $5,000 short on tuition. Upon

him he could only work for her company for three more months. It was during the first month after this conversation when he realized his purpose in life. Juarez had moved from Texas to Nevada to work for Lt. Kickbusch. He barely owned any furniture when he moved in with a friend and was terrified to tell anyone he was fired and had no plans moving forward. He continued to persevere, and while sleeping on his friend’s couch, he had a dream showing him what he needed to do. In the dream, Juarez saw a large arena with hundreds of people bouncing colorful balloons across the room. Before waking up, he saw a full band on stage playing with red, blue, green, and purple lights flashing and people singing, “Come on in, come on in, together we can make a difference.” That dream is what inspired Juarez at 4:30 a.m. to rush out with immediacy and begin planning for his tour. At the time, Juarez was not aware he would make such a strong impact on so many kids across America. He struggled

receiving the news, he marched right to President Craig Turner’s office and begged for help. “I can’t go. I need to be educated! Don’t you see? This is my last chance,” Juarez pleaded.

Turner replied by finding him the full $5,000. After hearing Kickbusch speak, Juarez decided After graduation, Juarez worked for Lt. Kickto pick up his baby brother Ray from his moth- busch for several months doing various projer’s friend who had agreed to take care of him ects for her company. One day, she advised

with high school, college, and even getting a meal some days. He doubted himself constantly but continued to have faith that God would help him do what He was called to do. “I just kept telling myself, ‘You have to faith it ‘til you make it.’” said Juarez.

20 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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Cisco College STEM Research Groups Present Findings By Colton Wedeking | Director of Marketing & Public Relations

On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, students from the Cisco College STEM Research Teams presented their findings to a packed lecture room on the Cisco College Abilene campus.

this type of research, Brodie Shelnutt said, “it’s very beneficial to the agriculture industry. It helps with identifying and eliminating issues in artificial insemination and allows us to get hands on experience.”

Professor of Agriculture, Brandi Terry had two research teams in the presentations. Students Robin Rojas,

The teams will be utilizing this opportunity and applying their skills to continue AI research projects in the spring of 2020.

Kelly Rosario, Madison Scott, and Brodee Shelnutt presented their finding on their research titled

Artifical Insemination Technique: Review. Terry’s other team consisting of students Jessica Akers, Carson Parker, and Kaeler Russell presented theirs titled, Handling and Thawing of Bovine Semen: Review. The teams recently attended a bovine AI school at Champion Genetics where they received a certificate of training for artificial insemination and pregnancy determination. On how having the opportunity to conduct and present

In addition to Terry’s teams, Dr. Nirmala Chandrasekharan had one student present her findings on research to simulate bio-digestion to create biogas using farm and kitchen waste. Student, Tu Le, demonstrated the process using a model that she and Dr. Chandrasekharan built and discussed how the biogas is produced and captured. The STEM research teams are part of a cooperation between Cisco College and McMurry University funded through a Title V grant. The partnership aims to encourage more students to get involved in high-quality STEM learning opportunities with a primary goal to introduce students to STEM research earlier, teach the research process at the introductory level, and increase the numbers of students pursuing degrees in the STEM fields. Students interested participating in a research team at Cisco College should contact Debbi Barton, Head of Science, via email at For more information, visit

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Student Art Competition Open To Area College Students By The Center for Contemporary Arts

The Center for Contemporary Arts is proud to present the 11th Annual juried Intercollegiate Student Art Competition for area college and university students! The competition is open to students of Abilene Christian University, Cisco College, Hardin-Simmons University, McMurry University, Texas State Technical College, Angelo State University, Howard Payne University, and Tarleton State University. Entries may be submitted in any medium as long as the finished piece meets the size and weight restrictions of the category. The deadline for online submissions is midnight, Friday, January 17th, 2020. Artwork delivered no later than 5 PM, Tuesday, January 21st Successful entries will be those that represent contemporary fine art in subject matter, media, artistic expression, and professionalism of presentation in one of the following categories: •2-Dimensional (non-digital media)

•2-Dimensional (digitally-created)

•3-Dimensional •Photography

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Graphic design (including commercial design, poster design, etc.) is not appropriate for this competition. All work must be original and must not have been exhibited at The Center for Contemporary Arts previously. It must be framed, matted, wired, or otherwise professionally presented and ready for display. Each student may submit up to two entries. No entry fee required. Awards will be given for Best in Show, as well as Best in Category. Awards will also be given for 2nd and 3rd Place in each category, as well as three Honorable Mentions. Awards will be announced and distributed during the February ArtWalk. Best in Show: $300 First Place 2-D (non-digital media): $100 First Place 2-D (digital media): $100 First Place Photography: $100 First Place 3-D: $100 In addition to the following cash prizes, these five winners will be awarded a 1-year Student Artist Membership at the Center for Contemporary Arts. For competition rules, information, and to submit entries online, please visit:

22 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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McMurry Helps Turn Classroom Aides Into Teachers By McMurry University

Many of them have known for years that they wanted to become teachers, but life got in the way. Deanna Jordan was able to answer her call to the classroom by becoming a teacher’s aide at Haskell Elementary School in Haskell, Texas, when her now 40-year-old daughter was in the second grade. She always wanted to complete her degree in education but was only able to take courses off and on over the years. Now the 64-year-old is enrolled in McMurry’s Aides to Teachers program, which helps teachers’ aides complete their studies while working full-time. The program offers at least twelve credit hours of courses a semester after 4 p.m. or online and also provides summer classes.

that there’s a teacher shortage in Texas and districts are having trouble finding enough to fill classrooms -- particularly on the elementary school level. “In a lot of campuses, you have a lot of aides who are very talented, and what’s keeping them from teaching is that they don’t have a teaching certificate,” said Mike Thomesen, instructor of curriculum and instruction at McMurry. “We realized that if we could create a program that offered classes at a time when working teachers’ aides could take them, we would help

But the partnership didn’t stop with the district and the university. Young and Thomesen also sought help from the Abilene Education Foundation, a nonprofit which supports the students and teachers of Abilene ISD. It responded with multiple $500-a-semester scholarships to aides in the district. Together, the district, the foundation and McMurry’s Education Advisory Board have become key partners in the Aides to Teacher program’s success.

“It allows us to offer something at a time when it’s convenient for them,” said Dr. Gae Lynn McInroe, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and the staff lead for the program. “They still have to follow all the same rules for observation. They have to learn the exact same information. They get their bachelor’s degrees.”

“Some of our aides are fantastic and would make fantastic teachers,” said Christine Curtis-Carr, executive director of the AEF. “We want to make it more affordable and incentivize aides to become teachers because we do have a teacher shortage in Abilene.”

Aides to Teachers is the only program of its kind locally that’s specifically designed to address the challenges faced by aides who want to get their teaching certificates. It first began accepting students in the fall of 2018, when 17 enrolled. “It’s really difficult since I’m working full-time -- all of us who are in the program, we spend lots of late hours,” said Jordan, who is set to graduate in May. “But it’s worth it. I can see light at the end of the tunnel now.” Krista Gonzales, now a fully certified teacher in Abilene who started out as an aide, brought many of the problems that she faced as a student to the attention of her advisers at McMurry. Though she graduated before the formal Aides to Teachers program was launched, her difficulties in getting into the classes she needed helped inspire the program. “They just kind of worked with me and my situation, and they worked with me to get things done to graduate quicker,” she said. “It’s kind of hard for nontraditional students to go through it because you work and have a home life and most of us have kids. For the most part, it’s time consuming but you do reap the reward at the end.” One thing that inspires the program is the fact

“Student teaching was also a challenge, because aides had typically been forced to resign their fulltime jobs and give up their salaries to become student teachers,” Young said. The challenges and possible solutions were discussed at a meeting of the McMurry University Education Advisory Board in the fall of 2017. The Board discussion and subsequent planning helped jump-start the Aides-toTeachers program. The district then coordinated with McMurry and the Texas Education Agency and created a workaround that enables aides to retain their jobs while student teaching. They student teach for fewer hours each day, but over a longer period of time.

both the aide and the school district at the same time.” Last year, the Abilene Independent School District had twenty teacher vacancies on the first day of school, and it had six or eight this year, according to the superintendent, Dr. David Young, who helped the university get the program off the ground. “We’ve really struggled to find strong candidates -- or even any candidates -- by the end of the summer,” Young said. “How can we find a solution? We have had a few aides in our school district who have found a way to go back to school at night or on the weekends and become a teacher, and our experience has been that they do a fantastic job.” The question was how to lift the barriers to success. One relatively straightforward way was to release aides a bit early -- say at 2:30 -- so they can make it to classes on time at 4.

According to Curtis-Carr, becoming a teacher can have a huge financial impact on some families, and an aide’s salary typically starts at $14,000 to $16,000, while a teacher’s starting pay is about $47,000. “To change a family’s financial situation and get an excellent teacher, that’s a win for both that family and the district and that’s something our foundation wanted to support,” she said. Jessica Leach. who drives 50 miles roundtrip from Clyde to participate in the program, currently takes two classes each on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, beginning at 4 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m. It gives her less time to spend with her sons, ages 14 and 11. But she says they’re excited for her and that achieving her goal will make all the sacrifices worthwhile. “I really think that this is a wonderful program and am so grateful that McMurry has offered it,” said Leach, who is set to graduate in 2021. “If they hadn’t, I might not be in the position I am now and about to fulfill my dreams as an adult.”

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Legendary Wylie Football Coach Hugh Sandifer to Retire By Evan Nemec | KTXS

Longtime Wylie High School head football coach and athletic director Hugh Sandifer will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the district announced in a press release on Friday afternoon.

“He leads with a passion and commitment that is contagious. His success has helped define not only his program, but the excellence of Wylie High

Sandifer started at Wylie in 1979, and was promoted to head coach and AD in 1985. He led the Bulldogs to four state football championship games, and won the 2004 title with future NFL quarterback Case Keenum. Sandifer’s teams were marked by great consistency. Wylie made the playoffs 24 straight years from 1994-2017, and regularly made deep runs in the postseason. Sandifer’s wife, Brenda, will also retire from Wylie ISD where she has been a counselor since 1985. “It is very important to us to leave when there are good people in place, and they are definitely here,” said the Sandifers in the press release. “The future is bright for Wylie.” “Coach Sandifer has invested his life in every young person whom he has encountered in the last 41 years,” Wylie ISD superintendent Joey Light said. “He has been driven to make them better students, family members, teammates, adults, and contributing members of society.

School. I am so grateful for what he has meant to this school district and to me personally.” Sandifer finishes his career with a 285-124-4 record.

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26 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

How Eastland’s Band Director Became A Grammy Award Finalist By Jessica Ranck |

This past October we introduced you to a “They ask a bunch of different questions like, band director from Eastland who was in the ‘What’s your proudest moment as a teacher?’ running to win a Grammy. or ‘What type of methods do you use inside your classroom?’ and you create either essays Now that Stephen Cox is a finalist, or videos about that,” we’re talking a look back at how said Cox. he got there, and it all started with a nomination from one of his stuFor Cox, he says dents. videos were the best way to describe his “He was scrolling through Instateaching style, so he gram one day and an ad popped started working with up for the Grammy Music Eduhis students and staff cator Award and he goes, ‘I think to create three for the I should nominate Mr. Cox for application. that,’” said Cox. “There were times “I thought it would be a fun opthat I would talk to portunity to try and give him some the students that we credit and recognition for all that he had done and they does for us,” said Heath Slavens, would just sound the student who nominated Cox. really excited and smile, thinking back to things we had or perforAfter the nomination, Cox was instructed to mances we had done, and it made me feel like fill out a questionnaire. it had meant something to them,” said Cox.

While Cox is the only one nominated for the award, he says he couldn’t have done it without the help from his students and fellow teachers. “I owe every bit of the teacher that I am to my fellow teachers and the students,” said Cox. “It’s a small town and you would expect that things weren’t excellent, but everyone’s just working hard and that’s what makes it good.” Cox is one of 10 left in the competition. The winner will be recognized during Grammy Week. The 62 annual awards program is scheduled for Jan. 26.

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‘One Night Only’ Dance Premiere Set for Feb. 29 ACU Theatre’s dancers will perform a thrilling night of dance Feb. 29, featuring faculty member Lily Balogh’s innovative and original choreography. Balogh, a New York native trained for 10 years at the School of American Ballet and summers at American Ballet Theater, among other companies. She has danced for New York City Ballet and Royal Ballet of Flanders (Antwerp, Belgium), and was a soloist for Ballet Next and Ballets with a Twist. She challenges students to take risks with unflinching honesty. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Fulks Theatre. Recommended for all ages. Tickets are $20 and include light hors d’oeuvres. Purchase tickets at

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What Your Child Can Do About Bullying By HealthDay Bullying can be physical, verbal or through virtual spaces including the internet and social media, says KidsHealth. Regardless of the medium, bullying can make young people afraid, stressed, depressed and anxious. KidsHealth advises what your child can do about bullying: • Tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher or coach. • Ignore the bully and walk away. • Do not get physical with a bully. • Practice confidence. • Talk to a guidance counselor. • Avoid being alone when the bully is near. • Surround yourself with friends that make you feel safer.

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ACU Purchases Property in Oxford By Allison Harrell | The ACU Optimist

ACU has finalized the purchase of a recently renovated Victorian house in Central North Oxford, England. The house is located at 163 Woodstock Road, and is complete with eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, two kitchens, five reception rooms, a studio, an outside deck and backyard. The building covers a 6457-square-foot area. Stephen Shewmaker, executive director of ACU’s Center for International Education, said they have been looking for a long time for a property that would meet all their needs. “Oxford is a very tight community, for multiple reasons,” Shewmaker said. “Some of that is the 850-odd years of history of University of Oxford. The town and the settlements there go back over a thousand years. So to be able to establish a sense of permanence in a place like that is important for us to be considered full participants in the community.” The current Oxford study abroad program began in the mid-90’s. ACU began leasing the current two houses used to house study abroad students in Oxford, located at 9 and 10 Canterbury Road, in 1999. The search for a permanent property in Oxford began in 2002. “There’s many people who have been involved in this,” Shewmaker said. “This is a legacy project for ACU, not just in the future, but has been over the last 20 years of people who have known that this is something that we needed to do. And it’s not easy, it’s expensive. When people make statements like, ‘We’re doing work here that’s going to go far beyond us,’ I just see that in this effort more than I’ve seen in anything else during my time at ACU.” Shewmaker said they plan to begin the transition with the fall of 2020 group, housing study abroad students at the new property. The Oxford Study Abroad Program will remain in the currently leased houses until the end of the summer. Chelsea Flow, senior ministry and vocations

and management major from Amarillo and past Oxford study abroad student, said though living in Oxford is a once in a lifetime chance, the housing situation occasionally put a damper on things. “The new property will be a huge incentive for future study abroad students,” Flow said. “The old houses are livable but make it hard to study or hang out. Hopefully the new purchases will provide better common spaces and bigger kitchens to grow the community within the group.” ACU plans to renovate the bathrooms of the house to make them more accessible for large

groups of students. ACU has also received permission from Oxford’s City Council to build an extension onto the rear-left wing of the house on the ground floor, to create a small flat to house ACU faculty. The program is expected to shrink in size from the capacity to house about 35 students in a semester down to about 26 students. “My hope would be that ACU students would be studying abroad in Oxford for the next 50100 years or for however long ACU exists,” Shewmaker said. “Whether you’ve worked in study abroad like I have, you’re a faculty member who’s been or you’re a student who’s studied abroad there for a semester or a summer, we all have a more permanent connection to that place by making a purchase there, saying this is what we intend to do and here’s who we intend to be in this community.”

28 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

SeaWorld Giving Away Free Admission to Texas Preschool Kids By CBS Austin

SeaWorld San Antonio announced it is giving away free admission to children ages 3-5 through the return of its “Preschool Card.” The Preschool Card giveaway is only available for Texas residents and offers children free park admission throughout all of 2020, including the Sesame Street Party Parade in May, Halloween Spooktacular and SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Participants must register online by May 31 for the Preschool Card. This is not available at the park. To redeem the offer, participants must visit the SeaWorld ticket window and present their registration confirmation, child’s birth certificate or travel passport and a Texas resident ID. The Preschool Card offers unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Antonio through January 3, 2021.

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30 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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Gibbs Keeps Projects Running Smoothly at ACU’s Cutting-Edge NEXT Lab By Robin Saylor | ACU Today

When Rosario Gibbs gave a presentation recently to a consortium of universities working with ACU’s NEXT Lab to develop a molten salt nuclear reactor, her first slide was of head coach Joe Golding and his NCAA Division I Southland Conference championship basketball team.

entire planet,” said Gibbs, who joined the team at ACU in March. Her husband, Nathan (’00), also works for ACU as general manager of KACU-FM and director of operations for the university’s Doug and Jayne Orr TV Studio. He is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication.

Golding’s motto throughout the season, “trust the process,” is just as applicable to the cutting-edge research being done at ACU, she said. And in the same way last season’s double conference win by the men’s and women’s basketball teams and their entry into March Madness put ACU on the map in terms of basketball, she believes the NEXT Lab is putting ACU on the map in terms of research.

A native of Mexico, Gibbs earned her engineering degree from the National Technological Institute of Mexico in Tijuana. Starting as a junior in college and continuing after graduation, she worked for a number of Japanese and American companies, including Sony, Canon and Flextronics, a For Gibbs, who is an industrial engineer and corporation that manufactures NEXT Lab project manager, trusting the pro- products for major brands incess is key, and her expertise in creating and cluding the Apple iPhone. implementing processes is critical to keeping research in the lab running smoothly. Before coming from California to ACU, she was an en“In industrial engineering, we are the specialists in processes, in making things work more efficiently,” she said. “Our goal is to always manage resources for the best outcome.” NEXT is an acronym for Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Laboratory, a program that is experimenting with using molten salts, rather than water, as a coolant for nuclear reactors. Inside the lab, students and faculty conduct experiments that could someday lead to global solutions to the world’s need for energy that is less expensive, water that is pure and abundant, and medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer.

the puzzle, so we can manage all those pieces in which she is working,” Houghtalen said. together and make them work better.” “Since joining NEXT, she has read everything she can get her hands on and has attended When Gibbs starts a new job, “one of the first workshops to understand more about molten things I do is educate myself with everything salt reactors and get up to speed in her new related to the project I’m going to be working area of application.” with,” she said. Gibbs also brings strong communication skills to the team, Houghtalen said. “A project manager spends a majority of the work day communicating – to team members, with stakeholders, with suppliers, etc. I’ve been impressed by the clarity and intentionality with which Rosario has approached this aspect of her job. She seeks input from all relevant sources and is able to discern a productive path forward for collaboration.” Gibbs seeks opportunities to mentor students on the NEXT project, creating group and individual learning opportunities, and setting an expectation for students to discuss their work in collaboration meetings. That interaction with students, Gibbs said, is one of her favorite parts of her job.

“We have a lot of students working in the NEXT Lab,” she said. “I tell them, ‘It’s great that you’re getting your degree from ACU because of what you’re going to learn in the NEXT Lab. It’s the perfect complement to your education. The things I’m teaching you Industrial engineering encompasses elements “She uses her education and experience in are things that will give you a big advantage “The type of technology we are developing is of every other engineering discipline, Gibbs engineering as a jumping-off point to acquire when you graduate and get a job.’ ” going to play a key role in the future of the said. “We have to understand every piece of new knowledge and apply it to the context gineer at The Boeing Company, working on technology to develop smaller satellites. It was a world vastly different from academia but in need of someone with Gibbs’ skills.

Dr. Lori Houghtalen, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and an assistant professor of engineering and physics, said Gibbs’ passion for learning has served her well.

32 | EDUCATION | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Big Country Teen to Audition for NBC’s The Voice By Jessica Ranck

Caroline Branch seems like your average teenager. She’s got school and her friends, but she also has a bit of a hidden talent. Branch hasn’t always been singing center stage, but it’s something she’s had a passion for since she was little. “It was Christmas time and I sang ‘I can Only Imagine’ at church,” said Branch. “That’s the first memory I have of singing.” Branch keeps most of her performances to a small audience but that’s all about to change because in just a few weeks, she’ll be auditioning for NBC’s The Voice. “Most definitely nervous, I don’t think I’ll get stage fright, I think I’ll be more nervous at the fact that there’s more people. That’d be it,” said Branch. Branch says it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and has her stepmother Donna Manuszak to thank for signing herup for it all. “I love her, and if I’m having a bad day and she starts singing, she just brightens the day,” said Manuszak. The family is hoping that a teenager from a small town can make it big. “I believe that you can come from nothing or just a little, and as long as you put in your effort, that you can get anywhere you want to be,” said Branch. Caroline is headed to Nashville next week to audition for The voice, but needs a little help getting there. To help out go to f/1v0h0y4g5c

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Understanding the Five Love Languages


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By Gary Chapman | Focus on the Family

After 30 years as a marriage counselor, I am convinced that there are five basic love languages – five ways to express love emotionally. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved.

Quality Time

Words of Affirmation

One time when my wife and I were visiting our daughter and son-inlaw and our two grandchildren, our son-in-law took the garbage out after dinner. When he walked back into the room where we were talking with our daughter, she looked up and said, “John, thanks for taking the garbage out.”

though her husband, David, loved her, he had never learned to express his love in a way that made her feel loved. However, after David and I talked and he read The Five Love Languages, he got the picture and started speaking Maxine’s love language. In less than a month, her love tank was beginning to fill up, and their marriage moved from winter to spring.

Inside I said, “Yes!” because I knew the power of appreciation. I can’t tell you how many men and women have sat in my office over the past 30 years and said to me, “I work my tail off every day, yet my spouse acts like I haven’t done a thing. I never get a single word The next time I talked to Maxine, she said, of appreciation.” “It’s wonderful. I wish we had come for If your spouse’s primary love language is counseling 10 years ago. I never knew about words of affirmation, your spoken praise and the love languages. I just knew I didn’t feel appreciation will fall like rain on parched soil. loved.” Before long, you will see new life sprouting in your marriage as your spouse responds to your Receiving Gifts In every society throughout human history, words of love. gift giving has been perceived as an expression of love. Giving gifts is universal, because Acts of Service Do you remember the old saying, “Actions there is something inside the human psyche speak louder than words”? For some people, that says if you love someone, you will give that is particularly true of love. If acts of ser- to him or her. vice is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing will speak more deeply to him or her What many people do not understand is that for some people, receiving gifts is their priemotionally than simple acts of service. mary love language. It’s the thing that makes Maxine, who had been married for 15 years, them feel loved most deeply. If you’re marcame to my office one day because she was ried to someone whose primary love language frustrated with her marriage. Listen to what is gift giving, you will make your spouse feel she said: “I don’t understand David. Every loved and treasured by giving gifts on birthday he tells me that he loves me, but he never days, holidays, anniversaries and “no occadoes anything to help me. He just sits on the sion” days. couch watching TV while I wash the dishes, and the thought never crosses his mind to help The gifts need not be expensive or elaborate; me. I’m sick of hearing ‘I love you.’ If he it’s the thought that counts. Even something as loved me, he would do something to help me.” simple as a homemade card or a few cheerful flowers will communicate your love to your Maxine’s primary love language is acts of spouse. Little things mean a lot to a person service (not words of affirmation), and even whose primary love language is receiving gifts.

If your spouse’s love language is quality time, giving him or her your undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love. Some men pride themselves on being able to watch television, read a magazine, and listen to their wives, all at the same time. That is an admirable trait, but it is not speaking the love language of quality time. Instead, you must turn off the TV, lay the magazine down, look into your mate’s eyes, and listen and interact. To your spouse, 20 minutes of your undivided attention – listening and conversing – is like a 20-minute refill of his or her love tank. Men, if you really want to impress your wife, the next time she walks into the room while you are watching a sporting event, put the television on mute and don’t take your eyes off her as long as she’s in the room. If she engages you in conversation, turn the TV off and give her your undivided attention. You will score a thousand points and her love tank will be overflowing.

Physical Touch

We have long known the emotional power of physical touch. That’s why we pick up babies and touch them tenderly. Long before an infant understands the meaning of the word love, he or she feels loved by physical touch. In marriage, the love language of physical touch includes everything from putting a hand on your mate’s shoulder as you walk by, touching his or her leg as you’re driving together, and holding hands while you’re walking to kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse. If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.

Conn’s HomePlus coming to Sears space at Mall of Abilene By Laura Gutschke | Abilene Reporter-News

Conn’s HomePlus has submitted permitting requests with the city of Abilene to remodel space at the Mall of Abilene. As of late Monday, the plans still were under review with the city, said Tim Littlejohn, chief building official. The $750,000 project involves about 50,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the old Sears space at the mall, he said. Based in The Woodlands, outside Houston, Conn’s HomePlus is a publicly traded retailer of furniture, mattresses, home appliances, consumer electronics and home office products. Conn’s was founded in 1890 in Beaumont as a plumbing and heating company. Today, it operates 137 retail locations in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, according to a third quarter financials news release.

34 | FAITH & FAMILY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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What God Wants For Your Life By Madison Bloker | boundblessings

I came home last week feeling bogged down, discouraged, and drained. I tried to hold in my feelings when Tyler asked about my day, but the tears started welling. “I just want to have a meltdown like a 5-year-old kid,” I told him. And then the tears started flowing. “I don’t know what God wants for my life!” I said as I pounded my fist on the couch. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing or where He wants me! I don’t know my purpose. I don’t know what He’s calling me to.” After a little pep talk, Tyler said words I honestly really did not want to hear in that moment: “Get in the Word.” I think I might’ve even rolled my eyes in that moment as the frustration consumed me, but I got ready for bed, sat down, started journaling, and opened up my Bible.

immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust Him - endless energy, boundless strength.”

everything we do.” Dig into the Word. There is power in it.

So here’s the simple truth that set me free and sparked joy in my life:

to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.” No matter what career we’re in or what season of life we’re walking through, God wants us to work heartily and do so with a smile. He’s using you despite how small you may feel.

When we draw near to Him, we draw closer to who He calls us to be. And here are 5 things God wants for your life today. Not yesterday, not in two weeks from now… today:

1. He wants you to know Him.

God wants us to know Him personally. He wants a relationship… and the thing about relationships are this: they take work. He wants you to talk with Him, to reach out to Him, to trust in Him. When we get to know Him, we trust Him. And when we trust Him, we are bold.

2. He wants you to love.

Another thing I ran across in Ephesians was this: “His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”

For some reason Ephesians was in my head. I turned to the book, noticed a sentence that was underlined, and read this: “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” I smiled as the tears started welling again; then I read on. “I ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory, to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the

Later I read this, “Go all out in your love… a love marked by giving, not getting.” God wants us to give and love on others, not just focus on getting and loving ourselves.

3. He wants you to know the Truth. “God wants us to grow up, to

know the whole truth and tell it in love - like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of

4. He wants us to work heartily. “Don’t just do what you have to do

5. He wants you to pray.

Philippians 4 tells us this: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” It’s not always easy to feel like God is moving in your life when you’re in a season that doesn’t seem to be purposeful or fulfilling. It’s difficult to choose faith when fear really wants to creep in. Or to choose goodness when all the bad parts about this season want to make their way to the forefront of your mind. But I do know that God is moving. He is moving, and He has a plan that is good for your life. Just as those words resonated with to me, I hope they do the same to you: “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Declare that today. God is good, and so are His plans for you today, my friend.

Pick us up at Taqueria La Ranchera, Abilene Funeral Home & Abilene ISD | FAITH & FAMILY | 35

Messianic M oment by Hope 4 Life Church ‘King Hezekiah’



In 2 Chronicles Judah’s King Hezekiah is faced with impending invasion from a foreign army. He orders his people to stop up the springs and brooks so the invaders would have no water, and he ordered the broken walls repaired. The King ALSO encouraged his people to be strong and courageous and not fear in the face of the approaching invasion and for the people to have faith for there was more with THEM then were with their enemies. Regardless of YOUR circumstances, you must be as Hezekiah, and do all you can in the natural, while maintaining an unshakable faith in the promises of the Father. Yeshua makes us each a victor, because HE is victorious. When the circumstances of life shake you, remember through faith in Yeshua, that there are more WITH YOU, then against you. (Scripture References used: 2 Chronicles 32:1-8)

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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others By Kristie Carpenter | Blended Mom Moments

Love is patient; love is kind; it does not envy ... hmm, let’s stop there. If you are a woman who is in a blended family and have never felt the twinge of jealousy from your husband’s past relationships - then I believe you might be a saint! Of course, I understand Dan’s past marriages have taught him many lessons and that’s probably one of the reasons he is such a great husband today, but the ugly, two-headed, green monster still rises from the darkness to do some damage periodically.

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This small, four-letter word can ruin relationships by causing conflict, kindling resentment and making you miserable. James 3:16 says, “For where you find envy” … “there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Envy opens a door of doom. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones”. Envy will destroy.

body, and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” “You saw me before I was born and scheduled every day of my life before I began to breathe.” Next, stop and reflect on what you have been given. So many times we chase what everyone else has and forget we are blessed beyond compare. Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to always be wanting something else.” Philippians 4:11 says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul is telling us that being content isn’t just a virtue that appears, but one that can be learned. When you find yourself in a fit of jealousy, remember the old hymn, “Count your blessings; name them one by one; count your many blessings, see what God has done!”

Once you have stopped comparing yourself to others, have recognized your uniqueness, and taken the time to be thankful for what you have been given, then you will be able to reach out to others in love - without the envy. Matthew 22:39 tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Your neighbor has a ton of problems of his own. In fact, your neighbor may be So as a woman married to a man who has been envious of you! married before, how do you not allow envy to creep into your mind? As a woman with step- Lastly, and most importantly, refocus on pleaschildren, how do you quit feeling envious of ing God. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set our them? Let’s look at what God would say to minds on things above, not on earthly things.” The drama of this life will pass away. The dehelp us walk in truth and love. sires of attaining the material will melt. What The first thing to do is quit comparing yourself you are left with is the relationships you took to others. Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Let everyone the time to build, nurture and love. be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done Blessings in Your Blending! well, and won’t need to compare himself with ___________________________________ someone else.” God created you unlike anyone else. You are a one of a kind! Focus on Editor’s note: Women’s author, speaker and mendoing what God called you to do - and that is tor Kristie Carpenter, aka The Blended Family to be the best wife and mom and stepmom you Mom, has been a blended family/step mom since can be. It won’t be the same as others, and it 2004; her blended family currently includes four shouldn’t be! God created you in such a way children and four grandchildren. Follow Kristie so you can give something special to those He on Facebook (, Twitter (@BlendedFamilyM), and Instahas placed in your life. gram (theblendedfamilymom). Her books - “The

Then I want you to walk in recognition of the Blended Family Mom,” and “Blended Mom fact that you are unique. Psalm 139:13-15 has Moments,” are both available on her website at been a precious reminder of this to me. “You [God] made all the delicate inner parts of my

Pick us up at Alliance For Women & Children, Mary’s Paleteria & H.E.B. | FAITH & FAMILY | 37

Surround Yourself With People That Will Carry You in When You Can’t Carry Yourself. By Pastor Samuel Rodriguez

2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. Mark 2:2-3 Here we find a paralyzed man surrounded by for men who were not paralyzed. And therein lies the secret my friends. Let me explain it another way. Let’s look at the atom. An atom a fundamental piece of matter. ... An atom itself is made up of three tiny kinds of particles called subatomic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. The protons and the neutrons make up the center of the atom called the nucleus and the electrons fly around above the nucleus in a small cloud. Do you know what holds the Atom together? What prevents the Atom from falling apart? The nucleus. The heart of it. And the nucleus consists of a negatively charged neutron attracted by a positively charged protons. Again, you have a negative neutron but the new negative neutron attracts a positive proton. If the negative neutron would be surrounded by other negative neutralize the Atom falls apart. Stop! That’s the problem. That’s the reason why you’re always falling apart! The problem is that when we’re broken we like to surround ourselves with broken people because they can relate to our brokenness. The problem is that when we are wounded we like to surround ourselves with other bleeding people because they understand what it is to be wounded. Yet in all of God’s creation, and God’s creative providence, from the Atom to your life, there is a truth that cannot be denied.

When you are a neutron, find a proton. When you are paralyzed you have to surround yourself with people that are not paralyzed. This man was not carried in by four paralytics. This man was carried in by four men who were not paralyzed. When you are broken, surround yourself with people that are healed. When you are lost, surround yourself with people that are saved. When you are bleeding, surround yourself with people that are whole. When you are wrong, surround yourself with people that are right. When you’re going through hell, surround yourself with people that know how to bring down Heaven. If you’re paralyzed don’t hang around for paralyze people. If you’re bound don’t hang around for people that are bound. I don’t need you to just listen to me. I don’t need you just to understand me. I don’t need you just to make room for me. I need you to pray for me. I need you to prophesy into me. I need you to anoint me. If need be I need you to rebuke me. If I’m living a lie, I just don’t need your love I need the truth! Surround yourself with people that will carry you when you can’t carry yourself. Surround yourself with people that will praise you when you can’t praise for yourself. Surround yourself with people that will believe you in when you can’t believe for yourself. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Let’s go change the world!

38 | FAITH & FAMILY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

Forget New Year’s Resolutions and Remember One Word By Mark Merrill | Helping Families Love Well

If you’re like most people, you’ll be coming up with some new resolutions for yourself, your marriage, or your family which can be hard to keep, as I’ve blogged about before. So this year, I’m endorsing a simpler idea: Remember one word.

Marriage is the ultimate team sport and marriages only work well when husbands and wives remember that they’re on the same team. How much better would our world be if every marriage focused this new year on being a better team? Home. Maybe you need to spend less time on the road and more time at home. Maybe you need to say no to more things outside your home and yes to more things inside your home. Student. Be a student of your marriage. Perhaps you could dedicate yourself to finding new sources of inspiration and help for your marriage by reading a new book every month on relationships or going to a conference or retreat sometime in the year.

A friend of mine Bobb Biehl inspired me to do this. Recently, I found some notes I took during one of his talks 15 years ago. Bobb shared the importance of having a “single word focus.” It’s a great concept. Through the years, I’ve used this single word focus at Picking an Adjective: Something descriptive of what you want to be like. work and at home.

Compassionate. Your marriage could be strengthened by a year dedicated to exercising compassion for others together. Patient. Maybe you’ve grown weary as a couple with each other or with life circumstances, and a year focused on being more patient with each other would give you a new perspective Here are some examples for you to consider: on marriage and life. If so, I can identify because of my own struggles with patience, but Picking a Verb: I’ve also made progress. Something you want Funny. Maybe you need to do or accomplish. to laugh more. If the burdens of life have beaten Finish. Maybe you you down as a couple, have a project or list focusing your year on of projects that you’ve laughing and having fun put off as a couple. What would the new year look like if you fo- together on a regular basis might be the refreshment you need. cused on finishing that off? Find. A marriage sometimes needs fresh discovery. Maybe your year could be focused on Perhaps this year we can set aside a launfinding out more about your spouse than you dry list of goals and focus on a single word really know or finding a new purpose or a new that might mean more in the long run. Print your word. Keep it handy in your purse, activity to pursue together. Help. What if your focus this year was on find- wallet, briefcase, backpack, or desk. ing new ways to help your spouse or together to help others? Pray. What would your year look like if you decided to pray together on a regular basis as a couple? This year at work our one word is clarity: to be clearer on strategy, roles, and responsibilities at Family First. Your word might be something you want to do (verb), something you want to be (noun), or something you want to describe yourself or the world around you (adjective).

Picking a Noun: A person, place, or thing you want to be.

Team. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Pick us up at China Star, Abilene Public Library & Martinez Barber Shop | FAITH & FAMILY | 39

Job for Abilene, Tx

Overcoming Favoritism:

Loving Your Stepkids Show stepchildren love and fair treatment while staying true to your biological kids. By Shannon Perry | Focus on the Family

Susan* can’t help but love her daughter more. Yes, she loves her stepsons, too, but she admits that her love for her biological daughter runs deeper. Susan often struggles with feelings of guilt for giving her daughter special treatment. Her husband, Dave, pays a great amount of money to his ex for child support, so Susan spends additional money on her daughter to make sure the score is even. She realizes, however, this may not be the best approach to ensuring that all the kids feel they are treated fairly.

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their primary source of connection during a traumatic divorce.

Allow for reasonable differences.

Don’t feel guilty if you can provide something for your biological child even though his or her stepsiblings don’t have a similar luxury at the other parent’s home. For example, you have primary custody of your biological child who wants a full-size bed. Your stepchildren, who live in a different house most of the time, are happy to sleep in bunk beds when they’re at your house. That’s what they have at the home One of the greatest challenges in a blended where they spend most of their time. It’s OK to family is accepting that a preference toward buy the roomier, more expensive full-size bed biological children is normal. But how can we for your biological child. show our stepchildren love and fair treatment while staying true to the love we have for our Be open to the truth if you are acbiological children? Here are some ideas: cused of being unfair. If you’re accused of treating your biological child better than Refuse to segregate by relationship your stepchildren (favoritism), listen respectterms. Instead of telling others you have two fully to their concern. If your stepchildren feel stepsons and a daughter, you could say, “I have they are more harshly punished when a rule two sons and a daughter.” Use words that bring is broken, simply respond with, “I appreciate unity within a blended family. your taking the time to share your concern with me. Can you give me an example of why you Show equal respect. feel this way so that I can better understand?” If you spend 30 minutes on your biological child’s homework, be prepared to do the same Schedule one-on-one time with your for your stepkids if they ask for help. Always biological kids. If your biological child defer to the biological parent if your stepchild feels slighted when you pay attention to your does not want your help. Show equal expec- stepchildren, discuss strategies that will help

tations when it comes to chores, bedtimes and him or her feel more loved and included. For mealtimes. example, if your child says he or she would like to watch a movie that the two of you Set equal limits. enjoyed before becoming a blended family, Hold family meetings and discuss expecta- schedule time alone to watch the movie while tions, rules and consequences. Let each child your stepchildren spend time with their bioknow that the same guidelines apply to all logical parent. (with adjustments for various ages, of course).

Stepchildren and biological children can all

Consider the emotional makeup of the child feel valued and loved if you and your spouse when determining consequences. If your bio- speak about and treat them equitably. logical child needs consequences different from those your stepchildren require, that’s * Names have been changed to protect identities. OK. That doesn’t mean you’re showing favoritism. For example, your biological children may tolerate having their cellphones confisCALL US TO ADVERTISE cated for breaking a rule, but your stepchildren (325) 701-9505 may feel terrified if their phones have been

40 | FAITH & FAMILY | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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Elena Has Lost Over 80 Pounds on Keto By Ruled.Me

Like so many others, I’ve started over so many more times than I can count. I’ve tried everything under the sun to lose weight and was successful the year before I got married because I knew it was fast approaching. But I kept my diet super low in carbs and hours and hours at the gym to get there only to gain that weight back after I had my girls (within 3 years). After that, I would yo-yo diet. This time was different, my 9-year-old received a letter from her school saying she had to be tested for diabetes because of her weight. She opened that letter and read it and immediately thought she was dying. I reassured her she was not and told her we would figure this out. I took her to the doctor and that day I saw an ad on Facebook for a 6 week challenge at a local gym.

made thus far. My relationship with food has changed. I never thought that would be possible. I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, mad, sad, nervous, anxious, bored, tired… you name it and I was eating. I don’t depend on food anymore and it’s such an amazingly freeing experience. To this day I cannot believe those words come out of my mouth. Me! The cookie queen! Thank you for this website and everything it stands for. I’ve been transitioning my family’s diet to be keto

I went there the following Monday and signed up. They gave me a binder with a diet to follow (Paleo) and I had to show up at least 3 times a week to work out. That same day, my daughter’s doctor recommended Paleo. I thought it’s meant to be! Well, the diet was very expensive to follow and after six weeks, I lost 7 of the 20 lbs I had and so far I think its hoped for and my daughter was at the same working. My husband weight. has dropped 25 lbs, I’m down 81 as of 3 weeks ago and my daughters A girl at the gym told me about Keto in the have had a significant change in their mood beginning and I thought she was crazy. The and attitude not to mention my 9 year old’s last day when we weighed in, I was SO up- chicken skin is gone and so is mine! set I went up to her and said, “okay… tell me about this keto diet”. She told me, “go to This website really was my starting point, my this website ( and read. If you foundation to my new lifestyle (that’s right! have any questions, send me a message. I did. Lifestyle! Not a diet). Thank you again! I jumped in head first after about 3 weeks of researched and dropped 7 lbs the first week. 1. What tactics did you employ to help you get to your goal? What did you find helped I never looked back on carbs after that. Keto you get to your goals best? I find that staying has helped me lose weight of course but about 500 calories under my allowed caloric most importantly change my mindset about intake helps me burn fat and drop the weight food. That is the biggest transformation I’ve faster.

2. What is the most impactful change you’ve made to your diet and why do you feel it’s been the most important? I feel the most impactful change has definitely been the sugar. If you would’ve told me a year ago I would live a sugar-free life… I would say there was no way in the world. Not this girl. Thankfully it’s not a

7. What do you currently do to manage your dayto-day diet? I still update my macros using the ruled. me calculator every time I approach my next goal. I measure and track my food occasionally to make sure I’m on the right path. When I don’t measure is because I’m eating something I’ve had recently and already know how to calculate it. 8. What is your favorite keto recipe from www. that’s become craving anymore. a staple? I make the almond flour flaxseed pancakes regularly for my daughter. She loves 3. What is the best single piece of advice you them and so do I! can give to someone that is just starting out? The best advice and the one I say over and 9. If there is one thing that you could do difover is to commit yourself to 2 full weeks with ferently during your journey, what would no cheats no breaks. All those cravings and it be and why? If there was one thing I could temptations will go away soon after that if they do differently in this journey it would be to not haven’t already. have hesitated for 3 weeks before I started. 4. How do you feel your life is now that you’re at your goal? I’m still about 16 lbs I was so scared and overwhelmed that I was away from my goal but I’ve never felt this con- afraid to try something else. Especially somefident that I’ll reach it. This time it’s actually q thing that seemed too good to be true. But I did matter of when and not IF. learn a lot those 3 weeks of research so it’s okay.

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5. What do you consider the biggest change in your day-to-day life? The energy I have today and the mental aspect is the biggest change I’ve had. I’m a different person not because I look different but because I think different and I feel completely different. I’m always happy now. 6. What did you do to find support throughout your journey? I made friends online that understand this journey as well as support from my family.




42 | HEALTH | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Get the Facts: Three Myths About Cervical Cancer Screening By Virginia Senkomago | Cancer Health

I recently attended a school reunion and was able to catch up with some former classmates. I had not seen many of them for over 10 years. Of all the conversations I had that weekend, one about cervical cancer screening has stuck in my mind. As a friend and I discussed what we do, I mentioned that most of my work in the past few years has focused on cervical cancer prevention and research. She was curious to learn more about the need for screening.

screened regularly miss the opportunity to detect abnormal cervical tissue early, when treatment is very effective. I was so glad that I had the chance to speak with my friend and share correct scientific information with her. I was also very pleased when she told me that she was going to schedule an appointment to get screened as soon as she got home.

My friend told me that she had not been screened for cervical cancer since the birth of her now 10-year-old daughter. What followed was a conversation where she gave me her reasons for not getting screened. I listened and tried to shed light on the myths she believed that make it okay for her to avoid screening.

Cervical cancer is preventable by screening and treating any abnormal cervical tissue early. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends: • Screening with a Papanicoloau (Pap) test every 3 years for women aged 21 to 65 years. • Screening with a Pap and HPV test every 5 years for women aged 30 to 65 years.

Myth 1: I don’t need to get screened because cervical cancer doesn’t run in my family. MythBuster: Most cervical

cancers are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is spread by skin contact during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who has the virus. HPV is so common that almost every sexually active person will get it at some time in their life if they have not had the HPV vaccine. Although HPV is very common, few men and women will go on to develop cancer. The lack of a family history of cervical cancer is not a predictor of cervical cancer and is not a reason to skip screening.

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Cervical cancer screening is covered by health insurance. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides funding to U.S. states, tribes, and territories to deliver breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women. Find out if you qualify.

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Myth 2: I don’t need to get screened er, if you have any unexplained bleeding, don’t because I don’t have any symptoms. wait. See a doctor right away to find out why. More than 12,000 women in the United States MythBuster: A screening test is done to find anything abnormal in otherwise healthy people who are not having any symptoms. When there are symptoms, a diagnostic test is done to find out the cause of the symptoms. Women with abnormal cervical cells aren’t likely to experience any symptoms. But abnormal cells can still be detected by screening. Women should not wait for symptoms to get screened. Howev-

get cervical cancer each year, and more than half

Myth 3: I don’t want to get screened of these cases occur in women who have never because if I have cervical cancer it been screened or who haven’t been screened in can’t be treated anyway. MythBuster: the past 5 years. Spreading the facts and debunkScreening helps prevent cervical cancer. Screening finds abnormal cells on the cervix so they can be treated before they turn into cancer. It also helps find cervical cancer early, when treatment works best. Women who don’t get

ing these and other myths is important. Please help spread the word during January for National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the year.


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44 | HEALTH | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

It’s a Small Part of The Body - But Kind of a Big Deal By Prime Therapeutics

January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Up to 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition — and up to 60 percent of them don’t know it.1 The thyroid can be either overactive or underactive. And both conditions can lead to big health problems for employees.

It’s a hard worker — most of the time

The thyroid is found in the middle of the lower neck. The hormones it produces (T3 and T4) affect every cell in the body. They help control your body temperature and heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein. If the thyroid produces too much — or too little — T3 and T4, it can create problems. Specifically, those conditions are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Here are the facts:

• An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. • Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. • Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. • The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown. • Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.

Hyperthyroidism: overworked and stressed out




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Hyperthyroidism is a lifelong, but treatable, condition. It’s diagnosed through a physical exam, blood test and other thyroid tests if appropriate. Treatments include anti-thyroid medicines and radioactive iodine to slow hormone production.3 In rare cases, surgery may be required.

Hypothyroidism: underactive and tired out

Sometimes the thyroid doesn’t produce enough T-3 and T-4 hormones, or enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).4 That leads to hypothyroidism. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, and weight gain. Doctors will normally do a physical exam and a blood test to check TSH levels. Standard treatment involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine to regulate hormone levels.5 The dosage may change over time, so yearly doctor visits are recommended.

Thyroid cancer: the prognosis is good

Thyroid cancer happens when thyroid cells grow and multiply rapidly. They form a tumor, and the abnormal cells can also spread throughout the body. The exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, but it can be linked to some inherited conditions.6 There are no early symptoms, but as the cells grow, they may cause a lump in the neck or swollen lymph glands, voice changes, pain and difficulty swallowing.

Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid produces too much T-4.2 Symptoms include irrita- Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with bility, nervousness, shaking, muscle weakness, surgery to remove most or all of the thyroid. sudden weight loss and sleeping problems. That’s followed by a lifelong treatment with levothyroxine, which supplies the missing horGraves disease is a type of hyperthyroidism that mone your thyroid would normally produce. It affects about one percent of the population. It’s also stops your pituitary gland from producing a genetic autoimmune condition that can cause thyroid-stimulating hormone — which could the tissue and muscle behind the eyes to swell cause any remaining cancer cells to grow.7 (Graves opthalmopathy).

Small gland, big disruption

The good news about thyroid conditions is that they’re treatable. The not-so-good news: They can be physically and mentally challenging. Symptoms range from mild to severe, which can make it hard to work. Hypothyroidism can mean more doctor visits to regulate medicine and check for dosage changes as needed.

Pick us up at China Star, Abilene Public Library & Martinez Barber Shop | HEALTH | 45

4 Tips to Quiet Heartburn By ShareCare

If you have been popping antacids like candy lately, consider making some lifestyle changes. “We can definitely be proactive,” says clinical dietician Amy Freeman, RDN, of Ocala Health. Sometimes medical factors cause heartburn. “But we can control other things,” Freeman says.

there’s no need to eliminate coffee,” she says. You might be surprised at what you learn. “A lot of folks will say, ‘I can’t have this,’ but that may not be true for them. By keeping a food and symptoms log, they’ll find something more specific for them.”

Here are just a few lifestyle changes you can 3. Skip the soda make to get your heartburn under control. In one study, people who consumed at least one carbonated beverage a day had a 30 per1. Lose weight cent increased risk of nighttime heartburn Being overweight “changes the pressure of the compared with those who didn’t drink bubbly lower esophageal sphincter (LES),” says Free- beverages. Bubbles and acids in fizzy drinks— which contribute to bloating—set the stage for heartburn.

4. Bump up your dinner

Avoid eating for at least three hours before bed, says Freeman. In another study, people who went to bed within 3 hours of dinner were 7.5 times more likely to have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) compared with people who waited for at least 4 hours after dining to go to bed. If you’re still up and about while your stomach is working, “We’re not in that prone position and working against man. This is the valve that keeps stomach juices gravity,” Freeman says. More ways to make from creeping up. Imagine the LES as a fist. If gravity your friend: Sit up straight while eatyou make a tight fist, you can’t see daylight ing and consider raising the head of your bed. through it..But if the fist is loose, you can—just as a loose LES allows acid to pass through. “Being Fanning the flames overweight lowers that pressure,” she says. “The Almost everyone experiences heartburn at extra body mass prevents the LES from closing.” some point in his or her life. And more than 40 percent of people in the United States have 2. Keep a journal heartburn at least once a month. About 10 perDiaries aren’t just for angsty teenagers. Freeman cent of us get it daily (ouch). Whatever bucket recommends keeping both a food log and a record you fall into, take heed if heartburn becomes of symptoms. Tracking both can help you learn more than an occasional annoyance. Chronic what sets your body off. “If I have my morning heartburn could be a sign of GERD—a concoffee every day but get rid of chocolate and pep- dition that, when left untreated, increases the per and that gets rid of my symptoms, I know risk of esophageal cancer.

Stroke Warning Signs Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, says the American Stroke Association. The association mentions these warning signs: • Face drooping. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?

• Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? • Speech. Is speech slurred or hard to understand? Additional symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness, confusion, trouble seeing, difficulty walking and severe headache. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows any of these symptoms.

46 | HEALTH | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Hendrick Welcomes Dr. Jebakumar By Hendrick Health System

Hendrick Health System is proud to welcome Adlene Jebakumar, MD, to practice internal medicine in Abilene. Dr. Jebakumar earned her medical degree from Tirunelveli Medical College in India. She served as a clinical research trainee in rheumatology at Mayo Clinic and completed her internal medicine residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn. Most recently, Dr. Jebakumar served as a primary care physician with Sharpe, Dillon and Cockson Associates in Edina, Minn. She is board certified in internal medicine and is a member of the American College of Physicians.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;My goal is to be there for my patients at their time of need and help them recover from their illness,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Jebakumar She and her husband Rheumatologist Dr. Prabhu Udayakumar chose Hendrick because of its faithbased mission and are excited to serve the Abilene community together. They are the proud parents of four beautiful children. Dr. Jebakumar will join the physicians at Hendrick Provider Network. Her office is located at 1850 Hickory St., Suite 200-F. For more information, call 325-670-4590.

. Advertise Today! Call (325) 518-7091


Meet 4 People Whose Lives Have Been Changed Through Their Work at Goodwill By Goodwill – West Texas

Since 1983, Goodwill-West Texas has been working to help people across the region, by providing “opportunities to persons with barriers to employment” through job training and business services. With almost 300 people employed at 14 retail locations in 10 cities across 35 counties, Goodwill empowers people, helps them fulfill their potential, improves the lives of their families and contributes to the elsewhere. Bobby, who enjoys the friendly growth of their communities. atmosphere and the work he does, said that Goodwill is willing to accept different people Almost 60% of their employees have a docu- with different limitations, and he feels like he mented barrier to employment. Those barriers has learned a lot through the organization. can range from a disability to a disadvantage that would make it difficult to obtain reliable, Tabatha steady work. Goodwill-West Texas knows that Tabatha believes people with disabilities can jobs build lives – and hope, dignity and self- do everything they want to do. She lives with sufficiency can be found through the power of mild cerebral palsy, a disorder that can affect work. Meet four people who have overcome movement, muscle tone and posture. Tabatha their barriers through their work at Goodwill- said her condition made it hard to find a job, West Texas. but she came to Goodwill because she knew

the Abilene Goodwill location. While working at the organization, Lori began to gain dignity and self-esteem. She feels like she was given opportunities that would have been difficult to find elsewhere because of her disabilities, and she began to gain confidence through her job. With new-found courage, Lori took a positive step toward her future, with a better job opportunity outside of Goodwill. She said she continues to keep her “lifelong” relationships with former co-workers – and relies on the valuable lessons she learned from Goodwill to help her excel in her new job.


Bobby has what is called an invisible disability, one that you can’t see when you meet him but that greatly impacts his life. Bobby is deaf, but he hasn’t let this barrier stand in his way. When he first started to look for a job, Bobby knew he wanted to work for Goodwill. Sure enough, his very first job was with Goodwill back in March 2002! Since then, he has thrived and become a pillar of the organization. Bobby has moved up the ranks in Goodwill’s donation services unit in Abilene. He has received his forklift certification and believes Goodwill has offered him opportunities that would have been difficult to find

Mikey (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill - West Texas)

life after deciding he no longer wanted to put his children around alcohol and drugs. After making the best decision “to let go and let God,” he said he went through Alcoholics Anonymous. Three weeks after starting the program, with the help of another person in recovery, Mikey encountered an opportunity to work at Goodwill.

Tabatha (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill - West Texas)

they would give her an opportunity. In her words, she “was looking for something to do instead of looking at four walls all day.” She sorts shoes and accessories at the Sherwood Way location. Tabatha said that working at Goodwill has helped her learn to communicate better with people in San Angelo. She has made several friends, and she loves coming to work. Goodwill – and her boss, Kathryn – “gave her a positive opportunity.”

Bobby (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill - West Texas)

He previously had issues finding a job due to his criminal history but said Goodwill took a chance on him. Mikey has since celebrated one full year at the organization – something he’s never had before. Mikey believes there is no other place he could have worked that would have given him the support he needed to get back on his feet, get his state ID and start his life over again.


In fall 2017, Lori came to work at Goodwill through the Work Adjustment Training program that partners those with moderate to severe disabilities with a coach to learn job skills. Graduates of this seven-week program find hope, dignity and self-sufficiency through emMikey ployment with local partners or at Goodwill. In In the past, Mikey was addicted to drugs and Lori’s case, she was able to take the skills she has a lengthy criminal record. He changed his learned and apply them directly to a position at

Lori (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill - West Texas)

More than just a job

While every Goodwill employee’s story is different, they all share something in common: their work with Goodwill changed their lives and the lives of others for the better. Each day, every single Goodwill employee can come into work confident that they have a purpose and that they are leaving the world a better place. Working for Goodwill is about more than just doing a job: it’s about fulfilling a mission. About Goodwill-West Texas Goodwill-West Texas is a lot more than a place to donate used household goods and clothing. They are not “just a thrift store.” Goodwill is really about changing lives and fulfilling their mission. By donating your new or gently used items, shopping in their stores or donating to Goodwill directly, you are helping fulfill their mission!

48 | BUSINESS | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Relocation Tonya Harbin Team Keller Williams 12-5-19 — in Abilene, Texas.

Expansion Safety City Abilene, TX- Melvin Martin Center for Children’s Safety 12-13-19 — in Abilene, Texas.

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Relocation Edward Jones - Financial Advisor: Jason Weltzin 12-6-19 — in Abilene, Texas.

Grand Re-Opening Familia Dental Abilene 11-22-2019

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with‘Sweet Jennifer Flores Piggy Ceramics’ 1. Tell us about your family! Our family 5. Besides working hard for Sweet consists of my husband Sam and myself. We Piggy Ceramics, what else keeps you have one son Sammy, twin daughters Alexis & busy? Any Hobbies? Kiddos’ activiAlyssa and a grandson Jay. We have two dogs ties? We do have many hobbies, but with a Benny & Forrest.

business it’s really hard. We love riding our Harley. Traveling and spending time with our 2. How long have you worked in the family and our dogs is something we enjoy as Ceramics business? We opened Sweet well. Our main mission is getting our new loPiggy Ceramics on May 2019 on S.14th but cation up to date for our wonderful customers. recently moved location to 859 Butternut.

3. What made you decide to get into this business? We

Name: Jasmine McCabe-Gossett

nects you to others. While living in Abilene I’ve been empowered to get plugged in and be Where do you work? Community Foundation the change I want to see. of Abilene What do you do in your free time? My husWhat’s your job title/what do you do? I am band and I love to travel and try new foods. the Donor Services Director. I connect philanthropically-minded people with the causes they What’s your favorite restaurant in Abilene? care about within our community. Krua Thai Restaurant Where are you from? I grew up in a military family - both my parents served in the US Army. During my childhood I moved over 10 times!

What’s something you’re passionate about and why? I am passionate about ensuring there is diversity and inclusivity of thought in all settings regardless of ability, creed, color, age, etc. I believe everyone deserves a seat at If you’re not from Abilene, how long have the table, and it is important to foster an enyou lived in the area and what brought you vironment where people feel safe to express here? I’ve lived in Abilene for 13 years and themselves. People who feel safe, seen and Abilene Christian University brought me here. heard are likely to thrive and reach their fullest potential! What is your favorite thing about living in the Big Country? I truly feel it is a place where Share a fun fact about yourself other AYP I’ve been given an opportunity to prosper while Members might not know! I ran against also being able to give back. Abilene has a track and field Olympian, Allyson Felix. warmth and depth that draws you in and con-

6. What inspires you to get up every morning? Our

family business and wanted to have somethe customers that thing for our commuhave become family. nity that was both for They are not just cusfamilies and adults. We tomers; you meet their painted ceramics with kids and learn about our children when they their extended family were smaller and loved and it’s such a blessing it and they still rememthat so many people ber the memories and have been so supporthave the items. Our ive in our community. community art is vital so we knew it would be a perfect choice for 7. If someone is in need of information Abilene and the surrounding counties. about Sweet Piggy Ceramics, how do they get in touch with you?

4. What areas do you serve with Sweet Piggy Ceramics? We serve Abilene and

many other surrounding counties. We even have repeat customers come from Eastland. San Angelo, Wall, and etc.

(325) 305-3997 (325) 305-3617

Facebook: Sweetpiggy Ceramics Instagram: Sweetpiggy Ceramics

New Location: 859 Butternut • Abilene TX

50 | BUSINESS | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

Where Will The Next Decade Take Your Business? By Doug Peters | President and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

If you’re like many business owners, you’re more likely thinking about where you’ll take your business than where your business will take you. As you should be. This time of year always makes me think about the Chamber and the work that we do every day on behalf of our members and the economy. A new year – and a new decade to boot – are always a great time to think about how we’ll position ourselves and our businesses to do great things. For the Chamber, we’re working at becoming brilliant at the basics. We want your business to thrive, and we want to be the best we can be in that effort. Whether its business advocacy and serving our members, recruiting new jobs and capital investment to our community, the next convention or travel group, advancing the arts, protecting and promoting the mission at Dyess AFB and supporting our airmen and their families, well – we’re on it. If you recall, we’ve already been named by way of accreditation as one of the top 200 best performing Chambers in the country, out of more than 7,000. We have a plan, we have great leadership in our elected board, we have the world’s best volunteers (thank you sincerely for sharing your company’s talent with us) and we have a member retention and engagement level that far exceeds the national average. But we’ll keep focused, and working to get better at what we do. How about you? Where are your sights set for the coming year? Here are Doug’s Top Tips to think about as the new decade approaches:

Schedule a break – Has it been a while

since you’ve slowed down and taken a break from your business or career? Consider scheduling some time off in the new year. Not only can time off help to reduce stress and prevent burnout, but it can also give you a fresh perspective

that you can use in your business when you return. Taking a break – even a short one – is easier said than done. Consider taking an afternoon off to explore the city you live in. Visit Abilene can help plan your staycation.

Increase traffic online –

Digital media is only increasing. Are you up-to-date on the 2020 digital marketing trends? Read up on ways you can increase your online traffic and rest assured that your Chamber membership helps automatically increase your SEO score. That’s right – joining the Abilene Chamber gives you a ‘dofollow’ backlink from our website. Meaning, Google and the other search engines look to you as more favorable from an SEO standpoint. If you have a link from us, and your competitors don’t, you’re more likely to show up in Google searches.

Find new opportunities for networking – If you are not actively networking, set

online Tools for Business resource (I’m telling you, it’s awesome), make it a point to learn from others (my favorite part of networking) or however you get your learning on. And, don’t forget about the people who work for you. They need education and inspiration, too.

Take your business Back to Basics –

Remember why you started. Remember why you enjoyed your job in the first place. Think about all the blessings that come to you. It’s easy to focus on the minutia and the challenges. Don’t overlook the opportunities to grow – to broaden your horizon. Force yourself to think of all you’re grateful for. Consider forcing yourself to write one thank you note each day. Doing so forces us to really think about all we have to be grateful for. The “good stuff” often gets lost when we constantly focus on the hard stuff.

Engage in the Chamber (my favorite)

– Your Chamber is driven by the leadership of its investors. Yep, that would be YOU. A good friend of mine wrote a book that chronicles the history of Chambers of Commerce and their major achievements across the US. It’s worth the read – look up Magicians of Main Street by Chris Mead. The cool thing about that book is that every major achievement (the Golden Gate Bridge, the St. Louis Arch, Lindbergh’s flight and many, many more) were thought of and implemented by people just like you, in a Chamber just like ours, in a community much like Abilene as solutions to challenges facing their respective business communities. And, while you’re at it, invite a local business to join the Chamber movement. Think of all we can do – together.

a goal this year that gets you in front of more people and expands your business network. The Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council is bringing back monthly networking lunches which gives you a total of five monthly networking opportunities from the Chamber alone to help you make connections including a new event you can look for in 2020 called 1 Millions Cups. In partnership with McMurry University, Chamber members can now take advantage of this new networking opportunity for entrepreneurs. It will take place the last Wednesday of every month at McMurry’s innovation room. Look for more I could go on, but you get the point. A sunsetting info on those events on the Chamber’s calendar. year is always followed by the dawn of a new one. And in this case, that new year just happens Learn something new – You’d think that to be the start of a brand new decade. Let’s both after all these years in the Chamber and econom- pledge to work closely together to not only better ic development business, I’d be pretty set on the your bottom line, but to position our thriving city “know-how.” Truth is, I usually learn something for continued greatness. new every single day. And, the days I don’t pick up something that makes me – and by extension I hope that 2019 is all that you’d hoped it would the Chamber – better, is a day that disappoints be, and that 2020 exceeds your wildest expecme. Invest a little time in identifying and par- tations – with good health, success, unmatched ticipating in seminars, look into the Chamber’s prosperity and personal and professional growth.

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Pick us up at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wal-Mart, Lytle Land & Cattle | BUSINESS | 51

5 Things to Do Now If You Want a New Job in 2020 By Martha C. White | Money Magazine

New year, new you… new job? January is a statistics prominently on the top,” says Andrew popular time for job seekers, according to career Challenger, vice president at Challenger, Gray & experts. Christmas. So what should you include in your resume, right at the top? Figures or accomplish“January is the peak month for job searching,” ments you might consider highlighting could insays Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glass- clude cost savings you initiated, incremental revdoor. “In January, there are 22 percent more job enue you earned, or productivity improvements applications started on Glassdoor than in a typi- you implemented. cal month.” Use holiday “down time” to contact hiring managers. In many industries, the peEmployers could be on the lookout for you, riod around Christmas and New Year’s is slow; too. “The beginning of the year is a time when in fact, some companies may shut their doors enmany employers are looking to bring in new tal- tirely. If you’re looking for a job, though, this is ent,” says Michelle Armer, chief people officer no time to take a vacation. “Hiring managers are at CareerBuilder. CareerBuilder’s own research likely receiving fewer resumes during this time found that last year, nearly four in 10 companies period, so it could be a great time to apply,” planned to add to their head count in the first Armer says. You might even have more quarter. luck getting on the radar of a busy hiring manager if your inquiry or application arSo if you’re thinking about starting 2020 with rives when their inbox isn’t as full. a job change, you’ll have a lot of opportunity — but you’ll have a lot of company, too. Here Tailor individual pitches for each emare the steps you should take right now to make ployer. “Do your research to find out what jobs yourself stand out in a sea of applications, ac- and companies are the right fit for you,” Zhao cording to experts. says. “Customize your application to show that you understand that company and its needs. The Create the best resume — by stream- key, once January rolls around, is really going lining it. It’s a myth that you list every job to be differentiation.” A cookie-cutter resume you’ve ever held on your isn’t going to stand out, resume, Armer says. “If but a targeted approach you’re 10 years into your will make hiring managers career as a software entake notice. gineer, you don’t need to list your time working Take advantage of at an ice cream shop in networking opporhigh school,” she says. tunities. “Job seekers “Dedicate more space to should take this time to the sections that matter so network with new or existyou can give stronger deing contacts. Go to holiday tail about the experiences parties, go to your friends’ you’ve had that make you or partner’s holiday para strong candidate,” she ties,” Challenger says. The says, adding that you also holidays are a natural time shouldn’t overlook leadership and collaboration to reconnect or make new connections; use that skills. “Often, employers will give equal or more to your advantage. “People are generally in good weight to soft skills like your ability to work well moods around the holidays,” he adds. “You never with a team or think critically,” she says. know who may be in the holiday spirit and in a position to help you land a new role.”

When you update your resume, start at the top. “During a job search, hiring man-

agers look at resumes for an average of three seconds before they make a decision on the candidate, so it’s imperative to include impressive

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52 | BUSINESS | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry


Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

9 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Success By Kimberly de Silva | BiznessApps

Dr. Blake Dawes Dr. Mark Sivley and Dr. Brian Toogood are

excited to welcome Dr. Blake Dawes to their Big Country Dental Practice. Dr. Dawes and his family will be a great addition to Abilene. We would love for you to meet him! Blake E. Dawes, D.D.S., is a 2007 graduate of The University of Texas Dental Branch. From an early age, he had the opportunity to work in his grandfather’s dental office in Austin, Texas. There, he had the ability to pick up various dental techniques and patient management skills from his grandfather, John T. Dawes, D.D.S. Prior to his doctorate training, he studied Biochemistry at the University of Texas in Austin. Upon completion of dental school, Dr. Dawes returned to practice with his grandfather who had devoted his practice to complex dental rehabilitation and advanced cosmetic dentistry. He learned cutting-edge concepts in restorative and prosthetic dentistry. For the last 11 years, he practiced in Round Rock restoring and enhancing smiles. In 2018, he relocated his family to their home on Lake Brownwood where they enjoy fishing and boating. They have since fallen in love with west Texas and look forward to making Abilene their home. Dr. Dawes believes that quality care begins with understanding each patient’s unique situation. He is committed to listening and delivering the care you desire, to meet your particular needs and exceed your expectations at every visit. He is committed to expanding his clinical knowledge and skills through continuing education so that he and his team can achieve the best results with the highest standard of care. Dr. Dawes is thrilled to join the Big Country Dental team.

CALL US TO ADVERTISE (325) 701-9505

When people hear new year’s resolutions, they often think of “exercising more”, “spending more time with the family”, or “traveling more”. Besides these personal resolutions, you can also create impactful resolutions for your small business. A resolution, after all, is a decision to do something differently to bring about positive change. It’s a good time to reflect on your business’ progress and plan how you want to grow your business in the new year.

you haven’t taken action to make your online presence mobile-friendly, if you still haven’t created an email marketing list, or if digital isn’t part of your marketing strategy at all, it’s time to add this to your new year’s resolutions. You could even take a step further than mobile-friendly and use a mobile-first approach to your digital presence.

4. I will charge what I’m worth

Do you feel that your product or service is undervalued? If so, then it might be time to raise 1. I will learn how to delegate and your rates to correspond with the value you do more of it - As a small business owner, bring to the table. You might be thinking that you’re to-do list probably doesn’t even fit on one page. There are so many things to do, and it’s easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them ourselves. You can only work so many hours in a day. As a result, you’re probably exhausted, stressed, and don’t have any free time outside of your business. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance. However, people don’t delegate because it takes a lot of up-front effort and requires a loss of control. So how do you let someone else do cer- raising your prices will alienate certain peotain tasks, while making sure it’s done cor- ple from becoming a customer. That could rectly? The answer is simple: communication be the case, but you can’t be all things to all and training. Make sure your employees are people. “Your target market will pay what trained enough, to the point where they can the marketplace has proved it will pay”, says take over some of your tasks. The next step Entrepreneur. How can you implement this? is to clearly communicate the objectives and Depending on your business, you can shift to deadlines, so that you don’t end up micro- a “packaged value” approach. This is where managing. you provide tiered packages that give potential customers choices, so they can focus on 2. I will learn how the value you offer rather than the amount of to manage my cash time you spent. Your prices can then reflect flow more effective- this value. ly - Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small busi- 5. I will learn something new - New ness. In fact, a prominent year, new skill. Choose something new to study from the financial learn in 2018 – it may be directly related services company U.S. to your business or completely unrelated. Bank found that 82 percent of startups and Learning a new skill will add a dimension of small businesses fail due to poor cash-flow interest to your life that will help to maintain management. According to The Balance, that work-life balance. It will also help you to “This is a great resolution for small business get out of your comfort zone and meet new owners who have drastic ebbs and flows in people, if you decide to take marketing classtheir cash flow, have been unable to create es or learn a new language. enough capital to invest back into the business, or those who don’t really understand the 6. I will make business strategizday-to-day finances of the business.” ing a weekly event - Planning is vital if you want to foster a growing business. But 3. I will take steps to improve my running a small business can be chaotic and digital presence -If it’s been more than it’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day opa year since your site has been updated, if erations. Business strategizing allows you to

take a step back and highlight what worked and what didn’t, while adjusting old goals and setting new ones. So why do it just once a quarter or once a year? Set aside time each week to review your strategies. This will help you stay on track and allow you to have a clear hold on your business.

7. I will drop what’s not working and move on - After all that business

strategizing, you will know exactly what’s not working for your small business. Maybe your sales method isn’t performing well, one of your products isn’t selling, or a specific partnership isn’t working out…. If this is the case, it’s time to drop it. As The Balance states, “If a technique or a product or a business relationship isn’t working for you, stop using it. Don’t invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.”

8. I will promote my business regularly and consistently - Since small business

owners wear a lot of hats, you might not always have “marketing” at the top of your to-do list. While you should definitely focus on delivering that amazing small business experience, you shouldn’t forget to market that amazing experience to to the outside world. To attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Take the time to create a marketing plan or, even your funds allow it, hire a marketing expert to help you set it up. To get started, try some of these ways to get press coverage for your small business.

9. I will enhance my technology footprint - Few things frustrate employees

– and customers – more than working with outdated technology. Slow internet speeds, clunky operating systems and inadequate tools can eat up valuable time. Make an inventory list of all your company supplies to see what needs replacing. Maybe it’s time to implement that online food ordering system, or maybe your employees could use new computers. Start the year off right by upgrading your technology footprint.

Pick us up at Dairy Queen, First Financial Bank & Central Finance | BUSINESS | 53

54 | BUSINESS | HispanicLife l Abilene/BigCountry

How To Make The Most of Your Tax Refund By

Last year, the IRS reported giving out more than $324 billion in tax refunds, with the average refund clocking in at almost $2,900.(1) Lots of early filers are already waiting to receive this year’s tax refund and are busy considering all the spending possibilities. It might surprise you to learn that 16% of Americans said they plan to put their tax refunds into savings this year, according to a recent survey. (2) That’s a much more responsible option than wasting it on some spending splurge. But while we’re all for building up a cash cushion, saving your refund for a rainy day may not be the best way to get ahead financially this year—especially if you’re still in debt. Other folks from the survey, about 27%, plan to use at least part of their tax refund to pay off debt.(3) Based on the average American household debt totals, we ran some numbers to find out what would happen if you used your entire refund to pay down your debt. We knew the results would be positive, but you may be surprised by how much you could actually save with this one simple step.

Your Tax Refund vs. Your Debt

Student loans The average student loan balance is somewhere between $20,000 to $25,000, according to the Federal Reserve, and we’re estimating interest at about 6.2%.(4) With a monthly payment of $280, you’ll pay on that student loan for 10 years and shell out more than $33,000 total in principal and interest. Let’s say, after treating yourself to a nice dinner, you put the remaining $2,900 of your tax refund toward your student loan balance. This way, you’ll pay off your loan 18 months sooner and save over $2,000 in interest. Now, let’s take things a step further. A $2,900 tax refund doesn’t mean you hit the jackpot. It’s simply the government returning your money— money you could have been using all year long to pay extra on your debt. Don’t wait until next year to get your money back. Work with a tax consultant to adjust your withholding today so you can bring home an extra $241 a month ($2,900/12), starting with your next paycheck! Use that $241 to pay extra each month on the remaining balance of your student loan debt. You’ll pay it off in less than five years instead of 10. And you’ll save over $5,500 in interest! That’s how you put a tax refund to work! Here’s how that same scenario can work on your other debts:

Credit cards Households with debt currently owe an average of $15,561 in credit card debt, according to a study by NerdWallet.(5) Yikes! At the minimum payment of 4% of the balance, and with a 15% interest rate, it’ll take you 13 years to pay that off. But, if you apply $2,900 to the balance when you get your refund check and add $241 to your monthly payment, you’ll knock that sucker out in no time and save yourself thousands of dollars in interest! Car loans The latest research shows that the average used car loan is $20,077 at 9.6% interest.(6) Most people finance their cars for five years, although the average term is creeping toward six. With your one-time $2,900 payment followed by your increased monthly payments, you’ll pay off your wheels two to three years sooner and save around $2,000 in interest. Home loan As home prices continue to rise around the country, the average mortgage balance has swelled to $201,811, according to Experian.(7) With your tax refund and increased monthly payment of $241, you’ll pay off your home 10 years early and save $50,662.68 in interest!

Roll That Refund Into Retirement

As long as you have at least $1,000 in a starter emergency fund, there’s no reason not to use your tax refund to pay down your debt. For those of you who are out of debt and have three to six months of expenses saved, your tax refund can do great things for your retirement account. With an initial investment of $2,900 followed by monthly contributions of $241, you could add $705,000 to your nest egg over 30 years! That’s a total of $86,680 of your money and more than $468,000 of growth. This is one simple way to catch up if you’re feeling behind on your retirement savings goals.

Maximize Your Refund With an Expert Tax Consultant

None of this is possible, however, unless you make sure you get back all the money Uncle Sam owes you. An experienced tax professional will spot deductions and credits you may not know about, and they’ll help you get your largest refund possible. Then, your tax consultant will help you adjust your tax withholding so you aren’t giving the government a tax-free loan each year. It’s time you put your money to work paying off debt or investing for a secure retirement.

Connecting The Community of Abilene & The Big Country

Now is the Time to Start PlanningYour New Home Projects

Pick us up at Dairy Queen, First Financial Bank | BUSINESS | 55


By Lindsey Cotton | Barr Roofing

This past year was filled with some great home projects! Barr Residential Roofing had the opportunity to work with some amazing customers and businesses. We cherish those relationships and look forward to working with them for years to come! Now 2020 is here and in full swing! It’s time to ready those home project to do lists, and make things happen! That new addition you’ve been dreaming of, that perfect color roofing to compliment the brick on your new home, now is the time for all those ideas to come to fruition! This is a season of goal setting and project planning, let’s get started on your big ideas! We have partnered with two financial institutions, bringing needed financing options to many of our customers. With insurance deductibles and unexpected expenses, our financing options allow you to have your roof repaired when necessary, giving you peace of mind. Funding options are available to our customers, with great terms and rates! Replacing an existing roof, or installing a roof on a new home, can be an overwhelming process. Whether your home is the victim of a recent hail storm, or you have what seems to be a simple roof leak, it’s important to have it addressed in a timely manner. Our sales consultants look forward to meeting with you and discussing your roofing needs. We want to hear your ideas and help you see them through! Allow our roofing experts to answer any questions you may have, and let us tell you about all the wonderful roofing options there are. Call Barr Residential Roofing at (325) 701-9529 to schedule a roof or repair consultation today! We look forward to helping you check off those home projects on your list in 2020!

Thank you, Abilene, for the privilege of serving you! Thank you for trusting Barr!

ServiceMaster Restore by A-Town Hi-Tech in Breckenridge is proud to announce that Jonathan Jeter and Oliver “Matt” Irons are certified as MASTER RUG CLEANERS. Jonathan and Matt are the only service technicians to earn this certification in the Big Country. Their certification is part of an elite group certified by the Master Rug Cleaner Facility in Dallas, Texas. A certified Master Rug Cleaner is a professional who is trained in the care of fine oriental and specialty rugs. Individuals who attain this designation have passed rigorous training including hands on cleaning rug repair and have successfully completed the written rug identification exam. This one year mentoring program is taught by Ellen Amirkham and Aaron Groseclose at Oriental Rug Cleaning Company a 100 year old business in Dallas, Texas.

FREE Notary Public Services at all three locations, during regular work hours of 8-5. 202 Cedar St. Mall-4310 Buffalo Gap Rd. 1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.

Profile for HispanicLife Media

JANUARY 2020  

HispanicLife Magazine is an all English, 'multi-cultural' 56 publication that focuses on community events, topics on business, education, he...

JANUARY 2020  

HispanicLife Magazine is an all English, 'multi-cultural' 56 publication that focuses on community events, topics on business, education, he...