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Lake Conroe Edition

December 2020

Texas Treasures Tinsel Time in Texas

Texas Talent

Raising a Hand for Rett

Business Focus

Fabric Carousel

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From our family to yours,

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2  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020

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December 2020  |  Volume 9, Issue 12

8

Texas Treasures Tinsel Time in Texas

Texas Talent

Raising a Hand for Rett

18

Business Focus

24

Fabric Carousel

Favorites

24

8

Features

18

15

“Seens” from Our World

5

Milestones

16

Recipes

6

What are you Reading?

22

Pet Pals

7

From the Publisher

23

Star Students

12

Glorious Grandkids

28

Out of the Mouths of Babes

13

Dear Gabby

29

Community Calendar

14

Health Matters

Mustard Seed Moments

ine™

az Mag Published Monthly by Altom Consulting & Marketing, Inc.

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Postcards Magazine™ welcomes reader feedback ADVERTISE IN POSTCARDS Call our Office: 936.293.1188 Online: www.PostcardsLive.com

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4  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020


Milestones Join us as we celebrate life’s “mile markers” with our friends and neighbors. Share your milestones with us by submitting a photo and information to PostcardsLive.com. We want to celebrate with you!

1st Day of School in 2020!! Miguel and Cruz Hoot Pulido first day of 6th Grade and first day of Virtual Learning at Home.

Emmalin Weiser celebrated her 5th birthday on September 27th. Emmalin is the daughter of Collin and Kimberly Weiser.

The Toby Powell Conroe Christmas Celebration Tree Lighting Tuesday, December 1 6pm Heritage Place (500 Metcalf St) Christmas on Main Tuesday, December 1 7pm-8:30pm Downtown Conroe

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Celebration Saturday, December 12 11am-4pm Heritage Place (500 Metcalf St) Kiwanis Christmas Parade Saturday, December 12 1pm Downtown Conroe

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Happy Birthday!!

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 5


What Are You Reading? Tell us what you’re reading! www.postcardslive.com

Janet Batchelor reading

The Prayer Book By Lisa Wingate

Betty Stevens reading

The Fiddler By Beverly Lewis

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Wonder By R. J. Palacio

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Karen Altom reading

River’s Edge By Terri Blackstock


From the Publisher

u ?

! m

Karen Altom publisher@postcardslive.com

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOUR TWO FRONT TEETH First things first. For all of you who requested the Stevens family soup recipe, you will find it included in this issue. What you will not find included are the things we sometimes do a little differently than the recipe. (The things my daughter says I do on purpose to keep hers from being as good as mine.) I promise it is not on purpose. I just forget until I’m doing it! I have done my best to give you the “real deal,” so go try it and enjoy. If you don’t like yours, I’ll make a pot and share when this whole Covid mess is done.

with a weird, crinkly-eye, overly enthusiastic smile, you will know that is what Covid did to me. Bless my heart. I miss seeing people’s smiles. The only people who are seeing your teeth right now are the family you live with and your dentist! I also miss the money I saved before having to buy so much eye wrinkle cream. Maybe Santa will bring me some.

In all seriousness, look for the good in your life. Find the funny and enjoy it. Be thankful for the One we remember this season. He loves Which brings me to the topic of this column. Covid has ruined my us – wrinkles and all. smile and given me wrinkles. From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas! How, you say? Simple. I now find myself squinting to smile. You know what I mean. I realized it one day when someone smiled at me and the only way I knew it was because their eyes crinkled. I looked in Until next time, the mirror with my mask on and realized my eyes don’t naturally crinkle much when I smile. Oh my! ~

Karen

Since I want people to know I am sincerely glad to see them, I began to squint my eyes when I smile with a mask on so they will know! As I thought about this, I wondered how I look doing this minus the mask. Downright goofy – that’s how! So when this is all over, if you see me

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 7


TEX S TREASURES By Wes Altom

We thought we would share some insights on uniquely Texan holiday hallmarks, as well as a look into the history of the Truly Texan Christmas tamale!

Fredericksburg: German Christmas Pyramid (Nov 12-Jan 6) Wooden Christmas Pyramids are a traditional German decoration dating back to the 16th century. It is an art form that many believe evolved into our current custom of a Christmas tree. Artisans would create figurines depicting each part of a story and arrange them in order on the tiers of the pyramid. Typically, Christmas pyramids tell the Nativity story of Jesus’ birth and include angels blowing their trumpets, shepherds visiting the stable, and magi bringing gifts. While still a storytelling form of art, Christmas pyramids serve a mainly decorative purpose today. Most are table-top size and used in homes as a holiday decoration—filling children and adults alike with holiday cheer as lighted candles spin the windmill round and round.

San Antonio: River Walk Christmas Lights (Nov 9-Jan 4)

San Antonio River Walk or Paseo del Río is 15 mi long. Its major highlights include the Arneson River Theatre, Marriage Island, HemisFair Park, the Tower Life Building, San Antonio Museum of Art, and the city’s five Spanish colonial missions, which are listed as World Heritage Sites. Fredericksburg’s 26-foot Christmas pyramid, handcrafted in Germany, Christmas Lights display on the River Walk features over 100,000 lights was first displayed at Marktplatz during the 2009 holiday season. It is arranged over the trees and buildings lining the River Walk. The lights illuminated each year in November, kicking off the Christmas season on the river stay on from 6 pm to 8 am. The River Walk is a public in Fredericksburg, and remaining lit through the first week of January. space and visiting the display is free. However, you can take a paid It was the first large-scale German Christmas Pyramid in the United river cruise on an illuminated boat to fully experience the lights magic. States and stands every holiday season symbolizing the town’s lasting German heritage. 8  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020


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s s c

.

Dallas: The Trains at NorthPark Mall (Nov 14 – Jan 3)

Galveston: Dickens on the Strand (Dec 5-6)

This holiday tradition has been in place for 33 years. The model train exhibit includes 1600 feet of track on a journey across America. The trains travel from the autumn foliage of New England to San Franciso’s Golden Gate Bridge, with stops along the way in New York City, Washington DC, Dallas, the Grand Canyon, and more. The event is an annual fundraiser benefitting Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and has raised over $13 million to date.

For more than 46 years, Galveston Historical Foundation has hosted Dickens on The Strand in downtown Galveston to experience the architecture, sights, and sounds of a Victorian holiday. This year finds the beloved annual event in a new configuration while addressing the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Each of five Dickens themed squares will feature entertainment, pubs, and food options with a specially designed holiday market on Pier 21 while adhering to local, state, and federal guidelines on public gatherings. Guests in Victorian attire will receive a limited-edition commemorative keepsake.

»

Transforming Lives Strengthening Community “You will discover that you have two hands. One is for helping yourself, and the other is for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn

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www.assistanceleague.org/montgomery-county December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 9


Galveston: Moody Gardens (Nov 21-Jan 2) Enjoy a festive stroll along this mile-long trail featuring more than two million lights and lighted scenes themed to holiday music that take you around the Moody Gardens property with spectacular views of Galveston Bay. See Star the Dancing Tree of Light. Measuring in at 4 stories tall, this magnificent digital dancing tree of light shines brighter than any Christmas tree in Texas!

Marshall: Wonderland of Lights (Nov 25-Dec 31) Conceived in 1987, Wonderland of Lights rivals the best Christmas lighting events in the country. Millions of white lights illuminate the historic Harrison County Courthouse as downtown Marshall is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. 2020 will be a modified year observing limited nightly activities and amended special events. There will be no ice skating, carousel, train rides, or traditional Santa’s Village this year as a COVID-19 precaution.

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Christmas Tamales The custom of making tamales originated with the native American people who lived in Texas and Mexico and interacted with Spanish explorers, sharing their cuisines. Like most Tex-Mex corn-based dishes, the name tamale was derived from the Nahuatl language of the Aztec people, who lived in Texas during the time of the Spanish exploration. The first Spaniards to arrive in Texas encountered a variety of Native American groups who ate different diets. Sedentary groups, such as those at La Junta de los Ríos, cultivated such crops as corn,

beans, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, sunflower seeds, and peppers. In early times, the Native Americans ate corn in one form or another at almost every meal. In its tender (roasting ear) stage, it is eaten fresh as elotes or boiled and dried for future use. In its mature stage, corn is toasted on a comal and ground into fine powder. Early in the twentieth century, corn tortillas were made almost daily. The Spanish word for “dough,” masa is made with sun- or fire-dried corn kernels that have been cooked in limewater. After being cooked, then soaked in the limewater overnight, the wet corn is ground into masa. Masa harina, available in many supermarkets across the state, is flour made from dried masa. These days, most people her buy masa flour at the supermarket to make their tamales. A century ago, tamale-making was such a time-intensive process that tamales were considered a special occasion dish, made only for celebrations and solemn offerings. Today, Christmas, Easter and saints’ days are often honored with tamales. Well worth the time and effort, every tamale is a delicious gift waiting to be unwrapped.

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 11


WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2021 Would you welcome more energy for your crazy busy life? Would you like to sleep better and wake up feeling refeshed? Wouldn’t it be great to fit into your skinny clothes?

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Dear Gabby Welcome back to the Dear Gabby advice column. We’ve almost made it!! This is the last month of 2020! I’ve heard about drinks named after events or times. If 2020 had a drink named after it, it would be colonoscopy prep! It’s almost behind us, so let’s enjoy Christmas and all the cheer that goes with it! I’m not a big fan of Santa Claus, due to a case of Claustrophobia. It started when I was a kid, and Santa brought me a pack of batteries with a tag that said “toy not included.” Drop me a line at Dear Gabby at PostcardsLive.com/ and let’s prepare for a new beginning in 2021. Merry Christmas, and never forget the real reason for the season!

Christ in the center of it all

DEAR GABBY I got a dog from my girlfriend for Christmas! She’s adorable, and I just love her! The dog is cute, too. It’s a beautiful red color and a cross between an Irish Setter and a German Pointer. She’s a point-setter. Merry Christmas! RASCAL DEAR RASCAL Yes, you are. I hate to admit it, but that’s a clever one! GABBY

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we also celebrate the blessing of helping our patients achieve a more active and pain-free life.

Together we can overcome!

Merry Christmas

from our family to yours!

DEAR GABBY I recently read a sweet story about a little boy whose Mom burnt Dad’s toast. She felt bad about it, but the Dad told the Mom he loved burnt toast. When the boy asked Dad if he really liked burnt toast, his Father told him no. But he taught the boy a lesson when he said that burnt toast never hurt anyone, but harsh words do. I thought that story was so poignant I wanted to share it. NEW DAD DEAR DAD That is a sweet and loving story that touches the heart. With that being said…if you do too good a job selling the fact that you love burnt toast, you may get burnt toast for the rest of your life. Untrue words can sometimes bite you in the caboose, even if they’re said with best intentions. GABBY CONFIDENTIAL TO SECRET SANTA WANNABE: Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

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December 2020 |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 13


Health Matters www.drjimshealthtips.com

By James W. Jones, MD, PhD, MHA Reassess to Possess and Bless Cheerfulness These are indeed perturbing times, such as one faces once in a lifetime, but we must avoid embracing self-pity. Those happenings beat the crap out of happiness. When I was an intern at the esteemed Philadelphia General Hospital (now closed), one of the jobs was to collect blood from prisoners at the state prison. Prisoners would lie down on cots on a basketball court to donate blood and receive $5. Loud music played in the background. I would go from one cot to another, inserting needles, and assistants would collect the blood. One day, the guards had machine guns rather than clubs. I asked, “What is going on?” “These are the worst of the worst,” a guard replied. “They will only go out of here in a box.” I passed down the aisle inserting needles… and yes, I was glad they were locked up. Then I approached an inmate with a big “Howdy Doody” smile. “You seem extraordinarily happy,” I said. “Doc, here I am lying flat on

my back in the middle of the day, listnin’ to good music, and makin’ five dollars. I got it made!” For more than a half century, when I feel a pity party coming on, I remember that moment, and everything straightens out. Presently, there is a constant barrage of unpleasant information, part of which is news. One should limit exposure to unpleasant news. I hardly watch or listen to the news anymore, because it is easy to overdose. Especially on the news channels, reporters collect everything bad that has recently happened. News rarely reports the millions of good, self-sacrificing events, because humans are fascinated by tragedy much more than everyday good deeds. Regret is an emotion where we face the fact we could have acted differently and avoided an unfortunate outcome. It is reliving a bad time, with guilt superimposed. It is traveling through life looking through a rearview mirror (not wise). We need to learn from our mistakes,

then travel onward without suffering guilt by revisiting the situation with regret. If one learns from his or her past, the past is closed as a meaningful experience and does not need to be relived. One of the principle venues for happiness is to look where there is meaning. Meaning, according to a modern philosopher Robert Nozick, requires communication with other intelligent beings. As mentioned, but worth repeating, the most valuable painting in the world according to Guinness World Records is the Mona Lisa. It is insured for over a half billion dollars. It has a great deal of meaning (in addition to its value), but if it were preserved in a locked vault where no one could appreciate it, it would retain value but lose meaning. I had a good, remarkably resilient Jewish friend who, when disappointed, would shrug and say, “This too will pass”. AND IT WILL! Visit drjimshealthtips.com for more.

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“Seens” from our World PostcardsLive.com We want to see what you’ve seen! When you see the unusual, funny or absurd, break out your camera, take a picture, and submit it to us with a description!

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 15


Recipes

We’ve had lots of requests for this recipe mentioned last month in our publisher’s column. So here you go!

Green Bean Casserole Remix

Stevens Soup

Ingredients

Ingredients

2 (9 oz) pkgs frozen cut green beans, thawed

1 lb. lean stew meat

10 slices bacon

1 can cream style corn

10 small fresh mushrooms, chopped

2 - 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes

½ tsp garlic powder

2 - 8 oz cans tomato sauce

½ tsp onion powder

1 - 11.5 oz can tomato juice

1 cup half-and-half cream

3-4 potatoes, cut in cubes

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 can sliced carrots, drained

salt and pepper to taste

Large elbow macaroni - handful or two

Directions

Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, sugar

1 small onion (or dried minced onion)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place green beans into a 1 quart or similar sized casserole dish. 2. Fry bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crispy. Remove to drain on paper towels. Drain off some of the grease, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add mushrooms to the grease in the pan and season with garlic powder and onion powder. Cook and stir until tender, about 4 minutes. 3. Pour the half-and-half into the pan with the mushrooms and stir to scrape the bacon flavor from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the green beans. Crumble bacon over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is toasted.

Directions 1. Brown stew meat and onion in 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 2. Add about 1/2 pot of water and cook on low for 1-2 hours. 3. Add cream style corn and cook another 15-20 minutes. 4. Add tomato products. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for 10-15 minutes. 5. Add potatoes and carrots (and any other veggies you’d like) and cook until potatoes are almost done. Final seasoning with garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper and sugar - all to taste. (We are pepper people.) 6. Boil 5 minutes or until macaroni is done. Serve with saltine crackers.

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Thyme-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fresh Cranberries

Apple Crisp II

Ingredients

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 cup white sugar

Ingredients

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 Tbs minced fresh thyme

1 tsp ground cinnamon

salt and ground black pepper to taste

½ cup water

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 cup quick-cooking oats

2 Tbs pure maple syrup

1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup packed brown sugar

Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Place Brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. 3. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Continue roasting for 10 minutes. 4. Place sprouts and cranberries in a serving bowl and drizzle with maple syrup. Toss to coat.

¼ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ½ cup butter, melted Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and ground cinnamon together and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all. 3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

Cook’s Note: Add more maple syrup if you prefer things a little sweeter.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes.

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Raising

Dave Clements and Kevin Black

H By Amy Barnett Submitted Photos 18  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020


a Hand ett R r o f

Kevin Black and Dave Clements are no doubt “Texas talents,” but when it comes to their story, having a “gift” is just the first chapter. They are both extraordinary photographers who capture incredible moments So, first things first, which one of you said, in time though their camera lenses; “Let’s do Volume 2?” and Kevin has enjoyed a successful 30-year career as a singer and Kevin: It wasn’t me. (laughs) In fact, after musician. While the art they create Volume 1, Dave and I were getting out of the is undeniably breathtaking, it’s their book business. weren’t gonna stop the grit and “no quit” attitude that make mission, we wereWe just gonna change direction their tale a real page turner. and find another way to raise money and More than 17 years ago, Kevin and Dave set out on a mission to raise awareness for Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that most often affects females. When children with Rett reach a year to 18-months of age, their social and motor skills begin a state of regression, and they live the rest of their lives similar to an infant. Kevin knows all too well how Rett can impact a child and a family. His daughter Cortney passed away from Rett in 2003 when she was 16 years old. In 2016, Postcards Magazine sat down with these two talented photographers and shared their journey in creating a book, Raising a Hand, that showcased their photography of famous singers, each with a hand raised. Their mission was to sell these unique coffee table books to raise money for Rett syndrome awareness and research, and they did just that – selling over 10-thousand copies. While some would call their success a happy ending to a tale of two dads, they’ve decided to add another chapter to their story, or in this case another book – Raising a Hand, Volume 2.

awareness. It took three years to do the first book, and three years is a long time.

Kevin: We are just two dads who weren’t in the book business and didn’t know anything about it. We had to learn along the way and ask questions. Then we were going into self-publishing, not being in the publishing business. Initially it was a struggle, but then we thought we had a wonderful book that showed so much respect for the artists who let us use their likeness and their brand for our cause. We thought we had something special.

What can you tell us about Volume 2?

Dave: It was one of the hardest things I Dave: First, I can say we are ahead of have ever done in my life. It was a stressful schedule. Part of the reason is we had the experience to do the first book. template – Volume 1. We learned how to get in touch with artists more effectively, and Yet, you felt motivated to do it all over we’ve become better photographers. Put all again… why is that? that together – we are well on our way with the new book and months ahead of schedule. Dave: My motivation has really been to help The good news is we have great artists who keep other families from having to do what have said yes to being in Volume 2. my friend Kevin and his family had to do... and that was bury a 16-year-old girl. The day Who said “yes?” Can you give us some hints? of Cortney’s funeral pretty much changed my life – not because I knew Cortney – and not Kevin: Garth Brooks is one of the biggest because I knew about Rett syndrome. Both names in the music industry, and he personally my wife Cathi and I stood in the shadows that said yes and chose his picture. Gene Simmons afternoon watching a family bury a child, and with KISS personally said yes, and so did Lionel my thought was – I couldn’t imagine doing Richie. what Kevin had to do...our daughter was the same age as his daughter. Dave: A big one for us is Tom Petty. To get an estate – the family of Tom Petty – to agree… Kevin: Dave was the person who energized that’s a big deal. The good news is we have me to be more useful than walking away from every genre covered. We have the state of Rett and other families and to do something Texas covered. We have Conroe covered, and to honor Cortney’s name and her life; so that’s we have 30 more artists than we had in Volume how we got into this 17-year, action-packed 1 – 234 in total. We have some famous actors, journey. We’ve been raising money in all kinds too – Dennis Quaid, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin of different ways since 2003. Costner, and Steve Martin. It took three years to create the first book. I understand you have a new section in What did you learn from creating Volume Volume 2, kind of a “behind the scenes” 1 that made the decision to do Volume 2 look… easier?

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 19


What are your hopes for Volume 2? Dave: Early on in our process, we met a guy named Tom Brown, and he was able through a family trust he managed to make a $250-thousand donation annually to Texas Children’s Hospital in the spirit of Rett syndrome – as a result of hearing Kevin’s story. So, we don’t know what will happen with Volume 2. If there is another “Tom Brown” or “Thomasina Brown” out there that is touched by this story, who knows the impact it could have. What if it’s an artist… we don’t know. But, if you’re not doing anything, it stops.

Above: Kevin and brother Clint Black Dave: Yes. Kevin said, “We need Volume 2 to look a little different than Volume 1.” So, we ended up writing a section called “Stories from Behind the Lens.” It includes stories of our interactions with the artists. I wrote some, Kevin wrote some – the idea was so good that I couldn’t say no. Kevin: Yeah, we have some really cool stories about how we met the artists and what happened. It’s a real special section of the book.

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What are you most proud of in your journey to help Rett families? What do you think the future looks like for the two of you and your journey to raise awareness for Rett syndrome? Dave: What I’m most proud of is not that we’ve raised so much money, but we’re giving a lot of Rett families hope. We’ve provided a Dave: Our whole mission is to raise money and awareness so other lot of joy. A lot of people love music, and when they see our photos, it families don’t have to go through what Kevin’s family had to go through. brings back their personal stories about these artists, and it tells the Until there’s a cure, we are committed to doing everything in our power Rett community there are a lot of pretty famous artists that know within reason to raise money and awareness for Rett syndrome. enough about their child’s disease to agree to be in the book. Kevin: I know at some point Dave is gonna say, “What about Kevin: For me, it’s when a Rett family says “thank you” – because Volume 3?” it means so much more. These families work hard to take care of their children. They often have multiple children, and life changes for Dave: I do think that when Kevin gets to the end of his time on the other children. My two boys didn’t get to grow up the same way earth and reflects back on his life – high on that list will be what he they would have if they had had a sister without Rett syndrome. Life gave back to a community that desperately needed him. So, I have no changes for everyone in the family, and because I am a Rett father, qualms about it. when they tell me their story, I can say, “I understand what you’re going through,” and I feel so bad for them. My heart breaks when I go “Raising a Hand, Volume 2” can be preordered on raisingahand.com. The somewhere and there are Rett families, because I know they are still book is $35. Visit the website to learn more about Rett syndrome and how going through it. All I can recommend is for them to hold on, get as you can make a donation to help bring awareness to this disorder. close as they can to their spouse, set their problems aside, and figure out how to love one another. Dave: Every day Kevin makes a difference that I can’t make, because he walked in their shoes. I take my hat off to him, because I have not let him bury his daughter emotionally. She guides us – she intervenes in what we are doing -- that’s a blessing and a curse for Kevin; and it’s a motivational factor for me. By his presence and his daughter’s spirit – the project will help people we will never know about.

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 21


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Submit your student nomination and why you feel they are a "Star Student" @ PostcardsLive.com/share. December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 23


Focus Business

Doris and Karl Collins

By Janet Davidson Photos by Gina Turner


“The quilting industry has been so good about including everybody.”

Although the town of Huntsville has experienced phenomenal growth in the past several years, the downtown square preserves a rich legacy of long-time storefronts. A quaint little store on the corner of University Avenue and 12th Street carries on this tradition of heritage. Fabric Carousel marries modern day innovation with the long-standing craft of quilting. In 1984, Karl and Doris Collins purchased this business, which has occupied this location since 1969. While Doris was attending SHSU majoring in Fashion Merchandising, she thought her summer job at this store would be temporary. Little did she know that, over 45 years later, she and her husband would still be helping many in the community satisfy their creative desires. Since its inception, this store has sold and repaired BERNINA Sewing Machines. As these machines have evolved from the simple mechanized equipment of 1893 to the highly-computerized machines of today, Karl and Doris have educated themselves so as to meet the needs of their clientele. “These sewing machines have touch and drag screens now. The bigger machines have about six computer boards that control their operations. I have to stay up-to-date with training to be certified to work on the machines. I have been working on BERNINAS for about 30 years,” Karl shared. Although they only sell and service this brand, they have a contract with someone who picks up and services other models. The Collins also proudly shared that BERNINA is the last completely familyowned sewing machine company in the world. “We have been fortunate to earn three incentive trips to Europe; two of those were to the factory in Steckborn, Switzerland. The Swiss are methodical in their manufacturing process. As a product goes down the assembly line, an assembler will check the work of the last assembler before he does his task, so every step is double-checked,” Doris mentioned. “BERNINA still supports ‘major wear’ parts for 35-year-old machines. They are famous for their 20-year warranty on main gears, which is twice as long as a lot of machines on the market.” Recently, a BERNINA owner from south of Houston called crying,

saying she could not get her machine fixed. She and her husband came to this store. Karl, even after calling the company and trying all they recommended, was unable to make the repairs himself. They told him to send the two-year-old sewing machine to them. BERNINA paid for shipping both ways; they fixed the machine and did not charge for any labor. “This lady was so appreciative that she wrote a two-page letter to BERNINA and Fabric Carousel for helping her. That is the way we treat our customers. If they walk in with an issue, we can help them,” Karl enthusiastically stated. It is not unusual for customers from Waco, Bryan/College Station, the Houston area, and even as far as Louisiana to bring their BERNINAS to this store to be serviced.

Fabric Carousel caters to the hobbyists who are interested in quilting. “The quilting industry has been so good about including everybody. If you want to make an old-fashioned quilt like your grandmother’s, you can do that. If you want to do a modern quilt, you can do that. You can find patterns to do an art-quilt. There is something for

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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 25


everyone,” Doris commented. “Quilters know where every quilt store is in their area. They plan trips around the quilt stores. During ‘Airing of the Quilts,’ quilt guilds from all over Texas would charter buses to come here,” Karl proudly shared. Although Covid-19 halted the classes hosted at this fabric emporium, gatherings of craft-minded individuals have returned. “We love teaching about the BERNINAS or quilting! The groups love getting together to be a community. Whether it is a guild, a retreat, or a class, they love to sew together and share ideas. They love to improve their talents. The big-box stores can’t cater to their clientele with entertainment and community like the smaller boutiques can. These people are not just customers. They are our friends. We want this to be a warm, welcoming place,” Doris and Karl articulated. When Hobby Lobby initially closed at the beginning of the Coronavirus, people were turning to crafting to occupy their time. Walmart could not keep up with the demand for fabric at this time; thus, Fabric Carousel inherited new customers in need of materials to work on projects that had been shelved in the bustle of life. Also, during this

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chaotic time, many people were seeking repairs on their sewing machines. “The sewing-machine-repair business went berserk! People were pulling machines out that had been sitting on a shelf for many years. As well, ladies were putting a lot more pressure on their machines, as they were finishing projects over what they would normally do, because they were at home and couldn’t do anything else. It was their therapy; it kept their sanity. They love sewing, so they found their happy place in their sewing rooms,” Doris and Karl explained. “So many of our customers are mothers and grandmothers who show their love with their quilts. They want to make something special, make it an heirloom item,” Doris added.

“People have a misconception about quilts.”

The quilt is your creation. It never goes out of style. You can lay it down for six months and pick it back up, and it is still in style,” Karl added. “There are so many different types of quilts. Let’s say that your dad or granddad was an executive, and he had 100 ties. If you want to remember him, we will show you how to make a tie-quilt. We have seen so many different types of quilts: camouflage quilts,

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President and Treasurer. Local wineries set up tastings in various shops, and the stores on the square stay open until 9:00 pm. Since community is important to both of these individuals, Karl, a Sam Houston graduate with a degree in Ag Mechanics, is involved in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Ag Mechanics Committee as well as serving as the Vice President of Walker County Farm Bureau. Rounding out the Fabric Carousel team is Jeanette Allen, who is the software and embroidery teacher, and Kristie Munson, who works on the sales side of the business. Hanging in the classroom of the store, you will see two intricate embroidery projects that Jeanette created from a couple of million stitches. If you want to stir up your creative juices, look up Fabric Carousel on their website, www.fabriccarousel.com, or keep up with them on their Facebook page where you will find new fabrics, classes, or maybe even show-and-tell of a customer’s completed project.

Jeanette Allen

flour-sack quilts, T-shirt quilts... It is not just a quilt to cover yourself up; it is art. It is always something that speaks to you and your family. If you don’t know how to sew, we can help you learn. We also have used machines where we can teach you how to sew.”

Stay Calm and Quilt On! 1101 12th St. Huntsville, TX 77340 (936) 295-8322

Doris and Karl enjoyed participating in the Wine Down event which has been hosted by the Downtown Business Alliance, an organization of which Doris was not only a catalyst in helping to create, but she served as a former

It ’s a season to give

Its’ a season to love

It ’s a season to share

God ’s love for you and me.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from all of our families to yours

POSTCARDS

Magazine December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 27


Monday - Saturday 10 am - 7 pm Sunday 11 am - 6 pm

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. ‘Is that a dog you got back there?’ he asked. ‘It sure is,’ I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, ‘What’d he do?”

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Our 6 year old told his sister, “Dad needs to go get Mom something so he’ll be ungrounded. I’m gonna go make her something and say it’s from him!”

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While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, “The tooth fairy will never believe this!”

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28  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020

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12 DEC 2020 BRYAN Downtown Christmas Parade Dec. 10

Calendar of Events

Lions Annual Christmas Parade Dec. 5 e-clubhouse.org/sites/huntsvilletx

New Year’s Eve in Downtown Bryan Dec. 31 downtownbryan.com

86th Annual Awards Gala Dec. 11 chamber.huntsville.tx.us

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Blood Drive Dec. 28 (936)439-6407

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PALESTINE The Polar Express Nov. 13-Dec. 27 texasstaterailroad.net

CONROE Annual Christmas Shop Dec. 2 - 31 conroeartleague.com

SPRING Home for the Holidays Nov. 8-Dec. 24 oldtownspringshopping.com

American Cancer Society Bark for Life Dec. 5 relayforlife.org/barkmontgomerycotx

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Santa’s Morning Jingle Dec. 11 woodlandschildrensmuseum.org

Dickens on the Strand Dec. 5-6 galvestonhistory.org

HOUSTON Travis Tritt Dec. 4 arenatheatre.net

HUNTSVILLE Step UP Step Back: Quilts of Mary Laura Gibbs Nov. 4 - Feb. 15 thewynnehome.com

Submit your calendar items:

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PostcardsLive.com December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 29


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mm

Mustard Seed Moments

Using our Freedom for Good By Linda W. Perkins There is nothing more precious to Americans than freedom. We celebrate it not just on the 4th of July, but also on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, when we remember those who have served in our military ranks in order to protect it. We don’t just value freedom of our own, either. Americans fought for the freedom of those in Nazi concentration camps during World War II and since then, our troops have been involved in numerous missions to rescue hostages and other people from captivity. The Bible teaches us that freedom a gift of God. It is freedom – freedom from the eternal consequences of sin – that Christ brings to all who believe. The Word also tells us freedom is something we must manage well. Just as Adam and Eve were given the freedom to choose which food to eat in the Garden, so we are given the freedom to make everyday choices in our own lives. Not using that freedom wisely is costly. Adam’s disobedience led to a separation from God that would affect all of mankind. The unwise use of our personal freedom can have consequences for ourselves and others as well. We must be careful to guard against our natural desire to put ourselves first and instead think about what God would have us do. In a world fractured by political division and a raging pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep in mind we are free to do what we want, but we are called by God to use that freedom for good. In Psalm 119:45, David wrote “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” May we remember the essence of those commandments, which are the foundation of our freedom: to love God with all of our heart, mind and strength; and to love others as God has loved us.

“It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.” – I Peter 2:15-16 (NLT)

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13 (NLT)

30  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition  |  December 2020


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December 2020  |  Postcards Magazine: Lake Conroe Edition 31


Merry Christmas y’all from our family to yours!

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Postcards Magazine Lake Conroe December 2020  

Postcards Magazine Lake Conroe December 2020