infinitieplus magazine: The magazine for living life beyond, plus one.

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infinitieplus March 2022



National Women's History Month





Education Editor's Note I love living in Longview and always excited about my work at infinitieplus magazine. What this job does is give me the opportunity to write about people. In the process of writing about them, I get to know them and their families. This edition warmed my heart and lifted my spirit. Trust me, despite all we hear on the news, which is often not so good, there are many amazing, loving human beings especially in our community. I encourage you to delve into the stories of the citizens in our National Women History Month special edition. Your hearts be filled with joy about the caliber of people who live in Longview, Texas. They are super community conscious and

want the best for others. Please, take the time and read about Christina Hollwarth, Stephanie Myers, Brittany Cleveland, Casie Buck. I promise, you will be uplifted and filled with joy and hope for the future of Longview, Texas. In addition to reading about these wonderful ladies, check out the annual Chamber of Commerce awards banquet and meeting. It had a different twist this year. Please do not forget to flip the magazine. Despite COVID-19 people are still getting married. Check out the latest in weddings in Forever After Wedding section. Thanks for reading and we look forward to serving you again next month.

Joycelyne Fadojutimi, Publisher

Proud member of: Leading People. Leading Prosperity.

The Magazine for Living Life Beyond, Plus One… Publisher / Editor Joycelyne Fadojutimi, PhD Photography Keisha Standley Joycelyne Fadojutimi Graphic Designer Kuneho Designs Contributing Writers Dr. Michael Guido Sydney McBride Mechele Agbayani Mills Glenn Miller


To enrich the local-global community with the “just in time knowledge,” to assure future successes

delicacies and pup adoptions. Everyone who came in received a freshly, fragrant made on the spot flower bouquet and was encouraged to visit the food table.

L-r: Amy Canton, Jim Bartlett, Wendy McGee, Holley Kotulla, and Justine Hayes.

Luisa Rivera, Jim Bartlett and Chelsea Nutt


To become an information oracle of functional and constructive reports that serves the needs of businesses and communities. Submission Deadline: The first of every month prior to month of issue. infinitieplus magazine is not responsible for any discrepancies or changes since the publishing of this issue. At the time of publication, to the best of our knowledge, all information was accurate though not guaranteed. The entire contents of infinitieplus magazine is copyrighted 2022. Any reproduction or use in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. infinitieplus magazine reserves the right to edit and make appropriate modifications. The opinions published by contributing writers do not necessarily reflect the views of infinitieplus magazine or its advertisers. P. O. Box 12473 Longview, Texas 75602-2473 Phone: 903.918.7706




earts were on Fire at Jim Bartlett ‘s Fine Jewelry Galantine event with wine, chocolate, flowers, scrumptious

Alana Smalley and Pup Maple | | infinitieplus | March 2022

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4523 Judson Road, Longview, Texas 75605 (903) 663-3344

Asst. City Manager MaryAnn Hagenbucher and Chief Kevin Green

In Every Issue Spotlight


National Women's History Month Let us LIGHT up your life

Mayor Andy Mack and City Manager Rolin McPhee




Chamber Business



11 Cover Story Andy Hill and Mark Robinson

25 Puzzle

10 Cover Story: National Women's History Month

Leslie Lee, Paula Prince, Lauren Epperson and Jeremy Burris all of Arabella

About the Cover

Through her own efforts and accomplishments Christina Stoddard-Hollwarth has made herself a glittering centerpiece for National Women’s' History Month. Like so many other success stories, hers starts out with a splendid pair of parents who steered her down the straight and narrow through their own examples. "My parents taught my sisters and I many values you'd expect: honesty, integrity, the

value of demanding work, the importance of being inclusive, how to love your neighbor and the like," she says. "What stands out the most is that our parents modeled to us the value of hospitality. Our home was always open to anyone who needed a place to stay."

Cover photo by Chris Gillett: | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Chamber Business



L-r: Libby Bryson, Jessica Lightle, Brad Diggins, President and COO Kevin Hood, (TB&T); CEO Steve Gordon (LRMC) Keith Ellison, Dana Parr, Crystal Thornton, Elena Ellison and Travis Sisson.

Bundles Bundles Bundlesof of ofjoy. joy. joy. It’s It’s It’swhat what whatwe we wedeliver. deliver. deliver. From From From the the the day day day you you you find find find out out out totothe to the the day day day you you you deliver, deliver, deliver, there’s there’s there’s nothing nothing nothing more more more important important important totoLongview to Longview Longview Regional Regional Regional Medical Medical Medical Center Center Center than than than your your your and and and your your your baby’s baby’s baby’s health health health and and and well-being. well-being. well-being. This This This isiswhy is why why we wewe provide provide provide extra extra extra amenities amenities amenities such such such asasprivate as private private rooms, rooms, rooms, spacious spacious spacious birthing birthing birthing suites, suites, suites, childbirth childbirth childbirth classes classes classes and and and breastfeeding breastfeeding breastfeeding support. support. support. And And And ififyou you if you and and and your your your newest newest newest addition addition addition need need need aalittle little a little extra extra extra help, help, help, we wewe offer offer offer perinatal perinatal perinatal services services services that that that include include include maternal-fetal maternal-fetal maternal-fetal medicine medicine medicine specialists specialists specialists and and and aaLevel Level a Level IIIIIINICU. III NICU. NICU. For For For more more more information information information about about about our our our labor labor labor and and and delivery delivery delivery services, services, services, visit visit visit

2901 2901 2901 N.N.Fourth N. Fourth Fourth Street Street Street • •Longview, Longview, • Longview, TX TX75605 TX 75605 75605 • •903-242-3490 903-242-3490 • 903-242-3490 • • • Retired Police Chief Mike Bishop

CEO Todd Hancock flanked by CEO Kevin Hood and Dana Parr.


CEO Kevin Hood, Judge Bill Stoudt and Sheriff Maxey Cerliano.

he Longview Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual awards banquet and meeting. This year’s event had a departure from awarding

Mayor Andy Mack, Acting Police Chief Anthony Boone and Fire Chief JP Steelman Photos: PVizCre8ve Media

big business of the year and their ilk. Rather, the Chamber focused on front line heroes. This led to recognizing the City of Longview for its exceptional work during the 2021 snowstorm. Other frontline

heroes who were awarded are: Gregg County, Longview Regional Medical Center and Christus Good Shepherd Health System for their extra ordinary services during the long peak times of COVID-19 virus. | | infinitieplus | March 2022



Oliver Twist Requests By GLENN MILLER


OD’S WORD: “In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – Acts 14: 16-17 Prayers of supplication are always in order for those who believe in a provident and loving God. In fact, scripture reminds us that God wants to bless us mightily. But simply turning to God in times of want or need is certainly not what the Creator intended or hoped for, is it? That is why most prayer models encourage adoration (praise), confession (humility), and thanksgiving before petitioning God for provision or power. Do you see what I see in that model? THANKSGIVING, placed before we petition God, leads us into an awareness of how blessed we already are! That’s what thanksgiving is all about and how it differs from praise language. By reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for, it lays a foundation for the following:

1.) Although we may not have what we want, we have more than we need. 2,) God is a loving, merciful and provident God who is faithful in keeping His promises. 3.) It sets our upcoming petition for provision in the light of “not my will, but Thine”. I can’t help but to think of our requests for provision with that scene from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist where young Oliver is holding out his plate, begging

“Please, suh, may I have some mo-wah?” But instead of seeing me (us) as a humble beggar, far too often, in actuality, we are fat and happy royalty, already bedecked in all finery, baubles and blessings most on this planet can only dream of. God desires to bless us and wants to give us everything we need. And I bet if we stop and think about it…He already has and continues to do so. But He [Jesus] said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Copyright 2022 by Glenn W. Miller | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story

National Women’s History Month

Cover Story

Christina Stoddard-Hollwarth: Lawyer with a Heart By JOYCELYNE FADOJUTIMI


hrough her own efforts and accomplishments Christina StoddardHollwarth has made herself a glittering centerpiece for National Women’s' History Month. Like so many other success stories, hers starts out with a splendid pair of parents who steered her down the straight and narrow through their own examples. "My parents taught my sisters and I many values you'd expect: honesty, integrity, the value of demanding work, the importance of being inclusive, how to love your neighbor and the like," she says. "What stands out the most is that our parents modeled to us the value of hospitality. Our home was always open to anyone who needed

a place to stay." Hollwarth saw her home open to students who needed a couch to sleep on, strangers who had no place to go on holidays, or anyone who needed a washer/dryer. "Our house wasn't large, nor was our income," she says. "But loving others doesn't cost

"I love being, for a brief period of time, a part of someone's family story. Nobody wins in a family court. There has already been tremendous loss just by being there, but when I help my clients protect their relationship with their children as they walk through the system, then the work I do matters." - Christina Hollwarth 10 | | infinitieplus | March 2022

anything." Hence, Hollwarth carries on that parental example. Teenagers in the foster care system, new acquaintances during the holidays, and her children’s friends who accompany them on family vacations are part of her life. She realizes these grateful guests may forget what she says or even everything she does, but they will always remember how her kindness made them feel. Hollwarth and her husband of twenty-one years Kyle Hollwarth, eighteen-year-old son Josh, a freshman at Abilene Christian University; and seventeen-yearold daughter Julia, a senior in New Diana High School is careful to maintain open lines of communication. | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story Even when conversations are difficult because of awkward subject matter, this family makes sure there are never any misunderstandings due to poor communications. This has also been a blessing to her education and career. Hollwarth took her Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Bible Studies from Abilene Christian University, (ACU) before pulling down her law degree from the Texas Tech University College of Law. She made her college selections based on her Christian faith and finance. "I knew that I wanted to attend college at a Christian university, and I fell in love with ACU when I went to visit," she says. "For law school I went with the school that would leave me with the least debt when I graduated. I also received a topknotch education there." As a board-certified family law attorney, she owns and oversees the Hollwarth Law Firm. After commencing her law career in 2003, she worked out of her home until 2007 when she "hung out my shingle and opened my doors." Being a lawyer is something that was a natural fit for her during her formative years. She is naturally analytical, perfectionist and inclined to debate. She also loves working with families. She had intended to work with a firm specializing in connecting families through international adoptions, but such an option was not available when she opened her firm in Longview. Growing up with two sisters


Cover Story and no brothers she never compared herself to boys as a child, but her parents encouraged their daughters to do whatever they wanted to do with their lives. She never gave a thought to her gender when she set her sights on a career in law. "I am the first female in my [extended] family to earn an advanced degree, and I'd say I did it because no one ever told me I couldn't," she says. "My parents believed in allowing us to pursue whatever route we desired, so when I said I wanted to be a lawyer they never doubted for a minute that I'd accomplish it." However, that is not all. Hollwarth has scrupulously taken note of the examples of noteworthy law women who preceded her. She holds in high esteem ladies like Arabella Mansfield, the first female attorney in the U.S., to judges Robin Sage and Rebecca Simpson here in Gregg County. "There has been no shortage of women who have made my path easier," she says. It is truly a profession that keeps one jumping, and with no such thing as a typical day. She may spend hours in appointment after appointment in her office, in court trying cases, working on files, and travelling the state to visit at-risk children she represents who are in the care of Child Protective Services. Despite this age of computerization, her days always involve considerable paperwork and note-taking. She would not have it any other way. "I love being, for a brief period of time, a part of someone's family

"Be you. Just be you. Be the best version of you. You are an integrated whole, so take care of yourself: mind, body, spirit. Determine who you want to be, then break down the steps to get there."

- Hollwarth’s advise to young girls:

story," she says. "Nobody wins in a family court. There has already been tremendous loss just by being there, but when I help my clients protect their relationship with their children as they walk through the system, then the work I do matters." It is important to note, lawyering is not a vocation for the weak or less-than-committed. It is emotionally demanding, and clients rarely emerge from their cases happy with the outcomes because they are in the middle of a crisis and feel like they are losing regardless of the outcome. They often lose income/ assets, time with their children, or cherished dreams for the future, making it draining for the lawyers who have to share the burden, especially if they do not take time to take care of themselves, too. Wait, there is more. Hollwarth stays busy outside the courtroom as well. She serves on the board of directors for East Texas Court-Appointed Special Advocates, she co-chairs the 2022 | | infinitieplus | March 2022

Blue Jeans and Ball Gown event, sits on the board of directors of the Greater Longview United Way, and is an annual sponsor at One Love Longview. Hers is an example she eagerly shares with today's up-and-coming young ladies. Her words are clear and confident. "Be you. Just be you. Be the best version of you," she says. "You are an integrated whole, so take care of yourself: mind, body, spirit. Determine who you want to be, then break down the steps to get there." Her mother Ruth Stoddard remains her heroine, teaching her daughters how to love others as they are, comfort them in times of grief, encourage them to grow, and that just being present when they are

needed is a blessing to those around them. "She cares deeply and loves well, and I hope I do the same," says Hollwarth of her Mum. On a professional level; her vocational icon is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She and Ginsburg share the same political inclinations, and Hollwarth admires Ginsburg's support of gender equality, and how she expanded the role of men in the home and women in the workplace without diminishing the value of either's contributions. "One of my favorite things she's credited with saying is, 'you can disagree without being disagreeable,' she says. "The world would be a better place if we all remembered that a little more often." The Village Shopping Center 2002 Judson Road, Suite 101 Longview, Texas 75605 (903) 758 . 4367


National Women's History Month


Honoring the accomplishments of JEWELRY women that make this country the best in the world The Village Shopping Center 2002 Judson Road, Suite 101 Longview, Texas 75605 (903) 758 . 4367 | | infinitieplus | March 2022




Cover Story

Cover Story

Realtor Brittany Cleveland:

A study in success



The Cleveland family: Kory, Brittany, Korner and Baker.

14 | | infinitieplus | March 2022

rittany Lauren Cleveland is a young Longview lady who has no reservations about following the will of the Holy Spirit when it comes to her career. Her blessings include husband of six years Kory Cleveland, children Isaac Kole Cleveland (in heaven; would be four,) Konner Isaac Cleveland, three; and Baker Kole Cleveland, one. Even though she is young, she guides her children with love and an expertise learned from her parents. "They taught me the importance of working hard, being respectful to others and to never lose faith," she says. "They have been some of my biggest supporters and always cheer me on. I am thankful for both of them. More than I could ever say." Her life is a whirlwind of love for her husband and sons, and sharing sup-

port, core values and quality time with them regardless of work schedules. Besides the godly influence of her beloved parents, Cleveland prepared for her career by training in the Kilgore Independent School District and East Texas Baptist University. Her education readied for her present position as a realtor. Cleveland earned her real estate license in March 2021. She is now a realtor for Sugar Magnolia Properties. "I absolutely love getting to help people. Getting to navigate the ins and outs of the home buying/selling process with each client is so rewarding come closing day," she says. "To find the perfect place to call home is such a special moment." Along with learning how to buy and sell homes, land, and commercial properties she became the first woman in the East Texas area to start a local Home Mommies chapter. An obvious, unselfish move after

"Never give up. Cling to Jesus and trust that His plan for your life is so much better than anything you could plan for yourself. He doesn't always promise that it will be easy, but He will never leave you." - Brittany Cleveland

Edward, Hayley and Henry Choy | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story

Cover Story

"What I love most about my profession is getting to know my clients and helping them find the perfect home for them.”

- Brittany Cleveland

richment, and social activities to keep its members in touch with each other and aware of opportunities. Her work in these areas has taught her what it takes for young ladies to have a glowing future. "Never give up. Cling to Jesus and trust that His plan for your life is so much better than anything you could plan for yourself," she says. "He doesn't always promise that it will be easy, but He will never leave you." She looks upon her mother

as her leading role model. Her grandchildren all call her Gigi, and she uses her Godly influence to teach them the value of helping others and having a servant's heart. Cleveland also credits her broker Melanie Northcutt as an inspiration through her tireless heart and drive to succeed. "She dedicates her time to her agents, and goes above and beyond for others," says Cleveland. They make quite a team.

Brittany Cleveland

losing her first child. She felt the call and started the chapter. She collects comfort items for women suffering such a loss, boxes them and delivers these "Hope Boxes" to local hospitals for distribution. She attributes her success to challenging work, setting (and achieving) goals, listening to those who offer good advice and accepting support from family and friends when needed. On a typical day she sets up showings, meets with clients, potential new buyers, and potential sellers. She guides new and inexperienced clients in setting up searches for

what they specifically want. "What I love most about my profession is getting to know my clients and helping them find the perfect home," she says. "To see the joy on their faces when they close, and knowing I helped them make this dream/wish a reality is the best feeling." There is also the darker side of her calling. Sometimes she has to tell clients their bid on a home has been rejected despite their demanding work. Of course, she also has a problem (in this capitalistic society) when potential customers choose other realtors. Still, she looks at

this as an opportunity to work even harder and earn their business in the future. In fact, there is nothing about her career that she does not love. This love is not limited to real estate, either. Besides serving as president of the East Texas Hope Mommies chapter and insuring area families who have endured miscarriage, stillbirth and/or infant loss have loving companionship, encouragement, comfort, and hope, she cochairs the Young Professionals of Longview in their quest to achieve opportunities for business growth, community service, personal enChristina Conner (holding Alice Conner); Brandon Conner, Brittany and Kory Cleveland; Gail and Virgil Conner

16 | | infinitieplus | March 2022 | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story

Cover Story

Casie Buck: Compassion, competence key for local business leader



Casie Buck, Founder of Silver Paws


asie Buck recently got engaged on a Christmas eve- December 24, 2021, to be exact. It is a fitting date for someone so committed to serving her Savior and His creation. She sees her Lord and Creator in all living things. "We all have a purpose, and He doesn't make mistakes," she says. "We are to be His hands and his feet in everything that we do." She strives forward through her strong work ethic and Christian convictions. “ I believe that things should not just be handed to you but are earned through the work you put in them,” she said. Buck loves to give back to her community and working through problems as soon as they become apparent. It is apparent that Ms. Buck a willful, and industrious daughter of the Most High God was steered onto the straight and narrow, thanks to a family is totally in tune with His will. For example, growing up and working on her family's farm taught Buck, the value of effort and teamwork. To this day, she and her loved ones maintain loving mutual support. This learning experience guided her onto her edu- | | infinitieplus | March 2022

cational route. She became a Texas Aggie. "I visited the campus several times and each time it felt like home," she says. "Once I found the Aggies for Christ, I knew I was at home." While finding time to run the family farm with her brother, Buck is also founder of Silver Star Assisted Therapy, Inc., also known as Silver Paws. Last year she expanded her business ventures into opening Oaklea Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Winnsboro. Diving into multiple businesses is a choice she made carefully and deliberately

and has not looked back. "The family farm is my heritage and where I find my peace," she says. "Silver Paws is my joy and my stability, and the bed and breakfast is becoming the adventure I didn't know I wanted. I began the B&B as a for-profit adventure to help pay for all my nonprofit dreams." Her gender has never been anything but another factor in her success. This woman seeks success, and never lets anything, her gender included, become a consideration. Families typically work together as teams regardless of how

"I visited the campus several times and each time it felt like home. Once I found the Aggies for Christ, I knew I was at home." Casie Buck, Founder of Silver Paws

many members of the team are male or female. The teamwork she learned from her family unit taught her "many lessons" that are becoming crucial. "How to work as a team with family, how to respect myself and know my worth in a man-driven industry, how to take care of my mental health at all times, how to do the paperwork for an agriculture business, the chance to apply [for] and receive several grants on the state level for operations, all the different lessons I learned and dredged through prepared me for each new adventure," she says. Buck got the idea for Silver Paws when she took her part-beagle pup to school at A&M and noted how this lovable little canine positively ra-

diated love to all around her. Hoping to sign the dog up for training classes, Buck could not find any, hence, she launched Silver Paws. She describes this organization as "one of the most rewarding" of her ventures. The new acquaintances it has brought into her life are a great blessing themselves, providing input to the solutions of various problems. The B&B was a different undertaking, but every bit as rewarding. "Oaklea Mansion Bed and Breakfast was something I did not seek out," she says. "After visiting with the previous owner and learning more about the history of the business, I fell in love with the history, architecture and overall atmosphere of the place." | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story Acquiring, renovating, and reopening the B&B was a challenge because so many older, male bankers and businessmen refused to take a woman (especially one so young) seriously. She finally found a banker who agreed to help, and neither of them looked back. "We started with the nuts and bolts of an outstanding historical home and brought it back to its former glory in three months' time," she says. "We have had our first guests and are looking to the future of the property." It is just another of her career triumphs. She is not sure if she has peaked as a prosperous businesswoman. She figures there is always something just around the next corner, waiting for her. She carefully treats her employees, and co-workers with unconditional respect and consideration, and sets a personal example of an industrious, competent

Cover Story entrepreneur. She starts each day poring over emails, texts, answering machine messages and using this info to start daily activities and functions for Silver Paws, the hay farm and Oaklea. She does a brilliant job of running them all simultaneously. Furthermore, Buck loves interacting with her own four-legged companions and with the livestock of local ranchers who depend on her for the hay their livestock need especially during the winter months. She insures they are safe, warm, and marketable despite winter storms. She loves challenges and the rewards earned overcoming them. "I sometimes feel overrun by paperwork, but after a day spreading cheer with Silver Paws, helping farmers care for their animals or livelihood, and seeing the smiles of someone who thought it was hopeless getting to work the next day be-

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"The family farm is my heritage and where I find my peace," she says. "Silver Paws is my joy and my stability, and the bed and breakfast is becoming the adventure I didn't know I wanted. I began the B&B as a for-profit adventure to help pay for all my non-profit dreams." Casie Buck, Founder of Silver Paws

Casie feeding a horse

"You only need that one person in the right place to say 'yes' and then you are off to the races. You are only a failure when you stop trying to move forward." Casie Buck, Founder of Silver Paws | | infinitieplus | March 2022

cause of the weather, it is all worth it," she says. Overcoming obstacles is a task all businesspeople face, and Buck does it with style and class. Managing her time is a constant chore, as is overcoming the blockades erected by the COVID pandemic. The epidemic has made it difficult to find needed volunteers to handle Silver Paws' daily operations in its multiple facilities. As she attempts to re-open Coronavirus-closed operations, she finds herself continuously in need (and short of) new team members. Fortunately, the hay farm is not active during winter, but once it does kick in, every spring it is a challenge to keep the day-today work done. Again, teamwork makes it possible, and recently purchased new equipment also makes the operation easier, faster, and more profitable. "The hardest part of the job is the hands-on work," she says. "It is also the most rewarding." Moreover, Oaklea Mansion has seen the typical challenges experienced by businesses under new management, but Buck has not let this interfere with the comfort of her guests. She sees a golden future for her B&B.

"We look forward to the day when we can provide all our services to all those looking for that perfect destination getaway," she says. She is a blessing to Longview in ways other than her business operations. She works closely with the Junior League, which has blessed her and her employees vocationally. "The Junior League is where I am able to give back to the community through volunteer work, donations to those in need, and through background work that helps with the leadership aspect of the League," she says. Buck has great advice for young women. She recommends today's up-and-coming young women to "keep moving forward." There are those out there who will call youthful, female businesspersons "crazy" and refuse to deal with them under any conditions. Buck advises her protegees to keep plugging away until they find the right, openminded connections. "You only need that one person in the right place to say 'yes' and then you are off to the races," she says. "You are only a failure when you stop trying to move forward." Buck mother is her hero. She looks to her own mother as her

inspiration for achieving success. Many times, her mother refused to cave into adversity, instead forging ahead until she was thriving, refusing to take "no" for an answer and respecting and benefitting those around her. Buck also credits her Junior League colleagues, Deena Shelton, Kristin Ishihara, and Kelly Belt for their roles in her life and businesses. Deena ushered her into the League and has bolstered her during trials. Kristin is her role model on how to serve the League, community, her work, and family. She provides Buck with an example of perseverance and efficiency. Kelly is a more recent acquaintance who, like her, keeps multiple irons in the fire, running her businesses and guiding Buck in her own endeavors. "I always call her the 'Powerhouse behind the scenes' to those who ask me how I stay on track," she says. "She is the mover and gogetter that keeps me sold." Buck believes that by following the lead of her Junior League friends and her mother she can never go wrong. She bypasses daily struggles and keeps moving profitably forward. | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story

Cover Story

Stephanie Myers:

Longview Lady serves, prospers By JOYCELYNE FADOJUTIMI


tephanie Myers and husband Jay have children with ages ranging from eleven to thirty-one. However, only one still lives at home. The rest are a loving extended family within a three-hour radius of Longview. Their parents' home sits on ten acres of beautiful East Texas. They have so much to be happy about, and some of their joy comes from way back. Ms. Myers grew up in a family that emphasized the Golden Rule hence, to this day she treats others the same way she hopes they treat her, starting out with a smile. Stephanie's love for others led her to call her home "the Servant's Shanty." She reflects warmly on how as a young wife and mother; holidays


saw four family members assembling. Now it's more like ten. It would be twelve, but she recently lost her mother and little brother to cancer. She visits both graves regularly. Myers has always loved to travel. As far as her places of residence are concerned, she is a literal southern bell, living and working in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. After pulling down an associate degree in business from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she went to work as a real estate broker/owner. She passed her real estate exam in 1998 and have garnered several accolades since then. *Longview Area Association of Realtors voted her, Rookie of the Year. Her business card

company, office manager for another, and later passing her broker's exam and starting her own company. Even after taking early retirement in 2017, so she and Jay could indulge their love of travel,

she stays vocationally busy as a "professional volunteer." She combined her real estate career with being a wonderful mother. This was in spite of her not being a Native East Texan.

Stephanie Myers

Honors National Women's History Month Stephanie Myers

calls her a "Real Estate Consultant," reassuring Myers’ clients about her ability and dedication to their mutual benefit.

"That sales' image is not how I want to be portrayed," she explains. She stayed active training agents for one | | infinitieplus | March 2022

County Judge



Honoring the accomplishments of women that make this country the best in the world | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Cover Story


Pups laying on Stephanie Myers

She did not stay a stranger for long. Her ability earned her a place among the Top Ten agents and made her many friends. Many of these loving acquaintances are local young women she has encouraged to set realistic goals and chase them with resolution and focus. Her influence on the younger generation is a true labor of love. "They will receive so much reward and have a heartful of memories for a lifetime," she says. Myers’ other accolades include: • Longview Regional Medical


Center Star Over Longview BScene magazine Top Real Estate Broker • Who's Who in Real Estate • Longview News Journal Top Women in Business • Locals Love Us-Real Estate • Longview Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Still, she continues her community service, involving herself in 100 Women Who Care, Tomorrow's Promise Rescue, UTTUA PTO, coach/consultant for a small business, and Moms that Sparkle. •

When not volunteering or travelling she finds time for writing, cooking, reading, fishing, arts, and crafts. When asked her role model she points to one Pat Archer. These two wonderful women met at a local church where they both taught Bible studies. Myers and Pat dearly love their families and friends. Bothe women by example as servant leaders. Stephanie lives the Bible's adjuration to "Let our light shine before men., Mathew 5:16. She positively sparkles with the love of Christ. It rubs off on those around her. | | infinitieplus | March 2022 | | infinitieplus | March 2022


Questions to ask prospective

wedding officiants



ouples make many decisions when planning their weddings. Everything from the design of save-the-date cards to the color of the napkins at the reception tables requires couples’ input. Choice of officiant is another decision that’s worthy of significant consideration.

Questions to ask. *Can you legally officiate our wedding? Each state has its own requirements regarding who can sign the paperwork necessary for couples to be considered legally married. An officiant should meet these requirements. *What services do you provide? Some officiants will do more than officiate the wedding. Some will help couples obtain their marriage license and even submit the documentation after the wedding. *How flexible are you? Ask how officiants handle feedback and how willing they are to deliver remarks they did not necessarily write themselves. Some officiants may have a template they customarily follow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t stray and personalize the ceremony based on couples’ wishes. *Do you have a portfolio? Written testimonials from past clients can be invaluable, but couples can get a true feel for an officiant’s style by watching video of ceremonies they’ve officiated in the past.

Will we work together prior to the ceremony? Many officiants will ask to meet with a couple at least once before the wedding so they can get to know them as well as possible. Ask each officiant if this is their policy. Pre-wedding meetings can be conducted in person or via Zoom.

Miscellaneous considerations • • • •

¥ Officiant’s attire ¥ Backups if the officiant falls ill prior to the ceremony ¥ Officiant fees, and if extra services like attending the rehearsal incurs additional charges ¥ Officiants’ experience March 2022

9 7

Tips for finding the right wedding venue


edding planning requires couples to make many decisions, including where the wedding will take place. A couple’s wedding day is typically broken into two parts: the ceremony comes first, and the reception follows soon after. Depending on couples’ preferences and religious beliefs, ceremonies may take place at a house of worship or another location that is separate from the reception venue. In some instances, couples may choose one location for both the ceremony and the party to follow.

entire wedding will feel connected to the space. A modern wedding, for example, will be at home in an art gallery or warehouse.

1. Consider your theme and wedding style.

3. Availability of the location.

Most couples know which sentiments they want to convey during their weddings. The venue should match the theme so the


2. Assess the budget.

A couple may find what seems to be the perfect venue, only to realize that the cost of the space doesn’t fit their budget. Ampersand Travel says the venue accounts for the most significant wedding expense, at an average cost of $9,000. Finding a venue that will maximize dollars spent involves looking at what is included. Rentals for chairs, linens, lighting, a dance floor, and other extras can quickly add up.

When a couple wants to get married may determine their venue options, especially if they’re planning on a budget. September

and October are now the most popular months to get married, so venues will book up quickly during that time of year. Those who have their hearts set on specific days will have to begin the search earlier than couples with no attachment to a particular date.

4. Estimate the size of your guest list.

Price, date and style will factor into wedding venues, but the number of guests also is a major consideration. A trendy restaurant may seem like the perfect locale, but it must be able to accommodate everyone on the guest list. Couples should sit down with their families and come up with a list of potential guests and look for a venue that can accommodate everyone. Finding the right venue requires careful consideration of various factors that are unique to each couple.

March 2022

How to give weddings a

modern touch


o two weddings are the same. Some couples go to great lengths to personalize their weddings, while others make a few minor tweaks to traditional components to make ceremonies and receptions more reflective of their style and the sentiments they hope to convey. Embracing modern trends is one-way couples have looked to set their weddings apart from traditional ceremonies. There are no rules governing weddings, and that affords couples certain freedoms as they seek to incorporate a modern sensibility into the festivities. For example, couples can modernize certain components of their weddings while remaining loyal to more traditional elements, or they can fully embrace a modern aesthetic. That choice of how modern to make a wedding is up to the couple getting married, but the following are some ways to give weddings a modern touch. Leave a small carbon footprint. Eco-conscious couples can embrace an environmentalist ethos when planning their weddings by doing everything they can to eliminate waste and promote conservation. Send electronic invitations and save-the-date cards in lieu of paper alternatives and choose a reception venue that serves only locally sourced food and beverages. In lieu of wedding favors, which tend to be individually wrapped, donate in guests names to a local environmental group and share that information with loved ones. When picking a hotel for guests, find lodging that incorporates sustainability into its day-today operations. Retire certain traditions. Couples need not feel pressured to incorporate traditions that no longer reflect modern sensibilities. It’s up to couples to determine which traditions to retire, but customs

like the garter toss and bouquet toss may no longer resonate with modern couples or their guests. In addition, brides who want to be walked down the aisle by both of their parents, as opposed to just their father, should not hesitate to do so. Look for a modern venue. One of the most awe-inspiring ways to give a wedding a modern touch is to choose a venue that reflects a modern aesthetic. Vaulted ceilings, white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows can create a clean, modern feel. Outdoor ceremonies also can create a modern ambiance. Adjust your attire. Black tuxedos and white wedding dresses are among the first things to come to mind when imagining traditional weddings. Couples can stay formal but embrace a more modern look by choosing more colorful tuxedo for grooms and groomsmen and picking a wedding gown with a flair of color. Brides also can allow bridesmaids to pick their own bridesmaid dresses to expand the modern look even further. There’s no shortage of ways for couples to give their weddings a modern touch. March 2022


How couples can benefit from hiring local


ngagements precede wedding dresses, flower arrangements, limousines, and even a couple’s wedding vows. And no proposal is complete without a ring. Knowledge of rings and stones is essential for those who plan to propose in the near future. A recent survey from the wedding resource The Knot in which 12,000 brides and 1,200 grooms in the United States were asked about their rings, found that people spend an average, of $5,978 on engagement rings. Recognizing the potential cost of engagement rings can help ring shoppers prepare for their purchases. In addition to considering costs, couples can employ the following tips to shop with confidence. Know your settings. How the diamond is framed can affect how big it looks and even how much it sparkles. Get the desired cut. A skilled jeweler knows how to properly cut a stone to bring out its best radiance. From round to princess to emerald to mar-

quise cut, cut styles can affect how the stone looks as well as the price. Know ring metals. Platinum and gold are some of the most popular ring setting metals. Platinum costs considerably more than gold or silver but is long-lasting. Investigate personal style. Men should pay attention to the jewelry their girlfriends wear so the engagement rings complement their style. Some women love modern jewelry, while others gravitate toward vintage pieces. Jewelry stores are in the business of developing relationships with their customers. When purchasing engagement rings, couples can discuss their desires in regard to a ring, as well as their budgets.


ocal vendors are often a go-to choose when couples are planning their wedding ceremonies and receptions. As the shop local movement grows in popularity, weddings present a prime opportunity to embrace this movement. Couples may have different ideas regarding where to tie the knot, but local vendors can be hired regardless of geography. Hometowns might be the traditional choice regarding wedding location.

Savings: Couples who travel for their weddings and employ local vendors will not have to pack as much.

Familiarity: Local vendors will be familiar with the area and possibly even the location where the wedding will be held. That can help couples avoid having to give directions, discuss venue protocols, and handle other tasks that must be worked out with non-local vendors.

Environment: Individuals who take great strides to conserve resources by reducing their energy consumption and protecting the environment often find that shopping local is beneficial. Local vendors are more likely to source their materials from other local businesses, reducing their carbon footprints along the way

Proximity: Local vendors can meet with brides and grooms more readily throughout the planning process, making things less stressful on the happy couple.

Customization: Working with local vendors often translates into getting more personalized service and attention than mass retailers or merchants can provide.

From precious stones to brilliant new creations, our exquisite jewelry collections are truly stunning. JEWELRY The Village Shopping Center 2002 Judson Road, Suite 101 Longview, Texas 75605 (903) 758 . 4367




March 2022 March 2022


March 2022

What to consider when shopping for

rings How couples can benefit from

hiring local

Tips for finding the right wedding venue Questions to ask prospective wedding officiants

How to give weddings a

modern touch FLIP THIS MAGAZINE The journey of love marriage family

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