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SPRING/SUMMER 2019 SUMMER 2017

MOVING WITH THE

MILITARY Maria Reed’s Journey to Being Named Army Spouse of the Year

MEET MRS. BELL COUNTY Lauren Brown was crowned Mrs. Bell County 2019, and has been working to connect with and serve her adopted community for the past several months.

WOLFGANG’S GARDEN An on-going learning experience and a deep appreciation for what the land provides.

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18 Communities from the $140s to $350s+

254-773-9966 2

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CONTENTS HOME & GARDEN

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WO LFGA NG’S GARDEN

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RE VO LU TIONIZE YOUR L IFE: SPARK SO ME J OY BY DECLUTTERIN G

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More than eggshell and sustainable gardening, there’s room for a six-year-old to thrive. Wolfgang’s Garden has been an on-going learning experience and a deep appreciation for what the land provides; food, shelter, and a habitat for all living things to co-exist.

Clutter. Everyone deals with it. Inspired by a friend who has barely any clutter contaminating her home, learn how one BCL writer rids her home of un-“Joyful” belongings, and gives us a few tips we can use to “spark” your own purge!

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TH E Y E LLOW HOUSE B E D A ND BREAKFAST

The Yellow House Bed and Breakfast is so much more than just a place to rest your weary wanderer’s head. Nestled amongst oak trees on sprawling green acres, the sun-hued main house, cottages and event center blend together a taste of country living and feelings associated with ‘home sweet home’.

FA I T H A N D C O M M U N I T Y

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ME E T MR S . B EL L CO U N T Y

Lauren Brown, an Army wife who has lived in Bell County for the past five years, was crowned Mrs. Bell County 2019, and has been working to connect with and serve her adopted community for the past several months.

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TODDLERS, TWEENS, TEENS & TECH: IS A DIGITAL ADDICTION DRIVING US ALL CRAZY?

Half of American teens are suffering needlessly from a self- professed addiction and parents feel their children are distracted and don't pay attention when they are together. What is it that’s driving young people and their families to the breaking point?.

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H E LP H AS A N EW A D D R ESS

The United Way of Central Texas is the center for community impact.

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P UR POS E IN T H E PAU SE

Let’s build regular pauses in our day so that we can hear and see God, as He wants us to.

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ABOUT THE COVER Cover photo is of Maria Reed, Army Spouse of the Year. Read about her journey to this title and blog, Moving With the Military, on page 50.


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ATTENTION ALL ACTIVE DUTY, RETIRED POLICE MILITARY AND WOUNDED WARRIORS WE VALUE YOUR SERVICE, AND WE’D LIKE TO OFFER YOU A SPECIAL BENEFIT TO THANK YOU! U.S. MILITARY ON THE MOVE® is a free real estate rebate and information program that allows you to earn cash back when you buy or sell a home (in states where allowed by law*). TO BE ELIGIBLE, you must register with U.S. Military on the Move® before contacting a real estate agent, and you must be either active duty, retired police military (20 years of service) or a wounded warrior (police applies to local market only). If you are not already connected to an experienced, knowledgeable real estate professional who will guide you through the process, visit USMilitaryOnTheMove.com/CloudRealEstate or call 254-690-3311. WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL A HOME through U.S. Military on the Move,® you’ll receive a cash rebate* based on the actual sales price – not a fixed amount based on a range of values – and you’ll receive your rebate at closing! IF YOU PLAN TO RENT A HOME, we can help! Our members will provide comprehensive information about the area, counseling on local rental practices and will even send information on listings that meet your criteria. REBATES ARE GREAT, but there are many other important considerations when choosing a real estate company. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a global network of 565 premier real estate firms with 4,300 offices and 130,000 sales associates in over 70 countries around the world. Collectively, this group produces 1.1 million transactions valued at $372 billion in home sales annually, more than any national real estate brand. LeadingRE dominates the United States’ list of top 500 real estate firms, with more of the Number One market leaders in the top 100 markets than any national brand. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU? Quality agents, quality service from top independent brokers who live and work in the market No required mortgage lender – choose any lender you wish No dollar limit on rebates Rebate paid at settlement

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CONTENTS

FA I T H A N D C O M M U N I T Y

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MOVING WITH THE MILITARY—MARIA REED’S JO U RN EY TO B EI N G N A M ED A RM Y S P OUS E O F TH E YEA R

Having worked in the television field for 20 years, Maria Reed started her own online show, which has led to her being named Army Spouse of the Year, as well as in the running for overall Military Spouse of the Year.

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BURGERS THAT ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD

In a town not so far away, you will find Central Texas’s “Best Burger”, along with a menu full of burgers you won’t believe until you see. Galaxy Burger in Killeen is covered in pop culture and science fiction memorabilia that guarantees not just a burger, but an overall experience.

H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

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SMALL STEPS ARE KEY TO A HEALTHY LIFE

AdventHealth encourage community wellness through its CREATION Life philosophy.

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HEALTHY RECIPE

Lighten it up with fresh, healthy summer dishes

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EXPERT, FRIENDLY CARE--THE WOMEN’S CENTER AT SETON MEDICAL CENTER HARKER HEIGHTS

A life-changing experience awaits when a woman confirms that she has a life growing inside of her. As part of the planning journey, one hospital to consider in the Bell County area is Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights.on the couch with the latest electronics in hand is almost impossible.

T R AV E L A N D O U T D O O R S

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MUDDY MEMORIES ARE MORE FUN

Be more than a runner, be a warrior! Get down and dirty for approximately three miles, in and along Nolan Creek, and conquer this course! Belton’s only obstacle course race includes 10-12 obstacles including 2-3 with mud and water!

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3 FINANCIAL TOOLS YOU SHOULD BE USING BUT PROBABLY AREN’T

Welcome to 2019. How’s your money situation looking? If it’s anything like the stats show, you might want to pay attention.

HOMETOWN HAPPENINGS

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63 TABLERO CK F ESTIVAL

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HORSIN’ AROUND RECOVERY RANCH

A lifelong dream of having her own horse came true when Brenda Ramos began providing equine-assisted therapy, and Horsin’ Around Recovery Ranch was born! Throughout her own personal illness, Brenda has found the comfort and therapeutic benefits in her own recovery.


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WWW.CTCSLIONS.COM H O MET O W N L I V I NG A T ITS B EST

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

PUBLISHER

Red Fin Publishing

Justin & Hayley Six Kyle & Halsey Clark

Hayley Six

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Hayley.RedFin@gmail.com

CREATIVE | DESIGN

GreenFox Marketing

CONTENT COORDINATOR Jennifer Cabbage Jennifer.RedFin@gmail.com Jordan Murdock Jordan.Redfin@gmail.com

T

he last few months have flown by and we are excited to bring you another edition of Bell County Living. We hope as you turn through these pages, you’ll read more wonderful stories and testimonies to the fantastic and kind people of Bell County—truly a special place to live, with so much to be proud of. Each issue showcases some of the people, places and things that Bell County is known for. In this edition, you will meet two amazing women from Ft. Hood. One has met her calling and become successful with a video blog surprising deserving military spouses with room makeovers, and has recently been named Army Spouse of the Year! Read about Maria Reed and the positive impact she has had not only on the military community, but the things she has brought to Bell County. Our very own Lauren Brown was also named Mrs. Bell County and was honored to compete for Mrs. Texas! She is a delight to all whom she meets, and pledges to continue to serve Bell County for the remainder of her title period. You can also learn some tips and tricks for eco-friendly gardening from a small friend in our area. Wolfgang and his mom have worked hard to turn their land into a place where plants and vegetables can grow free from external measures, focusing on the natural bounty offered to assist healthy growth. Please enjoy this semi-annual publication available at no charge throughout Bell County and in all of its communities. Please take a moment to view the Index of Advertisers and thank them when you visit their establishments. Without them, this publication is not possible. Again, we would like to extend special thanks to all of those who contribute and help mold this magazine—without you, as well, this would not be possible. Thank you and we look forward to many more editions of Bell County Living. Wishing you many blessings,

J u sti n an d Hay l e y Six Kyle an d Hal se y C l a r k “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

BE L L CO U N TY L I V I N G M AG A Z I N E R E D F IN P UB L I S HI N G

W W W. B E L LC O U N T Y L I V I N G . C O M

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PROOF READER

Jennifer Cabbage

PHOTOGRAPHERS Becky Stinehour of Candid Images Photography Emily B Photography JohnJohns Digital Art COVER PHOTO

SALES

Rendez Photography Photo by EmilyB Photography Bruce Racioppa Justin Six Kyle Clark

CONTRIBUTING Peggy Purser Freeman WRITERS Chad Hailey

Martha Helton Cassidy Horn Connie Lewis Leonard Jessa McClure Tori Mortenson Heather Regula CONTRIBUTORS AdventHealth Seton Medical Center Harker Heights Tablerock Festival of Salado

Bell County Living© is published quarterly by Red Fin Publishing.

WWW.REDFINPUBLISH IN G .COM P.O. Box 1239 | Weatherford, TX 76086 817-618-9465

All rights reserved. Copies or reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without expressed written authorization from the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein. Advertising is subject to omission, errors, and other changes without notice.


THE JOURNEY CONTINUES For over 150 years, we have enjoyed providing the best customer service and high quality merchandise to the Central Texas area. We love our customers, and we’d like to invite you to stop by our newly restored store, say hello, and see how we’re modernizing with a bit of 1800’s flair.

221 East Central Avenue | Belton, TX 76513 | 254-939-3333 |

www.cbandpotts.com

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HOME & GARDEN

WOLFGANG’S

Garden BY PEGGY PURSER FREEMAN

PHOTOS BY BECKY STINEHOUR OF CANDID IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY

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olfgang Gillmeister, a very active and intelligent sixyear-old gardener, recently shared his garden with me in a FaceTime interview on our phones. My first question was, “What do you like most about your garden?�

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“Along with the opportunity to explore nature, it was my desire to provide him with skills that would carry him throughout his life. I wanted him to observe the land and everything that surrounds him without fear. He has grown an appreciation for the wildlife, birds, cows, and pollinators, such as the bees and butterflies. He loves to grow food for his family and community.” Wolfgang takes his responsibility for the eggshell plants seriously. He tends them as they grow in their garden room. When it’s time for transplanting the plants into the outdoors, Wolfgang helps prepare the beds with compost, digs planting holes, and plants the seedlings. “I plant the whole eggshell plant,” Wolfgang explained as he danced around with the butterflies. Marjorie appeared in view on the FaceTime call. “Wolfgang chooses what garden beds he will tend to each season.” The dark-headed pixie-gardener dashed back to the camera. “I water and pick and I get to sell things at market.”

Running through the asparagus and hollyhocks, then back again, his big smile appeared on the screen. “I like my sunflower seeds. I can eat them.” Although our interview was too early in the season for sunflower seeds, Wolfgang showed me a vast garden that rambled on and on. Flowers grow, hugging vegetables and weaving together colors and shades of green. In the winter of 2015, Marjorie Gillmeister searched for containers to use to plant seeds so the seedlings could get a head start before spring. Wolfgang sat nearby. Even at two, he loved to talk and help his mom. “One morning,” Marjorie explained, “Wolfgang and I were in his Nana’s kitchen, washing eggshells to compost. We were teaching ourselves how to grow our own food by starting seeds in various types of pots. We embarked on our journey as mother and son, sustainable gardeners.” Holding an eggshell in his tiny hands, Wolfgang said, “Momma, plant seeds.” “How fascinating!” Marjorie decided to do just that— start the seeds in the eggshells. Research further into the importance of recycling eggshells into a garden, I found that eggshells are beneficial in many ways. Eggshells are mostly made up of calcium carbonate. Calcium from eggshells is 90% absorbable and is an essential nutrient for a plant's growth, helping such things as healthy cell walls. The eggshell is a biodegradable seed starter that feeds the soil nutrients when transplanted into the garden.” Exploring using various types of seeds in the eggshell pods, the Gillmeisters began Wolfgang’s Garden. Their motto “Our garden is a work of heART”, became a reality.

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“Farmer’s Market,” Marjorie explained, “that is an added bonus. In our first booth, we sold pecans for Wolfgang’s Grandpa Leonard. As newcomers to Texas, we met the community and got to know what they wanted to see more of at the market. Wolfgang would wake up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and we would head to Water Street Farmers Market in Belton. Each season, we try a few new seed varieties. For example, we start purple Sicily cauliflower in eggshells and transplant them into a garden bed with zinnia flowers and learn how they can support growth and create biodiversity for the soil microorganisms.” Marjorie also serves as Youth Director for The Bell County Master Gardeners Association. “We have various educational and hands-on activities throughout the year at the TABA Home and Garden Show at The Bell County Expo Center, Earth Day at Fort Hood, and we visit many schools throughout the county.” Raised in California, at age 17 Marjorie moved to New York City to be close to her siblings, where she met Sebastian Gillmeister. Sebastian grew up working with his father on the farm in Troy, just outside of Temple, Texas. Sebastian and Marjorie both worked in the fashion industry.

Holding an eggshell in his tiny hands, Wolfgang said, “Momma, plant seeds.”

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“My husband grew up working on his dad’s land in Troy. The time came when he wanted to spend quality time with his ninety-three-year-old father. We wanted Wolfgang to know his grandpa and to grow up in a natural environment.” Sebastian could work remotely for his NYC career from Texas. Wolfgang’s Garden has been an on-going learning experience and a deep appreciation for what the land provides; food, shelter, and a habitat for all living things to co-exist. “We have learned that if you allow nature to be your guide it will lead you to where it needs to thrive,” Marjorie said. “The garden is in its third year of a notill, no-plow method, protecting the soil food web as it becomes a balanced ecosystem. We would like to continue educating our youth in the community about the sustainable methods we have encountered while gardening.” Community involvement for Marjorie reflects her gardening style—a blend of activities producing harmony and growth. An example is Earth Day on April 22, 2019.

“Our pastor coordinated a youth group event. We had our first visit from a youth foreign exchange group from Germany. They learned about the garden, toured the farm on a hayride, and enjoyed a picnic. They fished, savored s’mores around an open campfire, and communed together in nature.” As a Master Gardener, Marjorie has taken the simple suggestion of eggshell gardening to new levels of cultivation and experimentation. “Seeds are on a continual cycle, in the third year of self-sowing themselves into the earth. We work around seedlings and plants that have pre-existed by planting annuals, herbs, and edible flowers. This creates biodiversity among the plants and soil microorganisms which are responsible for maintaining our garden’s bounty—keeping it pest and disease free. There’s a balance we find each day. We play in the light of nature. A friend I mentor, Jess Lee, sowed many flower seeds beneficial to our pollinators, birds, and especially hummingbirds two years ago. Today the garden creates a magical pattern for us to plant around.”

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Now Wolfgang’s Garden is known for individually hand-batched “seasonal pesto”. The Gillmeisters harvest greens, herbs, and edible flowers fresh. “I would love to expand one day, possibly having a commercial kitchen and selling to specialty stores,” Marjorie added. Like most six-year-olds, Wolfgang’s dreams are mixed. “I want to help hungry people. And when I grow up, I want to be a singer. I can play an electric guitar, harmonica, and tambourine. And my dad and I are writing songs.” Before I said goodbye, I asked Wolfgang if he had thought of writing a book to teach other kids about eggshell gardening. “Sure!” he answered. “Mom, give me some paper.” Marjorie Gillmeister added, “In Germanic terms, ‘Wolf’ means the animal wolf, and ‘gang’ means the path and journey. As his mother, I feel that Wolfgang has been my guide and taught me many things. Wolfgang’s father takes pride in his son’s work. “Now, Wolfgang learns responsibility and benefits of hard work, planting good seeds in good soil and the reward is a good harvest.” The genius in the family’s parenting style is showcased by Wolfgang’s involvement in his garden, based on his interest and age-appropriate skills. At Wolfgang’s Garden, there’s more than eggshell and sustainable gardening, there’s room for a six-year-old to thrive. For more information follow Wolfgang’s Garden on Facebook.

We have learned that if you allow nature to be your guide it will lead you to where it needs to thrive. - Margorie Gillmeister


HOME & GARDEN

Revolutionize Your Life: S pa r k So m e Joy by D e c l u t t e r i n g By Martha Helton

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just had a secret fantasy fulfilled. While having our roof repaired, we had one of those huge dumpsters set in our driveway as a receptacle for roof debris. The big magical question we asked our contractor: “Can we throw away some of our stuff?” He invited us “to have at it.” I gleefully raced through the house gathering heavy junk--an old vacuum, old crutches that we “might” use again someday, boxes of books that would bring less than $10 at Half Price books (it costs more in gas to get there!), old scraps of lumber, etc. I heaved and shoved over the top. Items fell blissfully out of sight and mind. My next-door neighbor got inspired so I let her “have at it” as well. Wow! Talk about relief! According to www. homeadvisor.com, the average price for fulfilling a dumpster rental dream is $395. Yes, a little pricey but perhaps you can have a block party where everyone flings their large garbage items together, making the dumpster rental more affordable. Lol. Clutter. Everyone deals with it. The thing that bugs me about living with clutter is that I’m so busy

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reshuffling my clutter around or hunting down something that it prevents me from accomplishing more noble causes outside of my home. I’m inspired by a couple who barely have any tchotchkes cluttering any surface in their house. The few items they do display have personal significance. Talk about easy breezy clean up! The husband retired last year and they have filled their lives with ministry opportunities and are about to embark on a grand adventure, hiking the Appalachian Trail for six months. They are free to invest themselves outside their home because they aren’t stuck at home, endlessly dusting and shuffling all their tchotchkes. In the hit Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Kondo shares a unique way of looking at decluttering. The KonMari Method™ (named for Marie Kondo) is a state of mind – and a way of life – that encourages cherishing the things that spark joy in one's life. She instructs you to place your belongings in your hands, one at a time, and ask if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If the item does not spark joy, get rid of it.



Belongings are acknowledged for their service – and thanked before being let go--should they no longer spark joy. According to Kondo, possessions are stripped of their dignity when they go unused at home. Then when you have only your most joy-giving belongings picked out, put every item in a place that is visible, accessible and easy to grab. And in so doing, there will be more space for you to do the things you love surrounded by the possessions you adore. Because it is such a unique way of decluttering, I’ll share five tips for using the KonMari Method of organizing (taken from www.livible.com/blog/ultimatekonmari-guide):

1 . Ti dy All at O n ce

Instead of cleaning one room a day, devote an entire day (or weekend) to tidying up. If you only tidy one room at a time over an extended period of time, it will wind up

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getting messy again in a matter of a few weeks or months. This might sound a bit daunting. Not all of us have the time or the will to tackle our homes all in one go. Fret not! The lovely Marie Kondo counsels doing what you can if you can’t do it all in one day.

2. Visualize th e Desti nati o n

Before you throw things out, visualize what you want your ideal lifestyle to be. Having concrete goals such as “I want to live like a Goddess, surrounded by beauty and harmony” is much better than “I want to live in a clean house”. Or like my retired friends, their ideal lifestyle might be, “We want to streamline things comfortably and efficiently, so that we are free to invest in life-enriching endeavors.” KonMari teaches that by thinking in such concrete terms, you can more accurately visualize the home and lifestyle you wish to have.


5. Ti dy i n O rder

Kondo has come up with the ideal order in which you should tidy up: • Clothes • Books • Papers • Kimono (miscellaneous stuff) • Sentimental You can then separate everything out from each category into sub-categories which will make the process even easier. For example, the category “Clothes” could be sub-divided seasonally. Creating your own subcategories makes it easier to visualize what you have, what you need, and what does or doesn’t bring you joy.

3. Determine if the Item "Sparks Joy”

Marie Kondo’s lessons show that in focusing on what does not make you happy, you’re only inviting unhappiness into your life. If you look around your home and dwell on those items you can’t stand, you’re just generating more negativity. Instead, teaches Kondo, you should focus on what you love. By highlighting the items that bring you joy, the unenjoyed falls to the wayside. At the same time, by focusing your energy so positively on such joyful items, you are creating more happiness in your life. Sounds pretty great, right? When assessing whether an item brings joy or not, there’s no need to bring any “rational thinking” into the mix at this stage. You need to feel the item. Use your emotions and feelings to make a determination as to whether or not you’re going to keep something.

If you find it hard to get rid of some items as the KonMari method instructs you, you aren’t alone! Although the method is a great guide to help you declutter, you don’t have to follow it to the letter. You can always store things, in your home or in a nearby storage facility, that you think might bring joy in the future. For instance, if your toddler doesn’t need his crib anymore, you may need the crib if you plan to have more kids in your future so storing it makes sense. For more detailed information about the KonMari Method, you can watch the Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, or you can order her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her follow-up book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. The follow-up book is an illustrated guide with stepby-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. Also included is advice on frequently asked questions. Don’t want to buy any books? Check out Marie Kondo or KonMari on www.youtube.com. Go forth and spark some decluttering joy! BCL

4 . Ti dy by Catego ry, Not Lo cati o n

Most people store items that fall into the same “category” in various locations. For example, you probably have clothes in your closet, under your bed and in your dresser. So instead of tackling a closet or a dresser, tackle your clothes first. Locate every single piece of clothing you have and lay it out on your living room floor. Then, individually handle each clothing item to determine to keep or not to keep. Kondo has specific ways to fold clothes and store them in your home for neatness and accessibility. Check out Kondo’s book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up to see illustrations of her techniques.

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HOME & GARDEN

The Yellow House Bed and Breakfast: Making Memories One Guest at a Time BY HEATHER REGULA PHOTOS BY BECKY STINEHOUR OF CANDID IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY

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The Yellow House Bed and Breakfast is so much more than just a place to rest your weary wanderer’s head.

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rom the passing through of the famous Chisholm Trail cattle drives to Salado Creek's designation as the first recorded Natural Landmark in Texas in 1966, the village of Salado, incorporated in 1867 to build a bridge across Salado Creek, is no stranger to history and the arts.

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The cattle drive of the Chisholm Trail came right up what is today known as Main Street! As thousands of visitors flock to Salado each year to soak in the richly unique heritage and all that Salado has to offer, the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast stands out and is in a class of its own! To fully understand all that the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast is, a quick reflection on the definition of a 'bed and breakfast,' according to www.dictionary.com, is in order: bed and break·fast /'be dan 'brekfast/ (noun) noun: bed and breakfast Sleeping accommodations for a night and a morning meal, provided in guesthouses and small hotels. A guesthouse or small hotel offering sleeping accommodations and a morning meal.

After a quick visit to the meaning behind a wellloved term, it's fair to say that the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast stands out and is in a class of its own! Lovely, lovely, lovely are the words I use to describe this facility as the sizeable main sun-hued house, cottages, and event center, nestled amongst oak trees on sprawling green acres, blend together a taste of country living and the feelings associated with 'home sweet home’. At the helm of the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast are Sara and James Sharp, both former educators, now living their dream as innkeepers. "My inspiration for being an Innkeeper is deeply rooted. I cannot pinpoint one certain instance where I thought, ‘I want to own an Inn,’ because there are many different parts of my life that led me to this dream. One of the inspirations at the top of my list is my time in culinary school," explained Sara, who uses her culinary skills to whip up delicious breakfasts and meals for guests. "I absolutely LOVE the Gilmore Girls. It is by far my favorite show of all time. There is nothing anyone can say or do to change my mind. I love the show so much that if it were up to me and only me, my firstborn daughter would be named Lorelai!" Inspired and encouraged by the 1990's hit show "Gilmore Girls," Sara and James live on the property and put their life experiences to work during the day to day upkeep and functioning associated with the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast.

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"Beans are my thing! I know that sounds weird, but I've been called the 'bean whisperer.' No really, my husband tells people that when we talk about my pinto beans. So, that being said, I had to really consider whether or not I wanted to share my secret," remarked Sara. The famous bean recipe can be found online at https://inngirl.com/ my-blog/f/recipe-8-sara’s-pinto-beans. The Yellow House Bed and Breakfast consists of several buildings where guests can relax and stay. The main house has four rooms, each uniquely named and decorated, with a variety of sleeping possibilities, each with a private bathroom. The Country Room and Primrose Room both feature two queen-sized beds, while the Gold Room and the Cottage Room each feature king-sized beds. "We use top of the line linens, and guests often express how much they enjoy the softness and crispness of the sheets. Well, there's a secret to getting the beds just right too," laughed Sara. Two recently remodeled guest houses accommodate large groups and offer all of the comforts of home, with a dining room, kitchen, and living area. The almost onehundred-year-old two-story Pink Guest House moved onto the property from Austin in 2009, sleeps eight and features ornately detailed decor, beautiful shiplap, and exquisite woodwork.

"My husband and I are living our dream of being innkeepers! We always enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories!" - Sara Sharp

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"Our 960 square foot, air-conditioned, onsite Event Groups of up to 10 people can comfortably stay in Center is available for rent as well! The sink and prep the completely renovated Blue House. This century-old area allows for plenty of space for guests to prepare for farmhouse moved to the property from Round Rock, the event they are hosting, and we provide seating and offers ample space with its three and a half baths, and tables for up to 60 people." five queen beds. Visitors to Salado Also onsite are two and bed and breakfast one-bedroom cottages enthusiasts can delight in featuring a full bath, king"Owning a bed and breakfast has the elegant and well-kept sized bed, kitchenette, been a dream of ours for a long lodging while taking in and a sitting area. The the sights and sounds of Green Cottage and the time. It's a lot of work, and we love the town. Innkeepers Sara Purple Cottage were both it! Our guests are what makes this and James Sharp live on formerly Lake Buchanan all so incredible. We get to meet the property and are both vacation rental homes humble and gracious. and have both been some incredible people!" Minutes from completely renovated James Sharp downtown Salado and yet maintain their cozy walking distance to local atmosphere. attractions, The Yellow "The Yellow House Bed House Bed and Breakfast is worth checking out! and Breakfast has so much to offer, from individual Reservations can be made at http://yellowhousebandb. rooms to houses and cottages. We bring a hot breakfast com/reservations/ or by calling (254)947-5282. Sara to the houses and cottages each morning and food is details her life as an innkeeper and shares hacks and available in the Main House too. James and I love what humor on her blog, https://inngirl.com. BCL we do here!" stated Sara.

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One Destination for All Your Home Design Projects

As your Central Texas home design gallery, we specialize in kitchen and bath remodels, custom window coverings, custom drapery, upholstery, exterior solar screens, floor coverings, wallpaper, cabinet hardware and countertops. We’ve been providing the highest quality products and services in Central Texas since 1998.

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FOR BUSINESS OWNERS & LEADERS

LAUREN BROWN - 2019 Mrs. Bell County, Community Advocate & Entrepreneur

CHANDELLE WALKER - Author Kids Books by Chandelle

EMI STAPLER - Quilter & Owner Emi and Ko Studio

JESSICA BARNUM - Owner Sweet Harmony Music Studio

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” -John Maxwell MAGGIE LANDES, MD - Chief Of Perinatal Services Seaton Hospital

MARIA REED - Creator Moving with the Miltary 2019 & Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year

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MEET

Mrs. Bell County

By Jessa McClure | Photos by EmilyB Photography

Lauren Brown, an army wife who has lived in Bell County for the past five years, was crowned Mrs. Bell County 2019, and has been working to connect with and serve her adopted community for the past several months.

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other of five and Harker Heights resident, Lauren Brown, flits around her home, making phone calls, preparing snacks and helping her two-yearold son, Remington, fasten a bicycle helmet he is insisting on wearing indoors. Although her role is much like other stay-at-home moms’, Brown is also wearing a different hat these days.


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Her new title earned Mrs. Brown the ability to choose a platform she was passionate about and begin advocating for it in her community. “I spearheaded a campaign called ‘Save the Kids’ that educated teens and adults about the dangers of social media and how it correlates with mental health.” With the help of Lisa Youngblood, the Library Director at Stuart Meyer Public Library in Harker Heights, and Angenet Wilkerson at Killeen ISD, she was able to create community events all about social media.

PHOTO BY WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

Lauren, an army wife who has lived in Bell County for the past five years, was crowned Mrs. Bell County 2019, and has been working to connect with and serve her adopted community for the past several months. But wearing the crown wasn’t always on Lauren’s radar. Her journey to the pageant began during her husband’s deployment in 2017. “It was probably our hardest deployment yet because the kids are getting older and understanding more,” she said. “And I kind of hit a wall. I was asking myself, ‘What am I doing? Why am I sad? Why am I not hitting my goals?’” It was during this difficult time that she came across the social media page of Sarah Walker, who was the reigning Mrs. Bell County at the time. “I watched her through her journey the last few months before the Mrs. Texas pageant and I was really inspired,” Brown said. “She had never done pageantry before, and I was really inspired by the growth within her and in her community.” Lauren became so inspired by Sarah’s journey, that she decided to apply for the 2019 title. “I really wanted to do something that was so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t have an exit strategy,” she said. “I needed to do something big and scary that gave me no other option than to bring my very best self.” After a lengthy application process, Brown was chosen as Mrs. Bell County, and became one of 50 finalists picked to compete in the Mrs. Texas pageant. “It’s a pretty detailed application about your family and your community involvement,” Lauren said. “It’s definitely more than just the physical.”

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PHOTO BY WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO BY WRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY


With the help of sponsorships from local families and businesses, Kauren was able to hire TED Talk speaker, Collin Kartchner to come and speak in Bell County.

“These two women know how to make something happen. They were great examples for me as far as how to be a servant leader in your community,” she said. “They really helped me realize that I want to contribute in community service and advocacy.” With the help of sponsorships from local families and businesses, Lauren was able to hire TED Talk speaker Collin Kartchner to come and speak in Bell County. “He spoke at two different middle schools in Killeen ISD and then offered a free parents’ night at Harker Heights High School that educated teens and parents alike on the dangers of social media,” she said. The events also included an expert panel that included a police detective, a mental health professional, and a local middle school educator. Each expert shared their insight on what they see with teens and their smart devices. “It was really eye-opening,” Lauren said. “But it wasn’t a ‘social media is bad, you shouldn’t do this’ type of situation. We want parents to be armed with information to go and make healthy choices for their families.”

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“We’re the first generation of parents to raise kids The information Brown received at the events she in a world like this,” she said. “It’s all new. We’re all helped to organize not only helped to further her passion navigating together. It’s a huge thing and it’s not going for family health and well-being, but it also encouraged her to take a deeper look at her own social media and away. We have to work through it.” smartphone habits. Educating everyone she meets about this issue has “I was really inspired to look into how much time I become one of her favorite aspects of holding the Mrs. was spending on my own Bell County 2019 title. devices, and how that And she doesn’t plan on was making me feel about giving up her advocacy We’re the first generation of even when her reign is myself and how I was parents to raise kids in a world complete. dealing with my family,” like this. It’s all new. We’re all “I’m very passionate she said. “When I realized navigating together. It’s a huge about this message,” that it wasn’t having the she said. “We’ve already most ideal effect, I realized thing and it’s not going away. booked the same that I wanted and needed We have to work through it. speaker to come back to make a change.” next year, and I have a Since listening to the bunch of ideas to offer experts, Lauren and her screen-free opportunities for kids to interact and have family have cut their screen time down significantly and real relationships outside of their screens.” she has already seen the positive effects.

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It was Lauren’s enthusiasm for her platform and serving her community that made her stand out among her fellow contestants at the Mrs. Texas pageant on May 4 at the Palace Theater in Corsicana Theater. Although she didn’t come home with the crown, she feels blessed to be able to represent the state that has become her home. However, she did not walk away from the state pageant empty handed, Lauren was the recipient of the Director’s Choice award along with being named Mrs. Congeniality for the entire state! “This is my third time living in Texas and I’m very proud to live here,” she said. “My first two kids were born in Korea and Hawaii, but our last three are Texans. I’m very proud to say that I’m anchored in Texas with my three bluebonnet babes.” And while Brown and her family settle in Texas for good, she plans to continue her work as an advocate for healthy screen time habits. “I want to set up more events where we can offer parents’ awareness nights and education nights at local schools,” she said. “I want to continue to use my social media platforms for good.” BCL


FA I T H & C O M M U N I T Y

TODDLERS, TWEENS, TEENS & TECH: IS A DIGITAL ADDICTION DRIVING US ALL CRAZY? BY TORI MORTENSON

HALF OF AMERICAN TEENS ARE SUFFERING NEEDLESSLY FROM A SELF- PROFESSED ADDICTION AND PARENTS FEEL THEIR CHILDREN ARE DISTRACTED AND DON'T PAY ATTENTION WHEN THEY ARE TOGETHER. WHAT IS IT THAT’S DRIVING YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES TO THE BREAKING POINT?

A

ccording to a recent poll, half of American teens admit to feeling like they are suffering from an addiction. And we, their parents, are supplying their drug of choice. Heck, we introduced them to it in preschool and foot the bill for it every month…technology and the digital media that accompanies it. When it comes to the use and misuse of technology, experts have gone so far as to call it a public health crisis. Advances in technology and digital media (an umbrella term for all types of electronic data) have, without a doubt, enhanced our lives and expanded our opportunities to

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learn and connect. However, we’ve all heard of or attempted the unsuccessful efforts to decrease a young persons use of technology, be it playing video games, YouTube viewing or simply texting at the dinner table. Now sure, kids who want real adult-ish jobs will be required to be tech savvy, but where do we draw the line now that the nation is using the words like tech, addiction and rehab in the same sentence. Two things are for sure: 1) These advances are not going away and 2) We need a plan to give America’s youth their brains back.


IS IT REALLY THAT BAD OUT THERE? Digital media exposure is affecting not only our young children’s learning and dominating the free time of the older ones, but it is robbing them of their healthy habits like eating well, exercising and even sleeping. Children of every age exposed to screen media in the evening show significantly shorter sleep duration at night than those with no before bed exposure. Along with stimulating media content, the blue light being emitted from screens suppresses melatonin, which helps us all fall asleep. Those who sleep with mobile devices in their room were at an even greater risk of sleep problems. Experts also address the mental health of digital media exposed kids. Outside of the obvious effects of cyber bullying, researchers also find that high levels of media were related to negative social well-being, while face-to-face communication was associated with positive social and emotional outcomes. We must also consider that a time in which young people are developing a sense of identity it may not be the ideal to flood them with filtered media portrayals of attractiveness that go absolutely everywhere with them. Comparison is the thief of joy. Digital privacy is clearly a concern as well. In terms of safety, there is no way to insulate our kids from the world, nor is there a way to keep them entirely safe in a digital environment.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

How did we get from introducing cute, toddler

focused alphabet apps while mom takes a shower to a place where half of our teens are self-admitted addicts to digital technology? Well, some research tells us we may have given our kids the keys to a very powerful car long before they could see over the steering wheel or reach the breaks. We now know that adolescents experience structural changes in the brain like advances in the development of the prefrontal cortex, which pretty much handles all reasoning, decision making, and self-control. However, the prefrontal cortex won’t actually be “fully operational” until the emerging adult years, around 18 to 25 years of age, or in some cases even later. But the limbic system, which is the seat of emotions and where rewards are enjoyed, comes along a bit earlier and is almost completely ready to go in early adolescence. What does that all mean? It basically means adolescents like the feeling of driving fast, but their speedometer is broken. Although our young people are capable of very strong emotions, their decision maker hasn’t finished maturing yet, leaving them without an adequate ability to maintain control, a perfect recipe for addiction. Not only is it easy for an adolescent to become hooked on technology and media, but also these digital worlds can literally rewire the brain. Anyone who’s spent any time checking for likes on Instagram or getting texts from a crush or those who have won a round of Fortnite can attest to, digital media has its fair share of rewarding stimuli.

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WHEN IT COMES TO THE USE AND MISUSE OF TECHNOLOGY, EXPERTS HAVE GONE SO FAR AS TO CALL IT A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

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Science has shown these activities can and do result in a release of dopamine to the user, a powerful neurotransmitter, or a messenger chemical. Some researchers call social media in particular a “dopamine goldmine,” but that's another article in and of itself. Anyway, dopamine tells the brain “heads up, something cool is about to happen” and once the brain gets a taste of it, it needs more dopamine just to be as “baseline” happy as it was before. And not getting any dopamine at all, well that can be downright depressing. Ever seen a kid with his device removed suddenly? Oh yeah, and the earlier the introduction to technology and media, the worse its effects it seems to be.

WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends and has developed a free Media Use Plan tool for all ages at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan. Here are some of their recommendations:

children do spend less time buried in their technology-nearly 3 hours less than those with no rules. Start by testing out boundaries like single tasking, allowing the use of one single screen at a time or having device free “Sacred Spaces” such as church, bedrooms, bathtubs, or sporting events. Or take a look at something as simple as the Device Free Dinner campaign that was launched by Common Sense Media and has since been adopted as a public health campaign. As soon as we think we know it all, developers will launch something new at us. Maybe then, alongside a few boundaries we better emphasize our beliefs and values too, because while technology will surely continue to change, our value systems will not. Our roll as parents here is to help our children to define their digital world. To help kids see the point in it all, just as we help them to see purpose in their “real life-lives.” We got them into this hot, potentially addictive mess. Now we have to help them get out.

• Avoid screen media under 18 months • Limit screen media to less than 1 hour per day, choosing only high-quality programming • Co-view media with young children to help them understand • Avoid using media as the only way to calm a child The experts are less apt to place a timeline on media exposure in older children, stating instead that you should be realistic about what is working in your family. Hint, if technology is a source of tension in your house, it is not working. Only about three in ten young people say they have rules about how much time they can spend with various technologies. But when parents do set boundaries,

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Help Has a New Address BY PEGGY PURSER FREEMAN PHOTOS BY JOHNJOHNS DIGITAL ART AND PROVIDED BY UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL TEXAS

A

t forty-seven she sat in the dark, her life changed by a stroke. No matter how hard she worked, her legs refused to obey. The wonderful caregivers at Baylor Scott and White Health (BSWH) performed miracles but life after a stroke costs more than pain and more than hard work, it costs money. A referral came in from BSWH to Daniel Ramos, Community Services Coordinator at the United Way of Central Texas (UWCT).

The United Way of Central Texas believes everyone in our community deserves opportunities to have a good life. - Veshell Greene

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“We knew the client had suffered a stroke two years before and she was unable to walk,” said Veshell Greene, Vice President of Resource Development. “Because of the giving of others, we were able to see her fitted for leg braces. It was a very powerful moment that involved multiple partners working together to solve a client's issues. She took her first steps since 2017.” With community support, UWCT helps address the immediate needs of people here in this community. In January of 2019, the UWCT moved to the large, up-todate facility on the corner of 3rd and Central. Stephanie O'Banion, President & CEO of UWCT, expressed what the new building means to the community, "We needed to have all our services under one roof,” said O'Banion. “This is a great location for us.” Sadie Meador remembers well the old location. She has served since August 2015, wearing many hats in the business and media department. “Our new facility is so much larger. Being in a more prominent location makes it easier to serve the community better.” Veshell Greene added, “Our new office space can be used to meet privately with clients, by our community partners, and non-profit agencies.” Ms. Greene highlighted several programs that support the three pillars: Health, Education and Financial Stability. “The United Way of Central Texas believes everyone in our community deserves opportunities to have a good life—a quality education that leads to a stable job and good health. That’s why we’ve incorporated these key building blocks into our collective impact strategy.”

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Early Childhood Education One of the UWCT partners is Head Start in Bell County. “Under the leadership of Janell Frazier, Head Start coordinates programs for children ages birth to five. They identify the most effective educational practices and programs to ensure all children receive high-quality early care and education. “They even teach sign language to those too young to communicate verbally.” Ms. Greene explained. “That head start with language helps them later in school. The program also provides healthy, consistent meals.” In 2019 we joined in with Dr. Seuss’s Reading Day. We had 40 volunteers—one adult for each child—engaging the students in dialogue by reading, asking questions, and getting feedback from the students. It’s super important for these students to discover reading and super, super important for our students to have men in their lives. Our male students need to see men reading. Children get excited when you read to them; excitement translates to wanting to read. They get better grades, and that opens up a world of opportunities they didn’t know existed.” After School Programs UWCT supports community programs that provide learning, enrichment, and leadership opportunities to youth. Students have opportunities to complete homework and improve grades. Participation in these after-school programs helps students acquire a positive attitude, reduce risk-taking behavior, and increases high school graduation rates. “My supervisor, Stephanie O'Banion, serves on the board for the Wildcat Mentor Program and a couple of us are mentors. We spend lunch with the students. Giving these fifth and sixth graders our time and showing up regularly gives stability and consistency where often there is very little.”


BridgeS to Wellness and Health BridgeS to Wellness and Health is a program that provides a collaborative strategy between Baylor Scott and White Health, UWCT, Body of Christ Clinic, and the Temple Community Clinic. The program works with underinsured and uninsured clients who are unable to afford the necessary prescriptions, equipment, transportation, and supplies needed to maintain or improve their health. “We had a client who suffered from a blood clot and lost half of her foot.” Ms. Greene said. “Enduring the pain of amputation, this very active lady spent eighteen months unable to walk. We worked with G&G Prosthetic Services in Temple and she received her prosthetic. A similar story involved a gentleman who was born with a hip and foot deformity. The corrective shoe he required was a very high cost. Although he had insurance, the policy didn’t cover the cost of the shoe. We partnered with Baylor Scott and White and found grants to cover the cost of his shoe, which was purchased at a more than substantial discount. BridgeS is not paid for by our workplace campaign dollars—it is paid for by grants and partnerships. We do have the option of designating to a program like BridgeS. Our campaign dollars go directly to programs that impact our community.” The goal is to bridge the gap while a client awaits approval or long-term affordable prescription coverage. The BridgeS to Wellness and Health program reduces unnecessary emergency room visits and this decreases medical costs assumed by community hospitals, insurance rate payers, and taxpayers.

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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance During the Tax Season, (February – April) the VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less. This includes people with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Ms. Greene explained it this way, “Our IRS-certified VITA volunteers provide basic income tax return services without charge, ensuring 100% of the tax refund goes directly to the customer. With the help of many community partners, these IRS-certified volunteers helped 1,100 clients with 98 percent acceptance on returns that equaled 1.3 million dollars coming back into this community. Volunteers are the key in this program.”

2-1-1 HELPLINE The United Way of Central Texas 2-1-1 HELPLINE answered more than 48,500 calls for help in 2017. Basic needs—like utilities, rent assistance, and food—topped the list of requests last year, followed by child care and affordable housing. 2-1-1 always answers the call for help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in many languages.

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At our Day of Caring last year, we had 400 volunteers from 20 different companies. These volunteers do more than show up for pictures. They get down and dirty, cleaning, painting, planting, and more.


“At our Day of Caring last year,” Ms. Greene added, “we had 400 volunteers from 20 different companies. These volunteers do more than show up for pictures. They get down and dirty, cleaning, painting, planting, and more. One hundred years ago when the railroad came through, they discovered a cemetery of former slaves. They had to move the burial site. Now, the 7 Star Cemetery has no one to care for it. I knew Atmos Energy could help with their heavy equipment on our Day of Caring. As it turned out, the manager wanted to sponsor the cemetery with any upkeep as often as needed.” Volunteers and donations are the heart of United Way. Recently a gentleman came in the new office to donate fans during the week of the fan drive. Ms. Greene asked him what prompted him to give. His responded, “Because I can and it’s the right thing to do.” His thought echoes what so many donors say. “We love the idea of becoming the center for community impact,” Ms. Greene said. “We have new programs that are being offered to and for the community. Our building is indicative of things to come with United Way of Central Texas.” Visit the new location at 4 N. 3rd Street in Temple, at uwct.org, or call 254-778-8616.

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FA I T H & C O M M U N I T Y

BY HEATHER REGULA

"I can count a million times People asking me how I Can praise You with all that I've gone through The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly Change who I forever am in You" - Bring the Rain, MercyMe


The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9 ESV

I once heard that if there are no ups and downs in your life, it means that you are dead. Somewhere in there is a positive thought—perhaps merely saying that life's highs and lows are evidence of being alive. Another saying that I can only credit to an unknown source, but I gain much strength from, is one that talks about how the low points in life are uncomfortable so that we enjoy the high points that much more. The song "Bring the Rain" by MercyMe, speaks loudly to me. Those who know the storm I have endured often ask me how I can be rooted so firmly in my faith, after all that I have been through. I am rooted in my faith because of what I have gone through. There is growth in the struggle, and there is a purpose to our pain. God has been vocal and active in my life, especially in the past year and a half. There are several times that I have heard Him say the words, "How much do you trust Me?" There have been other times where those words go unheard but are apparent through His actions in my life. After some very challenging years, God is pouring blessings into my life, for which I am incredibly grateful; I am both humbled and in awe of how God is moving in my life. These ramblings are indeed relevant, and I boldly bring this up to you because He is not just moving in my life, and He is not only talking to me. God's hand is moving in our lives daily, for our ultimate good, and His voice can be heard if only we stop long enough to listen. The difficulty of pausing is immense as it requires freezing movement and stopping all other activities. I hate to admit how many times I pray on the run, as I rush out the door and as I cook dinner, or as I collapse into bed. All prayer is good, so I'm not discounting the on-

the-run prayers, but those moments of pause, the times where we genuinely stop everything and open our hearts and minds to God's word and pray—that's where the most healing and the growth take place. The change of season is my favorite time of year, and summer especially is a great love of my life. As we start this new season, one that is marked by kids' laughter, family gatherings, and sunshine, please join me in the pause. Let's build regular pauses in our day so that we can hear and see God, as He wants us to. Share this practice of pause with your significant other and kids and let them join in. I can't imagine anything better than encouraging the practice of pausing in our children. I'm not any better at this than you are, but I know we can do this - pause - as there is purpose there.

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HEIGHTS HOME HEALTH

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moving with the

MILITARY

Maria Reed’s Journey to Being Named Army Spouse of the Year BY CASSIDY HORN PHOTOS BY EMILYB PHOTOGRAPHY AND PROVIDED BY MARIA REED

Having worked in the television field for 20 years, Maria Reed started her own online show, which has led to her being named Army Spouse of the Year, as well as in the running for overall Military Spouse of the Year.

W

hen Maria Reed met her husband in Florida and found out he was in the military, she immediately thought that would be the end of their story. “I didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Reed said. “The moment he told me he was in the military my love language shut off. I’m not even sure why I had that response, because I don’t have any background or experience or know anyone in the military. I didn’t know anything about the military except what I saw on television.”

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Now, after 16 wonderful years of marriage to her military man, Reed has been named Army Spouse of the Year and is in the running for the overall Military Spouse of the Year. To become Military Spouse of the Year you must first be nominated for your base. Each base has a Spouse of the Year that is voted on by anyone via social media. The base winners then submit applications to a panel within the military that chooses their top three spouses for each branch of the military to determine the top 18. Branches include Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, and National Guard. Another panel then picks each installation’s spouse of the year, for example, Maria was named Army Spouse of the Year. Those six are then in the running to be named Military Spouse of the Year. “There were about 1,200 nominations worldwide for the initial base spouses round and anyone military or civilian can nominate spouses for that round,” Reed said. “When I won Army Spouse of the Year it really was a shock. The other two candidates, who I know and love, are doing incredible things. I wish it just would’ve stopped at the top 18. We all have different platforms and things we advocate for but at the end of the day it’s always for the military families.”

Reed worked in the television industry for 20 years as a producer and started the online show “Moving with the Military” that 3 million people watch on YouTube, Facebook, and Farm & Ranch TV on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast. The mission of the show is to help military families with one of the main struggles they face: turning a new house into a home. The show has been running for two years. Reed and her team have done about 14 home makeovers for military families. “Originally we wanted this show to go to network television like HGTV, so we’re not a non-profit,” Reed said. “I thought it would be very easy to sell this show to networks, but it wasn’t. We heard ‘no’ a lot. One told me I wasn’t the right image of a military wife. One said there wouldn’t be enough interest for a show dedicated to military families. When I hear no, it’s the fuel to my fire. I turned those nos into a yes. I know celebrating military families is the right thing to do, so I say yes.”

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I thought it would be very easy to sell this show to networks, but it wasn’t. We heard ‘no’ a lot… When I hear no, it’s the fuel to my fire. I turned those nos into a yes.

“Moving with the Military” is currently self-funded with the help of private donations and sponsorships by organizations and companies. Due to budget constraints, sometimes the makeovers consist of repurposing, refurbishing, and reusing items that military families already have or through thrift shopping, but when they can get sponsorships, they’ll do more. “We are doing as many as we can as often as we can. I’d love to be like Oprah and say everyone gets a makeover,” Reed said. “We could’ve just started doing makeovers, but the reason we developed a show around it is because I wanted to help close that military-civilian divide. We wanted to show people who our military families are. They come from everywhere USA or everywhere in the world and they are doing great things.” Not all makeovers happen on bases because many military families live with the civilian community. Military families, who can move as often as every two years, sometimes struggle to get involved in civilian communities when they move. Because the culture of moving so often is normal on bases, many on base go above and beyond to make new arrivals to the community feel welcome. That’s not always the case in civilian life. “When I was growing up, we lived in an era that when someone moved into the neighborhood, we would bring over cookies, knock on the door, introduce ourselves, and welcome people to the neighborhood,” Reed said. “Oddly enough in the military world that still exists, but as time has gone on, in the civilian world people don’t really do that.”

BEFORE

AFTER

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We are doing as many (makeovers) as we can, as often as we can. I’d love to be like Oprah and say everyone gets a makeover!

about the possibilities to grow her show and be able to do more for military families. She’s also hopeful that this will put her story and cause in front of the right people to get it on network television. “When you say the word ‘forever-home’ to military families you will see them change. They’ll smile and lift their heads up, but that forever-home might still be 15 years away. That doesn’t mean their houses between now and then shouldn’t feel like home. ‘Moving with the Military’ seeks to create a space in their house that truly feels like home.” Reed suggests that when civilians see a military family move into their community to do small things in kindness because those can have the greatest impact. “Drop a card off with some important numbers like the best pizza, Chinese take-out, hospital, best grocery store,” Reed said. “Or make extra food when you’re cooking for your family and take it over. Offer to pick up the kids when you know them well enough or have your kid offer to mow their grass when he’s out mowing your lawn. Helping with the small day-to-day can be incredibly meaningful.” Military Spouse of the Year will be announced on May 9th, 2019 in Washington D.C. For more information about the Military Spouse of the Year competition and specific voting and nomination requirements visit https://msoy.afi.org/ To donate to “Moving with the Military” visit movingwiththemilitary.tv

Because of the frequent moves and the unestablished sense of community, military families can feel isolated. The feeling of isolation hits even harder for spouses and families during deployments. Reed said even going to their hometown to see family and friends during summer vacations can put extra strain and stress on military spouses’ lives because they can feel guilty for trying to live a fun life with their kids while their spouse could potentially be in danger overseas. “A mom said to me once right after we moved that she didn’t want to get too close to me or be too friendly because one day I would leave. That really broke my heart. I said everybody leaves someday,” Reed said. “The word ‘home’ is such an elusive word for military families, we live in a house that has walls and stuff in it, but it’s difficult to think of it as a home.” The title and opportunities that come with being named Military Spouse of the Year has Reed excited

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FA I T H & C O M M U N I T Y

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BY CASSIDY HORN PHOTOS BY RENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY

n a town not so far away, there’s a restaurant with menus from another galaxy where burgers are made with honey buns, grilled cheese, and French toast. Burgers you won’t believe until you see.

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Galaxy Bar & Grill was named the Best Burger in Central Texas by the Killeen Daily Herald’s annual reader poll and is owned by three friends who all love Star Wars. The restaurant is covered in pop culture memorabilia and science fiction from the Star Wars era, but they don’t just offer an experience. “The theme of the restaurant is something we’re all very passionate about, so it just made sense,” said Jaime Myers, one of Galaxy B&G’s owners. “It’s something that a good number of people enjoy and can relate to. Plus, it’s easy to bond over a good burger.” The menu and food bring people from across the country to Galaxy B&G to make their pick from their themed breakfast, appetizer, and burger menus. “Because of the atmosphere that we’ve created inside of the restaurant, we definitely see reactions as soon as a new customer walks in the door,” Myers said. “It gets a sudden reaction from anyone who has a nostalgic history with Star Wars and things of that nature.”

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The restaurant uses fresh, never frozen ground beef and all the toppings are always fresh or handmade, like their chili for example. What really sets Galaxy B&G apart is the number of options customers have when it comes to burgers. “We have a very extensive burger menu,” Myers said. “We have anything from a very normal burger to burgers that are literally out of this world. We allow our customers to sub normal burger buns for things like grilled cheese, quesadillas, French toast, or honey buns. We have burgers on our menu that are not like anything you would find anywhere else.” Here are just a few of the unique options on the menu: The Destroyer is one patty, chili, jalapeños, green chilies, sliced hot dogs, cheese, onions, mustard ketchup. Flyin Hawaiian is one patty, pepper jack cheese, grilled spam, topped with an over easy egg, lettuce, and spicy ranch. Or you can opt for more original burger like the UFS Unidentified Flying Swine that is one patty, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion. All buns can substituted for honey buns, grilled cheese, or quesadillas. Customers can also swap the beef for a black bean or veggie burger.

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“When new customers sit down and look at the menu, we have a lot of pop culture references that make them laugh,” Myers said. “By the time that delicious burger is placed on their table their eyes light up and they start nodding their head when they bite into it.” Galaxy B&G offers a full appetizer menu that includes grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried pickle chips, and mozzarella sticks. The traditional breakfast menu with their unforgettable French toast really gives the burgers a run for their money. All menus are served all day. “We have a full breakfast menu. Waffle plates, pancakes, eggs, bacon, but our French toast is pretty famous. I would say the burgers are tied with the French toast for most popular thing on our menu,” Myers said. “Our French toast is absolutely amazing. It’s just a little different from what you’re used to, and everyone loves it. It’s definitely our most popular breakfast item and might just be our overall most popular item that we have.” To go along with the theme of the restaurant, Galaxy B&G celebrates Star Wars Day, May the 4th, in a big way each year. “We serve burgers only just because it gets crazy busy,” Myers said. “We offer a 25% discount on all burgers and 50% discount if you’re dressed in Star Wars cosplay. Our entire staff dresses up too. We have several local groups that come out in costume. It’s just a really awesome experience for the entire community.”

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The pop culture restaurant started when Myers, Victor Ramirez, and David Gutierrez opened the restaurant in April 2018. Myers and Ramirez met while working together at a restaurant in 1998. “It basically started with Victor being a chef and I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life off and on, so it just made sense. It’s always been a personal dream of mine and Victor’s,” Myers said. “David is also a very close friend of ours and is an absolute genius when it comes to business, marketing, promoting, and things of that nature. So, when the three of us add our strengths together where one of us is lacking, the other one picks it up. It’s a perfect balance.” Myers said that her and Ramirez, the chef, have worked together several times and that both had dreams of owning their own restaurant but they didn’t always have the goal of owning one together. All three owners have lived in the Killeen area for most of their adult lives. “There are a lot of things to love about Killeen and the Fort Hood area.” Myers said. “Because of the military base, we have a lot of soldiers that talk about us when they relocate and then a soldier that they talked to all the way across the country or in Korea or whatever the case may be, and when they are stationed here, they come see us. It’s a constant stream of different people, cultures, views. It’s a lot different from anywhere else.” Galaxy B&G is located at 104 W Veterans Memorial Blvd in Killeen. It’s open Monday - Thursday 7:00 am 10:00 pm, Friday 7:00 am - 3:00 am, Saturday 11:00 am - 3:00 am, Sunday 11:00 - 8:00 pm. You can also look for Galaxy B&G food at the Central Texas Lowbrow Tattoo and Art Convention in Harker Heights in September.

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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

SMALL STEPS ARE KEY TO A

Healthy Life

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AdventHealth encourages community wellness through its CREATION Life philosophy

M

ark Twain once said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.” And, while there are many who might agree with Mr. Twain, AdventHealth is working hard to help people find joy throughout their wellness journey. By introducing their CREATION Life philosophy to Central Texas, the hospital hopes to fulfill part of its brand promise to make the community it serves to Feel Whole ™.


“The idea behind CREATION Life is that it inspires you with simplicity,” explains Sarah Kennedy, wellness coordinator at AdventHealth. “Taken altogether, it is a collection of small choices that you make in your everyday life, which anybody can do. This is about how small choices will change how you live and your perspective on life. It is about focusing on the whole person - mind, body and spirit.” CREATION Life uses the acronym C-R-E-A-T-IO-N, representing Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust in God, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook, and Nutrition. By breaking wellness down into these eight principles, AdventHealth believes CREATION Life can serve as a source of guidance for people’s wellness journey by focusing on one small thing at a time. “CREATION Life was designed to help individuals enjoy the very best life has to offer,” said Kennedy. “That’s why you can see it throughout our various wellness program. It helps you realize that you don’t have to try and fix everything all at once to be healthy. If you keep in mind that all eight principles are important, it’s a little easier to find balance within them.” For example, the CREATION Life principle Nutrition can easily go along with other principles like interpersonal relationships, activity, choice and environment.

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CREATION Life in The Community

One way AdventHealth is helping the community find this balance is by offering fitness classes, educational seminars, health screenings, blood drives and some health services, such as immunizations, all for free. “In our diabetes class we teach about what we eat and how it nourishes our body. The maternal-child classes have a lot of content that talks about self-care,” Kennedy explained. “How when you take care of yourself as a parent, you are better able to care for your children, or your new baby.” Ann Farris, a resident of Killeen, TX, regularly participates in the weekly yoga and tai chi classes offered at the hospital after suffering an unexpected, but major injury. “Last August I broke my back,” says Farris. “It was an audible snap. It sounded like a gunshot to me.” The sound came from a vertebra in Farris’ spine that broke while she was exercising, doing something she had done for years. The sound scared her. Farris went to her physician that day and confirmed she had broken her back. As Farris began to heal to the point of beginning light exercise, a friend invited her to a yoga and tai chi classes at AdventHealth.


healthy. She did, and she is there every week. She’s lost weight and she is happier!” Nite takes home a personal benefit from getting to meet so many different people - an example of the interpersonal relationship principle. As Nite says, “There are benefits in being in the groups. Even just having a conversation with each other.”

Inspiration To Live a Healthier Life

“So, I began coming with my friend. What I found was something I could enjoy,” Farris recalls. “At that point I thought, ‘I am in the right place.’” Farris has always been an active professional and community volunteer, constantly busy and thinking about what she needs to do next. However, as she has become familiar with CREATION Life, she understands how the principles are all interconnected. One example she gives is the connection between activity and rest. According to Ann, having 15 minutes or so each day to quiet her mind is something that is important to her overall health. “The way I learned to do that was an unintended byproduct of yoga and tai chi,” said Farris. “When I am in these classes, to primarily strengthen the muscles around my back, what I also get is about 55 minutes of no other thoughts in my head except just that … (quiet). What you get is this opportunity to interact with other people, to build your body and your skills, and a peace of mind that is difficult to get almost anywhere else.”

Many of the classes are well attended, and participants say the instructors are fun. They say it is more than the workout aspect, it is the sense of belonging when they attend. The opportunity to interact with others in the class is a real value. “This sense of the feeling of being whole. I just love that,” says Kennedy. “Our instructors are well loved.” In addition to the fitness classes, AdventHealth also offers quarterly health screenings and provides immunizations for children at the Greater Killeen Community Clinic and the Copperas Cove Free Clinic. “As a non-profit hospital it’s our privilege to serve our community,” says Kennedy, “whether that’s through medical services or by helping our community by providing the care they need to stay healthy. CREATION Life provides us with a tool to help people understand how it all works together. Whenever we’re feeling our best physically, and we’re feeling our best mentally, we are in a good spot in our spiritual life where we are more productive members of society,” Kennedy said. “Our whole outlook for life is improved.” If you are interested in learning more about CREATION Life, there is a free guide book available which you can request by calling 254-519-8202. Information about AdventHealth’s wellness classes and other offerings can be found at AdventHealthCentralTexas.com.

Small Steps to Wellness

Barbara Nite, a certified instructor who teaches the arthritis exercise class at the hospital, is a Central Texas native and retired dental therapy technician who will celebrate her 90th birthday this year. Much like Farris’ back injury, Nite’s personal wellness path included a severe injury. Nite was one of the victims in the 1991 Luby’s Cafeteria shooting incident. She was wounded in the ankle, but with physical therapy, and light to moderate activity, taking small healthy steps brought Nite to a good recovery. It is a lesson she has taken to heart. “I have a lady who came to my class who could barely walk, who said she was bored and didn’t have anything to do,” Nite recalls. “I told her to stick with us and these classes, and you will be busy every day, and you’ll be

As a non-profit hospital it’s our privilege to serve our community, whether that’s through medical services or by helping our community by providing the care they need to stay healthy. H O MET O W N L I VI NG A T I TS B EST

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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

In the Kitchen with About Carey Stites MS, RD, LD, CPT Carey Stites is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian working for Wellstone Health Partners in Harker Heights. Carey has been a practicing Dietitian since 2001 with experience in both outpatient and inpatient medical nutrition therapy and sports nutrition. She is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes and cooking demonstrations all over Texas.

Photos by Jenny Lloyd Photography

Hummus Veggie Wrap Ingredients: • 1 Flatout Flatbread, Multi Grain with Flax • ¼ cup Sabra hummus or 1-2 ounces sliced grilled chicken • 2 slices cucumber, sliced lengthwise • Handful of fresh spinach leaves • Sliced tomato, depending on size of the tomatoes • ¼ of an avocado, sliced Nutrition Information: Depends on veggie versus chicken wrap and ingredients added to wrap.

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Directions: 1. Spread the hummus on the bottom of the wrap, spreading out the side edges. 2. Layer the chicken (optional), cucumber, spinach leaves, tomato slices and avocado slices. 3. Fold the wrap tightly, as you would a burrito, tucking in all of the veggies with the first roll then rolling firmly to the end. 4. Cut in half.


Cowboy Caviar Ingredients: • 1 (15.5-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed yellow corn, rinsed and drained • 1 small ripe tomato, coarsely chopped • 1 small avocado, chopped • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin • ½ tablespoon lime juice • Blue Corn Tortilla chips or healthy chip of choice • Cucumber slices

Directions: 1. Combine beans, corn, tomato, avocado, onion, cilantro and cumin in a medium bowl. 2. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Nutrition Information: Serves: 10; Serving Size: ~ 1/2 cup Cowboy Caviar; Calories: 71; Total Fat: 3 g; Total Carbohydrate: 10 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 73 mg; Protein: 3 g

Pasta Salad Ingredients:

Directions:

• 1-16 ounce box rotini • 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved • 1-8 ounce package of mozzarella pearls • 1- 5 ounce package of mini turkey pepperoni • 1 large green pepper, diced • 1-6 ounce can sliced black olives, drained • 1-8 ounce bottle Light Zesty Italian Dressing NUTRITION Serves 10 people, about a cup Calories: 260 Total Fat: 7 gm Total Carbohydrate: 38 gm Sodium: 450 mg (varies) Protein: 12 gm

1. Prepare pasta per directions on box. 2. When cooked, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Allow to cool. 3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, cheese, ham, green pepper and olives. 4. Pour in salad dressing and toss to coat. 5. Let sit for a couple of hours in refrigerator for flavors to come together. If the salad sits overnight, you may need to add more Italian dressing.

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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

Expert, Friendly Care THE WOMEN’S CENTER at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights

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BY MARTHA HELTON PHOTOS BY EMILYB PHOTOGRAPHY

A

life-changing experience awaits when a woman confirms that she has a life growing inside of her. Welcoming a child into the world and becoming a parent is indeed a holy calling and one that requires planning. Decorating the nursery, baby showers, buying baby “paraphernalia”, picking an experienced, quality doctor with a good bedside manner as well as picking the hospital that will enhance the birth experience and becoming well-equipped for the baby’s birth are all part of the planning process.

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As part of the planning journey, one hospital to consider in the Bell County area is Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights. The Women’s Center at SMCHH opened its doors on June 12, 2012, offering one of the most comprehensive labor and delivery health programs in the community. The Women’s Center includes labor, delivery, postpartum (after the moms have the baby), antepartum (if the mom is admitted during pregnancy), triage (if the mom needs to be seen during pregnancy and their doctor’s office is not available), and nursery. There are 17 beds, eight of which are LDRP (Labor Delivery Recovery Post-Partum) and nine are regular rooms (after delivery and recovery).

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

The Women’s Center offers a peaceful setting with an atmosphere to nurture the physical and emotional health of each mother-to-be. The large rooms look more like a home-style setting, decorated with classic yet contemporary decor. “It is beautifully decorated with the mom and the family in mind,” says Women’s Center Director, Heidi Cantrell. “As you walk down the halls, there are photos of families and infants. The rooms have a place for the support person to rest and store their belongings.” Babies are also kept in a bassinet by the mother to encourage immediate bonding between mother and child. Spiritual connection is available through a visit to the hospital chapel or with an on-call chaplain.

EXPERIENCED CARE

Moms-to-be can be assured that SMCHH has highly qualified practitioners who deliver highly skilled and compassionate care. The Women’s Center OB team has four board-certified obstetricians who deliver babies, one pediatrician and one neonatal nurse practitioner who are on call to care for the babies. Twenty-eight nurses are on staff, with four to five nurses manning each 12-hour shift to provide round-the-clock care for mom and baby.

INTIMATE SETTING, FRIENDLY STAFF

As a smaller, level one nursery, SMCHH offers personal, expert care for individual babies up to twins. Any more than this is referred to a Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “If babies need specialized care, every nurse is trained to care for them and stabilize them until they are transferred to a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit),” says Kitty Kicir, a staff nurse with 43 years of experience under her belt. Kitty helped launch the Center six weeks before the hospital opened seven years ago. She was supposed to stay only two years but seven years later, she is still working there because she likes it so much. “This is a very special place,” shares Kitty. For many years she worked in a large medical center, but she says she enjoys the smaller, friendlier atmosphere at SMCHH where you know everyone. “People I work with make you want to keep working because it’s like going to work with your friends every day. It helps our teamwork. It’s really hard for me to want to retire and leave this place.”

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SECURITY

A secure environment is very important at SMCHH. The unit is always locked and access is monitored. Parents are provided a password that changes daily. Immediately after birth, Ident-A-Bands with matching ID numbers are placed on the mother’s and infant’s wrists, as well as on one person of the mother’s choosing. These bands are used to verify mom to baby’s relationship. Babies are kept by the mother in a bassinet at all times

CLASSES AND TOURS

“WE STRIVE TO CONSTANTLY IMPROVE; WE WANT OUR FAMILIES TO REMEMBER THIS TIME FONDLY.” -The Women’s Center Director, Heidi Cantrell

Child birth educator Misty Mills, who has an Associate’s degree in nursing with twelve years of experience in labor and delivery, oversees childbirth and lactation education for expectant moms and their support person. Childbirth classes are offered on the first, second and third Wednesday of each month from 6-8:30 pm at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights. “I cover everything from the anatomy of a pregnant woman to the labor process and pain management options. The third class is geared specifically to newborn care and breastfeeding,” says Misty. Twice a month the Le Leche league is in the facility for Breastfeeding Café. A tour of the Women’s Center is also provided on Sundays from 3:00-4:00 pm. It’s not like you get to experience the miracle of birth every day and SMCHH aspires to offer a caring atmosphere combined with an experienced medical team to help this miracle happen. “We have the best and safest care given by the best team of physicians, nurses, scrub techs, and unit secretaries!” says Heidi. “We strive to constantly improve; we want our families to remember this time fondly.”

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QUICK CHECKLIST OF THINGS TO DO DURING PREGNANCY: FIRST TRIMESTER: • Write down questions you have before each OB office visit • Review your health insurance policy SECOND TRIMESTER: • Consider a prenatal exercise class or yoga (Check with your Obstetrician) • Consider prenatal massage (Check with your Obstetrician) • Tour the hospital If attending childbirth classes your instructor will take your class on a tour of the hospital. If not attending a class, you may also sign up for our Sunday 3pm tour. Children age 10 and older may attend the tour. To register call (855) 855-4469. Personal tours with the Birth Experience Designer are also available. • Register for Parent Education Classes • Call Misti Mills at 855-855-4469; $50 per couple • Make a trial run to the hospital • Seton Medical Center Harker Heights is located at: 850 W. Central Texas Expwy, Harker Heights, TX 76548 • Complete the pre-admission form and submit to Seton by your seventh month You can pre-admit at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights Monday – Friday from 7:00am – 5:00pm at the main entrance. Bring a picture ID and your insurance card. Please call (254) 690-0900 with any questions. • Choose your baby’s pediatrician THIRD TRIMESTER: • Consider cord blood banking Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that can serve as a cure for dozens of cancers, blood disorders and immune or genetic diseases. Cord blood can only be collected in the first few minutes of life, so parents need to weigh their options before going into labor. If you decide to bank the cord blood, you must bring the kit to the hospital when you go into labor and your doctor will collect the cord blood at the time of delivery. For more information on cord blood banking you may go on-line at www.parentsguidecordblood. com, www.corduse.com, www.marrow.org or www.cordblood.org. • Pack your suitcase/luggage by the eighth month • Purchase your car seat and have it checked for proper installation • Purchase all your baby gear by the eighth month • Arrange for additional help for after the birth • Prepare siblings for the new baby • Consider family pet’s adjustment to the baby’s arrival Source: https://setonharkerheights.net//sites/default/files/PreHospital1010.pdf

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BY CONNIE LEWIS LEONARD PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ASCO SPARTACUS DASH

et down and dirty for approximately three miles, in and along Nolan Creek, and conquer this course! Belton’s only obstacle course race, established in 2012, includes 10-12 obstacles, including 2-3 with mud and water.


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Challenging and fun, you will not want to miss this race sponsored by ASCO Equipment in Belton. The ASCO Foundation matches each donor’s total gift up to $10,000.00. However, the total amount matched by ASCO Foundation from all donors will not exceed $500,000.00. ASCO’s number one Core Value is “Honor God.” Other values include: • To be a blessing to our employees and their families by providing them a standard of living and an opportunity for growth and self-improvement well above the norm. • To provide “Continually improving” superior, ethical service to all ASCO customers that exceeds their expectations and what the competition can provide. • To be a good corporate citizen continually involved in community philanthropic causes. • To be a blessing to our employees, our customers, our communities, and our stockholders. With those values and purposes, each ASCO Branch is challenged by ownership to create and hold some sort of charity event to raise money for a chosen charity. In the beginning, all employees could nominate a charity. The owners vetted the list to get it down to a manageable number. Then a companywide vote selected the winning charity. After all the different events were held, all the money was pooled together and matched dollar by dollar by the ASCO Foundation to double the proceeds sent to the charity.

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Spencer Ridgway, Branch Manager at the Belton ASCO said, “The Belton Branch opened in February of 2012. There were about six employees total. We were determined to create our event and really had no idea what we wanted to do. We chose to make a 5K race in downtown Belton utilizing the hike and bike trail up and down Nolan Creek. We had no idea what we were doing or how to go about it. We did some advertising of sorts and had a whopping 14 people show up! It was super disappointing, and we were all discouraged. “As we sat around talking about it and trying to figure out how or what to do, someone said, ‘Hey, let’s get some hay bales and make a big pile of dirt and come up with some other things to make our race different.’ And that is how it was born. I had the brilliant idea to tie a rope to the bucket of a large excavator and dangle it over Nolan Creek so folks could swing across the creek. So right down in the creek behind the Gin Restaurant we took this big machine with a rope dangling from the bucket, and bam—we have a rope swing. That second race drew about 40 people. Still very disappointed, but we had lots of good feedback about using the equipment as an obstacle. We kept hearing how great it was, and there was nothing like it in the area. “Had it not been for encouragement from Kirsten Lancaster of Pro Fit Race Timing Services, we might have given up. She told my wife Kristina and me that we were on to something, and we should not give up. She gave us lots of pointers and advice and really helped us prepare for the next year event. I forget the total now, but we had something like two hundred competitors in 2013. It has grown and evolved ever since. In 2018, we registered 451 competitors of all ages and levels of fitness.”

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In 2013, the chosen charity, Children’s Miracle Network, received $250,546 total from employee fundraising and ASCO matching funds. In 2014, A Soldier’s Child Foundation received a combined total of $262,708. This year’s charity is St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. ASCO’s goal to Grow Profitably, serves as a means to a more important end: To be a blessing to our Teammates, Customers, Communities and stockholders. And it does bless so many. Tanya Taylor, Race Director, said, “As a long-time runner, I have participated in many running and endurance events from 5K's to full Ironman triathlons. The sport and the community of running has had a positive impact on my physical and mental health while providing a sense of community. I wanted a chance to give back to the community as it has poured so much meaning and fulfillment in my own life. The ASCO Spartacus Dash gives me the opportunity

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to provide a rewarding race day experience for others as they reach for their fitness goals.” Kirsten Lancaster, owner of Pro-Fit Race Timing, times the race each year. She said, “This event is one of Belton’s ‘best-kept secrets.’ The obstacle course has less to do with achieving a personal best than basking in the mud-and-dirt days of childhood in a friendly, uplifting environment. It’s just a cool way to exercise, have fun with your friends, get dirty and have a good excuse for doing it. The time doesn't matter so much. It’s more for personal satisfaction, to challenge yourself a little bit.” Jim Wood said, “Asco employees volunteer along the course by manning the obstacles and cheering runners along. I work the ice bath obstacle every year. We start off with 200 bags of ice that we pour into the water, and then we use another 100 bags to keep it chilly! This race means a lot to us. Every year, the charity changes. ASCO has 22 stores in Texas, and each store does a large fundraiser to help their community.”


Lance Gay said, “I have competed and won in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Last year, I gave back by volunteering alongside the Race Crew. I offered race day support and shared my years of racing expertise with them regarding course set up and race day procedures. I return each year to participate or volunteer because it is a great race that supports local charities. Spencer and his ASCO crew have improved the race every year. This race is something unique. You can run a 5k or 10k almost every weekend in this area, but there is only one ASCO Spartacus Dash.” Don Ringler Chevrolet & Toyota are proud to be continuing sponsors of the ASCO Spartacus Dash because it is an exciting, locally established event that encourages community participation, while also helping to raise money for a different charity each year. All of the funds raised are then matched by the ASCO Foundation, which helps to bolster the strength of the fundraiser. The participants in the Spartacus Dash not only help to raise money for an amazing cause, but they also leave with a sense of accomplishment after defeating all of the obstacles. “If you take a look at the faces in the photos after the event, you'll see that joy, which is just one more reason we are proud to be a supporter!”

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SELF-STORAGE

Callie’s Boutique

Baby and children’s clothing, toys, bags, candles and more!

2010 East Elms Road, Killeen, Texas 76542

254-628-7600

www.ameristor.com

Open Monday-Friday, 10-5:30; Saturday 10-2 1401 S 31st St, Ste A, Temple 254-770-0511 | Follow us at BV calliesboutique

301 W Bus 190, Copperas Cove | 254-547-9663 soggydoggiesllctx.com

YOUR PHYSICAL, AQUATIC & SPEECH THERAPY SOLUTIONS 201 Paloma Drive | Temple, Texas (254) 892-0527 www.impacttherapysolutionsoftemple.com Monday-Friday 8:30-6:00 84

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Soggy Doggies

Grooming, Rooming & Daycare Too


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S H A C K

Need help

Candy Store

and don’t know who to call?

LOCALLY OWNED, CLASSIC CANDY & SODA SHOP

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with a huge selection of bulk sweets and gifts. WE ALSO SERVE SHAVED ICE AND GELATO YEAR ROUND

We have trained specialists ready to connect you with services. • Food assistance

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• Veterans assistance

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To learn more, go to 211Texas.org* 1 Royal Ave, Salado | (254) 947-8840

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1407 S. 31st Street, Temple, TX | 254-314-2415 www.celebrationsshoppe.com | info@celebrationsshoppe.com BE SURE TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTRAGRAM

B celebrationsshoppe | V celebrationsshoppe H O MET O W N L I V I NG A T I TS B EST

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3

Financial Tools

You Should be Using

but Probably Aren’t BY CHAD HAILEY

Welcome to 2019. How’s your money situation looking? If it’s anything like the stats show, you might want to pay attention.

W

elcome to 2019. How’s your money situation looking? If it’s anything like the stats show, you might want to pay attention. If you’re not sure of the stats, here’s just a few to grab your attention: • 32% of American households actually maintain a budget • Nearly a third of Americans have $500 or less in emergency savings • There is over $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s a trillion) in credit card debt

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• There is over $1.2 Trillion in auto loans • Student Loan debt is over $1.5 Trillion • 44 million student loan borrowers • 40% of college graduates end up with jobs that don’t require a degree • 20% of students still aren’t working in ‘degree demanding’ jobs 10 years after leaving school • The average retirement savings of a family aged 56-61 is only $163,577 • The median savings of this same age groups is only $17,000


I know some of these statistics are staggering, and if you’re like most Americans you probably find yourself in a few of these categories. Trust me, it wasn’t long ago I was in several of these categories myself. That is, until I started learning about a few strategies and tools that have helped me to begin transforming my financial life. These tools and strategies, when properly implemented, can quickly change the course of your finances… and have you doing the happy dance heading into your retirement years. So, if you’re looking to make changes to your financial plan or you just want to see something different, take a look at each of these tools and see how they can work for you:

1

SELF-DIRECTED 401K/SELF DIRECTED IRA

2

HUMAN LIFE VALUE POLICIES

If you haven’t heard of these, they are incredible tools that allow you to have full control of your retirement funds. Whether you’re looking for a way to roll over funds from an old 401k or IRA, or you’re selfemployed and you’re looking for some much-needed tax sheltering, these self-directed accounts give you the ability to choose how your retirement money is invested, where most 401k’s and IRAs give you a small list of mutual funds or index funds to choose from. With a selfdirected 401k/IRA you can choose to loan the money to someone as a business loan, invest in real estate, invest in the market, and so much more. The flexibility is great, but actually getting to be the one in control of your money is even better. The most beautiful thing is that all those fees are a thing of the past since you are in control of the money and you’re not having to pay a financial planner or institution for managing your money. These highly specialized life insurance policies are like savings accounts on steroids with sprinkles on top (because sprinkles make everything better, right?). They allow you to capture a portion of

your Human Life Value (which is basically the amount of money you might earn from ages 18-65; for most people the total is between $7-8 Million) and use it like an asset (as collateral). These policies can earn from 5-7% yearly and the huge benefit is that you are able to borrow from the cash value and use the money you borrow to grow more money. Any money borrowed does not go against the principle, and technically wouldn’t have to be paid back until death (when the policy is paid out to a designated beneficiary). If that’s not enough, the money inside these policies is tax-free money - so it’s an even better option as a tax shelter than a 401k would be.

3

LINES OF CREDIT (BUSINESS, PERSONAL, HELOC)

These are the most misunderstood tools in the marketplace. There, I said it. When used correctly, these can be some of the most powerful money-making tools in your arsenal. Did you know that you could use a HELOC to actually pay down the balance on your house even faster? A personal or business LOC could allow you to get into private lending—which could lead to growth of 10-20% or more. There are many ways to optimize the use of these different LOCs. One rule of thumb is that if the LOC is being used in a way that isn’t growing your money, I would reconsider how you are using it. For example, you get a $50k HELOC and use the money for improvements to your home, most likely, you wouldn’t improve the value of the home by $50k, so that would be mismanaging the money. However, if you took the same $50k and started a private lending contract that guaranteed a 10% return, at the end of a year you’d have made $5,000 in interest!

For more information email chad@centerpoint.partners.

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Horsin’ Around RECOVERY RANCH BY CONNIE LEWIS LEONARD PHOTOS BY BECKY STINEHOUR OF CANDID IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY

TO RIDE A HORSE IS TO FLY WITHOUT WINGS

Brenda Ramos grew up longing for a horse of her own. She loved working with horses and riding them at her aunt’s ranch in New Mexico. Living in Germany at age twelve, she volunteered to brush the

horses at a stable near her home in military housing just so she could be close to the animals she loved. Finally, her dream came true. Brenda began working with Lee Mosley in equine assisted recreation and wellness. They worked with the transition units, Taps Program, Edge Program, Boss Program, Boy and Girl Scout Camps and couples’ rides for soldiers returning from deployment.

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THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE OUTSIDE OF A HORSE THAT IS GOOD FOR THE INSIDE OF MAN — WINSTON CHURCHILL Brenda said, “In 2015, I worked about twelve to fourteen hours a day. When I started coming home early, my husband became concerned. I went to see doctors, who said it was just my pancreas and gave me pills. The pain did not go away, so we went to another hospital where they did an MRI. The doctors discovered a mass as big as a grapefruit. They had no idea what it was, so they sent me to a larger hospital for emergency surgery. They found I had colon cancer and my appendix had burst. How was I still alive? I had been running around like that for several weeks. A casing had grown over the areas that had burst and contained all the poisons that would have killed me. I know that only by the grace of God was I still alive. “I had three major surgeries and was told that I had a rare form of colon cancer. Most people live about two years and are very sick during that time. I am going on three years, and I am doing really well. The doctors at MDA in Houston are very pleased with how I am coming along. I know God has His hand in my life, and He knows I’m not done yet.”

A STRONG WOMAN LOOKS A CHALLENGE IN THE EYE AND GIVES IT A WINK Throughout her illness, Brenda realized the true importance of horse therapy. “My animals helped me stay positive and motivated me to get up and keep moving. The horses kept my mind and body moving, which has helped me from becoming depressed and non-motivated. It kept my muscles moving and strong, because chemo breaks down everything inside of you. I felt that if equine therapy has helped me and so many others in the past, I should open a nonprofit to share my blessing and story to help others heal. I know God and equine assisted health and wellness is why I’m still here. I want others to know that no matter what you go through in life, don’t give up hope, and live every day as if it’s your last. I thank God every day for how he has kept me going. I love being alive. Our world has become so crazy, but it’s still so beautiful and being in it is even more wonderful. I want to help others see the positives in life, not the negative.” Sonia Wren said, “Brenda Ramos is my hero. She is what the woman of today aspires to be—a kind and generous person with a discerning personality, who loves people and animals, and has a strong sense of entrepreneurship.”

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GOD MADE DOCTORS TO HEAL THE BODY AND HORSES TO HEAL THE SOUL While establishing their own nonprofit ranch, Brenda and Lee found themselves moving their horses from one property to another. Brenda said, “Lord, I can’t keep doing this.” Mr. and Mrs. Mabury heard about their plight and leased the perfect property where Dazona Life Skills and Counseling Solutions are located, giving HARR the opportunity to work with the young adults at Dazona. They will also be partnering with some of the counselors at Counseling Solutions. Offering equine assisted health and wellness will make one of the best counseling centers even better. Brenda continued, “If that’s not God’s work, I don’t know what is.” Dazona teaches life skills to young adults ranging in age from 16 to 40 years old with varying mental capacities. They love the horses and do very well in handling them. Brenda said, “There is nothing like seeing a child that has been abused, and not know how to show love or affection, hug one of the horses or little animals and feel safe. The horses let them be whoever they are with no judgement and just love them back in their own way. I love what we do, and hope to be able to offer more free and discounted services.”

WHEN RIDERS LOOK INTO A HORSE’S EYES, THEY FIND PART OF THEIR SOUL, A PART THEY NEVER THOUGHT TO BE FOUND Equine therapy, or equine-assisted therapy, uses equine activities to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth in persons suffering from ADD, anxiety, autism, cerebral palsy, dementia, depression, developmental delay, genetic syndromes, traumatic brain injuries, behavioral issues, abuse and many other mental health problems. Equine therapy can help individuals build confidence, self-efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control and establish boundaries. The horse partners provide a service to participants, whether it is in their physical movement that helps them develop and strengthen their own bodies, or interactions with people, helping them gain insight into their own struggles and accomplishments. Equine-ssisted therapy can be a step in the right direction toward healing in a safe, calm and healthy environment in a collaborative process with horses as part of a healing process both physically and emotionally. HARR’s Mission Statement is “to enrich and expand the lives of the youth and adults with special needs as well as military families, veterans and first responders through equine-related activities and therapies.”

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LET A HORSE WHISPER IN YOUR EAR AND BREATHE IN YOUR HEART. YOU WILL NEVER REGRET IT The ranch has five therapy horses and two therapy miniature horses, along with Moses, the donkey, and seven therapy goats. They also have several other horses in training at Lee’s ranch. Lee is one of the best trainers in the central Texas area. He and Brenda are friends as well as partners. She couldn’t carry on without his support and trust. Roslin Caldwell said, “HARR is very peaceful and well kept. Ms. Brenda and I sat under a tree and started talking about the ranch and its purpose, but I ended up sharing my story with her. She listened without judgement, and she didn’t try to ‘fix’ me. We talked. We laughed. I cried. I didn’t go for counseling, but I left feeling like I had finally found ‘my place.’” Serving communities in Central Texas and the soldiers and families of Fort Hood for more than 15 years, they have well-trained, gentle horses. Sonia Wren said, “HARR is a place of peace and tranquility which provides the utmost attention, care and safety precautions necessary for an equine assisted healing program. Visit HARR for a moment of restoration, rejuvenation or recovery and see how horses help humans have more life.” For more information visit the website https://www. horsebackridingtherapy.com/contact-us or call 254-2130556 or 254-681-8085. Donations can be sent to: HARR, 1101 Toliver Avenue, Killeen, TX 76541.

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HARR OFFERS: • Riding Lessons • Therapy • Riding Fences • Taps Program • Helping soldiers with PTSD • Helping cancer patients • Riding Lessons • Day Camps • Mommy or Daddy and Me Classes • Trail Riding • Family Day Activities • Couples and Family Wellness • Ladies Night Out • Singles Night • Other Recreational Activities

EQUINE THERAPY CAN HELP INDIVIDUALS BUILD CONFIDENCE, SELF-EFFICIENCY, COMMUNICATION, TRUST, PERSPECTIVE, SOCIAL SKILLS, IMPULSE CONTROL AND ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES

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EXPERIENCE AFFORDABLE EXCELLENCE

FREE HIGH SPEED INTERNET COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST INDOOR POOL, 2 SPACIOUS SPAS, SAUNA, STEAM ROOM EXERCISE & FITNESS CENTER KIDS 17 AND UNDER STAY FREE SATELLITE TV BUSINESS CENTER

STEAK

HOUSE

SHILO STEAKHOUSE, LOUNGE, CIGAR BAR & CATERING

S HILOINNS.C O M - 800.222.2244 SHILO INN SUITES HOTEL - 3701 S. WS YOUNG DRIVE - KILLEEN - TEXAS - 76542 - 254.699.0999 94

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

AdventHealth.............................................................................1

First Community Title Co.................................................. 96

AmeriStor Self Storage...................................................... 84

Fort Hood—The Courses of Clear Creek........................9

Artist 2 Artist Showcase.................................................... 62

Gallery Design Center........................................................ 26

Aztec Pet Hospital............................................................... 48

Heights Home Health......................................................... 49

Bell County Living Magazine............................................ 71

Hewett-Arney Funeral Home........................................... 70

Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area........................ 49

Impact Therapy Solutions................................................. 84

Big John's Paint and Body of Belton............................ 70

Jubilee Homes....................................................................... 63

Bradley Sheppard, REALTOR........... Inside Back Cover

Killeen Civic Center............................................................. 48

Callie's Boutique................................................................... 84

Omega Builders.......................................................................2

Candid Images Photography........................................... 38

Rendez Photography........................................................... 71

Celebrations Event Rentals & Design Shoppe.......... 85

Roger Beasley Mazda Killeen.............................................3

Central Texas Christian School........................................... 7

Seton Medical Center....................................... Back Cover

Central Texas Security and Investigation Agency... 96

Shilo Inn, Killeen LLC.......................................................... 94

Cloud Real Estate....................................................................5

Soggy Doggies Grooming................................................ 84

Cochran, Blair & Potts...........................................................9

Sugar Shack........................................................................... 85

Crawford-Bowers Funeral Homes................................. 62

Susan Marie's......................................................................... 70

Deane Electric & Air Conditioning.Inside Front Cover

The Kidz Stop Childcare.................................................... 85

Edward Jones........................................................................ 70

United Way of Central Texas............................................ 85

EmilyB Photography............................................................27

Vista Real Estate - Blake Lufburrow.............................. 71

Please thank these advertisers for making this publication possible! H O MET O W N L I V I NG A T I TS B EST

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4613 S. 31st St. Temple, TX 76502

254-773-7750

40 N Main Street, Salado

202 Lake Road, Suite D, Belton

4613 S 31st Street, Temple

661B Centex Expressway, Harker Heights

VISIT ANY ONE OF OUR 4 LOCATIONS serving Bell, Coryell, and Williamson counties

CENTRAL TEXAS SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION AGENCY 3901 E. STAN SCHLUETER, KILLEEN, TEXAS (254) 404-1338 | WWW.CTSITEXAS.COM

SECURITY YOU CAN COUNT ON 96

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Bradley Sheppard REALTOR/Broker RegionalAssociate Manager Better Homes and Gardens homecity Bradfield Properties Bradley.Sheppard@Homecity.com 3011 N. Main, Ste. A (254) TX 541-2731 Belton, 76513


Seton Medical Center Harker Heights offers an array of services such as: •

Level IV Trauma Designated Emergency Room

Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement

• • • • • • •

Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Heart & Vascular Center Women’s Center

We provide exceptional care through collaboration with our associates, physicians, volunteers and community partners. Our award-winning staff provides patient care with dignity and respect.

Intensive Care Unit

Respiratory Care & Neurodiagnostic General Surgery

Gastroenterology Sleep Lab Center

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights

850 W. Central Texas Expressway | Harker Heights, TX 76548 (254) 690-0900 SetonHarkerHeights.net

As a large multi-specialty group affiliated with Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, Wellstone Health Partners takes pride in caring for patients during each unique phase of life. Our offices are conveniently located off Highway 190 next to Seton Medical Center Harker Heights with additional primary care offices in Belton and Killeen. SPECIALTIES INCLUDE: • • • •

Ear, Nose and Throat Family Medicine Gastronterology General Surgery

• • • •

Internal Medicine Lactation Consultation Neurology Nutrition Services

• • • •

OB/GYN Occupational Medicine Orthopedic Surgery Urology

To schedule an appointment, call (254) 618-1020 WellstonePartners.org We accept most health plans including Scott and White Health Plan.

12 CLINICS IN 5 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS Killeen | Harker Heights | Belton

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