Erath County Living Fall 2018

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FALL 2018

Next January, on the 4th day of the new year in 2019, Joyce Whitis will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She wears a halo of respect, earned from years of dedication and service to Stephenville, Huckabay and all of Erath County.

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In Your Financi Making aMaking Differencea Difference In Your Financial Future

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Next January, on the 4th day of the new year in 2019, Joyce Whitis will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She wears a halo of respect, earned from years of dedication and service to Stephenville, Huckabay and all of Erath County.

For long-time residents of Bluff Dale, Texas, the groans and squeaks of the Old Suspension Bridge on Berry’s Creek Road conjure up many fond memories.

Sacrificial love is the very heart of Christmas.



HIGH SCHOOL TRAINER OF THE YEAR Debby Winder wins with expertise, humor and compassionate care.


TUFF TELLS IT: THE HISTORY OF A HOMETOWN VET A true country boy, Dr. Joe Cannon has always had a love for animals, domestic and exotic. His cat, Tuff, tells us all about him and his practice at Green’s Creek Veterinary Hospital.



Erath County Living



TRICKS FOR ENTERTAINING THE COWGIRL WAY One of the most sought-after trick riders in the history of the sport, Madison MacDonald Thomas tells us about her love for the sport and her journey to reach the goals she dreamed of as a child.


“EXPERIENCES VS. XBOXES: A BUYERS GUIDE TO A HAPPY HOLIDAY When offered a gift over an experience, a young child will almost always choose the material gift….however, a meaningful event will hold a much longer lasting impression.



SUNNY NORTH TEXAS – SUCCULENT HEAVEN Winter Gardens - Succulents add color worthy of Monet's paint pallet.


TEACHING DUBLINERS TO BE IRISH Lanora Davidson was just 18 years old when she sold everything she owned and boarded a plane in search of something that had not even started to take shape or definition.


RANGER AND THE RODEO Ranger College reminds us that the love to rodeo can expand all over, touting over 50 team members from across the United States, Canada, and even Panama.



Celebrating our 20th Year in Practice! DR. MATTHEW MARUSKA, SARAH MAASS, PA AND DR. WILLIAM EVANS

Board Certified Orthopaedic surgery, Board certified Sports Medicine OFFICIAL PHYSICIAN FOR TARLETON ATHLETICS


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DELIGHTDIRECTED LEARNING IN A BIG PURPLE HOUSE Old fashioned books and Latin; robotics and space travel. All in an environment akin to a one-room schoolhouse nestled into a purple Victorian home. It’s what Sarah Cannady refers to as learning in a delight-directed way.


ON FIRE From fighting fires to teaching others, by dedicating most of his life to this career, it is safe to say Floyd Croft is one firefighter who is “on fire” for helping those around him.


THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: THE HEALTH TREND THAT’S NOT SLOWING DOWN Gluten free, non-GMO, low-carb, no-carb, whole food, raw food, keto, paleo. If you got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it. But, what if it’s not only about WHAT we are eating, but also WHEN we are eating it?


HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS Top ten holiday events going on around the community, plus a few more!



LESS MEANS MORE By cleaning the clutter from our lives, we can then make more room for the most important things in the world, the dream life type things: better health, stronger relationships, a life full of passion and deep spirituality.


BEST KEPT SECRET: JASPER’S CAFÉ Jaspers Café is more than an out-of-the-way café, it is a family-owned business who sees customers as friends and friends as extended family. It is a place to relax and unwind and remove yourself from the things hanging over your head.



To make this hunting trip the best yet, ECL shares some tips to consider.

About the Cover The cover is a picture of Joyce Whitis, who wears a halo of respect, earned

from years of dedication and service to Stephenville, Huckabay and all of Erath County. Read the full story on page 10.

Next January, on the 4th day of the new year in 2019, Joyce Whitis will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She wears a halo of respect, earned from years of dedication and service to Stephenville, Huckabay and all of Erath County.

Hometown Li v ing At Its Best


Legacy Golf Tournament

40 Oz Comes to Dublin


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58 Stephenville

Chamber Industry Social 66 Ribbon Cuttings

106 Fourth of

July Parade 128 Cross Timbers Fine Art Council







FALL 2018

254-968-6110 2900 W. Washington, Suite 23 Stephenville, TX 76401

From the Publisher


Red Fin Publishing Justin & Hayley Six

Kyle & Halsey Clark


Hayley Six


GreenFox Marketing



ello to the season that brings people together! We are so excited to share with you the fall edition of Erath County Living. Besides celebrating the cooler temps and a new school year, we are welcoming the time of year where communities, as well as families, come together for seasonal traditions and with a heart of thanksgiving. Here at RedFin Publishing, we want to take a moment to give thanks to our men and women who serve in all aspects. We honor you. With any new issue, we meet new faces and new businesses that are making Erath County a better place to live. In this edition you will read about Ranger College’s Rodeo Team and the inspiring young people who have traveled from all over the United States as well as internationally to further the love of rodeo in our area. You will also read about Mrs. Joyce Whitis, a pillar of the community and devoted supporter of all things Erath County. Finally, if you are a history buff, make sure to stop and study the article about The Swinging Bridge in Bluff Dale, an enduring landmark in Texas, presumed to be the earliest bridge of its type built in the state of Texas. We are proud to to be a part of Erath County and we love to hear how you enjoy this publication! Besides picking up your free issue, be sure to keep up with us on the website and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for events and announcements! We couldn’t do any of this without the steadfast support of our local businessmen and women. Help us to thank our advertisers for their contribution to your local magazine by shopping local! Their involvement allows this publication to come free of charge to you. Go by any advertiser’s location to pick up your complimentary copy. We look forward to many more issues to come! Until the next edition, wishing you many blessings-

Justin and Hayley Six

Kyle and Halsey Clark

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name.” Psalm 100:4


Jennifer Cabbage Hayley Six

Karen Wright

PHOTOGRAPHERS Brazos Rose Photography Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Dudley Barker Photography Kat Bozek Photography

Lindsey Sullivan Photography The Ruffled Cabbage

COVER PHOTO by Brazos Rose Photography SALES Justin Six Kyle Clark Tana Howell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Peggy Purser Freeman Martha Helton Connie Lewis Leonard Tori Mortenson Brandynn Stanford

BJ Sloan

Johnna Thomasson Karen Wright


Carey Stites, Nutritionist

Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council Dublin Chamber of Commerce Stephenville Chamber of Commerce

Stephenville High School

Erath County Living© is published semi-annually by Red Fin Publishing. P.O. Box 1239 | Weatherford, TX 76086

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254.968.3098 between Dublin & Stephenville go to Google Maps for directions


Blessed by God!

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Next January, on the 4th day of the new year in 2019, Joyce Whitis will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She wears a halo of respect, earned from years of dedication and service to Stephenville, Huckabay and all of Erath County. by BJ Sloan Photos by Brazos Rose Photography and provided by Dudley Barker Photography


e all know those people. The ones who with the ability to call on politicians, prominent business leaders and talented athletes and ask for favors. I’ll call it respect. Respect earned from years of dedication and service. Joyce Whitis wears the halo of respect. She is one of those people.


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Hometown Living At Its Best


The first time I ever set eyes on her was late in the fall of 1954 in The Stephenville Hospital. I noticed right away she had a ready smile and a big laugh but the main thing about her, she loved people. Next January on the 4th day of the new year in 2019, Joyce Whitis will celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She still has a dynamite smile, still loves to laugh and somehow even after all the years between now and then her love for people has only grown stronger. It was a long shot that Joyce born in the Texas Panhandle, and cut her teeth on a cotton farm, spent her teen years experiencing ship yard building and victory dances would decide to settle in Erath County. But that’s what happened in 1953. Sixty-five years later Joyce will say with a smile and without hesitation, if she could live anywhere and do anything, “I’d be living here on the farm doing exactly what I am doing.” She has worn a lot of hats during those years, teacher, business owner, author and more. But the one thing most folks say and remember most is her contribution to the betterment of Stephenville and Erath County. “Every experience in life is a building block for the next thing,” confesses Joyce. You probably would think an octogenarian would be slowing down but with Joyce, there is no signs of that. Over the years, several subjects have surfaced to the top of her list. Having lived through several wars during her life, the recognition and appreciation of the US veteran is number one. In recent years she has organized a collection and erected a veteran’s monument at the Huckabay Cemetery. The impressive granite stone stands at attention beside the peaceful blacktop that winds through the community. The stone is engraved with the name of every vet who finds their final resting place there. The names of Confederate Veterans are also included on the monument because it was those families that first settled Huckabay. Each Memorial Day you can find Joyce among the tombstones and with the help of local school children, placing American flags on each veteran’s grave. Each April to celebrate Confederate History month, she puts flags on graves for those vets as a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Several times Joyce has obtained special grave stones for veterans available from the state. “Sometimes, that is the only marker on a grave, but we can’t let them feel forgotten. They certainly didn’t forget us!” Joyce will tell you. During the last year she promoted and arranged for newspaper photos for many local veterans grouping them according to the war in which they served. Joyce recalls fondly what Jack Parks said as they were lining up before the picture of the local Korean Veterans. “I’m so glad you are doing this Joyce. You know, nobody every remembers or talks about our war.” Another subject dear to her heart is the promotion of Stephenville through tourism. A member of the Erath


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Country Historical Commission and the Fine Arts Association, she knows promotion of our area is a top priority. As the county’s number one cheerleader, Joyce will treat you to her famous smile, “I believe what is good for Stephenville is good for me.” The Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas agrees, and recognized Joyce by honoring her with the Community Builder Award. Joyce firmly believes in promoting the things that uniquely set Erath County apart such as being the Cowboy Capital of the World, a slogan she dreamed up. Last year the Sundown on the Square celebration chose to recognize and honor our local professional cowboys. Joyce personally invited numerous area money-earning cowboys and cowgirls making the event a huge success. For the past several summers, Joyce makes the rounds to businesses to offer the trademark rodeo banners for the September Rodeo in Stephenville. “The support is so strong the whole town is draped in red white and blue,” Joyce laughs. “We have the best folks anywhere!”

Every experience in life is a building block for the next thing.

Hometown Living At Its Best


A longtime supporter and former participant in the dairy business, Joyce Whitis has made sure Erath County receives recognition as a leader in the production of nature’s most perfect food. Moo-La, her brainchild monument to the dairy farmers, recently enjoyed a refreshing bath via the local fire department. The news made for a fun story featured on Chanel 5 news. Joyce’s name appears on the stand below Moo-La, a ‘thank you’ for her efforts and support over the years. In 2016 the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce awarded Joyce with the Friend of Agriculture plaque. As much as she likes people I truly believe Joyce prefers the company of animals. As one of the folks instrumental in the establishment of the Erath County Humane Society and Animal Shelter, if you want to get on her wrong side just forget to feed you dog or cow or horse. The current shelter has been God sent but Joyce has a vision for the future. “The city has dedicated land for a larger much needed shelter, but I’m thinking a pet cemetery and crematorium would provide a service to pet owners and assist with the cost of the shelter.” Joyce never stops dreaming of how to make good into better.

As the county’s number one cheerleader, Joyce will treat you to her famous smile, “I believe what is good for Stephenville is good for me.”


Erath County Living

In June of this year, Joyce the long-time local and national newspaper and magazine columnist published her first book. Patchwork, a collection of amusing and historical facts about Erath County that will leave you scratching your head with, “I didn’t know that.” The success of the book has required two additional reprints and the few remaining copies are treasures especially if you can pin Joyce down long enough to autograph one for you. FYI, Joyce did all the book business during the time she decided to break a hip tripping while cleaning windows on her back porch. This past January, when required to make a visit to the department of Drivers of Motorized Vehicles for a renew of her driver’s license, Joyce got a pleasant surprise. Not only did she pass the test with no restrictions, but because of her age 88 at the time, the DMV did not issue a renewal date. I guess the state believes twelve years from now when Joyce will be 100 years old she won’t be driving so a renewal is not necessary. The joke is on the DMV. My money is on Joyce! Couple of secrets I’ll share when working with Joyce. Don’t ask her opinion unless you are prepared to hear what she has to say. She pulls no punches and holds nothing back so make sure you’re cinched up and settled in before asking. Second, when you get Joyce on your side, you’re going to enjoy a real home field advantage. Erath County would like to say thank you Joyce Whitis for making this a better place to live. We can’t wait to see what comes next! ECL

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killfully working their magic in a back room, out of the glare of the stadium lights where athletes display their prowess heroically on the field--is the indispensable athletic trainer. Athletic trainers are where sports and medicine intersect. Under the supervision of a licensed physician, as well as other medical staff, athletic trainers work with people to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and illness. They not only bring their medical expertise to an athlete’s physical injuries, they are psychologists and cheerleaders, keeping the injured athlete’s spirits up and focused on the goal of recovery and rejoining their team.


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Locally, Stephenville High School employs a much beloved head athletic trainer who cares for both high school and junior high athletes in a room tucked away from the gym. But her skills, combined with compassionate care, recently brought her into the limelight when she won Texas Coaches High School Coaches Association’s Athletic Trainer of the Year award. I sat down with her to visit about her life and her passion for her job. Surprisingly, instead of a warm up suit, Debby was stylishly dressed in a fashionable black outfit (she slips on her tennis shoes when needed). Glittery gold nail polish complimented her sparkly blue eyes. Warmth and friendliness also shine through those eyes. While growing up in Odessa, Texas, Debby Winder loved all sports. She was a cheerleader and she enjoyed playing tennis and running, but while she didn’t play, her true love was football. When her dad died when she was eight, a family friend became her father figure. He was also a high school football coach. “He knew I didn’t have a dad so he was always giving me advice, even though I had a stepdad later on—he was a provider for us, but he wasn’t really a father figure. I talked to Dick about everything that I was interested in in life.”


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Her passion for football increased when, as a high schooler, she helped out Coach Winder as his assistant with administrative duties. Sometimes she would have nothing to do so he would eat his lunch while they watched films and he would show her different football plays. “Sometimes he’d have his quarterback in there with him and they’d be going over things during his lunch period. I’d sit in with them and I just loved it.” As high school graduation drew near, her stepfather told her that he was not going to fund her college education because, in his opinion, women were to get married and have babies. Dick Winder—not wanting to go against her stepdad’s wishes--still encouraged her to go ahead and pursue a college education, even if she had to take out loans, to be prepared in life should something happen to her husband. After graduation, she started a drill bit service with her mom and stepdad. She did that for 20 years while pursuing her physical education degree on the side, later getting her Master’s degree in athletic administration. Since women football coaches are unheard of, she decided that she could at least be involved with football as an athletic trainer.


She was able to secure an internship with the Jackalopes in Odessa, a minor league hockey team, before moving around to several different high schools in Texas. Along the way, she married and had three children. She and her husband instilled the love of sports in their kids early on. They always had season tickets to Odessa High games and to Texas Tech games. All three children played sports in college and still enjoy sports today. Going on her fourth year at Stephenville High School, Debby starts her day bright and early at 6:00 a.m. Kids trickle in between 6:30 and 7:00, ready to do what’s required for their rehab plans. She sees junior high kids before the high school kids come in. Debby has her own rehab plan for each student…she looks at rehabilitating an athlete as a competion. “The competition for us is that the students don’t quit and that they go back and perform at the level they did before and that they’re confident that they can go back without any problem. If the students go back and do well, we’ve won. If they choose to quit because they don’t feel confident or if they feel they’re not a part of that team any more or the students have lost interest, then we’ve lost that game.”

Hometown Living At Its Best


Debby keeps each athlete’s morale up by not excluding them from their team as much as possible and using humor to lighten their load. She tries to have them attend their athletic period because even if they can’t participate, they at least hear the coach’s game plan. They have a bike in the gym so while the kids are running up and down the court, that student is spinning, keeping his/her cardiovascular endurance up. “We may have them doing some exercises on the sidelines so they’re in the gym with their teammates and then when they all make plans afterwards, they’re there to be a part of that and they don’t get left out.” Former SHS star quarterback, Eastin Jones, who had a ligament tear, explained his rehab experience with Debby: “I think she’s great. She sees the better in everybody and finds a way to make people laugh and forget about their injury. She kept me positive through it all and was very supportive and there to push me to go over my limits.” Debby treats the kids like they are hers, and they feel it. “One student will bring me a Starbucks coffee on occasion and he’ll say, ‘Here coach Debby, here’s your coffee.’ And I’ll say, ‘What’s this for?’ And he’ll say, ‘Just so you know I appreciate what you do.’” She has even received Mother’s Day cards.


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Because of her caring, “mothering” mindset, coupled with her expertise, SHS coaches have wanted to nominate her the last few years for the Trainer of the Year award. But, because she is married to the head football coach, Greg Winder (yes, he is the son of Dick Winder!), Greg thought it would look bad. But two summers ago, when Eastin Jones tore a ligament in his elbow, his recovery happened much quicker than originally thought. He only missed the first four games of the season, thanks in part to Debby’s rehabilitation management. A Brownwood coach took notice and nominated her for the award. For Debby, it’s not a job. It’s a calling. “I think God puts you in a place for a reason. And at times I’ve thought, ‘You know, do I need to keep doing this?’ But when I think about it (she paused as she choked back tears), I can’t even imagine not doing this job. I love the kids I work with. It’s not easy to work with kids if you don’t love kids. If you’re just doing it for a paycheck, this is the wrong job. I love sports and I love kids.” I’d say she has found her niche. ECL


Hometown Living At Its Best




Erath County Living

Hometown Living At Its Best


TUFF TELLS IT: THE HISTORY OF A HOMETOWN VET By Martha Helton Photos by Lindsey Sullivan Photography


Erath County Living





’m purr-fectly happy with my life as a vet cat. I’m very grateful that I was rescued after I was found abandoned as a small kitten behind the water park in Stephenville, all covered with ants and almost dead. The people at the waterpark called the hospital and explained the situation and Sharyn Cannon, the wife of the veterinarian, Dr. Joe Cannon, came and got me. She is so nice. They bathed me and because I was super “tough” to survive all I went through, the staff decided to call me Tuff. Sharyn sent pictures of me to Dr. C. (who was out of town that day) and said, ‘This is Tuff, our new cat.’ And that was that and here I am. Anyhow, I’m king of the place—NOT Dr. Joe Cannon. He just thinks he is. But, as everyone knows, cats rule.

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got older, he got into the family’s chickens and his dad got really angry. Sadly, Dr. C. had to let him go out in the wild. (Of course, I would have been glad to see Silky go—he’d have tried to eat me like he did the chickens!) Between the ages of 13-16, he knew he wanted to work with animals. Dr. C.’s dad recognized this desire, so he would put him in charge of medical stuff… like helping ewes and cows who had any lambing or calving problems. He also vaccinated all their livestock, dehorned cattle and castrated pigs, lambs and calves. He took an interest in sheep and began raising purebred, registered Suffolk sheep to show and for profit. However, one day a few of the sheep were noticeably growing thin and were losing their wool. Other sheep became affected. Tests were run and the diagnosis was a highly contagious, deadly virus. Unfortunately, all the sheep had to be slaughtered. Dr. C. was heartbroken. But his veterinarian mind was curious about the unknown virus and wanted to learn more about it.

You know what…I’m even on the hospital’s Facebook page every Thursday. They call it “Thursdays are Tuff”. The staff will sometimes dress me up in some silly costume to celebrate a holiday. I kinda hate those days, but hey, whatever it takes to talk about the business and keep our customers entertained. Anyway, I like to show off my beautiful tiger-striped fur coat! Guess I should tell you about the owner of the practice, Dr. Joe Cannon, so you’ll know him better and what made him become a veterinarian (hint: because of his lifelong love for all animals, including me!). He’s a true country boy, growing up on a farm in the little community of Green’s Creek (It was named after the creek that ran through it. And of course, that’s the name he picked for the veterinary hospital). He grew up working hard on a 100-acre family peanut farm. He helped tend to the livestock as well--which he loved. Times were lean, but they always had plenty of vegetables to eat, grown from their own garden. He grew up eating home-raised animals but he also went hunting and brought home venison, squirrel, duck, quail or rabbits. Aside from the usual dogs and cats, Dr. C. had a few wild animals for pets. He adopted squirrels, crows, hawks, owls and foxes. He appreciates all God’s creatures and marvels at their cunning ways and intelligence. One of his favorite pets was a fox named Silky (he called him Silky because his fur looked like silk). He found him abandoned by his mama and he nursed him with cow’s milk until he was old enough to eat wild game, like rabbits. Dr. C. taught him how to hunt. But then as Silky


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After high school he pursued his veterinary career by going to Tarleton State University and then to Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine. He then did an ambulatory equine internship at the University of California at Davis and made weekly rounds at the Sacramento Zoo. It was there he got interested in exotics again. His mentor was Dr. Murry Fowler, his professor who also supervised rounds at the zoo. From Dr. Fowler, Dr. C. learned two important things—how to detect subtle, early signs if a wild animal was sick and how to properly use drugs to capture and immobilize animals in order to examine and treat them. After he left Davis, he volunteered his services at Lion Country Safari, a drive-through wildlife park in Laguna Hills, California. Prides of lions ran loose (although staff watched them in jeeps). Cheetahs would actually jump up on your car. (Yikes! Scary!) He was then offered a job with another Lion Country Safari that was opening in Grand Prairie, Texas. He happily jumped at the chance to not only work with exotics, but to move back to be with family in Texas. He ran his own practice in Grand Prairie as well.

Hometown Living At Its Best




Erath County Living

While there at Lion Country Safari, he was in charge of sick animals, vaccinations and predator control. Close calls happened with some of the dangerous animals there. He had an episode with a lion who began advancing on him and if his co-worker hadn’t shot him with a dart gun, he would’ve been his dinner! He also was almost squeezed to death by the trunk of a young, angry elephant who didn’t want a vaccination. After seven or eight years, the park closed. Dr. C. still operated his Grand Prairie practice but also tended to the veterinary needs of race horses in Oklahoma and Texas. He sure knows a lot about horses! But after 30 years in the metroplex, Dr. C. and his wife wanted to open a practice back in Dublin, where he could slow down and take it easy. But it didn’t work out that way…he became busy, busy, busy! There are now three vets and 15 employees (and of course, me!). His wife also works here with him, managing the books. They board animals as well as have a groom shop. They treat 80% small animals and 20% equine. Not too many exotics though. Outside of work, Dr. C. likes to go hunting, fishing and hiking. Plus, he enjoys spending time with his sons, Chad and Troy, and daughter, Amy, and her two sons, Mason and Brandon. They all live in the metroplex. As for the future, Dr. C says he may retire in a few years but for now he just keeps doing what he loves doing for as long as he can. And I am so glad. That’s Dr. C.! Be sure to check me-owt on Facebook on Thursdays! ECL

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P.O. Box 997 • 375 W. Washington St. Stephenville, TX 76401

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“Meet me at the swinging bridge.”


or long-time residents of Bluff Dale, Texas, the groans and squeaks of the Old Suspension Bridge on Berry’s Creek Road conjure up many fond memories. Only it’s not a true suspension bridge. It is a cable-stayed bridge, called “The Rarest in Texas.” The swinging bridge may be the oldest surviving cable-stayed bridge in the United States, and perhaps the earliest bridge of this type ever built.

Hometown Living At Its Best


The swinging bridge may be the oldest surviving cable-stayed bridge in the United States, and perhaps the earliest bridge of this type ever built. Constructed in 1891, by Runyan and Flinn, the Bluff Dale Bridge spans 225 feet and has seven one-inch cables that run the length of each side. Towers made of nine-inch pipe support the cables 28 feet above the water. Wrought iron gas pipes, which Runyon called “needle beams” form the deck. The bridge was built over the Paluxy River about halfway between Stephenville and Granbury, where the concrete bridge now stands on Highway 377. The bridge was built by local people, mainly by hand. It served as the principal crossing of the river until 1934 when it was moved to its present location. Boards were replaced and repairs were made to the bridge as part of the WPA. Cathey Yarbrough Sims Hartmann said the bridge “has been a favorite meeting place for friends, daters, fishermen . . . but to those who live on Berry Creek Road, such as my family, the bridge means much more. Until a low-water concrete bridge was added just below the suspension bridge, it was our only means of crossing the Paluxy River and reaching the outside world. “Before the bridge was moved from the original


Erath County Living

site, which was one mile downstream from its present location, families living on the other side forded the creek at low levels. But when the creek was up after heavy rains and floods, they just stayed home. At one time, there was a tram system on a pulley that allowed one person at a time to cross high above the water. This was, of course, extremely popular with the young set. A flood uprooted one of the trees that anchored the tram, and it was never replaced.” Due to the combined efforts of the Bluff Dale Study and Garden Club and Verna Harris of the Erath County Historical Commission, a historical marker was dedicated for the old suspension bridge in July 1978, making it the second Historical Marker dedicated in Bluff Dale. The inscription on the marker reads: “For at least 20 years, vehicles had to ford the Paluxy River to reach Bluff Dale and points west. Wagon traffic increased after the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad reached the town in 1889. This iron bridge began to serve the public by spanning the Paluxy about 1891, on the main access road that became State Highway 10 and later U.S. 377. By 1933, arterial highway travel demanded a wider bridge. In 1934 authorities moved the ‘swinging’ bridge 1.5 miles upstream where it serves local rural traffic.” Even when she was a young girl during the 50s and 60s, Cathey remembers some terrifying times on the old bridge. She said, “I remember one time when the creek rose so high that the water ran just inches below the bridge. My dad, undecided about whether to cross to take me to school or not, got out of the pickup, surveyed the situation, got back in, and without a word raced across the swollen river. I was a child at the time and I thought it was very exciting, but I heard my dad say many times since that he would never have done it again.”

The bridge, considered an engineering marvel, was placed on the Preservation Texas “Most Endangered Site” in 2009.

At times when the bridge was undergoing much needed repairs, families kept their cars on the town side of the bridge. Cathey said, “This meant crossing the bridge on foot, which at one point meant balancing on two boards that had been placed over part of the bridge that was torn up.” When Cathey was about 12, her mother, who was afraid of heights and water, had a harrowing experience with Cathey and her baby sister riding in the front seat. After they drove onto the bridge, another car approached from the other side. The neighborly thing on a one-lane road was for one car to wait on the other. “We watched as the other car came toward us, its two passengers waving their arms and yelling at the top of their lungs, ‘NO BRAKES!’ Mother only had enough time to slam on her brakes and hope for the best before we collided right in the middle of the bridge! Since the other car had been gathering speed after coming down the hill that led to the bridge, the impact was very strong. But both cars stayed on the tracks and neither slid to the side, which would have been disastrous. Before she even took her foot from the brake, Mother had me take my sister off the bridge. In the end, all was well except for four shaken passengers and a baby girl who must have wondered what all the excitement was about!” Since 1989, the frayed cables and pipes that support the bridge made it unsafe for vehicles. For a time, people could cross the bridge on foot, but now it is completely closed off. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was documented for the Historical American Engineering Record in 1996. TXDOT applied for a Historic Bridge Preservation

Program in 2006, which included the Bluff Dale Bridge. Due to budget cuts, the rehabilitation program has been canceled. The bridge, considered an engineering marvel, was placed on the Preservation Texas “Most Endangered Site” in 2009. Cathey and Friends of Erath County Historical Commission have raised money for a structural evaluation to determine the cost for rehabilitation of the bridge. The study produced an itemized list of repairs totaling almost a half million dollars. Heavy rains in 2016 caused extensive erosion to the area supporting the cables. Rain and wind continue to wear away the foundation. The Bluff Dale Bridge swings precariously next to the county bridge. If it collapses, a huge piece of Erath County history will be washed away, perhaps taking the concrete bridge with it. The Bluff Dale Bridge is a wonder worth the drive to see and hear its serene swinging music. The peaceful, pastoral setting, reminiscent of bygone days, stands in stark contrast to our modern, fast-paced ratrace world. ECL

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Est. 2017



960 N. Graham St. Stephenville, TX 76401


(254) 965-2203


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Let us put our 40 years of Real Estate experience to work for you!

Dave Dickerson | BROKER/OWNER 254.595.0066



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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME--OZ COMES TO DUBLIN Photos provided by Flight Reach Studios and Provided by Dublin Chamber of Commerce

Oz came to Dublin August 11, 2018 at the Dublin Public Library.

Costume cont

est participants

walk the yellow

brick road runw


Tim Turnbeaugh- Lion


Some Sweet Visitors Erath County Living

Dublin Dog Den sponsored Oz Dog Costume Contest (Witch- Dublin Dog Den owner Jesica Richey)

Oz Comes to Dublin Special Edition Green Apple Craft Soda from Dublin Bottling Works

Winners in Dog Costume contest

The Almost Amazing Ron the Magician captivating the children at Oz.

Miss Dublin Rylie Roberts & Little Miss runner up Addison Pratt Hometown Living At Its Best


Celebrating 40 years of practice in May 2019 Easy to talk to, experienced, affordable and more importantly, a friend you can trust with your legal issues

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Phone: 968-4668 OPEN 6 AM Hometown Living At Its Best


Tricks for Entertaining

The Cowgirl Way By Peggy Purser Freeman Photos by Kat Bozek Photography and provided by Madison-MacDonald Thomas


adison MacDonald-Thomas, a twentyfive-year-old Stephenville beauty, has been called one of the most soughtafter trick riders in the history of the sport by Boyd Polhamus (four-time winner of the Announcer of the Year award). One of the world's top equestrian athletes, Madison began her trickriding journey at the age of six and rode into the performing arena at the age of twelve. I caught up with Madison as she prepared for shows out of state and followed her to the Oklahoma State Fair by way of the Madison MacDonald – Trick Riding Facebook page. As we talked, she shared her passion for this extreme sport.


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2011. Madison spent part of her summer shooting season 12 of the TV show Heartland. Since 2010 her skills as a Professional Stunt Double have been showcased in seven episodes of the successful series. Madison moved to Stephenville in 2012 to go to school at Tarleton and there met her biggest fan, Keegan Thomas. Now, her husband of two years, Keegan, owns Equine Sports Therapy. In 2018 Keegan, in his rookie season, won five shows, including both the Aggregate and the Dash for Cash at the Calgary Stampede and a professional outrider for the World Professional Chuckwagon Association in Canada. “My husband has been there holding my corner tape since the day we started dating. He takes care of all the therapy sessions my horses might need and makes sure they’re healthy before each show,” Madison said. I asked her where she gets the energy. “It is definitely not a desk job,” she answered. “There’s so much that goes into making a performance successful. Between driving from show to show, performing, all the media work, preparation for the show, and taking care of the animals, our days are usually pretty full.” Perched high or tumbling on the back of one of her best friends, her horses, Madison’s abundant energy is surpassed only by her passion. When she isn’t winning awards in the sport, she’s passing the sport on to the next generation by teaching clinics.

“As a child, I dreamed of being like the ladies that I saw at the Calgary Stampede. I was born and raised in Okotoks, south of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, and my mom produced wild west shows for the Calgary Stampede. My family has always been involved with horses. They had me riding at the age of three. My dad trained horses and worked as a farrier. When I turned four, I started bugging them about trick riding. My mom asked Jerri Duce, a performer from the Stampede, if she would teach me. Well, she came out of retirement to teach me. Since then I’ve had four different coaches to guide me. My parents still live in Okotoks and we visit for six months every summer.” Growing up on horseback, Madison won countless awards in Junior High and High School Rodeos and began performing in Canadian Pro Rodeos in 2004. She earned a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) card in 2010. Her first NFR Performance was in


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There’s so much that goes into making a performance successful. Between driving from show to show, performing, all the media work, preparation for the show, and taking care of the animals, our days are usually pretty full.

“It takes a great deal of energy. I love the sport and love performing—so much that my body just seems to make it happen. There have been plenty of times, especially this last summer, where the lack of sleep and all the back-to-back performances started to wear on my body. But there’s nothing like going out into an arena— hearing applause and reactions from everyone. It’s what makes all the training worth it.” Teaching has many rewards. For Madison, seeing a student’s face when they accomplish a trick is a huge reward. “In 2015, I took two of my students to the NFR in Las Vegas and they performed for Kids Night. There’s nothing more rewarding than passing on your passion to the next generation. The most important thing I have to remember when teaching is that every student has a different learning style and learns at their own pace. Everything in trick riding comes down to four basic tricks. Even I go back to basics to help keep myself sharp. Spend the time on the basics and once you have mastered them at a fast pace the rest will come to you a lot easier. Practice perfect—then practice makes perfect.”

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The highest moment in this sport for Madison came when she was selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 18. As the featured performer of the NFR for the past eight consecutive years, she has been asked to return in December 2018. Another high moment came when she was selected as one of the TOP 5 acts of Professional Rodeo in 2017—a huge honor as most single trick riders never get nominated. “Rodeo is one big family and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. I can be in almost any state in the USA and can call someone if I have trouble with my truck, trailer or need a place stay.” Horses remain Madison’s life passion. I asked her which horse was her favorite. “Over the years, I’ve been blessed with some amazing equine athletes. I owe my success to six horses. They taught me. There’s no way I can pick a favorite. They’ve given me their entire heart. If It wasn't for them I wouldn't be where I am or who I am today. Six years ago, I lost my very first trick riding horse. Pal was my 9th birthday present—my companion, my everything. He not only gave me my start in the trick riding world but the rodeo world as well, winning me countless buckles and taking me places to compete that I never thought would be possible.”

Honestly, I have no fear. To learn a new trick, I start slow and build from there. That eliminates a lot of the fear.


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Watching Madison twirl around a horse like it’s a balance beam, I asked her about the fear factor. “Honestly, I have no fear. To learn a new trick, I start slow and build from there. That eliminates a lot of the fear. Don't get me wrong, the first time I did an under-the-neck at full speed, without anyone leading or lounging me, fear ran through every nerve. But when I started into the trick, all the preparation paid off. Maybe I don’t fear because I’m so comfortable. It’s second nature to me. I don't have to think. I just do. Besides, there are many goals I want to accomplish before I retire.” As Madison performs you can see in the faces of the little girls watching—a passion for horses and dreams of adventure. Her advice to them is a life lesson she has lived. “I live a dream life doing what I love. It’s scary and it hasn't been easy. I have hit rock bottom, wondering if I made the right decision in following my heart. I have also been on top of the world, realizing all the struggles are worth it in the end. Anything is possible. It’s up to you to take that leap of faith in the direction that will make you happy. Do what you love, make every moment count, dream big and reach for the stars.” Watch a few of Madison’s tricks on Facebook and YouTube or sign up for a clinic at ECL

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{ a quaint & eclectic boutique }

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Family Owned & Operated Feed Store Hours: Mon - Fri: 7:30 - 6 | Sat 7:30 - 3

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24-Hour Crisis Hotline • 24-Hour Vistim Assistance and Crisis Counseling • Safe Shelter for Victims of Violent Crime Counseling by a licensed professional • Advocacy by Specially Trained Professionals Criminal Justice Support & Advocacy • Human Services Information & Referral • Support &Therapeutic Groups Crime Victims Compensation Assistance • Medical Accompaniments • Protective Order Assistance • Saftey Planning

Hotline # 866-934-HELP


Cross Timbers Family Services needs help in many ways, not only in financial assistance but in community education and volunteer work.

All services free and confidential in English & Spanish


Serving Erath & Surrounding Counties

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A buyer’s guide to a Happy Holiday

By To ri M o rt en s en


nce upon a time, a 16-year-old girl was offered a choice... get a car or take a two-week trip to Rome. And, you best believe that I drove the wheels off that 1995 silver Ford Probe. A young person will almost always choose the material over the truly momentous. I mean you can't tell a 16-year-old girl anything really, can you?


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But should it keep us parents from trying? Studies show, it's never been more expensive to be a kid. In the United States, families will fork over an average of $233,610 to raise a child from birth through age 17 —about $13,000 a year — according to newest figures from the government. And at no time in the year, is this lavish truth more apparent than during the holidays (Source: Facebook feed just before midnight on Christmas Eve). Last year, The National Retail Federation forecasted 2017 holiday spending would be $655.8 billion dollars. But don't worry they forecasted wrong. In 2016, we actually spent over $2 billion MORE than the organization’s estimate… for a whopping total of $658.3 billion, with a B. Another survey, the Rubicon Project’s Holiday Consumer Pulse, determined that last holiday season parents planned to spend an average of more than $1,700 on purchases. Not only is this about $300 more than they spent in 2015, but it’s also substantially more than the $903 NON-PARENTS plan to spend. Parents are doing it big. Do us a favor and walk in your kid’s room right now. Look in the closet, under the bed and on the shelf. If there


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is TONS of additional space for bigger toys, extra gear, new electronics or that 2018 edition of Under Armour Swacket, well then stop reading this right now and move on to the page where we dish on holiday recipes. But it’s more likely that, like most, you are going to need to get rid of some broken stuff that at one time sat atop of your kids’ Amazon wish list… just to have room for more stuff from a newly penned list. You are in good company. Only 3% of the world’s children live in the US, yet they own 40+% of the world’s toys. Our grandparents had an average of nine outfits, including dress clothes and work clothes. Now, we have an average of 30. After all, why not? American families in 2018 probably have access to more discretionary funds than all past generations combined. So, if we CAN grant our children’s WISHES by simply adding the wish to the cart, why wouldn't we? Right? No, because we are not their genies. We are their parents. We are not their present providers; we are their pathfinders. And, because in granting them the Christmas of their dreams, we are teaching them that their WISHES, should spent on a bunch of THINGS. That their HAPPINESS is

You are not bored son, you ADAPTED. truly wrapped up in acquiring a different game system or a Gilovich went on to say, “You can really like your material pillow covered with poo emojis. stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected It’s not that we truly want to spoil our children. In many to those things, but nonetheless cases we aren’t even suffering from a they remain separate from you. case of keeping up with the Joneses. We are not our possessions…” It’s just that it simply feels so darn But what if we This Christmas will be good to see them…HAPPY. used this 2018 my first holiday season spent But what if we used this 2018 with a middle schooler, a time holiday season as an opportunity holiday season as in which kids are beginning to actually teach them HOW to be an opportunity to to search for the first signs of happy… instead of just having their their own identity and some happiness delivered to the doorstep actually teach them even notoriously become “less via two-day shipping. HOW to be happy… happy” than they may have This Christmas let’s consider been as sweet elementary this, in a 20-year study conducted instead of just attenders. by Dr. Thomas Gilovich; the having their happiness So, if material possessions psychology professor at Cornell won’t help us get connected University actually researched the delivered to the to who God created us to be science behind happiness. doorstep via AND they also won’t influence In his findings, Gilovich our true happiness… well then explained: "One of the enemies of two-day shipping. what now? Boycott the gifthappiness is adaptation. We buy giving season? Stop buying things to make us happy, and we Christmas for our kids? succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at On the contrary, the good doctor instead (and I’m first, but then we ADAPT to them….” paraphrasing here, LOL) points out that money CAN actually This explains the famous lines “oh Mom, I forgot I even buy happiness. had this” and the “there’s nothing to play with, I’m bored.”

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Experiences aren’t usually compared. Experiences help define your purpose and passions. Experiences are unforgettable, happy memories. Experiences are challenging. Experiences are meaningful for you or you wouldn’t be spending money on them. Experiences create relationships. Experiences are different every time. Experiences that go bad still make for a good story. Experiences stay with your children forever! The same can never be said for all these THINGS with which we surround ourselves.


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We just have to buy (and gift) the right kind of stuff. In Dr. Gilovich’s four studies on the subject he came to the conclusion that happiness is derived from experiences, not things. “We are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich. “…Your experiences really are part of you. We ARE the sum total of our experiences.” Meaning, our kid’s new XBOX ultimately won’t change who he is, affect his entire life, but taking him to see a great concert, to visit a national landmark or even to a cool public park or to play laser tag as a family certainly might. What exactly makes gifting your child an experience so much more valuable than purchasing that thing he won’t quit asking for? It’s ok, maybe we can’t help but be genies this year… just moms and dads AND Christmas gift giving genies. But what if this season we took the small step of asking grandparents and extended family if perhaps they’d like to be in charge of giving our kids a cool opportunity to learn (instead of another

American Girl dress set)? What about gifting some guitar lessons or theater tickets or a “game day” package? A cooking class, a pottery making experience? Daughter who loves jewelry? Rather than buying her ONE more Kendra Scott, what about finding a local artisan and setting up a jewelry making apprenticeship? Stadium tours, How-To-Classes at a local hardware store. Call a local veterinarian and see if your animal lover can volunteer to be a “vet-for-a-day.” Christmas genies can still be wish granters. But shouldn't we also be teaching our children HOW to wish? Wish in a way that has them wanting to turn off Madden ’18 and tune in to the real live world around them. Especially now that we have scientific proof that we’ve been doing it all wrong. A better way to “come bearing gifts” that WILL, in fact, grant true happiness to a generation searching so desperately for just that. Kinda gives a new meaning to HAPPY holidays, doesn't it? ECL

Hometown Living At Its Best


INDUSTRY SOCIAL Photos Provided by Stephenville Chamber of Commerce The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce & Stephenville Economic Development Foundation (STEDCO) hosted their annual Industry Appreciation Dinner & Social recently at The N at Hardway Ranch. The evening provided an opportunity for networking with industry leaders, community partners and elected officials while showing appreciation to major employers for their impact on the community!Â


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The Gift By Peggy Purser Freeman Photos provided by Peggy Purser Freeman


Erath County Living

Sacrificial love is the very heart of Christmas.


h e Christmas list—each year it GROWS, longer, more difficult, more expensive. At times we have to stop and ask what is the reason for all these gifts? Yet, we all remember that one special gift—greatly desired prize. In second grade I deeply believed in Santa, actually…I still do. The crops on our family farm failed that year, and we couldn’t afford gifts for each other. “I asked Santa for a bride doll,” I said at the supper table. Mom glanced my way, her eyes reflecting a hint of sadness. I described the beautiful white gown my dreamdoll would wear. Mom didn’t reply. A few days later, I walked into mom’s bedroom without knocking. “Shut that door!” my mom screamed as I caught a glimpse of a cloud of white billowed over the bed and around her sewing machine. Quickly, I shut the door. I knew the rules about making your parent angry before Christmas. Santa wouldn’t like it. I fell asleep that night, afraid that jolly old man might not find the way to my house that year.

Christmas morning, we opened our stockings and found socks, candy and a pencil. My dad sat at the table with his head in a stack of bills. Mom and my siblings continued to watch me. My sister, Ouida, who was just three years older than me, shoved a box in my direction. “It must be from Santa,” Mom said. I squealed and ripped open the box—a bride doll. She was beautiful. Soft blond hair surrounded her blue eyes that blinked when I laid her down. The silk white wedding dress and the illusive veil caught on my winter-rough hands. “Santa is real,” I whispered. In the months ahead, I noticed Ouida’s ice-skating doll no longer sat on the table by our bed. Mom never wore her white silk blouse and my sister, Ruth, no longer had two petticoats. Early in life, I found myself on the receiving end of sacrificial giving. For a long time, I wanted to find a doll like that one and give it to my sister. After her death I continued to search for a Sonja Henie ice-skating doll. Then out of the blue—literally—the gift came from heaven. The lady I

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She was beautiful. Soft, blonde hair surrounded her blue eyes that blinked when I laid her down. The silk white wedding dress and the illusive veil caught on my winterrough hands.


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had visited for the previous few years sent it. I had spent a couple of hours each week with Jo. We did a Bible study together. Then I'd play my dulcimer, and she and I would sing old hymns. She didn’t get to see her daughter due to a family problem and I had a similar problem. We shared our broken hearts and prayed for one another. One day I noticed the nice doll collection that hugged the walls of her home. An antique doll in her case was exactly like my sister’s Sonja Henie. I shared the story with Jo. During this time, I encouraged her to talk to her daughter and even asked her daughter to call her mom until at last they reunited. And later my daughter found her way back to us. The next year, Jo passed away and her grieving daughter dropped by to see me, a gift in her hands. "Mom knew you loved this and I want you to have it.” Yes, she handed me the Sonja Henie doll. Now, the special doll sits by my bed and holds two precious memories for me and with it, a reminder of sacrificial love. Passing on the gift of love brings a joy like nothing else. At times, sacrificing my time, my money and my energy felt like a one-way street. I could find so many excuses to back out on meeting with Jo, but if I had I would have missed the gifts coming my way. The bride doll I received as a child was nothing compared to the love I discovered in sacrificial giving. As beautiful as she is, the Sonja Henie doll I received from my neighbor did not compare to the joy I received in sharing prayers and seeing Jo with her daughter. Sacrificial love is the very heart of Christmas. My mom and my sister told me they loved me for so many years, but the sacrifices they made for me showed their love. The same is true of God the Creator. Often buried in the tinsel and lights of the season lies the cross. Without that cruel object of death and pain, the Star of Bethlehem would have no meaning. Someone asked me once, “How can you believe in all that sacrifice on a cross nonsense?” I thought for a minute, said a quick prayer and then answered something like this: For generations God sent prophets to tell us how much He loves us. He sent tips on how to be safe and happy. He guided us and sent more prophets to the next generation. Generation after generation failed to understand. Then God sent His Child from the glory of Heaven to be born, to suffer and to be the sacrifice, to die for you and me. How can this be? I would die for my child. I might die to save another person. But to give my child to die for a stranger? Not just any stranger but the worst kind of vile and evil one—that is love I cannot imagine. That is love that demands my heart, my life. That is Christmas. God sacrificing His Son to be born in a manger so you and I might know how much He loves us—the gift of life—eternal and abundant. ECL

Voted Best in Erath County

Stephenville FUNERAL HOME 254-965-3161 | 120 W. S. Loop | Stephenville, TX 76401


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Kat Bozek Photography 325-456-0066

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RIBBON CUTTINGS The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce welcomed new businesses and celebrated new and renovated facilities for long-time members at various ribbon cutting ceremonies throughout 2018. For more information on services provided by the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce including business resources, community information, and a listing of upcoming events, visit



First National Bank of Dublin Helping you reach your financial success!

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Succulent Heaven By Peggy Purser Freeman

Photos provided by Peggy Purser Freeman

Winter garden succulents add color worthy of Monet's paint pallet.


he warm climate of North Texas provides almost endless choices for winter gardens. Succulents add color—blues, pinks, lavenders, yellows, reds, and greens, in various shades that blend together in a paint pallet worthy of Monet. The number one reason to grow succulents is they require little maintenance. You can plant them, pot them or hang them. Lay them in intricate patterns in big beds or scatter them in small areas. The succulent can

be tucked in a teacup or packed into a basket. Planting possibilities are as endless as the varieties. Perhaps the greatest advantage—succulents planted in the winter in pots and terrains may be transplanted next spring adding yearround beauty. Multi-color succulents bring new and creative decorating and landscaping possibilities. Their soft muted colors brighten indoor rooms and winter window ledges. Raised beds featuring herbs, flowering plants, native grasses,

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and many varieties of cacti, succulents, and other low-water, low maintenance plants make winter gardening a pleasure. Succulent plants love bright light, heat and drought—the definition of North Texas weather. Many hardy varieties grow in heavy freeze zones (like our zone 8) and protected by cover survive even under snow. Other succulent varieties love summer’s high temperatures. Keep your location in mind when choosing varieties for your succulent garden. Well-drained, sandy soil is a must. Purchase cactus soil or incorporate sand, gravel, charcoal, or volcanic rock for better drainage. Succulents don't like to have wet roots. Growing outdoor succulents in Texas can be tricky. However, this is Texas. Consider Sedum, Sempervivum Crassula, Echeveria, and Jovibarba, plus many more—all versatile and beautiful types—belonging to the same family, the Crassulaceae. Hens and Chicks,


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Because they need very little room to grow, succulents can grow anywhere you hang your hat--or in your hat.

Jovibara and other plants in these categories come in gorgeous colors, shapes, and sizes. Low-growing Sedum tends to serve as groundcover because it spreads to fill the space without being invasive. Select tall varieties to add a focal point. Sedum telephium’s 'Autumn Joy' and 'Purple Emperor' might work where you need a taller plant. Similar to broccoli, it blooms in the late summer and early fall and can last a long time in central Texas winter gardens. Study the differences between tender and hardy succulents. Tender ones aren't hardy enough to survive a Texas winter and must be taken in for the winter months or covered from heavy frost. Hardy succulents require a cold dormant period. Don't forget to water them if the winter gets too dry. You can bring tender plants inside to enjoy all winter. Let your imagination go by using anything from old rusty toys to a basket as a container. The container should have drainage holes or crushed rock on the bottom. The possibilities are endless. Outside gardens grow on the side of houses, in birdcages, vintage lunch boxes, coffee pots, and coffee cups. Wireframes covered in sphagnum in various shapes are a popular trend to create holiday wreaths, party favors or bridal bouquets. Because they need a little area to grow, succulents can grow anywhere you hang your hat—or in your hat. The toxicity of succulents is fairly safe. However, if you have dogs or cats, or any other animal near your succulents, it's good to look up the type of succulents to see if there's a threat to your animals. Succulents are your no-problem plants. Just mist or spritz your plants with water every two to four weeks. If that’s too much, try directing the water to the roots with a syringe. Turn that rocky, sandy side of your garden into a beautiful succulent garden and enjoy the colors of Monet’s pallet all year. ECL

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The Salon is the perfect place to relax and unwind. 401 A. Lingleville Stephenville, TX 76401

254-968-0907 1491 A West South Loop, Stephenville TX 76401 74

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Engagement: Grant and Miranda, December, 2018

JAREND AND CARMEN PERKINS, 9/23/2018 Ph ot os co ur te sy of Br az

os ro se Ph ot og ra ph y

Juan and Tammy Cota, 6/8/2018

Bobby and Susan Jones, 6/6/2018

Dallas and Mallorey Wendt, 9/1/2018

Brad and Cassandra Hulce, 4/28/2018 Hometown Living At Its Best



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Teaching Dubliners

to be Irish By Karen W ri gh t P h o to s by B rooke M en den h al l Ph otograph y

Lanora Davidson was just 18 when she walked out of her freshman class at the University of Texas, straight across the street to a travel agency, and asked how far she could go on what limited funds she had.

She sold everything she owned, including textbooks, cashed in her student loans and on the day her passport arrived in the mail, she drove to the Austin airport, put her keys in the car’s air filter, mailed a letter to her mom, bought a oneway ticket to England and boarded a plane in search of something that had not even started to take shape or definition. For the next six months, she roamed

and hitchhiked and bussed, spending $5 a day for food and little more than that for lodging in youth hostels. It was winter in England, but she didn’t own a wool coat. She was a Texan, after all. She didn’t have walking shoes either, but her Tony Llama lizard boots were more her style anyway. They earned her the nickname Tex among the loose network of wanderers whose paths she crossed occasionally.

Hometown Living At Its Best


“Wanderlust was in my genes,” she admits. “I knew that day when I walked out of class at UT that I needed to be doing something else, some place else. I just needed to go. I was never running away from people. I just needed to find myself.” In 12 weeks, she hitchhiked 3,000 miles, ending up in Paris, which she didn’t like, and finally headed back to Texas on borrowed money from her mom and enrolled in classes at UT again. “But then I saw a poster about international exchange programs, and those wanderlust genes kicked back in. So, again, I sold everything I owned, packed up and headed back to England. “I got a job as a theater usherette -- I saw ‘Annie’ about a hundred times. I met a man from Ireland who eventually became my husband (a marriage which ended in divorce 23 years and two sons later). He had wanderlust too. So we sold everything we owned and bought a VW van (of course we did) and saw the world including Egypt, Israel, Greece, and North America. We were on the British freestyle frisbee team and I traveled to Cairo to learn traditional Middle Eastern dance. Classical raks sharki is what my teacher called it. It’s belly dancing.” After returning to Texas with her husband in 1984, she


Erath County Living

stretched her college career into a 16-year span, resulting in a degree in history and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies, supporting herself with a cashier’s job at UT. She also took a little time out to donate a kidney to her brother, a professor at the University of Oregon at Eugene, and to wade through a painful divorce in 2002. Her travels had imprinted on her heart a love for all things Celtic and a vague dream of opening a store which offered the treasures she had found in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In 1999 she rented a store in Austin, sight unseen, and the dream took shape, ultimately growing into a much larger store at another location after a heartwrenching flood destroyed much of the original store and merchandise. Her anchor was her store. “Things Celtic” enjoyed almost 20 years of “surprising success” in Austin, while that high energy city grew and changed before her eyes. What had been a short drive from her home to the shop turned into a tedious trip with too many vehicles competing for too little space. She was working seven days a week, running faster and faster between the store, trade shows, fairs, and playing “Retail Choreographer” which she describes as “theatre, dress up and storytelling”. She met her soulmate with an Irish name in 2004.

She and Orion Gallagher crossed paths online through common interests and had their first date at a hot sauce festival. Together, the idea of relocation took shape. Last year, she and Orion began a study of small towns within an hour’s drive of Austin but didn’t find the spark to make a connection. She knew she would know when it was right. They expanded their search to include small tourist destinations in Texas and the name of Dublin popped up. “I contacted the folks in Dublin and they were brutally honest, which actually encouraged me. They explained that the town was regrouping after the loss of its favorite soft drink. Along with the demise of Dublin Dr Pepper had come a significant drop in tourism numbers. But they explained how the new reality of tourism was coming together and how important it was to become ‘more Irish’ as a community since the town is, by state proclamation, ‘The Irish Capital of Texas.’ But they admitted they weren’t sure how to be Irish. And that did it for me. I know how to be Irish.” A trip to Dublin resulted in leasing a promising vacant building in a desirable location. Six months later, the Austin store was closed, a condo was sold, her residence in Austin went on the market and she purchased a two-story 1913 Sears Roebuck kit home with a perfectly renovated kitchen for Orion and a luxurious swimming pool for both of them.

Her travels had imprinted on her heart a love for all things Celtic and a vague dream of opening a store which offered the treasures she had found in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. “It feels like a vacation. I eat a healthy breakfast, stroll downhill to work, check email for online orders and get the shop ready to open. Orion brings us a healthy lunch, picks me up in the evening if it’s hot so I don’t have to walk uphill back home. I enjoy a lovely dinner, help Orion look after his mom who has health issues, and swim. We spend most evenings by the pool and sometimes break into song about how the stars at night are big and bright. “Business-wise, the store is slightly ahead of projections. My worst fears did not happen, and store traffic is meeting my realistic expectations. We have had visitors from New Mexico, Colorado, all over Texas. We keep a guest book and it has more than 100 names just from the past few weeks. We hold entertainment events once a month and they have been well and enthusiastically attended.” Her store, located just past the intersection with Highway 377 on East Highway 6 in downtown Dublin, is inviting, inside and out. Her storefront is her own design, created from memories of her travels in the United Kingdom. Her selections for the store are born of experience. “In 1995, my husband, who had grown up in Ireland, began carving stones with Celtic knot


Erath County Living

designs. I was making beaded jewelry incorporating Celtic beads and crosses. When my husband was in Ireland looking after his ailing parents, he began sending home jewelry that we sold at markets and festivals. We were selling out almost as fast as we could bring in products. “I work with about a dozen different jewelers based in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the US and Canada. We have items priced from $12 pendants to gold and diamond wedding rings. “Clothing is also a popular category. We have tartan sample books (plaid textile designs) from three of the largest kilt makers in Scotland. With over 500 tartans to choose from, we can order a custommade kilt or sash. Tee shirts with Celtic designs are always popular, and in recent years, scarves in wool or pashmina have been best sellers. We also stock a small selection of foods, as well as books and gift

items. The Celtic wall crosses are made by McHarp, based just down the road in Fredericksburg.” Lanora doesn’t think there is a cure for wanderlust but admits her new lifestyle has made it manageable because she is able to link personal travels with Celtic trade shows. A recent trip to Scotland, for example, took a detour though Iceland. She enjoys the bright lights of American cities as much as the pastoral settings of foreign countries and it keeps her satisfied -- and maybe even eager to return to her new home in Dublin, Texas. Perhaps author J.R.R. Tolkien knew what he was talking about when he wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” “An Irish store in Dublin? Well, duh, you might remark…” Ronald Erdrich, Abilene ReporterNews ECL

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By Johnna Thomasson Photos by The Ruffled Cabbage and provided by members of the Ranger College Rodeo Team


Erath County Living


here will forever exist things that are meant to be eternally paired together. For example, if you throw peanut butter on bread without jelly, a child might throw it back at you. Or, is it even fall if every company in America hasn’t marketed so much pumpkin spice that you are tempted to Google the amount of pumpkin spice one can legally own before the law comes looking for them? In the same sense, if you are or have ever been a Texas resident, you are aware of a Texan’s love for the rodeo. However, Ranger College, with a main campus in Ranger and a secondary campus in Stephenville, reminds us that the love to rodeo can expand all over.

Hometown Living At Its Best


Coach Llew Rust, along with his Assistant Coach, Dayton Adams, find themselves averaging around 50 students dedicated to their rodeo team yearly. Out of these 50 students, around 5-7 tend to be international students, with this year having students from not only all over the United States, but both Canada and Panama as well. As if 50 students aren’t enough to keep your hands full, imagine taking on the responsibility of recruiting and maintaining facility and practice for the team, then you might have an idea how strong a role these men play in these students’ lives. Might I add that “maintain the facility” refers to 26 acres, 60 stalls, 40 calves, 13 broncs, 12 bulls, and 26 steers? Having begun his career with Ranger College in the Fall of 2008, Llew Rust finds himself entering into his 11th year with the school. However, his love for the rodeo began as a child. Beginning with Jr. Rodeos while he was young, Llew continued his rodeo career all the way through high school and college. After completing a few amateur years with the rodeo, he moved on to pro and continued on until he had kids of his own to introduce to the rodeo scene. He began to slow down in hopes to help his kids expand their success. Today, two of his children still choose to rodeo and Coach Rust finds himself still doing what he loves, helping others to achieve their rodeo goals. “He just wants us to do good,” says Paige Wilson.


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Paige is a 21-year-old international student from Alberta, Canada. Having been originally recruited by Coach Rust, she is currently completing her second year at Ranger College and will be graduating with her Associates Degree this year. Like Llew, Paige, too, has had a love for this line of work since she was young. Igniting this passion due to her love for horses, she began her rodeo career at a young age before competing throughout high school and even completed one year of college rodeo in Canada before transferring to Ranger College. Hoping to further her academic career through Tarleton and then on to Texas A&M to be an equine vet, furthering her role in the rodeo is something she hopes to build a career out of as well. When asked about how she plans to do that, she responds by saying, “Where I’m going to go I have no idea yet, it is just all up to leaving that to God’s path for me, but yes, I do hope to continue.” With 17 teams total in the region, and 10 regions in the U.S., Ranger College competes in 10 rodeos per year, 5 in the fall and 5 in the spring. Although Ranger College is a 2-year school, they find themselves competing with many 4-year universities. This increases the level of competition because in a situation like this it is not uncommon for a sophomore to find themselves up against a senior, someone with at least two years of experience on them. For each rodeo 6 boys and 4 girls are sent out to compete. With an overall goal to make it to the College Finals in Wyoming, each win gains the student individual points and team points. Despite receiving travel money for each rodeo and having Coach Rust and his wife Donna attend every event, the school helps the students grow by giving them the responsibility of traveling to each event on their own. Although the students know they will always have the help of a coach or a classmate nearby, they also understand that they are responsible for loading their own animals, and taking the proper care and steps needed as they travel to and from each event. Students chosen for each individual rodeo then compete in 1 of 8 events. For the girls, these events include Barrel Racing, Break Away Roping, Goat Tying, and Team Roping (which is mutually a girl/guy event.) For the gentleman, there is your wildly popular Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, and Tie Down Calf Roping.

Hometown Living At Its Best


Although Ranger College did have a rodeo team for a short while in the 70’s, it eventually fizzled out before being brought back in 2005. Since 2005, Ranger College has won two National Championships (Wesley Thorpe for Team Roping and Gray Essary for Bull Riding) and the girls’ team was ranked 5th in the Nation. Like Paige, many of the international students are recruited out of Canada. Unlike Texas, where the weather allows a student to practice year around, Canada’s weather often prevents this same type of practice opportunity, sometimes shutting the idea down for an entire 6 months out of the year. It is because of this that students who rodeo often find themselves intrigued by the idea of transferring to a school like Ranger College.


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Whether a student approaches Ranger College at one of the high school finals where they set up a booth for students possibly interested or if Coach Rust had the honor of being able to witness their skills in person and decided to approach them, he is continually looking for 3 particular strong points. To be considered a member of the Ranger College Rodeo Team, a student must first have an interest in a college education. Since it is required that a student stays on top of their school work and keeps a certain GPA to compete, it is understandable why education must be just as important to the student as well. Secondly, they must acquire that competitive spirit. It is only when passion is present that a student will push themselves to further their growth. “What

I’ve enjoyed the most is that the kids who come down here to compete, when they go back home, they’re a lot more competitive.” states LLew, explaining how, once a student realizes they can do better, they often do and return home more competitive than when they arrived. Thirdly, they must acquire enough emotional maturity to handle the changes and responsibilities that come up with the opportunity. A lot of these recruits must travel far from their family, friends, and everything they know and enter into a place that is not only unfamiliar but more “high stakes” than they are used to experiencing. “Not everyone can do that. Not everyone’s parents will even let them do that.” explains Llew. Referring to her family, who’s a very long 32 hour car drive away, Paige explains her own experience, “It was hard obviously, but our family is so close that they knew that in Canada the competition isn’t near as tough and in order for me to grow and compete at my best, this was the place I needed to be.” When asked if they had any advice for students debating if they want to further their rodeo career, Paige advises to “Follow your heart and Follow God.” and Coach Rust reminds them to “Work as hard as you can for as long as you can, and to remember that education is important.” If you’re thinking about Ranger College, particularly, Paige wants you to understand what wonderful care you will find yourself under. “I really want to emphasize how much Llew really does for us. He really does absolutely amazing and extraordinary things for Ranger and us kids.” she explains. Overall, when a student goes home, all Coach Llew and the rest of the Ranger College staff wants is for each student to leave saying it was a good experience and that they were good to them. Isn’t that the type of rodeo team we would all want to be a part of? ECL

Hometown Living At Its Best



Photos Provided by: Brazos Rose Photography

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. - Mother Teresa

Photo courtesy of Brazos Rose Photography 90

Erath County Living

What makes Erath County a great place to live? Right now it’s the anticipation of new beginnings surrounded by cooler temps, approaching holidays, and memories to be made. Take a look at a few more reasons why we love


Learning IN A


Purple House



arah Cannady has always been captivated by learning. “As a little girl I made a list of all the things I thought were good ideas for school because I realized I might not think they were good ideas as a grown-up. I wanted to record them before I forgot or changed my mind.” She envisioned a place filled with natural light, greenery in and around, where subjects were not disjointed but tied together, and where it was important to keep the child’s perspective in mind. “I’d had some stellar teachers in the Stephenville schools back in the ’90’s and I kept notes in my ‘school journal’ about what worked from them.”


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Old fashioned books and Latin; robotics and space travel. All in an environment akin to a one-room schoolhouse nestled into a purple Victorian home. It’s what Sarah Cannady refers to as learning in a delight-directed way.

Hometown Living At Its Best


Sarah tutored younger children in high school and continuing on into college. Other families began asking for help and those few students became dozens, with adults signing on as well. A homeschool parent in Cleburne later asked about bringing Latin to their town. Sarah spent many years as a sort of Mary Poppins, traveling to homes with her bag of mysteries and wonders. Over the years she developed a complete curriculum, following the Classical style of education, which she used when homeschooling her own children. Today Sarah provides a variety of opportunities for a wide range of families, distance learners, and community members. She is, in essence, a private tutor but how that is expressed takes many forms. She offers a la carte classes, tutoring for middle, high school, and college students, and homeschool support. Some of Sarah’s students belong to traveling families and she curates a curriculum tailored to their needs. She also runs Parnassus Academy, where students pursue a complete four-year curriculum presented in a microacademy setting. After many years as an itinerant teacher, Sarah decided to breathe life into her childhood musings


Erath County Living

and create a place that provides an individual experience, surrounded by beauty, focused on project-based learning, while also having a strong social element. Students are in class each Tuesday, Thursday, and half a day on Friday, taking work home to be continued there. Dances and social activities are woven into the experience and a graduation ceremony is held each May. The environment is akin to a one-room schoolhouse, with students of varying ages working together on some projects and independently on others. Latin is learned to help with grammar, logical thinking, vocabulary, and literature. There is heavy emphasis on the sciences, and a full science lab in place. Students have learned to safely bend and fire-polish glass, prepare and stain wet mount slides, and 3D print Christmas ornaments. Parnassus uses a flipped classroom for subjects like math where students explore the material on their own, outside of class, and then use time with their teacher and peers to finish the lessons and understand the concepts more fully. There is a Maker Zone workshop, a vibrant fine arts program, and an emphasis on college prep. Sarah likes to see everyone collegeready, whether they pursue college or not.

Parnassus embraces technology - as evidenced by the “SamBot” which will allow an Arizona student to “move” through the rooms and stay in-tune with his Texas classmates - but Sarah also believes in traditional methods of education such as penmanship, note-taking, and good old-fashioned books. “No matter what path a young person takes after graduation, penning a beautiful letter, taking efficient notes at a business meeting, or losing one's self in a great book are valuable abilities.” Working together in a rigorous academic setting means projects can be tackled that would be impossible to do alone, such as the B.E.S.T. Robotics Competition (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology). The students have six weeks to build a robot from scratch and program it to carry out a specific assignment. The team must create a technical manual, build a trade show booth, and market their design. Adults participate as coaches-turned-cheering-section, but the entire project is student-led. The pace can be so fast and furious that the team implemented a special hand signal, borrowed from Mr. Spock. Whenever anyone signs, “Live long and prosper,” it means, “Things are getting heated, time to calm down.” The team competes against much

larger schools, who have the benefit of fundraising and sponsorships, and yet Parnassus won the 2016 Rookie Team Award with only six students and a budget of $37.12. The academy enjoys field trips to historical sites, museums, renaissance fairs, campouts, and Six-Flagsas-a-Physics-lab. The Texas A&M Physics Day is an annual trip, along with Veterinary Day, so the students can see those career options in action. Future plans include the Houston Space Center, Texas Renaissance Festival, seeing the use of 3D printing and computer imaging in a paleontology department, and visiting Tarleton’s planetarium and Hydrotron. Guest speakers have included a NASA flight controller, a curator of a natural history museum, and published authors, with a Cold War rocket scientist and a Grammy Award winning opera singer visiting this year. Sarah attends to her students throughout the day with the awareness of a mother hen. She provides lunch, sets out an afternoon snack, takes her brood on walks through the neighborhood, and reads aloud to them from children’s books - in Latin. Sarah even completes all of the homework she assigns each week. It’s another of

Hometown Living At Its Best


Students pursue a complete four-year curriculum presented in a micro-academy setting under the guidance of a mother hen. She even reads children’s books to them – in Latin.

her ways of staying in tune with a child’s perspective and ensuring she is not burdening her charges under stifling expectations. Sarah’s foresight extends to the teaching team she has assembled. Art teacher Celty Kearney holds a degree in Fine Art, taught at Howard Payne University, and is an established muralist who enjoys helping people learn to see. “We already have the tools in our mental tool box to draw. Drawing is learning to open that toolbox.” Marsha Whaley holds a Music Education degree and teaches music, grammar, and writing. When one of Marsha’s children took classes in Cleburne, “I saw an academic life change in my daughter. She caught the love of learning and told me, ‘Mom, Mrs. Sarah is the only person that makes it easy.’” Jeremy Sprouse, minister at the Patrick Street Church of Christ, teaches fencing. He focuses on the classical style, which has its roots in training for duels, as he feels those techniques tend to be more interesting than modern ones. His philosophy of the sport centers around the H.E.A.R.T. of Fencing: Honor, Effort, Attention, Respect, and Training. Jeremy has twenty years of experience in historical, classical, and modern fencing and has been teaching for seven years.

Christine Anderson is a nationally certified piano teacher who also provides lessons in cello, violin, and harp. Ray Smola acts as a mentor in the sciences and competitions. He was awarded 2012 Physics Teacher of the Year and currently resides in Okinawa, Japan. He and the students communicate through Skype video. Parnassus Academy recently relocated to the historic D.L. Harris home in Dublin, a move which was very much happenstance. The academy was looking for a larger space in its native Stephenville, but when the contract fell through Sarah went for a drive to clear her mind. As a child, Sarah lived in the Metroplex and would visit her grandmother in Stephenville, and they would drive to Dublin to see the Victorian homes. Sarah found herself on that familiar path, passing the large, purple house with yellow trim as she came into town. One look at the For Sale sign and she knew the house would become the new location for Parnassus. In answer to the question she’s most frequently asked since moving, Sarah chuckles and says, “No, we’re not planning to repaint.” Sarah’s life has allowed her to accomplish many of her dreams so far. Her high school graduation snippet read, “Wants to work with horses, train whales, go into space, and open a school where kids can learn while enjoying country life.” She did spend time working with horses. She is grateful to now be providing a vibrant atmosphere for children and adults to learn in a delight-directed way, in a community of other learners. She sees no reason to rule out whale training. And, while some of her students may one day take part in a Mars expedition, Sarah herself would settle for a trip into low earth orbit. For more information on tutoring, distance learning, community classes, or Parnassus Academy, please call (904) 452-8460 or visit ECL

Hometown Living At Its Best


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Erath County Living



ot all heroes wear capes. Some teach. Some fight fires. Some teach you how to fight fires. Then, there are some, who do it all. Born and raised in Erath County, Fireman Floyd Croft has dedicated most of his life to fighting fires. Having begun his career in 1977 with the Stephenville Fire Department, Mr. Croft expresses that this is a path he is forever grateful he has chosen.

Hometown Living At Its Best


and staffing around 12 staff and 25 volunteers, this “When I first got out of high school, I thought ‘Eh, I’ll particular department averages about 1 ½ runs per day just get a little job with the phone company’ and never ranging everywhere from the quite popular grass fires to really thought of going on but now that I am here and automobile accidents. look back, I made the right Rewarded the lifetime decision,” he states, referring REWARDED THE LIFETIME “Honorary Fireman” to his choice to join the fire award by the Dublin Fire department early on. “HONORARY FIREMAN” Department, Floyd has That one decision AWARD BY THE DUBLIN earned this honor through quickly turned into 34 loyal years with the Stephenville FIRE DEPARTMENT, FLOYD not only his dedication to his work but through his Fire Department. Shortly HAS EARNED THIS HONOR willingness to teach. This after retiring in 2011, he can be witnessed by his 30 transitioned into a position THROUGH NOT ONLY years of holding a volunteer with the Erath County Fire HIS DEDICATION TO HIS teaching position with the Department, a department he Municipal Fire School, was honored to be able to help WORK BUT THROUGH HIS hosted by Texas A&M in build from the ground up. WILLINGNESS TO TEACH. College Station, Texas. After being approached Authorized in 1931, the by the County of Erath and Municipal Fire School has been hosting an annual weekasked to help build another station, he graciously agreed long fire training program for over 80 years. to take on the task. With the help of his colleagues During the third week of every July, thousands of Tommy Shelton, Randy Wright, and Steve Cole, they firemen from all across the country, even a few from out of were able to establish the Erath Fire Department in country, gather to attend one of the many courses offered 2002. Covering roughly 630 sq. miles of Erath County


Erath County Living

by the excellent volunteer staff on hand. Having taught at this school for roughly 30 years, Floyd believes that there could not be a better group of individuals to learn from while furthering your firefighting career. “There is no other profession in the world where you can get this quality of instruction for nothing,” says Mr. Croft, as he begins to explain how many of the individuals he teaches alongside have also committed to just as many years as he has with the school. Referring to a picture of him and a few other volunteers, he points out how in that picture alone, there is easily 500 years of experience. Throughout the week of the Municipal Fire School, Floyd finds himself teaching 4 classes per day with each class averaging 3 hours. Believing in a more “hands-on” approach, he makes it a point to allow 1 hour of lecture time while ensuring that the remaining two hours are spent out in the field, which I will add, covers about 260 acres. Floyd’s class covers what is known as the “Tank and Dike” project. Equaling to a total of $4 million dollars, the tank used is the largest floating top tank prop in the United States, and is rumored to be the largest in the world. It is Floyd’s responsibility to ensure that his students are educated with the proper steps to handle

Hometown Living At Its Best


this type of fire. They are taught in detail how to cool tanks, knock fire down, apply foam to gain control, and then to keep cooling until completion. Also teaching individual courses with his fire station, Floyd loves being able to influence others and watch them grow in their position. He states, “The position I am in allows me to witness people I’ve taught move further up the rank. I know, once I am dead and gone, who will be following through with the process.” Believing that interest in the firefighting profession is something that is depleting, he enjoys watching those who do take interest from each new generation and encourages many who are throwing around the idea to volunteer. Despite his many years in the field, Floyd plans on being around and active for as long as the Lord allows. He further explains that it is the work that has kept him in such good shape all these years, “That’s how you stay good, by working.” However, once that day does come Floyd expresses comfort and gratitude in knowing the honor and recognition they give those who have invested their lives into this career field.


Erath County Living


Every year the Municipal Fire School hosts a Memorial Service for those who have dedicated 10+ years by engraving their names in what is known as the Memorial Wall. Speaking very highly of the service, Mr. Croft explains how every year, on a Wednesday, everyone on the Fire Field along with family, friends, and special guests gather as the names are announced. Following, there is a sounding of the bell and wreaths are set in honor of each individual whose name will be added to the Memorial Wall that year. Floyd Croft has had the honor of setting the wreath twice for two close friends of his, Michael (Mickey) Belew in 2015, and James Fritts in 2016. Along with his work in the fire station and volunteer teaching, Mr. Croft still manages to find the time and energy to maintain his ranch. He highly encourages anyone with interest in giving back to their community through firefighting to go speak with someone at your local fire department who could easily inform you with everything you need to know to help you get the process started. With fires, specifically wildfires, being a huge concern throughout the country today, Erath County Living would like to thank Floyd Croft and all of our firemen for your daily devotion to protecting our land and protecting our families. ECL

Hometown Living At Its Best


4TH OF JULY PARADE Photos Provided by Stephenville Chamber of Commerce The City of Stephenville enjoyed an All American 4th of July complete with a parade, delicious food, ice cream, music and fireworks! Parade attendees enjoyed numerous creative floats from area businesses, schools and non-profit organizations. From new and old cars to fire trucks and horses, marching bands and tumbling demonstrations to tractors of all sizes, the parade celebrated everything that makes Stephenville, Texas and the USA so special!


Erath County Living

Hometown Living At Its Best


Less Means More BY TO R I M O R T E N S E N


n a crisp, cold day back in early January we moms stared into the lights of our still standing Christmas trees, bathing in the remnants of fleeting Christmas joy. We proclaimed that 2019 is going to be our year. The year we get it together. We were going to lose 10 pounds and put the laundry away, read the word of God more and Facebook less, build up our savings accounts, find the meaning of life and unpack our suitcases on the day we get back from a trip... in this new year we would finally get our lives and our homes in order. This year we would finally… be happy.


Erath County Living

Yet here we sit post spring break, the weather has warmed, days have lengthened and what do we have to show for those big, bold resolutions? Probably less than a lot, maybe even not a thing. So what if we are right on track to accomplish exactly zero of the truly life changing things for which we set out? What if we feel like we let ourselves down again? Our lives are not more orderly, more meaningful or more purposeful, than they were in 2018. What if, in fact, the literal and mental clutter is ever present? Experts Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists,” say the place in which to

By cleaning the clutter from our lives, we can then make more room for the most important things in the world, the dream life type things: better health, stronger relationships, a life full of passion and deep spirituality. Will all the stuff we’ve bought actually rob us of our happiness? begin to chip away those big elusive #happylife items… is first, by simply tackling our clutter. Millburn and Nicodemus have become wildly popular after their documentary, Minimalism, was released on Netflix in January 2018. The pair encourages us (and their 4 million other followers) to ask how we might live more meaningful lives with less and invite us to surround ourselves only with things of value. By cleaning the clutter from our environments, we can then make room for the most important things in life: better health, stronger relationships, a life full of passion and deep spirituality. If we are putting off the chore of cleaning up, cleaning out and putting things in a meaningful order, in turn, leaving our daily environment cluttered, disorganized, filled with things that lack importance, it could be keeping us mentally and spiritually disorderly too. Is it possible that our mess is actually keeping us from happiness, from a blessing, or even keeping us from being a blessing to others? What would we do with our time if we didn't have to spend all of it cleaning stuff up? How

would it feel to sit and study God's word or to make dinner in an orderly home, filled only with things that we care deeply about? Our lives are full, really full - we have careers and home-based businesses, entire SUVs crammed with children who play sports and have what seems like constant school projects and we have spouses with half a dozen hobbies of their own. How could we possibly minimize anything at all? We need so much stuff just to get through a regular day-in-thelife. The Minimalists agree that this lifestyle of doing more with less, looks different on each and every person, but the path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life. This sounds much like that dream life we had planned for 2018, am I right? So without sending the children off to boarding school or the husbands back to their moms’ houses, what are a few ultra basic things families can do to start thinking like minimalists… in say… a month or less. Because while we do have a lot of extra stuff, what we don't have, is a lot of extra time.

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31 Days of Thinking Like a Minimalist via

DAY 1: If your destination is happiness, consumerism is

not a through street. Purchase things you love and need and nothing more.

DAY 2: Every possession should serve a purpose or bring joy to your life.

DAY 3: Experience a calmer kitchen by stowing inactive appliances in cabinets and drawers. DAY 4: Start your day with one small victory: make

your bed.

DAY 4 DAY 9: Slow the heck down. There is a vast difference

DAY 5: Establish a simple morning ritual. A pattern of

between being busy and being focused.

DAY 6: Enjoy your clothes more by paring down your

DAY 10: Reuse, recycle, relocate: instead of trashing your unused clothes, furniture, and household items, find them a new home – donate your excess stuff!

success that leads to a more productive day overall.

wardrobe. Get rid of the clothes you hate. A minimalist wears clothes she loves.

DAY 7: Get that darn TV out of your bedroom! DAY 8: Make letting go easy for your entire household –

place a donation box in a closet or garage.


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DAY 11: Eliminate paper clutter and organize old photos by throwing a scanning party.

DAY 12: Make decluttering more fun and endurable with

an accountability partner.

DAY 13: The easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid

of most of it.

DAY 14: The price of our material possessions extends well beyond the price tag. They also require your time and attention.

DAY 15: Let go of just-in-case items with the 20/20 rule.

You can obtain almost anything you need for less than $20, in less than 20 minutes from your current location.

DAY 16: Let go of sentimental items that no longer bring

you joy.

DAY 17: A clutter-free vehicle helps us focus on the

road ahead.

DAY 21

DAY 18: Let’s use our technology more intentionally – as

tools rather than pacifiers.

DAY 19: Digital clutter is different from physical clutter. DAY 20: We don’t need to own a thing to enjoy it. DAY 21: A clean desk is the foundation of a calm workspace.

DAY 22: Avoid sale price (fool’s price). If you don't want it

badly enough to pay full price, do you really want it that badly?

DAY 23: Gift experiences, not stuff. DAY 24: Embrace the junk drawer. But clean it out every

90 days.


DAY 25: Simplicity is for (almost) anyone. Anyone with an open mind, that is.

DAY 26: A life with less is an inherently tidy life. DAY 27: A simple life is a healthier life. DAY 28: Unfilled space is fulfilling. DAY 29: More is less: the more stuff we have, the less we have. Less time and less money.

DAY 30: Declutter your social media feeds. DAY 31: Once you’ve simplified, keep simplifying. 1 Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done properly and in an orderly way…”

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Barbara Hampton & Associates Realty

of Experience 20+ Years in Real Estate

Specializing in all types of properties

254-968-6226 | 1702 W. South Loop Stephenville TX 76401

Friends and family have been hanging their hat at the Hampton’s for years

Serving Stephenville and surrounding areas for more than 30 years

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26512 US 377 N Bluff Dale, TX 76433 (254) 728-3281 Chad, Chris, Kenneth & Linda Gifford

1493 West South Loop | Stephenville, TX 76401

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865 S. Graham Street Stephenville, TX 76401 254-968-6494 or 817-573-4247 License #TACLA57089E

Dublin Insurance Agency We offer Auto, Home, Commercial Auto, Business, Farm, and Mobile Home insurance.


Comfort for every season

119 S. Patrick St, Dublin | Open Monday-Friday 8-5 254-445-3277 | Hometown Living At Its Best



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BeEstrath Co K e pt unty Secre


JASPERS CAFÉ By Connie Lewis Leonard Photos by Lindsey Sullivan Photography

Jaspers Café is more than an out-ofthe-way café, it is a family-owned business who sees customers as friends and friends as extended family. It is a place to relax and unwind and remove yourself from the things hanging over your head.


aspers is more than an out-of-the-way café with great food. It is a beacon of light on the hill, a place where people come to relax and release whatever’s hanging over them from work, illness or other issues.

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The family-owned business is like extended family. The owners and employees have “Big Eyes.” They look at customers as individuals, as friends. They see a situation, and instead of just taking an order, they talk and form a relationship. They tease and laugh. John Lenz said, “Nobody is safe from the verbal barbs.” Laughter is as necessary for the soul as food is for the body. John said providence brought him and his wife Janet to Bluff Dale. While attending a horse clinic with Craig Cameron in 2016, they rode by the old building on the hill every day for seven days. They prayed about it, contacted the realtor, made a down payment, and opened Jaspers Texas cafe nine months later. Jaspers has a long, interesting history. In 1976, a man began selling Casper’s hotdogs on the streets of Medford, Oregon. His wife baked pies, and they bought a small café, naming it Jaspers. As the affection for hot dogs waned in the 80s, they began selling old fashioned hamburgers. John and Janet bought the original Jaspers, adding wild game meats. Piggybacking on the popularity of pizza, they decided to throw funny stuff on their burgers, giving them novel names. “Hey, pizzas are round, hamburgers are round, so why not?” The food is beyond good—it’s fun, fanciful and imaginative. Of all of their gourmet burgers, one of the most popular is the Little Yellow Jacket packed full with grill-fried cheddar-parmesan-smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, grilled onions, fresh spinach leaves, tomato and jalapeno cream cheese. Texans love fried cheese, so the wagon wheel of fried cheese is one of the most popular appetizers.

The food is beyond good—it’s fun, fanciful and imaginative.


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A lot of guys get the Johnny Ringo, a spicy, cheesy, manly burger with bacon, jalapenos, egg, grilled onions, melted pepper jack, on a bed of jalapeno-ranch sauce and chili-cheese Fritos. Other unique burgers on the menu include the Jiffy, an outrageous favorite that holds JIF Peanut Butter underneath the burger with raspberry chipotle, bacon and provolone cheese on top. The spicy Gualking Tall includes jalapeno guacamole, melted pepperjack, garlic aioli and zesty jalapeno crisps. Movies serve as the inspiration for the Real Lone Ranger, Spaghetti Western, Doc Holliday, 3:10 to Jaspers and Smokey and the Bandit. Mayan Madness and Chupacabra burgers represent international flavors. Bleu cheese lovers can choose Garlic Bleu Outlaw or Wild Bleu Yonder. I ate at Jaspers the first time with our High Noon seniors group. About sixteen of us invaded Jaspers taking up the entire center of the café. Most everyone ordered something different, and even the few hard-to-please members of our group were satisfied with their fare. I enjoyed the Curly Bill with avocado, savory southwest sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and melted pepperjack. All burgers are 100% Texas grown beef on a Kaiser bun. Jaspers is known for their exotic meats such as bison, elk, axis deer, and wagyu. People who have a hard time deciding on just one menu item can spin the “Wheel of Indecision” and have their selection made for them. Light-hearted gamblers can take a chance on the Gambler’s Special. Anyone who rolls a seven, gets fifty percent off.

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In addition to that, Rib Eyes are offered on Fridays and Saturdays, and Steak and Eggs are available on Sundays. Tantalizing sides complement the entrees. I’ve sampled the Sidewinder Fries, which are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without a trace of grease. I’ve also savored the crunchy Beer Battered Onion Rings. For those who want something other than a burger, a wide variety of sandwich choices are available. I highly recommend the Reuben with sharp, sliced pastrami and hearty sauerkraut, savory southwest sauce and creamy melted Swiss nestled between fresh marbled rye. The Patty Melt, ten ounces of ground beef, also comes on marbled rye with grilled onions, melted Swiss and smoked chipotle aioli. Perhaps the most unique sandwich is the Grilled PB&J. That’s right! Grilled peanut butter and raspberry jam on Texas toast served with thick cut Texas chips. Sample world-wide sandwiches such as Terriyaki Chicken, Chicken Parmesan or Meatball subs. Native Texans may stick with the Texas Jack. Vegetarians, and even those of us who are omnivores, would enjoy the Veggie Stack with grilled green chili and mushroom, avocado, tomato, onion, chipotle aioli, provolone and cheddar cheese, choice of bread or lettuce wrap. Customers may choose from a variety of fresh, crisp salads starting with a simple Romaine Garden Salad. The refreshing Caesar Salad comes with grilled or crispy chicken, tossed with chipotle


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Caesar dressing and jalapeno poppers on the side. The other unique salads on the menu include the Southwest Chicken Salad, Teriyaki Chicken Salad and Pearl Hart Salad, named after the last bank robber, the notorious Pearl Hart. After eating your robust, full-meal deal, if you have room, you may choose a variety of cheesecakes. They are not listed on the menu because the offerings change. You may discover blueberry, pomegranate, banana/ pecan, brownie or other distinctive cheesecake flavors. Hand scooped old-fashioned milkshakes and malts can satisfy your sweet tooth during your meal, as dessert, or as an in-between-meal snack break. John and Janet Lenz maintain two Jaspers Cafes, the one in Medford, Oregon, and the one in Bluff Dale, Texas. Janet continues her real estate business in Oregon, so they commute back and forth and tag team each other in the operation of their cafés.

Their son, Joe, stays here and takes care of much of the administration and Human Resources for both cafes. John said the Texas culture better fits their lifestyle, philosophy and spirituality. The sweet spirit of the area is so different than what they experience in Oregon, where churches are closing and it’s harder to do business. John and Janet would prefer being in church on Sundays, but they also enjoy providing a place where people can meet and eat after church. Jokingly he says, “The Baptists and Methodists like to fight, so this is the perfect place for them to have friendly food fights.” If you want a place to take the load off, a place with an amazing view and fantastic food, western décor, try Jaspers Café located on the hill at 26512 Highway 377, Bluff Dale, Texas. You will have a beautiful experience with some friendly folks. ECL

People who have a hard time deciding on just one menu item can spin the “Wheel of Indecision” and have their selection made for them.

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Cooper Karsyn

H O M ETOWN CD & Brandy Barker

10.22.16 WEST. e lco m i n g E r ath C o u nty ’ s

NEWEST RESIDENTS Photos courtesy of Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Briella Ann Joslin

Jordey Jose











The Fast & The Furious: The health trend that's not slowing down By Tori Mortensen


pparently there's room for yet another driver in the race for “Top Diet Trend of 2018,” because the latest program making a name for itself in nutrition, Intermittent Fasting, has pulled up to the starting line and the other guys in the mix are taking notice. But health industry is in a pileup when it comes to Intermittent Fasting. Less diet really and more eating schedule, proponents of this clockor calendar-based eating routine have created multiple styles which encourage and restrict eating based on alternating times of feeding and fasting. According to recent studies, the Instagram influencers and lots and lots of fitness bloggers, the results of Intermittent Fasting are pretty darn great, including simple weight loss and vastly improved health. Though the concept is highly contested in an industry that spent years convincing us that we MUST basically eat around the clock in order to achieve our health goals. Cue the Internet momentum and contention. Touting benefits from Alzheimer's prevention to a complete immune system reset, from achieving advanced mental clarity to better mental health, multiple studies claim fasting may not only improve your overall health, but may even help you live longer. Some have shown that intermittent fasting may decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad"


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cholesterol. Additionally, IF may improve insulin resistance, which, in turn, helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In one recent study, periodic fasting was linked to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and aging. Some scientists seem to believe this is likely due to the ways that it affects cell and hormone function. During the fasting phase, many cells die and stem cells turn on, which starts a regeneration process and gives rise to new, younger cells, study author Valter Longo, PhD, recently explained in an interview with Health Magazine. "It sounds too good to be true, but it's not," he said. Other data states that the prime health benefit of fasting comes when the body puts itself in a natural state of ketosis (ketosis is yet another health buzzword and could be a whole article in and of itself). And yet another camp promotes an IF eating schedule as a weapon in the body's struggle against a life filled with artificial light i.e having your days and nights mixed up, insomnia, daytime drowsiness. Now, again, ask anyone who has a car in this fitness race and you will most certainly hear mixed opinions (and even mixed explanations) of IF. Some individuals have even been driven to come out in full force against the trend and while others call it “The single most powerful thing you can do for your body.”

I do not have a degree in nutrition, nor am I a doctor, and you should totally ask one or both before you embark on any type of dedicated health journey. I am simply sharing with you the experience I had during my trial run at the controversial intermittent fasting deal, which was a positive one.


Lots of folks have been fasting since, well, The Beginning. We hear it continually mentioned in the Bible as a spiritual tool used by those asking the Lord for direction, clarity, even blessings like protection and HEALTH. Most modern religions continue to honor the biblical practice of fasting in some way, with many recognizing it as possibly the most powerful form of spiritual discipline. From a purely medical standpoint, evidence shows that fasting has been used throughout history and was one of the first forms of treatment prescribed by many early medicine practitioners. We can even throw it back to the caveman days and recognize that a cave man would not have had access to a 24/7 buffet of food and snacks. He would have likely filled up only when he had a successful hunt, meaning there is some evidence that our bodies were not designed to eat around the clock day in and day out, but rather that we have conditioned them to do so. While fasting has been practiced for eons and almost anyone can pull it off, fasting is certainly not right for everyone. If done incorrectly, it could even result in harm to the body so again, consult your doctor and do some research before committing. The plan worked well for me because I had experience with religious fasting, I am in good health and I'm already not a breakfast eater which makes it very manageable for me to string together a 16-hour fast (more on this later).


Another thing that got me geared up for this program is its simplicity. Pick one of the IF styles that works for you. Eat when you are in feeding times. Don't eat when you are in fasting times. Some IFers choose to limit overall calorie intake in order to put themselves in a calorie deficit promoting weight loss. While others IFers eat the same number of calories as they would within a “normal” day, they simply eat them within the restricted window. Almost all IFers choose mostly healthy foods during feeding periods, regardless of caloric goals because they DO value the benefits a quality diet provides. I fell somewhere in between, eating in a deficit some days and within regular calorie levels on others and generally eating a clean diet.


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Most popular intermittent fasting plans can be grouped into 3 categories: Alternate day fasting, 24-hour fast followed by a 24hour non-fasting period. One can also choose to fast for 23 hours with one meal per day. Whole-day fasting specifies various ratios of fasting to non-fasting days, such as the 5:2 diet, in which people consumed 400–500 calories (women) or 500–600 calories (men) during the 5 days of regular eating and 2 days of fasting. During non-fasting days, the diet is regular. Time-restricted feeding - daily fasting period with a shortened eating window of 3–12 hours. For example, one form of TRF calls for fasting for 16 hours each day and eating total daily calories during the remaining 8 hours, typically on the same schedule each day. This is the program I used during my trial. I basically had my last meal at 5pm or 6pm and my first meal of the day at around 10am or 11am.


My favorite thing about intermittent fasting is that you can do it anywhere! It doesn't require a fancy pants organic grocery store be in your neighborhood. You won't need to bring your own containers or drink a shake or take a supplement or eat your food raw or measure and weigh it unless you want to. In fact, there is really no meal prep required at all. You aren't required to do anything other than eat on the schedule which works best for you. Again, most successful IFers also subscribe to some sort of plan for healthy eating during their “feeding hours” which can be done anywhere these days!

There is also an amazing free app called Zero, which will allow you to track your fasting goals right on your phone. I found this to be super helpful!


Now to be clear, most IF subscribers are probably drawn to the plan for its weight loss claims, but studies showing the laundry list of potential health benefits just can't be ignored. I can attest to the fact that during my trial I did have periods of hyper focus and clear headedness. I did lose around 7-10 pounds and some skin problems I had experienced for nine years were almost completely non-existent! IF gets bonus points for resetting my taste buds and allowing me to actually taste my food again.

I could also recognize when I was truly hungry and could literally feel the energy I was receiving from the food I ate, in a different way than a sugar rush though, more like a food high. And I slept! If you quit eating at around 6pm or so, come 10pm‌ you may just happily put yourself right on to bed. So, if you struggle with nighttime eating or sticking to complicated diet plans, inflammation, insomnia or just those last 5-10lbs, you may want to consider intermittent fasting before you wave the checkered flag on your health. The way I see it, if this type of stuff is speeding to the front of the pack in the minds of healthy lifestyle thinkers and is also mentioned amongst the company of spiritual champs, maybe we should at least look at giving it a test drive. ECL

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11150 Hwy 36 South Comanche, TX (325)-356-2593

Hwy 6 West De Leon, TX (254)-893-2061

Jake & Dorothy’s Cafe 254-965-5211

406 E. Washington Street, Stephenville

254-965-9099 6688 S. US Hwy. 377 • Stephenville, TX 76401

Firearms • Safes • Tactical Accessories • Gun Smith • Archery • Yeti • Ammunition

CROSS TIMBERS FINE ARTS CENTER Photos provided by Cross Timbers Fine Arts Center Check out some recent events we have experienced at Cross Timbers Fine Arts Center. From art exhibits to STEAM classes, even a Beatles concert, we have thoroughly enjoyed each and every visitor who has come through our doors the past few months.


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• Exceptional Fresh Arrangements • Custom Permanent Botanicals • Unique Home Décor & Framed Artwork • Interior Design Services Open: Mon-Fri 8-5 / Sat 8:30-1 254.965.5979 • 200 W. College • Stephenville, TX 76401

2281 Northwest Loop Stephenville, TX 76401

(254) 977-4677



Since 1973, in partnership with our auction donors and auction buyers, WE HAVE RAISED MORE THAN



COME OUT FOR OUR NEXT AUCTION! May 3rd, 2019 at City Hall (Agave Restaurant)—6 p.m Pat Gilbert, Melanie Eason and Darrell Laxson

Residential-Farm & Ranch-Commercial

129 N Patrick Street, Dublin 254-445-3722 |


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At our auction will be food and entertainment, along with door prizes and online bidding. We will be doing our live auction as well, with great items on which to bid - like trips, guns, sporting events, and more!

A big

Thank you

to our community for continuing to support our

annual Stephenville Optimist Club Auction. For more information on donations or questions, call 210.885.1739



STORAGE 1038 Glen Rose Rd. (Hwy 67) Stephenville Visa & Mastercard Accepted - Member of BBB

SECURITY STORAGE 254.968.6060 1038 Glen Rose Road (Hwy 67) Stephenville

254.968.6060 SECURITY

Visa & Mastercard Accepted ~ Member of BBB


1038 Glen Rose Road (Hwy 67) Stephenville


Holiday Happenings Top ten holiday events going on around the community, plus a few more!

Breakfast With Santa Stephenville Parks & Recreation Department, 378 W Long, Stephenville December 1st, 8a-11a $10 pre-registration. $15 at the door. Space limited to 150 children. If wait list gets larger, additional slots will be added. Call (254) 918-1295 to pre-register.Â

Holly Jolly Christmas On the Downtown Square & Plaza, Stephenville December 7th, 6p-9p Annual festive, family-fun community event! Official lighting of the Christmas tree, pictures with Santa, carriage & hay rides, carolers & choirs, dance & tumbling performances, letters to Santa, cookie decorating, crafts & games, holiday vendors, and more!


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Shamrocking Christmas in Dublin Downtown Dublin December 8th, 10a Annual parade followed by breakfast burrito fundraiser for the library, Dublin Farmers Market, Sandwiches with Santa at the Soda Shop, carnival games in Celebration Park, Irish musical entertainment, and more!

Zonta Club Run With Rudolph 5K/1 Mile Stephenville City Park Register at December 8th, 8:30a Race entry includes entry into $250 prize drawing. Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels, Backpack Buddies, Cross Timbers Family Services, and local scholarships

Irish Rogues Holiday Music

Timber Ridge's Rockin' Christmas

W. K. Gordon Center, 65258 I-20, Mingus / (254) 968-1886 December 8th, 6:30p-8:30p Back by popular demand, we’re excited to welcome the Irish Rogues for our 2018 Holiday Music program! Join the Gordon Center for an evening of food, music, and fellowship. Free admission.

Timber Ridge Church, 253 FM 8, Stephenville / (254) 434-2507 December 8th, 5:30p & 7:30p December 9th, 9:30a, 11a, & 6p Rockin’ Christmas music, pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, s’mores around the campfire, hot cocoa bar, Christmas carols, and 100% chance of SNOW!

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Face of Christmas Theatrical & Musical Production Cottonwood Church, 273 CR 527, Dublin / (254) 445-2929 December 14th, 15th, & 16th, doors open at 6p, shows start at 7p An original theatrical and musical production for all ages, now in its third year, performed live at Cottonwood Church. Free admission.

Morgan Mill Live Nativity Morgan Mill Community Center, Morgan Mill December 15th, 5:30p Elaborately costumed characters re-enacting The Greatest Story Ever Told. Please dress warmly or bring a blanket. Hot soup and sandwiches served indoors after performance. Free admission.


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Walk-Through Live Nativity Lingleville Baptist Church, 21543 N FM 219 Lingleville / (254) 335-0215 Your tour guide will lead you through a live experience of the Christmas story, complete with camels and other animals. Free admission. Check our website for days and times.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Faith Lutheran Church, 3000 NW Loop, Stephenville (254) 968-2710 December 24th, 6p


Faith Lutheran Church, 3000 NW Loop, Stephenville / (254) 968-2710 December 5th, 12th, and 19th Meal at 6pm, worship at 6:45pm

Kids Paint The Town

Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, 204 River North Blvd, Stephenville / (254) 965-6190 December 6th, 3-5pm $25 per person includes all art supplies and snacks Paint along with our artist to create your own holiday work of art! Call (254) 965-6190 to reserve your seat.

The Mystery Of The Christmas Star

Tarleton Planetarium, Stephenville / (254) 968-0523 December 6th-8th, 13th-15th, 20th, & 21st Shows at 3pm and 7pm Free admission; Limit of 86 guests per show This popular holiday show investigates possible dates for the birth of Christ and looks at recorded sightings of significant astronomical events during this timeframe. Visitors will see how signs in the sky could have been remarkable enough to cause the wise men to travel across the desert to see the newborn king. Sure to charm and captivate audiences of all ages.

25th Annual Staff Council Holiday Showcase

Stephenville Dance Center Holiday Showcase

Stephenville Parks & Recreation Department, Stephenville / (254) 977-3772 December 15th, 6pm

Soul Feet Studios Yoga For The Holidays

1350 W Washington, Stephenville / (254) 965-2589 December 20th, 5:30pm $10 per person, which includes tote bag and t-shirt. De-stress during the holidays with a special yoga session.

New Year's Eve Family Dance

Double N Cowboy Church, 7202 Hwy 6, Dublin (254) 445-2400 December 31st Watch our Facebook page for details! Free admission.

Twisted J New Year's Eve Bash

Twisted J, 2281 N US Hwy 377, Stephenville December 31st, 7pm Cover band, doors open at 7pm. Limited tickets. Watch our website and Facebook page for details!

Tarleton Campus Recreation, 610 N Rome St, Stephenville December 7th, 8am - 5pm Premier shopping and holiday event bringing unique items from vendors around Texas. Free admission. Contact Desa Rowe

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Graduates Photos courtesy of Brooke Mendenhall Photography and Brazos Rose Photography

Emma Whittle Tarleton State University

John Hines Dublin High School

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Jascey Sharp Dublin High School

McKenzie Marr Brock High School Class of ’18

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Photo by Lindsey Sullivan Photography

Chance Lingleville High School Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Kaitlyn Vaden Burg

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography


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Tatiana Speights

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Crystal Bernal

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Hailey Blackwell Dublin High School Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Lupita Anguiano

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Brilee Tabor

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Hannah Thomas

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Bailey Wylie

Kenadee Richards

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Lauren Tyler

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Austen Whaley Tarleton State University Photo by Brazos Rose Photography

Miranda Stotz Tarleton State University Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Blair Pearson Lingleville High School

Kim Reuscher Tarleton State University Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Photo by Brooke Mendenhall Photography

Hometown Living At Its Best







101 East Road Stephenville, Texas 76401 FINANCING YOUR PIECE OF TEXAS


138 Erath County Living LS-Stephenville -Erath Co Living- 7.563x4.875-Hunting-color.indd 1

9/17/2018 2:10:19 PM



5616 West State Highway 6 Dublin, TX 76446



Chad & Johanna Davidson

FALL 2017

SPR ING 2017

Candles with a E T ON -A & M T A R LPurpose Centennial Celebration Little did the Cagles know that the seemingly small choice to carry a candle with a purpose they appreciated would lead them on such a new path full of new relationships and avenues to encourage the lives of those thousands of miles away.

Thanksgiving e’s: with Juliann Touch That Female shows


The Bosque River Advent ure gave volunte ers and student alike the s opportunity to learn more about the Bosque River Trail and to become more involved in the commu nity.


A fourth generation McCann in Erath County , Justin had never thought of building a vehicle from scratch , but buildin g an automobile in thirty days only spendin and g $3,000 sounded like a good time to him.

Jim Sharp isn’t simply a cowboy. the bull riders He’s one who turned of Cowboy Stephenville Capital of into the the World with the The Profes creation sional Bull of Riders.


of Julianne’s Julie Thomas that perfect us how to create ing table. inviting Thanksgiv

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Death The Birth and Town of a Texas Ghost Town in The Best Ghost 5. Texas ~ Population

Home town

Its Best Li v ing At

Hometown Living At Its Best Hom eto

wn Li v ing At Its Best


TOP 10 Hunting Tips


hether you are a seasoned veteran to the hunting world or a brand-new license holder, there are always tips and tricks to the trade to be found. When asked for some guidance on things to take on a hunt to make it considered the best hunt ever, a few seasoned Erath County hunters had a few ideas to share to help make this hunting trip the most comfortable, productive and memorable experience. • Equip yourself with the proper firearm for the game you will be hunting. • Ensure that you have appropriate ammunition for the firearm, game, and the land on which you will be hunting. • Seek out the best optics for the firearm and the area you will be sighting. Also consider bringing binoculars and/or a range finder. • Be prepared with appropriate clothing for the elements, including footwear, cold-weather gear and camouflage. • Use cover scents. Apply to the hunter and the trail used to reach your hunting location. • Using game calls can be very helpful to draw game to your target area. There are electronic, mouth, antler, or hand calls. • Taking snacks and water to your hunting sight can save time and energy.


Erath County Living

• Have a camera available, especially if there are young or first-time hunters around, providing an opportunity to capture the moment in time. • Be aware of your surroundings and familiar with your location. If it is a new or unfamiliar spot, have a map or plat of the land to ensure you don’t inadvertently trespass on someone else’s property. • Take proper cutlery and storage for skinning and dressing your field game.


DOVE: TURKEY: North Zone FALL—NORTH ZONE Central Zone Sept 1-Nov 4, 2018; Dec 21, 2018-Jan 14,2019 Archery Only Sept 29-Nov 2, 2018 Falconry Nov 17-Dec 3 Youth Only Oct 27-28, 2018 Jan 7-20, 2019 DUCK:


Youth Only Regular Season Dusky Duck

Nov 3-4, 2018 Nov 10-25, 2018; Dec 1, 2018-Jan 27, 2019 Nov 15-25, 2018; Dec 1, 2018-Jan 27, 2019


Mar 23-24, 2019

May 18-19, 2019 Spring:


Nov 3, 2018-Jan 6, 2019

Mar 30-May 12, 2019

WEST ZONE: Light and Dark Geese Nov 3, 2018-Feb 3, 2019 Light Geese Feb 4-Mar 17, 2019 (Conservation Order)



Oct 27, 2018-Feb 24, 2019

SANDHILL CRANE: Nov 23, 2018–Jan 27, 2019

General Season

Nov 3, 2018-Jan 6, 2019

Archery Only

Sept 29-Nov 2, 2018

Early Youth Only

Oct 27-28, 2018

Late Youth Only

Jan 7-20, 2019

Special Late

Jan 7-20, 2019


Bag Limit: 4 deer, no more than 2 buck, no more than 2 antlerless all seasons combined


Family Dentistry

2541 Northwest Loop Stephenville, TX


A Beautiful Practice F O R A L L Y O U R D E N TA L N E E D S Cleanings • Exams • Oral Cancer • Screenings • Crowns • Bridges • Cosmetic Dentistry Root Canals • Fillings Extractions • Partials Dentures • Teeth Whitening

DAV I D S TA N P H I L L , D D S | S T E P H A N I E C E R V E T T O, D D S


Erath County Living

Index of Advertisers Ace Hardware......................................................................................3

Heritage Roofing.............................................................................98

Ag Texas Farm Credit Services.................................................. 74

Jake and Dorothy’s Cafe.............................................................126

Allied Body & Frame Co............................................................... 82

Jasper’s Café.....................................................................................113

Associated Well Services, Inc.....................................................99

JC Scrub Shop............................................................................... 130

Barbara Hampton Real Estate....................................................112

Kat Bozek Photography............................................................... 65

Barefoot Campus Outfitters........................................................ 16

King Title...........................................................................................138

Bill Oxford, Attorney at Law.......................................................42

Lawrence Hay & Feed.................................................................... 38

Blue-Eyed Buffalo...........................................................................99

Lone Star Ag Credit......................................................................138

Blue Flamingo..................................................................................50

Members Trust Federal Credit Union....................................... 51

BMY.......................................................................Inside Front Cover

Mike’s Westside Rentals...............................................................42

Brazos Rose Photography........................................................... 33

Peacock’s Restaurant....................................................................43

Brooke Mendenhall Photography.............................................69

R&R BBQ............................................................................................98

Built Ultimate Fitness.................................................................... 82

Ranger College............................................................................. .144

CJ’s Spurs-N-Thangs...................................................................... 38

RedFin Pools....................................................................................139

Clark Tractor & Supply.................................................................126

Scott’s Flowers on the Square................................................. 130

Cowboy Way Travel........................................................................99

Security Storage..............................................................................131

Cross Timbers Family Services................................................... 51

Star Arms..........................................................................................127

Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council............................................... 65

Stephen’s Health Care...................................................................69

Cross Timbers Orthopaedics and Imaging .............................5

Stephenville Family Dentistry.................................................. 142

Dickerson Real Estate................................................................... 39

Stephenville Funeral Home.........................................................64

Dovetail Kennels.............................................................................139

Stephenville Optimist Club....................................................... .130

Dowell Water Well.............................................................................3

Stevens Flooring and Design...................................................... 74

Dublin Best Value Pharmacy......................................................98

Sueann Porter, CPA, PLLC......................................... Back Cover

Dublin Chamber of Commerce.................................................. .17

Sundown on the Square............................................................... 83

Dublin Insurance Agency.............................................................113

Swindles Jewelry................................................................................7

Dublin Realty.................................................................................. 130

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital...Inside Back Cover

Dudley Barker Photography....................................................... 82

Texas State Optical.........................................................................112

Easter Heat & Air.............................................................................113

Texstar Ford Lincoln....................................................................... 38

Edwards & Stokes...........................................................................99

The Hay & Feed Ranch..................................................................50

Erath County Living.............................................................. 68, 139

The Home Place..................................................................................2

Erath Plumbing................................................................................43

The Salon............................................................................................ 74

First Baptist Church Dublin.........................................................64

The Velvet Twelve Boutique.......................................................98

First National Bank of Dublin.....................................................68

Upland Bird Extravaganza........................................................... 82

Fraser Agency, Inc.......................................................................... 32

Veldhuizen Cheese........................................................................... 9

Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C..............................................................1

Woods Furniture............................................................................. 39

Gifford TV Electronics...................................................................113



Ranger College - Erath County Center 1835 W. Lingleville Road Stephenville, TX Phone: 254-918-7232 | Fax: 254-965-8855



Erath County Living

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Doctors on the medical staffs practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health hospitals or Texas Health Resources. Š 2018

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1710 W South Loop, (254) 968-6112

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