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photo credit: Silhouette Studio Photography

photo credit: Shane Rhoden Photography

SHELTONSPLACE.COM | 936.366.2095 | 3603 FM 2108

ocated only a couple miles south of Lufkin is a place that you might only see in a country fairytale. This picturesque red barn and green land is known as Shelton’s Place. Shelton’s Place is a one stop shop venue, offering a beautiful picturesque country setting for the perfect event. However, when you book an event at Shelton’s Place you don’t just get a barn, you get so much more. “We can assist in little, much, or all of your needs when you are here.” From planning your entire event to just providing the barn, Shelton’s Place is there for whatever you need to make your event a success!

photo credit: Silhouette Studio Photography

photo credit: Silhouette Studio Photography



We offer a variety of services: - State of the art sound systems (indoor and outdoor) - On site sound technician - DJ Services - On site table and chair rental - Ice Cream Machine - Kitchen - Event decorating - Event planning - Catering - Grooms Suite - Bridal Suite


Special Memories COME ALIVE

photo credit: Silhouette Studio Photography

photo credit: Sophiabelle Photography


Note from the President

ON THE COVER: model: Kellsey Smitherman Saltzman photo by: Jenni Blackledge

president: Stephanie Oliver managing editor: Beth Johnson staff writer: Cami Rhome event photography: Lisa Crow layout and design: Macy Haffey ad design: Samantha Miller contributors: Melissa & Tiffani

Claire Brody Emily Courtney Majal Minguez Angie Nichols Melissa Radke

Luke Tarbutton


ne of my funniest memories of our newlywed time was when Clay and I were going through marriage counseling. It was with dear friends of ours that we love and admire. We laughed and cried, and those times together were some of our most cherished moments as a newlywed couple. However, my sweet friend would always make a point to tell us every session, “Remember, divorce is not an option. You don’t throw around that word at all in your marriage, because it is not an option.” I, with my rose colored glasses on, would giggle and hug my man even tighter. I would think to myself, now why would we ever say or do such a thing? We are soulmates. We are madly in love with each other. We finish each other’s sentences. There is no one in the world I would rather spend the rest of my days with. Fast forward 15 years, four kids, in-laws, and careers--THANK the good Lord for training from Mike and Myrna!! Life and marriage is hard! There have been so many times we could have thrown in the towel. Thankfully, we both cling to the truth that Jesus died for all the wrongs, ugliness, laziness, bitterness, betrayals, resentment and the list goes on. For that reason alone, we can rest easy. A wedding is incredibly beautiful and filled with excitement. Life long memories are created. More importantly is a marriage built around Jesus--it’s all of that and so much more! To those planning their wedding day or celebrating 50 years of marriage--may God continue to watch over your marriage and bless the days to come.



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12 Home Tour | photo by Lisa Crow



















Mailing: PO Box 150537 | Lufkin, Texas 75915 | Physical: 115 E. Shepherd | Lufkin, Texas 75901 936-634-7188 |

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in East Texas 10 HOME TOUR | 14 LIFE & DESIGN | 16 BURLAP & BESTIES | 18 {DIY}| 20 IN THE KITCHEN



Ann Byrd 9 | TJ M a g & C o • t j m a g . c o m

photography by Lisa Crow

HOME : Home


The Beautifully Renovated Home of Ann Byrd /// Continued

The Beautifully Renovated Home of Ann Byrd /// Continued

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We Have It All n Loans n Checking and Savings Products n eBanking n Customer Service You’ll Tell Your Friends About

Call, stop in, or visit us online today! 877-566-2621 •



written by Claire Brody

HOME : Life

& Design Christmas Crafting /// Continued

Guide for Furnishing a New Home Entry Checklist: If space permits, it’s nice to have a narrow console table that serves as a catch-all when entering the home.  console table  lighting  art  runner

Living Room Checklist: When planning a living room, focus on the foundation first, then layer in the accessories.  seating (sofa, accent chairs, ottoman, etc.)  coffee table  side tables  media center  area rug  lighting

Kitchen Checklist: No kitchen is created equal, and no kitchen should be treated that way. Depending on the size of the kitchen, consider adding a rolling cart if the kitchen is not equipped with an island.

 art

 kitchen table/chairs

 throw pillows

 bar stools

 window treatments/hardware

 kitchen counter accessories

Dining Room Checklist:

Master Bedroom Checklist:

To achieve the unexpected in the dining room, consider mixing the style of the table and chairs. A less formal dining room is a great conversation starter.

To achieve symmetry, center the bed on the back wall and flank the bed with matching nightstands and table lamps. A bit of symmetry can bring calmness to a space.

 dining table

 bed

 table lamps

 bedding

 dresser

 headboard/footboard

 art

 nightstands

 window treatments/hardware

 dining chairs/bench  area rug  lighting  art  window treatments/hardware

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Guest Room Checklist: In order to make guests feel at home, stick to the essentials and keep the clutter to a minimum.  bed  headboard/footboard  bedding  nightstands  table lamps  art  window treatments/hardware

Hello. I’m Claire, an interior stylist living in Austin, TX with my husband, Parker. I’m the blogger and business owner behind Claire Brody Designs. I specialize in providing unique and one of a kind spaces on an affordable budget.

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written by Melissa & Tiffani

HOME : Burlap & Besties



osting overnight guests in your home can be a bit overwhelming. This is true if you are a newlywed hosting those in-laws for the first time or a more seasoned host having friends from out of town for the weekend! Here are a few things you can do to get you on the right track and earn major brownie points with anyone you have staying with you.

Welcome your guests with a nice tray on their bed. Fill jars with their favorite candy and add a few bottles of water, along with a magazine and some small snacks. You never know when your guests might need a little snack, and this will help them not feel awkward asking for one or rummaging through your pantry looking for something to eat. Don’t have a tray? Use a small shelf in your guest bedroom or a basket on the dresser.

Customize chalkboard signs in your guest bedroom to your guests. Write them a fun note or let them know how excited you are to have them there. We have a print with our Wi-Fi password framed on the shelf. This has been very handy since it is long and complicated! We searched “Wi-Fi Password Printable Free” in Pinterest and found lots of options to choose from. There are other free guest bedroom prints available as well. The Wi-Fi print I used can be found here: http:// Elegance-and-Enchantment-WiFi-Printable.pdf

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in a shower and realized we didn’t bring soap or maybe we forgot our toothbrush! Well just in case your guests do that, be ready for them! We used a large tiered tray with varying sizes of mason jars filled with toiletries in the guest bathroom. You could use a smaller basket on the counter or even an empty drawer. Just be sure your guest knows they are welcome to use it all.

Party Tip: Fresh flowers are always fun and help your house feel welcoming, whether you’re having overnight guests or dinner guests. Pick your own or purchase a bunch from any local grocery store and place them in vases or pitchers to sit on side tables or a night stand!!

Melissa is a housewife who loves her husband and son, Ben and Ty, more than anything else on earth. In a previous life, she was a CPA. Her passion for serving Jesus took her and Ben to Africa for two years where, among other things, she learned she can never pack too many crafting supplies. If you want to see a happy girl, give Melissa an old piece of furniture and a paintbrush then stand back and watch the magic happen. /// Tiffani Brantner is a part-time nurse and student, a constant crafter, party-thrower, "idea-comer-upper", and a richly rewarded wife and mother to Jeff and Cullen. Call her to come and get your old junk, she LOVES it! She'll turn it into something beautiful, create a theme, throw a party around it, and invite you as the guest of honor. You can reach Tiffani day or night at

written by Majal Minguez





COLOGNE FOR HIM: • 15 drops Young Living Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil • 10 drops Young Living Idaho Blue Spruce essential oil • 2 Tbsp. Vodka • 2 tsp. distilled water Mix all ingredients in a 2oz spray glass bottle. Blend well.


• 15 drops Young Living Ylang Ylang essential oil • 10 drops Young Living Jasmine essential oil


• 10 drops Young Living Geranium essential oil

• 10 drops Young Living Ylang Ylang essential oil

• 5 drops Young Living Myrrh essential oil

• 5 drops Young Living Clary Sage essential oil

• 5 drops Young Living Black Pepper essential oil

• 5 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil

• Sweet Almond oil

• Sweet Almond oil Mix all essential oils in a 10 ml roll on glass bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with sweet almond oil. Blend well.

or hundreds of years, women have used the beauty and fragrance of flowers and plants for love, seduction and romance.

Jasmine, named as the “queen of the night”, is used in Asian cultures for weddings and honeymoons as it offers an intoxicating aroma that’s believed to be a strong aphrodisiac. Ylang Ylang means “flower of flowers”, and is known for balancing male-female energies. This flower has been used in some cultures to cover the



Mix all essential oils in a 4oz glass bottle. Fill the rest of the glass bottle with sweet almond oil. This massage oil is refreshing, romantic and may encourage feelings of love and affection. This recipe is not latex-friendly.

newlywed couple’s bed on their wedding night. In the Song of Solomon, the Bible mentioned Myrrh seven times; a good indication that it has been used during the Biblical times to enhance intimacy. I am thankful that the amazing scents and aromatic benefits of these essential oils are available to us today. So whether you are gifting these recipes to a newlywed or you are making a batch for you and your spouse, have fun and enjoy!

• You can turn the massage oil into a “Love-is-in-the-air Air Spray” by mixing all the essential oils in a 4oz spray glass bottle with 4 Tbsp. of Vodka or Witch Hazel and distilled water. • Plan for an essential oil- infused wedding day. Diffuse oil blends like Joy and Harmony during the wedding ceremony and reception, and diffuse Sensation oil blend in your honeymoon suite. • How about a DIY wedding shower? Lavender bath salts, Lover’s Air Sprays, Bodacious Body Butter and Bentonite Clay Masks are great ideas!

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ESSENTIAL OIL WORKSHOPS: INTRODUCTION TO ESSENTIAL OILS – Jan 12, Jan 19, Feb 2, Feb 9, and Feb 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm

MAKE AND TAKE: HEALING OILS OF THE BIBLE – Jan 8 and Feb 5, 2016 at 6 pm




Contact Majal at or 936.634.4282 to register for the workshops. For more information, follow her on FB at “WhollyMerry - Majal Minguez”. All workshops are held at Oil Drops DIY shop at 911 Ellis Avenue in Lufkin.

Majal Minguez and her family live in Lufkin. Her youngest son in on the Autism Spectrum. In their journey to recover him from Autism, the family has learned that detoxifying his body and their house are major pieces of the puzzle to Autism Recover.

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the Kitchen

Wedding l fu s s e c c u S a r Recipe fo rtant decisions of the most impo

y is one e’ Catering rer for your big da The goal at Tom Choosing a cate y. da l ia ec sp ur hen planning yo you will make w d stress-free! extraordinary an ng di ed w ur yo e is to mak


- Set a budget s out) early (6-9 month - Start planning est count - Determine a gu - Choose a meal g tation and tastin ns, live sauté) - Set up a consul ice, buffet, statio rv se l ul (f e yl st g rvin - Choose your se ur menu ing your contract - Narrow down yo deposit and sign ur yo ng yi pa by sired caterer wedding day) - Secure your de weeks before your -2 (1 t un co t es - Finalize your gu want. re it’s what YOU su be d an s, nt ie ur ingred S Gather all of yo


More than Just Catering: February 12th, 13th, 14th – Date Night An extraordinary 6 course meal. Register now at March 2016 – Chopped Competition April 2016 – Cooking Class Chef Britany Vinson, a 2011 graduate from the Art Institute of Houston, is passionate about feeding people physically and spiritually. She has been catering for over 7 years and can’t see herself doing anything else! For more information about Chef Britany and Tome Catering, check out

Ty and Stephanie Shafer are excited to announce that Shafer Funeral Home will now be serving Luf kin and the surrounding East Texas community. The Shafer’s share, “We are focused on the overall experience of the funeral service and will be there for the family before, during and after the service. We pride ourselves on providing personalized service to each family and catering to their specific needs.” They are located at 600 North John Redditt drive on Lufkin’s west loop. They have a full-sized chapel with two state rooms, along with a large family lounge to better serve the community. Ty’s lifelong dream has been to open his own funeral home. He pursued his passion by graduating from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in 2001. Since 2002 Ty has been serving East Texas families during their time of loss. On September 14th, 2011 he married his wife Stephanie, a fellow Lufkinite, who graduated from Angelina College with a Registered Nurse license. She has served Lufkin and the surrounding communities in various health care settings and now enjoys working as a traveling nurse. Ty is a current member of the Lufkin Lions Club and Ty and Stephanie both currently serve as youth sponsors at Lufkin’s First Christian Church, where they are members. In their spare time they can be found at estate sales, garage sales and auctions in the East Texas area. While serving the many families of East Texas, Ty has developed a deep understanding of their unique needs, and feels the best way to meet them is through exceptional service and reasonable prices. He wants families to understand that funerals do not have to be as expensive as they are. In addition to traditional funeral and cremation services, they offer pre-arranged funerals and accept pre-needs from other funeral homes. To better serve our diverse communities, they also offer bilingual services.   Throughout his journey in the funeral business, Ty has discovered one of the best ways to serve families is by having exceptional staff with the passion to serve. Their handpicked staff members are not only great at what they do, but also truly care for families as if they were their own.   The community is encouraged to come by, have a cup of coffee and enjoy fellowship with the Shafers and their staff.

Lufkin Lighted Christmas Parade

photography by Lisa Crow


Interested in purchasing a photo you see? Visit!

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Kellsey Smitherman Saltzman wearing Badgley Mischka photo by Jenni Blackledge

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COMMUNITY : Marriages



“‘Love’ has to be a commitment of the will. Early on you think you need to change your spouse, but then you realize you just need to accept them for who they are. In fact, their differences help stretch you. Marriage exposes your selfcenteredness, even through the years you are just peeling back the layers like an onion. As a young married man you want to be right, but as an older man you just want to be happy. So just learn to love your spouse for who they are. It may be you that needs to change! We have discovered that you must make your relationship a priority – above your job and even the kids. You cannot take your relationship for granted. Your spouse is your greatest gift in this life. There is no greater blessing than having someone to walk with through life. So live each day with that in mind. Even after 31 years, you have to give it attention. As empty nesters, we are spending more time together – doing things we couldn’t do when the kids were at home. We have loved getting to go on trips to New York City and San Francisco.”

“When I married Jansen on August 3, 1974, I saw marriage as a sacred commitment and couldn’t wait to start our life together. He was finishing his second year of medical school and I had recently graduated from Colorado State University. I was on board and ready for the good, the bad….. and the nitty gritty. But looking back I realize that we couldn’t begin to know where this journey was going to take us. No young couple can. It became more and more evident to me as time went on just how much courage it takes to be in a marriage. It is the most intimate relationship we will ever be in and “core issues” must be faced to take a marriage to the next level. As each year passes, I become more and more aware that a successful and meaningful marriage isn’t because a couple is lucky or because they picked the perfect match. It is because of HARD WORK and dedication to the big picture. It is hanging on for dear life when we find ourselves going through a dark and difficult time. We were blessed with six children in 9 years. Tragedy struck on April 3, 1996 when, after 22 years of marriage, our second oldest, Scott, died at the age of 17. There is nothing to prepare a couple for the loss of a child. It will test you in a way you could never imagine. Again, looking back, I am so thankful we survived such a crisis. During that time we rarely were strong at the same time. We had to pretty much take turns being strong for each other. It tested every moral fiber of our being. Our marriage being our touchstone took on a whole new meaning. The couples who are “meant to be” are the ones who have gone through adversity and come out stronger than before. “

Darryl & Amy Smith, 31 years of marriage

Dr. Jansen & Patricia Todd, 40 years of marriage

“We have four children, so our thought processes are constantly on our children. We have to work to remember to find time for our relationship. Don’t ever take your relationship for granted. It is special and sacred. Marriage is a give and take thing with each other. Learn to always think about your spouse and do nice things for them, big or small. Also find a strong church family and pursue your faith together.” Sarah & David Ash, 25 years of marriage




We do…I do’s! | by

rom flowers and cakes to catering and specialty beverages, your local Brookshire Brothers is your one-stop location for your wedding planning needs. Not only do our florists create beautiful arrangements and bouquets to match any décor, but our cake decorators design and assemble everything from specialty cupcakes and groom’s cakes to elaborate multi-tiered wedding cakes. The catering department is also available to prepare delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, lunches, and dinners with buffet or plated service available for 50 – 500 guests. To top it all off, our specialty beverage department can assist you with ordering any beer or wine needed for your reception. Stop by our booth at the 2016 East Texas Bridal Fair on January 10th at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center in Lufkin and let our experienced experts help take away the stress of planning your special day!

Helpful Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Planning: DO: Book EARLY Venues’ and vendors’ calendars fill up quickly during busy seasons such as May, June, November, and December, so be sure to contact them early once you have your wedding date chosen!

DO: Have a realistic budget and work within your budget Throwing a great reception does not have to break your wedding budget. Be realistic about the cost and availability for special requests or outof-season items (especially flowers). Most caterers and vendors will be able to give tips for keeping costs down or suggesting other options that work within your budget.

DO: Choose what YOU like

DO: Have a plan for bad weather

Talk to your caterer about specific items you would like to have at your reception and build the menu from there. Don’t be pressured to choose something you really don’t want (or to omit something that you do).

If you have lived in Texas for more than 10 minutes, you know that Texas weather is extremely unpredictable. If you are planning an outdoor reception, make sure to have a plan for inclement weather – including a plan for your caterer’s set-up and serving.

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DON’T: Get bogged down in the details and forget to enjoy your day Congratulations and best wishes as you plan not only for your special day, but for your marriage!

COMMUNITY : Planning


Financial Advice for Newlyweds!


fter all the excitement from the wedding settles down, it’s time for the newlyweds to start settling in to their new life as Mr. and Mrs. Of course, this means coming together financially as well. Whether you are joining your bank accounts, setting a budget, or dealing with insurance policies, money can often be a stressful subject for newlyweds. However, with some sound financial advice and clear goals, you and your spouse can navigate this part of your marriage smoothly. We had some of our local financial advisors give us some of their best tips for newlyweds.

“It’s always a good idea to let your insurance agent know you’re updated marriage status for several reasons. First, regarding your auto insurance, if the husband is under 25 years old, he gets a better rate if he is listed as married on his policy. Similarly, if the wife is under 21 years old, she gets a better rate if she is listed as married on her policy. In my opinion, the most important reason to notify your agent regarding marriage status is to set up an appointment to purchase life insurance. After marriage, your life insurance needs usually change drastically, and the younger you purchase the life insurance the less expensive it will be. Every year you wait to purchase coverage, the more expensive it gets, assuming you’re insurable!” – Kurt Morgan, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance

“As you start talking about your finances, be sure to cover these areas: • Separate or joint checking/savings accounts — Some couples create joint checking and savings accounts, others keep everything separate and still others find a middle ground — joint accounts along with smaller, separate accounts. There’s really no one “right” way for everyone, but whichever method you choose, make sure you’re both aware of where your money is, how it can be accessed, and by whom. • Debts — Both you and your spouse may be bringing in debts, such as student loans or credit cards, to the marriage. You don’t necessarily have to do everything possible to get rid of these debts immediately, but you should set up reasonable payment plans that will allow you to lower your overall debt load so you can free up money to invest for the future. • Spending and saving — Newlyweds are often surprised to discover how different they are from each other in the area of spending versus saving. You don’t have to try to radically change each other, but you both need to be aware that your spending and saving decisions now have greater consequences than when you were both single. To illustrate: If one of you is more of a spender and is used to running up big credit card bills, these actions can clearly affect both of you. To avoid problems of this type, you will need to communicate clearly with each other.” – Vince Treadwell, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

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NOT FDIC-Insured NO Bank Guarantee

MAY Lose Value



Welcome Your Guests to

East Texas

East Texas is a warm and welcoming location for wedding guests. There are many great ways to add a local touch to your wedding. Here are a few ideas to get you started: • Atkinson Candy • Big Thicket Brewery Beer • Rattlesnake Ranch Pecans • Mahattan's Salad Dressing • Confections or Grandough Cookies • Sweets from Shelley's Bakery • MarTeres Almond Tea

"We created welcome baskets for hotel rooms of out of town guests. We included a map of Lufkin, popular attractions, a Texas shaped cookie and a bottle of water with our monogram. Guests took home a jar of local honey." – Claire Brody, Life & Design

"You could give local honey, blue bonnets and a little hand towel with pine trees or a deer silhouette." – Tiffani & Melissa, Burlap & Besties


HELPFUL HINTS No doubt that every bride and groom have some advice to share after planning and experiencing their big day. Learn from the wonderful ideas of others and the not so good ones, as well!

Big Day “Have a personal attendant. This is a girl who is with you and your bridesmaids during the entire wedding weekend. Her job is to help your day be as perfect as you’ve dreamed and to do the things that you (and your bridesmaids) simply cannot. I know it sounds selfish, but it’s not. As The Bride, you have planned this day for months and you can’t make sure that every detail happens. You and your bridesmaids are trying to get ready for pictures and the ceremony. Your parents are likely taking care of final decorations, payments and getting themselves ready. Your coordinator or planner is trying to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. As tasks are planned and unexpected things come up, it is a huge help to have someone available to help make your day happen! If you choose the right person, (someone who is always ready and willing to help and who you would trust with your life!) you’ll be so glad you did. Be sure to make her feel as valued and important as she is. I had 7 bridesmaids on stage in my wedding, but really, 8 girls stood by my side that day. Having a personal attendant was one of the best decisions I made for my wedding day!” – Courtney Mendoza, Married 1 year

“A wedding doesn’t have to break the bank to be beautiful and memorable. Be creative. Incorporate friends and family. Borrow items if possible.  Keep it simple. Personally, I would rather spend the bulk of my money on a fantastic honeymoon.  We didn’t have much money to spend on a wedding, so we came up with some good solutions.  I borrowed the perfect wedding gown for me. Some of my family members made the flower bouquets and boutonnieres, baked and decorated the wedding cake (which looked professional), prepared the food for the reception, and my uncle married us. It was a very sweet, beautiful, and meaningful wedding.  My two regrets were, I didn’t have a wedding coordinator to help oversee the process or a great photographer to capture all the special moments and lasting memories.  A good wedding coordinator would have reduced my stress level, so I wouldn’t have had to run around getting last minute things ready.” – Bonnie Rhome, Married 32 years

“Growing up, I never imagined planning a wedding would be stressful. I thought it would be so much fun! While it was fun, it was also very overwhelming at times. Almost every person will have a different opinion on every little part of your big day. What did I take from this? It’s not their big day, it is a day for you and your best friend! I got swept away in the opinions of others and trying to make it easier for them when it was my day!  Also, if people offer to help... LET THEM! Our wedding was honestly more than I ever could have asked for, and it was all because we had such wonderful friends and family who truly stepped up to make all our dreams come true! But always remember it is okay to tell them if you don’t like something. Again, it is your wedding! You only get married once, and it is a day you will look back on for the rest of your life. Enjoy it because it truly goes by faster than you could imagine! My embarrassing moment? My wedding planner suggested a game on the dance floor… Spin the bottle. Whoever the bottle landed on had to go dance in the center of the circle. The horrific moment happened when the bottle stopped on my 8 year old Jr bridesmaid who was very scared to dance by herself ! I went with her, and when we went to back up to our spots as we finished, I tripped! I can’t even begin to tell you how hard I tried to catch my balance. Didn’t happen. I busted it in front of everyone - in the middle of the dance floor! It was such an embarrassing moment, and one I thought I’d never live down. Now I look back, and it’s quite funny!  Biggest day of my life and I fell! (And no adult beverages were involved!)”

“Remembering back 28 years at my sweet and simple wedding, I can only think about how handsome my husband looked, feeling God’s presence throughout the ceremony, and thinking about ALL we were going to do for God together. Now that’s the most important part of the wedding, right? Of course it is- but the other details of the wedding? Hmmm...If I could change anything or do something different? The colors! The tux! The honeymoon! What was I thinking? Peach and light blue!! Yikes! (Well, it was 1988- it was ok then, but looking at pictures...oh my goodness!!) Ohand letting my husband choose the color of the groomsmen’s tuxes- light blue! Ha! And my poor bridesmaids! Please- allow your bridesmaids to choose their own dress! Now- what about the honeymoon? Being short on funds, we decided to just go to Galveston- no worries- we would still have a fantastic trip! Wrong!!! My advice? Always check the date of your wedding to make sure it’s not the week of spring break for EVERY student under the age of 21 to be traveling to the same place AND same hotel as you are. After 2 evenings of all-night parties outside our room, fire alarms going off, and giving up 2 days to track down and confront the hotel manager to get our money back so we could leave- we finally found a quiet hotel for the rest of our trip. Redo? Yes! Find a way to go somewhere amazing! (You may never get the opportunity again- make some amazing fantastic memories!)” – Tammy Jo Willmon, Married 28 years

– Chelsea Osborne, Married 3 months

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CASA Home Tour

photography by Lisa Crow


Interested in purchasing a photo you see? Visit!

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Model: Brittani Parker Hair Styled by: Leah Garcia Makeup by: Ashley Conlon Photo by: Jenni Blackledge Lowback Black Sweater $32 (sale) Clothing available at Bella Salon and Boutique in Downtown Lufkin.

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LIFE : Fashion

Model: Shelby Bryan Hair Styled by: Shelby Adaway Makeup by: Ashley Conlon Photo by: Jenni Blackledge Grey Sweater Tunic $56 Clothing available at Bella Salon and Boutique in Downtown Lufkin.

Model: Kaylie Cole / Hair Styled by: Rob Fisher / Makeup by: Ashley Conlon / Photo by: Jenni Blackledge / Black and White Dress $62 /// Model: Brittani Parker / Hair Styled by: Leah Garcia / Makeup by: Ashley Conlon / Photo by: Jenni Blackledge / Black Cotton Jumpsuit $42 (sale) /// Model: Shelby Bryan / Hair Styled by: Shelby Adaway / Makeup by: Ashley Conlon / Photo by: Jenni Blackledge / Black and White Print Dress with Mesh Detail $140 (sale)  Clothing available at Bella Salon and Boutique in Downtown Lufkin.

written by Melissa Radke

LIFE : Stretch


For Meridith...


his November I had the honor of giving the toast at my Meridith’s wedding. Meridith is my cousin….though she’s more like a sister in that we fight like there’s no tomorrow, borrow each other’s clothes and don’t return them and somehow, and inevitably, end up on the same cycle. It was one of the sweetest weddings I’ve ever been to or maybe it was just the way they looked at each other. My duty – other than doing the brides hair which is STRESSFUL – was to write the toast. T​ he picture attached is even of the moment she joined me for some live singing of our favorite song. It was awesome!​(FYI: I’m a killer toast writer. And I can be purchased for parties and bar mitzvahs.​)​ Here’s what I said…to my Meridith…on the happiest day of her life: The definition of harmony is the sounding of two or more musical notes at the same time in a sound that is pleasing and desired. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance and I still had to look that up. Why? Because I failed Aural Theory three times. One. Two. Three. Aural Theory is the ability to hear something and name it. For instance when you listen to a beautiful piece of music and you love how the melody dips down you might say, “I love it when it goes into that minor right there,” or “Listen to how Celine Dion can jump that

octave,”  - if you’ve ever said those things you are doing Aural Theory. Meridith took it, too. She passed the first time. In fact, she probably “nerded” out so much in it that she tutored people. That’s the difference in Mer and me. She could always hear the lovely things that I couldn’t. And that’s what I want to celebrate most in the next few minutes of this toast. Meridith’s ability to be everything I never could be. One of the most beautiful things in music is the harmony. Trust me, even if you don’t know music, there have been times when you’ve heard a harmony line and it’s moved you to tears. You don’t know why and we don’t really understand how, but harmonies do that. They coincide - they meet up - at a crucial moment to create a lovely sound. That’s my relationship with the bride. Music is important in our family, and Meridith and I? WE! LOVE! MUSIC! We love to sing it. Dance to it. Buy tickets to go hear it. Rock out to it like only two middle aged white women in a Ford Expedition, and we can pretty much sum up any particular season of our life with a song.

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But here’s the interesting part that might make our family just a wee bit different than most: We harmonize. Now we don’t harmonize a little. For instance, we don’t sing along to a song and occasionally slip in an alto part. Oh no! We straight up harmonize. Have you ever been in Cheddars when one of us has had a birthday? You should. It’s glorious. We each take a part. My mom will take an alto line and Meridith will slip into that high tenor and then the Queen of Parts – Melba White – will slip in on those low notes. There she is…just like Caitlyn Jenner…bringing up the bass. But not me. I never sing parts. I might occasionally, but 9 times out of 10 I sing the melody line. Why? Because I can’t hear parts - not like Meridith can. We’ve always joked about it. About how much my dad spent on my education and I still can’t hear a part. Or they’ll say, “That’s just Melissa’s way of always getting the solos.” But I think it’s because I can’t hear the beautiful parts like Meridith can. And so, for all of my life Meridith has been my harmony. The beautiful part. Not the lead.

Not the big huge power ballad solo. The quiet, steady, sneaks up on you and blows you away harmony line.

Meridith, tonight my toast is to you. And I want you to know there is no one who has provided me with more melodious moments in my life – than you.

She has harmonized with me through some of life’s most difficult and joyous moments. When I brought Rocco Cooper home from the hospital and he would just not stop crying and I couldn’t bond with him and I was exhausted, she took him and loved him and rocked him to sleep every night. And I would hear her sing to him. And I was jealous of how sometimes she could also sing the lead.

I’m sorry for calling you a butthole in the 4th grade.

We have harmonized at bedsides and gravesides, bathtubs and baby bottles. She’s played harmony and I’ve played the lead and that’s how it’s always worked. It makes her feel comfortable to know that if people are going to throw tomatoes, they’re going to hit the lead singer. And I’ve always felt comfortable knowing that if I needed support, she was the voice beside me.

And I’m sorry for trying to get you to go on Halloween as Elfaba just so I could go as the pretty witch, and I’m sorry that I sung Popular to you for two straight years because I said it depicted our lives so well. (Please no one Google the lyrics of that song, it makes me look really bad.)

Many, many nights after The Bachelor was over, we’d turn the TV off, put the Blue Bell back in the freezer, and she’d slip on her shoes and coat and leave my house. I’d pray, “Where is he, God? What is he doing right now? Because there’s no one better than her. And if that idiot on the Bachelor can find love, there better be some left over for Meridith.” And then, Meridith, just like the harmony line of any great piece of music, it snuck up on you….because harmony is when at just the perfect moment things just intersect and God makes something beautiful from what could have been so plain. When he takes an ordinary line and adds color to it. When he takes a birthday song in Cheddars and makes a family moment out of it.

I’m sorry for pantsing you that one time in front of Buddy Timme and you cried in the bathroom for an hour. I’m sorry for convincing you to let me color your hair out of a box three times in one night.

There are more things - as you so eloquently remind me from time to time - but I’d like to take this time to tell you that I love you. You are not my cousin, nor have you ever been. I’m so happy for you and Jake. You are stunning tonight. Everyone I know and everyone I have ever known and loved would be so proud of you right here in this moment. And so no matter what life throws at you, no matter how you ever feel about yourself at any given moment or if I scoot you over and tell you you’re standing in my light, just know, that YOU, Meridith Ann, are the prettiest line in any song.


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Melissa Radke is married to the best looking man in town, whom she affectionately refers to as The Attorney General. They have two children, Remi and Rocco; you have probably seen their picture in the Most Wanted list at your local schools. She loves movie popcorn, telling her friends what to do with their hair and being the center of attention. You can find her anytime at or Chik-fil-A. You are encouraged to ask for her autograph. In fact, she insists.

written by Angie Nichols

LIFE : Something


One and Only

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4


am both fascinated and captivated by weddings. They are usually dreamy and romantic. I’m such a sucker for love. I always cry. There is also great people watching at weddings, too. Some of the most deliciously awkward moments I’ve experienced in real live action were at weddings. The stakes are holy and high, so humans often humiliate themselves under the pressure. We’re all familiar with the traditional “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” But you might not be aware just how much wedding traditions vary between generations, cultures, religions, and social classes. For example, in Sweden, it is traditional for the groom to disappear during part of the ceremony. Then all the unmarried young men are allowed to kiss the bride. A pre-marital ritual in parts of Scotland includes the bride’s friends covering her with sour milk, garbage, and other gross stuff and then

tying her to a tree. “The blackening of the bride” as they call it, supposedly reveals that if you can handle this you can handle anything, including marriage. When I visited West Africa, I learned it is customary for the brides of the Fulani people group to run away from their weddings, often a number of times, and then wail and scream as their grooms bring them back. Recently after teaching a Bible study based on the ancient Jewish wedding and its implications for Christ’s bride in the current generation, a woman in attendance taught me about a more modern Jewish wedding custom. I fell in love, full swoon. She said it is customary in many Jewish wedding ceremonies for the bride, after she joins her groom under the wedding canopy, to walk around him seven times. The tradition of the bride circling her husband-to-be is reminiscent of the Biblical story of Joshua leading the

Israelites into the Promised Land. Jericho, a city known as the key to the land, was protected by a massive wall. When there seemed to be no way in, and impossible to conquer, God commanded the Israelites to walk around the wall seven times. A miracle

Mental illness is [Even when you can’t see it.] Mental illness is real, and it’s all around us. Depression. Anxiety. Bi-polar disorder. Eating disorders. One in four of us will face a mental illness in any given year. Yet, too many people are afraid to get the help they need or even talk about it with their friends or family. We need your help. Visit to get the facts, learn how to help those in need, and read stories of people right here in East Texas that are taking control of their mental health.

To make an appointment with a mental health care professional, call 936-634-5010.


occurred upon their obedience. The walls crumbled and the Israelites were able to take the city. The wedding tradition of seven circuits symbolizes the bride’s power over her groom. By encircling him with love and affection, placing him in the center of her attention, and the anchor of her new life as a wife, she pierces his impression of impenetrability and crumbles his defensive emotional walls. With these circles, the bride is creating an invisible protection around her husband; into which she will step to the exclusion of all others. For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man. Jeremiah 31:22 God created marriage and performed the first wedding. God is love. He is romantic from alpha all the way to omega. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

the only way to ever after eternal life. “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of  your eyes, with one jewel of  your necklace.” Songs 4:9 Only you can give your heart, tell your story, present your offering, and fulfill your an audience of One. The One and Only I Am. Flawless one, make yourself ready. The wedding is announced. Your invitation’s address is Revelation 19:9.

The Wedding of the Lamb Place: At the glassy sea Date: Soon. TBD by the Father RS VP: One

Since Adam and Eve’s Eden garden event, every wedding symbolizes the joining of two lives into one and provides a sacred and holy object lesson: The story of the Son of God, who came down from His heavenly throne, to woo and rescue His wayward Bride. He offered His perfect life in exchange for your broken one. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself  as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27 At the heart of the matter, a bride is the chosen one of her one and only husband. As the bride of Christ, you can be assured you are the one who wholly won His holy heart...simply by believing upon Him as

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Angie Nichols is the founder of Something Abundant Ministries, serving women through worship, ministry, and Biblical teaching and the author of Something Abundant: growing from a child of God to the bride of Christ. Her passion is for women to know the beauty of an abundant life knowing Christ as Bridegroom. She is married to Chris and they have one daughter, Mycah. For more information, to read Angie’s blog, or book speaking events visit:

LIFE : Wedding




2 1 Julianne & Dallas Favors

Photo by Beth McElhannon Photography

2 Hayden & Kelsey Smith 3 Hannah & Page Cook 4 Jennifer & Clint Renfro

Bridal Photo by Jenna McElroy


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5 Hilary & Michael Keith 6 Aaron & Jamie Smith | July 2015


7 Byron & Madison Smith 8 Abby & Jed Pinner | November 7, 2015

Bridal Photo by Stephanie Davis




LIFE : Wedding



in the Details


wedding is all about two people beginning their lives together. There are a million ways to have a beautiful wedding, but there are very few ways to personalize it to the couple's story. Take the time to really think about what makes the bride and groom special. Is there a special hobby, interest, color, or family story. Let all those little details of the couple's story unfold during the wedding.

Julianne Favors | Photo by Beth McElhannon Photography

"Julianne had a blue heart that we stitched underneath her dress. John's dad, Julianne's Grandpa (Dr. Bob Rhodes), passed away in his sleep on April 20. He was 89. Some of our best friends had given Julianne and Dallas an engagement party on April 4th, and Papa wanted to say a few words at the party!! Julianne was so nervous about him talking...a little afraid of what he was going to say...but Papa got "his way" and grabbed the microphone from Bryan Harkness to say a few words. He talked of his love for Julianne and of the first time he met Dallas! It was a very sweet talk and at the end, he said, "The most important thing in this life is to love and be loved in return." We all missed him so for the wedding, but a few weeks before Julianne asked about getting one of Papa's dress shirts so we could cut a heart out of it and stitch it to her dress. We found a blue shirt and his initials were on the front pocket. That's what we used, and it was a very special moment for her and for all of us. *After the wedding, we actually had Papa's notes that he had scribbled out in long hand for this talk. Julianne has framed it, and it's hanging in their new home." - Julie Rhoades, Mother of the Bride "I just loved the details from this wedding, from little 'yay' flags for the send off, to a copper mail box for the cards, to super unique big bloom peonies." - Sarah Williams, Silhouette Studio "Fireworks are my favorite thing to have seen at a wedding." - Jenni Blackledge "One of the sweetest things I have seen at a wedding is a groom serenading his bride." - Anna Dean

OTHER IDEAS: • Provide tissues or monogram hankerchiefs for "Tears of Joy." • Make custom place cards that double as the party favor. For instance, a thin cut piece of wood that can be used as a Christmas ornament. • Make a donation to a charity in honor of each guest.

Meredith & Jerry Fehlker | Photo by Anna Dean Photography

Regan & Brett | Photo by The Silhouette Studio



Brycen and Madycen Skinner on location at Shelton's Place dress & bow tie available at Rubie and Jane Bridal Boutique photo by Jenni Blackledge

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1. Harper Grace Graham. 10/16/15. Proud Parents: Aaron & Kimberly Graham. Proud Grandparents: David & Kelley Moore / Robert & Karan Graham. Photographer: Kylie White - oh sugar photography. 2. Payton Blair Grindle. 8/31/15. Proud Parents: Jordan & Laura Grindle (Nacogdoches, TX). Proud Grandparents: John & Teresa Grindle (Alto, TX) / Mark & Tammye Knowles (Groves, TX). Photographer: Shaw Photography. 3. A’journei Grace Henry. 9/16/15. Proud Mother: Alice Henry. Proud Grandparents: Velma Henry & Steven Burney. 4. Raymond Bobby Moore. 1/13/15. Proud Parents: Brian & Amanda Moore (Lufkin, TX). Proud Grandparents: the late Raymond & Jan Moore (Lufkin, TX) / Angie Napier & the late Bobby Napier (Lufkin, TX). 5. Braedan Luke Myers. 9/19/14. Proud Parents: Tyler Myers & Kimmie Terry. Proud Grandparents: Shelly McKee / Ray Myers / Vicki Terry.





6. Jason Jeremiah Ramos. 8/20/15. Proud Parents: Juan & Cecy Ramos. 7. Willow Lynne Sheridan. 9/7/15. Proud Parents: Bailey Boudreaux & Dustin Sheridan. Proud Grandparents: Carrie & Bill Boudreaux / Angela Hopkins & Bubba Sheridan. 8. Brooklynn Renae Torres. Proud Parents: Kayla Allen & Jacob Torres. Proud Grandparents: Misty & Martin Perez / Mike & Jeanie Torres. 9. Delaney Rae Williams. 7/29/15. Proud Parents: Heath & Tana Williams. Proud Grandparents: Lanny & Kim Williams / Mary Powell. Photographer: Shaw Photography. E-mail Pretty Babies submissions to Please include name, date of birth, parents & grandparents. Submissions are free of charge.


Prepared for your little bundle with advanced care. The region’s only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is here to help your newborn get a healthy start. Should you need high-risk pregnancy care, we’re also home to a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic. Schedule a tour of our birthing center today. Call 936-634-8311. Trained, caring staff Spacious private labor and delivery suites Skilled OB/GYN physicians Free childbirth and infant feeding classes 24/7 neonatology coverage

505 South John Redditt Drive, Lufkin • Woodland Heights Medical Center is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.

brought to you by Smoothie King of Lufkin


Cooper Knight. 1st place, 9/10 year old division. Reindeer Run Fun Run.

at Me

Slam It Winter Camp with Coach John Cobb, Coach Chris McClendon, & Coach Chris McFarland.

Academy of Gymnastics 2015 Nutcracker.

Jackson Weibe. 1st place, 7/8 yr old division. Reindeer Run Fun Run.

Toys for Tots / Trilakes / Double Z

Smoothie King • 4505 S Medford Dr. • (936) 632-5464 • Like us on

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photograph by Jenni Blackledge

GROWING UP : Children

ARE Invited

Don’t Forget the Kiddos!


ll brides want their guests to enjoy the wedding day. Friends and loved ones play a huge role in the wedding day.While you’re celebrating your spouse, talking with family and friends, and dancing the night away, don’t forget all the little ones you invited, too! Here are some ways to make sure the kiddos have a blast during the wedding (and mom and dad will appreciate them too!).

Provide Childcare: Some churches or other venues have facilities that will accommodate childcare. For an extra fee, you could hire a babysitter or two to watch all of the kids during the ceremony and/or reception. This allows the parents to have fun without worrying about keeping their kids entertained! Have a “Kid Version”: Got a photo booth? Make a mini one for the kids to enjoy! That steak and vegetable catered dinner may be perfect for the adults, but consider providing a “kid-friendly” meal, as well. Chicken nuggets are usually a crowd-pleaser. Entertainment at the Table: Leave coloring pages and crayons, board games, or word puzzles on the tables at the reception to keep the kids entertained. Maybe even consider placing all the kids at one table to color and play to their hearts’ content. The Playlist: Amidst the Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra, insert a HokeyPokey or two so the kids can have fun dancing! Plus, the photographer is sure to catch some adorable moments of all your little guests on the dance floor. Outdoor Movie: If you’re having an outdoor wedding or reception, set up a spot for the kids to watch a movie outside. All you need is a white sheet, a small projector, and some blankets for the kids to sit on. They are sure to have a blast, and the parents will be free to enjoy the wedding! I Spy: Set up a game of I Spy that the kids can play throughout the wedding. Print out sheets of paper with phrases like: “I spy a white dress,” “I spy a diamond ring,” or “I spy the photographer.” The kids will have fun competing to see who can spy all the items first!

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“In God We Trust” Stickers After an overwhelming show of support from Angelina County’s citizens, the City Council approved placing “In God We Trust” stickers on each of the city’s police cars. The Supreme Court, the Governor, and the Attorney General all agreed upon the legality of this act. As deputies in Lufkin realized what was happening in our nation, they asked to place the stickers on their own cars. County Sheriff, Greg Sanches, and the Sheriff’s department placed a notice on Facebook to see how the community would respond.

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BUSINESS : Newsworthy "In God We Trust" Stickers /// Continued

“It was overwhelming throughout Angelina County that citizens were in favor of putting the ‘In God We Trust’ stickers on our patrol cars. On the day the decision was made in Council, people showed up in numbers waiting for it to be approved. Even Pastors from our area showed up to give support.”

“It’s our national motto, our history, our heritage, and part of our nation’s foundation. Our deputies put their lives on the line every day for the safety of the community. This just shows that people still believe in God and in our deputies and officers. They believe that their safety is also important.”

Now that the City of Lufkin has approved the sticker, other surrounding counties are petitioning for the same thing. Many have already started placing the stickers on their patrol cars.

Lufkin’s Assistant Police Chief, David Thomas, also shared his thoughts on the history behind the phrase and the meaning of the sticker.

The red “In God We Trust” sticker was designed by Real Graphics of Lufkin and has been placed on every county deputy car. Even the Fire Department is displaying the sticker on their vehicles. To Greg Sanches, it’s more than just a sticker, but a demonstration of faith and support for those who serve our area in uniform.

“’In God We Trust’ became the United States national motto on July 30, 1956, shortly after our nation led the world through the trauma of World War II.The words have been used on U.S. currency since 1864 and the same inspiring slogan is engraved above the entrance to the Senate Chamber as well as above the Speaker’s dais in the House of Representatives. In

both war and peace, these words have been a profound source of strength and guidance to many generations of Americans. The City desires to display this patriotic motto in the Council Chambers and on Emergency Services vehicles as a way to solemnize public occasions and express confidence in our society. The goal of the Lufkin Police Department is for the citizens of Lufkin to know that our officers are professional and honorable men and women with or without the decal on the car.” The Police Department does not make any profit on the decals, and they are now standard issue on the Department’s vehicles. If you would also like to show your support, the “In God We Trust Stickers” are available at Real Graphics and Grizzly’s.

(Special Thanks to Sheriff Greg Sanches and Asst. Police Chief David Thomas for their contributions to this article.)

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BUSINESS : Chamber


The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce recently held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for The Fox Den, 105 Upton St., (936) 305-5115. Ashley Green, Candi Pickens and Maribel Ribera welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce recently held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the Accolade Hospice Room at Stallings Court Health & Rehabilitation, 4616 N.E. Stallings Dr., (936) 552-1947. Accolade Hospice Sales Executive Jacki Ramirez and Stallings Court Director of Business Development Amanda Badders, Administrator Justin Eastepp, and Admissions Coordinator Valencia Baysinger, welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce recently held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Pineywoods Hideaway Bed & Breakfast, 537 County Road 200, (936) 205-9376, Innkeepers Robert and Ann Johnson welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce recently held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Dermatology Associates of Nacogdoches, 3611 North St., Ste. 140 in North Village Market, (936) 585-7700, www. Michaela Overturf, MD, and her staff welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

Luf kin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Luf kin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Chala Sports & Family Chiropractic.

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BUSINESS : Preserving


Richard DeWitt Purchases Hotel Fredonia


ichard DeWitt first visited The Fredonia Hotel as a child, and the impression it made on him stayed with him throughout his life.

DeWitt is a successful restauranteur who loves the community of Nacogdoches, Texas. His success and familiarity with Nacogdoches has placed him in the unique position to be able to pour both his expertise and his passion into reviving this Nacogdoches landmark. Since purchasing the property, DeWitt has been hard at work, reviving the Hotel to its former glory. Renovations started immediately upon the purchase of the hotel. The first stages involved demolition and just generally clearing the property of all the old fixtures, furniture and the accumulations of two unoccupied years. Now, DeWitt’s team is beginning to lay the foundational infrastructure necessary to operate a modern hotel. In addition to this construction, they are working on hotel design and model rooms. “We want to stay true to the grandeur of The Fredonia’s mid-century roots while also adding a modern twist that will both honor the history of the hotel and look to the future of Nacogdoches. And, of course, we are putting together some truly outstanding and unique menus for our restaurants, bar and banquet facilities.” DeWitt’s goal is to open the new Hotel Fredonia in October 2016. They plan to open in two phases: first the hotel, restaurants, and bar will open, and the convention center and banquet facilities are projected to open shortly after. These facilities will be able to host large weddings, banquets, and other special events. The Hotel Fredonia is truly an East Texas landmark, and DeWitt is ready to make it available to the community once again. “This renovation and revival is a labor of love for all of us involved. We can feel the excitement from the city and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve done!”

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the Know



ver the last few weeks, I have seen several school districts across the state announce adjustments to their school calendar for next year. You may be interested to know these recent decisions are a result of HB 2610 which was signed into law earlier this year. This new law still requires school districts to provide the same amount of classroom instruction time each school year, but now districts have more discretion in setting their local academic calendar to meet those requirements. For example, if a school chooses to lengthen their school days, they can provide additional days off around holidays or potentially let school out for summer a few days earlier. I believe it is important to note that this new law is completely voluntary and schools are not required to change their daily classroom schedule unless they choose to do so. As a former school board member, I understand how important local control is for trustees, administrators, teachers, and parents. In this case, I know how excited many are to finally be able

to make local decisions about what works best in their communities as it pertains to setting their own individual academic calendars. Several weeks ago, I wrote about how the Texas Agriculture Commissioner was planning on raising fees for certain cost recovery programs administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. These programs are critically important to our state and they help our agriculture industry and rural economy thrive. At a recent Senate hearing, Commissioner Miller outlined why he felt these fee increases were necessary, and while I do have a better understanding of his position, I still believe raising fees by over $21 million in this biennium is unnecessary as there are other options available. The rising costs will negatively impact economic growth and will ultimately be borne by consumers. Numerous legislators from around the state have voiced concerns, but Commissioner Miller has decided to move forward with the increases, which will take effect on January 1st. While he

has the constitutional authority to make this decision, I disagree with it, and I believe it is an issue that the Texas Legislature will certainly take another look at when we reconvene for the next legislative session. If you are in need, please know that my office is always just a phone call away, and we always appreciate your input and are ready for the opportunity to help you navigate state government. Please do not hesitate to contact us at (936) 634-2762 or (512) 463-0508 if we can ever be of assistance, and remember that our door is always open.

The Clardy Family | (L to R) Luke, Gus, Judy, Travis, Leah, John, and Blake Clardy



ach year Judy and I love watching the Nacogdoches Nine Flags Christmas Parade from our balcony, but this year I got a different perspective as the Grand Marshall which was great! Over the holidays, as Judy and I reminisced, we loved to count the many blessings we have received. We are delighted with the special blessing in our lives of the marriage of our oldest son, Blake, to his lovely Leah. We joyfully welcome a daughter to our family of four sons!  I am blessed, but also humbled, by the trust and responsibility given to me to serve as state representative for Cherokee, Nacogdoches and Rusk counties. It challenges me every day to endeavor to listen more carefully, seek greater wisdom, and to lead more boldly. Thank you to all who have offered encouragement, prayers and kind words of support. From our family to yours, Judy and I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2016!

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Lufkin Dream Center Christmas Eve Feed

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NEIGHBOR ENVY There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pulling up at camp with a mature buck in the back of your truck.

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written by Emily Courtney


Neighbor Envy /// Continued


xcept maybe walking up with a gobbler slung over your shoulder, or stepping out of your boat with a wet retriever at your side and a limit of mallards in hand. There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of watching your neighbor do all of those things while you sit empty-handed, wondering why the grass is greener on his side of the fence. Making the transition from experiencing neighbor envy yourself to becoming the one to be envied is simpler than you may think. Most likely you already have an idea of what you want your property to be. Maybe you’ve envisioned it

as a wildlife haven or as a weekend getaway spot for the family. You can see the potential everywhere you look, but are unsure how to make the vision a reality. You need a plan. You need some expert advice, and maybe even a helping hand. A well-constructed management plan is the first and most critical step in realizing your property’s full potential. Management plans can encompass anything from wildlife habitat, to timber, to livestock. To construct a good management plan, first define your short-term and long-term goals and then outline the management activities needed to achieve them. Your plan should

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be built around your vision, so you need someone who understands you and what you want to write it. Your management plan will be the basis for everything you do to manage your property. It will serve as a guide to keep you focused on your vision, a schedule to maximize your efficiency, an instruction manual for management activities, and a resource for valuable knowledge. Once you have a solid plan, the rest will fall into place. This is the key to unlocking your property’s full potential and making your neighbor wonder why the grass on your side of the fence seems so much greener.

brought to you by XILE Fitness


Strict Vs. Kipping Pull-ups


ipping pullups get a bad rap. People quickly discredit the move with little thought as to why we would do such a thing. Kipping pullups aren’t strict pullups; they are an entirely different exercise serving a different purpose. The primary purpose of a strict pull-up is to build strength, mainly in the back and shoulders. They are the squats to our upper body and should be done often to keep your shoulder griddle strong and healthy. Many athletes train heavily on the different presses, but neglect the pull. Not balancing the pull with the press can lead to strength imbalances that can ultimately lead to shoulder injury. Another reason strict

pullups are important is that they are functional. No firefighter has ever kipped themselves into the window of a burning building. Strict pull-ups are supreme and should be developed before adding the dynamic movement of the kip. Kipping pullups are primarily used for metabolic conditioning and should not be used for developing strength. They are highly technical, very powerful, and brutal anaerobic training. They are the sprints to our upper body. While the actual movement of the kipping pull-up may not directly carry over into everyday life, the stamina it develops will. A firefighter will also need that stamina and endurance to save lives. When executed correctly,

kipping pull-ups are a great addition to any fitness program. Strict Pull-ups and kipping pull-ups are two very different exercises, but both have something great to offer. Adding these exercises will do great things to improve your overall strength and conditioning.

Denise Wright doing strict and kipping pull-ups

XILE Fitness • 7001 E State Hwy 103 • (936) 465-0186 • Follow us on

written by Luke Tarbutton


AIMING FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE Couples shooting is one of the best ways to unify two people in their relationship. When you spend time together with no television and no interruptions, you’re able to stay focused on each other. It builds a stronger connection that only you two have together. There are many different types of shooting available to couples out there.


ne type of couples’ shooting that truly builds togetherness is Skeet shooting. This is a shotgun style of shooting where a small clay target known as a “pigeon” is launched into the air from a machine. With this style of shooting you have a few different types you can go with. There is just regular old Trap where you have 25 targets and 25 shots. Then you have others that change things up. Skeet has multiple targets from different stands. Then there are sporting clays and five stand. This style of shooting can provide hours of fun and recreation for a couple. Another type of shooting is mainly a competitive style of shooting. There are many organizations that hold different shooting competitions not only across the state, but across the country. A couple could travel to any state and find a competition location. Four-H, FFA, NRA, and IDPA are just a few of the organizations that hold competitions. The main style of shooting that I suggest for couples is defensive shooting. The only thing that makes your home a safe place is you. Learning to defend your spouse and your family is an essential tool that every one should learn. To do this as a couple not only secures your family, but also builds a much greater trust between partners than normal extracurricular activities. Here at Perfect Shoot we not only support shooters, but we instruct them. We offer a home defense course where every member of your family is encouraged to participate. We will instruct you in the best way about the most effective use of all the firearms that can defend your home. That is where the majority of home defense courses will leave you, with that knowledge. This is good to have, however here at Perfect Shoot, we like to go above and beyond. After you receive instruction on the range, our instructor will accompany you to your home and show you the best way to defend your home. Your home is your castle; you are the only thing making it secure.

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Send a photo of your trophy hunt & information to Submissions are free of charge.

Devin Trotti, Sam Shupak, Ben Stokes, Jeff Brantner, Carter Willmon, Brandon Schmidt, Nolan Collins, and Britt Williams. Mixed bag of 48 ducks on Public Hunting Ground in North Texas.

Jeremy Johnson. 9 pt, score 157. Bow kill. Bullard, TX.

Devin Trotti, Ben Stokes, Carter Willmon, and Brandon Schmidt. 16 Geese and 10 ducks in a field in South Western Oklahoma.

Ainsley Stuck, 9 yrs old, shot her 1st deer while hunting with her dad, Jason Stuck, on family land.

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Payton Foster’s 8pt Mills County buck.

Dr. Kerry Evans Kansas Mule deer

TJM Wedding Issue 2016  
TJM Wedding Issue 2016