Modern Texas Living

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Smile with


D E N TA L I M P L A N T S • L U M I N E E R S • O RT H O D O N T I C S • C R O W N S • F I L L I N G S

HOWELL DENTAL ASSOCIATES Cosmetic and Family Dentistry 254.778.4402 | 5238 South 31st St. • Temple, Texas



Publishers Brandy Stoffel

Ashley Munn

Haley Holden

Contributing Photographers

Contributing Creatives

Mayfield Fine Photography Alex Wolf Photography Tumbling Sparrow Photography Ashley Munn Photography

Rachel McGee Amy McCauley TwoTone Creative Modern Texas Living is published by Lifestylemag CentralTX, LLC. The cover and contents are protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced without prior written permission. All rights reserved. ©Lifestylemag CentralTX, LLC.








Monday – Saturday • 9am - 5pm 9685 Lone Star Parkway Valley Mills, TX 76689 254.486.9150


ISSUE 03 AT HOME Style & Function 03

DIY Master Bedroom Design 15

21 IN THE KITCHEN Pressure Cooker Recipes 21 Grocery Shopping 25 Table Centerpieces 27

33 IN GOOD HEALTH Eating Healthy on a Budget 33

35 FEATURES Talking Shop wih Clint Harp 35 The Bell Family on Faith and Football 39

45 ON THE ROAD Texas Getaways 45 Planning for the Perfect Road Trip 49

53 INSIDE BUSINESS How to Build a Social Media Platform 53 Making Mary Avenue Market 57

61 OF LIFE AND STYLE Top 5 Hair Tools 61 College Life in Waco 65 StyleGram with Janene Crossley 71 What to Wear: Family Photos 73

77 SHE SAYS Kate Holcomb 77 5 Tips for Kid Spaces 79

83 HE SAYS Photographing the Wild 83

89 FROM THE HEART Keep the Faith Finding Love Divorce Late in Life A Warrior’s Battle ON THE COVER Photograph of Clint Harp by Mayfield Photography

89 91 95 97




FUNCTION As the wife of Texas Professional Exteriors owner Daron Farmer, Abbey knew her dream home would be both stylish and functional.

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Photographs by Ashley Munn Photography

There is something special about raising a family on beautiful land with lots of room to play and animals to care for. We wanted a place roomy for family and friends to visit, yet cozy for the four of us.” Abbey Farmer says. “We broke ground in October and moved in three days after Christmas. Ninety days is unheard of for building a home.” Drawing from Southern roots and mixed inspiration, the Farmers’ home encompasses style from colonial to cottage. “We made a decision to make it fun and grow us.”



Casual meets elegance in the Farmer’s entryway. A statement chandelier from Restoration Hardware dresses up the rustic wood tones of the millwork six pane front door and light stained, wide planked, hardwood flooring.

Your Place. Like Home. 501 South 8th Street 254.235.1777 @TheFinderyWaco


Kitchen light fixtures

Ferguson’s in Waco



Black and wood accents warm up the all white kitchen. Two tone counter tops on the island and surrounding cabinetry tie pendant lighting and metal accented bar stools into the overall kitchen design.



Tree Trimming • Driveways Driveway Repair • Skid Steer Service Bucket Truck Service

no job too small Kyle Williams, OWNER OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICER


Let me help make your dream home a reality LINDSY MORTIMER | c: 254-709-1037 |

Barn wood for beams from

Homestead Heritage

Abbey purchased the living room chandelier through Fergusons to tie in the contemporary kitchen with the French country living room.




World Market

Every sun porch should be furnished with a daybed, porch rocker or bed swing.

A Legacy of Service SINCE 1867

I w o u l d l o v e t o h e l p y o u fi n d t h e p e r f e c t h o m e

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Let me help make your dream home a reality

Woodway 254-753-2466 | Waco 254-399-8111

LINDSY MORTIMER | c: 254-709-1037 |

Work out, watch a movie, or win the game with designated square footage.

From soaker tub to walk-in shower, the master bath says luxury. You’d never know the Farmers saved money with faux marble.


“I’m a believer in mixing metals.” Abbey said of the mixed metal hardware throughout. “I love a little bit of everything and that is the beauty of building; you can choose whatever you like.”





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upholstered b ox springs


reat design doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little creativity and some out of the box thinking, you can make your dream space come alive. This Master Retreat created by Sean and Rachel McGee is just that – a dream space. After all the work and money that the McGee’s had already put into the rest of their house, they knew their master bedroom budget would have to be small. “The bed I fell in love with was way out of our price range, but I just couldn’t stop coming back to it.” Rachel tells us. Determined to have the bed of her dreams, she devised a plan to recreate it for just under $200! “I made the headboard using a standard piece of 4 x 8 plywood, cut down to the standard king size of 75 inches wide. Then, I used poster board to free hand half of the design. I cut the poster board design out and placed it on one side of the plywood, traced the design, then flipped it over to the other side and repeated that step so we had a perfectly mirrored

image. I then cut the design out of the plywood using a jig saw.” The jig saw is an easy tool to use, even for a DIY beginner. Considering the cost of an average jig saw is around $50, and can be used for projects ranging from carpet to ceramic tile, it is a great investment. Rachel used a full size eggshell mattress pad in place of expensive foam and batting. “I’m not a professional at upholstering. I knew with all of the curves it was going to be hard to get it wrinkle free. I figured the less bulky the padding was, the easier it would be.” Instead of attaching the headboard to the bed frame as you normally would, Rachel and Sean hung it on the wall, thus creating the appearance of a tall, large scale headboard. If you can believe it, this bed actually has no real frame. The McGee’s attached 2 x 4 boards to the bottom of their existing twin box springs and added turned furniture legs purchased through Amazon. Rachel upholstered the box springs together, using MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 16


L A U R E L A N D B LU S H . C O M


inside Sironia

Texas fa rmhou se boutique w ith u nique v i nta ge, modern , ru s tic a nd clas sic treasu res .



1509 Austin Ave





the same fabric from the headboard to create a uniform look. Vintage cane barrel chairs give this room’s modern look a delicate touch. Rachel found the chairs for just $2.50 each on a resale page. “I could hardly believe someone was willing to practically give this pair away.” Re-purposing furniture from re-sale pages and apps is a great way to keep your budget low. You can breathe new life into an old piece with a little bit of paint and some TLC. “I was even able to paint the upholstery by mixing a fabric medium with some left-over wall paint.” The bedroom’s tall walls and gorgeous tray ceilings are emphasized by hanging the drapes just a few inches below the molding. “I absolutely love the luxurious look of pinch pleat drapery but they are usually pretty pricey. I found these curtains on Amazon. I would have sewn some of my own if these weren’t so inexpensive.” Using back tab drapery can give your window treatments a pleated appearance. All of the other accent furniture pieces in the McGee’s bedroom were also budget-friendly finds. “I love to shop on sites such as Wayfair and Target for a lot of our accent furniture. With three small children, it’s inevitable that the majority of our stuff will get beat up, so quality isn’t necessarily my priority in this season of life. Companies like these offer great looking pieces at very reasonable prices.” The next time you see a beautiful room design and think it’s out of your reach, roll up your sleeves. With a little DIY, it can be yours! You can find more of Rachel McGee’s work at

fabric medium + wall paint



RECIPES CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP DIRECTIONS Turn pressure cooker to “brown” or “sauté”. Toss in the butter and minced garlic.


10.5 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup


Fresh or Frozen Chicken Breasts




Chicken Broth


Minced Garlic




Chopped Carrots



Once butter is melted, add carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or until carrots are

1/2 Tsp

soft. Add all the ingredients except the noodles to the pressure cooker. Lock lid into

1 Tsp

place, making sure pressure valve is closed, and cook for 15 minutes. Boil noodles while

1/2 Tsp

waiting on cooker. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before releasing pressure. Pull out chicken

To Taste

breast, shred and add back to pot.

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8 oz

Dried Basil Onion Powder Oregano Salt and Pepper Egg Noodles

CARNITAS INGREDIENTS 1 Package Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas About 2 1/2 pounds

1 1/2 Cups Orange juice 2 T Brown sugar 1 Lime 1/2 Tsp Salt 2 T Chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS Cut the pork shoulder into 2 inch cubes and place in the pot of an electric pressure cooker. Cover with the orange juice and brown sugar. Close lid and set vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 27 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, about 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the liquid and shred with two forks. Place meat on a metal cookie sheet and squeeze lime juice over the top of the meat. Sprinkle with salt. Place under the broiler until meat is crisp on the edges, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle meat with cilantro and serve as a filling for tacos, burritos, or over rice.




Vegetable or canola oil

2C 14.5 oz

Water Can diced tomatoes


Medium onion, diced


Red bell pepper, seeded and diced


Elbow macaroni

Garlic cloves, minced


Frozen corn


Chopped cilantro


Optional: press through a garlic press

1 2T 1/4 Tsp 1 Lb

Jalapeño, finely diced Chili powder Cayenne pepper (optional) Ground beef

To Taste 4 oz Garnish

Salt and pepper Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend Sour cream and avocado, optional

85 percent lean or ground turkey

DIRECTIONS Preheat the pressure cooker over medium heat (or use the sauté setting on the Instant Pot). Heat the oil until simmering. Sauté the onion and red pepper until softened, then add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant. Add the meat and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon while cooking. Add the water, tomatoes, and pasta. In a regular pressure cooker, bring to high pressure over medium-high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for five minutes. Quick release the pressure. In an Instant Pot, set to bean/chili and set time for five minutes. At the end of the cook time, turn the Instant Pot off and quick release the pressure. Stir in the corn and the cilantro. The residual heat from the pot should thaw the corn. Salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the cheese. Serve immediately, topped with sour cream and avocado if desired.

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BUTTER RANCH BONELESS PORK CHOPS INGREDIENTS 1 T Olive oil 4-6 Boneless pork chops 1 Stick Butter (or margarine) 1 Package Ranch mix 1 C Water

DIRECTIONS Place the pork chops in the Instant pot with the tablespoon of olive oil. Turn on the sautĂŠ setting and brown on both sides. Make sure all pork chops are browned (this step is optional but chops look prettier when browned first). Place the butter on top and sprinkle ranch mix on top. Pour water over pork. Place the lid on and set to sealing. Push the manual button and set to 5 minutes. Allow it to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes and then do a quick release to remove the rest of the pressure. Spoon sauce over chops and serve.



Online or Curb-Side


Submitted by Waco Moms Blog • Visit for more helpful mom advice.

If you use Amazon Pantry to shop in your pajamas, you probably wish you could add fresh produce, or local HEB salsa, to your cart. While Amazon’s Prime Fresh is not yet available in Central Texas, check out these grocery service options.

CURB-SIDE PICK-UP Want the in-store prices, but skip the line? Try curb-side pick-up.


VALLEY MILLS AND WOODWAY Pick-up: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Place order by 9:00 a.m. for same day pick-up at 4:00 p.m. Fees: Expect about a $5 shopping fee.

WALMART CURB-SIDE SHIPT FOR HEB DELIVERY Same day available, including suburban areas, and free for orders over $35. FEES Membership costs range from $8.25 to $14 a month.

INSTACART FOR HEB DELIVERY From 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. daily, you can schedule delivery in as little as an hour or up to 7 days in advance. FEES Membership costs $149 a year for free deliveries of $35 minimum purchases. Online grocery services may have a mark-up on in-store prices, may not honor some coupons, and may not have all in-store items available for delivery.

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Pick-up: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Fees: Free pick-up, and no mark-up If you enjoy shopping for fresh produce, consider having your non-perishables (e.g., diapers) ready for curb-side pick-up on a Saturday morning before heading to any of the three Waco farmers’ markets to enjoy breakfast and great local shopping. WACO MOM’S BLOG Photo courtesy of Rachel Whyte Photography

FREE HOME INSPECTIONS C onc r e te Pier Rep air C ombo P ier Rep air P ie r & Beam R ep air S te e l P ier Rep air Dr a in S ys t em s



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Whether you have a formal dining room that you rarely use or a less formal eating area that you use every day, it’s always nice to have something pretty on the table that you can enjoy. These centerpiece ideas are unique and simple to put together.

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VINTAGE TOOL CADDY A vintage tool caddy (this one is from The Cedar Chest) works well for a long narrow table. It’s substantial yet has a small footprint overall and is low enough that you won’t be dodging to see the person seated across from you. I filled it with silk hydrangeas from Jo Ann’s (I cut the stems off by half first), but any faux blooms or greenery would do. The handle on the caddy makes it easy to grab and move out of the way when you need to.



CHICKEN FEEDER Another idea for a narrow table is a chicken feeder. They’re relatively easy to find at antique or junk stores and come in all sizes. This one from Junque in the Trunk is small and inexpensive. If you fill it with plates you already own, you’ve got yourself a unique centerpiece for very little money.

WOODEN BOX This wooden box filled with ferns makes a statement, adds texture, and is a snap to throw together. I packed plastic grocery bags in the box before adding the greenery. When the greenery gets dusty, yank them out, wash them off, allow to dry, and pop back in. The handles on the box make it easy to grab and move out of the way when needed. The box and ferns (I used about eight stems) are from Hobby Lobby. MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 30


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SILVER TRAY You can never go wrong with a silver tray as the base for a centerpiece. This one from Junque in the Trunk is ornate and tarnished to perfection. To save money, you can use accessories or decorative items you already own. Think big, medium, small. Here, I used an urn from Hobby Lobby filled with greenery from IKEA as my largest item, a dark metal trophy cup (also from Hobby Lobby) with some flashcards from Canton Trade Days tucked inside, and a blue and white china tureen.



By Kodie Talley, online health and fitness coach at

There is a common misconception that to eat healthy means to break the bank at the grocery store. Healthy eating does not have to be expensive poultry or organic vegetables. Here are top tips on how to eat clean on a

$40 budget for a week!

G R O C E RY L I S T PRODUCE 1 bag of store brand baby spinach.................................... $1.78 3 green bell peppers (.68 cents ea.)................................... $2.04 2 cucumbers (.38 cents ea).................................................. $0.76 1 bag grapefruits (5 lbs)...................................................... $2.78 1 bundle bananas (.48 cents per lb, 5.89 lbs).................... $2.83 2 frozen bags of mixed vegetables ($1.38 ea.)..................$2.76 2 Ib strawberries.................................................................. $1.88 2 romaine Lettuce ($1.58 ea.).............................................. $3.16 1 bag of red potatoes (5 lbs).............................................. $2.89 MEAT 1 lean ground turkey (3 lbs) ................................................$3.44 1 tilapia fillet bag .................................................................$5.00 1 chicken breast tenders......................................................$6.26 GRAINS 1 whole wheat bread........................................................... $1.56 1 dark red kidney beans......................................................$0.59 2 black beans (.59 cents ea.)................................................$1.89 DAIRY 2 dozen eggs (.88 ea.) .........................................................$1.76


QUICK TIPS PLAN MEALS AND MAKE A LIST There is no easier way to go over budget than going to the store without a list and a plan.


Shop only for what is necessary to your meal plan, and consider less expensive substitutes. For example, you can save money by using water instead of almond milk for smoothies. Luxury items like protein bars can be completely left off your meal plan.

DO NOT OVER ESTIMATE While buying in bulk saves money over time, if you only have $40, pick the cheapest option that will provide food for the week. Do spend time calculating the quantity of items to price, though. Buying two 15 ounces cans of beans at .59 cents each, saves you .17 cents over one 24 ounces can at $1.35 and you get more.

EARN AND USE REWARDS AND COUPONS Shop at grocery stores that offer reward points and coupons. Couponing doesn’t have to be time consuming, just watch for store brand offers as they are more likely to be discounted.

HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Nutty cereal mix with seed + dried cranberries Hard-boiled egg Berries Celery + almond butter Banana Rice Cakes Kiwi Apple + granola + cinnamon + greek yogurt Mixed veggie bag + hummus Apple + almond butter Whole wheat crackers Sunflower seeds (unsalted) Low-Sugar protein bar Popcorn




C LI NT HAR P By Brooke Hanson


or many of us, the first introduction to Clint Harp came from watching him create pieces for Fixer Upper from the screens of our living room. That’s where most have fallen for the down-to-earth, simple guy with the remarkable talent of wood working. Clint is a family man at heart. With wife Kelly, he has created a happy and full life around their 3 children: Hudson (9), Holland (7), and Camille (4). Harp spoke for many parents when he laughingly answered the question of what activities they like to do, “We are at the stage where it doesn’t matter if you have something you like to do, because there is always something else you have to do, like birthday parties.” When asked how he has stayed grounded while living the rare reality of his dream coming true he replied, “If I’m grounded at all, it’s because I grew up in a situation where it would have made sense for me to not make it in life.” He is a man who came from a loving family, yet not one of great financial means. The hard times in his life have never felt very far from him; they have served to drive him harder to accomplish his dreams.

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Clint credits his maternal grandfather and dad for the qualities we know him best for. Clint’s passion for working with his hands and woodworking was fostered by his grandfather. At an early age, Clint remembers being put to work on machines he claims he had no business working on. It seems his grandfather recognized the passion in his young grandson and knew the best way for it to develop was to let him dive right in. Clint’s dad passed on an ability to be comfortable standing in front of people or cameras, and modeled the importance of laughing and taking life lightly. Baylor brought Clint to Waco twice. He first came from Georgia as a college student on a “full loan”, then later moved back with his family for Kelly to earn a Master’s degree. This move accompanied the decision for Clint to pursue his dream of building furniture for a living. The Harps have lived various places to include Florida, the Netherlands, Paris, Dallas, and Houston, and appreciate the “small town with a bigger town feel” of Waco. Clint likes that people are moving to Waco to start small businesses. “That’s how a town grows; people move here because they

Photographs by Molly Winn

probably do something different than the day before. see potential.” In addition to being a Baylor Bears fan, his The workshop is located next door to their own beloved Georgia roots run deep. Clint claims when you are raised Fixer Upper. With approximately 25,000 people a week in the South as a Georgia Bulldog, taking family pictures in visiting Waco to take in the Magnolia Silos and more, living UGA jerseys, you are basically a Bulldog for life! next door to their storefront became a little crazy. Clint Some things in life come full circle. In the first four months considered having their house moved, before deciding to of the Harp family moving back to Waco, Clint volunteered rent it on VRBO. Enthusiasts of Harp Design Co. and Fixer full time at Habitat for Humanity. His grandmother’s work at Upper now have another great option for Waco lodging! the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library prompted his desire Harp’s fans are familiar with to volunteer for the organization. his mantra, “Love-Build-Run”, (Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have as something he truly takes to been dedicated Habitat volunteers “ I F I ’ M G R O U N D E D AT heart. Leading by example, Clint for more than 30 years.) That believes in being a loving person, relationship led to renting and A L L , I T ’ S B E C AU S E I finding joy in what you do, and eventually purchasing the Harp fueling your body, spiritually and Design workshop from Habitat. He G R EW U P I N A S I T UAT I O N physically. Early in his life, Clint’s continues to give back to Habitat youth minister taught about through the donations of tables three types of people: those and other pieces created in the W H E R E I T W O U L D H AV E who make things happen, those Harp workshop. who watch things happen, and The filming of the Fixer Upper MA D E S E N S E F O R M E TO those that question, “What just pilot began soon after Clint happened?”. He also stressed to began working with the Gaines. NOT M A K E I T I N L I F E . ” Clint the importance of integrity. The natural friendship they have Harp knows he won’t get it perfect developed is evident in what fans every day, but tries to live up to it. see on TV. What started with a few Although life is a little different now, the Harps have original pieces built for Joanna has resulted in a thriving stayed true to who they are. They want their furniture and business, endorsement from Citizens Watch, a regular home goods to look great in a Texas home or a New York appearance on Fixer Upper, and now filming a show for the loft; something they keep in mind as they push their designs DIY Network called Wood Work. further. They have expanded the storefront into an online Harp Design’s employees have grown to around twentystore, where they also welcome special orders. For more five now, including interns. The enjoyment of working information on Harp Designs Co., their vacation rental, or there is partly due to everyday being a new project, task, to shop their products visit or challenge. Clint appreciates waking up knowing he will MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 36


Modern Texas Living presents the winners of the 2017 Flower Child Photo Contest. The early summer days of Central Texas are known for the blankets of wildflowers.

Submitted by Shannon Shivers photo by iMamarazi Studios

Illustrations by Rebekah Ely

Blue Bonnet

Submitted by Kelsey Darby

State flower of Texas

Many Texas families have participated in the annual roadside photo opportunity.

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Prickly Pear Cactus Designated the official plant symbol of Texas in 1995

Indian Paintbrush Grows in sandy soil from Northeast to Southwest Texas Submitted by Kristie Mason Photography


BRING IT! T H E B E L L F A M I LY O N FA I T H A N D F O O T B A L L By Brandy Stoffel


f you head West on Highway 6 out of Waco about 15 miles, a

Shawn, now 33, recently returned to Baylor as an offensive analyst

right turn on North River Crossing will take you into the growing

under Head Football Coach Matt Rhule, while younger brother, Brian,

town of China Spring. As you drive over the Bosque River at

26, joined their dad coaching at China Spring. Brian tells me he

sunset, you can see the stadium lights of cougar country, where Head

recently read Lead for God’s Sake. Author Todd Gongwer writes, “The

Football Coach and Athletic Director Mark Bell has been leading

best leaders’ legacies produce what Jesus called ‘good fruit,’ lived out

young men, including his two sons, for 21 years.

through others way after they themselves have gone by the wayside.”

“Bring It!” Mark tells his oldest son, Shawn, just before he takes

I met the Bells at the Mayfields’ Photography studio for pictures

the field as a sophomore quarterback for Baylor University in a 2004

and an interview on a humid spring day in China Spring. Chairs are

game against Texas A & M. The weight those two words must carry

scarce in the studio, and Brian asks the ladies in the room if they’d

to a son from a father who has coached you, always: to trust your

like to sit before he takes a seat. Small talk about bar-b-que is going

muscle memory, to scan the field, to keep your composure, to have

around between us as pictures are taken, and Mrs. Bell reminisces

faith in yourself, and God, for whatever the outcome. It’s overtime

about Southeastern Louisiana food while at a tailgate of one of Brian’s

now, Shawn sees receiver Dominique Ziegler come open and throws

games as quarterback for Sam Houston State. Mr. and Mrs. Bell have

the game-winning two-point conversion. Tears of joy streaming,

never missed a game of either son in eight years of college football,

Shawn looks to the Baylor stands for his dad, and mom Becca (Becky)

not one game. “Dad would do whatever he had to do to make it, drive

Bell. “I don’t know how dad got down there [to the field] so fast; it

all night or take a 5 a.m. flight,” Brian says. They’ve been to games in

was like 20 seconds.” Shawn laughs. “They tore the goal posts down

Montana, even Canada.

that night, so I framed a piece for dad for Christmas.” 39 |

When Mark and Becca arrived in China Spring 21 years ago, the

they arrived in China Spring. “Our boys took her loss and did very

only restaurants were attached to gas stations, and the football field

positive things with it. Shawn [playing baseball at the time] would

was more of a field in the traditional sense of the word. “You’d have

take his bat and draw her initials in the sand before games. Brian

to chase the chickens off the field.” Becca laughs. “We spent two

would write all our family initials on his hand with a marker.” From

years [on that field] and then the bond passed [and we got Cougar

the edge of the couch, Becca adds, “It was hard on our family, but

Stadium that we have now],” Mark adds with nostalgia across his

we became closer. When you’re a believer, it’s the hope that it’s just

understated smile. Why move here?

a separation.” Mark admits it tested his faith. “Becky read so many

Coach Bell graduated from Texas A & M in 1980, and after several

books on heaven. I was the opposite. I got mad at God. What did

years in other Texas towns, came to China Spring in ‘96 hoping he

this little 5 and half year-old girl do to deserve this?” While Becca

and Mrs. Bell could start again after tragedy, and provide a good

turned to God for more strength, and prayed more, Mark required

education for their sons. The Bells lived in Clifton when they lost

more time to turn his faith around again. “Professional Christian

their 5 and half year-old daughter, Lindsay, in an accident. “Losing

counseling helped [me] to learn you have certain fears in your life,

a daughter, you don’t ever think about having to bury your own

and you have to recognize them. I had the fear of pain. I didn’t want

child.” Becky wipes away welled-up tears from her blue eyes. Mark

to deal with it again.” Becca, still on the edge of the couch cushion,

is sunk back on the velvet green couch, “We went to another town

responds with resignation, “You have to let it make you stronger, or

for a few years to get a new atmosphere. It just wasn’t healthy for

it will kill you.” Mark took Becky on a trip to San Diego a few years

us to stick around there [Clifton].” It would be two years later when

ago, where they attended service at the church of one of Becca’s


favorite Christian authors, Pastor David Jeremiah (father of former

were in the hospital, sometimes different hospitals [for specialists].”

college quarterback, and current NFL Network analyst, Daniel

Brian, sitting in a chair adjacent to the couch cocooning the rest

Jeremiah). In Pastor Jeremiah’s words, “Through prayer and trust,

of his family, adds, “We spent Christmas at Pappadeaux’s across

God enables us to stand strong in the midst of our greatest trials.”

from the hospital.” The whole family nods in bittersweet memory

If there is any doubt that Mark Bell found a home and a calling

together. In recognizing that his perspective for his own children,

in China Spring football, he puts that to rest. “Being a head football

including recently born daughter, Saydi, translates to the students

coach in this community is about family. It has allowed me to [be

Shawn will coach at Baylor, he says he will model expectations.

there for my boys]. You get to stay there for 21 years. China Spring

“If I say you have to do something, then I have to do that.” Brian

is home for us.” Becca adds, proudly, “He would have parent duty

elaborates, “It’s hard for kids to understand why they have to run

after school, and the boys loved to hang out during practice.”

every day, or wear a uniform, if you aren’t doing that [too].” Shawn

There’s no lack of admiration for the extended family of the

confirms Coach Rhule leads this way too. “He’s a first-class guy. He

school district, either. When Mark had heart surgery in May of

will demand the most out of our players and will lead by example

2016, he missed a week of work. “Probably the first time I’ve done

in the way he works.”

that. Everyone from the Superintendent to the nurse stepped in.”

So how does what you model for a daughter differ from what

Perhaps foreshadowing China Spring’s future football leadership,

you model for boys? “I hope I can model to her what her husband

Mark adds “Brian stepped in and took more responsibility.”

will be for her: the love I show my wife, that she will want that

Raising boys eight years apart proved positive for the boys’ healthy competitive spirit. “Brian got to experience his brother’s successes, watch him, and not be in conflict with it,” Becca

in.” Shawn smiles. While Saydi has recently captured the hearts of the Bell

explains. “Shawn became a big fan

family, Brian reports no other leading

of Brian. He came in on Thursdays to


watch Brian’s high school games while

responsible, to focused on faith and

he was at Baylor.” Competition was

family, his attributes paint the picture

still strong, though. “We were active

of an eligible Central Texas bachelor.

growing up. We had Easter Olympics,

Before joining his dad in coaching

and we’d have to complete obstacles,”

at China Spring, Brian was a coach

Shawn says. “I would time them to go

and a teacher in Magnolia ISD, and

get the mail. I just wanted the mail,” adds Mark with a grin. “I use to beg Shawn to let Brian win, just once. He never would.” Brian quickly retorts, “That’s not a problem now.” Shawn has two boys of his own

Photos by Mayfield Fine Photography

someday. That’s my goal as a dad to a daughter. I’m only 2 weeks






a graduate assistant for the football

M A K E YO U S T R O N G E R ,

China Spring last played in the state

O R I T W I L L K I L L YO U .

team at Georgia Southern University. championship game in 2007 (3A, District 2), but Brian is no stranger to being an underdog. Referred to in his

now, twins Braxton and Cannon. “They

college player profile as “Bearkats’

are so opposite. [They want] different

all-time ‘winningest’ quarterback”, he

color cups, plates, things to eat.”

advanced the 2012 underdog team to

While healthy competition may lead to successful sports players,

the NCAA Division I Championship game. “We lost, and that hurt,

Shawn makes it clear that’s not the priority for his sons. “Like dad

but being on the road traveling with the team that year was fun.”

always told me, it’s not how many games you win, but what kind of

When he isn’t coaching, Brian enjoys golf, hunting, and attending

person you are. After all the NICU stuff, perspectives [are clear].”

sports games. “If I’m watching something on TV, it’s probably

Shawn and wife, Hali, almost lost their boys to prematurity. “At 18

sports related.”

weeks, they told us they weren’t going to make it. I still wear my

The southern gentle nature of these men can be attributed

bracelet.” Shawn lowers his arm from the back of the couch and

to Mrs. Bell. “Becky was the glue that held it all together,” says

points to his blue bracelet with the verse Psalms 121:1-2.

Mark, with a loving look to his wife. “I was really tough on our

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

boys, probably too tough.” Becca says she prays her boys are

Where does my help come from?

“better men than athletes or coaches”. Brian recounts notes that

My help comes from the LORD

she would leave for him in the morning before school to let him

The Maker of heaven and earth.

know how proud she is. Shawn recalls a particular moment of

“My wife created them. Dad still wears his, too.” Braxton

feeling failure, “In third grade I didn’t make the creative writing

and Cannon were born, during football season, at 27 weeks 2

team. I was in mom’s Astro van crying and she had the principal

days, weighing under 3 lbs. Shawn begins listing surgeries and

come talk to me. She would always say ‘God has a plan for you’.”

complications they endured, one by one, heart, lung, brain,

Her nature is calm, kind, and joyous. She wants her boys to be the

in detail that reminds everyone in the room how fresh the pain

spotlight. “I’m behind, but I enjoy making scrapbooks of all the

remains, how deeply fear of loss scars a heart, especially those that

boys’ years of football.” And how does Mrs. Bell characterize her

know it well. “We were driving to Houston for the 130 days they

relationship to football? “I’m married to it, a mother to it, and I MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 42

“ G O D H A S A P L A N F O R YO U . ”

love every minute of it. I really enjoy watching them do something

closing a chapter with these kids, and all that work is over. It lasts

that brings them a lot of joy.” Mark, clearly

about two days, though. The passion [keeps

recognizing her sacrifice, adds “She has been

me motivated] to see how good a team can

in tough spots when your husband is the head

become, to see how we can go beyond talent.”

coach and your son is the quarterback. She

Who coaches the coach?

[also] learned when I say ‘a few minutes’ [til I’m

minister at Parkview Baptist Church; his wisdom

home for dinner] that means two hours later.”

is infinite. He’s like a father figure for me.”

“I look up to our

These days, Mrs. Bell spends time with

The verse from James continues, “Let

her grandkids, and is involved in Bible Study

perseverance finish its work so that you may be

Fellowship (BSF). The verse she shares with

mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

me is from James, “Consider it pure joy, my

Mr. Bell talks of his grown sons, “I’m honored

brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of

that these guys do what I do and see the value

many kinds, because you know that the testing

in coaching. These guys had a good life growing

of your faith produces perseverance.”

up in the coaching environment and having role

Persevere, so they have. “Becky can’t tell you


Shawn confirms his father’s legacy

how many times a season has ended and I say, ‘I can’t do this again,

is strong. “I’ve always wanted to coach, there was nothing else I

for the pain of the loss’.” Mark shifts in his seat, “It’s depressing

wanted to do. My boys wear whistles and want to coach.”

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ROA D TR I P By Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer, Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts


ew things are as fun as a road trip with your favorite people, and one of the best parts can be the spontaneity of jumping in the car and hitting the open road. For some of us, spontaneity is the draw, for others, the drawback. I am personally not of the mind that we should plan out every fuel or food stop. I think finding places without a website can be a real modern day adventure. I do, however, recommend some minor planning and creative packing to minimize inconveniences and maximize the fun!

Take care of your vehicle This seemingly small task is the number one most important thing to do. If your car breaks down on the road, it will be an adventure, just not a good one. Change the oil, rotate the tires, and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and you are ready for the open road. A good detailing before departure is a thoughtful gesture, but not a deal-breaker if not completed.

Pack for the road, not a summer abroad Packing is where even the best of us fall flat when traveling. Take one duffel bag and two hangers of hanging clothes per person. The exception would be going to a wedding or similar event requiring more formal clothes than a leisurely jaunt through the hill country. Start with shirts, taking one for each day you will be gone; add one coordinating bottom to every two tops. Include one set of fancier evening attire, one set of sleeping clothes, and a fresh set of underclothes for each day. Taking one pair of shoes along with a pair of flip-flops will make things easier for you. Even when traveling with children, the less you bring along, the more fun will happen. If you’re not willing to wing it with the wee ones, pack a travel game, or load the iPad with shows before you leave behind the download speed of your home internet. Go, see the country, and enjoy the journey!

Phone charger, Auto game, Spice Village: Sunglasses,, Formela:

Jennifer Snyder, CPO ® (254) 715-3888 • Certified Professional Organizer Productivity Coach Quantum Leap Trainer

Hitting the open road soon? Share what you’re packing with us on Instagram using #MTLmagontheroad.



S O C I A L M E D I A P L AT F O R M Do you grow the juiciest tomatoes? Do you make the best pancakes? Do you craft the most creative holiday wreaths?


ell, maybe your tomatoes are more coral in color than fire engine red and your pancakes are fluffy, but your syrup skills could use a little work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a lifestyle social media account to share your talents and tastes. Nowadays, when you scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed, it seems that everyone is starting a travel

blog or goes by DIY Diva. No need to be intimidated by what seems like perfect photos and detailed descriptions. It all takes time, strategy, and planning to develop the best brand. Whatever your passion is, dining at local restaurants, dancing, mixtapes or mixed drinks, you can start your own social media account with a few simple steps.

Establish a Theme & Audience Defining a theme and target-audience will help keep your brand on track. Will you have a blog or just Instagram pictures? What are your follower’s interests? These details can help with hashtag choices to gain future followers.

Set Goals Social media for branding typically has three goals: build brand awareness, gain followers, and/or sell more products or services. Each month these three goals might move around in order of importance, but staying focused on these goals can grow your brand.

Determine a Design & Voice The strength of social media is found in interesting photos that stand out in a busy newsfeed. Establish the design, filter choice, and voice to use in every post. This creates a brand foundation that your followers will recognize every time they open their social media app.

Have Fun Social media was created as a space to create connections in an

Want more social media tips or need

interactive way. Make sure the posts you publish are posts that would

marketing help with your business?

make you hit the “like” button.

Check out to connect and chat with LBD Social Strategies founder, Lillyan Baker Duck, @LBDujour.

Take a chance on joining the world of influencers. You don’t have to be the best in your field to be an inspiration to future followers or even yourself.


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by Joanna Mayberry


he moment Marshall Stewman stood at the cross roads of South 6th Street and Mary Avenue in Waco, he saw potential. He saw a large pecan tree situated perfectly

beside the 11,000 square feet building, and a thriving Silo District just down the railroad tracks of Jackson Street. He envisioned a place where families could convene to enjoy a meal on the patio after shopping at Waco’s newest boutiques. Marshall had a hunch that two of his oldest friends, Peter Thyen and Cameron Goss, would share this vision for development in their hometown.

At a table for four in the historic downtown Praetorian building, just a block away from the nearly complete Mary Avenue Market, I sat down with the trifecta of development talent that is Deluge Holdings, LLC. Marshall, an ambitious businessman, managed properties and ventured in Dallas business with Peter, until Waco beckoned them home again. With Fixer-Upper fans flocking to Magnolia Market, the downtown area was experiencing exponential growth. Marshall had always felt that the downtown area had much to offer, but the risk of investment was too great. Finally, the time was right to make his way home. After discussions with Peter about numbers, Marshall called Cameron, owner of Bowen Electric in Waco, to consider handling construction of a development. Marshall closed on the property later dubbed Mary Ave Market in August 2016. The three friends display an easy, even enviable, relationship, with laid-back style and camaraderie that dates back to their time at Lake Air Middle School and Waco High playing baseball.

With degrees

from Texas A & M (Marshall ’04, Peter ’04) and Baylor (Cameron ’04, Marshall ’06), their individual strengths of vision, finance, and construction, prove a successful combination. Deluge Holdings managed to secure $294,000 in Tax Increment Financing Zone funds (public financing method used as a subsidy for community projects and infrastructure) in the development process.

And while finding

the right first tenant for the market was a fearful feat, the trio eventually found themselves turning businesses away. The learning process then began with the construction details for the new businesses moving in. What was expected to be the easiest part of the process proved most tedious in needing approval from the City Council on various changes to the building. Peace of mind came as approvals were given to incorporate the vision each tenant had for their occupied space. Mary Avenue Market, including tenants for gourmet Mexican cuisine and fine clothing, burgeoned into a quintessential plaza for Wacoans and tourists alike. Prospering in the first venture in Waco, Deluge Holdings is eager to start new projects in the downtown vicinity. The making of Mary Avenue Market may serve as an example of reciprocity between three Wacoans and the town that built them.


Photographs by Ashley Munn Photography

We asked Marshall a few questions about starting a business in Waco: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS CONSIDERING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN WACO? This is tough because motivation is different for everyone. The primary things I would suggest are to pick a great team and immediately begin taking persistent, massive action on your plan. There is no reason to


reinvent the wheel, and by thoughtfully selecting the right team you get the benefit of their local experience and knowledge. Secondly, you will

Local banking relationships are very important to us and we are

never have all of the answers, but I believe strongly in taking the first

very lucky to have several amazing local banks in Waco. Central

step. Fear of having a great idea that never comes to fruition due to my

National Bank was an outstanding partner with us on this project.

lack of action is a big motivator for me.

Chad Hanson was our real estate broker on the property acquisition, and Gregg Glime was the real estate broker responsible for leasing


the property; both were instrumental in the process. Jacob Bell, with Walker Partners Engineering, was very helpful with all civil engineering work and assisting us in navigating the city process to re-zone and plat the property. Marcus Trimble was our architect and

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. This was different a

his design is ultimately what got us to where we are. Gregg’s leasing

few years ago, but now I think Waco is ready for anything. I love seeing

conversations became much easier as soon as we had Marcus’s

the mix of national brands and chains come to town [in addition to] the

conceptual rendering to show potential tenants. For construction,

numerous local shops opening up. The culture is changing and I think

we utilized a lot of Cameron’s contractor connections and they were

it will thrive as entrepreneurs continue to push forward with their ideas

all outstanding to work with. We challenged them throughout the

and concepts.

project with a demanding schedule and tight working confines; all performed at 100%, exceeding our expectations.

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COLLEGE LIFE I N WA C O By Crista Lacqua


t was 2014 and the summer preceding my sophomore year of college at Baylor University. My mother and I were shopping at Honey’s Home+Style, a small antique and home décor store located in Waco’s downtown district. We had done a lot of shopping and were starting to get hungry, so we asked the man who was working there, Jeff Rader, for suggestions on where to eat. A simple question slowly turned into a conversation about Waco’s history. I remember Jeff saying that in 20 years, Waco will become Austin. I stood there dumbfounded. Waco… to become Austin? There’s no way. Fast track three years later and oh boy, is Jeff still proving me wrong. Waco’s transformation seemed to have occurred within the blink of an eye and is a contributing reason for the growing population of college students who reside here. Perhaps what sparked the transformation was the 2015 reopening of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ little shop on Bosque in downtown Waco, now known as Magnolia Market at the Silos. Each week people from all over flock to Magnolia to bask in the glory of Chip and Jo’s empire, as seen on their HGTV program, Fixer Upper. Late and sunny Saturday mornings at Magnolia are havens for college students who are free of the week’s obligations and are looking to shop or indulge in the delectable treats from the various food trucks offered there.

But sometimes the obligations of undergraduate life don’t always halt on weekends. From Magnolia, drive three minutes via 6th street to Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, a coffee and cocktail shop with a “modern and vintage” feel to it. There, you can find students working while sipping on a cup of authentic Italian espresso. If eligible, some will be readily drinking Dichotomy’s famous craft cocktails, easing away the pressures that come along with academic life. Dichotomy isn’t the only cozy place where students bury their noses in laptops and books. Students frequent Pinewood Coffee Bar and Common Grounds too. Each shop carefully adheres to the college student running on no sleep, just as much as they tailor to his or her Instagram aesthetic needs. At Common Grounds, you will not only find lengthy conversations and studious minds, step outside to the backyard on any weekday evening, and there could be a solo indie artist performing, or a fraternity-sponsored charity event. But even for the music-loving college student, evenings can be spent elsewhere other than in Common Grounds’ backyard. You can spy groups of friends gallivanting along downtown Waco’s Austin Avenue, excitedly standing in line to get into bars like Halftime and Austin’s on the Avenue. Thursdays are the moneymaking days for both businesses, with students crowding whichever bar to see the usual

college band perform hits ranging from ‘90s classics to more contemporary songs. Austin Avenue isn’t just for bars and music, it’s the center of Waco’s cultural attractions. Students have access to public art galleries, concerts from performers like Pat Green and Cody Johnson, a riverside-farmers market, and more. Film lovers can walk to the Hippodrome Theatre, one of the many buildings that give downtown an old-fashioned town flare. People can choose to watch a first run or classic movie while experiencing in-theater dining. The food selections on Austin Avenue expand much farther than the Hippodrome. Students can enjoy a barbecue restaurant like Coach’s or a dish of pasta at Portofino’s. Walk over to 5th street from Austin Avenue and you can catch students eating sandwiches from Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shoppe, a sandwich shop with the ultimate neighborhood feel and notable for their homemade bread and perfectly made garlic-butter. Just as much as we appreciate the cooking here in Waco, we appreciate Cameron Park, a 416-acre urban park that was established in 1910 and the home to Cameron Park Zoo. When the weather is nice, students love coming to the park for the multiple activities available. There are incredible biking and hiking trails as well as disc golf courses, all with breathtaking views of the Brazos River. The Brazos is another popular spot, and it’s common to see many people engaging in recreational water sports such as paddle boarding and kayaking. Besides all the restaurants and recreational activities, there is one that is memorable above all else: college football season. Baylor’s football stadium, McLane Stadium, MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 66


special. There is a strong unison among all those rooting for Baylor. Game day is game day to each individual, whether an official Bear or friendly fan. If you had asked me seven years ago if I would move from New York City to Waco, Texas to attend college, I would have probably laughed. I was certain I wasn’t leaving the Tri-State Region, but coming to Waco has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. A college town should be one that’s enlightening yet comforting, and Waco is both. It’s a home away from home for many, with an unexplainable ease felt in the air. After all, maybe it’s no coincidence we attend college right in the heart of Texas.

Crista Lacqua is a senior at is filled with green, gold, cowboy boots and a crowd spirit like no other. When student fans aren’t in the stadium, you can find them “sailgating” on the Brazos, enjoying drinks and burgers at George’s Restaurant & Catering or downing an 18-inch pizza at Shorty’s Pizza Shack when the game is finished. With the building of McLane came even larger crowds at each game, but the passion from the fans was always there, and that’s what makes football season in Waco truly

We d d i n g E n g a g e m e n t C h i l d r e n F a m i l y

Baylor, and a member of the Buttoned Bears. Buttoned is a fashion blog created by three Baylor women who wanted to spread the latest in fashion across the Baylor community. You can find more from Buttoned Bears, and their growing team, at, or on Instagram @buttonedbears.

A s h l e y M u n n P h o t o g r a p h y. c o m



S even ups ca l e event s pa c es fo r up to 5 0 0 + g u est s a l l w i t h pa no ra m i c c i t y a n d sta di um v i ews . Be co m e a Bay l o r Cl u b Me m b e r a nd e n j oy di ni n g , net wo r ki n g a nd exc l us i ve a c c es s to ga m e we e ke nd a ct i v i t i e s a s wel l a s a c e s s to m o re t h a n 3 0 0 c l ubs a nd f re e go l f t hro u g h C l ubC o r p ’s nat i o nw i de net work. We i nv i te yo u to ex per i e nc e

Clu b C o r p ’s 2 0 1 6 “ C l u b o f t h e Yea r ”.

1 0 0 1 So ut h M a r t i n L ut h e r K i ng B l vd.


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STYLEGRAM Hi! I’m Janene. I was born and raised here in Texas. I’m the wife to my college sweetheart who has made me a mama to 4 beautiful babes. I created Hello Ivory Rose blog and @janenecrossley on Instagram to share my raw experiences as a mom and my passions for fashion, fitness, and nutrition. But, Diet Coke and chocolate are my jam.

HOW DO YOU STAY CURRENT WITH WHAT IS NEW OR IN STYLE AT THE MOMENT? Oooh. Well, I have a lot to catch up on now that my wardrobe selection has expanded from my tiny maternity section. I love receiving fashion blog posts from my favorite bloggers directly to my email! It cuts down on time spent scanning the internet for inspiration.


I like to share the sweetness that I catch through glimpses of our ordinary daily life. The moments I want to remember inspire my posts. Some of my inspiration stems from simply styling items from sponsored brands in the most authentic way my family would typically use them.


As a whole, I think we all want to feel that we’re legit friends through our screens on social media. And real friends can see the up and down rollercoaster that life can throw at us. Being vulnerable to my followers through sharing both weaknesses and successes fosters a connection. People want to know 71 |

the real person behind the post and that’s what I think is great about provoking questions at the end of posts and responding to comments. When I’m not able to respond to all the comments, I try to get to the last few!


I have a fairly simple and feminine style as far as my clothing goes. I’m drawn to solids and stripes, and tons of textures like crochet, lace, or embroidered looks. I’ll pair simple outfits with pops of color in my accessories. I think having a great rotating set of accessories lets you keep up with trendy fashions without needing to replace your basic tees and jeans. And this is definitely how I dressed up my baby bumps. Whimsical jewelry, shades, lip color, and shoes were all I needed to feel a little more put together on rough pregnancy days. It remains the same now that I’m without a baby bump. Every girl needs a great pair of boyfriend jeans. They’re the perfect staple to pair with an oversized top to lounge around home or to dress up for a night out with cute block heels and a blouse. Being creative with accessories is my favorite way to style with new trends without sacrificing my comfort or budget.

Follow Janene on Instagram


Instagram is a visual feast of pretty design, fashion, and style. From a trendy app to a network of millions, this social media platform connects us to celebrities, style icons and moms like Janene, who keep us coming back to see how she does it.

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FA M I LY P H O T O S One of the most difficult questions photographers get from clients is, “What should we wear?”. The answer is difficult because it depends on the season, the style of the family, the location, and the intended use of the photos. What looks good on your holiday card may not match your living room décor for a framed family photo. While the answer is different for each family session, consider these tips to plan a stress-free photo session this fall.


Denim and blush pink are on trend this year. Blush provides a feminine accent to casual denim; perfect for families who love a soft pop of color!

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2. Choose a neutral, tone on tone color palette to highlight faces and give photos a clean and classic vibe.

practical yet stylish 3. Find shoes for kids so they can wear them long after photos are over!

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4. Tan and grey are great

colors for fall photos, but will continue to look good all year long framed on your walls!

Visit Artifact Uprising ( for eco-friendly, inspiring print options.

5. Stripes

and bold plaids look great in

person but often don’t photograph well. Stick to solids for the best results!






Kate Holcomb Balancing it All

Kate Holcomb is a Business Growth Consultant at KXXV- News Channel 25-ABC, and specializes in Television & Digital Sales.

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I’ve been with KXXV for 6 years. I have a wonderful husband, Corey, and precious little boy, John Michael, who is 2 years old. Let’s get real: ‘sales’ is tough! But, it is so fun for me, and beyond rewarding when I close that deal! I think anyone in sales can relate to that gratifying feeling. While sales can be exciting, it can also be very stressful. I have been a working mother for a little over two years, and just like many working mothers out there, it comes with much guilt. Having a supportive husband, and mother who keeps my son on Fridays and before and after a Parents’ Day Out program, helps ease my mind greatly. To say “I’m blessed” is an understatement. One key to keeping my life in balance is learning to say “no”.I’m a huge people pleaser, and want everyone to like me. Become a mother, they say, and you’ll get over that quick! While it’s definitely something I still struggle with at times, another key is finding something you love, something that is for you and brings you joy. For me, that’s cooking! I love to cook for my family and friends! There is just something about preparing a home cooked meal from scratch, with my hands, that feeds my soul. I encourage all working mothers out there to take time for yourself. Find what restores you, and commit to it regularly! While sales is my gift, cooking is my passion and it truly helps balance the daily stresses for this working mother!

Favorite sales book I’ve been semi forced to read several over the years, and while I can’t say I have a favorite, I can say I have a favorite quote that I use frequently while helping clients spend their advertising dollars wisely: “Concentration is the key to all economic results.” - Peter Drucker, (1909-2005). I love this quote, because it translates beautifully into my personal life.

Favorite meal to cook One of my biggest hits with friends and family is my homemade chicken pot-pie! But, don’t ask me how I make it, because I suddenly forgot. In all seriousness, I don’t use recipes when I cook. I love to just be inspired by cooking shows or Pinterest, and get in the kitchen and do my own thing!

Favorite thing in your kitchen Double oven. Someday I will definitely have a pot filler. Who doesn’t want a pot filler on their stove?!

Favorite quote Two of my favorites are “Give credit where credit is due” and “The day we stop learning, is the day we die”. Another one I like is from Christian author Jen Hatmaker, “God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people.” Something I have learned over time, is that no matter how someone thinks, feels, or treats you, just be kind. Just love them. That’s all God calls us to do. It is much easier said than done, but when you can get that down, I think you are pretty close to pure happiness.

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F O R KI D S PAC E S Kid spaces are often the most difficult to decorate, but they can also be the most fun with these quick tips from designers!

Keep it simple!

Tip #1

Kids often have a lot of things and only one room to put them in. The more decor you have, the more cluttered it will feel. They also make clean up a breeze!

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Mix it up!

Mix wooden toys and stuffed animals with a curated color palette and beautiful furniture. This will keep the overall design sophisticated with a child-friendly aesthetic.

Paint a Mural!

Painting a simple wall mural is an inexpensive way to create visual interest. Children love feeling like they are high in the mountain tops, under the sea, or among the blooming flowers. Don’t have that artistic gene? No problem! Wallpaper has come a long way since Grandma filled every room with floral prints. You can now easily apply and remove peel and stick wallpaper!


Tip #4

Even if you don’t need a lot of drawer space for clothes, nightstands and dressers serve a dual purpose as a surface for decor and storage for toys and books.

Think outside the box!

When it comes to open storage, think outside the box. Use a vintage wagon or animal feeder to house books. Floor baskets hold stuffed animals and a storage ottoman at the foot of a bed is a great place for toys.


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and much more!



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Most days, Chris Anderson operates his family owned business, Smoot-Anderson Co, in

Waco, Texas. On an extraordinary day, he captures wildlife in brilliant photography in places as far as Katmai National Park, on the southern coast of Alaska.


hris has a variety of photographic work in forums

Grizzly Bears and wolves. “I just can’t get enough of

to include Big 12 football and baseball, City of

them.” One of Chris’s wolf images earned the July

Waco, Lake Waco Wetlands Project, and Waco

2016 cover of Alaska Magazine. He was also the grand

Today. But the wildlife photography is possibly the most

prize winner of the Canon Photography in the Parks

inspiring. “I am still trying to take an incredible image; I

Contest in 2006 and 2007. Perhaps recognizing his

want to capture something different, never seen before.”

unbeatable talent, Canon changed the rules after that

Anderson said.

so Chris couldn’t enter again for two years.

He particularly enjoys photographing


Pursuing wild animals does come with risk. “I’ve been

closer and closer until it was about five or six feet away

charged by bears numerous times.” Chris warned as he

and I had to stand up. I was trying to talk to it so it would

continued with a story of a close call, “I was sitting on the

move back, but this didn’t make mom very happy and she

tidal flats in Alaska one evening photographing two cubs

approached huffing and popping her jaw. Luckily, the cub

and a sow. One cub stuck close to mom, but the other

ran to her after hearing her. That is the closest I’ve come

was interested in me and what I was doing. It kept getting

to having to use a flare on a bear.”


Chris caught the “bug” for photographing wildlife on a road trip to Colorado in 2001, and began a yearly trip to Yellowstone. In 2004, he added a regular visit to Alaska. For new photographers interested in wildlife, Anderson recommends not getting caught up in megapixels. “Spend the money for the best glass you can afford. Learn to use your camera and don’t rely on Photoshop to fix everything.” He also strongly suggests not pushing the animals too far; an attack is a hefty price to pay.




Faith By Becca Bell


t was a Wednesday in February 2016, and I woke up feeling a little sorry for myself. I had been praying for some specific things in our family, and I had just found out earlier that week that one prayer was not going to be answered in the way that I wanted. Doubt, fear, and disappointment began to fill my head. My class at Bible Study Fellowship was supposed to volunteer in the children’s program on this day, and I thought about not even going. We weren’t going to have our regular class so why not just stay home and continue feeding my negative thoughts? I grudgingly got ready and drove to the host church of Bible Study Fellowship, Highland Baptist Church. I checked in at the Children’s area and got my assignment for the morning – 4 year olds. A sense of peace and joy took the place of all my negative thoughts as I interacted with the boys and girls. The Children’s Leaders demonstrated such love of Jesus to those sweet children. It was a great morning. At the end of class, one of the leaders gave me three books to read to the children while they got ready for dismissal. As I sat down, a little girl brought me a book and asked me if I would read it, too. I told her I would try to read it if there was time. After I read one of the books the leader gave me, I felt very strongly that I should read the book the little girl brought to me. So…I took the book, read the title, and opened it to the title page. There, written in my very own handwriting, was the name of my daughter, Lindsay Bell. You see, my daughter died in May 1993 at the age of 5½. I can’t explain the rush of emotion that overtook me. This was one of my daughter’s books that somehow made it to that church, in that classroom, on that day, at that very moment for a little girl to bring it to me to read. I had to excuse myself from the classroom and ask God to forgive me for doubting His plan for our family. What a powerful lesson this taught me. Had I not shown up to volunteer in the children’s program that day, I would

have missed God showing up for me. He wanted me to know that He loves me, He hears me, and His plans are so much better than mine. In fact, that prayer that I prayed back in February 2016 was answered in December 2016. It was over and above anything that I could have prayed for. God’s plan and timing are perfect!

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I was 48 when I met Jeff, and 49 when we married. I’ve learned great things from the past relationships (long and short) I’ve enjoyed. Perhaps the most important, though, is that when my father, a retired Colonel, says “Lori Elizabeth, we want you to understand we like Jeff immediately and that young man is going to marry you.”, that it is probably true. I’m your classic type A career chick. I’ve had a pretty awesome 20 + year gig in consumer technology working in the marketing space for HP and Dell. With the resume came incredible circles of friends, travel, experiences and opportunities. As a woman, we go through many things; I often think over my years and find myself feeling like a piece of gold that was being perfected by a goldsmith. With each relationship, each career advance, each setback, every relocation, that goldsmith would toss me back in the fire and keep molding me into the woman Jeff connected with on my patio on May 4, 2016, and the woman that is now his wife.

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Family is always first for me. I have two nieces that lived with me from the time they were about 18 – 27. These nieces and I have a tradition – when I come home from weekly business trips, we get together on my patio (no matter how tired I am) and enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine and some great music, and catch up on each other’s week. Lori LeAnn (name sake) had been talking up this new “neighbor” of hers “Jeff” for about 3 weeks and asking if he could come over for patio time, and I kept blowing her off. Finally, after a really long week in New York City, I was worn down enough.

I had on cut-off 501 Levi shorts and a dang Wonder Woman T-shirt, and I relented, “FINE, tell him to come over.” It was likely 9 p.m., and the next thing I know I see this huge black suburban with a personalized plate “EZGO1” pull sideways into my driveway like he owns it and out walks this tall man in some wild looking shorts, knee socks, glasses, and mismatched shirt. I think, he looks like Clark Kent. And it popped right out of my mouth… “I thought I was meeting a guy named Jeff; you look like Clark Kent.” And he has this huge beautiful


smile, and at 48, I’m thinking ‘oh my goodness, this guy is going to be interesting’. I walk him inside and give him the ground rules, “I’ll make you a drink once. After that, please don’t expect service; I like guests to feel at home.” We talked and laughed that night, exchanged a bit about each other, and when you talk to Jeff about his feelings he will tell you, “I was done from the minute I saw Lori; she was my one.” The next day, around noon, Jeff showed up (unannounced) with flowers just to leave at my door. He got caught. I was walking out of the door with my pups. Then Sunday around 5, again, he popped up with “Sunday flowers” and I invited him in. I knew at that moment I was giving Jeff his chance. I had not given anyone a chance in over 6 years. My heart was fully open to Jeff. He courted me for two weeks before we went on our first date. And there are some great stories within those two weeks: He asked me over Facebook messenger to go away and play golf the first week I met him. I turned him down and told him if he wanted to date me, it needed to be in Waco. In addition, I had my own plans that weekend. Also, he might want to figure out how to get my phone number and call me. The second Tuesday after we met, it was pouring rain and my mailbox had been taken out by the trash truck. Late afternoon, I looked up from my desk and I saw 2 things: Jeff’s EZGO1 pulling up with a golf cart in tow, and Jeff getting out carrying a new mailbox. That was the day I got butterflies. That was the day that giving Jeff a chance turned into falling for Jeff. That is also the day he asked me on our first date (in Waco). Today, as a married couple, Jeff is my “family first”. He’s the leader of my family and he’s my best friend. He’s the spiritual leader of our household and a huge part of our community. Jeff and I have to work daily to stay in lock step. I am confident that is a maturity thing. It’s not easy; there are days we are not in sync and it stinks. And when it happens, it can take an entire weekend to re-group and re-connect. But the gift I bring forward into my marriage, from years of being independent and knowing myself, is the ability to “shift”. Jeff and I are both incredibly independent individuals and pretty big personalities. But, I know when to sit back and trust Jeff – shift from Lori the career woman and leader to Lori Jeff’s wife. The really awesome thing is that Jeff respects when he needs to shift and allow me to lead at the right time as well. We respect each other’s strengths and play to them. We have so many great things going on together. Currently, we’re settling into a beautiful new home in Woodway, Texas, and learning how to manage things like pools, fountains, and lots of jasmine. We are re-homing a 9-month-old white standard poodle to be a little brother to our older standard poodle, R.J. We are busy with community fund raisers for local charities (Fuzzy Friends, Wade Bowen Foundation, and Meals on Wheels). Jeff is President of C & M Golf and Grounds Equipment, and with my background in marketing, we are toying with the idea of expansion in the Waco area in a few years. Every once in a while, Jeff and I collaborate on marketing ideas. And we would be remiss not to mention our upcoming season of Baylor Bears football: it’s a very important time of year in Waco. The biggest blessing Jeff and I have is our family. Jeff’s parents are incredible. Jeff has two awesome children (16 & 13) and I have my nieces, nephews, sister, brother, and father. We all come together as a family and it feels like home. It happened just like breathing; we could not be happier.

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I had not given anyone a chance in over 6 years. My heart was fully open to Jeff.








ear is a powerful emotion. I alternated for many years between wrestling with it and trying to ignore it. Then, on February 3, 2016, I faced my fear, hoping it wouldn’t lead to what I knew it very well could— the end of a very long marriage. How could divorce possibly happen to me? How could I have to start fresh at my age? How would I have the strength to travel that road? How would I make it financially? I hadn’t been involved enough in the finances to even know what they really were. I hadn’t had a checking account of my own since 1981. I had never gotten a loan on my own, dealt with car maintenance on my own, or ever lived by myself. I had zero experience with attorneys or legal matters. I just didn’t have the confidence to take such a huge step. I dreaded telling my family and friends, many of whom I knew would be completely shocked. I dreaded telling my church family. There was so much to fear. I knew God hated divorce. I also knew he would allow me to choose it and take the fear from me—if I allowed it. And so, my journey began. It wasn’t easy. At times it still isn’t. When I walked out of the courthouse on September 2, 2016, the day before my 56th birthday, I had just said “I don’t” 34 years, one week, and five days after saying “I do.” Although I felt a sense of freedom and relief, I realized right away that I had grossly underestimated the emotional toll a divorce would take. I was a hot mess and I knew it. I quickly joined a Divorce Care group through a local church. I needed to heal, and I needed to be around people walking in the same shoes I was walking in. I’m still attending this group, now for the third time, and if I need to repeat it ten more times then that’s what I will do.

I was inspired by the movie War Room to turn an empty closet in my house into my own war room. I’ve gotten real with God in that closet, and sometimes loud, too. My 13-year old pit bull can attest to that. She once stood outside the shut closet door, with me inside, and wailed at the top of her lungs. The thing is, my dog is completely deaf. Go figure. If I could go back, I’d do a lot of things differently— in my marriage, during the divorce process, and postdivorce as well. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I have learned from them. I learned that forgiveness is a choice and not always a feeling. Some days I feel it, some days I don’t. It’s a process. I had to ask for forgiveness also. I don’t profess to have done everything perfectly. It’s been almost a year since my divorce was final, and I’ve discovered some truths about myself since then. I am far more thankful for what I have now than before. I am more capable than I once thought I was. I like my own company and am perfectly content to live alone. My divorce forced me into a place of total dependence on God, a place I admit I was never in before. That is, by far, the most positive outcome of the whole experience. Looking forward with hope is far better than standing still with fear or looking back with regret. I’m a work in progress, but excited about my future in a way I never could have imagined. Fear is like a prison. It holds us back from making lifechanging decisions, whether it’s a career change, moving to a new area, or anything else. It keeps us stuck. It keeps us from asking and trusting the direction we should go. I learned through Divorce Care that forgiveness is like a book you have to keep checking out over and over. Dealing with fear and handing it over is the same. Once it’s gone, though, all things are possible. MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 96 MODERN TEXAS LIVING | 96


A WA R R I O R ’ S B AT T L E By Lorna Hering


hen our kids were little, they wanted to know why we left home every morning and what we did all day. We explained to them that I was an English teacher and that Jimmy was a lawyer. Ryan, Rhett, and Mara were satisfied with that answer, but our middle son Rhett misunderstood Jimmy’s job description. He had no idea what a “lawyer” was, so he assumed we were saying “warrior.” He was so proud that his dad was a “warrior,” and he began saying that he wanted to be a warrior when he grew up too! We thought it was cute when he made that innocent statement. But maybe Rhett knew something we didn’t know, because Rhett indeed became a warrior. In his short fifteen years, he fought for justice. He battled for acceptance for his peers. He fought for kindness and protected the underdog. His battle cry was love and his weapon of choice was joy and laughter. He never backed down from a worthwhile challenge. Rhett’s earthly life ended on December 28, 2015. The tragic events of that day waged a war on my heart as his mother, but I have no doubt that Rhett is now a warrior in Heaven with Jesus.

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As a mother, losing a healthy child in a tragic accident launched me into a fierce battle. There is something so devastating about burying a child that was once in your womb. I used to think you got to “pick your battles,” but I’m not that naive anymore. I would never have chosen this battle. The tour of duty for a bereaved mother is not for the weak. There is no “warrior” training for a catastrophic war of this magnitude. Instead of a battle cry, I cried over the battle of losing Rhett. I have wanted to surrender to the overwhelming grief on many occasions. Despair, bitterness, loneliness and fear are my constant enemies, and they are strategically placed on the battlefield. I have to armor up daily to face those battles. Being a warrior is hard work; it’s not easy to choose faith and hope when you are brutally wounded. I wish that being a “warrior” came as easy for me as it did for Rhett. My husband and children have all proven to be tough warriors. They courageously battle the brokenness and strive daily to live with love and honor for their favorite warrior. Rhett’s untimely death prevented him from growing up, but it did not keep him from being the warrior he was destined to be. My battle cry now is that I can become the warrior that I was destined to be. In reality, we are all warriors facing battles in this game called life, and our only hope for victory is that Jesus is willing to fight for each of us. As I continue to struggle and grow on this journey through grief, I find myself saying the same thing Rhett did whenever he was little. . . “I want to be a warrior when I grow up too!” Lorna Hering and son, Rhett Hering


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