March/April 2018 Volume 13, Issue 2
SPRING ISSUE: Leslie Albritton’s love for rescuing & rehabbing animals Cathi Cox Boniol discusses the invisible cycle of homelessness in our communities
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” - Amelia Earhart 1
LOCATIONS ARCADIA (318) 263-8477
YOUR HOMETOWN BANK. ATHENS (318) 258-3123 BOSSIER (318) 752-2727 GIBSLAND (318) 843-6228 HOMER (318) 927-5075 MINDEN (318) 371-9910 SHREVEPORT (318) 688-7005
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GBT’s dedication to hometown is best expressed by our staff. These folks were born and raised in Minden and Sibley. You went to school with us. Now, you can earn back (up $50.00 per statement You know our kids 1% andcash our parents. Youto see us at church, at the grocery store andon at all community events. To us, youcard are more than just a customer. cycle) signature-based debit transactions. No monthly service charge GBT is proud to serve our neighbors Minimum of $100.00 required to open. and friends, and our staff has the experience and the products to take care of all your financial needs. We No minimum balance requirements. Free offere-statements. consumer and commercial loans and deposits, long-term home Free on-line banking & bill pay. financing, insurance and investments. You can visit any of our branches, Free mobile banking with mobile deposit. or you can use our online and mobile options or our full service ATM’s. Free account alerts.
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nature-based debit card transactions are transactions where you do not enter your pin to process the transaction. Transactions include online transactions, ‘point of sale’ transactions where you choose credit or for the transaction to be processed as a credit or where you sign to authorize the transaction rather than enter your PIN. Only transactions received by GBT as a signature based debit card transaction will qualify cash back. Transactions must post to and clear your account during the statement cycle. No cash will be earned on debit card transactions where your PIN is used or any other type of electronic transactions. Cash wards will be credited to the account the day after the statement drops.
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WEIGHT LOSS. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT. HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. ALICIA AND CHARLIE STARTED THEIR DIET IN MARCH OF 2017 AND STARTED PHASING OFF IN NOVEMBER OF 2017. THEY ARE NOW IN THE MAINTENANCE PHASE OF THE PROGRAM.
Alicia 61Lbs 35Inches Charlie 93Lbs 40Inches Independent Authorized Clinic
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needed help with making ourselves accountable for what we were eating. We have tried multiple diets, but were never able to keep off the pounds. Charlie has heart issues and is also a diabetic. He took multiple medications and his insulin dosage was steadily increasing. I have high blood pressure and also taking medication. As the pounds came off, both of us reduced the amount of meds we took. They have taught us how to maintain our weight loss through eating properly. We have changed our lifestyle and couldn’t have done it without Lifestyle Transformation Center! “
*All clients lose weight at different rates and these results are not guaranteed for every dieter.
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1125 HOMER ROAD, MINDEN, LA 3
(318) 683-0411 Shreveport Bossier City West Monroe Natchitoches Homer Minden Vivian Marshall, TX
magazine TIFFANY BYRAM
VICKI CASKEY Sales Manager COVER MODELS
Maxwell, Cypress and Brylee with Leslie Albritton & her goat, Bocephus STYLING BY Mr. P's Tees
COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Heather Land of TWO SUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Leslie Albritton Heather McWhorter Bailey Cathi Cox Boniol Melanie Massey Groves & Brian Russell, MOCO Wesley Harris
JENNY REYNOLDS Founder
6 Camping Your Way to Family Memories Wesley Harris
8 Deviled Eggs 5 Ways
Shrimp Street Tacos Heather McWhorter Bailey, Social Bites
11 Dream On Melanie Massey Groves & Brian Russell, MOCO
14 To the Rescue Leslie Albritton 20 The Invisible Cycle of
Winnie Griggs Penny Jones Sara McDaniel Jason McReynolds Rachel Pardue Rosemary Thomas Darla Upton
Homelessness Cathi Cox Boniol
Office Phone: 504.390.2585 Ad Sales: 318.548.2693 Address: P.O. Box 961, Belle Chasse, LA 70037
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The Minute Magazine is distributed throughout Caddo, Bossier, Claiborne, Bienville, Ouachita, Webster, & Lincoln Parishes in Louisiana. They are FREE for you to enjoy. Take some to your friends, relatives or anyone else who needs a refreshing, enlightening “minute.” Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be copied or reproduced without permission. The Minute Magazine cannot be responsible for unsolicited materials. The editorial content of The Minute is prepared in accordance with the highest standards of journalistic accuracy. Readers are cautioned, however, not to use any information from the magazine as a substitute for expert opinion, technical information or advice. The Minute cannot be responsible for negligent acts, errors and omissions. The opinions expressed in The Minute are those of our writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. The publisher has the right to accept or reject any advertising and / or editorial submitted.
“No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland
his winter was a particularly cold and dreary one, don’t you think? Thankfully, Spring has arrived (mostly), and it’s time for some spring cleaning. Now, I’m not referring to a clean house; I’m talking about refreshing your soul and clearing your eyes. Do you need a family weekend to reconnect with those you love? Now is the time to go camping. Wes Harris has some tips and tricks for beginning campers on page 6. Do you have a dream? Now is the time to begin its reality. Our friends at MOCO have some insights on how to dream bigger on page 11. And Leslie Albritton fulfills her dream of becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator on page 14. Let her love of animals inspire you to nurture whatever you are most passionate about and to show kindness at all times. Have you been so busy getting through the day that you haven’t noticed the pain and suffering of those in your community? Now is the time to see. Now is the time to do. Cathi Cox Boniol reveals the poverty and homelessness that is all around us on page 20. Penelope Trunk said, “Spring is a time to find out where you are, who you are, and move toward where you are going.” We hope that this issue of The Minute Magazine takes you one step closer to personal growth and change. And to adopting an attitude of kindness in everything. God bless and bring on the warm weather.
ome of my best childhood memories come from family camping trips. They were mostly unorganized affairs with odds and ends of equipment hastily stuffed in the car. Our large family camping tent was made of heavy olive drab canvas, very hot in the summer and prone to leaking in rainy weather. We weren’t experts with bunches of high-tech gear, but we had fun. Camping is a good way for a family to spend time together. It gets you away from distractions so you can to spend time alone with your kids and reveal to them the phenomena of nature. There are so many things discover—flowers, birds, insects, and wildlife. Kids love the outdoors if given the chance to understand its wonders. Camping can be a wonderful family adventure. Camping does not require tons of expensive equipment. Visit your local discount store and you can pick up a sleeping bag for each family member and a tent for the cost of a nice hotel room. If you decide to stick with camping, you can upgrade and grow your equipment list over time. Let the kids pack their own items. Encourage the kids to choose only the essentials that will fit in a single bag. Packing all the camping supplies as a family will teach the kids decision-making as they determine what is indispensable and what can be left behind. If you have never camped, or have children who have never experienced it, I suggest starting out simple and avoid extreme “roughing it.” Select a state park or campground with electricity and water hookups and restroom facilities. Primitive camping deep in a national forest can be amazing, but it’s something you must work up to. When planning your family camping trip, consider the activities your kids like—swimming, hiking, canoeing, geocaching, scavenger hunts, bicycling. Meal planning is an important part of your camping trip. Plan the meals together. Kids love to choose what to eat. Planning as a family keeps the kids interested and part of the process. Make campsite chores a family activity, teaching children responsibility and the importance of teamwork.
Everyone should have a role in setting up the campsite. Duties can be rotated. Stress the need to leave the campsite cleaner than when you arrived. Even with planning, anything and everything can go wrong. That’s part of the fun! My most memorable camping trip remains vivid in my mind fifty years later. It rained almost constantly during our weekend trip to the lake. My family and my aunt and uncle and their family pitched out tents in an “unimproved” area (no restrooms, etc.) beside a local lake. Then torrential rains fell. My father and uncle attempted to cook French fries and the fish we had caught. I remember fat drops of rain falling into the frying pot on the propane camp stove, kicking up little explosions of hot oil. We ate standing under the awning of our tents in a downpour. My cousin Gary and I played in the rain. We got muddy. We acted stupid, yelling and catching raindrops with open mouths. Gary and I talked about “wet fish and soggy potatoes” for years afterward. It was a fantastic trip. All vacations can create memories, but the memories formed with your family during camping trips are countless and will be cherished forever. Experiencing exciting and enjoyable camping trips with your children while they are young will set them on a path to a lifetime of outdoor activities. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Wesley Harris is a native of Ruston. Among his books are FISH OUT OF WATER: Nazi Submariners as POWs in North Louisiana during World War II and GREETINGS FROM RUSTON: A Post Card History of Ruston, Louisiana, available from amazon.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Check out his Louisiana history blog at http:// diggingthepast.blogspot.com.
INGREDIENTS Each batch makes 6 egg halves 3 hard boiled or steamed eggs 1 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 tsp yellow mustard 1/2 tsp dill pickle juice, lemon juice, or vinegar salt and pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS Slice each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place all yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the egg yolks. Mash with a fork (or beat with a hand mixer) until completely smooth.Scoop deviled yolk mixture back into the egg white halves using a spoon. Alternatively, you can scoop the mixture into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off the corner to create a “piping bag.” 1. Classic Deviled Eggs: Follow directions above. 2. Candied Jalapeño: Use canned jalapeño juice as directed, and add 1 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeños. Top with candied jalapeño. 3. Peppered Bacon: Add 1 Tbsp fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, or parsley) to your yolk mixture and swap ¼ tsp steak seasoning for the pepper. Top with crisped, crumbled bacon, additional 4. Sriracha Lime: Use lime juice in place of the pickle juice. Add a few drops of sriracha to the yolk mixture. Top with a tiny bit of lime zest and additional sriracha as desired. 5. Avocado: Use lemon or lime juice in place of the pickle juice. Use 2-4 Tbsp fresh avocado in place of the mayo. Add fresh cilantro as desired. (Or prepared guacamole instead of avocado!)
• 24 Large Raw Shrimp, peeled • 16 Small Corn Tortillas • 4 cups shredded red cabbage • 1 cup pineapple • 2 green onions or pickled red onions, chopped • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar • 1/2 cup carrots, grated • 1/4 jalapeno, finely minced • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil • 3 Garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced • 1 lime, zested and juiced • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes • 1/4 teaspoon paprika • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder • Kosher salt • 1 Avocado, diced • Salsa for serving
1. Combine the shrimp in a bowl with olive oil, lime zest, minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flake and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss to combine and set aside to marinade for 15 minutes. 2. Toss the cabbage with jalapeno, onions, carrots , pineapple, and vinegar. 1 tablespoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt, refrigerate until ready to assemble. Warm Tortillas in a skillet over low heat, flipping occasionally. 3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, pour the shrimp in. Sear on one side for 1-2 minutes, flip and sear on the other side until pink all the way through and no longer opaque, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. 4. To assemble tacos, layer two tortillas on top of each other. top with lime slaw, a few shrimp, and some avocado. Top with some salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime. -----------------------------------------------------------------Makes 8 tacos. Plan for 2-4 tacos per person depending on how hungry they are! We usually eat two per person. You can use more or less jalapeno to taste.
a fresh perspective from rosemary's kitchen
written by Rosemary Thomas
Be Ready To Fail
pring is here! Let’s get ready to garden! (Say this like those old wrestling commercials when they shouted “Let’s Get Ready To RUMMMBLLLEEE!) Gardening is my most favorite thing and every year I plan that THIS year will be the BEST GARDEN EVER! As an optimistic realist – or should that be a realistic optimist? – I know that there will be both successes and failures. I usually have some amazing successes. Last year it was green beans. I planted pole beans and had enough vines to film a scene for a South American jungle documentary. I half expected to encounter jaguars and monkeys during my picking marathons. I ate and froze and canned and pickled green beans. A huge success. But, as I have found through the years, there are always some not-so-successful crops. Last year it was the squash. Usually, I am begging neighbors, families and random strangers to take some zucchini off my hands. But last year I picked about four zucchinis. Quatro. The dreaded squash vine borer ate
my lunch (or should I say ate their lunch inside of my squash vines). I wrapped stems, dusted insecticide around the base of the plants, and laid on my belly with a scalpel and tweezers and extracted larvae. All to no avail. I could not get a handle on them. I tried. I failed. The swiss chard and kale were also dismal. I try to use organic methods and am very conscious about safeguarding bees, and this time the bugs won. It reminded me of baseball. My daughter Sara and I got into baseball late in the season this year because of the Astros. My Dad has been a huge Astros fan his entire life, and if you follow baseball you know they have had a whole lot of bad seasons. But he always stuck with them, so this year with the World Series it was a very exciting time. We started watching baseball and that made me realize how many times a baseball player fails. In the course of a career or a season, or even one game, how many
times does a batter strikeout, a pitcher get pulled, or a runner get tagged out? Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times! What do they do with that? They spit (why-oh-why do they have to spit so much?), kick the dirt, and wait their turn to try again. Maybe we need to adopt that kind of resilience. We look at failure as such a horrible thing, when maybe it is just a natural part of the process. I am going to look at failure not just as a lesson to be learned (although sometimes it may be that), but as an inevitable, undeniable, unavoidable part of life. We will always fail at something. If we didn’t fail at anything, we would be perfect, and that ain’t happening for any of us. Gardening season is here and I am ready to fail. Bring it on. Now I just need to learn how to spit. Have one for you. ----------------------------------------------------
Rosemary Thomas is an avid cook and gardener who enjoys the challenge of owning Rosemary's Kitchen in Ruston and working with her daughter.
e believe that we were created to keep moving forward, pursue our best life, and become the best possible version of ourselves. God has placed a dream inside your heart, and pursuing this dream will often bring out your passion, your purpose, and your potential. So, with that in mind, what's your ultimate dream? Is it a certain job? Is it related to your family? Does it have to do with your health? What steps are you taking to achieve this dream? How are you continually holding this vision before you? As James Allen said, "Dream lofty dreams and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be." Sadly, some people get discouraged from dreaming because others knock them down. As Darren Hardy says, "People who have lost their dreams are the ones who will try and talk you out of yours." Even worse, some people stop dreaming due to their own previous failures and painful mistakes. But, we don't have to settle for mediocrity. We weren't made to be stuck in fear or to be satisfied with average. We can rise back up, shrug off the naysayers, and push through the resistance to dream again! God has put at least one huge dream inside of you. Follow your intuition and don't be cynical, negative, and faithless. This week, have an attitude like Robert Kennedy when he said, “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?” So, think big daily! Don't give up and set your thoughts towards your dream as much as possible. As Henry David Thoreau said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined!"
Simply Southern Cottage written by Sara McDaniel
The Bliss of a Simple Cottage
strings, sand a bit and poly the wood. It was tedious work for sure, but the end result is incredible!
“I could never be a minimalist.”
To complement the walls and floors, the furniture in the living and library areas are a cozy off white fabric (Bihar Natural to be exact) with lots of plush pillows. Woven Jute rugs and an off white cowhide rug rest beneath the living area furniture to provide additional warmth and texture in the room.
“I mean, where’s all your stuff?” “I could never get rid of all my things!” “I love that it’s so simple.” “I can tell you aren’t a ‘stuffist.’”
As for the accent decor, which isn’t that much, I scoured Goodwills, yard sales and our annual Main to Main event for lots of unique, one of a kind items that can’t be purchased in big box stores. While I’ve definitely picked up a few things at Kirklands, Hobby Lobby and the like, the vast majority of the cottage accents are someone else’s trash! For example, my coffee table was carefully constructed by Shreveport Salvage from an old chicken crate and framed out with vintage yardsticks from the north Louisiana area. It’s these old, junky pieces that have truly helped to define my decor!
laugh when I read through these. All statements made by some who have either seen the cottage in person or online. And if you’ve seen it too, you know exactly what they are taking about. It’s light, airy, VERY neutral and VERY MUCH uncluttered. In the last seven years or so, I purged and I purged nearly EVERYTHING. It was evident that I had TOO MUCH STUFF. Too many clothes, so I cleaned out my closet and went one full year without buying a stitch of clothing. Too many books, so I took box loads to I cannot adequately put into words how Goodwill (and I still have too many). calming and therapeutic the cottage is. Teaching supplies from twenty years With the warm, neutral pallet and lack ago? I donated mostly everything to of “stuff,” I’ve created an atmosphere a school district who holds an annual of rest and simplicity. When I enter my FREE teacher garage sale. And when home after a long day, I instantly feel I left Texas, I sold almost all of my relaxed. There’s no clutter to wade furniture, had two garage sales, and through or put away. When I wake took even more to Goodwill. I mean, up, grab my coffee and settle in for a I’ve only been alive 40 years and for the bit of quiet time before the day begins, life of me, I don’t understand how I have everything is soothing, peaceful and accumulated SO MUCH STUFF! organized and my day begins on the right foot. So when it came time to decorate the cottage, I basically started with very little After the restoration of the cottage was of my own things and some treasures complete and it was time to create a I inherited from my grandparents. I home, I purposefully chose to create an REALLY dislike clutter and KNEW I environment of peace and tranquility. didn’t want things all over the walls, An environment where I could feel the countertops, or the furniture. I also rested and relaxed. By infusing warm knew I wanted to fashion a calm and neutral tones paired with the lack of neutral pallet. And after researching clutter, I can truly say simplicity is bliss. and looking at TONS of pictures on And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Instagram and Pinterest, that’s exactly what I chose to do! -------------------------------------------------Every space in the cottage is warm and cozy. The white shiplap all throughout is warmed by the rich, original and Hi there! I’m Sara! Home renovation is my passion. refinished hardwood flooring. Although This columm documents the renovation process of my the floors are a deep, reddish brown, there’s lots of color variation due to 1926 Louisiana cottage. Some would have chosen to it wood type (oak or pine), damage tear down, seeing no hope or future for a home in such extent and other imperfections. In terrible condition. Not me! I see resilience and charm some places, the flooring is striped with hidden beneath the rot, decay and neglect. Much like black hues from years of water damage my home, I too have been devastated and broken down. and IT. LOOKS. AMAZING! Then to This cottage will personify beauty from the ashes…my complement the floors, I was able to save the amazing shiplap ceilings in the ashes. Join me as I reclaim and restore both my life and main living areas. Basically, my team my home. You can connect with Sara at: had to remove the old drop ceilings, rip SimplySara.com or SimplySouthernCottage.com. off any cheesecloth, singe the leftover
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CUPCAKES + OTHER CONFECTIONERIES 13
Columnist Leslie Albritton shares her love of animals and the journey to become a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator.
was four years old when this red sports car comes barreling down my narrow little street. I was in the front yard playing with my dog, Little Red, while my mom watched from the front porch steps. A small limb from a towering pecan tree fell in the middle of the road and caught Little Redâ€™s attention. She scurried over to check it out and stood right in the path of the speeding car. Realizing what was about to happen, I darted out after her. The screeching of brakes and my momâ€™s screams filled the air. My mom flew off the front porch just as the car began a series of twist and turns. She knew she would never make it in time and closed her eyes frozen with fear. The blaring of the car horn jolted her eyes open to find the car correcting itself out of a spin and speeding off the direction in which it was headed. Terrified of what she might find she refused to look at the spot in the road where she last saw me. When she finally shifted her eyes in my direction she fell to her knees thanking the Lord above; I was on the other side of the road holding my puppy. She ran to me, grabbed me up in a tight hug and then promptly started whipping my tail for running out in the middle of the road to save a mutt. This is how my mom tells the story of how she knew she would always have problems with me over animals.
I can’t remember a time when I was not drawn to the furry and four-legged. Throughout my childhood, I took care of many types of animals. Most were orphans: a baby deer, a chipmunk, a few ducks, some rabbits, goats, and so on. In high school, I had a baby goat that I bottled fed and let sleep in my bed at night. I got in trouble quite a few times over that baby goat being in the house. I remember one night my mom caught me easing up my window to climb back in with the goat in hand. She just stood there, hands on hip with an annoyed look on her face. “Look on the bright side,” I said. “At least it’s an animal and not a boy I’m sneaking in.” Momma just shrugged her shoulders and never complained about my goat again. In the last fifteen years, I have become more involved in animal rescue. I live in Union Parish where animals are routinely dumped at the town dumpsters. I have rescued many animals from there, the majority I was able to help and rehome but sadly some were too far gone, and I was not able to save in time. Some of my biggest success stories have not come from dumpster animals but wildlife and farm animals. Christmas of 2014 two emaciated mini ponies were found shut away in a small dirt paddock without any type of shelter, drinkable water or hay. Both wore tight halters that rubbed deep wounds in their skin from constant wear. They were fearful of people and would not let anyone touch them. Fortunately, the owner surrendered the ponies, and we were able to get them to the vet that night. They were diagnosed with a respiratory infection, dehydration, internal parasites, facial wounds, rain rot and were both malnourished. The smallest of the two, we named Wookie after Star Wars, was given less than a 50% chance of survival. He was more than a 100 pounds underweight. It was touch and go for many weeks, but after a month of constant care and the right nourishment, they started showing big improvements physically and socially. Six months after their rescue they were both 100% healthy and happy. They had even overcome their fear of people. Wookie became my little social butterfly. I have taken him on several trips to the area nursing homes to visit the elderly and to daycare centers where he lets the children love all over him. During the 2016 flood of northeast Louisiana, we received a call late one stormy night about a newborn goat whose mom died during the birth process. Bocephus was two hours old when we found him shivering and standing in two inches of rising flood waters. Our biggest concerns were hypothermia and shock. If Bo made it through the night, he would have a chance. Immediately we began trying to raise his core body temperature up. He was started off on a goat milk replacer and was bottle fed every two hours. I made pajamas from an old wool sweater to snuggle him in and keep him warm. Bocephus made it through the night and settled right in with the family. He was raised inside with our two small dogs and believes he is a dog with hooves. He has a “pet me” attitude and “momma’s home” kind of excitement that makes all of his hilarious antics so endearing. When he gets excited, he does this
crazy aerial summersault that would have an Olympic gold medalist envious. America’s Funniest Home Videos featured Bocephus on their Facebook page showing off his gymnastic flairs a few months back. Talk about a proud momma moment! A few days ago we took in a week old Hereford orphan calf that has nerve damage to his front left leg which has prevented him from bearing weight and walking. We immobilized the limb with a cast and started physical therapy to help strengthen his leg. Unfortunately, we are in a race with time on this little fella. Calves grow at an outstanding rate, usually averaging a gain of about two pounds per day. As these animals get larger, the likelihood of a successful outcome declines. A cow can support its weight when the burden is shared across four legs. When one of those legs is compromised, the additional weight is then distributed amongst the other three which can cause significant problems for the cow. Luckily we are seeing small improvements from this sweet little boy we have named Smalls. The majority of my experience is with domesticated animals but thanks to a rumbustious raccoon named River, I have become more involved with Louisiana wildlife. A few years back I got a call about a baby raccoon whose mother had been shot and killed. The baby was far too young to make it on its own; without being aware of the law, I took in the baby coon and raised him with our motley crew. Under Louisiana law it is illegal to possess any wild animal that naturally lives in the state. I did not understand the significance of this law until I met John Haynes, a biologist with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. He explained that I was actually doing more harm than good by keeping a wild animal as a pet. According to Mr. Haynes, it is essential for wildlife to have the proper nutrition for their specific species for normal development and any diet deficiencies may cost the animal its sight, hearing, sense of smell or even its life. He said that wildlife animals serve as a reservoir for diseases common to domestic animals and humans. Many of whom carry zoonotic diseases (infectious diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans), such as Lyme disease, salmonella and herpes B virus. He suggested that if I wanted to help wildlife, really help, that I should consider becoming a wildlife rehabilitator. A wildlife rehabilitator is licensed by their state to take in and treat orphaned, injured, sick or displaced wild animals with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat healthy and able to live independently in the wild. It took a year and a lot of hard work to acquire my rehabilitation licenses, but it was worth every second of it! I have learned quite a bit during the process. Did you know that opossums are known as “nature’s little sanitation engineers” because they eat insects, rats, moles, decaying fruit and dead animals. They also lived in the age of the dinosaur and have more teeth than any other mammal, 50 to be exact. Although they look like a big rat they are related to kangaroos and koalas. They are also immune to rabies and most diseases due
to their naturally high level immunity system. Another furry Louisiana native is the skunk. A skunk can blast his scent bomb up to ten feet and will usually aim for the eyes of its foe before it sprays. They are considered the primary predator of the honeybee. A skunk will scratch at the front of a beehive and eat the guard bees that come out to investigate. With insects making-up about 70% of its diet; skunks help control the insect population, which protects our local crops from being eaten by those insects. One of my favorite wildlife critters around these parts is the flying squirrel. They are actually not capable of flight like birds and bats; instead, they glide. They leap from high points, such as the tops of trees, poles, and cliffs and spread out the loose skin of their body like an efficient sail. They also play a crucial roll in our ecosystem by dispersing the seeds of hardwood trees and the spores of fungi.
Working with any animal, whether domesticated or wild, is exciting and challenging. To see in the beginning how these helpless little animals depend on you for everything, and then to watch them grow and change and finally be released back into the wild or rehomed to a loving family is the most rewarding part of all. ------------------------------------------------------Leslie's Animals: Page 14 - Smalls the Hereford Calf Page 15 - Leslie in action Page 16 - River the Racoon & Bocephus the Goat
Wildlife plays a very important part in all of our lives by maintaining a healthy ecological balance of nature. Unfortunately, almost all rehabilitation cases are a result of conflict with humans. They fly into our windows, are hit by the cars we drive, or are injured by the fishing line we leave behind after camping trips. They can squeeze their paws and heads into tight plastic food and drink containers that we litter on the highway. Rehabilitation is a tiny way I can help correct the damage we’ve caused.
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strangers at my
coffeepot One Job
bout a year ago we lost our ever loving minds and said yes to a Great Dane mix puppy. Apollo is now taller than I am and weighs about 150lbs. He is the biggest dog I've ever owned. He chewed on the corner of my wall like a growth chart. He slobbers. Two nights ago he ate the steaks on the counter. I cannot move him if he sits on me. He hates bicycles. He loves to go running. He loves for you to throw the ball. He hates giving you the ball back. We adore this dog. We adore this dog so much we decided-- well, okay maybe I decided, he needed a playmate. Enter Athena. Athena is a Dane mix with maybe a Greyhound in her woodshed. She is about a year old and is as tall as Apollo. She looks like we never feed her. She also acts like we never feed her. Her tail is a whip. Her ears are floppy. We often say it is a good thing she is pretty because she doesn't listen very well. Walking on a leash took forever to learn but sitting for a treat she learned quickly. If you're eating, she's sitting. We had never owned a Dane and hadn't had a big dog in over 20 years. It used to be you waited until a male uh, "matured" to have them fixed. When the culprits "dropped" you took them in to be removed. But when I started calling I encountered vets that had a weight limit. Apollo was way over the limit by then. Some were even reluctant because of his breed. However, we weren't too concerned because our yard has a cement barrier and a tall fence. Even when we brought Athena home we weren't concerned. She was too young, we thought. We had time, we said. Athena was with us about a month when she went in heat. So, I did research. I learned about the Dane heat cycle. I learned poor Apollo
written by Darla Upton
couldn't eat, sleep, play or listen during this time. We would let them see each other every day to run in the yard but he could barely do that he was so "twitterpated." Finally, after weeks of monitoring; weeks of Apollo pacing the hallway; weeks of Athena teasing him; weeks of wondering if it was ever going to end, we hit the home stretch. My guess was my hormonal teens had about three to four more days of keeping one foot on the floor and the bedroom door open.
There is a doggie Plan B but a side effect is Athena would've gone back into another cycle or worse. I wasn't willing to risk worse. Did you know you have to wait over 60 days to see if your dog is knocked up? There's no doggie EPT test. You have to go to the vet to get a blood test or a sonogram.
He had one job. One single solitary job.
Have you ever taken a Dane to the vet? My poor vet is trying to retire. He made an exception to take Apollo. The last time we went Apollo hiked his leg on the display case, put his head through the reception window, and it took two attendants to put ear drops in while I straddled him. He still lifted up and rode me out of the room. I can't wait to take Athena in and explain she is with child. Er, with children.
I was gone less than twelve hours and I get the following text: "Went to get a cup of ice. Came back and Athena and Apollo were together. Biblically."
I've never had a pregnant dog or puppies. I'd like to go on the record right now, like Prissy, and state, "I don't know nuthin' about birthing no babies!"Â
I couldn't respond. Where did he go for that cup of ice? Arctic Circle? All I could think was now I get to walk this big ol' dog around with her big ol' pregnant belly looking like the irresponsible pet owner. I could hear the whispers about my wayward girl and my bad parenting. But I was the one who had kept them apart! HE was the one that went for ice! I wasn't even in town!
Did you know a Dane can have eight to eleven pups? Let me Google the largest Dane litter...
Then, a dear friend in Dallas lost her husband. I threw a bag together, kissed everyone goodbye, looked Hugh right in his eyes and said, "Watch the dogs. Do not let her get pregnant. It's only a few more days."
19. The largest litter is 19 pups! I think I just fainted, ya'll. --------------------------------------------------
Darla lives in Jefferson, Texas, where she raises her son, Atticus Gregory, with her significant other, Hugh Lewis II. She lived a decade in NC and a short time in Houston. Eventually she returned to her hometown of Texarkana, where she met Hugh while working at the Texarkana Gazette. When they met, Hugh was also the owner of the McKay House Bed & Breakfast. After 10 years in the B&B business they quit. Now, they live in a historic downtown building with a yorkie, a great dane puppy, two cats and a tween son. And vodka and a typewriter. firstname.lastname@example.org
the journey written by Jason McReynolds Femininity According to God
adies, do you know what men notice about you first? Studies & research say it’s your hair. Your hair frames your face and draws people into your eyes. It’s been like this forever. A woman’s hair is a display of her femininity. Maybe that’s why women spend so much time and money on their hair. Women want to be noticed and loved, especially by their husbands. Now that statement could be incredibly controversial. It shouldn’t be but… You see the world wants us to believe that we should be independent and never have to rely or depend on anyone throughout our life. But this is a lie that the devil wants you to believe so you’ll be lonely. God created us to have a spouse. But He doesn’t want us to be codependent upon that person. He wants us to be interdependent upon our spouse. And in marriage, we are called to SERVE ONE ANOTHER. So how does God view the feminine side of marriage? When we look at Gen. 2:18 we see that God created Adam first and then Eve as a helper for him. Now if your reaction to that statement is bristling, I’d like to challenge you to pause…. Could you be looking through the filter of what you hear on tv or online or are you looking through the filter of what God says about how He created man and woman? Stay with me here, and I think we’ll get along just fine. You see, God knew that man needed someone he could relate to that looked like him. God created us to have a spouse. God created woman with a purpose. A woman’s status is equal & your role is unique. Have you ever seen a father try to do the work of a mother? It’s pretty sad. He
does his best, but it never connects like the mom. Wives and moms have innate natural abilities with their husbands and children that just men do not possess. So, what are these things that make you feminine? God has given us roles from birth. We can deny that role, but it will not fulfill us. In fact, you may find that it can bring about serious emotional and mental stress not just in your life but in the lives of your spouse and children as well. If we embrace how God has created us, then we will be fulfilled in Him. Being a helpmate is what makes a woman feminine. So what does this mean? Again, I’d like to challenge you to review your world filter. The bible is clear that we are equal in the eyes of God, but we both have unique roles to live out. In Ephesians 5:2133 we see God declaring this equality and these roles. Why? Because your marriage is to be a model of the way Christ and the Church interact. Did you think your marriage was just about you? No! You are the metaphor for the church and your husband is the metaphor for Christ. Yes, you are to submit to your husband. Not as a slave but as a wife that wants to show her husband respect. Vs. 33 flat out says what each spouse desires: husbands desire respect and wives desire to be loved. Any man will tell you they’d rather have respect than love if they had to choose. This is why it is sooooo important that you choose a Godly man to partner
with. You want a husband who will love you more than he loves himself (vss. 25-33). Don’t just go off of the first few dates. I always recommend you date at least through the seasons so you can get beyond the infatuation phase and see what the inner man looks like. Choose a Godly man wisely because if you do, you’ll want to submit because you are in agreement or, if you are not, you at least trust him and love him enough to know that God will use it anyway. If you have chosen a Godly man who cares more about you than himself he will make sure that you are taken care of in every facet of your life. Not just financially but mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You don’t have to worry about anything. This is what Jesus does with the church. And we as His church are to submit to Him and follow Him. Our hope is that ultimately our marriage is a reflection of how much Jesus loves the church. So, a woman’s femininity is found in being a helpmate for both Jesus and her husband who is Jesus’ representative in marriage. On the husband side, though, can I say for all of us… we do like your hair and the femininity it brings! Please keep doing that! -------------------------------------------------
Jason McReynolds is the pastor of New Orleans Community Church. He and his wife, Liev, have two boys and one little girl. Jason enjoys hanging out with his family and friends, watching and/or playing any kind of sports, and taking his wife out on dates. To learn more about him, or NOCC, visit: www.neworleanscommunitychurch.com
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’s not a stretch to say that I had a completely transformative experience in 1969. This was the year that Elvis released his first Top 10 hit in more than four years. “In the Ghetto” rocketed up the charts and became an international hit. I’m sure for most the revelation was Elvis’s return to prime chart position and live performance in Las Vegas. But for this soon-to-be 10-year-old, the song became a haunting realization that there were people living in ways that were completely foreign to me. It struck a nerve, something that resonates to this day. My life began in what might be described as a “Mayberry-esque” existence in Ruston—simple, safe, satisfying. However, even as a youngster, I became witness to evidence that not everyone had been so blessed, and for many, circumstances had painted a very different picture of life. My heart broke for them, and my mother will tell you that beginning early in my life, I felt compelled to champion those I felt suffered at the hands of inequity. Perhaps that’s why Elvis’s song spoke so strongly to me. Originally titled “The Vicious Circle” by songwriter Mac Davis, “In the Ghetto” is basically a narrative on generational poverty. A boy is born to a mother who is already burdened with more mouths than she can feed. The child grows up hungry and falls into a life of criminal behavior. Attempting to run after stealing a car, the young man is shot and killed as his own child is born. There is an implication that the newborn will face the same fate as the cycle continues. Quiet, simple, and starkly dark, the imagery in the song remains chilling to me. That song’s truth is so far from my own personal experience, yet is the only reality that too many know today. And although it will be a shock to far too many, I’m talking about people right here in Lincoln Parish. I became painfully aware of this actuality as a beginning teacher in 1981. As I have worked within our public schools over the past 37 years, it has been staggering for me to observe things worsen. Perhaps I’ve just become more aware even as others simply refuse to see what’s right in front of us. Whatever the case, it has become uncomfortably obvious that within our community the divide becomes more and more pronounced between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” something that reared its ugly head in a way that completely overwhelmed me recently. A community partner unexpectedly reached out in need of help. It had come to her attention that there was a young homeless person—let’s call him Wilson—living in the parking lot across from her office. Let me be frank; he was living in a public parking lot
with heavy traffic where people passed him day after day after day. I was overcome. Had no one seen him in all of this time? Even worse, this was right after we had experienced temperatures down into the teens with wind chills in the single digits. I was mortified. How did this happen? The story unfolded, tugging at my heart even more. Wilson had dropped out of college due to financial difficulty and was desperately trying to hang on so he could re-enroll, finish his degree in engineering, and go to work. In fact, all he wanted to do at this point was work. But he had nowhere to go. I immediately dropped what I was doing, got busy locating resources to help, and headed out to do what I could. Two hours later with some connections in place and the possibility of the pieces coming together, I felt hopeful. However, that optimism was shortlived. Wilson remained homeless for weeks. There is currently a collaboration of community partners working to get him a bed through a local ministry, but the wheels turn slow. So as I write, I sit here shaking my head. How, in a community as blessed with resources as ours, is it possible not to affect real change? Or have we become completely complacent with the type of vicious circle that robs individuals of their humanity and blankets them in a cloud of despair? If so, shame on us. I know the world will never be all rainbows and pixie dust. I also know that there will be those that are simply working an angle and are willing to take advantage of whatever care is extended. And yes, I know life isn’t always fair. My mom had to sit me down very early in life and explain to me that the Bible teaches there will always be poor people—giving away all that I have isn’t going to fix that problem. There will always be hunger no matter how many backpacks we send home with children or how big a pantry we can put in our universities and community centers. Some folks are going to be mistreated, and others are going to fall on hard times. Incredibly, some just don’t want the help and are satisfied with such a hard-scrabble life. But by the grace of God, it won’t be you or me. However, it could be. And if it were, we would want someone to see us and recognize that perhaps it wasn’t our fault. Sometimes life happens, and the only way we survive is together. So what’s going on in our community? The ALICE report—Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—shares data on the percentage of households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the basic cost of living for a parish. Combined, the number of poverty and ALICE households equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs. Current data indicates
that 22% of households in Lincoln Parish are classified as ALICE and an additional 30% in the poverty column. THAT MEANS THAT 52% OF ALL HOUSEHOLDS IN OUR COMMUNITY ARE STRUGGLING. The data shows that households move in and out of poverty and ALICE as circumstances improve or worsen, but at the end of the day, we still have more than half of our citizens struggling to afford basic needs. This doesn’t even factor in the significant variable of children in the household and subsequent hunger issues, something I’ve been actively engaged in addressing as part of the Lincoln Parish Hunger Task Force. Nor does it delve into homelessness, something that is becoming more and more prevalent. According to statistics from the 2017 Point in Time Count provided by the HOME Coalition, Lincoln has 13.5% of a 12-parish region’s population and therefore about that many of the region’s 185 identified homeless. On any given day that would be 25 individuals, of whom 22 would be sheltered and 3 unsheltered on any given day. The Coalition has found that about 10 times that number become homeless in a year, so statistically, Lincoln Parish might expect 250 persons to become homeless in a typical year. And by homeless we mean unsheltered – these folks have no place to live or stay and are in a car, park, tent, etc., or are in an emergency shelter or transitional housing provided by a charity or similar organization. When interacting with Wilson, he pointed out where an incredible number of our homeless are living right in plain sight in the heart of Ruston. It’s something that absolutely shook me to my boots. So while it’s not my intention to sound like an alarmist, I do hope that the message can bring us to a reality that entirely too many have been missing. Friends, it’s time to peel back the veneer. We have folks in dire straits in our community with no idea of how to improve their circumstances. The homeless population is growing and can be found in areas that are both shocking and disturbing. Poverty has a death grip on a huge sector of our population, and my work sees the by-product of that again and again. But here’s the deal—if our community is ever to advance, it’s time for us to open our eyes and see what’s going on around us. Then we need to try and do something. I shudder every time I think about Wilson and what it must have been like to feel invisible as people walked past him day after day. For me, that’s just unacceptable. It should be for us all.
Cathi Cox-Boniol is a lifelong resident of Ruston and 36year Lincoln Parish educator. An education specialist who serves as ACHIEVE Coordinator for the Lincoln Parish School District, Cathi holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Louisiana Tech University with extensive post-graduate work completed in science and STEM education. She is married to Tom Boniol and when not traveling, they are busy community advocates actively serving Temple Baptist Church, Louisiana Tech University, RustonLincoln Chamber of Commerce, Wellspring Alliance for Families, North Central Louisiana Arts Council, United Way of Northeast Louisiana, Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful, and other service initiatives. -----------------------------------
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I go back to Elvis and “In the Ghetto” and wonder if the reason that song struck such a nerve is because he was actually singing from his own experience with generational poverty and his family’s struggle to climb out of it. It’s easier to see things when you have that point of reference. Yet, while we may not have such a personal circumstance to relate to, we do have an opportunity to connect with someone else’s situation today. We need only open our eyes. I believe that’s the beginning of a truly transformative experience right here, right now.
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for your thoughts written by Penny Jones
The Beautiful Island Historical Fiction
he sun sinks low into the horizon as my thoughts begin to wander. The silver tapestry of moss dances in the breeze, as the sky becomes alive with an array of color. I sit just waiting. I do not know what I wait for, but there seems to be magical presence surrounding this place. Wishing not to disturb this moment in time, I allow myself the pleasure of just pausing. The frogs have begun their singing; the rustling of birds in the trees can be heard as they retire for the night, and the bayou continues on its slow dance to the gulf. I am mesmerized. Before long the stars have boldly displayed their grandeur within the backdrop of darkness. Life is like that; whether a person is ready for change or not, it happens. Day turns into night, then before we know it, days have gone by, and the reality that life has passed by. What seemed like a moment ago was, in fact, decades ago. This melody of night brings me back to the moment I, William Smith, arrived in Louisiana. With nothing more but hopes and dreams, I made my way to Belle Isle, known as the beautiful island. It is the perfect name, for the beauty of the island is beyond description. I arrived homeless and barefoot. Everything I owned was in one small bag. I stumbled my way onto the bank, as I was dropped off by a fisherman. I heard that a doctor owned a plantation here at one time, but now it was being mined for salt. Straightening my dirty clothes, I place my hands into the murky water to wash my face and slick down my hair. I needed a job and had high hopes someone would hire me. With all my strength, I knock on the wooden door of the salt mine's brick administrative office. As the door slowly creaks open, I find myself face to face with a mammoth of a man. Roughly 6'5 and at least three hundred pounds, his shoulders take up the entire door frame. This large man whose physical exterior was hard as a rock held such gentleness in his eyes as they swept down my face to my bare feet. Stretching out his hand
he announces, "I am Bobby Dupré, but most just call me boss. What can I do for you?" "I am William Smith. I just arrived on Belle Isle and needed work. A fisherman dropped me off from the mainland, and will be back this evening on his way home. Do you have anything I can do?" "Well son, come on in..." That one phrase from the "Boss" was life speaking into a very dire situation, as I had absolutely no money in my pocket. Bobby gave me work at the salt mine that day, and also invited me to stay in his home until I could get my own place. He told me as we climbed into the boat, "Come meet my family and stay as long as you need." I ended up staying a month, and in that time I fell in love with his beautiful daughter Emeline. We were married shortly after, and had a whole passel of kids. Bobby Jr. named after my father-in-law is currently at Tulane and says he is gonna be an engineer. Susan works in Morgan City as a nurse. Emily is getting ready for her last year in high school, and the twins Billy and Sheryl have finally decided to stop fighting and be friends. Life is funny. I never imagined I would be a married man, with kids, a wonderful extended family, and attend a church full of friends. I am a wealthy man. Not in a monetary sense, as we still struggle to make ends meet. But wealthy in the fact that I am surrounded by loved ones, and more importantly I am surrounded by my Heavenly Father as he allows me to reflect upon the beauty of life. I slowly get up from the soft soil that has cushioned my time of reflection. Tomorrow is a new day, but before I walk up the slope to my family, I stop and tell my Heavenly Father: "Thank you for life. It is not always easy. It can be full of ups and downs, yet through every season: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall you remain the same. Thank you that your shoulders are big enough to carry my burdens. Thank you for serenading me with dancing stars, singing frogs, and a rambling waterway…I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know you hold it… so I trust you. I love you Father God. Amen.”
Slowly I climb up the bank, and from a distance, I hear Billy and Sheryl fighting. I guess the pact of friendship just went out the window. I better help Emeline with those kids, before they break something. Life is funny. One moment it's peaceful and the next chaotic, but through it all, I wouldn't change it. Life is a gift, and I plan to live it to the fullest. ---------------------------------------------------Dear reader, may we stop and take the time to reflect on the beauty of life. Life at times can hold much pain, but just as Spring is on its way in Louisiana, life will change seasons too. Whatever season of life you find yourself in, may you feel surrounded by God. *This story is purely fictional, but based loosely off the following facts: Belle Isle at one time held a working salt mine. Walter Brashear owned the island. Walter was a doctor, planter, and ultimately held a position in Louisiana politics. More information on Belle Isle can be found at www.explorebelleisle.com Bible References in William's prayer: Matthew 11:28-30-Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV) Isaiah 41:13-For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. (NIV) ---------------------------------------------------Penny Jones was born and raised in Louisiana, and finds joy in the history of this unique state. She holds a degree in English from the University of Kansas CityMissouri.
a novel approach written by Winnie Griggs Perspective Part 1
But if you put a sailor in the same situation, he might think in terms of being pulled under, drowning or swimming in shark-in1fested waters.
oday I’m starting a two-part series on literary perspective. Perspective is about how individuals view, process and filter the actions, environment and sensory details they encounter. It takes into account the individual’s education, experience, upbringing, beliefs, attitudes and goals because the sum of a person’s experiences and beliefs inform how they view the world and react to whatever they face. In this article, I’ll focus on how to develop and effectively utilize the perspective of the characters in your story. To nail your character’s perspective, you need to make certain you understand their backstory, the events, environment, occupation, relationships, experiences and ambitions that shaped him into who he is in the today of your story. Only then can you use perspective to present either a deeper characterization or slant a scene or description a certain way. Let me illustrate. If a ten-year-old tomboy, a CEO who’s late for a meeting and a woman who just learned her cancer is in remission all got caught in a rainstorm, their reactions would be very different. The child might gleefully splash about in puddles, the CEO would likely grumble at the inconvenience, and the woman might view it as a blessed sign of renewal. But perspective goes even deeper. It should play a role in word choice, in what details are mentioned and which are ignored, and it will determine the attitude with which those details are viewed. Let’s
In the area of word choice: Suppose you have a seamstress who suddenly comes upon something that frightens her. She might think in terms of fear stitching its way up her spine or about her nerves unraveling.
Or suppose we have a young child and an adult both describing a puppy. The adult would probably use words like rambunctious, house-trained (or not!), kid-friendly, purebred, rescue. But your child wouldn’t be thinking in those terms – or at least he shouldn’t be. He would use words like wiggly, furry, or say the puppy like to gives wet kisses. If instead, you use generic terms for the emotions or descriptions, you’re not only missing the opportunity to add color and depth, but also failing to deepen your characterization In the area of details: Let’s say you have three friends walking into a museum lobby – we’ll call them Tim, Sue and Leo. Tim has been there many times so he doesn’t look around. Instead, he goes right to the ticket counter. What he notices is how talkative the ticket agent is, what the discount options are, what flyers are on the counter. Sue, on the other hand, has never been there before. What she notices is the elegant architecture of the lobby, the plush benches, beautiful tapestries and the stunning patterns on the tile floor. Then there’s Leo. He hasn’t been here before either, but he doesn’t really want to be there. What he notices are the long lines and the high price of the tickets. In the area of attitude and values: Returning to our example of the three friends at the museum. Tim is an
artist in his own right and has a deep appreciation for art in all its forms and is eager to share that appreciation with others. If we view the museum through his eyes, we will get a very positive, immersive impression. Sue only has a surface appreciation for art and doesn’t understand any pieces that aren’t literal. She longs to impress Tim, who’s her boyfriend. If we view the exhibits through her eyes, we’ll get a very different impression, one of vague confusion and eagerness to see the beauty that’s just beyond her understanding. Then there’s our reluctant friend Leo. He grudgingly trails behind his two friends. He considers the exhibits lame, and he’s on to Sue’s pretense, so what we’ll get from him is a very cynical view of his surroundings. Hopefully you can see how, by digging deep into who your characters are, you’ve enriched your story and added layers of texture for your reader to enjoy. That’s it for our discussion of Character Perspective. Next time around I’ll discuss how author and reader perspective also play a part in your work. As always, feel free to contact me at Winnie@winniegriggs.com for questions on this or any other aspect of novel writing. You can also connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/ WinnieGriggs.Author ----------------------------------------------------
Winnie Griggs grew up in south Louisiana in an undeveloped area her friends thought of as the back of beyond. She and her siblings spent many an hour exploring the overgrown land around her home, cutting jungle trails, building forts and frontier camps, and looking for pirate ships on the nearby bayou. Once she ‘grew up’ she began capturing those wonderful adventures in the pages of her notebooks. Now a multi-published, award winning author, Winnie feels blessed to be able to share her stories with readers through her published books. You can learn more about Winnie at www.winniegriggs.com or connect with her at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author
headlines & hemlines written by Rachel Pardue How to Fit 50 Outfits in One Suitcase
the seams started coming undone. Instead of throwing it out, I asked my neighbor who has a hobby for leatherwork to repair it in return for trading him some of my mom’s homemade jelly. I still wear it every day here in California.
’ve always considered myself to have a bit of an eclectic fashion sense, and my closet was absolute proof of that. For years I had a closet overflowing with separate articles of clothing and yet no outfits. So many of my days began with me sitting on the floor of my closet surrounded by a pile of clothes I had tried on to no avail. After the stress and frustration passed, the moment of defeat would set in as I hopelessly looked around to my cluttered closet. I had nothing to wear. Naturally, this realization would happen about 5 minutes after I was already supposed to be out the door.
Minimalism shouldn’t be doing without but rather living with items that I love as much as my backpack. In our world of fast fashion where clothes are disposable and style is temporary, minimalism is a conscious choice to live a little bit simpler like our grandparents. It’s choosing to buy one well-made item rather than 10 cheap pieces of clothing that are temporary trends. Most importantly, it’s about taking care of what you have instead of throwing it away to buy another. In order to make this work in modern life, one of the main philosophies behind minimalism is focusing on creating more outfits out of less articles of clothing. To accomplish this, every top should ideally go with every bottom
Fast forward to my move to college, and I had two suitcases loaded to the brim. Every time I would fly home, I traveled with an empty suitcase so I could bring back more of my closet. About the time I finally had my entire closet in Boston, I moved to New York for the summer, and I could only take one suitcase. This wasn’t so bad, except that after my New York program was over, I flew straight to Louisiana and spent a month horseback riding and fishing with only the fancy clothes I had packed for fashion school. It wasn’t until I resorted to breaking out my old high school t-shirts that I longed for the days when I was surrounded by a full closet and thought I had nothing to wear. By January when it was time to move to San Francisco, I had had enough. I packed up everything I owned in Boston and shipped it all home. It was the first time in three years that all of my things were in one place. My house was packed full of boxes, I didn’t know where anything was, and I was forced to face the fact that my clothes no longer brought me joy, only stress. I started playing with the idea of living a more minimalist lifestyle as the solution to my closet-induced stress. The more I learned about it, the more minimalism sounded like my relationship with my backpack. I have had the same leather backpack for too many years to count. It started off as a shiny brown leather, but after too many walks to class in the snow and rain my backpack faded to a light brown color that was just worn out enough to make it look intentional. After a few more years of use,
For my San Francisco closet, I packed one nice pair of dark wash skinny jeans, one pair of high-waisted jeans, one edgier pair of jeans with holes, one pair of white jeans, and one pair of black jeans. To dress up the jeans I packed three white button ups, two blue button ups, and for colder days I have 5 sweaters. Because any of my tops can be worn with any of my bottoms, I can make 50 different outfits out of my 15 pieces of clothes. For this small wardrobe to be able to work you have to really love every piece of clothing, and sticking to neutral colors certainly makes it easier. Minimalism is also a way to be able to afford nicer clothing because instead of buying five $20 shirts you may wear a handful of times, you can buy one $100 top that is well made and will be your go-to for years. Since moving to minimalism, my friends and co-workers make comments on my lavish closet or classically extravagant style when truthfully I have about 1/4th the clothes that they do. I’m just incredibly selective about every rare purchase.
My favorite thing about my newfound minimalist closet is that it was an easy way for me to create a recognizable personal style. I adore a good collared button up shirt that’s effortlessly tucked into a nice pair of jeans, and now my closet is a reflection of that. Even though all of my outfits follow the same aesthetic, I can go 7 weeks without repeating a look so I’m never without variety. If you do want to give minimalism a go, I suggest you start small. Notice the clothes that are your very favorite in your closet. Lay them out side by side on your bed and ask yourself why you love these items? What do they have in common? From those observations you can get a better understanding of your personal style so that you can start decluttering your closet by donating the clothes that don’t fit this theme. Another useful trick to baby-step your way into minimalism is to turn all the hangers in your closet around. Once you wear an item and put it back, hang it normally. Then after 1-6 months you can quickly purge your closet of the clothes you never wore by donating the items that are still facing the wrong way. If all of this sounds insane, and you wouldn’t dare part with your closet, give minimalism a try on your next vacation. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can pack and get dressed in the mornings. You’ll even have extra room in your suitcase for the fun stuff: shoes and bags. Whether or not you decide to give minimalism a go, what’s most important is that your closet is a place that brings you joy. Your wardrobe should make getting dressed fun, and once you’re ready to leave for the day, what you’re wearing should feel like a reflection of who you are. ----------------------------------------------------------
Rachel Pardue is a graduate of Cedar Creek School in Ruston, Louisiana. She is an aspiring entrepreneur who is studying business at Babson College outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Babson is ranked as the #1 School for Entrepreneurship in the nation, and Rachel is attending as a Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Scholar.
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