The Minute Magazine 2017 Jan Feb

Page 1

Jan/Feb 2017 Volume 12, Issue 1



LOCATIONS LOCATIONS ARCADIA (318) 263-8477 ARCADIA LOCATIONS (318) 263-8477 ATHENS (318) 258-3123 ARCADIA ATHENS (318) 263-8477 258-3123 BOSSIER (318) 752-2727 ATHENS BOSSIER (318) 258-3123 752-2727 GIBSLAND (318) 843-6228 BOSSIER GIBSLAND (318) 752-2727 843-6228 HOMER (318) 927-5075 GIBSLAND HOMER 843-6228 (318) 927-5075 MINDEN (318) 371-9910 HOMER MINDEN (318) 927-5075 (318) 371-9910 SHREVEPORT (318) 688-7005 MINDEN SHREVEPORT (318) 371-9910 688-7005 SIBLEY (318) 371-9465 SHREVEPORT SIBLEY (318) 688-7005 371-9465

We want to give you We want to give you CASH BACK We want to give you CASH BACK every month! CASH everyBACK month! every month!

SIBLEY Now, you can earn 1% cash back (up to $50.00 per statement (318) 371-9465 Now, you can earn 1% cash back (up tocard $50.00 per statement cycle) on all signature-based debit transactions. cycle) on all signature-based debit card transactions. monthly charge Now,Noyou can service earn 1% cash back (up to $50.00 per statement Minimum of $100.00 required to open. No monthly service charge cycle) on all signature-based No minimum balance requirements. debit card transactions.

Minimum of $100.00 required to open. Free e-statements. No minimum balance requirements. Freemonthly on-line service bankingcharge & bill pay. Free e-statements. Minimum of $100.00 required to open. Free mobile banking with mobile deposit. Free on-line banking & bill pay. No minimum balance requirements. Free account alerts. Free mobile banking with mobile deposit. e-statements. Free account alerts. & bill pay. on-line banking Free mobile banking with mobile deposit. Free account alerts. Signature-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

ask 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 for 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 rewards will be credited to the account the day after the statement drops. Signature-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 ask 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 © 2016, Gibsland Bank and Trust. All rights reserved. for 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 rewards will be credited to the account the day after the statement drops.

© 2016, Gibslanddebit Bankcard and transactions Trust. All rights Signature-based arereserved. 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 ask 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 for 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 rewards will be credited to the account the day after the statement drops. © 2016, Gibsland Bank and Trust. All rights reserved.







We’re Online! To View Digital Issues & Find Locations Near You Visit

magazine 4

Like us on Facebook!

Welcome to Ruston Native Shannon Lewis, our newest sales representative!




Models: Hannah Richard & Dakota Doss Photographer: Sapphire Photography Dress: Hers Bridal Makeup: Alicia Adams Cake: KaCee's Sugar & Spice Flowers: Everything Artsy Events Location: Downtown Minden, LA


Office Phone: 504.390.2585 Ad Sales: 318.548.2693 Address: P.O. Box 961, Belle Chasse, LA 70037

11 The 5 Stages of Equipping Others

Melanie Groves & Brian Russell of MoCo

15 Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Heather McHorter Bailey, Social Bites

20 The Wedding Guide The Experts: Alicia Adams Chris Alice Palmer Morgan Garrison Tanya Paul Linzie Hebert Jeremy Hebert Vicki Caskey

Sharelle Gutierrez Dory Michell Thomas Adams Rosemary Thomas Judith Roberts Beth Fontenot

Leslie Albritton Barbara Durbin Sara Enloe Beth Fontenot Winnie Griggs Yvette Hardy Wesley Harris Sara McDaniels Jason McReynolds Kathy B. Nelson Rachel Pardue Steven Smith Darla Upton

46 Jonquil Jubilee Beth Fontenot


For a list of locations near you, or to catch up on past issues, like us on Facebook or visit Interested in writing for The Minute or have a great feature story idea? Email Tiffany Byram at

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 2016. 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.


Speak It!

written by Kathy B. Nelson

New Things


his has been a year of new things for me. Have you had anything new in your life that has provoked change or adjustments? New marriage, new baby, new house, new job, new relationship, new family dynamics, new goals? Those “new things” can be exciting, scary, painful, difficult, fun and life changing. As we start this New Year, it seems to be a good time to assess our lives and determine if there are any personal changes that need to be made. I emphasize “personal” because the goal is to assess what we need to do, not what we wish someone else would do. Let’s consider the things we need to start doing or stop doing. Maybe just a little tweaking is all that is needed. Changes are good when they make our lives, and those around us, better. Recently, I went to Oak Grove, Louisiana. I lived there when I was in the fourth and fifth grade while my dad was the head football coach at Oak Grove High School. There are so many new things that have been built or changed since I lived there. The city swimming pool is not by the park. But, the Little Freezer, the Fiske Theater and the elementary school I attended looked just as I remembered. Some things seemed to have been tweaked a little, like the house we lived in and First Baptist Church. First Baptist was


a place for a “new thing” in my new life. I became a follower of Christ. I realized I needed a Savior. The Pastor, Bro. Causey, baptized me as a symbol of an old life given up for the new life in Christ. God has always been into doing “new things”. His people, the Israelites, had been through such a dry season and were desperate for help and renewal. They had lost their way. Their enemies had won several rounds against them and they were very discouraged. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

I think we do the same. We get distracted by other interests and obligations and forget what we are really supposed to be doing. Then, we find ourselves captured by something or someone and lose our way. God gave hope to his people then and he still gives hope to his people today. What an amazing promise – ‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ Who would not want to be shown the way out of the wilderness when you are lost and wandering around in need of a rescue? And can I get a witness from anyone who is longing for water in the desert places of your life? This promise of hope and help is available to all of us. Consider this as you look to the New Year. Happy New Year! ----------------------------------------------------

Kathy is an author and speaker that loves to bring a word of encouragement to anyone that will listen. Founder of Speak It Ministries, she has been sharing her faith and teaching God's Word for over 30 years. She is a wife, sister, mom and Mimi to some great people and loves spending time with each of them. You can follow her on FaceBook, Twitter @cckahy, Goodreads and Wordpress. She is best described by having a desire to live life, love people and laugh out loud.


Simply Southern Cottage written by Sara McDaniels

How a Simple White Cottage Orchestrated a Divine Friendship


n the mid 1970’s, the Jim Hodges family rented a simple white cottage in Minden, Louisiana from Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Fitzgerald. Little did they know at that precise moment, the Lord was orchestrating a divine friendship that would change the life of one of their daughters nearly 40 years later.

Easter, Karrie would dye Easter eggs on the huge farm sink in the kitchen. Even though Karrie and I have never met face to face, we had an instant connection. It was as if we had known each other for years! A few weeks after connecting with Karrie, she reached out to ask about my work. (I am an educational sales consultant for Teacher Created Materials.) She would see intriguing things I would post on Facebook, and because Karrie is a teacher, she wanted to know more!

The Hodges family along with their two daughters, Karrie and Whitney, lived in the cottage for about 7 years. Mrs. Fanette Hodges later opened Fanette’s Flower House in Minden and currently operates Fanette’s Bridal Registry and Children’s Clothing Boutique also located in Minden.

My wheels began to turn. As I got to know Karrie better, learning more about her teaching style, experience, etc., it dawned on me we had an educational sales consultant role open in Houston! And Karrie just so happens to reside in the Houston area!

Seasons changed and eventually the Hodges family moved away from the cottage and to Dayton, Ohio for a new adventure.

Karrie immediately sent me her resume. Although I’m not the hiring manager, I know what our company looks for in a sales consultant. And Karrie seemed to be a perfect fit!

As time went on, other renters occupied the home as well as the Fitzgerald’s daughter, Martha. The cottage later fell into a great state of disrepair. As I was looking to move home to Louisiana, and laid my eyes on this beautiful home, I knew I had to have it. After an exhaustive process, I was able to purchase the cottage the Hodges family called home almost 40 years prior. After creating a blog and Facebook page to document the renovation of the cottage (, Fanette and Karrie quickly reached out via Facebook to express their joy that someone had finally been able to secure the broken down cottage and return it to the former glory they once knew. Karrie graciously shared some photos of when her family lived in the home. Karrie remembers looking out her bedroom window at night and watching the stop light blink at the intersection of East and West and Lewisville Rd. She also remembers “playing McDonald’s” outside her bedroom door. And each


Next, I forwarded her resume to my manager. I explained how I “knew” Karrie, but really didn’t. But I thought he should take a good look at her resume. He did and was intrigued. After spending over an hour with her on the phone, Karrie was promoted to the next stage of the hiring process. In less than 3 weeks, Karrie was hired on as the new Houston area sales consultant for Teacher Created Materials.

It took me nearly two years to secure my Simply Southern Cottage. The entire time I pondered and thought about what the Lord had in store for ME and why He made ME wait for two years. After meeting Karrie, it dawned on me. I had selfish motives. I was looking at the wait for my cottage according to what the Lord held in store for ME. But MAYBE just MAYBE, the two year wait was about fulfilling another purpose entirely exclusive of me, but INCLUSIVE of my circumstances. The Lord had to orchestrate the perfect timing. The Hodges family moving into my cottage in the 1970’s. The timing of Teacher Created Materials having an opening for a Houston area sales consultant. The two year wait it took me to secure my cottage. Perhaps ALL of those events were divinely arranged especially for Karrie, and the Lord simply used my circumstances as the vessel. Karrie’s story is a perfect example of how the Lord orders our steps YEARS before He bestows the blessing. He carefully lays each footstone and pathway to bring us to the destiny that ushers in the greatest glory for Him. Some might say Karrie’s connection with me is just a coincidence. I say it is the Lord knowing her exact needs and laying the foundational work for such a time as this.


Hi there! I’m Sara! Home renovation is my passion. This columm documents the renovation process of my 1926 Louisiana cottage. Some would have chosen to it tear down, seeing no hope or future for a home in such terrible condition. Not me! I see resilience and charm hidden beneath the rot, decay and neglect. Much like my home, I too have been devastated and broken down. This cottage will personify beauty from the ashes…my ashes. Join me as I reclaim and restore both my life and my home.

North Louisiana’s Premier Wedding Venue

t a h T g n Creati

ent m o M l Specia

5868 Mer Rouge Road Bastrop, Louisiana

318.791.3659 Call today to hear about our packages

Whatever the season or style, Park Manor can accommodate your dream. Nestled on 150 Acres of rolling pasture land backed by rustic woodlands. We offer a wide choice of sites for an outdoor ceremony from the front lawn of our charming 1860’s plantation farmhouse to our 2,700 sq. ft. pavilion. The ONLY accredited education & management center in North Louisiana. No referrals needed.

823 West California Ave Ruston, LA 318.244.3044




206 McMillan Rd, Suite 1 West Monroe, LA 318.350.6644

@diabetescarectr Diabetes Care Center


a collage of southern stories and recipes:

seasoned moments written by Barbara Durbin

Comfort Stew


he cold of a southern winter tends to bring a nostalgic longing for warmth and coziness. We like our Cuddle Duds, our fleece lined pajamas, and our soft and wooly blankets. Those are good soft qualities for our home. There are even foods which bring those same graces to our homes. After a full day of work, there is nothing better than to go to home and hearth, step into our humble abode and take it easy. If we are not working on the night’s menu, we generally find our most comfortable chair and hug a cup of cocoa or coffee within our palms. We allow the cold howling winds of the world to remain outside. Whatever the state of the season's weather, we as people like our comfort, security and food. Nothing brings relaxation as well as stepping into a place where there is peace and allowing that euphoric homey feeling to settle into our spirit and bring calm. To keep a peaceful spirit is a choice. We can easily choose to bring contention and strife into our dwelling place or not. A bad day at work, a misunderstanding between friends, or any number of things can cause us to lose our peace. The choice remains ours as to whether to invite war and discord or peace and tranquility to eat with us. Having had a rough moment may be the reason serenity was kicked out the door, and the dog as well; but bad days are no excuse for poor behavior.


Rough and rawness from others may have been the catalyst for ugly moods but one doesn’t necessarily have to react to another’s actions. Don’t follow their footsteps onto their platform. It wasn’t designed for you. A person’s behavior when they enter their residence usually sets the stage for later events in that household. One can choose to walk in with an atmosphere which is conducive to harmony in the home or they can choose not. Since food caters to our sense of wellbeing, it is one of the instruments we should use to initiate a sense of peace and stillness in our home. It apparently brings truth to the old adage, “The way to a man/woman’s, heart is through his/ her stomach.” Just as David used his harp to soothe the restless spirit of King Saul, we can use the contents of our cupboard to placate those who may have had a bumpy day. Even if the food is plain; “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”

---------------------------------------------------Comfort Stew 1 3/4 lb beef for stew 1 T. cooking oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper 1/2 t. season salt 3 beef bouillon cubes 2 1/2 c. water 1-10 oz. pkg. frozen whole baby carrots 2 cups frozen whole pearl onions 1 cup chopped potatoes 2 T. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T. water 1-8 oz. pkg. frozen sugar snap peas In a Dutch oven, heat oil until hot. Add beef and garlic and brown evenly, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper. Add water and bouillon cubes, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add carrots and onions, cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and peas. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. ----------------------------------------------------

Barbara Durbin is a legal secretary and a published newspaper and magazine columnist. When not at her "real job", she works on her baskets filled with vintage books/china for "The Vintage Bee." She loves a walk in the woods and her time with God. Barbara and her husband have four children, eight grandchildren and a dappled dachshund named Bella. Look for her on facebook and follow her "Pocket Full of Moment" comments.

The 5 Stages of Equipping Others Iadapt, n today's world, we need to be able to constantly learn, and change to keep succeeding. But, ultimately

our fulfillment in life will develop exponentially by making time to equip others. People who are willing to teach others what they know will always be multipliers to everyone around them. As Simon Sinek says, "The value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves. The value of our lives is determined by what we do for others." If you want to prepare others to take ownership over a task, skill, or a particular situation, you'll be more likely to be effective with a proven system for training people. We can promise you that this system will help the people around you in any area of life. Here are the five stages of equipping that we've adapted from John Maxwell, the #1 leadership expert in the world.

1. The Teaching Stage

I teach you what we're doing. In this stage, you want to communicate what you're doing and strongly articulate why you're doing it. Don't rush this stage as it will set the foundation for the mental preparation.

2. The Modeling Stage

You watch me do it. Explain how to do what you're doing in this stage. Utilizing your different experiences, demonstrate specifically some of the tips you've gathered in order to optimize this stage.

3. The Collaboration Stage

We do it together. In the third stage, make sure to point out what this person did correctly. Be encouraging and show them that they can do it! After this stage, assign to them the importance of this responsibility.

4. The Analytical Stage

I watch you do it. This stage should consist of observing, studying, and critiquing the performance. But, offer your assessment in a way that maximizes the next performance.

5. The Empowering Stage

I watch you teach someone else to do it. After this final stage, tell them how confident you are in them. Provide some teaching tips so they can instruct more people. Share your experiences with regards to the successes you've had with teaching others as well as your mistakes. When you've completed these 5 stages with someone, offer feedback that gives them authority to take ownership of this process. Then, go start the cycle over again with someone else! As Jon Gordon says, "Leadership is not just about what you do but what you can inspire, encourage, and empower others to do." Who will you equip this week?

Use Your Gifts!

Written by Melanie Massey Groves and Brian Russell with MoCo: Leadership, Strengths, and Company Culture Coaching


headlines & hemlines written by Rachel Pardue

A Guide to Getting Off the Treadmill


hether you’re a bride getting ready for the big day or one of the countless Americans who made a resolution, there is a reason why gym memberships reach their peak in January only for attendance to quickly fall back to normal rates. I get it; in my case, I hate running on a treadmill. I’m always bored out of my mind and staring in agony as I watch the number of calories burned creep at a glacial pace that comes nowhere near the calories in a cookie. Because I don’t enjoy it, it’s nearly impossible to make myself get up early to go to the gym. So thanks to my fit, got-her-lifetogether roommate who introduced me to yoga, I finally said goodbye to the treadmill. I know how this sounds, but don’t worry, I didn’t have any deep inner-realizations that inspired me to live solely off of green juices while I post Instagram pictures of me doing handstands in a sports bra that shows off my abs, mainly because I don’t have them. However, what I did realize is that it was crazy of me to think that I could essentially punish myself into becoming healthier, through the aforementioned hours (okay minutes) on the treadmill. So I tried three workouts that added actually added happiness to my day. Who knew? Yoga is the workout that most affected how I go through my daily life. Everything from my high-intensity class that burns up to 1,000 calories in an hour to the chair class that’s great for senior citizens, yoga gives you the most important benefit of mind-body awareness and a higher capacity for self-positive thought. The poses will tone your body, but it’s breathing throughout each pose that naturally


turns into meditation that is most beneficial. After a few practices, your thoughts will go from ‘this is so weird, why are my arms shaking so much’ to complete peace and silence even in positions that push your muscles. It’s this ability to find mental peace in uncomfortable situations that stays with you long after your workout ends. It’s no secret that CrossFit is considered largely to be a guy’s workout. Women aren’t supposed to lift weights, be strong, or have muscles. The women at my CrossFit gym put all of these sexist claims to shame. They do have muscles but not in the body builder, orange skin way you may be imagining. These women are gorgeously toned, and the workout is about being strong in an upfront way rather than through flexibility, core strength, and other great but specifically female ways. It was really healthy for me to forget about all of the imposed notions of what women should and shouldn’t do and just do something that was good for my body. Zumba’s Latin-inspired dance workout will have your heartrate up and calories burning while you’re just dancing with your friends. The upbeat music and insanely high energy-level of the room makes it addictive, and if you’re worried about looking silly while not knowing how to do yoga poses or lift weights, Zumba is your best friend. Because it’s dance and there’s very little risk of

anyone getting hurt, there’s really no way to do it wrong. I’ll never be the girl who exclusively wears Lululemon, works out every day, and adheres to a plant-based diet. I’m from a very southern family and the day I turned down a home-made biscuit or fried chicken would be the end of that. I’m just looking for a balance, but my mistake was attempting to classify working out as an expense that had to be paid to cover the cost of the things I enjoy like giant Sunday brunches. In the words of the modern philosopher Watts, we spend our entire lives on a treadmill. We work from promotion to promotion until, if we’re lucky, we finally obtain our goal career at age 45. “In the meantime, the insurance and investment people have been interesting you in plans for retirement – that really ultimate goal of being able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of all your labors. But when the day comes, your anxieties and exertions will have left you with a weak heart, false teeth, and fuzzy eyesight.” Our society suggests to achieve a goal we must first suffer through boredom and unhappiness. While there’s no denying the value of hard work, if we can find a way to reach those same goals in ways that make us happy and appreciative of our lives every step of the way, then we can escape the treadmill. ----------------------------------------------------

Rachel Pardue is a recent graduate of Cedar Creek School in Ruston, LA. Rachel is an aspiring entrepreneur who is studying business at Babson College outside of Boston, MA. 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.


the journey written by Jason McReynolds



o we're talking about weddings. As a pastor I have detailed knowledge and understanding of weddings. As a man I don’t really want to know because it’s “a girl thing”, right? Sure there are groomzillas out there who are way too invested in the wedding. In fact, most brides shouldn’t be as invested in their wedding as they are. Whoa! I can feel your face turning red and your head about to explode, but let me explain. Logically I’m sure you understand that the wedding day is one day in your entire life. It is an incredibly special and meaningful day. But it is meaningful for reasons our society has forgotten about. In fact, the real meaning of the wedding day isn’t even mentioned or acknowledged outside of the pastor possibly reciting a few lines during the wedding ceremony itself. It isn’t about the bride’s childhood dream. It isn’t just about the bride and groom marrying and becoming a family. And it isn’t just about the marriage afterwards. It is about soooo much more. As a pastor I recognize that the American understanding of weddings and marriage is more influenced by “The Princess Bride” than it’s original intention. But even the movie’s lispy priest was onto something. He states: “Maawage, that blessed arrangement…” Wait, who blesses this arrangement? The wedding day is a celebration that points to 2 things: 1. The marriage, obviously. But the marriage is supposed to point to something itself. 2. The wedding day and the marriage point to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Himself. As you follow Him it is only He who has the power to bless your marriage. Your marriage is to exemplify the marriage of God to His church. If people aren’t directed to Jesus when


they look at your marriage then it isn’t being fulfilled for the purpose it was meant. The bible is very clear that the wedding day isn’t just the “bride’s big day,” as we so often say, it is the Lord’s day. He is the One who should be celebrated because He is the One who brought two people together. He is the One who supernaturally molded your heart to fit perfectly with another. This day should be about God, His supernatural love for us, and how He provided such a wonderful life-long partner. We don’t deserve it. We didn’t do anything to earn it. We aren’t worthy of it. He just loves us. That’s who God is… Love. Even more importantly than those things, scripture is very clear that the marriage represents the church’s relationship as the bride with God who is the groom. Every wedding is to celebrate God’s love for those who follow Him. I perform very few weddings. But the weddings I do perform are amazing because I know God is all over the couple before me. Scripture is clear that I cannot say things like, (read in solemn pastor’s voice) “I stand before you today and acknowledge that groom’s name and bride’s name have decided to follow their Savior and seek to have a pure and holy life before Him” and not mean it. In order to be married in our church we have to know you. Our church is very much a family. You can’t escape it. It’s built into our name, New Orleans “Community” Church. Therefore,

the couple must be a member for 6 months. By then we usually know the couple well enough to give us a good foundation to address the issues they face. After this we walk through 6 months of premarital counseling. Not 6 weeks. 6 months. And we meet almost every week. Why 6 months? Because working out issues takes more than 6 weeks. You know all the right answers to those “6 week” premarital counseling questions anyway! Yes, it is painful sometimes, but marriage isn’t easy. It takes work! If you can’t work the little things out before you get married how will you work the big unexpected things out after you are married? Now the rest of the movie priest’s statement is untrue, unrealistic, and puts marriages on the path to destruction: “that dream within a dream…. Love, true love, will follow you forever….” Don’t take marriage advice from a movie! Ask anyone who has been married for 10 or more years. There are times when they might not emotionally love their spouse. But they do vowfully love their spouse. That is true love. That is God’s love for us. He committed Himself to us. So much so that when we were breaking His heart He gave His Son to die on a cross so that His church and His people could be married to Him. So imitate this and let your wedding share something greater than yourself and let others be drawn to Jesus throughout your marriage. -------------------------------------------------

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:


strangers at my


written by Darla Upton Brides & Babies


live in a small town. We have one grocery store. There's no Walmart. There's no CVS. There's no Walgreens. There's no Target. We don't even have all the fast food chains on the highway. You know you are small town when your fast food options are limited. It takes me an hour in any direction to reach a metropolitan area. I'm not talking Dallas, either. I'm talking like Longview. Longview and Texarkana is "going to town." If I need to get to a Sam's or Target I have to go to one of those. Shreveport is reserved for fun and culture. When I got pregnant I was living and working in Texarkana and Hugh was living and working in Jefferson. So, we consolidated and I moved to Jefferson. I have never quite gotten the hang of living so far from everything. Well, actually, living here isn't the problem. It's leaving here that's the problem. I'm someone that was used to using an hour lunch break to run home, walk my dog, eat lunch and drive back to work. If I got to work and spilled coffee on myself, I could dash out and change and be back before anyone noticed my office was empty. If I had the sneaking feeling my coffeepot was still on I could easily dart over and check. So, getting myself and an infant ready to, for example, run to Sam's an hour away would usually result in me carrying more items from the house to the store than what I was picking up at the stupid store. Extra bottle, snack for myself in case he was fussy and wouldn't let me eat, extra diapers, extra wipes, change of clothes, a spare bib, etc. It was daunting to leave the house! When two hours is traveling time and you have a baby that isn't fond of the car and even less fond of stores, you carry a big bag full of toys, too.


As Atticus grew it got somewhat easier, but toddler years brought messy eating and potty training, so again, I was almost carrying a suitcase of supplies and toys.

when you're older. In your youth, brides are your friends wearing a dress and using colors you would never use. Babies are a burden you can't imagine having in your life, yet.

Parenthood and small town living only exasperated my tendency to overpack. I've always been someone that takes way more clothes and matching shoes than I will ever need when I'm vacationing. It was only fitting that packing for myself and an extra person makes me a walking nightmare, even on a day trip to Walmart!

But later in life, they really are the most precious and beautiful thing you get invited to see.

Don't get me wrong. I love to travel! I do! I love seeing new things and all the places you get to see while getting there! The only problem is you'll need to ride on the roof if you take a trip with me! Basically, my inability to just go and not overthink what may go wrong and what I may need is the reason traveling is not my strong suit. I will plan a vacation because the pay off is greater than the headache but I will side step most day trips with a laundry list of excuses. Having a dinner party? Nope. Thinking of a birthday party in the park? Nu-uh. Drinks and dinner before a movie? Can't. But babies and brides. Even to an overpacking, stressful traveler like myself, babies and brides are worth traveling for. When you are younger, brides and babies aren't the same as they are

An evening wedding that won't get me back home until after midnight? Of course, I'll be there. Lunch with you and the new baby on my only day off in a month? Absolutely, I can't wait! Babies and brides. There is no hope like that which is shown in their eyes. I will cry when a bride tears up coming down the aisle. I will kiss a baby and a new mom on the forehead. I will hug them all too tight. As you get older, you can either snarl at the happiness or you can just be happy with the hope brides and babies bring. This season try not to mention this is her second marriage. Don't mention she already has three other kids. Just go. Go see that new baby at the hospital. Go to the wedding and look at her face as she walks down the aisle. Kiss a forehead and eat some cake. I guarantee you'll go home feeling pretty good about the future. But when you go, don't overpack.

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.

Rekindle Your Romance This Valentine’s Day Weekend

14th Annual Jefferson Quilt Show

“Quilts on the Bayou”

January 27-29


February 24-26

903-665-3733 17

the uncommon

housewife written by Leslie Albritton

Rolling in the New Year with Ainsley's Angels


ason Parks, a general mechanic from Franklin Parish, noticed something peculiar while running his second marathon in 2014. It was a black shirt adorned with two bright pink A’s sprouting angel wings and a halo. The shirt read ‘Do you have what it takes to be an angel?’ with a web address listed. Peaking his curiosity Jason googled the website and was impressed to learn the story of Ainsley Rossiter and her namesake foundation. Ainsley was born with a rare genetic disorder that slowly caused total paralysis. She started to require the use of a wheelchair at age four. Ainsley’s father, Kim Rossiter, refused to let his daughter be sidelined and not enjoy normal activities, so the pair took up road racing with Kim pushing Ainsley in a custom made wheelchair. Inspired by the joy and freedom running brought to Ainsley’s life, her parents established the Ainsley’s Angels of America in 2011. This organization pairs able-bodied runners with people who have physical disabilities that prevent them from running races on their own. Wanting to be a part of this amazing group, Jason contacted AA and volunteered to push at the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge. He was paired with an angel team that consisted of Labrittany Knight (rider) and three angel runners. Seeing Labrittany as she tearfully crossed the finish line and sharing in the excitement of her accomplishment Jason knew right away he was hooked! The next day after placing a few phone calls to the AA foundation, the Ainsley’s Angels of Northeast Louisiana was born. The new Northeast chapter made its racing debut on March 7, 2015 in Monroe, Louisiana with only one team. In less than two years this chapter has grown to a whopping 25 angel riders and almost 100 runners with over 30 local, regional and national races under its belt.


When speaking of the success of the Northeast chapter Jason is very quick to pass the praise on to the runners, the race preparation volunteers, and most importantly to the riders, some who travel as far as Houston and Lake Charles to participate in these events. Tommy and Wendy McDougald, parents of seven year old Jacie who was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, have noticed a tremendous change in their little girl since first joining the Northeast AA family last January. “Over the years we have tried to find different things for Jacie to be a part of but never found our fit until Ainsley’s Angels. Jacie is very shy and takes a while to warm up to people. The first few races she smiled some during the race but never interacted much. We have noticed the last couple of races she is all smiles, waving at everyone. She throws her arms straight out while they are running as if she is getting to fly. Jacie is excited about something now and is getting to do something that otherwise she would never get to do. We are so thankful for this organization and group of runners giving their legs. It takes someone special to give up their Saturday and leave their spouse and children at home just to come make someone's day!” Jacie has completed 18 races with the Northeast AA chapter and she is just one of the many reasons this organization is so important for families and individuals with special needs. The Northeast chapter has raised over $12,000 this year alone which will go directly back into buying the equipment (a custom chair ranges from $900.00 - $4000.00), covering the rider’s expenses for destination races and the rider’s entry fees for races.

When asked what his goals are for the chapter Jason said he would like to see membership continue to grow and be able to provide opportunities for the special needs community. “Ainsley’s Angels has been a blessing to me. I have witnessed how special our AA family is to so many and what a positive difference it makes in so many lives.” If you have what it takes to be an angel please visit the Angel’s Angel website at or their Facebook page Ainsley’s Angels of America.

Pictured: Jason Parks and Jacie McDougald

Leslie Albritton is a simple girl living in a country world. She is married to Brent and lives on a small farm in Farmerville with their daughter Nicole. They raise mini donkeys, mini horses and mini goats, hence the "small" farm. A runner, biker and kayaker she enjoys all things outdoors, especially the furry and four legged kind.

Arcadia Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE KICKOFF! Come Grow With Us! (318) 263-9897


Jonquil Jubilee Gibsland, LA Saturday March 4th

Bonnie & Clyde Trade Days Feb 17th, 18th, and 19th March 17th, 18th, and 19th Follow Us:

You’ve known her for so long. Now, suddenly, something has changed.

You’ve known her for so long. Now, suddenly, something has changed.

If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in the ability to cope with daily living, Senior Care at Minden Medical Center is here to help. Senior Care is available to persons age 55 and over with a mental or cognitive decline that hinders daily life, who has become a threat to self or others, or is limited in selfcare ability. Our mental health professionals are available through our 24 hour referral line to discuss treatment needs and are devoted to helping patients get back to their optimal level of functioning. Our services include:

• Free initial consultation • Thorough assessment • Customized treatment plans • Group, individual, and family counseling

• Management of secondary medical needs • Continued care planning and referral assistance

You’ve known her for so long. Now, suddenly, something has changed.

If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in For Quality the ability to cope with daily living, Senior Care at Minden Medical Center is here to help. For more information If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in or to living, schedule a free, the ability to cope with daily Senior Care confidential assessment, at Minden Medical Center is here to help. call us at 318-371-5646.

Senior Care is available to persons age 55 and over with You have a choice when it comes to caring for your health. Make it a smart one, a mental or cognitive decline that hinders daily life, who and choose the area hospital that was named one of the nation’s top performers Hope is only a phone call away. has become a threat to self or others, or is limited in selfon key quality measures two years in a row. care ability. Our mental health professionals are available

through our 24 hour referral line to discuss treatment We’re proud to be recognized by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor needs and are devoted to helping patients get back to of healthcare organizations in the nation, for our achievements in quality… but their optimal level of functioning. we’re even more proud to be chosen by you. Minden Medical Center #1 Medical Plaza | Minden, LA understands what matters most toOur patients and their families – safe and services include: effective care. We are committed to providing the highest quality care possible, • Free initial consultation Management of secondary along with the expertise and leading edge technology that you expect at • larger • Thorough assessment medical needs hospitals, all conveniently close to home. • Customized treatment • Continued care planning plans and referral assistance • choose Group, individual, and Whatever your healthcare need, Minden Medical Center. family counseling

Senior Care is available to persons age 55 and over with a mental or cognitive decline that hinders daily life, who has become a threat to self or others, or is limited in selfcare ability. Our mental health professionals are available through our 24 hour refer al line to discuss treatment For more information or to schedule a free, confidential assessment, call us at 318-371-5646.

Hope is only a phone call away. #1 Medical Plaza | Minden, LA



Bride & Groom: Hannah Richard & Dakota Doss Sapphire Photography by ShaRelle Downtown Minden, LA Makeup: Alicia Adams Dress: Hers Bridal 21

Let's Get Married 22

Where will you be saying “I DO”?

It finally happened, he asked the most important question he will

ever ask you and you said, “Yes”! You have been waiting for this moment forever and now you cannot wait to celebrate with your friends and family. In all the excitement and distractions of being newly engaged it's easy to get overwhelmed with wedding planning. One simple trick to jumpstart planning “the party of the year” is by starting with your budget. This will determine your “Who”, “What”, “When”, and “Where”. Who will you invite? What kind of wedding will you have? When will your wedding be? & Where will your wedding be? Once you get your who, what, when, and where figured out, everything else will fall into place.

Who will you invite?

Figuring out the "who to invite" list comes first. If you have a smaller budget, then you might want to consider having a smaller guest list and with a larger budget you are able to invite more people. It is easy for a guest list to snowball even if you plan to keep it small so it's important to remember; the more people you invite, the more you have to feed, seat, and the more room you will need for seating and dancing. Who your venders will be will affect your budget as well. Is your vender just starting out and lacking in experience or have they been in the industry for a long time and are experts in their fields? I always say, “You get what you pay for” and if you want a pro, you should be ready to pay for it.

What kind of wedding will you have?

Will it be informal, semi-formal, or a formal wedding? Having an informal event is the most affordable way to plan a wedding; you do not have to worry about so many details and invite so many guests. A semi-formal wedding is a happy medium; you invite a healthy amount of guest that you feed and entertain but it is not as elaborate as a formal wedding. A formal wedding is where you spend the most, because all the details and head counts add up fast. What kind of dress do you want? You should spend approximately 8-10% of your budget on your wedding attire; if you are having a smaller event then you might want to consider a more simple cut and style, if your having a larger party then you can venture into couture style gowns that offer more detailed lace, cuts, and beading. What flowers will you use? Some flowers cost more out of season then they do certain times of years. This will affect the cost of your boutique and centerpieces.

When will your wedding be?

Will your wedding be on a weekend or a weeknight? Everyone wants to get married on a weekend so the cost and demand goes up on venues and venders; if you get married on a weeknight (which includes a Sunday) you are more than likely to get a discount because there are not a lot of brides running to book those days up. Venues are also more likely to give a discount during certain times of the year (usually December/January).

Will it be outside or inside? If you are wanting a sweet and small wedding you can simply get married at the lake, park, or in a friend's garden. If you are wanting to host a larger wedding you will need amenities, which means you will need to rent a location with a kitchen to store food, restrooms, and places to sit, eat, and drink so your friends and families will have a space to visit and be comfortable. Where your location will be will help determine if your wedding is informal, semi-formal, or formal. If you location is in a barn or outside your theme will be more informal but if your vender is located in a downtown area or a ballroom center then you will tend to end up with a more formal event. Of course your semi-formal is a happy medium; it is simply in a more modest space that is fancy but not to fancy. Now that you have determined your who, what, when, and where, you can crack down on your planning. Get organized and don’t procrastinate; it is going to be an amazing year for you and your new fiancé. ----------------------------------Alicia Adams was born in Homer, Louisiana and was raised in Minden, Louisiana. Alicia started her makeup career in 2009 and started her freelance makeup business in 2012. In 2015, Alicia and her husband Thomas purchased Hers Bridal & Special Occasions and have spent the last two years revamping and preserving the historic bridal boutique. Hers Bridal now provides a new, fresh updated inventory and specializes in bridal gowns, bridesmaid gowns, and tuxedos; they dabble in formals for their local homecoming and prom and offer airbrush makeup applications for any special occasions. Thomas and Alicia’s goals are to keep over 40 years of traditions going for generations to come.

Bride & Groom: Hannah Richard & Dakota Doss Photographer: Sapphire Photography by ShaRelle Dress: Hers Bridal Makeup: Alicia Adams Cake: KaCee's Sugar & Spice Flowers: Everything Artsy Events Location: Downtown Minden, LA


Allow time to order

Wedding dresses can take up to three to six months to come in. You want to give yourself time to get it in, altered, and ready for bridals.

Be open to trying on different styles

If your willing to try on different styles, this can help you eliminate what you know you do not like and even help you find something you were not expecting. Wedding dresses look different on than they do hanging on the rack.

Have correct undergarments

Not all wedding boutiques sell undergarments; so wearing the proper shape wear will help give the full effect when trying on dresses.

Expect a million “no’s” and only one “yes” Dress shopping is like dating, you go through a lot of options before you fall in love with “The One”. Not every wedding dress is going to be for you.

Make an appointment

The majority of bridal shops take appointments because they want every bride to have their own bridal experience. Having your own consultant can ensure that you get great customer service the day you come into the store. Bridal shops can only help so many brides at a time, and they have enough help to support their appointments on any particular day. If you are a walk in, you might not get the experience you are looking for.

Have your hair and makeup done

Already having your hair and makeup done will give you an idea of how you will look on your wedding day; with your hair being done, finding a veil and/or headpiece makes it easier to pick out your favorite look.

Finding The Right White Darker Skin Tone Stark White or Any Shade Medium Olive Tone Skin Champagne or Diamond White Medium Yellow Tone Skin Off-white or Creamy Ivory


Fair and Pink-toned Skin Ivory

Do not wait too long for alterations

95% of brides need some kind of dress alteration. Wedding gowns are a universal fit, not a custom fit, so alterations are designed to have your dream dress fit you properly.

Do not bring lots of people

Bringing too many people can overwhelm the bride. We suggest to invite no more than 3 guests. Be sure to choose friends and family whose opinions you trust and who will be there for you with positive attitudes and excitement.

Do not let opinions affect your decision

This is your day, your opinion matters the most, and not everyone has the same style. Remember, you are the one who has to wear “the dress” on your wedding day. You have one shot at your dream gown so do not let anyone talk you out of what you decide is best.

Do not be late to your appointment

Bridal shops only give each bride an hour and a half to two hours to try on gowns. If you are late you run the risk of shortening your appointment because the next bride will be coming soon to her appointment. It is proper etiquette to consider your time and the time of others to have the best bridal experience.

Do not expect to cry

Television can be deceiving. It is over dramatized and it gives the illusion that you will have this crying emotional moment when you find “The One”. Believe it or not, most brides do not cry. You will know when you find the dress because you do not want to take it off and it makes you so happy you cannot stop smiling.

Do not wear tanning products

As much as being tan gives you confidence, tanning products can ruin bridal gowns, which can cost boutiques thousands to fix and replace.



Hire a professional

Hiring a professional will insure that you get the best outcome of your wedding day makeup.

Have a consultation

It is best to have a makeup consultation, that way you will know exactly what you will look like the day of your wedding. Your vision of a natural or smokey eye may be different than a professionals; you want to both be on the same page.

Finish early

For a less stressful wedding day, have hair and makeup finished 2-3 hours before the wedding starts. This will give you time to travel to your location, take pictures, hang out with friends/family, and eat. Every bride appreciates that extra time so she is not rushed down the aisle.

Have your favorite lip product for retouching

You should have very little touch ups but your lips will gradually fade throughout the day and having your favorite lip color will insure that your pictures are consistent.

Exfoliate the night before

Exfoliating your face the night before will insure a flawless makeup application and your skin will have a natural clean glow. Your makeup will adhere better to the skin, giving you a longer lasting application.


Professional makeup artists book up fast and Saturdays are very limited due to the number of weddings booked that day.

Do not wear SPF or translucent powder

Be careful with what products you use; some products do not photograph well and can shine in your pictures, leaving your face with a white cast.

Do not use regular mascara

Waterproof mascara is your best friend on your special day. We are all going to cry and we do not want those black streaks messing up your flawless makeup application.

Do not sleep in your makeup

Sleeping in your makeup can add 10 years to your skin. It will cause your skin to age faster giving you a dull complexion and can cause breakouts.

Do not wax your eyebrows right before the big day

You should wax one week before your weeding because waxing can retexture your skin causing your makeup application to be patchy.

Do not try new skincare

It takes about two weeks for your skin to adjust to new products and you never know how your skin will react with certain ingredients. Stick with what you know and do not be too adventurous a couple of weeks before your wedding.

Do not go too light on your makeup

Makeup photograph lighter in pictures so you will want to go a little heavier than you are used to. Not having the correct amount of makeup can leave you looking pale and washed out. A good makeup artist can balance how makeup looks in person and on camera; plus, it has to last all day!


The details are all starting to make sense. You set a date, chose a venue, hired a photographer, met with your florist, and now it's time to hire the baker who will make the most important cake on your life. This process can be simple and painless if you keep a few tips in mind.

you like ten different cakes, save those pictures, keep them with you, and present them at your consultation. Your baker will then help you navigate through which designs are best suited for your special day.

How to know how much cake to order.

Know the bakers in your area. Start researching their work and reviews on the internet. Look them up on Facebook and Instagram. Testimonials from their previous brides are your go-to answers to whether or not this baker is going to be the right fit for you and your fiancé.

Always have an approximate number of guests being invited to your wedding before meeting with your baker. This will tell him or her just how large your cake will need to be. If you are wanting a large cake, but only have 50-100 guests, ask your baker if they offer faux cake tiers. This will give you the height for creating a show stopping cake, but you will not be stuck with loads of cake at the end of your reception.

Make an Appointment.

The fun part, TASTING!

Research is Essential.

The most effective way to know that you are comfortable with your baker is to set up a consultation to talk face-to-face with him or her. This will let you get to know just what style he or she has and what services his or her bakery offers. Don’t just settle for the first person you meet. Meet with a couple of different people to be sure you are getting the cake you have always dreamed of.

What’s your style?

Your cake should be compatible with not only your personal style, but the style of your venue, the season, your wedding gown, the flower arrangements, décor, and the menu. I always advise my brides to have examples of cake styles that are their favorites so I can get an idea of what the bride is going for. If


Always, always, always, ask your baker to provide samples of flavors available. These days, most wedding cakes aren’t just classic white cake with buttercream icing. Most bakers will allow you to have multiple flavors throughout the tiers of the cake, and it doesn’t stop there. You can also add in tasty filling that compliment your choices of cake flavors.

The cake for the man of your dreams.

If you are from the South, you know it is a southern tradition for the groom to have his own cake at the reception. Now for years, the groom’s cake was always a two or three tiered square chocolate cake with chocolate dipped strawberries and gobs of chocolate buttercream. Now ladies, let’s remember that there are not many details of this wedding that cater to

this special guy, so why make his cake ordinary? Take the groom’s cake to the next level. Have this cake be a special representation of your man. Think about his hobbies, interests, favorite sports teams, or his favorite dessert. Let that be the answer to the design for his cake. Is your groom not a cake eater? Have your baker make his favorite dessert as a “groom’s dessert” instead of a “groom’s cake." Whether it’s his grannies favorite pineapple upside down cake, Aunt Fannie’s carrot cake, or just plain ole OREOs, give the man what he likes. It’s his day too!

Let em have it!

You've walked down the aisle, said “I do,” and have had your first dance. Now is the time to cut the cake. One of the most common mistakes at a wedding is waiting too long to cut the cake. People are ready to dive in, so why wait? This will leave you with less cake left over and leave your guests with smiles on their faces.

The frozen anniversary.

Tradition says that the couple is supposed to celebrate their one-year anniversary by indulging in the top tier of their wedding cake, saved for the special day. If packaging and planning are done correctly, this can be very fun and not nearly as dreaded as it seems. Alert your caterer ahead of time to make them aware that you are saving your top tier. They can package it in a box for you to take home and store in your freezer for 365 days. Just remember to wrap the box with plastic wrap and foil and it will seem freshly baked on your one year anniversary.

Photographer: ShaRelle Gutierrez of Sapphire Photography by ShaRelle Cake: KaCee's Sugar & Spice


- How To Pick -

The Perfect Place Written By: Tanya Paul of Everything Artsy Events



- Merging Finances -

From His & Hers to


Written By: Linzie and Jeremy Hebert As a high school football coach and student, my husband

and I decided from the start that any income we hoped to have one day would be considered “our money.” In the beginning, the merging of our finances was more like a joining of student loans. Grant it, using our student loans to buy our first couch and start a triathlon hobby may not have been the wisest decision for financial peace but it certainly was not the worst to date. God eventually lead Jeremy to work with Edward Jones in 2007 and our financial aptitude escalated there after. It was really then that the merging of finances began with my first job as a Physician Assistant and his career with Edward Jones as a financial advisor. If you are a couple like us who have decided to merge finances here are a few tips Jeremy advises to help you avoid a night on the couch.

1. Communicate

Be honest about your financial situation from the start. If you have debt discuss it. All of it. Neither Jeremy or myself had a red cent to our name when we were married but being forthright about the lack there of eliminated any surprises when we couldn’t afford to buy milk or go to the dentist in our first few years of bliss.

2. Designate

Who will manage the finances? If you aren’t married to a financial advisor this may need more discussion. Though input and communication is needed for a successful transition, it helps if one person is the point person in the marriage. Also, one person traditionally enjoys it while the other loathes talking money. “As much as I would like to be the financially responsible one, the truth is I would give all of our money away and have us living in a shoe by the end of month one”, says Linzie. The teamwork and accountability of merging finances can be a powerful thing. I would encourage you to get rid of the “mine” and “theirs” mindset and embrace the “ours”.

3. Dictate

Tell your money where it is going to go. Identify a budget and do your best to stick to it. Personally, I dislike a budget and would do just fine to blissfully spend to my little hearts desire but given that we have four children and we aren’t millionaires I have to subject myself to such discipline.

4. Plan

Financial goals are important. Set yearly goals to stay encouraged and long term goals to stay focused. Once during our annual big budget discussion Jeremy and I claimed “a year of frugality” designated to pay off debt. By April we were redecorating our home. We didn’t meet our goal of paying off debt simply by losing focus on what we really wanted for ourselves that year.

5. Get Help

If this all seems overwhelming to you, find a financial advisor that can offer you some advice on how to get started. Or simply marry one. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

ABOUT US: Jeremy and Linzie Hebert have been

married for eleven years and live in Choudrant, LA. Jeremy is currently a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Ruston, La and Linzie is a Physician Assistant in Dermatology at the Green Clinic. Together they have four young children and enjoy competing in Triathlons in order to maintain their sanity. They are members of The Bridge Community Church and love Jesus.


- Buying Guide -

Is THREAD COUNT that important?

Thread count is the key term used for selling sheets. But what does it mean? Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. But that number is not always the most reliable measurement. We have been trained to think that the higher the thread count the better the sheet. But do higher numbers really mean softer sheets? Only to a point. Anything over 500 or so, you are more than likely paying for the salaries of those in the marketing department. Truth is, you are likely to find 300 or 400 count sheets plenty luxurious. While traveling recently my husband and I both commented on the sheets of a favorite hotel we were staying at. We both wanted to know what brand they were in hopes of purchasing some for our home. Upon checkout I decided to ask the manager if he could divulge the brand of sheets. He laughed and told us he gets that question all of the time. He quickly told us they were 220-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Egyptian cotton is the key. Unfortunately he would not sell us a set from his hotel stash. When I returned home I did a little research and found that the Egyptian cotton variety is

acknowledged to have the longest fiber due to a longer growing season. Basic cotton, by contrast, is shorter and can poke out of the weave, leading to a coarse, weaker fabric. So before you finalize your registry and add those 1500 thread count sheets, do your research. After all, there is nothing better than crawling into bed at the end of the day and being enveloped by your new spouse in soft cozy sheets. It is worth the investment now. We can promise, scratchy, itchy sheets are not very romantic. When planning for your new home a good rule would be to have two sets of sheets per bed. A set for each bed plus an extra one for each during laundry day.


Top-of-the-line: 100% Egyptian Cotton Second best: 100% Pima Cotton Both are less likely to pill than regular cottons We recommend a clean, classic Percale or Sateen weave

- Etiquette -

Monogram Rules B




- Capturing -


Check your photographer's portfolio, not just one amazing photo from several weddings. Anyone can get a single amazing photo, but it is important to make sure your photographer can give professional photos during the ceremony, family photos, portraits and reception (no matter the lighting conditions). When you are meeting with your photographer you should be able to see a few sample wedding albums from start to finish that way you have an expectation of what you’ll be getting and won’t be disappointed after the fact. It is also important to see their reception work and see if they are capable of using off camera flash if you have a dark reception.


It is really important that the photographer you choose makes the time to speak to the bride and the groom. The groom sadly get’s left out, and this is a big and important day for him too. I’ve seen photographers show up to the wedding and not know who the groom was. To get the very best, it is important for the photographer to speak to anyone who is important and close the the bride and groom. When I do a wedding I make my best effort to speak to the bride, groom, parents of both and the best friends. Having a photographer who takes the time to speak to the people who are closest to the


bride and groom allows them to capture the couple more authentically.


Ask your photographer how they are prepared for all conditions including, rain, sleet, snow, indoor lighting, fireworks, mud, etc. This question separates the pro from the amateur.


Remember to use pinterest as a source of ideas and not as a copycat list. You want your day to be full of authentic moments. Your wedding should be about the real moments between you and your loved ones, special pinterest themed portraits can always be scheduled for a different day.


Choose a photographer who can offer you professional printing services. Most people don’t have the software or the knowledge to put together a timeless piece of art or album. Your photographer should be able to help you create artwork that you can see everyday and remind you of your beautiful wedding and your love for each other. You don’t want to lose your wedding disk in 2 years and call your photographer praying they still have those beautiful photos.

- Hit A High Note With -

The Best Band We asked the Shreveport based band CARAVAN to share some of their best tips for how to choose quality music for your reception. Below is their advice on what a bride and groom need to be prepared for when looking for a band.

• Wedding vendors/planners are a great resource to obtain names of bands they have worked with and liked. • Referrals from friends that have seen bands perform at other weddings. • Google search on Facebook, websites and booking agents such as Gigmasters or Gig Salad. • Check out the band's website, their performance dates and go see them live. Most bands are happy to discuss and answer any questions during their break. Obtain contact info to get more specific details later.

• Can the band perform a special tribute? We have had requests to perform 70's, 80's in full costume and just recently were requested to dress in steampunk fashion. • Will someone act as the master of ceremonies to introduce the couple for their first dance, the parent dance and any other special announcements? • What are the terms for band contract, deposit and cancellation policies? • How long is each set and how many breaks does band take? Will they be flexible with changes in set time? • How long does it take band to load in, perform sound check, and pack up? Some venues have specific time limits for load in and pack out. • Will there be any music during band breaks? Most bands will provide a playlist of danceable tunes during their break.

How far in advance should you start looking?

DJ, Band, or Build Your Own Playlist?

Where to start?

We recommend 6 months to a year to shop for bands and get a date reserved on the band's calendar. Don't forget to follow up with them as the event gets closer. A quick check in will give you peace of mind.

What should you ask potential bands?

• How long has the band been together? • How often does the band perform at wedding receptions per year? You want a band that is experienced in wedding reception because of the specific details and etiquette that are necessary for a successful event. • Ask for testimonials from previous customers. • Ask about their song list. Since there is a wide range of guests ages; you will want a band that can perform a great variety of tunes to please everyone. • Ask what stage size they require and if the band provides their own sound system and lights. • How many members are in the band? Some bands perform with a core group in public, but are able to add additional vocalist and horn players upon request. • Does the band take requests?

Let's break it down. DJ's are less expensive, take up less space and can handle numerous requests of songs if contained in the playlist. The cons of using a DJ are that you only have one person versus a group to get everyone up and dancing. It's also difficult to improvise music and those spontaneous moments. The pros of using a band are that you can't beat the infectious energy of a group performing with drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, horns, and singers that will interact on the dance floor with the party. The cons of live music are that the rates are higher than a DJ and they usually require more space to set up. The third option is to build your own playlist. While it may seem like an inexpensive and easy solution, the cons outweight the pros here. Worrying about all the technical aspects of set up, introductions, special music and requests make leaving this option to the pros a no brainer. If you've done your research you can trust that whatever you choose, be it a band or a DJ, will be a blast when the big day comes.



- His Point of View -


Sara and Ryan Pepper

Written by Rosemary Thomas Sara, my unique and beautiful daughter, had a unique and

beautiful wedding. She got married at 8 o'clock. In. The. Morning. Sara is a morning person. Not a semi-morning person. Not a mid-morning person. She is a hard core, 4 a.m., rise and shine and get going kind of morning person. She got that from me. She and her lovely husband Ryan are also outdoor people. So, when she said she wanted to get married at 8 o'clock – in the morning – and that she wanted to get married outdoors on the lake at 8 o'clock – in the morning – I said… “Uhh… Sure! Why not?” So the plan was to have this simple little wedding on the lake, and then spend the day boating and skiing and swimming and just hanging out on the water. Sweet plan. Sounded simple. Not too much to prep. Right?


Weddings are madness. They are a test. I did great on some of the tests and not so great on some others. Thank goodness Sara had a friend who had been involved in multiple weddings and was her “Wedding Planner”. We could not have done it without Emily. They worked countless hours on planning details I didn’t even knew needed planning. Planning a wedding is ridiculously hard. Especially if you are doing it all yourself and staying within a tight budget. There are so many decisions to make… and even with the mantra “keep it simple… keep it simple” repeated over and over, it still seemed to take on a life of its own. What does one wear to a wedding held at 8:00 – in the morning? Sara wore the most perfect dress ever. Mid-calf, fun and flirty with amazing purple shoes. The bridesmaids all wore different dresses in various shades of purple. The groomsmen wore dark jeans and green shirts and the combination was perfect. Who to invite? One of the problems was that was Ryan’s family goes on ad-infinitum. He has almost a thousand cousins and aunts and uncles, and is close to each and every one of them. So, how do you have a “small wedding” and not leave anyone out? It seemed that the invitations were secretly mating in the shoebox and then out popped all these other invites just waiting to be mailed. We still weren’t too worried, thinking that most folks would not come because of the early morning kick off time. We were wrong. Apparently the folks in Ryan’s family are morning people too. The bad thing is that almost everyone came. The good thing is that almost everyone came. Ryan’s family turned out to be the largest, yet most gracious and kind group of people I have ever met. Seriously. I didn’t meet one person that I thought was even a little bit obnoxious. There wasn’t one person that was anything but kind and patient and loving. Sara hit the jackpot with this family. The next question was location. They decided to have the wedding at Jimmy Davis State Park. It had a beautiful pier over the water with a paved path leading from the lodge to the pier. It was really a perfect set up as it had two large lodges next to each other. Sara and the bridesmaids in one and Ryan and the groomsmen in the other. There were also lots of cabins which were all rented out by family and friends. Because this party started at 8 o'clock – in the morning – a lot of family and friends came out on Friday night. The Rehearsal Dinner was held in the boy’s lodge. Sara’s In-Laws put on a spread. Barbeque and Mac-and-Cheese and Homemade Ice Cream. It was amazing. They prepared all the food themselves and it was more than impressive. Ryan had requested many of his favorite foods and all the recipes were from his mother and both of his grandmothers and aunts. His dad and aunt do a lot of catering, so it was perfect! Those folks can cook! It was really so special and I can certainly appreciate how much work went in to that meal! The next question was food after the ceremony. What do you serve for a wedding held at 8:00 – in the morning? Well, we had

donuts. Lots and lots of donuts and fritters and bear claws and breakfast sandwiches and kaloches. They even had a wedding cake out of donuts. For the picture they fed each other a donut hole. Too cute! I told you she was non-traditional, right? We all brought our coffee pots and we had ice chests with juice and milk and it all set up on the screened-in back porch of one of the lodges. Throw in a Mimosa bar and a Bloody Mary bar and we were set. It was a gorgeous wedding on a beautiful lake and it was at 8 o'clock - in the morning. The good thing is that we didn’t have to spend all day to get ready for the ceremony. The bad thing was that we didn’t have all day to get ready for the ceremony. That was probably the hardest part. Getting it all done the evening before – and then pulling it together by 8:00 – in the morning. There is a lot of prep. Tables, and chairs, and more chairs, and decorations, and hair and makeup and the list is endless. Our good friend Tammy Stephens came out on Friday and we arranged dozens of vases and made the bouquets and boutonnieres. A few trips into the woods for the perfect vines and branches (and a few tick bites later) we had some gorgeous flowers for the ceremony and lodges. She also brought her vintage Airstream trailer to the park and Sara and Ryan used that as a getaway after the ceremony, where they rested and changed clothes. Sara and Ryan had friends who brought their boats to the lake. After the ceremony, everyone changed clothes and relaxed on the lake for the day. Sara hired a friend’s daughter (in high school) to take pictures and she did a great job. Her hairdresser came out at 6:00 – in the morning – to do hair and she brought a young lady (also in high school) to do makeup. The bridesmaids were gorgeous, the groomsmen were handsome and the ring bearers and flower girls were just too adorable. The ceremony was conducted by a dear friend, who got ordained on line so that he could perform the ceremony. Ryan’s mother cried and I cried and we all cried. We were happy. There will always be glitches. We had sick raccoons (distemper according to the park rangers) that were wandering about and lost keys and the aforementioned tick bites. I had a bit of a meltdown in the late afternoon. The nerves and exhaustion just caught up with me I guess. But Ryan’s family pitched in and helped out and got things done in no time at all. I am telling you – the most gracious and hardworking and lovely group of people I have ever known. The best thing about this wedding was that the families and friends got to know each other a little and that we were all there because we love, love, love Sara and Ryan and were so happy to be a part of their wedding. The day was amazing. The weather was perfect. The guests were gracious. The food was delicious. Sara was gorgeous. Ryan was handsome. The ceremony was touching. The music was beautiful. And I am so glad it is over. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rosemary Thomas is an avid cook and gardener who enjoys the challenge of owning Rosemary's Kitchen in Ruston and working with her daughter. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By Judith Roberts

He put a ring on it. Now the real action starts.

on your wedding day. Problems are going to arise and things won't happen exactly they way you think they should, but when it's all said and done, you're going to be a wife and all of the small stuff won't even matter.”

Whether a bride has six months, six weeks or sometimes six days to plan a wedding, from the moment an engagement is announced, plans are being made. Destination wedding or Catrina Willis, owner of A Thousand Words Photography by local? Several attendants or just a few? What about colors? A Catrina, has shot over a dozen weddings and said the rustic wedding planner? What about the invitations? look and outdoor weddings are becoming very popular, as are outdoor weddings. And that’s just getting started. “I see more cascading bouquets, which I love,” Catrina said. Ruston teacher Brooke Hoefler and her husband Doc went “I also see lots of gold now. Lavender is becoming a flower with the simple approach at her destination wedding in Destin , favorite and it smells divine.” Florida by scaling down the guest list. Catrina added that advance planning would help the wedding “It was simple yet perfect for us,” Brooke said. “We had just day go as smooth as possible. two bridesmaids and two groomsmen. It really was so simple and easy.” “Definitely have a budget; it can run away with you quick – and pick your battles,” Catrina said. “They say that phrase for kids, Brooke said the only thing she wishes had been different for but you really can take that saying for life in general. There her 2010 wedding would be to spend more time with friends needs to be a list of priorities, and you need to figure out what’s and family. important to spend the majority of your money on and where you can save money. Definitely don’t skimp on a photographer. Corky and Jed Walpole had their April 2014 ceremony and And I say that not as a photographer but from my personal reception at The Barn on Pipes Road in Choudrant. Corky experience. You want someone that can retell the story for you said she enjoyed her local wedding ceremony and reception so when y’all are 80, all the feels will come flooding back. I because her friends and family were able to attend. However, don’t have that.” she said she thinks if she could do it again, she would make it simpler. For her own wedding in 2008, Catrina did not hire a professional photographer for her big day. “I think the main thing I would have done differently would be to scale down everything,” Corky said. “I would have chopped the “It may come as a surprise being that I am a photographer, but guest list in half and only served desserts and coffee instead I did not hire a professional photographer,” she said. “I had a of an entire meal. I would have tried to have the ‘less is more’ budget which I respected and thought reasonable. I asked a attitude.” family friend to take my photographs and he missed a lot of moments. It was not his fault, I couldn’t expect him to do the Bethany Sandiford and her husband Nathan took a traditional work that a pro could do, but I pretty much just got bridal party approach to their September 2015 wedding at St. Paschal pictures and I missed having the story of my day captured.” Catholic Church in West Monroe. However, they made sure to add their own personal touches to the event. Brooke said brides and grooms should plan a wedding that fits their personalities. “I made my husband and his groomsmen their boutonnieres that had small action figures hidden beneath the flower,” “Do what makes you happy,” she said. “What we had was Bethany said. “And because Nathan and I are a bit nerdy, we perfect for us and fit our personalities.” had hints of Star Wars throughout our reception.” Corky said her advice for brides after the wedding would be to Bethany said the timing of her wedding could have been make each other laugh and forgive. changed because, as all brides learn, one’s wedding day is a long day. “None of the details (of the wedding) matter because at the end of the day you guys will be husband and wife,” she said. “The only part I would have changed was the time of my “Remember that the most important thing on your wedding day wedding from evening to earlier in the afternoon,” Bethany is marrying the person you love.” said. “It was beautiful having our pictures at sunset and leaving the reception at night between rows of sparklers, but by the ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------end of the night we were both completely exhausted.” Judith Roberts is a journalism instructor at Louisiana Tech University and a born and raised Louisianan. She is an alumna Newlywed Marla Scott also took a traditional approach with her of Tech, Grambling State, and the University of Southern October 2016 wedding at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston. Mississippi. She and her husband Kyle have two gorgeous Her advice for brides included having a good caterer and not and feisty little girls, Alice and Penny, and they are members stressing the small stuff. of Temple Baptist Church. Judith has run three half marathons and also enjoys reading and writing -- but not arithmetic. “If people remember anything from the wedding it's going to ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------be the food,” Marla said. “And try not to stress out too much


redeemed &

free indeed written by Sara Enloe Dads, Daughters and Crying Over TV Trays


My Dad was acting really strange. I mean, he is a pretty weird dude on any given day, but this morning he was acting noticeably weird. First of all, let me backtrack- I really love my Dad. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. When I was 7 years old, he took me to see The Lion King in theaters. I remember the moment Mufasa died like a gunshot to the heart. I sat in shock and tried to hide the tears streaming down my face when my Dad grabbed my hand. I looked up in surprise to see his tear-stained face mirroring mine. That was the first time I had ever seen him- or any man, really- cry. He must have seen my astonishment because he smiled a watery smile and said something that he would repeat to me over the years: “Never marry a guy that is too proud to show emotion.” Flash forward 21 years later- Christmas morning 2015. The family is watching my Dad open my gift to him- TV trays for his man cave. As he’s opening his gift, he becomes visibly emotional. The rest of us look on in awkward awe as he begins to tear up in earnest. “I’ve waited years! Years…you don’t know how long I have wanted these,” he cries to his bewildered audience. I am gob smacked. I know he is sensitive, but who cries over TV trays? “Dad!” I say sharply. “What the heck?! If you wanted these so badly, you should have said something! We aren’t mind readers! How many times have you asked me for socks or something dumb when you’ve secretly wanted TV trays for forever?!” Mom, Aunt Margaret, Megan and Jessica laugh at my outrage but nod their agreement. It’s Mike, my youngest sister Jessica’s longtime boyfriend, who gets up off the couch to give my Dad a comforting hug. Whatever. I am irrationally angry that he apparently waited years for something I could have purchased on any given day. Looking back, I really should have known something was going on behind the scenes.

What happened next seemed to come out of nowhere- I was standing at the kitchen island where my Dad had bacon sizzling on the griddle, chatting and laughing with Mike and Jessica when suddenly there was a moment. It was almost in slow motion- Mike was smiling adoringly at Jessica and then he was on one knee, quoting the Chandler-Monica proposal to my Friends-obsessed baby sister while presenting her with a gorgeous diamond ring. I started bawling immediately, a loud, messy sound that totally clashed with the beautiful moment unfolding before my eyes. I was so animated and distracting that Mike and Jessica actually turned to me mid-proposal and said “Sara!” and I was like “I’m sorry- I’m just so happy!” Dad admitted later that Mike has asked permission to marry Jessica right before he opened his gift from me- thus the waterworks. He was so happy for his baby girl and we all shared in that happiness. Our joy was not unfounded- Mike is Jessica’s dream guy and they fit together in the sickeningly adorable way that makes single people crazy with jealousy and married couples smile knowingly. They embody the cliché “made for each other”. I’ve always thought that Jessica was the sweetest person on earth, but Mike could give her a run for her money for that title. Together they make everyone around them feel welcomed, appreciated and at ease. Jessica is empathetic to the core and many of my childhood memories involve watching her cry because someone around us was crying. She hated when Megan, our middle sister, and I would fight; she would try to talk us out of it and when that didn’t work she would cry for us to stop. There are so many tears in our family!

Jessica is outgoing, smart, hilarious, forgiving, loyal, and completely oblivious to how lovely she is, inside and out. Mike is much of the same- he is one of those guys who could make friends with the surliest and prickliest of pears. Everybody likes him because he is extremely likable. If I could hand-pick a brother for myself and a husband for Jessica out of all the men in the world, I would still choose Mike. My poor little heart could burst with excitement at their upcoming nuptials on March 31st of this year. And as far as guys being too proud to show emotion, I know Dad doesn’t have to worry about Mike. One look at him and you know he is a goner for my beloved sister. I am hopeful to see tears shining in his eyes as she walks down the aisle because he knows he is one lucky son of a gun. So, three cheers for Mike and Jessica! I love you both so much and have SO enjoyed your journey to #BecomingBarbour. May God bless your union- the best is yet to come!

Fluent in Spanish and meow-ing, Sara Enloe is a Jesus-lovin' cat lady who traded Michigan winters for Florida sunshine. You can find her writing, singing, or laughing at herself. Follow her on Instagram: @quitesimplysara


introducing our

newest columnist Steven Smith Hi There


ho is a person? That’s a lot to cover in just 500 words. So I guess I can start off with the basics. Hi there. I’m new around here. I’m a 20-something and my name is Steven. I live in a small town in central Louisiana. I’m not from here though but from the greatest city on Earth - New Orleans. I lived in New Orleans until 2008, when at the age of 17 my parents moved our family to central Louisiana and a smaller town than I live in now. After graduating high school, I enrolled in the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a concentration in Kinesiology and Sports Science. Silly me, I forgot about how hard of a time I had in high school science classes, so two semesters and one biology class later I changed my major to History. I specifically chose History and not Social Studies Education, because I absolutely did not want to teach at a high school. My plan was to go straight to graduate school, get my master’s in Early Medieval European History, and start the path toward my doctorate. Our plans rarely go the way we think they should. God’s kind of funny like that. So, currently, I’m a History teacher at a local high school. After I graduated from college, I spent a semester abroad in Caernarfon, Wales in the United Kingdom. While I was there I volunteered with a local missions organization and studied the Welsh language. And in the process, I fell in love with the country, its people and their incredible culture. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got back to the States, and quite frankly I didn’t want to come back at all, but my time overseas came to an end. And in


December of 2013 I found myself back in rural Louisiana. I accepted the position of a long-term substitute at the high school that I graduated from to teach History and Civics. This position was only supposed to be temporary for a semester, and I was going to go back to the U.K. to attend graduate school in the fall. But like I said, our plans rarely go how we’d like – and in this case what happened was so much better. After I got hired at the high school, I met the most beautiful and amazing girl. Her name is Morgan. Fortunately enough, she happened to think I was amazing too, so eleven months later we

got married. Now, that is a very short version of the story, but you’ll be getting the full version later. Trust me, it’s a lot better, and it will be worth the read. So that’s who I am. I still teach at the small high school I graduated from, and I still have a dream to attend graduate school in the future. I’m excited to begin writing for the Minute Magazine. I have a lot of interests. Be ready for a wide variety of topics ranging from cooking, soccer, coffee, and history to current events, video games, travel, and a bit of everything in-between. -----------------------------------------------

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Steven & Morgan

Facial - Massage Hair Removal - Botox Juvederm - Voluma

Schedule your appointment with Family Nurse Practictioner Lucy Douglas today.

MON-THURS 8am-5pm FRI 8am-3pm

Out of Balance? Let the staff at New Beginnings get you back in line. Offering a comprehensive, integrated approach to wellness through traditional primary care and a full service medical spa.

927 North Trenton Street - Ruston, LA 318.255.1155


blissful chaos written by Yvette Hardy

Toilet Paper, Ketchup and the Real Wedding


et me get right to the point. As a young girl, we may dream of that fairy tale wedding in our future. You know the one where the little white chairs have tulle tied around them and there are pictures of us on every table looking like we just stepped out of “Blissville”? At that same wedding, in the mind of that little girl, is where the marriage begins. However, I beg to differ. Hopefully you have a “pre-wedding” to begin marriage before the actual big day. Let me explain… In the course of dating our future spouse, we begin to learn things about him/her. Some things we like, some we don’t. Hopefully, there is more we do than don’t. Things progress and we begin to seriously start the discussion of a wedding and more importantly what happens after the event…the marriage. We discuss the married life and what it will look like for us. This conversation may be in increments over time or it may take place in one heart felt, gut-wrenching, honest conversation between two hearts so excited with the prospect of their future. It is here that we should pay attention. It is here where, I believe, the mingling of two souls start becoming one. One mind, one accord. Can I live with this person? Does he have the same goals in life as me? What is a priority for him? Will he make a good father to my babies? What is his view on major issues in life such as social, financial, and spiritual things? These are important clues to how well your marriage will be? And more importantly, when your marriage isn’t “well” how do we work together to fix it? This is how my marriage to my husband of 23 years began. Sitting on the floor talking months before the wedding. It was a time that we discussed what we


wanted our marriage to look like, how we would raise kids, family gatherings, finances, and spiritual things. All the big, important topics were tackled. He shared his expectations of our marriage and I shared mine. This was the moment that we both knew we were in this thing for the long haul. This was when we “said our vows” so to speak. Right there on the floor, in the presence of just each other and God. “I promise to do thus and so on… I ask that you do this…” I got up from that “ceremony” feeling like the marriage was sealed with our promises and all we had to do was go through the ceremony at the church on January 8 to finalize things and make it legal. But my heart was bound to his. And I knew that no matter what, the heartfelt conversation we had just had, married us in spirit. This is also where I learned about an expectation of my future husband’s that sounded a little strange. He said, that a must for him was to have certain things and that he expected me to never let us run out of these things. Two of those things were toilet paper and ketchup. Very important items that the “queen of his castle” would HAVE to make priority of having in stock! Ok…I could handle that request! Over the years, I think back to these earlier times and I wonder how we’ve made it this far. With both of our faults, (and there are many), I think we left out a few things on that floor at our “real” wedding. An often quoted chapter of

the Bible at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13… the love chapter. I never really got it. I didn’t get it for quite some time. And I still have to work on it. When it speaks of love being patient and kind, not rude or easily angered, I just would think…hmm…whose love is always like that? Certainly not ours. But the more I study it, I realize it is telling us to strive to love others this way…do these things and love better. This is what God wants, commands us to do. So, I would like to add an addendum to that ceremony. Things that it has taken me a while to learn. Dear David, I will always love you but I will strive to do it in the way God intended me to. I will try to be patient and kind to you. I will not let envy or pride get in the way of us. I will remember to not be rude to you or self-seeking even when I think I’m right. I will try oh so hard to not be easily angered and forgive easily. I am continuing to work on these things and pray you are patient with me. I thank God for giving me you! xoxo Yvette Gotta run now...we’re on our last roll of toilet paper and I have my priorities straight! ----------------------------------------------------

Yvette is a mom to 3 brown-eyed beauties, a wife to a hard-working "Louisiana oil-man," a sister to two crazy gals, an aunt to many, and a child of the One True King. These are just some of the titles she holds humbly, and near & dear to her heart. She's still chasing a few dreams (even at her age), and trying to live intentionally! Yvette is a lover of all things old, southern hospitality, a gypsy at heart and happy in boots or heels! She is a nurse and the owner of Fashion on the Fly online boutique with a mobile fashion truck on the way.



FEBRUARY 10th, 11th, 12th Kids Mardi Gras Parade at 11am Blood Drive

An ounce of prevention can save your life..

MARCH 10th, 11th, 12th APRIL 7th, 8th, 9th Visit our facebook page for event details A lock and leave facility for 132 indoor vendors, 100 outdoor vendors, and 10 food vendors. Located in the rolling hills of north Lincoln Parish just 12 miles from I-20.

Don’t Forget Your


It’s not too late! Accepting

Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Insurance

318.263.7970 1175 Pine Street, Suite 100 Arcadia, LA 71001

WELLNESS CENTER 1300 Pine Street Arcadia, LA 71001 318-263-9355

Rural Health Clinic Accepting Medicare, Medicaid, and




Jonquil Jubilee 2017

Written by Beth Fontenot


ld man winter may not have packed his bags and left town just yet, but the folks in a small town in northwest Louisiana are busy planning one of the sweetest spring festivals in Louisiana, the Jonquil Jubilee. The festival is an annual celebration of the blooming of the jonquils, otherwise known as daffodils. Every year on the first Saturday in March, people flock to the small town of Gibsland, the Daffodil Capital of Louisiana, to welcome the announcement by the daffodils that spring is on its way. Daffodils originated in Spain and Portugal, and the bulbs were brought to the United States by early settlers. Ladies sewed them in the hems of their skirts to bring a little of their past to their homes in the new world. In turn, the early settlers of Bienville Parish in Louisiana brought bulbs and planted them around their new homes.

road signs, and patches of them can be seen in fields, at old homesteads, or in people’s yards. Driving along the route through the communities of Oak Grove and Mt. Lebanon there are several places to stop and stroll among the daffodils. Though they appear as patches of yellow from the road, not all daffodils are the same. Some flowers have trumpets while others have cups. Some have small flowers, and some are larger. Some aren’t all yellow. From the car, these differences can’t be appreciated. Neither can the aroma of thousands of daffodils in bloom. Along the tour route is Carter Farm, home of Lorris and Elaine Carter. Lorris, age 87, estimates he has planted over 40,000 bulbs in his two-acre yard surrounded by acres of piney woods. He uses a bulb auger attached to a drill to plant the bulbs. Since 2002, he has planted 38 varieties of daffodil bulbs.

Neighbors shared bulbs, the bulbs multiplied, and soon they were growing prolifically. Some of the existing bulbs may have been planted over 100 years ago. They, or their offshoots, still bloom today because daffodils will bloom and spread for decades.

Exactly when the daffodils will bloom and peak is anybody’s guess. The weather has everything to do with it. Usually, they begin blooming in late January and some flowers will bloom until late March. Early March is usually when they are at their peak.

One spring day in 1998 the idea of a daffodil festival was conceived as a group of ladies in Gibsland were drinking coffee and discussing their daffodils. Someone mentioned how wonderful it would be to have an annual festival, and you know what happens when a group of determined women get an idea in their head. It was just a year later that the first Jonquil Jubilee was held. Since then, tens of thousands of bulbs have been planted throughout the countryside to complement those still-blooming “native” bulbs.

It’s not uncommon to see daffodils blooming in random places. But if you look closer, you may notice the outline of what once was the foundation of a house or the ghost of an outbuilding, now long gone and forgotten by most. A patch of daffodils will easily outlive the person who planted them and the buildings they were planted around.

Signs point the way out of Gibsland and through the countryside where the yellow head-bobbing flowers await the arrival of visitors. Daffodils have been planted along roadsides, around



As I like to say about daffodils, “The people and places may be gone, but Spring remembers.”

Experience the hospitality of a small town, and celebrate the arrival of Spring at the Jonquil Jubilee.

March 4th, 2017

Gibsland, Louisiana

Lions Club Breakfast Garden Tour Tablescapes Quilt Show Raffles & More

Gibsland, Louisiana

For more information:

The Daffodil Capital of Louisiana


Jonquil Jubilee

Gibsland is approximately one mile south of I-20, Gibsland/Athens exit #61, 45 miles east of Shreveport, 56 miles west of Monroe. 47

bringing back

the past

written by Wesley Harris Tracking Down the Nightriders: Outlaws

Plagued Louisiana After the Civil War


ouisiana’s West-Kimbrell gang were the state’s most notorious outlaws during the Reconstruction era. In 1870, the Ouachita Telegraph noted the outlaws, who had “been operating as highwaymen with unvarying success ever since the close of the war, and perhaps before its close, and have sent unheralded and unprepared into eternity the soul of many an innocent victim, stimulated thereto solely by an ungodly greed for gain.” The gang, called the “Nightriders,” were among the worst of the worst. In 1866, they murdered U.S. Army Lieutenant Simeon Butts who was assigned to the Freemen’s Bureau in Jackson Parish. Numerous murders of freed slaves and white men alike were attributed to them. Arrest warrants were issued against various gang members but local authorities had difficulty apprehending them, either through indifference, fear, or the outlaws’ cunning. Federal troops occupied the region at the time, ostensibly to enforce Reconstruction, protect freedmen, and support U.S. marshals and local officials in enforcing the law. Encumbered by a mandate to accompany lawmen rather than take the initiative, the army was largely ineffective in dealing with crime. One of the army officers assigned to the area was Napoleon Bonaparte McLaughlin. He fought in some of the Civil War’s bloodiest and significant engagements and reached rank of brigadier general by war’s end. In December 1868, his unit was headquartered near Natchitoches as part of the government’s Reconstruction occupation of Louisiana. McLaughlin was astounded by the lawlessness in north Louisiana. He wrote to his commander that “never in all my experience in this section of the country have so many outrages been committed as within the past two months… Not a day passes without complaints and petitions for aid from the citizens, whilst the civil authorities are paralyzed with fear, and I powerless to interfere.” But interfere McLaughlin did by personally going after some of the offenders. On December 12, 1868, McLaughlin crossed the Red River into Winn Parish to investigate two new murders. On the way, he learned William


and Lawson Kimbrell, both Nightriders wanted for murder in Natchitoches and Winn Parishes were at their father's house. Since troops had been sent to capture them several times without success, McLaughlin was determined to attempt it again. Traveling with just one other soldier, they got to the house undetected. McLaughlin described what happened in a report to his superiors: “I discovered [William Kimbrell], about 300 yards ahead, mounted with revolver in hand…I gave chase gradually gaining upon him, until at the end of about a mile we were not more than sixty yards apart. Here he reached a mud hole, about ten yards wide, in attempting to cross which his horse bogged, breaking girth and precipitating saddle and rider to the ground. “Upon my coming up, found the horse upon the opposite bank and Kimbrell standing behind it with his army revolver levelled at my head, and demanding my surrender. Demanding his surrender to me I reached down to raise my double barreled shotgun when he fired, the ball taking effect in my horse's neck, passing through from front to rear; I now fired… This shot took effect…He again fired and I returned with my other barrel of small shot. After this he fired two shots. I returned fire with my revolver, making in all four shots each…”

Kimbrell’s family and others soon showed up. Realizing he was outnumbered, McLaughlin and his sergeant crossed the Red River to his headquarters in Natchitoches Parish to regroup. Once McLaughlin learned the Winn Parish sheriff held a warrant for his arrest for killing Billy Kimbrell, he went to Natchitoches and surrendered. Eventually the charge was dismissed. The West-Kimbrell gang continued its bloody reign of robbery and murder until May 1870 when local citizens mustered the courage to band together to eliminate the gang, shooting or lynching nine or so of them in Atlanta, Louisiana. ---------------------------------------------------Photo: General McLaughlin ----------------------------------------------------

“After my fourth shot he said that he surrendered. Supposing he had two shots left ordered him to throw down his weapon, which he did. I now called for my orderly whom not being able to find, dismounted myself, which Kimbrell seeing, he snatched his revolver, mounted his horse bare backed and started. To mount and after him was the work of a moment, my horse although wounded, carrying me through the mud hole beautifully, and after perhaps a fourth of a mile run, I had again got within some ten yards, when Kimbrell turned and fired his sixth shot. I returned it, now pressed my horse until being about ten paces ahead and to the left of him he snapped the sixth barrel of his revolver, and I firing at almost the same instant killed him instantly.”

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 Check out his Louisiana history blog at He can be contacted at

a knack for


written by Beth Fontenot, MS, RD, LDN One Year to a Healthier You


t’s time to get out pen and paper and start working on those 2017 resolutions. (Can you believe we’re already 17 years into the new millennium?) If you’re like most people, eating better, getting fit, and/or losing weight is on your list. We all wake up on January 1 with the best of intentions, but before the calendar page is turned to February, we’re back to our old ways. Behavior change is never easy, especially when we try to tackle too many things at once. People who succeed at keeping their resolutions usually do so because they are determined, they have a plan, and they make changes slowly. Writing also helps reinforce behavior change, but more about that later. This year, you provide the determination, and I’ll provide the plan. It takes time and practice to develop new habits. By this time next year, you could have 12 new healthy habits and the gift of improved health. So here’s the plan: January – Start moving. Choose an activity that you truly enjoy. Whether it’s walking, running, dancing, playing sports, Pilates, Yoga, or kick boxing, carve out at least 30 minutes a day for physical activity. Do it at least five days a week. February –Monitor mindless munching. How often do you find yourself eating when you aren’t even hungry? Maybe you’re bored, stressed, sad, or mad. If so, recognize that’s what you’re feeling, not hunger. When the urge to eat strikes (and it’s not due to hunger) drink a tall glass of water. Then go take a walk, or clean out a closet, or weed the flower beds - anything to get your mind off of eating. March – If you don’t know how to cook, it’s time to learn. I’m talking about cooking from scratch, not heating up frozen foods or mixing up boxed dinners. Even if you’re a seasoned cook, learn to cook healthfully. Buy a new cookbook or look online for ways to modify your cooking techniques that will lower the calories in your favorite recipes. Little changes equal big calorie reductions over time. And cooking from

scratch allows you to control how your food is prepared. April – Snack smart. Instead of the usual high-fat, high-sugar snacks, reach for whole grain crackers, low fat popcorn, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn cakes, or graham crackers. Follow the portion size listed on the Nutrition Facts label. Keep cut-up fruits and veggies in the refrigerator so they’re as quick to grab as a box of cookies when you feel like snacking. May – Vary your veggies. Eat three to five servings of vegetables every day. Bagged salads make it easy to add vegetables to a meal. Frozen vegetable are as nutritious as fresh and are also easy to fix, but avoid the ones with sauce. Dark, green, leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that should be eaten often, and you will also want to include several deep yellow or dark orange vegetables every week, like carrots and sweet potatoes. June – Pick fruit. Literally. If you have a place to pick your own fruit, by all means take advantage of it. Eat two to three servings of fruit every day. It doesn’t always have to be fresh fruit. Fruit canned in its own juice, frozen fruit, or dried fruit are also good choices. Refer to the Nutrition Facts label for portion sizes. July – Forego the fried stuff, or at least limit fried foods to once a week. This includes fried meats, French fries, chips, grilled sandwiches, and fried vegetables, just to name a few. August – Go meatless. Once or twice a week, use pasta dishes, bean dishes, whole grain breads, and a variety of fruits and vegetables to create meals without meat. Check out www. for tons of ideas on meatless meals. September – Fill up with fiber. Start the

day with a bowl of cereal containing at least four grams of fiber per serving. The fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you’ve already included in your diet add fiber, too. October – Focus on fish. Eat at least two servings of fish each week. Broil, grill, or blacken fish with little oil or butter. Oily fish like salmon and tuna are especially good for you. I know it’s hard, but try to limit the fried fish, but if you must indulge, skip the fries. November –Kick the salt habit. Choose “low salt” or “no salt added” versions of foods like crackers, nuts, canned vegetables, and soups. Use less salt in cooking, and don’t salt your food at the table. December – Use self-control. The holidays are back, and with so many tempting treats it’s easy to forget everything you’ve worked on throughout the year. Remember what you’ve learned, keep your portions small, and keep moving. Now you have a plan. Grab a pair of scissors, cut out this column, and put in it a place where you will see it every day. Keep a journal as you make changes throughout the year because writing helps to reinforce change. Set goals for yourself and track your progress through your journal. Record your physical activity, your dietary changes, your weight, what’s working for you, and what’s difficult for you. Write about your successes as well as your shortcomings. If you incorporate these changes throughout 2017, you will likely be slimmer and healthier this time next year. Now go buy that journal and get busy. ----------------------------------------------------

Beth Fontenot is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist who divides her time between the swamps of south Louisiana and the piney woods of north Louisiana. Though she’s been known to indulge in a certain Texas brand of ice cream or a fried seafood dinner, she does believe that good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.


a novel approach written by Winnie Griggs

The Art Of Backstory – Part VII


his is the seventh in a series of articles I’m bringing you about Weaving Backstory Into Your Work. In previous articles I discussed what backstory is, what and how much should be included in your manuscript, and when to include it. I’ve also discussed four of the methods you can use, namely Omniscient Narration, Flashbacks, Prologues and Introspection. This time around, I’ll be discussing Dialogue. Dialogue, when done well, is a very natural way to relay information. In fact, it is probably the method most often employed. A major benefit of employing dialogue is that readers are less likely to skim over dialogue than they are introspection or narrative. There are a number of different approaches to using dialogue to reveal backstory. They include: Third party Reminiscence or Gossip This is probably the most commonly employed method. One character reminisces about something in another character’s past to a third party. The Side Kick or Confidante This is when the protagonist himself confides bits of backstory to someone else, usually someone he feels he can trust. Debate Team In this approach, two or more characters argue, debate or brainstorm over an event or course of action during which a certain amount of backstory information comes out Situation Update or Recap A rookie or another person ‘outside the loop’ comes into a situation and is briefed by those in the know. For those of you familiar with the TV show “The Closer” - this provides a perfect example


of situation update method. The show almost always opened with Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson arriving on the scene and having her team update her on what they know about the crime under investigation. One caution about dialogue: By all means, please avoid the infamous “As you know, Bob” scenario – this is where one character relates something to another character that they obviously both already know and have no real need to discuss except that the author wants to feed the information to the reader. For instance, one woman having a conversation with her best friend that goes something like this: “Hi, Lulu. I’m limping today because while you and I were out jogging yesterday, I fell and banged my knee. Then you helped me back home and bandaged it for me and we discussed that it would be sore for several days.” This is, of course, an exaggerated example, but it happens. And as you can see, it comes across as very amateurish and artificial, and such dialogue will quickly turn off your reader. However, this doesn’t mean your characters can never discuss something they both already know. The key here is

to make it relevant. For instance, they could be arguing over their different perspectives of what the event signified. Or perhaps one is relating additional information about the incident that the other was not privy to. The key is to make sure your characters are not just passively relating information and that they are providing current context and moving the story forward. Key to making it work: Regardless of which of the four approaches you are using, you must make certain the dialogue flows naturally from the characters and the current situation. Otherwise it will come across as contrived and/or amateurish. And of course, it must have some relevance to the current story action. That’s it for our discussion of Dialogue. Next time around I’ll discuss the use of Implication and Description to reveal Backstory. Remember, revelation of Backstory is most effective when it both unveils the past and adds to the present situation. As always, feel free to contact me at for questions on this or any other aspect of novel writing.

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


We accept private long term care insurance Ellen Shepherd


ELDERLY SERVICES Companion Services, Home Care Services


Supervised Independent Living, Family Assistance, Case Supervision


Family Training, Attendant Care, Diapers

In-Home Recuperation Assistance Private Hospital Sitting Companion Care

Find us on Facebook or


3250 HWY 79, HOMER, LA 51


New Year ! Minden Medical Center wishes you and your loved ones a healthy start to 2017! As we welcome a new year, we want to remind you that scheduling a yearly physical exam is an important part of maintaining good health.

Top 5 Questions To Ask Your Doctor This Year: 1. What is the most important change I can make to improve my health? 2. What vaccinations do I need to be up to date? 3. What is my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose? 4. Knowing my family history, are there screenings or tests I should have? 5. Are any of my current medicines no longer needed?

Call for an appointment today!

If you do not already have a primary care doctor, visit or call (318) 382-8282.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.