Thrive's December 2018 Issue

Page 1

December 2018


Holiday Gift Guide to

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with Pearl Cole of Abraham's Tent


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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

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Contents In This Issue Style & Beauty

6 Update Your Winter Wardrobe 8 Office to Party in Seconds 10 Holiday Accessories

Places & Faces 12 – 21 24 26

Regular Features

22 28 36 55 66 67

Cover Story: Louisiana Christmas Tea at Walden Writing & Paper Studio Lakefront Project Proposal Announced

First Person with Pearl Cole Who’s News Business Buzz Happenings Solutions for Life McNeese Corral

Money & Career

30 Year-End Review: Tax Strategies 32 Holiday Tipping Guide 34 Ten Safety Tips when using an ATM

Wining & Dining

38 Poke Bowls are the Latest Food Trend 40 Food & Drink from Popular Christmas Songs 42 Apple Cider Vinegar: Does it Stand Up to the Hype?

24 40

Home & Family

44 – 52 Special Feature: Holiday Gift Guide A to Z 54 The Joy of Giving: 5 Ways to Give with the Whole Family

Mind & Body

56 58 60 62 64

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress Intermittent Fasting Seasonal Health Risks Volunteering - the Benefits Work Both Ways Be Prepared for Cold Weather Workouts

@thriveswla |

60 Managing Editor Angie Kay Dilmore Editors and Publishers Kristy Como Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director Barbara VanGossen Design and Layout Mandy Gilmore Business Manager Katie McDaniel Stevenson Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Submissions

Thrive is designed for people focused on living a happy, healthy life, one that is balanced, full of energy and contentment. Thrive readers want to make the most of every day and to be successful in all areas of their lives – family, health, home and career. Submitted articles and photos are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions. 4

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018




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Style & Beauty

Update Your Winter Wardrobe with These Easy Pieces

by Emily Alford

As it finally gets chilly and the holiday season goes into full swing, it’s time to pull out those sweaters. However, if you feel like last year’s wardrobe is a bit ‘meh’ and you want to spice things up with a few trendy pieces, there are lots of affordable ways to give your look a makeover without spending a lot of money.



At long last, animal prints are back! This season, designers have focused particularly on leopard print. So if you’re a leopard lover, there’s plenty to choose from. One effortlessly cool look is a leopard-print maxi-dress layered over a black turtleneck (another of this year’s biggest trends) with a black leather jacket and ankle boots. Or if you’re in the market for a new coat, leopard print is a bold, on-trend choice with lots of affordable options.





Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Get sneaky

While most of us have winter boots, sneakers have recently made a huge comeback. However, these aren’t the boring trainers you’d wear to the gym. White, chunky fashion sneakers with bold accent colors are an effortless, fun way to make a sweater and jeans look really stylish.



Go wild


Sophisticated flannel

Flannel is cozy and comfortable, but it can also be really cool. Look for fleecy flannel shirts in boxy “boyfriend” cuts to wear with slim-fit or straight leg jeans. Or go with a flannel dress for a fun holiday look.

If you’re really committed to the print, long flannel coats are one of this season’s biggest trends, and they really dress up a tee shirt and jeans, or, conversely, make a little black dress look casually stylish. 4

Velvet crush

Though velvet has been a big trend for a few years now, this year’s best velvet looks are party ready. Crushed velvet mini dresses are perfect, easy pieces to wear to all your holiday events, from office parties to quick cocktail catch-ups with friends. Wear your velvet dress with a pair of black over-the-knee boots for an outfit that looks straight off the pages of a fashion magazine.


Crossbody bag

Winter coats seem even more cumbersome when coupled with a bulky handbag. Luckily, this season’s in-demand purses are smaller than the giant bags of the past. A chic cross body bag with a chain strap looks just as good out running errands as it does for a night out, so you won’t have to worry about changing handbags from one event to the next. Cold weather and holiday festivities can be a great time to test out new looks. And you don’t have to go head-to-toe trendy. If you’re looking to mix it up, add one fashionista element to a tried-and-true outfit to feel confident while experimenting with your style.

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Style & Beauty


Style Tips for the Busy Holidays by Emily Alford

We’ve all been there: the workday ends at 5:00 p.m., and the holiday party begins at 5:30. With no time to run home and change, there seems to be only two options; either dress down for the party in office clothes or spend the workday way too dressed up in party gear. But there are definitely ways to stay comfortable in the office while still looking party-ready. It just takes a bit of planning. 8

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Wear One Piece That’s Party-Ready Whether you have a dressy top that can still look business casual under a blazer or a party-skirt that is still office appropriate with a button down shirt, the key to dressing for office-to-party is already having part of your outfit on when you leave the house in the morning. A simple silk dress in a solid color (like blue or black) can look just as chic under a blazer as it does with a pair of heels. Try a few pieces in a couple of different ways to decide what might work best for your office and personal style.

Layer up To be honest, a big part of office-to-party style involves simply taking off a cardigan or blazer and throwing on a pair of heels. Go for solid colors, like a black or beige cardigan with a satin skirt, for a look that blends in to the office background but shines when the layers come off.

Swap Handbags We tend to have weekday handbags that are huge and brimming with our musthaves, like giant wallets, multiple lipsticks, hand sanitizer, etc. Don’t bring that baggage to the party! Invest in a small satin or sequined clutch to streamline your look and add some festive flair.

Add Some Shimmer When it comes to being party-ready, the right jewelry can make your look. Try out some statement pieces, such as big, festive earrings or bold necklaces with a lot of shimmery rhinestones. You can keep your jewelry with you during the day and add it just before the party with a touch of bright lipstick for a totally festive transformation. Dressing for the perfect day-to-night look is all about keeping it simple. Look for neutral colors and add one festive fabric, such as a velvet skirt or a satin top, that can go from boardroom to barroom with just a change of accessories.


Style & Beauty

Holiday Accessories That Just Might Outshine the Christmas Tree by Emily Alford

There are so many fun things about the holiday season: food, fêtes, and family. But if you’re a fashion lover, the holidays also mean a great excuse to go all out in exciting, festive outfits. If you’re looking to update your party clothes with a few new accessories, here are some of 2018’s biggest trends.

Wings away!

Last year, tassels were the major trend, showing up everywhere from earrings to necklaces. This year’s trendy accessory is a bit daintier. Wings are everywhere right now, from pretty pendants on necklaces to graceful statement earrings.

Hot hoops

Hoops earrings have been a tad hard to find since around 2004, but this year, they are back! And if you’re a hoop lover, you’re in luck because every size is on-trend, and no hoop is too big right now. So whether you prefer a small, chunky gold hoop or a doorknob-sized thin silver hoop, go for it! Every option is a great one.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Pouch purse

Evening handbags can be a bit of a pain. They’re either tiny little clutches that need to be carried in your palm all night or cumbersome, longchained bags that look awkward over your shoulder when you’re wearing an evening gown. Enter the pouch purse. These tiny, glamorous bags come in fancy fabrics, like silk and velvet, so they’ll look great at your holiday party. But the best thing about a pouch purse is its convenient wrist strap, which makes it easier to carry and keep up with than other evening options.

Rhinestone revival

Rhinestone jewelry is common at holiday parties. But if you really want to stand out, try some rhinestone footwear! Some of the season’s most beautiful statement shoes are ankle boots covered in sparkles and high heels with rhinestone accessories. If you’re going straight from the office to your holiday

party in a little black dress, throw on a pair of these dazzling shoes to make your party look pop.

All in for over-theknee


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If rhinestone boots aren’t your thing, why not step up your boot game with a pair of over-the-knee boots? These boots are a winter miniskirt’s best friend, since they’ll allow you to shorten your hemline while still keeping your legs toasty warm. They can even make a pair of dressy velvet shorts look winter-ready. Just add a sweater and some tights for a seasonally appropriate look. You don’t have to completely overhaul your closet to deck the halls. Adding a new accessory to a tried-and-true party look can completely transform your holiday outfit.

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Places & Faces



Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018


hile Louisiana may not often have the classic Norman Rockwellesque “white” Christmas, we nonetheless have our own treasured traditions and there are plenty of fun events across the state to make our holidays merry and bright. This issue’s cover section features the many and diverse Christmas festivals and events, from Lake Charles to Natchitoches to New Orleans. Make a plan to celebrate the holidays this year – Louisiana-style! We at Thrive wish all our readers a Joyeux Noël!


Places & Faces

Natchitoches FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS by Lauren Atterbery Cesar


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

When Santa’s Sleigh Just Won’t Do, We’re Here for You. There is more to the city of Natchitoches, Louisiana, than a beautiful college campus and all the sights seen in the film “Steel Magnolias.” Each year, visitors flock from all over Louisiana and the surrounding states to see the spectacular Festival of Lights come to life, shining across the river front. Last year, the town boasted over 100,000 out-of-town visitors who came to enjoy the festivities. The festival got started in 1920 when Natchitoches’ chief electrician decided that stringing Christmas lights along Front Street would be a nice Christmas present from the Power and Light Department to the citizens of Natchitoches. They rallied local businesses who donated money to make it possible. This tradition has expanded every year, and now includes fireworks, a parade, live music, and food vendors from around the state. If you would rather a sit-down meal, enjoy the delightful local cuisine from places like Lasyone’s Meat Pie Kitchen and Restaurant, The Landing, Maglieux’s Riverfront Restaurant, Merci Beaucoup Restaurant, or Mama’s Oyster House. You really can’t leave Natchitoches without enjoying one of the city’s famous meat pies! The main festival events take place on the river front, just off Front Street, each weekend through January 6. Visitors will find a colorful array of light displays reflecting off the water along with lively music, traditional Louisiana food, and fun activities for children. The entertainment extends beyond Front Street. Experience “A Very Northwestern Christmas” December 6 and 18, which includes a tour, historical stories, and performances on the university campus. Enjoy “Holiday Kid’s Fest,” taking place on six different evenings throughout December. All month long, a variety of musical groups will perform downtown, and an array of holiday-themed tours will be available to help bring the 92nd Annual Christmas Festival of Lights to life.

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Places & Faces


New Orleans by Angie Kay Dilmore

No doubt, the city of New Orleans is lit up year round, but during the holidays, it’s wrapped with an extra layer of sparkle. From the French Quarter to City Park and points in between, jazz up your holiday celebrations and experience Christmas in the Crescent City.

Marvel at the “faux snow” on Fulton St. every hour on the hour beginning at noon.

Celebration in the Oaks is New Orleans’ most beloved holiday event. Through January 1, City Park is transformed into a magical wonderland of lights and holiday spirit.

The annual Running of the Santas takes place Dec. 8 in the Warehouse District. Basically, it’s an all-day party with the jolly men in the suits.

Visit for more information.

For information, go to


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Join the chorus for Caroling in Jackson Square! On December 16, hundreds of residents and visitors will gather in Jackson Square for this free annual candle-lit carol sing. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., singing at 7:00 p.m.

Roosevelt Hotel Lobby

Top: Experience old-world extravagance in hotel lobbies such as the Roosevelt, Windsor Court, and the Ritz Carlton on Canal. Hotel Monteleone boasts a giant Christmas tree and local choir performances. Above: Home Tours abound in NOLA during the holidays. Local organizations Patio Planters and Preservation Resource Center conduct these guided tours during early December. See some of the most beautiful classic homes the city has to offer.

Right: Witness the Levee Christmas Bonfires. You can book a narrated tour on the Grey Lines Tours’ motor coach excursion.

Visit for more info.


Places & Faces

Grant CHRISTMAS TREE FARM by Lauren Atterbery Cesar


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Christmas only comes once a year, but the excitement begins long before Santa makes his way down the chimney. Part of that eagerness often lies in picking out the perfect tree to grace your home for the holiday season and fill it with the scent of Christmas. Grant Christmas Tree Farm in Grant, Louisiana brings something magical to this process, making picking out that perfect tree a tradition the whole family can enjoy.

This holiday destination offers much more than just trees! You can easily spend a few hours relishing all the farm’s sights and activities. Jump on the wagon for a hayride. Peruse various arts and crafts vendors. Munch on roasted peanuts and fresh cracklins, or wait in line for their well-known sausage biscuits with cane syrup or white gravy on the side, or later in the day, their mouthwatering barbecue sandwiches. On Saturdays leading up to Christmas in December, the Grant Tree Farm Fall Harvest Fest is in full swing. Watch a donkey work the old cane press and learn about the process of extracting juice from the sugar cane to make syrup. Listen to the sounds of bluegrass or gospel music and watch your children take delight in visiting the animals at the petting zoo. Grant Christmas Tree Farm spends a minimum of five years perfecting their trees. During the week of Thanksgiving, they also begin receiving Fraser fir trees from North Carolina. While often considered “traditional” Christmas trees, Fraser furs don’t fare well in warm climates. Gray and Mollie Anderson, the farm’s owners, offer hypo-allergenic Christmas trees so those with allergies are not left out of the fun. If you’re in the market for presents to go under the perfect tree, Grant Christmas Tree Farm’s gift shop sells homemade jellies, jams, candy, fruit syrups, cookies, cane syrup, and honey. If you can’t decide on one item, they create assorted gift baskets. Make the trek to Grant’s Christmas Tree Farm. Choosing a perfect tree just might become your new favorite holiday tradition! For more information, see


Places & Faces

Acadian VILLAGE by Andrea Mongler

If you want to enjoy the Christmas experience while supporting a good cause, check out the 38th annual Noel Acadien Au Village, a Christmas festival fundraiser hosted by LARC’s Acadian Village in Lafayette. Proceeds benefit LARC, a nonprofit organization that supports people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in achieving goals of self-sufficiency, quality of life, and self-worth. LARC’s Acadian Village is an open-air museum that gives visitors a glimpse of Acadian life in Southwest Louisiana in the early 1800s, and at Christmastime it is transformed into a festive holiday destination. This year, Noel Acadien Au Village will run through Dec. 23. The theme is Claude’s Enchanted Village — Claude, of course, being an elf who came to town and sprinkled some magic to enchant the forest. The village is full of lights, with more than 40,000 new ones this year and over half a million total. “We did a total overhaul of the heart of the village this year,” said Erin Shedlof, operations manager at Acadian Village. “We have all LED lights, new displays, and a 25-foot animated Christmas tree that moves to music.”


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Open from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. each night, the Village will also offer carnival rides, live entertainment, and local cuisine. Specifically, Santa’s Kitchen will serve gumbo, pork jambalaya, sausage po’boys, barbecue burgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and more. Beverages, including hot chocolate, will also be available for purchase. Santa, of course, will be onsite, ready to pose for photos. Watch out for Claude the elf, who will be on hand, too. In addition, Village visitors can do some holiday shopping at the general store, which will be stocked with Cajun crafts, local artwork, holiday decorations, toys, food, stocking stuffers, and more. Advance tickets for Noel Acadien Au Village can be purchased at select Shop Rite/ Tobacco Plus stores for $8 or at the gate for $10. Children age four and younger and anyone with a military ID enter for free. Parking is also free, though you have the option to purchase VIP parking and skip the line to get in. For more information, see

Holiday EVENTS

While many of the local holiday events and festivals took place prior to this issue’s publication date, there is still plenty of holiday cheer to experience. 2nd Annual Mini Christmas Tree Decorating Contest The contest is being held at the Brimstone Museum Complex with judging taking place on Saturday, Dec. 8. The award ceremony will be held at noon, complete with an appearance by Gumbeaux Gator! This event is presented by Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point and the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Brimstone Museum Complex and the City of Sulphur. Christmas in the Bluff Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Moss Bluff Recreation Complex with crafts and vendors, kid’s activities and games, and a sweet shop. Admission is free and open to the public. Moss Bluff Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2:00 p.m. in Moss Bluff. Sponsored by the Ward One Economic Development Board and the Moss Bluff Civic Club, the parade will begin at Market Basket and travel along Sam Houston Jones Parkway and end at Sam Houston High School.

Westlake Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 8, at 1:00 p.m. The festive holiday parade will kick off at the Westlake High School Football Stadium and will roll down Sampson Street, finishing with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Westlake City Hall.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ‘Tis the season to celebrate faith, family and friends.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all of us at

Vinton Christmas in the Park and Parade Dec. 14, Vinton City Park, Vinton. The parade kicks off the festivities at 5pm followed by hot chocolate, cookies, carols and the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree at Vinton City Park. A Live Nativity will also take place at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1502 Industrial Street on Dec. 14 and 15, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Christmas at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum Ongoing through Dec. 31, and will include thousands of exterior lights and multiple indoor trees that all can be viewed from the drive-through area in front of the museum. Community-made Gingerbread Houses Stop by the Southwest Louisiana Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau Welcome Center to see the display through the month of December.

The way banking should be.


Places & Faces

first person with Pearl Cole of Abraham’s Tent

by Angie Kay Dilmore, photo by Angie Kay Dilmore

Since 1986, Abraham’s Tent has served the homeless, transients, the unemployed or underemployed, and those living on a fixed income, struggling to make ends meet. Each day, the center serves a hot lunch to the disadvantaged, moms with young children, the elderly and disabled, the mentally ill. All are welcome and no one is turned away. Ms. Pearl Cole, the face and heart of Abraham’s Tent, has been involved with the organization since its inception. She greets each client with a smile, and bids them adieu with two bus tokens – one for the ride home and one to return the next day. Prior to her role with “the Tent,” Cole volunteered at her church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Opelousas St. She saw needy people come off the interstate and knock on the church doors, seeking assistance. Their plight prompted Cole to action. Soon after, she worked for the Diocese of Lake Charles, which was instrumental in the formation of Abraham’s Tent. Cole volunteered at the center and three years later, became the director, where she continues to tirelessly serve. When Abraham’s Tent first opened, they served lunch to approximately 100 people a day at the center and an additional 25 or so lunches to residents at Chateau du Lac, the subsidized apartments on Ryan St., Lake Charles. Today, the center serves 250-300, and 80-100 meals are sent to the apartment complex a day. The need is real. In 2014, the organization’s board built a much-needed new building. This facility has allowed Cole and her army of volunteers to better serve their clients with amenities such as showers, laundry, and reliable air conditioning. Not surprisingly, they named the building in honor of Pearl Cole. Thrive magazine recently sat down with Ms. Cole where she talked about her parents, her people, and the importance of discovering one’s purpose.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Tell me about your childhood and how it has influenced the person you are today? I grew up in rural Kinder. I was one of five children. But years later, my parents took on five more children. First, my mother’s younger sister, after their parents died. Later on, that sister died and my parents raised her children. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t happy to have that many people in my parent’s house. I was still a bit selfish then. But now as I look back, I understand why they did it, and how God blessed them. I was raised with this sense of family. My parents took on a lot. I never understood how they did it. But now I recognize it was not only this sense of family that enabled them to do the things they did, but also a sense of community. When one person in the community had, everyone had. One family had a great garden, one family owned cattle, another something else. My aunts sewed and taught me to sew, so we always had clothing. Everyone shared and took care of each other. This set the tone for my life.

Describe your philosophy and reason for a life of service.

How is Abraham’s Tent funded? Forty percent of funding comes from the United Way. And there are several fundraisers throughout the year. Clean Out the Freezer Day is geared to fishermen and hunters who donate meat they have frozen. Last month, KPLC sponsored Pack the Tent Food Drive, which brought in cleaning supplies, dry goods, and canned food. KYKZ-FM’s Ashley and Cooper hosted the station’s annual Camp Out for a Cause. Numerous churches, clubs, and civic groups also volunteer throughout the year.

What would you like the community to know about your clients? Lots of people are struggling. For many people who are homeless, it is a temporary crisis. And there are people who are trying but just haven’t gotten to where they want to be. Many of my clients are on fixed incomes. It’s hard to make progress.

What are the holidays like at Abraham's Tent?

meal. I make goody bags filled with personal care items and my clients are so excited to receive them. I was raised in a home where Christmas was very important, and I love expressing that. Abraham’s Tent is blessed with the spirit of giving during the holidays.

What do you love most about your role as Director of Abraham’s Tent? The people. I love people. So often, we take things for granted. Simple things, such as clothing. When we first opened the Tent, I cleaned out my closet and brought in clothes in case the clients needed them. And people were so grateful to have them. That made me feel good. Another exciting thing I’ve learned is that there are so many good people in this community. The community is so willing to respond to the needs here at Abrahams’s Tent. Lake Charles is an awesome place. Always willing to help. I always like to say thank you to the community for supporting us. We couldn’t do this without the public.

The holidays are awesome! I feel like Santa Claus and I’m so happy. We have a Christmas

God has given each of us a life with a purpose. I knew this from a very young age. And I wanted to find my purpose. I knew my purpose was not just as a wife, a woman, a mother. It went beyond that. I think God has something pre-planned for each of us. I prayed for God to help me find this purpose. I believe God will take care of you if you accept what He has given you; that calling. I’m a witness to that. I want to do more than just live. And I don’t care what people say about me. I want to be pleasing in God’s sight. My goal is to make a difference in others’ lives.

How has the community responded to Abraham’s Tent? For years, we struggled. It took many years for the community to recognize who we are, what we do, and how they can help. More recently, we’ve drawn attention, and that’s a good thing. God has always provided. We’ve never had a bad day. I go home and sleep well, because somebody got fed today.


Places & Faces

Tea at Walden Writing & Paper Studio by Angie Kay Dilmore

In early 2017, Julia Morris O’Carroll started reevaluating what she was doing with her life. She held a job she enjoyed as a human resources manager, but her life was hectic and stressful. She imagined a simpler life, working from home. That June, she made the leap and quit her job. Two months later, a diagnosis of breast cancer reinforced her decision to “slow down and live life deliberately.” Julia began her career with a master’s degree in English from McNeese State University. She loves writing and books – and not only the stories. She loves the words, the ink, the paper . . . with a cup of tea on the side. After battling cancer (she is presently cancer-free), Julia started a business that allows her to share this unique combination of passions with others. She named it Tea at Walden, referring to Henry David


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Thoreau’s iconic book, Walden. “The business is based on a lot of things that were at Walden. Thoreau went into the woods and with his bare hands built a cabin. There, he wrote of simplicity and the essentials of life. It really spoke to me. I wanted to create my own Walden.” With the help of a contractor, Julia transformed a former shed and greenhouse on her property into her studio. She creates one-of-a-kind pens and journals made with paper she hand-makes with recycled materials. Her favorite paper “ingredient” is cattail leaves she gathers from nearby ponds. Julia also uses other recycled materials for her journal covers. For example, she recently created a journal covered with leather from a jacket she discovered at a yard sale. “I love the idea of transformation,” she says. Julia’s pens are strikingly

beautiful. She crafts rollerball, ballpoint, and fountain pens from acrylic resin, wood, or a metal composite. She recently made a pen out of water buffalo horn. Through colors, engraving, and materials, she works with her clients to create a pen that is special and meaningful to that person. Her love of tea first began brewing in grad school. She loves the simplicity of tea, the variety of flavors and aromas, and the ritual of tea – taking time out to savor a cup and center one’s self. Julia offers a wide variety of blended teas in flavors such as Awake at Dawn (a blueberry and lemon green tea) and her personal favorite, A Long Walk (with French lavender and coconut

herbal red rooibos.) Seasonal favorites include Autumn by the Pond (pumpkin flavor) and an apple cider variety. Julia’s passion includes hearing and sharing people’s stories. Her goal, through making pens and paper, is to encourage people to share their own stories. “Everyone has a story,” she says. “I want people to create their own Walden.” Julia is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Art of a Deliberate Life. Her pens, journals, and artisan teas can be found at Flock of Five Gift and Art Emporium, 217 E Thomas St, Sulphur, LA, on Facebook, or through her website, Contact Julia at

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Places & Faces

Lakefront Project Proposal Announced Last month, Mayor Nic Hunter, along with other state and local officials, announced plans for a proposed $20+ million lakefront project, Port Wonder. Port Wonder is a proposed educational and entertainment venue to be located on the north shore of Lake Charles, between the Cypress Alligator Pond and the former Harrah’s parking garage on city-owned property. The proposed venture will include site improvements, renovation of the parking garage and the construction of an iconic structure that will house the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles and potentially the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Science Center and Educational Complex (SCEC). The SCEC component of the project is contingent upon the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group’s (TIG) final approval of the location and design changes proposed for the center. “This is a momentous announcement and a historic day for Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “This announcement today puts us one step closer 26

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

to delivering on a commitment to lakefront development. I cannot stress enough how this proposed project would not be possible without the contributions and consideration of multiple public and private partners. To be able to deliver this game-changing development is something everyone should be proud of and we look forward to entering the final stages of the approval process.” “To date, some funding partners have taken official action on allocating money to this project and other partners will consider official action regarding contributions to this project over the coming weeks and months,” added Mayor Hunter. “No new tax proposition is needed to fund this project.” Pending final approval, the collaboration of these two entities will consolidate two unique projects under one roof for an educational, entertaining, and thrilling visitor experience at a prominent location that will benefit not only local residents, but also tourists seeking attractions in the area. “This is an exciting opportunity for Lake Charles to provide a public science center and educational complex to not only enhance

the use of its outdoor spaces but to also encourage a better understanding of fisheries and restoration programs,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I commend Mayor Hunter and everyone involved for their work in bringing this concept forward. We understand that this process is ongoing and greatly appreciate the TIG’s consideration of the proposal.” “Educating our youth about ecosystems, fisheries management and coastal restoration, and providing hands-on learning opportunities is imperative,” said Jack Montoucet, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “I thank Mayor Hunter for his vision and leadership in developing such a proposal for the City of Lake Charles.” The City of Lake Charles and the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles have successfully solicited other funding partners, both governmental and private, and partners project Port Wonder to be fully funded contingent upon final TIG approval.


Places & Faces

Movers and Shakers in Southwest Louisiana...

Who’s News? You tell us! Send press releases to

SWLA Center for Health Services Announces Selection of JayVon Muhammad as its New Chief Executive Officer SWLA Center for Health Services has hired JayVon Muhammad as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Muhammad replaces Tommie Anderson who served as SWLA Center for Health Services’ CEO from 2015 through 2018. The Center’s Board of Directors thanks Mr. Anderson for his service and wishes him well in his future endeavors. Mrs. Muhammad brings to SWLA 11 years of management and executive level experience in healthcare. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery from the National College of Midwifery in Taos, New Mexico. She is nationally certified by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives and is licensed in the State of California. Mrs. Muhammad was very involved in the community including leading the formation of partnerships with the public-school system and the development of youth programs to assist at-risk children with behavioral health needs in Marin City. JayVon Muhammad

For more information, visit

CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana Expands Access for Primary Care Patients Patients seeking family medicine services in the Lake Dr. Jennifer Barrow Charles have a new, high-quality option with the addition of Jennifer Barrow, M.D., to the CHRISTUS Internal Medicine Associates - Lake Charles team. 28

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

A Louisiana native, Jennifer Barrow, M.D., was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. She graduated from Centenary College with majors in Biology and French. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency in Family Medicine at LSUHSC Shreveport. Her training included an emphasis on Emergency Medicine, dermatologic procedures and Women’s Health. Following residency, Jennifer moved to Lake Charles to join her husband. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, and traveling. “I am passionate about personalized care to my patients, including primary care and women’s services, skin biopsies and excision, cryotherapy, joint injections and aesthetics,” said Dr. Barrow. “I am thrilled to be a part of this community, and I am looking forward to getting to establish a close, working relationship with my patients here.” Dr. Barrow is currently accepting new patients, ages 14 and older. To schedule an appointment, please call 844.CPG. DOCS or visit

Local Writer Publishes Children’s Picture Book Beth Winslett Fontenot wrote and illustrated a new children’s book. The Prettiest Daffodil is the delightful tale of a little flower Beth Winslett Fontenot named Daffne who doesn’t feel as pretty as the other more showy daffodils around her. With the help of her forest friend, a deer named Lucky, she learns that God didn’t create her to be compared to others. She discovers that she should always be the best daffodil she can be – just the way she is. Fontenot, who is also a watercolor artist, presents a lesson for children of all ages and illustrates the story with charming artwork. The story’s Christian theme and educational component make it desirable for any child’s book collection. The book is

available online at or at Crossroads Bookstore in Lake Charles, La.

Kenneth Hogan

Theresa Granger

Mike O'Quain

Sheryl Milanowski

Five Receive Employee of the Month Honors from West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital recognized five Mandy Lee individuals over the course of May through September with Employee of the Month honors. Kenneth Hogan, information systems technologist; Theresa Granger, transcriptionist; Mike O’Quain, environmental services team member; Sheryl Milanowski, laboratory information systems coordinator; and Mandy Lee, courier for WCCH and outlying clinics, were those selected to receive the honor during this time period. “The extraordinary work ethic and the values these employees embody are what makes our organization exceptional,” says Janie Fruge’, CEO of WCCH. “These

employees are shining examples of service at its core, and we are honored to have them as part of our team,” she says.

Memorial Welcomes New Director of Security Lake Charles Memorial Health System welcomes Paul Espey as its new director of security. Espey is charged Paul Espey with the day-today security operations at all Lake Charles Memorial campuses and clinics. Espey has more than 15 years of healthcare security and crime prevention experience. Most recently, he managed security operations at several Memorial Hermann Health System campuses in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, Espey held multiple leadership roles at Allina Health System and Park Nicollet Health System in Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Espey implemented the first of its kind Crime Prevention Program at Allina Health, which won Business of the Year Award from the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association. He earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Law Enforcement from Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, Minnesota. He is a Certified Healthcare Security Supervisor and a Crime Prevention Practitioner. He is also a commissioned officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Memorial Medical Group Welcomes Hospitalist Luther Sintim, MD Memorial Medical Group welcomes Luther Sintim, MD a family medicine specialist to its staff. Dr. Sintim serves Dr. Luther Sintim as a hospitalist, treating and caring for patients admitted to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. Dr. Sintim has a degree in biology from Baylor University and a master’s in biology/ oncology from the University of Houston – ClearLake. He received his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Picard, Dominica. He completed his family medicine residency at Our Lady of

the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa as part of the LSU Rural Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Sintim is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Medical Association.

Photo from left to right: SOWELA winning students Aspen Keel (2nd place), Jasmine Vital (1st place), and David Sonnier (3rd place).

SOWELA Graphic Art Students Win First, Second and Third at AAF Student Conference in Houston On November 2, 2018, nine Graphic Art students from SOWELA Technical Community College competed at the Houston American Advertising Federation (AAF) Student Conference with three students winning awards. The top three teams included SOWELA students Jasmine Vital earning first place, Aspen Keel earning second place and David Sonnier receiving third. The students were accompanied by SOWELA Graphic Art Instructors Darrell Buck and Erik Jessen. For more information about SOWELA’s Graphic Art program visit or call (337) 421-6550.

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Foundation Board Elects New Officers The CHRISTUS St. Patrick Foundation annual meeting of the Board of Directors was held Eric Mire on August 18, 2018. New board members and officers were elected. Leading the Foundation for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year is newlyelected Chair, Eric Mire. Joining him on the Executive Committee are Keith Wimberly, Vice Chair; Faith Scott, Secretary; Missy Amidon, Treasurer; and Members-at-Large Courtney Storer, Michael Pendergast and Kevin Holland, President and CEO, CHRISTUS

Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana. Eric Mire has served on the Foundation Board since 2009 and currently serves as Sr. Vice President and Manager of Commercial Lending at First Federal Bank of Louisiana. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from McNeese State University and is a graduate of the School of Banking at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of South Lake Charles, having served as Vice President and President; Eric is President of the Coastal Conservation Association Lake Charles Chapter and is a board member of the McNeese State University Alumni Association Board. He is also a 2014 graduate of the Chamber Southwest Leadership Program. He is a volunteer coach for Prodigy Softball.

Gray Plantation Welcomes “Chef Jeff” and AllNew Menu Gray Plantation has named Jeff Senegal head chef over its restaurant and catering services. Senegal, Jeff Senegal or “Chef Jeff,” has over 18 years of culinary experience, most recently as the former banquet chef at L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, where he hosted executives, conferences and a long list of celebrity guests. At Gray Plantation, Senegal will oversee catering for special events, weddings and business retreats, as well as daily operations of the Clubhouse restaurant, Cypress Grill, open to the public seven days a week. Senegal developed an all-new menu for the Cypress Grill that includes Southern-inspired options with an international flair, such as Cajun Benedict, Tuna Tataki and Chicken & Waffles. “Chef Jeff’s ten years at L’Auberge has prepared him to grow our food and beverage operation, utilizing his extensive training, experience and celebrated cooking skills,” said Billy Rase, general manager at Gray Plantation.


Money & Career

Year-End Review: Tax Strategies by Andrea Mongler

This time of year can be pretty hectic for most people, and chances are, the last thing you want to think about right now is your taxes. Even so, it’s a good idea to take a little time to consider what you might be able to do as the year winds down to save on taxes. This is also a great time to re-evaluate your current tax strategy and think about making changes for 2019. “One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is failure to plan for the upcoming tax year,” says Kelly Love, CPA, manager at accounting firm J. Walker & Co. Don’t make that mistake. Get started with your tax plan by reading on for a few year-end tax tips. Maximize your retirement savings. If you’re not already doing this, you should seriously consider it for 2019. Tax-deferred retirement accounts are a great deal for you because they reduce your taxable income and grow tax-free until you retire. If your employer offers a 401(k), contribute as much as you’re able, up to the maximum allowed. Many employers even match employee contributions up to a point.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

You should also consider contributing to an individual retirement account, or IRA. The two main types — traditional and Roth IRAs — both grow without you paying income taxes as long as you don’t withdraw the money. With a traditional IRA, you get a tax deduction for whatever you’ve contributed that year. With a Roth IRA, though, any contribution is still included in your taxable income for the year, but you won’t be taxed when you withdraw the money later (assuming you meet the correct conditions, like being at least a certain age). Contribute to a health savings account (HSA). If your employer offers an HSA and you qualify but you’re not participating, consider enrolling for 2019. An HSA is money specifically set aside for qualified medical expenses, and the tax benefits of contributing are trifold: You receive a tax deduction up front, the money grows tax-free, and you’re not taxed on withdrawals as long as you’re using the funds for qualified medical expenses.

Maximize the tax benefits of charitable giving. Many people donate money this time of year, but not everyone knows how to be tax-smart when doing so. Love says one strategy is to “bunch” your charitable contributions. “If you can concentrate itemized deductions, say, every other year, then you can take advantage of itemizing in one year and then take the standard deduction the next,” he says. For example, if you typically donate $1,000 to charity every year, instead give $2,000 this year and nothing next year. Defer your income. This one doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are self-employed or do freelance or consulting work, it probably applies to you. Basically, if you can delay receipt of payment from your clients until 2019 — perhaps wait until the end of the month to bill them — then you won’t be taxed on that money until next year. “In general you prefer to postpone it to next year, the theory being that it’s always better to pay a dollar in taxes next year than it is this year,” Love says. If you’d like to learn more about tax strategies, consult your tax preparer or check out the IRS website, which has a wealth of information available. That said, Love recommends Googling the topic you’re interested in and then entering the IRS website from the results page rather than trying to navigate the huge IRS site directly. “There is a lot of questionable information on the internet, but as long as it comes from the state of Louisiana or the IRS, then you should be dealing with good information,” Love says. For more information, contact J. Walker & Co. at

Accounting • Assurance • Auditing Tax • Business Accounting

Jonald J. Walker III, CPA Kelly Love, CPA Providing clients with a wide range of accounting, tax and financial management services tailored to meet today’s challenging times.

2740 Rue de Jardin, Ste. 100 | Lake Charles, LA 70605 337.478.7902

w w w. j w a l k e r c o . c o m


Money & Career

Holiday Tipping Guide

Business (check corporate policy):

• Clients: Business gift baskets of chocolate, edible fruit, nuts, cheese, wine, cookies, petite fours; golf balls & non-logo gifts. • CEO/Boss: Group gift to their favorite charity or non-profit foundation • Housekeeper: if they come • Assistant: Bonus or gift based once a week: equivalent of a on relationship length day’s pay, or $50. If they come • Colleagues: gift they will like for daily: equivalent of a week’s sports, hobby, or dining, gift card. pay, and possibly a gift • Office Gift Exchange: • Gardener: equivalent don’t go rogue, follow the of a week’s service spending guidelines. • Landscaping crew: equivalent of a week’s service, Education & Schools divided among the crew (follow policy): • Pool cleaning crew: • Professor: greeting card, no gift equivalent of one session, • Teacher: Consider a group gift divided among the crew. with parents’ pooled funds • Garage attendant: between • Assistant /Aide: $25 – $15 and $40 or give a small gift $50 gift certificate • Garbage/recycling: if city • Multiple Teachers: permits, $10-$30 each for small gift, candle, baked extra holiday effort goods, gift certificate. • Doorman: between • Principal: Holiday card $50 - $100 each, or gift, & baked goods depending on extra duties • School Secretary: café gift card, • Elevator Operator and small gift or gift certificate Handyman: between • School Nurse: café gift card, $20 - $50 each small gift or gift certificate • Newspaper delivery: between $10 - $35, or give a small gift

Home or Building Personnel:

• Live-in help (cook or butler): between a weekmonth’s pay, plus a gift


Healthcare providers: • Private health care nurse: week’s pay or a gift of similar value

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

• United States Postal Service: Employees may accept baked goods (homemade/store bought) items to share with the branch office. Customers may give edible arrangements, gift cards for merchandise • Home health employee: or services valued up to $20 follow policy / generous gift per interaction. Gifts cannot basket of holiday treats exceed $50 per calendar year. • Nursing home staff: • Gifting cash, VISA, MasterCard, follow policy / gift basket or gift cards that may be of holiday treats for all used as cash are prohibited per USPS Employee Tipping Personal grooming: and Gift Receiving Policy. • Hairstylist, manicure, pedicure, • FedEx: Company policies specialist: equivalent of a visit discourage gift cash or gift • Barber: haircut & shave cards. The driver will politely equivalent or give a gift decline the holiday gratuity. If the • Massage therapist/ customer is insistent, the driver personal trainer: session may ultimately accept the gift. equivalent or give a gift • UPS does not have a limit; tipping is left to customer’s discretion. Pet care: • Groomer: equivalent of Avoid giving holiday tips one session or give a gift • Walker: week’s pay equivalent or to people on this list; send holiday e-cards instead: “1-2 visits” per • Accountant/CPA • Sitter: a week’s pay and a paw • Attorney print note from your pet • Auditor • Package & Mail Delivery: • Banker • Bookkeeper The United States Postal Service • Dentist provides the public with a tipping • Doctor and gift receiving policy on their • Executive Coach website, FedEx and UPS do not. • Members, Board of The information provided for Directors or Trustees FedEx and UPS is from customer • Seamstress/ Tailor service representatives who • Veterinarian preferred not to give their names.

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Straight Answers to Your Questions on Industry and the Environment


When I pass by local industries, sometimes I see what looks like plumes of smoke coming from the towers. What causes that?


The plumes are water vapor, not smoke.

What you see is actually water vapor. A significant amount of heat and water are required in the industrial process. Cooling towers are used to cool the hot water that is generated when heat is removed from the process. Industry reuses the water as much as possible, and then cools it before returning it to local waterways. Temperature, humidity and wind all affect the visibility of the water vapor and how quickly it’s absorbed into the air. You may notice it more on a cool, humid evening when there is very little wind. The fact that it’s more visible at some times than others is a result of weather changes, not changes within the industrial process. These cooling towers are an environmentally friendly way to keep local industry working.

Wayne Smith

health, safety and environmental manager with local industry


Money & Career

Ten Safety Tips when using an ATM Automatic teller machines are a fact of life for most of us. But when it comes to our money, it’s wise to play it safe. Consider the following tips when using an ATM.

1. Pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don’t select an ATM at the corner of a building — corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building. Do your automated banking in a public, welllit location free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers. 2. Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM, make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive or walk immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lit location or business. If you feel you are in danger, call 911! 3. Do not use an ATM that appears unusuallooking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable. 4. Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Memorize your PIN; never write it on the back of your card. Do not re-enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card — contact a bank official.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Capital One tOwer

5. Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the assailant. 6. Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.

• Class “A” office space • 6-story parking garage for tenants plus ample visitor parking • Affordable lease rates • Direct access to I-10 • Prominent location • On-site security • Level 5 Salon, Lakeshore Café, Black Tie Drycleaning pickup and delivery • Beautifully Landscaped • Flexible office design • On-site professional management • Overnight delivery drop stations • Nightly cleaning services

7. When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line. 8. Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine. 9. Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank. 10. If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, COMPLY.

Typical floor plan

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Money & Career

Convention & Visitors Bureau Launches Virtual Reality Videos The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) recently partnered with the Louisiana Office of Tourism to launch virtual reality videos, available not only online but at the Welcome Center, 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive, to entice visitors to further explore the area. In addition to learning about Southwest Louisiana from the knowledgeable staff at the CVB, visitors will be able to interact with a virtual reality experience of Southwest Louisiana as viewed through Oculus goggles, which greatly enhance the clarity and overall feel of the videos. “This dynamic experience will serve as inspiration for visitors to dive deeper into our destination. The CVB staff will also take the equipment to tradeshows to garner group business or encourage media professionals to promote the intrinsic qualities of Southwest Louisiana as a desirable travel destination,” said Kyle Edmiston, chief operating officer at the CVB. The CVB is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by the CVB’s Welcome Center for the full virtual reality experience or view the videos online at

hole, artificial turf mini-golf course, a lighted driving range with updated grass and range golf balls and access to golf pros for individual or group lessons. Putter’s will also be the new home for Southwest Louisiana’s Jr. Golf program. The newly remodeled interior space now offers the 19th Hole Bar & Grill with a full menu, a family dining room, and a private room for birthday parties and meetings. An arcade room will soon be open. Putter’s is owned and operated by original “Putter’s Driving Range & Pro-Shop” founder Larry Thomas and Johnnie Thibodeaux. “We wanted to create a golf experience that provides a family-fun environment for the community and pledge to provide the best food service with a friendly smile that builds loyal customers who want to come back over and over again,” said Thomas. Putter’s Golf Complex is located at 7795 Lake St, Lake Charles, and is open from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. Call (337) 602-6919 for more information or come by and visit today. For more information, please contact Matthew Welsh at

SOWELA Names CITGO Philanthropic Nominee for Its Stem Talent Pipeline

Putter’s Golf Complex Now Open Putter’s Golf Complex has reopened, offering expanded golf, entertainment and dining services that guarantee fun for the entire family. The golf complex offers a new, beautifully landscaped, 18-


affiliate of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance/ Chamber SWLA. LEEA represents Louisiana liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies that intend to produce LNG to be exported to the world. Maury Hudson, Vice President of Operations and Maintenance, with LNG Limited (Magnolia LNG) and LEEA Chairman, said the new relationship provides an environment for LEEA to enhance its ability to be the leader in educating the public and Louisiana policy makers on member companies’ positive impacts to the state’s economy. “LEEA is the authoritative voice of the state’s LNG industry with members proposing to invest approximately $60 billion into the Louisiana economy over the next 10 years,” he said. George Swift, President and CEO of the Alliance, said his agency will assist LEEA in managing business and communications matters. “We are honored that LEEA is an affiliate member of the Alliance. Our agency will provide resources that will allow the organization to grow and be successful,” he said. LEEA’s seven member companies are: Commonwealth LNG, Delfin LNG, Driftwood LNG , G2 LNG, Lake Charles LNG, Magnolia LNG, and Shell.

LEEA Becomes Affiliate of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance The Louisiana Energy Export Association (LEEA) recently signed an agreement to become an

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

SOWELA Technical Community College named CITGO Petroleum Corporation (CITGO) it’s 2018 Philanthropic Honoree on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at the annual Association of Fundraising Professionals National

Philanthropy Day luncheon. The company was recognized due to CITGO’s commitment to increasing educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that opens doors to rewarding careers. In 2016, CITGO launched a social responsibility program called the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline with a mission to increase the talent pool of professionals with the technical skills necessary to meet the industry’s workforce needs. The community-centered program aims to increase access to STEMrelated educational opportunities and support students from school to the workforce. CITGO’s multi-year, continued support of SOWELA’s STEM-focused academics, both through scholarships and programs, is indicative of their commitment to this mission. In addition to financial support, CITGO has proven that it is responsive and adaptive to the changing needs of the workforce industry by serving on SOWELA academic advisory committees. Participation by CITGO employees provide relevant and timely industry insight to enhance curriculum. SOWELA relies on these industry insiders to keep academics aligned with what is required and expected in the field. Family & Youth Hosts Philanthropy Celebration and Awards Breakfast Last month, Family Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, the endowment arm of Family & Youth, hosted its Philanthropy Celebration and Awards Breakfast, sponsored by Entergy, to honor outstanding

philanthropists who have given their time, talent, and treasure to the Family Foundation. Those recognized were Lake Charles LNG, Southwest Beverage Co. Inc., and Tammy and Tim Andreas with the Philanthropist of the Year award during the ceremony. Presenters: Representative Mark Abraham of District 36, Doug Gehrig, and Phil Earhart. Phillips 66 and Council on Aging Volunteers Deliver Thanksgiving Food Baskets to Elderly Residents Volunteers from the Phillips 66 Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex and the Calcasieu Council on Aging (CCOA) delivered Thanksgiving food baskets to 350 elderly residents in Calcasieu Parish. This marks the 12th year that Phillips 66 and CCOA have collaborated on this Thanksgiving project. Each basket contained food items needed to prepare a traditional holiday meal, including

meat, canned goods, and dessert. “This rewarding project is one our employees look forward to because it lifts up our neighbors and brings a smile to their faces. It also reminds us to be thankful this holiday season. We are grateful to the volunteers and staff at the Calcasieu Council on Aging who make it all possible,” said Richard G. Harbison, Phillips 66 general manager. Student volunteers from SOWELA Technical Community College and Barbe High School, along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department assisted with delivering baskets in Lake Charles, Westlake, Sulphur, Carlyss, Starks, Vinton, DeQuincy, and Iowa.

Johnson Funeral Home Opens in Moss Bluff Johnson Funeral Home – Moss Bluff is now open at 2171 N. Hwy 171. This new facility offers a convenient location for the Johnson Family of Funeral Homes to serve the community of Moss Bluff and surrounding areas. The newly-constructed funeral home encompasses 8,000 square feet, including a chapel with ample seating, private meeting room, casket and urn gallery, kitchen, and family gathering area. This location offers the same comprehensive range of high quality, compassionate

services Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles is known for. These include traditional services, private family viewing, graveside services, memorial services, direct burial and cremation services. The staff of Johnson Funeral Home – Moss Bluff is a well-trained team of local professionals. Stephen Pousson, a lifelong resident of Moss Bluff, will be the Manager and Funeral Director of the Moss Bluff location. Rachel Broussard Rogers, also from Moss Bluff; Mark Bordelon, a Moss Bluff resident; and Brandie Trull Kimbro from Moss Bluff, will serve as Funeral Directors. All are graduates of McNeese State University and offer over 50 years of combined experience in funeral services. For more information about Johnson Funeral Home – Moss Bluff, call (337) 426-8006.

Happy Holidays



Wining & Dining

Go Pokes!

Poke Bowls are the Latest Food Trend by Stefanie Powers

There’s always something new on the horizon when it comes to food. Poke bowls are one of healthiest new food trends out there, which is great news for those of us looking for something that tastes delicious and is good for us, too! The word poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna or salmon — which is tossed over rice and topped with various vegetables, sauces (such as honey soy, wasabi mustard, spicy miso, spicy mayo) and more. Poke is served all over the Hawaiian Islands and has made its way to the continental United States. There are many mouthwatering variations on the poke bowl. For example, if you’re on a low-carb diet, you can substitute lettuce for rice. Your fish can be seared if you don’t want it raw. Some bowls feature fruit as an ingredient. It all sounds delicious. So, where can we find poke in the Lake Area? The Hokey Poke food truck recently made its debut at Chuck Fest 2018. “It was our test run,” says co-owner Zack Bond. “We originally started with the


idea last year and noticed even in Houston, where we first experienced poke, no one ventured away from the brick and mortar setting. We had heard of more urban locations in other states having poke food trucks, but not currently nearby.” Bond says that he and his partner, Karrson Livingston, wanted to bring something to Lake Charles that was both unique to the field and a healthy food option that was somewhat exotic in nature. “Poke was a great way to initiate that, as it currently combines some Asian and Hawaiian cooking elements (we generally describe it as a deconstructed sushi bowl) that come together for a clean, fresh, and flavorful combination,” he continues. “We’ve kept Louisiana in mind as a lot of our spices and sauce combinations utilize seasoning elements found in Southern cooking styles. So in essence, we added a bit of Southern charm to our flavor profiles.” Just about all the bowls are super healthy, although a customer favorite, the “Hot Mess” includes salmon, soy sauce, green onions, sweet onions, avocado, edamame . . . and hot Cheetos!

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018


Bond says they are currently revising their menu based on their first event, along with customer opinions. He hopes these adjustments will better prepare them for serving the Lake Charles area in the future. “I think it will take some time, since it’s not necessarily a typical food, or genre of food, found in Louisiana,” he says. “We’re still learning the ropes on operating a food establishment, but are looking forward to running more events in the near future, and maybe, one day, running regularly!” There’s also a brick-andmortar poke establishment on the horizon. Poké Geaux opened its doors in Lafayette this past February. Co-owners Todd Buteaux and Andy Suhandi encountered poke bowls in their travels and decided that South Louisiana needed to discover this interesting food concept. The response was so overwhelming that a second location just opened in that city, and there are plans to open two more restaurants: one in Houma and one on Nelson Road here in Lake Charles. The Poké Geaux folks do not have a definite opening date for the Lake Charles location, but it’s in the works. In the meantime, the next time you’re in Lafayette, stop by one of their establishments and enjoy! For more information on Hokey Poke, visit them on Facebook @thehokeypokeguys or go to thehokey-poke. com. For Poké Geaux, go to

& SPORTS BAR DARRELL’S TO-GO Our new to-go kitchen next door allows us to seat and serve our indoor customers much quicker!



LARGE AND SMALL PARTY TRAYS AVAILABLE FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON! Since 1985, we’ve been satisfying the appetites of Louisiana folks with po-boys, chips and libations. Let Darrell’s put a smile on your face and give you delicious food you’ll love. We pride ourselves on serving enticing po-boys that include surf and turf, Darrell’s Special and BBQ. At Darrell’s, we make all of our gravy, BBQ sauce, jalapeno mayonnaise and butter sauce in-house daily because we believe in giving you the best.

We’re now available on Waitr! 119 West College Street, Lake Charles (337) 474-3651 | Monday – Thursday: 11am–10pm Friday & Saturday: 11am-11pm Closed Sunday | Happy Hour 4–7pm


Wining & Dining

Something to Sing About:

Food & Drink from Popular Christmas Songs by Keaghan P. Wier

The holidays are a time for food – we splurge on treats and bring out old family recipes that only see the light of day a few times each year. Our love of good food during the holidays is reflected in several popular carols and songs of the season. Let’s dig in!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

We Wish You A Merry Christmas – Figgy Pudding

This well-known carol has the line, “Now bring us some figgy pudding,” a treat that most modern American listeners have never tasted! The song likely dates back to the 19th century, when it was traditional in England for wealthy people in the community to hand out treats to carolers, including “figgy pudding.” Puddings were steamed, cake-like desserts traditionally made with dark sugar, dried fruit like raisins, lots of spices, brandy, and suet.

Here We Come A-Wassailing – Wassail

The name of this warm, spiced drink comes from a traditional greeting – “Waes hael,” which means “Be well.” Wassailing was the tradition of travelling door-to-door to spread holiday greetings, and receiving a mug of hot wassail from the hosts. Wassail recipes vary, but all contain an alcoholic base like mead or beer, sugar, spices, apples, oranges, and brandy. Some were historically topped with a slice of toast. If you want something similar to this drink, mulled cider might do the trick.

The Christmas Song – Roasted Chestnuts

For generations, city-dwellers could count on the sight and aroma of street vendors selling roasted chestnuts during the winter. If you’re curious, you can roast your own chestnuts by placing the whole, unshelled nuts in a single layer over a heat source (preferably a fire, but an oven will work, too!) Use a knife to score one end with an X for easy peeling after roasting. Roast for about 25 minutes. The shell will easily peel away and leave you with the mild, slightly-sweet nut.

Over the River and Through the Woods – Pudding

Like “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” this song isn’t referring to the gelatin-thickened dessert that we tend to think of when we say “pudding.” Instead, it’s talking about a steamed dessert full of spices and dried fruit. Often, people make puddings a few days ahead of time, then reheat before serving. Sometimes they cover the top with a splash of brandy and set it on fire for a marvelous centerpiece to end the meal!

Sleigh Ride – Pumpkin Pie

Whether you enjoy a slice plain or topped with whipped cream, pumpkin pie is a staple of the holiday table. The creamy, spiced filling is an American classic. In fact, a recipe for “Pompkin Pudding” is found in the first American cookbook, which was published in 1796. Though people had been making desserts and food from roasted pumpkins for years prior, this is the first recipe that resembles the classic pie we all know and love.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Sugarplums

We’ve all heard of sugarplums, but it’s likely you don’t know what exactly they are. Contrary to their name, they don’t contain plums. Instead, sugarplums are a type of confit candy. Somewhat like a modern jawbreaker, confit is made by hardening layers of sugar around a central nut. The “plum” part of the name probably comes from the fact that the candy would be about the same size as a plum, with a hard “pit.” Whether you try any of these holiday treats or just stick to singing about them, may your Christmas season be full of joy, love, and good food!


Wining & Dining

Apple Cider Vinegar: Does it Stand Up to the Hype? by Keaghan P. Wier

There are a lot of health fads circulating these days. It can be tricky to find out which ones are legitimate and actually provide benefits, versus those that science has debunked. Apple cider vinegar – known as ACV to some – is one of those foods that some people swear by for its health benefits, while others are more dubious. Jonathan Lawrence, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Vermont Village, a company that makes a wide variety of various types and flavors of ACV, says the remedy can balance your blood sugar, curb appetite, promote a healthy weight, neutralize stomach pH, and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. “People have been drinking apple cider vinegar for centuries - it had always been a folk remedy for basically ‘whatever ails ya.’” So, what does science say? Should you be adding a few tablespoons of this potion to your daily diet? Let’s find out!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Claims About Apple Cider Vinegar: Fact or Fiction? Weight Loss Can ACV help you lose a few extra pounds? Maybe so! A study found that participants who drank a total of two tablespoons of ACV per day lost about 3.5 pounds more than those who didn’t. However, these people also reduced their caloric intake and exercised, and the results were over a three-month period. The short version is this: ACV might have a slight impact on weight loss, but it’s not a replacement for exercise and a healthy diet. Blood Sugar Control This is one of the best-proven benefits of ACV. Taking a tablespoon or two of ACV before a meal can help keep postmeal glucose levels under control for those with Type 2 diabetes. However,

since it does impact your insulin levels, it’s best not to do without consulting your doctor. It’s not a replacement for medication, but it might be worth adding as a supplement. Reduced Cholesterol The only major studies done so far on this have been on animals. However, scientists did note that in the animals observed after doses of ACV, there were lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as other heart disease risk factors. The tricky thing is that they cannot prove that ACV was the reason for these lower levels. So, don’t rely on your salad vinaigrette to bring down your cholesterol! Lowering Blood Pressure This one, unfortunately, is a myth. There is no evidence to show that ACV can lower or control high blood pressure. The only study that shows any indication of this was done on

Wishing you a Happy,

Healthy Holiday Season

rats, not humans. Plus, high blood pressure medication can impact your potassium levels, and a vinegar-rich diet can worsen those alreadylowered levels. In short: no, ACV won’t fix your blood pressure. Cancer Prevention or Treatment There are rumors that ACV might have anti-cancer properties. While this may be the case, there is no reason to believe that consuming ACV will reduce the risk of cancer, and it certainly isn’t a solid treatment option. Studies done on this have only shown improvement when cancerous cells were directly exposed to vinegar, something that is generally impossible outside of a test tube. Bacteria Control and Disinfectant Vinegar has long been used for its antibacterial properties – many people still use it as a household cleaner. ACV is no different, and can be used in some cases to disinfect. In addition, using ACV on salad greens has been shown to reduce the growth of things like Salmonella – great news, given the frequent recalls on lettuce these days. While you shouldn’t rely on ACV to make up for poor hygiene or not cleaning your food, it can’t hurt. So, there it is – the facts about ACV. While it may not be the magic pill some hope it is, ACV does have its benefits. Go ahead and give it a try!

The physicians and staff of Imperial Health extend the warmest of holiday greetings to our patients and the communities we serve. It has been an exciting year for our physician-owned group. As we look forward to continued growth next year, we strengthen our shared commitment to work together to provide exceptional care for our patients.


Miguel DePuy, M.D. Carl Fastabend, M.D. Corey Foster, M.D. Richard Gilmore, M.D. Brett Goodwin, M.D. Jake LeBeau, M.D. Thomas Mulhearn, M.D. Michael Turner, M.D.


Sandra Dempsey, M.D. Timothy Gilbert, M.D. Michael Gonzales, M.D.



Tyson Green, D.P.M. Kalieb Pourciau, D.P.M.


Joseph Crookshank III, M.D.


Brian Kelley, D.O.

Juan Teran, M.D.


Niazy Selim, M.D.


Justin Rudd, M.D.


Brad LeBert, M.D. Blake LeBlanc, M.D. Bridget Loehn, M.D.

Andrew Foret, M.D.


Brian Wilder, M.D.

Jason Burklow, M.D. John DiGiglia, M.D. Benjamin Fontenot, M.D. Andres Guillermo, M.D. Thomas LeBeau, M.D. Jason Morris, M.D. Keane O’Neal, M.D. Todd Peavy, M.D. Arthur Primeaux, M.D. Melissa Rasberry, M.D. Steve Springer, M.D. Errol Wilder, M.D. Benjamin Williams, M.D.



Cody Tingle, M.D.



Jonathan Foret, M.D. Steven Hale, M.D. John Noble, M.D. George Trappey, IV, M.D.

PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION Sarah Clevenger, M.D. William Lowry, M.D. Craig Morton, M.D.


Alex Anderson, M.D.


Luke Williams, M.D.


Enrique Mendez, M.D. | (337) 433-8400


Home & Family


Holiday Gift Guide to


Give the gift of artistic cultural experience! Visual and performing arts are alive and thriving in Southwest Louisiana. A season subscription or event tickets to one of the many local cultural organizations such as Banners, the Lake Charles Symphony, theatre, and dance companies would make a welcome gift.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018


A Blender is the perfect gift for the smoothie lover in your life. The Vida Sana Personal Blender includes two high-quality stainless-steel blades – one for blending and one for milling, and two 20-ounce cups, four lids and two sipping rings.


For the java junkie, consider this unique coffee maker. The Melita Pour-Over Porcelain Brew and Serve Carafe Set provides handcrafted coffeehouse-quality joe in seconds.


No need to drive to the donut shop on a Saturday morning. This Baby Cakes Multi-Treat Baker makes seven donuts, seven cupcakes, or 12 cake pops in the warmth of your own kitchen. Perfect for bakers and sweets lovers.

Coming Soon!

Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School South Campus Middle and Upper School

Providing academic excellence to a diverse student body in a Christian environment since 1953.

5665 North Gray Market Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70605 337-433-5246



For the horse lover on your list, La Bocage Stables offers Equestrian Lessons at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.


Get the whole family outdoors with a fun Frisbee (Disc) Golf Set. After you practice in the backyard, head to Sam Houston Jones State Park for their challenging 18-basket course.

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Gadget-Friendly Gloves – Three words . . . touch-screen fingers!

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018


Help keep your loved one’s skin moisturized this winter with luxurious hand lotions. Try Natura brasil hand cream set with exotic potions like maracuja (passion fruit), cacao (chocolate), and castanha (brazil nut).


Local artist Julia Morris O’Carroll makes beautiful and unique custom Ink Pens. Choose from rollerball, ballpoint, or fountain pen. Perfect for the writer in your life – even if it’s only a weekly grocery list!


Christmas Jammies for the whole family add an element of fun to your Christmas morning.

Your home for the holidays awaits. If you’re dreaming of a new home this holiday season, CENTURY 21 Bessette Realty, Inc. has the keys you need. Our experienced agents will make a list and check it twice so all of your wishes come true. And don’t worry, we’ll give Santa your new address! | 474-2185 3025 Lake Street, Lake Charles Each office independently owned and operated. Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission.


Home & Family


What better way to explore the Lake Area’s many waterways than from the seat of a kayak! Ideal for the outdoor enthusiast. Visit Ship to Shore on Lake St.


For the world traveler on your list, tuck a Language Translator into their Christmas stocking. This real time interactive speech device translates English, Chinese, Japanese and more than 30 other languages into both text and voice outputs.

M o For your favorite foodie, pure maple syrup is an on-trend gift. Runamok Maple is a Vermont-based producer of infused, smoked and barrel-aged organic maple syrups. We suggest Runamok Maple Syrup + Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake Mix.


Ease someone’s stress this holiday season with a Nuque, a hand-made, herbfilled, warmable neck wrap. Available at Signatures Salon.


For the lady on your list, White Diamonds perfume is a classic scent. A bouquet of 67 fresh flowers are used per bottle, including jasmine, rose, and ylang flowers.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Give a one-of-a-kind art gift this holiday season! For the Shell of It offers local oyster art, perfect for anyone on your Christmas list. Find For the Shell of It on Facebook or Instagram.


NEW YEAR NEW YOU! Surprise the photographer on your list with a high-tech Quadcopter with HD Camera for awesome aerial photography.


Ho ho ho and a bottle of Rum! Libations make a nice hostess gift. To support your local distilleries, consider a bottle of Bayou Rum or Yellowfin Vodka.


At Signatures Salon, we’re passionate about what we do. Our stylists have received training and education from all over the United States, providing you with the most up-todate trends and techniques in hair and skincare services. Elevating our craft since 1996.

Mention this THRIVE ad to receive $10 off a NEW to YOU service!

803 West McNeese Street Lake Charles, LA 70605 337.478.4433

Give the gift of relaxation with a gift certificate for a Spa Day at one of the several area day spas.


Home & Family


Warm up the tea lover in your life with this unique Nordic Mug with infuser and lid from David’s Tea. Add tempting tea varieties such as cardamom macchiato and s’mores chai.


For the college student on your list, you can’t go wrong with UniversityInspired Swag.


Got a techie on your gift list? Help them take their gaming experience to a whole new level with a Virtual Reality Headset, for example, the HTC Vive.


For the wine enthusiast on your list, how about a Cordless Electronic Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter? With a simple push button operation, a cork is removed in seconds. Opens up to 30 bottles on a single charge.

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

The video gamer on your list would be thrilled with a XBox One X!













Holiday Market RUBY SPONSOR































Home & Family


This yoga mat from eKO SuperLite at offers excellent grip. And it’s pretty! Purchase through, a company that supports Global Fund to finance HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. 20% of your purchase price benefits AIDS relief.

& Wheeze. The Ear Pull. It’s a It’s classic move, and and oneone thatthat could a classic move, couldofbe a sign of sinus allergies, a cold, be a sign allergies, problems sinus or even anproblems infection.or even an infection.

Specialized treatment for little ears, noses and throats. If you notice your child pulling or rubbing on their ears, that’s your signal to take them to an experienced ENT specialist. Dr. Bridget Loehn offers advanced diagnostic and treatment options for a wide range of pediatric ear, nose and throat problems, along with comprehensive allergy testing and treatment.

Call Dr. Bridget Loehn

ENT & Allergy Specialist

1747 Imperial Blvd., Lake Charles (inside CFO) • (337) 419-1960 52

Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018


And finally, for the animal-lover on your list, consider a membership to Zoosiana: Zoo of Acadiana – Year-long memberships are $29.99 for adults, $19.99 for children (age 3-17).

9/11 S tair C limb • ainSley’S angelS • ameriCan CanCer SoCiety • ameriCan Heart aSSoCiation • artS and CrabS FeStival • autiSm SoCiety • big brotHerS big SiSterS • blaCk Heritage FeStival • boyS village Foundation • brimStone HiStoriCal SoCiety • CalCaSieu Community CliniC • CalCaSieu PariSH SCHoolS • CARC • C aring F or o ur C oaSt • C Hamber S outHweSt l ouiSiana • C Hem e xPo • C Hennault international airSHow • CHildren’S miraCle network • CHildren’S muSeum • CHildren’S tHeatre • CHriStuS St. PatriCk Foundation • CHuCk FeSt • ColorS For a CauSe • downtown at Sundown • dragon boat raCeS • eartH keePerS • eljay Foundation For ParkinSon Syndrome awareneSS • e-reCyCle day • etHel PreCHt H oPe b reaSt C anCer F oundation • F amilieS H elPing F amilieS • F amily & y outH C ounSeling a genCy • F uSion F ive • g irl S CoutS • g irlie g irlS m entoring P rogram • H abibi S HrinerS • H olden ’ S H oPe • i mPerial C alCaSieu m uSeum


We’d like to take this opportunity to thank non-profit, government, community and business leaders, and the people of Southwest Louisiana for their dedication to making a positive difference in our communities.

• international Club oF SWLA • junior aCHievement FinanCe Park • la 4-H Foundation • lake CHarleS SymPHony • lamar univerSity • lewiS-gill-lee VFW PoSt 7321 • little trooPerS • live at tHe lakeFront • loCal Heart Foundation • martin lutHer king, jr. FeStival • MSU atHletiCS • MSU bannerS SerieS • MSU engineering ProFeSSorSHiP • muSCular dyStroPHy aSSoCiation • muSiCmakerS2u • NAMI • national Fallen FireFigHterS Foundation • national Stem day • oPeration Healing & reStoration • oaSiS a SaFe Haven • Prime time Family reading • red, wHite, blue & you • Salvation army • Smile moore • Sowela teCHniCal Community College • SPring into HealtH • SPeCial olymPiCS louiSiana • St. louiS CatHoliC HigH SCHool • St. niCHolaS Center For CHildren • SulPHur CHriStian Community Coalition • SulPHur SunriSe and weStlake rotary ClubS • SWLA Center For HealtH ServiCeS • team green • tour laFitte • tournament oF tHe StarS • united way • uP4downS • weSt CalCaSieu Cameron HoSPital • weSt CalCaSieu CHamber oF CommerCe • wHeelS oF HoPe • wHiStle StoP • women’S CommiSSion oF SoutHweSt louiSiana • world viSion

At CITGO, we enjoy being an active part of Southwest Louisiana and are committed to giving back to this community that has given so much to us. Corporate social responsibility is a core CITGO value woven throughout our many community programs and employee volunteer efforts. CITGO employees, retirees, families and friends support and champion local education, environment and health initiatives designed to improve the quality of life of our residents. Caring for our communities also means we are a

company that is serious about operating safely and as good stewards of the environment. In 2018, CITGO and our employees contributed more than $1.9 million dollars and thousands of dedicated volunteer hours to the great local causes and non-profit organizations listed above. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US AT CITGO.


Home & Family

The Joy of Giving: 5 Ways to Give with the Whole Family by Simone Mets

Each year, we are teased earlier and earlier of the impending holiday season. Then suddenly, time flies, and we find ourselves right in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Creating a signature family tradition of giving is not only fun, but it can be calming and deeply fulfilling. Carve out some family time to brainstorm ideas or adopt one or more of the ideas below and make them your own. Write a Reverse Christmas List. The holiday season is custom-made for list making. For children, those lists usually include the gifts they wish to receive. Instead, encourage your kids to make a “reverse Christmas list” after they’ve penned a list of their own wishes. A reverse Christmas list includes things they’d like to GIVE to others this holiday, whether the recipients are family, friends, or gifts for those less fortunate than them. The Yard Un-Sale. Begin by choosing a date for your “un-sale.” You may want to recruit your neighbors or friends to participate. Collect several empty boxes and mark each box with the name of a room in your home that you wish to de-clutter. Don’t forget to include the garage and attic. Inventory each room and pack anything you no longer wish to keep. Make sure each item is in “givable” condition. On the day of your yard “un-sale,” organize the items by category. If you live in an area frequented by people walking their dog, add a water station to encourage dog walkers to stop by. Enjoy the day meeting people. Watch as your customers smile when they realize that everything at your yard “un-sale” is FREE!


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Create a Family Giving Advent. Fill twelve of your advent calendar slots as usual with simple treats or small gifts. Fill the other twelve with notes describing a single act of giving. For example: “Give five heartfelt compliments today.” Or “Give your turn to someone else today.” Or attach a $5 or $10 bill to a note asking that it be used to treat someone else. Once you have filled all twelve slots, tear an ordinary sheet of paper into twentyfour squares and mark them from 1-24. Fold and place the numbered paper into a bowl. Take turns with your family selecting numbers until you have gone through all the folded paper. The numbers on the papers you draw correspond to dates on the Giving Advent calendar. With this advent calendar, your family can experience the joy of both receiving and giving Adopt a volunteer. Millions of people volunteer for various organizations all year. During the holiday season, many of those volunteers are a bit more visible. You may see them outside stores ringing bells. Others will spend time delivering food to the elderly. Some will devote extended hours in hospitals, and others will give care in animal shelters. This year, why not adopt a volunteer? Create a holiday box filled with treats, magazines, and other goodies to thank them for their time. Pop in on the local animal shelter with treats for volunteers, as well as the animals in their care. Offer a hot beverage to volunteers working outside in the cold. Your kindness is sure to be appreciated by people accustomed to giving!

Random Acts of Kindness. This can be practiced any time of the year, but the holidays are a perfect time to get started. Encourage your children to look for opportunities to give back randomly and anonymously, and model these acts for them. It could be a simple gesture such as buying a coffee or a fast food meal for the person in line behind you. Often, people who witness this type of giving follow suit. The holidays are filled with so many gifts. The gift of giving is one gift to truly cherish. It is the only gift that gives back with dividends. This year, make lasting memories with your family while paying it forward and watch as the real magic of the season unfolds before you. Simone Mets is the author of Very Christmas.


National Bird Photography Show at Gallery by the Lake An array of Gulf Coast bird life photography is currently on display in the Creative Arts Center at Gallery by the Lake. The photographs were selected from national winning entries in the gallery’s first ever juried photography competition, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. Show coordinator, Pat Craft, said the exhibit will continue through the December holidays to give the public an opportunity to bring family and friends to see this amazing photography. Craft said the show idea came about as gallery members

brainstormed ways to bring more attention to art in Southwest Louisiana. Members decided to launch a juried show highlighting Gulf Coast birds as the Lake Charles/Cameron area is a major flyway for migrating birds to the eastern and middle United States and Canada. Gallery by the Lake partnered with Gulf Coast Bird Club to promote the competition. Gallery Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and on Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Groups are welcome during regular gallery hours or by appointment. Notify the gallery beforehand to ensure a docent for the show is available. Tour the W. H. Stark Home for the Holidays Celebrate the holidays by visiting The W.H. Stark House during their seasonal tours. The W.H. Stark House Holiday tours are free but require an online reservation. Tours begin every 45 minutes

from the Carriage House and accommodate up to seven people per tour slot. You must be at least six years old and able to walk up and down 44 steps to take a House tour. For safety reasons, parents may not carry infants or younger children on the tour. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the Carriage House during any of the holiday tour dates. Highlights include a decorated Model T Truck, self-guided exhibits on the second floor, and an area to decorate your own stocking and make a family tree. Story time, featuring Christmas stories the Stark family read when they lived in the house, will take place each day at 2:00 p.m. Children ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For more info or to make a reservation, go to starkculturalvenues. org/whstarkhouse/ events/2018/11/2018-holiday-tours.

Dr. Francis G. Bulber Youth Orchestra Christmas Concert

on Friday, December 7, 7:00 p.m., in the W.A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts Tritico Theatre on McNeese campus. A donation of $5 for adults will be accepted at the door. Students, including McNeese students, are welcome to attend free with I.D. Selections for the concert will include sacred and contemporary pieces. The program will include Cantique de Noel, Jingle Bell Rock, Festive Fanfare, and more. FGBYO offers a unique music opportunity to students in the Southwest Louisiana region. Group instruction is offered for violin, viola, cello, bass and guitar. Founded in August of 1994, the Dr. Francis G. Bulber Youth Orchestra’s mission is to teach music and its role in human history by means of applied music in an orchestral environment. Members develop thinking skills that promote analysis, synthesis and integration. Listening skills, leadership abilities, and success-oriented performance opportunities result in self-discipline, motivation, and the growth of a musically literate population. For more information contact Kimberly Kane at (337) 515- 7370.

The Dr. Francis G. Bulber Youth Orchestra (FGBYO) will perform Christmas music, new and old, at their semester-end concert

Landscaping Made Joyful



Be sure to add some holiday to your landscaping with splashes of Christmas color, such as red holly berries and evergreen shrubs. And don’t forget to add the lights! Landscaping made simple for your home.

5005 Cobra Road in Lake Charles (337) 478-3836 M-F: 7am – 4pm



Mind & Body

10 Tips to Avoid

Holiday Stress Most people look forward to the holidays each year because the season promises excitement, joy, and general merriment; but with all the inherent busyness, the holidays can also be quite stressful. Consider the following suggestions to help you relax and fully enjoy the holiday season.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Learn to say no, when appropriate.

Saying yes to every single invitation may make the holiday season a stressful time for you. Your family may ask you to do many things over the holidays. Although quality time is nice, allocate your time accordingly. If you don’t schedule your time wisely you’ll become overcommitted and stressed-out.

Forget the holiday fantasy.

We can dream of the perfect family in matching sweaters sipping cider by the fire, but this stereotypical holiday fantasy is just that – make believe. If you set unrealistic expectations, you will be disappointed. Appreciate your actual family, no matter how crazy. Let the reality of your holidays unfold. It may not be your ideal, but life is not a television sitcom.

Scratch perfectionism off your to-do list.

Think like a minimalist.

Now is the season to bond and spend time together, but it tends to be a time of chaos for some as well. Don’t try to control situations. Things can sometimes go wrong, and that is just life. Go with the flow to best enjoy every moment.

The holidays are often categorized as a gift-giving season, thanks to the excessive commercialization of the season. There’s no need to expect or buy dazzling expensive presents from and for family, friends, and coworkers. Big expectations lead to big disappointments if not fulfilled.

Control the urge to overeat.

Avoid buying on credit.

Indulging is expected during the holidays, but set a limit. Your health is top priority. When you eat junk and desserts to excess, your body becomes out of balance. Save yourself the New Year’s resolution, and eat in moderation now.

Know that you can’t make everyone happy.

It is impossible to please everyone, and this is particularly true during the holiday season. You won’t make every dinner party, and that is okay. People may initially seem disappointed, but when you set your boundaries, people respect you for it.

The season’s gift-giving reputation encourages overspending. Purchase gifts within your budget. Be personal and genuine rather than showy. These gifts are more heartfelt than the big-ticket item on everyone’s wish list this season. Spending on credit will skyrocket your stress levels when the January bills arrive.

Focus on experiences and relationships, rather than things. The pressure to buy during this time of year can shift your perspective onto things rather than experiences. Happiness is not dictated by what you own, but rather

what you do and who you are as a person. Consider gifting an experience like a trip or a concert to make a memorable adventure.

Take time for yourself.

The holidays are known for spending time together with loved ones, but don’t forget about yourself. It can be a great stress reliever to relax and enjoy alone time.

Avoid the need to plan everything.

Planning can relieve a lot of stress when you carefully articulate your daily schedule, but not always. Trying to control every minute leads to underlying stress you might not even realize. Don’t live for your to-do list, but rather bask in the moment. Being present during the holidays is the most enjoyable thing you can do. You never know what unexpected excitement could be right around the corner.

There’s strength in our numbers.

We’re proud to be the region’s largest, independent musculoskeletal group. Our experienced specialists work together to provide our patients with the type of care they expect and deserve—personalized, attentive, respectful, and of the highest quality. And when it comes to technology, we’re bringing the latest advances to Southwest Louisiana so you won’t have to leave home to get the care you need. Our team of doctors includes these specialties: orthopaedic surgery physical medicine and rehabilitation foot and ankle care/surgery primary care sports medicine

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Whatever your musculoskeletal concern, we’ve got you covered from head to toe.

Lake Charles | Sulphur


Mind & Body

Intermittent Fasting 101 by Madelaine Brauner Landry

One of the leading reasons dieters fail is because they have trouble sticking to diets that specify which foods to eat. An recent eating trend that doesn’t tell you what to eat, but when to eat, is quickly gaining popularity. Intermittent fasting (IF) makes many claims, but weight loss advocates say it is this distinction that makes it a top choice of successful “losers.” More often described as an eating pattern than a diet, IF depends on fasting, something humans have had to do throughout our evolution. At times of food scarcity, through droughts, famine, or war, humans have managed to function without food for prolonged periods of time. Many religions encourage fasting, claiming followers will achieve optimum spiritual awareness through food deprivation. Evolutionary biologists assert that fasting occasionally is actually more natural than partaking of three or more meals daily. Fasting enthusiasts have long touted its cellular-changing and life-lengthening benefits. If you think of your body as a finely tuned machine, researchers say occasional breaks from rich “fuel injections” are essential. Hormonal health, increased muscle mass, increased immunity to aging and disease, and insulin sensitivity leading to stored fat accessibility are among fasting’s healthy paybacks. The perks? No meal-planning, counting calories, exchanging points, or the purchase of special foods. Followers alternate periods of eating and fasting daily or weekly. Simplicity and versatility are IF’s biggest selling points: what do you have to lose, other than weight?


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

Curious? Type “IF” into your search engine to explore its many variations. One recommends a 16-hour fast and a skipped breakfast. Too challenging to forfeit that first important meal of the day? Other adherents see considerable weight loss when they restrict calories to 500-600 for two consecutive days, while eating normally the rest of the week. Still others find fasting for 24 hours, one or two days weekly, is easy and effective. Growing scientific evidence points to human circadian rhythm fasting as a conceivable weight loss method. Studies on this concept demonstrate that our metabolism has adapted to eating during the day and sleeping at night. Resisting a midnight snack or other nocturnal food binging lowers risks associated with diabetes and obesity. IF’s reputation as a successful weight loss tool has skyrocketed it to the top of current fitness and health trends. According to Dr. Monique Tello, Contributing Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, “a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss...” Tello also cites studies that demonstrate IF approaches are not only reasonable

and sustainable, but effective, especially when combined with sensible nutrition. Harvard Health Publishing recommends the following for more effective health and weight management: 1. Avoid sugars and refined grains. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (a sensible, plantbased, Mediterranean-style diet). 2. Let your body burn fat between meals. Don’t snack. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone. 3. Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day (between 7 am to 3 pm, or even 10 am to 6 pm, but definitely not in the evening before bed). 4. Avoid snacking or eating at nighttime, all the time. Physicians prescribe caution when trying any weight loss plan. Supervision is recommended for people with severe health concerns or extreme eating disorders, as well as for breastfeeding or pregnant women.


Mind & Body

You Better Watch Out

for Seasonal Health Risks by Kristy Como Armand

The most wonderful time of the year can also bring about some not-so-jolly health problems. All the things we love about the holidays – shopping, parties, visiting with family and friends, eating and drinking – can also have a negative impact on your health. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a Grinch and miss all the fun. Healthcare professionals with Imperial Health say by being aware of the risks and following some preventive guidelines, you can stay healthy and enjoy the holiday season. Here’s a list of some of the more unwelcome gifts the holidays can deliver, along with tips on how to avoid them:


With all the season’s greetings (hugs and kisses), gatherings, crowded stores, airports and hotels, germs can quickly bring the bah-hum-bug to the holidays. “Washing your hands is by far the best thing anyone can


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

do to keep germs in check,” says Dr. Jason Burklow, MD, family medicine specialist with Imperial Health. “Use soap and running water if possible. If you aren’t near soap and water, anti-bacterial gels are a good second choice. Keep some with you and accessible in as many places as you can so you’ll remember to use them.” Regardless of what you do, during the colder months when the holidays occur, more people stay indoors, which leads to cold germs and viruses being passed around more frequently. High-risk areas include check-out lines, bank machines, escalator handrails and shopping cart handles. “Again, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid these things, just be cautious and wash your hands frequently,” stresses Dr. Burklow.


People with allergies and asthma face unique health challenges during the winter holidays.

The variety of foods available increases the risk for those with food allergies. “For those with known allergies, extra care is needed during the holidays when so many different people are preparing foods,” says Dr. Bridget Loehn, ENT & Allergy Specialist. If you aren’t sure of the ingredients in a dish, ask, or if you can’t find out, don’t eat it. Also, take time to check restaurant menus before eating out and always have an epinephrine injection kit available in case of a reaction.” “Molds are not usually a problem in the winter, as their counts are lower, but the greenery many people bring into their homes, including Christmas trees, can harbor mold spores, which could cause a flare-up,” says Dr. Loehn. She advises using an artificial tree or greenery if you are prone to indoor allergies, and dusting off old or used decorations and ornaments. Clean or replace home air filters, as well as those in portable air cleaners. Limit or remove scented

candles, potpourri and similar items than can cause discomfort for asthmatics. Dr. Loehn adds that caution should be used when using spray-on “snow,” and popular pine-scented sprays or oils, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. “If you have an established pattern for allergy and asthma flare ups at this time of year, then be sure to take treatment precautions to prevent those symptoms, and if you are traveling, be sure to pack any medications you may need.”


When it comes to overindulgence, most people worry about calories and health, but rich holiday food may leave you reaching for the antacids instead of the leftovers. According to Dr. Burklow, for those who experience chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the holidays can be especially painful. He explains that acid reflux is a common and chronic digestive condition caused by a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the stomach and esophagus) that allows stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Heartburn, sour taste and indigestion are the most common symptoms. “The holiday season is one of the worst times of the year for patients with GERD,” says Dr. Burklow. “The large amounts and different types of food we eat during the holidays can lead to extreme discomfort for chronic heartburn sufferers. It’s important to stay focused on your dietary recommendations and make sure you take any medications as directed.”

Heart Health

The holiday season is full of surprises – that’s part of the magic of the season. But the unwelcome surprise of a “Merry Christmas Coronary” is something no one would ever

expect. The phrase was coined by researchers from Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville who studied national death rates from a nearly 30-year period. They found that deaths related to heart disease spike in December and January, reaching their peak on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Similar results were found in a national study conducted at the University of California in San Diego. These researchers found that the number of cardiac deaths is higher on Christmas Day than on any other day of the year; with the second highest on December 26 and third highest on January 1. Dr. Thomas Mulhearn, cardiologist with Cardiovascular Specialists of Southwest Louisiana, says there are many reasons for this phenomenon. “People with symptoms of heart trouble prior to the holidays tend to delay going to the doctor, partly from denial and partly from procrastination because it’s such a busy time. They are less likely to see their physicians when they first notice symptoms, mistakenly thinking they can just deal with it after the holidays are over.” He says other holidayrelated risk factors include too much food, too little exercise, added stress, and alcohol.. “Parties, shopping, guests and other activities provide the perfect excuse for skipping a workout or indulging in foods that are higher in fat, sodium and calories – all things that are not good for your heart.” He adds that missing medications can also cause a problem during the holidays. “People are out of their normal routine and may forget to take medications such as blood thinners and pills for high blood pressure, or if traveling, may forget to pack them.” Don’t let a preventable illness put a damper on your holidays. Take a few precautions and enjoy the season in good health!

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Mind & Body

Volunteering the Benefits Work Both Ways by Christine Fisher

Audrey Hepburn once said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Volunteering time and talent not only helps others; it also helps the one giving back. Being active promotes a feeling of optimism, more satisfaction in life, a sense of purpose and higher selfesteem. In turn, being involved tends to lower the risk of depression. “Our volunteers often say how much they receive when they volunteer,” says Debby Nabours, director of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s volunteer services. “They enjoy getting out, being with people, and meeting needs. They come here to help and when they leave their shift, they often say they are the ones who were helped.” Volunteers with WCCH work in a variety of positions. Through their management of the hospital’s gift shop, the auxiliary has raised over $308,000 over the past ten

years which was donated back into the hospital foundation for improvements such as the creation of the meditation garden as well as land and equipment purchases for the hospital, including wheelchairs, tablets for education in the Women’s Center, crash carts for emergencies, and other equipment needed for patient care throughout the hospital. In addition to the gift shop, volunteers also assist in the ICU and Surgical waiting rooms, offer books and reading material to patients, bring patients snacks and meals at times, and lend a hand in many ways, as needed. Volunteers can also be found manning patient information stations and providing assistance with

Martha Hains brings a smile and helpful updates to family members in waiting rooms.

Jean Taylor and Gail Kurtz help direct visitors within the hospital.

Don Hains helps ensure patient supplies are ready.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

stocking and preparing rooms in the emergency department. Many volunteers find that giving back fills a void after retirement. While a life of leisure after retirement is enjoyable, sometimes it can lead to isolation and loneliness. “It can take effort to remain connected to friends and being involved, and volunteering is a wonderful way to stay involved,” says Nabours. Studies show the brain works best when stimulated with conversations and activities. Regular activities give a sense of purpose. When we know someone is counting on us, we try to maintain a schedule. That rhythm of life is what helps keep us functioning on a normal, healthy path. An environment that includes interaction with others, learning new things,

and socializing contributes to the ongoing growth of new brain cells in adults, no matter what age. Staying connected through activities and commitments is a great way to promote a sense of belonging. There are about 26 million senior volunteers throughout America, giving an average of 4.4 hours a week, which adds up to the equivalent of $77.2 billion to non-profit organizations, according to the Healthy Aging Partnership. “Volunteers make a tremendous impact, both nationwide and right here at home,” says Nabours. WCCH is currently looking for additional volunteers. Those interested may call Nabours at (337) 527-4144 to request an application. Applicants must be 18 years or older and able to work independently.

Here’s to a long-life. And the money to fund it. Thanks to modern medicine, we’re living longer—maybe even a lot longer. We’re also more likely to rack up long-term care expenses. Products like long-term care insurance and annuities are designed to help with extended care costs.

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Places & Faces

Be Prepared for Cold Weather Workouts by Kristy Como Armand

It may not get as cold in Southwest Louisiana as it does farther north, but winter can derail your normal fitness routine. Dr. Alex Anderson, primary care sports medicine specialist with Imperial Health Center for Orthopaedics says you shouldn’t let cooler temperatures be an excuse not to exercise. “Although research has shown that athletes are more likely to suffer muscle and joint trauma when exercising in cold weather, there is no reason you can’t safely maintain a workout schedule in the winter.” According to Dr. Anderson, the injuries that occur more often in cooler weather are


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

usually muscle and tendon strains that result from the muscles and tendons being cold; or muscle, joint or ligament injuries that result from slipping on wet or icy surfaces. “That’s why it’s important to make some changes to your exercise routine to prevent injuries in winter weather,” he explains. “Outdoor activities like running and walking, for example, are excellent ways to stay fit year-round if you take the proper precautions.” Dr. Anderson offers the following tips to prevent injuries while maintaining your fitness level during coldweather workouts:

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Layer your clothing. Wear several light layers, including a jacket or windbreaker, to keep you warm during the early part of your run or walk, then take it off and tie it around your waist after you are warmed up. Don’t forget your hat and gloves. Vital body heat is lost through the top of your head and through your hands, so cover them up. Always warm up. Begin your workout slowly when running or walking in the cold to allow muscles to warm, and take extra time to stretch before. Skip short, fast speed, interval workouts. Cold temperatures will cause your muscles, ligaments, and tendons to remain very tight and you won’t be able to loosen up adequately, resulting in a lack of efficiency in your motion and possible injury. Cool down. The cool down period is extra important when exercising in the cold. Be sure to include a good stretch after your workout. If you are running, keep jogging to prevent tightening up, and then head for a warm place. Remove all wet clothing and replace with dry things if you are not going home immediately. As soon as

possible, take a warm bath or shower, but not until your body has fully recovered from the workout and your heart rate is back to its normal level. Beware of windchill: The actual air temperature is often not the concern - the windchill factor matters more. Start your workout into the wind and finish with it behind you to minimize windchill. Choose the proper footwear. Proper tread is important to prevent slipping on wet or icy ground surfaces. Stay safe in the dark: Consider running with a partner and always wear bright, reflective gear. Take advantage of indoor exercise opportunities. When winter weather is severe, work out indoors at home, a gym or indoor track. “And as always, listen to you body and use common sense when exercising in cooler weather,” adds Dr. Anderson. “Suffering an injury because you failed to exercise caution will more than likely put you on the sidelines for a longer period of time than our brief Southwest Louisiana winter.” For more information about any fitness or sports injury concern, call Dr. Anderson at Center for Orthopaedics, (337) 721-7236.

601 S. Pine Street • DeRidder, LA 70634 • (337) 463-7442 •

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Solutions for Life

from Solutions Counseling & EAP by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

Holiday Gifts for You

(That You Can Use All Year Long)! I think I’ve finally convinced the people closest to me that I don’t want Christmas presents this year. I have enough stuff. And if I want more stuff, I’ll go get it. So this year, I’m going for different types of gifts. Gifts you can’t hold, but gifts that will impact your life. Gifts that don’t cost anything, but can enrich your journey. The gifts I will share with you today are a result of working with some wonderful people over the last several months. This past year, I have found myself in a pattern of saying certain things over and over – because they were appropriate for so many of my clients. Then I found myself saying those same things to my friends. Then I realized I was using them on a personal level. Here are the 3 gifts I want to share with you: You teach people how to treat you. Really, you do. You are constantly sending messages to others about what you will and will not tolerate. Don’t ever wonder why people are treating you certain ways. You “taught” them it was okay. Here’s the deal: a certain portion of the human population will take advantage of situations when allowed. Yes, it would be nice if everyone could just be ethical and get along. But that’s not the way the world works. There are those among us who are only interested in themselves and getting whatever they can. And, when you teach them that you will not be the source of whatever it is they are looking for, they will quickly move on to their next victim.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living • December 2018

If you don’t like being yelled at, say so to the person who is doing the yelling. If you feel taken advantage of, say so to the person you feel is taking advantage of you. If addressing things directly does not do the trick, begin to remove yourself from that person’s life. (And remember, just because you are related to a person does not mean you are stuck – you can still control where and when you see them.) “Wow, really.” My next gift is the gift of not having to have all the answers. The next time someone brings a problem to you, try just listening. You can empathize (recognize how difficult this must be for them), but you don’t have to fix it. Very often, what the person really needs is to process whatever is going on. Verbal cues (“wow,” “really,” “this is difficult”) show them you are interested, but you are not going to jump in and make “it” go away. This is particularly important if you have children. When siblings are arguing, resist the urge to get in there and sort it out. Let them sort it out themselves. And when one comes to tell you about it, just listen. Don’t give advice, and don’t say, “You go tell him that I said to stop it right now.” (If you really need to step in, then get up and go step in. Don’t give one child your authority – I promise they won’t use it wisely.) I’m amazed at the number of times people have solved their own problems once they are allowed to talk themselves through it. So many times in life we know what we “should” do, and on certain

levels we already have the answer. We just need to have the supportive environment to go through the process. “How are you going to handle that?” This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. When you listen to someone supportively, and it appears they want something more from you, use the above question. Again, we’re going for allowing others to solve their own problems. Here are some other versions:

• “Wow, this is difficult. What would you like to see happen?”

• “What do you think you need to do about this?”

• “What are you thinking you’d like to do about this?”

• “What do you think your next step is?” I’ve honestly never asked those questions that the person didn’t have at least some idea of an answer. The benefit of this is two-fold: it keeps you out of the “rescue everyone and fix everything” game, and it helps others learn to think for themselves. It’s a win-win! These gifts are truly secrets – because so many people have never heard of them or have never thought about them. Use the gifts wisely – no need to go around sharing them willy-nilly. Just start incorporating them into your own life, and others will pick up on the difference. When asked why you are so calm, cool, and collected, you will know they are ready for the gifts. Have a wonderful, mentally healthy holiday season!

McNeese Peerleaders The McNeese State University student orientation organization - the Blue and Gold Peerleaders - served as grand marshals for the 2018 Homecoming parade in October. The Peerleader group celebrated its 20th anniversary and between 150-200 former Peerleaders attended reunion activities during Homecoming weekend. The Homecoming theme was "Jurassic Pokes” and over 100 businesses, organizations and bands participated in the parade. Established in 1998, the Peerleader program was originally created to foster a more student-focused orientation experience for incoming students, according to Karen Westfall, assistant director of general and basic studies and freshman orientation coordinator. “The administration thought incoming students would benefit more if they could connect with their peers,” she says. “And the program just took off from there.” Originally, the program selected 20 students who were only responsible for

orientation, but since then, the Peerleader staff has expanded to 26 students who also act as ambassadors for special campus events. “Peerleaders really are the ‘face’ of McNeese,” says Westfall. Over 400 students have been Peerleaders. With a graduation rate of over 90 percent, these student leaders have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, teachers, engineers and much more. Westfall – herself a Peerleader from 2003-2005 – says the benefits of the program are hard to overstate. “Several former alumni tell me that if not for being a Peerleader they wouldn’t be in the position that they’re in today. They were able to make career connections and lifelong friends,” she says. “These students have had a profound impact on McNeese, too. Peerleaders show our incoming students that no matter who you are, where you live or what your major is that you can be successful here. I believe when freshmen see how excited the Peerleaders are about McNeese, and how the university has impacted their lives, they are excited that they made McNeese their first choice.” As both a former Peerleader and now coordinator of the group, Westfall says she has experienced the best of both worlds. “Not many people can say they’re working their dream job, but I can. We’re so excited to be celebrating 20 years of students and this amazing program.”

McNeese Homecoming Court McNeese State University students Sydney Broussard, a nursing senior from Hackberry, and Gunnar Goodwin, an engineering senior from Lake Charles, were named McNeese’s 2018 Homecoming Queen and King. The royal pair and court were presented during halftime ceremonies of the McNeese Cowboys vs. Central Arkansas Bears football game on Oct. 27. Other court members are: Khristian Anthony, Sulphur, Sydney Brown, Lake Charles, Austin Pottorff, Sulphur, and Shay Walker, Lacassine, seniors; Tyler Daigle, Welsh, Morgan Duck, Moss Bluff, Hailey Goodwin, Lake Charles, and Steven Gros, Napoleonville, juniors; Gavin Nettles, Lake Charles, and Amberly Thompson, Lake Charles, sophomores; Bailey Nelson, Lake Charles, and Adam Verrett, Lake Charles, freshmen.

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We never stop moving! Offices Located at: 3709 Maplewood Drive • Sulphur, LA 70663 | Office: (337) 625-3150 832 University Drive • Lake Charles, LA 70605 | Office: (337) 474-8877

We are equipped and ready to serve you and your family in all of your Real Estate needs. Whether you are buying or selling your home, looking for land to build your dream home, searching for vacant land or commercial property, we are highly trained to make your Real Estate experience one of a life time.

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Each Office is Independently & Owned & Operated Licensed by the LREC 68 Thrive MagazineBroker for Better Living • December 2018 Dru Ellender,

Kerry Ellender, Realtor

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