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Living Magazine - March 2013

March 2, 2013

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Cont ent s
Vol. 6
Edition 2
Finishing strong
With more than 35 years of service with the BSPD under his belt, longtime chief prepares to retire — by Thomas Jenkins
08 02
Welcome to the Club
Boys and Girls Club Director Duane Shackelford is offering area children a helping hand — by Steve Reagan
A cowboy’s prayer
Circuit Riders isn’t your average church, blending worship with a large helping of country life — by Brian McCormack
26 20
Passing the torch
After 13 years working with hospice patients and families, Sherry Hodnett is handing off the baton — by Amanda Duforat
Other features
06 06
Let’s get practical
Sometimes the best way to get started on an art project is to approach it from a practical viewpoint — by Kay Smith
12 12
Editor: Thomas Jenkins
It’s a balancing act
Do you know how to get the most out of your camera’s white balance function? — by Bruce Schooler
Liver disease: A silent killer
On the cover
Many people fail to realize they have liver problems until permanent damage is done — by Dr. Cezary Kuprianowicz
Published by Heritage Publications (2003) Inc. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Living Magazine is published 12 times yearly and mailed individually free of charge to homes in the Big Spring, Texas, area. Editorial correspondence should be sent to Living, P.O. Box 1431, Big Spring TX 79720. For advertising rates and other information, please call 432-263-7331.
Longtime hospice bereavement and volunteer coordinator Sherry Hodnett hands her office keys to Manny Negron, who will take over her duties.
Living Magazine
By Thomas Jenkins
fter more than 35 years serving with the Big Spring Police Department, longtime Chief Lonnie Smith will be hanging up his gun belt at the end of March in favor of a carpenter’s belt. Smith — who will go down in Crossroads history as one of the longest-serving 2 Living Magazine
police chiefs in Big Spring’s history — was first drawn to law enforcement thanks to an older brother who also served with the BSPD. “I had an older brother who was 16 years older than me and he was working in law enforcement,” Smith said. “That’s what he was doing while I was growing up. I also
had a brother-in-law who was older than me and he was a peace officer, so I just sort of grew up around it. It interested me and I enjoyed being around it. “I think what really drew me to law enforcement was the freedom and the ability to use your experience to try to help people and make a difference in the community.
A lot of time we talk about police officers’ discretion. There’s only one charge in the penal code where an officer has to make an arrest, and that’s domestic violence. The rest of the time, however, while they can make an arrest in certain circumstances, it’s left up to their discretion. Each situation has to be dealt with in the manner the officer feels is appropriate. That’s something I’ve told all of our newer officers over the years and I think it’s very important.” Around that same time, Smith would meet and get to know one of Howard County’s most revered law enforcement officers — Troy M. Hogue, the namesake of the newly built joint law enforcement center — who would help set him on his course. “When I applied (to the Big Spring Police Department), I had to pass a written exam. Then I went before an interview board, which was when I was hired,” Smith said. “I started as a reserve officer in June 1977, which was a non-paid position. I was working for the school district in the carpenter maintenance shop at that time. I was about 25 years old at that time and I met Troy Hogue and had worked with his sister. I was talking to them and Troy told me they were needing some officers here. “I had been looking more at trying to get
Living Magazine
into the federal law enforcement, border patrol and things along that line. However, that’s a really long, drawn-out process. So, Troy and I talked about it and I put my application in with the BSPD. When I applied, I was number three on the list and they only had one opening. However, they were holding a reserve school at that time, which was 40 hours of training during the evening hours, so I took that class and became a reserve officer. Then, in October 1977, they had another full time position come open and that’s when I got hired on.” With little more than his reserve officer training under his belt, Smith took to the streets for several months, learning the trade through one of the world’s greatest teachers … on-the-job training. “I worked patrol with another officer for a couple of weeks, then I was out on my own from Oct. 23, 1977, until January 1978,” Smith said. “That January was when the police department sent me to the police academy in Midland. At that time, the academy was six weeks long. I had already been working on the street without
the academy training. Before I went to the academy, they basically showed me what to do and if you had a question, you would get hold of a supervisor or another officer and explained, ‘Hey, this is what I have.’ They would help you figure out what course of action to take. “The police academy in 1978 was a lot like the academy these days, except there wasn’t any physical training and the hours were greatly reduced. You figure today the police academy is 17 weeks long — a little more than four months — versus back then, when it was six weeks and 240 hours. A lot of the training is the same, however, they’ve added a lot. There’s more on critical incident, crisis management, more on the family code and domestic violence. There are more things today which the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education is requiring for the basic police academy. When I was hired, you had one year from your date of employment to be in an academy. Not completed, just in the academy, and they would alternate classes in Midland between six-week courses and eight-week courses. If you got
the eight-week course, you had two weeks of PT (physical training) thrown in there.” Smith said serving with the BSPD — where his brother had begun his law enforcement career — was never intimidating for him. “I never really tried to compete with my brother,” Smith said. “He was a law enforcement officer with the BSPD for 10 years, then he moved on to deputy sheriff, investigator for the district attorney to being a deputy constable in Dallas. He was also an investigator for the state comptroller’s office, so he moved around. I just wanted to do the best job I could do and this was home. Big Spring was my home and I had no inclination to work with the BSPD, get a little experience and then move on to something else. “I stayed here and worked on patrol for about two years when we had a new chief come in and did a change-over in detectives. I put in a request to go into criminal investigations and got selected. I was in that for about six months when I became the bailiff for the municipal court. I stayed there for about six months and once we had everything established in that office, I went back to criminal investigations for about a year. I also promoted to a sergeant in patrol, then to lieutenant.” Through Smith’s tenure as chief, the city of Big Spring has faced many challenges, including an influx of drugs, a problem the Big Spring City Council tasked him with turning around in 2007. “We had a problem and prior to the council bringing that up, we were members of the West Texas Narcotics Task Force,” Smith said. “When the Texas Department of Public Safety took over management of the regional task force, things began to falter. Eventually, the regional task force was dismantled. We still had our normal calls for service patrol takes care of and with the volume we had, we simply didn’t have the manpower to assign to narcotics. “When the city council began receiving the same phone calls I was getting — that we had a problem and it needed to be addressed — I told the council if they would give me the manpower and the budget, we could do something. Shortly after that, I presented the council with a plan for the existing narcotics task force. Even though the move needed to be supported by a tax increase, the council felt it was strongly enough about the problem here they were
4 Living Magazine
willing to face their constituents and explain what was being done to address the drug problem. Am I happy with the way the task force has been going? We’re still making arrests and we’re still trying to work. Are we going to eliminate the drug problem in Big Spring? The answer is no. However, if you look around the country you’ll see Big Spring is not unique in that it has a drug problem. Every community has a drug problem if they are willing to look at the circumstances and acknowledge the facts.” Smith said one of the challenges for veterans within the BSPD is helping to educate newer officers and teach them the ropes while still allowing them to use their discretion. “When you become an officer, there’s sort of an aura about them and some are worse than others,” Smith said. “They get this feeling about them and people say, ‘Oh, they are badge heavy.’ I try to explain to people that my job as chief is a lot like being a father. I have all these kids who are working for me who I have to try to give guidance, training and the leeway to make decisions. I have to support them, yet still be stern and correct them when they make mistakes so they can get the experience necessary to mature into the type of officer we want for our community and to lead the department. “From a rookie to a seasoned officer, there is a lot of training, a lot of phone calls and growing pains that go into it. However, as long as we are honest about it and acknowledge it, we can do a lot with those mess-ups. If you start concealing them and hiding them, however, you’re going to have a problem. That’s always been my philosophy and I still try to share with people. If we did it, then put our name on it. Good or bad, if you did it, then take ownership of it and figure out where to go from there.” The announcement of his retirement has been a very emotional matter for Smith, who is best known for keeping his steely composure no matter what the job throws at him. “There have been a few emotional things in my adult life and that’s one of the big ones,” Smith
said with tears welling up in his eyes. “It’s a lot like when we moved out here to this new facility in December. Lt. Fitzgibbon and I took the flags down at the old law enforcement center for the last time and that’s a hard thing. When we started locking the building up at 5 p.m. that day … that old building had been open 24 hours a day and seven days a week since 1956. It was definitely a moment for me. “I spent my entire career at the law enforcement center downtown. This new facility is allowing us to better serve the citizens and it’s working very well. However, there’s just so much history at that old building. These officers today are never going to know what it was like, trying to run a jail and do everything else you had to do. We had a jailer for one shift each day, which meant everything those people in custody needed, officers had to stop what they were doing and take care of it the other 16 hours of the day. Whether it meant cooking or cleaning, they had to take care of it. It was very emotional to see that building closed down.” Smith said he’ll be hanging up his gun belt in favor of a carpenter’s belt beginning April 1, as he gets ready to make a number of renovations to his home. “I bought a house a couple of years ago
and renovated the inside of it. However, I haven’t really gotten to the outside of it yet,” Smith said. “A few years back I sort of got to where I enjoy working outside. So, I’ve been saving that up. I’m retiring at the end of March, so I figure the first of April I’ll probably start working on the house. I’ve got a storeroom I’m going to convert into a shop and things I want to do in the yard. I enjoy spending time outside and listening to the radio. The house was built around 1954 and I bought it from some of the original family members who built it. I guess you’d say I’m the first owner outside of the family. I’d also like to try to schedule one or two trips a year to places I’ve wanted to visit all my adult life. Do I want to be gone all of the time? No, not at all. “I’m looking forward to it. I mean, you still worry about who comes in later, but that’s where we have to trust in the administration. I’ve voiced my opinions on some of their processes, such as having candidates meet with the sheriff and spend some time around him. That’s going to be one of the most important aspects of moving forward, that we maintain the working relationship we have right now with the sheriff’s office. The compatibility between the two department heads will be vital in the coming years.”
Living Magazine
Let’s get practical
ere are some tips to think about and practice in the new year if you have decided art’s for you. • If you are going to be a painter, just sit down or stand up and paint or sketch, but get started. • Wet — the whole, part of, or none of the paper. • Think shapes, tonal values, and color scheme before you start • Be aware of the importance of connections; of a rooftop to the sky, of walls to earth, of trees to water … everything is connected in some way with one element to another. • Keep shapes intact — change within a shape, but be aware that the shapes hold a painting together so if
they are changed, the entire painting will change. • Watch tonal transitions — prize winning works read well from a distance if the tonal range is dynamic and working as it should. • Know your lines — it is okay to find a line, lose it and find it again, but always know where it is going and where it is coming from. • For works on paper (graphics, pastels, watercolors), never sell or show a painting without putting it in a mat first. • The best paintings are those people have to study. Leave something for their imagination to do, to allow and invite the viewer to participate Visit Kay’s studio Brushworks at
By Kay Smith
2106 Scurry in Big Spring, or online at her blog or website: and
6 Living Magazine
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Welcome to the Club
By Steve Reagan
or many of us, a job is just that — a daily task we perform to earn a living. But there’s some lucky ones in our midst who see work as not really working at all. Count Duane Shackelford among the fortunate few. Shackelford, who has directed the local Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club since early December, sees his job as more avocation than occupation. Simply put, he’s doing what he loves best. 8 Living Magazine
“My mother told me when I was about 10, ‘You have a knack for helping children,’” he said. “I had become friends with a bunch of neighborhood kids. We built a treehouse and it became our own little club. They were about 6 or 7 at the time, and I guess I was about 10 or 11 and I ended up maintaining a relationship with them all through high school.” Helping children became a running theme in Shackelford’s life, from mentoring his young friends back in Greenwood, Miss.
to coaching youth teams during a career in the Air Force to a new career at working at Boys and Girls Clubs in first Abilene and now here in Big Spring. “I truly enjoy working with kids. I guess I see a lot of myself when I was that age in them,” he said. “Kids can achieve their goals and become anything they want to be. All they need is someone … to give them the proper direction and show them love and respect them.” Growing up in rural Mississippi, Shackel-
ford learned that economic conditions were not to be used as an excuse for failing to achieve one’s dreams, and it’s a lesson he’s passed on to the children who pass through the front door of the Boys and Girls Club, many of whom come from economically disadvantaged circumstances. “You can’t use things like, ‘I’m poor’ as an excuse,” he said. “One of the things my mother always said is that you have a level playing field, especially when it comes to getting an education. ‘You have a brain the same as they do,’ she said. “We were poor when I was growing up, but I never knew it, because I had so much love for my mother and step-father,” Shackelford added. “We always had enough food on the table and always had the essentials we needed. I never realized we were poor until after I joined the Air Force.” His military career began not long after graduating high school. After spending a year at Jackson State University, Shackelford decided he wanted to see more of the world than just Mississippi, “and I got my wish,” he said with a chuckle. Shackelford became something of a globe-trotter in the Air Force, pulling duty in such places as Korea, Okinawa, the Phil-
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Living2/15/13 11:40:14 AM9 Magazine
ippines, Guam and the Middle East. When he wasn’t on duty, however, he found himself volunteering for a lot of youth-oriented activities. “I’d help out at the rec center, I volunteered to help at the gym, I helped them learn how to read … I did a lot of that stuff the entire time I was in the military,” he said. “To me, it was always something I enjoyed doing.” He received an early retirement after 16 years in the Air Force. “I just felt it was time for me to move on,” Shackelford said. “My wife had just had our last child and I really wanted to something with my family and with children.” The site of the final stop in his military career — Abilene — became his new home and the launching point for his new career. He said he spent the majority of the first year out of the 10 Living Magazine
Air Force mainly as a house-husband, getting re-acquainted with and caring for his youngest child. “But when she reached school age, I sud-
denly found myself with all this time on my hands,” he said. “That’s when my wife said, ‘You always enjoy working with kids. Why don’t you find something like that?’” He soon began working at one of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Abilene, first as a volunteer before joining the staff as an assistant director and athletic coordinator. “They later added teen director to my duties,” he said. “Within a year and a half, I was named director at (another) Boys and Girls Club in Abilene … and I was fortunate to be there for about 15 years.” In late 2012, however, he received a phone call from Teresa Walch, regional vice president for the Boys and Girls Clubs, offering him the director’s position at the new club in Big Spring. “At first I was hesitant, because I had promised my wife that if we ever moved again, it would be her call,” Shackelford said. “I mentioned to my wife that there was this new club in Big Spring and I really would like to go take a look at the facilities. She just smiled and said, ‘How long do I have to make this decision?’ “When I first saw the facilities here, I said, ‘There’s a lot of potential in this place. We can do a lot of things here,’” he added. “That was on a Thursday, and I brought my wife back the following Saturday … and that’s when she gave me her blessing.”
Since officially taking over at the local club in early December, Shackelford said he and the staff has followed a very simple, but ambitious, mission statement. “We’d like each and every child here to fulfill their passions and dreams, to be whatever they’d like to be in life,” he said. “We’re going to give them the opportunity to be artists, writers, teachers … to be helpers in the community and to volunteer their time and energy to their community.” To achieve that lofty goal, he’s adopted a strategy that can be summed up as, “you help me, and I’ll help you.” “Kids don’t really trust people they don’t know,” he said. “So I told them, ‘I’m not promising you anything, but I’ll work with you every day. All I ask is that you respect your club, respect each other and respect the staff. If you do that, we’ll help you grow into anything you want to be.’” Shackelford admits he’s set the bar quite high for himself and his staff, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I enjoy working with these children so much,” he said. “I thank the Lord every day I’m here. When you’ve found your niche in life, it’s not like you’re working.”
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Living11/1/12 10:14:28 AM Magazine 11
It’s a
ne of the things I enjoy about digital photography is that you get to use both sides of the brain. You get to be artsy and geeky at the same time. I really enjoy the creative aspect of photography, getting the composition just right and using light to sculpt the image the way that I envision it. I love it when the print exits the printer and it is a piece of art that you are proud to hang on the wall. There is also the technical side of photography that I enjoy. I actually go through the camera’s manual periodically just to make sure I’m not missing any of the cool features. The cool, nerdy stuff only starts in the camera ... then you get to load the file into the computer and the geeki-
ness continues. We are going to get a little geeky this month and explore white balance. So why is it important to get the white balance in your camera correct? Have you ever taken photos of Bubba while he’s playing basketball at the YMCA? After you get home and you put them on the computer you notice that the images have an orange or yellow tint to them. The reason is the lights at the Y have a different color temperature to them. Depending on the type of lights, there will be a color tint that is apparent in your images. Fluorescent lights add a bluish cast to your image, whereas incandescent lights add a yellowish tinge to your photos. So why don’t we notice the color shift while we are watching the game?
By Bruce Schooler
12 Living Magazine
The reason is that our eyes are amazing instruments and will automatically adjust for the different color temperatures. So how do we adjust our cameras to compensate for this phenomenon? Each camera is different in how white balance is adjusted, so you need to dig out the manual that came with your camera. You can also do a search on the internet. Just enter your camera model along with the words “white balance” and you will get all the information needed to become familiar with the adjustments necessary to get accurate white balance on your camera. I will cover some of the basics while you are looking for your manual. Be sure to check under the cushions on the couch. Most digital cameras have what are called preset white balance settings. Look through your menu until you find these presets. You will most likely find the following settings: • Tungsten — the indicator is usually a small light bulb and you use this setting for shooting indoors under incandescent lighting. This setting cools down the colors in your photo. • Flourescent — this compensates for the cool lighting of the flourescent lights and warms up the image. • Daylight/sunny — is usually considered the normal setting on most cameras. • Cloudy — this setting adds a little warmth to the Daylight setting. • Flash — the light from your flash is slightly cool and this setting warms
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it up a bit. • Shade — the light in shade is cooler (bluer) than direct sunlight so this setting warms things up a bit. • Auto — this setting is where the camera makes a best guess on a image by image basis. The newer cameras do
a decent job using this setting. These settings usually do a decent job of getting the white balance pretty close. With most DSLR’s and some higher end point and shoots you can do what is called a manual white balance. Again, each camera is a little
different, so (here it comes) read your manual to get the information necessary to do a manual white balance. I use this procedure most of the time and it is really easy once you learn how to do it. You need a white or grey card for a reference. I use an
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attachment that fits over the lens that takes the place of the white card. You can also get white balance targets that have segments that are white, grey and black. Do some research on the internet to learn more about the different tools that are available to set your white balance manually. Manually setting your white balance is very important when you have mixed lighting. I did a wedding at a church that had fluorescent, tungsten and halogen lights in the sanctuary. If I had not done the manual white balance it would have been very difficult to get the colors accurate. When I’m creating images outdoors I usually have my white balance set to Cloudy, even if there is not a cloud in the sky. The reason is that it will add warmth to your images and the skin tones will look great. Give it a try next time you are taking photos of the kids outside. Take the setting off auto and try the cloudy setting. I think you will be pleased with the results. Your assignment this month is to try different white balance settings and observe the results you get. One of the things you will have to do is to be sure to set your white balance whenever the source of light changes. Get in the habit of checking your white balance just as you do the ISO and your exposure settings. Have fun creating great images and capturing your family history in photos. You can contact me by emailing me at or calling me at 432-466-4250.
Living Magazine
Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mar 1 Crimson Soul - One More Show Big Spring Municipal Auditorium Tickets $10 available at the Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau For more info call 432-263-8235 Mar 2 Kids Fishing Tournament sponsored by Greater Big Spring Rotary Club Comanche Trail Lake Registration at the Classroom in Dora Roberts Community Center Contact Ken McIntosh 817-521-4060 Mar 2-3 Gem & Mineral Show Howard Co Fair Barn For more info contact 432-263-3340 Mar 8 Kiwanis Pancake Supper Howard College Call Ann Duncan for more info 432-263-4887 Mar 22 Hoops, Goals and Dreams Basketball Dorothy Garrett Coliseum For more info contact Amy Vidal 432-263-0007 ext 256 Mar 23-24 Rattlesnake Round Up Howard Co Fair Barn For more info contact Dennis Burns @ 432-270-3409 or Ray Alexander 432-212-3533 Mar 23-24 United Way Golf Tournament Big Spring Country Club For more info contact the country club at 432-267-5354 or United Way office at 432-267-5201 Mar 30 Big Spring Symphony presents: “A Pops Celebration” Big Spring Municipal Auditorium 8pm For more info contact 432-264-7223
To Reserve Dora Roberts Community Center Call 432-263-8235
16 Living Magazine
Big Spring
110 West Marcy 432-263-1284
March 2013
NEW LISTING - Exceptional
3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath with 2,513 sq. ft., 2 living areas, sunroom, formal dining, central heat/air, FP, sprinkler system, 2 car garage, 1 car carport. Many recent updates and improvements!
BEAUTIFUL, comfortable and cozy 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick in Coahoma school district. Total electric, WB replace, balcony/loft, storm cellar, workshop, storage shed and 3 car carport. Gated seclusion on 8.3 acs.
PERFECT CHOICE - Lovely 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2,610 sq. ft., sunroom, formal dining, FP, in-ground pool, circle drive with covered parking, 2 car garage. Recent new sewer/gas lines, heat/AC, carpet, tile, paint, tubs/sinks.
STANTON - Pretty 2 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath country home on 5.35 acres. Total electric, sunroom, study/o ce, WB replace, 2,888 living sq. ft., Cov. patio, storage building and 2 car garage.
NEW LISTING - Country feel in the
city! 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 living areas, new fence & central heat/air in 2010, kitchen appliances stay, 3 car carport and detached man cave in back.
WONDERFUL LOCATION - Spacious 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2,483 sq. ft., sunroom, WB replace, central heat/air, formal dining, tile fence, 2 car garage. Large rooms with lots of storage.
UNIQUE 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath Spanish Style home on 19.05 acres. Large kitchen, open oor plan, 2,606 sq. ft., WB replace, gorgeous atrium. Guest quarters, workshop, 2 car garage, 2 car carport.
MUST SEE this charming 3 bedroom, 2 bath Park Hill home. 2,072 sq. ft., 2 living areas, FP, central heat/air, awesome kitchen, 1 car garage, recent updates including new roof & AC.
NEW LISTING - Wonderful 3 bedroom,
2 1/2 bath, central heat/air, 2 living areas, WB replace, formal dining, 2,091 living sq. ft. Tile fence, 2 storage buildings, 2 car garage, nice corner lot.
Living Magazine
NEW LISTING - Country living with
open oor plan, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, central heat/air, 1,991 sq. ft., double pane windows. Barn/stable, workshop, 2 car carport. 1.6 acres.
COAHOMA ISD - 3 bedroom, 2 bath with central heat/air, 2 car garage, 3 car carport, two water wells, 20X20 storage, 2-workshops, mobile home hook-up. Located on 2.04 acres.
SPACIOUS and well kept 3 bedroom, 2 bath with 2 living areas, WB replace, central heat/air, 2,168 sq. ft., storage shed and 3 car carport. Lots of nice updates.
NEW LISTING - 3 bedroom, 2 bath
brick with lots & lots of updates!! Central heat/air, replace, garden/ sunroom, tile fence, storage shed and 1 car garage. MUST SEE!
ESPECIALLY NICE 3 bedroom, 2 bath in Coahoma ISD. 2 living areas, central heat/air, WB replace, tile fence, covered patio and 2 car garage. Extra large landscaped lot.
CHARMING 3 bedroom, 2 bath with recent updates. Central heat/ air, WB replace, new roof in 2012, covered patio, tile fence, workshop, storage shed and 1 car garage.
BIG PRICE REDUCTION! 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, total electric, WB replace, tile fence, storage shed and 1 car carport. Lots of recent updates. Edwards Heights.
brick home with steel siding. Total electric, open kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 living areas, title fence, circular drive and 2 car garage.
NEW LISTING - Lovely remodeled
KENTWOOD - Attractive 3 bedroom, 2 bath with 2 living areas, formal dining, WB replace, central heat/air, 1 car garage. Cov. patio, storage shed, workshop.
COLLEGE PARK - 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick with 2 living areas, central heat/air, two free standing stoves, 1,698 sq. ft. Wood fence, storage shed and nice workshop.
NEW HOME Construction site on 4.2 acs. in Coahoma ISD. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, total electric, FP, 2,149 sq. ft., stainless appliances, wood fence, cov. patio, 2 car garage. $240,000.
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18 Living Magazine
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All of the properties advertised in this magazine were actively for sale at the time of publication. If the property has sold, or been withdrawn from the market, this is not an o ering of that property for sale, and is only a representation of the properties that Home Realtors lists and sells. The source of square footage quoted on all properties listed in this magazine is Howard County Appraisal District.
Living Magazine
By Brian McCormack
onor yer Ma and Pa. Don’t take what ain’t yours. Those are a couple of the playful twists the Circuit Riders Cowboy Church puts on the 10 Commandments. In fact, there are plenty of little differences between a cowboy church and most traditional Christian churches, but the one thing they all have in common is service to their congregation and the community in the name of God. And that kind of service is exactly what five-year CRCC Pastor Courtney Ballard and his wife, Kelli — both Crossroads area natives — strive for in addition to keeping 20 Living Magazine
the church true to its Western roots. Circuit Riders, located at 5108 Nichols Road in Elbow, welcomes every denomination as well as every kind of person. Bikers in leather jackets, oilfield workers coated in crude and, of course, the cowboy are all welcome to sit in the pews. Come as you are, just wipe your boots at the door. “The original term ‘circuit rider,’” Courtney Ballard explained, “was, in the Old West, nobody had any churches anywhere, so a preacher would go to each community and meet out under a shade tree or a school house or a saloon or a general store — whenever they could meet. One week,
you’d have the Methodist preacher come through, the next week the Baptist preacher would come through, they had it kind of organized out. They had a circuit.” A member of the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches — which has grown from the Texas Fellowship of Cowboy Churches — Circuit Riders is a Bible-based church with a hearty helping of country added. Also sponsoring the organization is the Baptist General Convention of Texas, but the Cowboy Churches themselves are non-denominational. Courtney Ballard explained why he thinks the Cowboy Church remains popular.
“We want the people who are searching for a church like this to know we are here,” he said. “The cool thing about Cowboy is it really emphasizes the male. In so many churches, men have gotten lost.” “Think about it,” Ballard added. “Most churches are gorgeous, they’re beautiful. They’re so pretty and so fancy men aren’t that comfortable. Men out here in West Texas — old cowboys — just aren’t that comfortable in them. Here, you can wear your jeans, your boots — whatever you want. Some people still come dressed in their best, but there is no dress code.” The rustic setting provides a unique alternative to typical churches. Saddles adorn the musical stage and podium and for many years, baptisms took place in a livestock water trough in a barn. Since moving to Elbow, they now have an actual baptism pool, but the option of a trough or even a pond remains open. In most churches, there are committees comprised of volunteers who do work for the congregation and the community. Within the Cowboy Church, they are knows as teams. CRCC has several teams, including the Mercy Team, which does outreach work for the sick and dying and their loved ones. A Youth Team, which ministers to and provides activities for kids and even an Arena Team — one of the committees which sets CRCC apart from your average church. The Arena Team holds rodeo events for the kids such as mutton busting and goat roping. “The Mercy Team started out just providing flowers for people who were in the hospital and doing funerals,” Ballard said. “A lot of people didn’t have a church affiliation, but they were old cowboys. Families would call me and say, ‘Hey, the family would like to have a cowboy pastor come and do this guy’s funeral.’ We do that — I’ve done several funerals where I never met the person. It’s for the family.” Another source of pride among church members is their Music Team. Of course, it’s a country-style band. They play traditional Gospel hymns and worship songs,
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but the music is done in a country-western vein. They also rewrite popular country songs, changing the lyrics to reflect a Christian spirit. The band has been a source of happiness for many in the community. “Me, my wife and my son, we have a praise band,” Ballard said. “Our band leader, Brad Lentz, was raised in Kentucky. His roots were in bluegrass and country. Glenn Davis plays the harmonica, he’s an old-timer from the Coahoma area, Kelli plays the mandolin and C.J. (the Ballards’ 19-year old son) plays the banjo. I don’t play anything, I just sing a little. “Mainly, what we do, is we go to every
nursing home in Big Spring once a month. We play them some music and lead them Flowers & Gifts in prayer. A lot of people who can’t remember anything else can remember those old songs. Especially out at Parkview. They have a big Alzheimer’s ward. And if the patients aren’t so bad, they let them come in. They may not remember you from the last time, but 1410 Scurry 1-800-541-6575 432-263-8323 they remember that old hymn. They’ll sing with you and they don’t miss 235584 Inspirations-2-28-13.indd 1 2/11/13 10:42:38 AM NORMAN HARRIS, M.D. a word.” OBSTETRICS-GYNECOLOGY The congregation at CRCC is known for Board Certified its generosity. Being a small church, its rePPO PROVIDER FOR: sources are limited, but they have still managed to open up a small food pantry run on donations from its 100 or so members. ACCEPTS MEDICAID They have also helped out with bills and exObstetrical Care at penses for people in need. Midland Memorial Hospital “We don’t have a big budget, but we have & Odessa people with big hearts,” Courtney Ballard said. Morning Appointments Instead of a collection plate getting Now Available!! passed from pew to pew, there is a strong box which is located at the front of the 267-8226 1-888-729-BABY church that you can pass by and ignore or 616 GREGG STREET Serving Big Spring 20 Years stop and drop in a donation. And when
We Have Gifts For All Occasions
22 Living Magazine
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someone in need is brought to the attention of the church, a cowboy boot is set out. Congregants are free to add a little something to the boot and whatever is collected goes to the person who requires help. “There’s a boot sitting up there,” Kelli Ballard said. “If there is a need for a love offering that day, we just set the boot out and it always just seems to take care of itself.” Being visible in the community is important to the Ballards, who live next door to the church. They run a concession stand at the annual Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo and participate in other rodeo events around town. “We do what we can to help the Howard College rodeo each year,” Courtney Ballard said. “We have a horse-drawn wagon and we are in the rodeo parade each year with a bunch of riders. We are in the Christmas parade — Christmas time we really are busy. We have a tree we decorate every year at the Heritage Museum and we have a display at the Trail of Lights.” Circuit Riders is open to all races, classes and ages. There is a Sunday school for the youngsters, a young adult group and adult Bible studies. Most of all, the Ballards hope to attract people who may not feel as if they fit in at other places of worship and welcome them with open arms. “It’s very casual,” Courtney added. “The atmosphere is laid-back. You just feel like you’re at home. We’ve had so many people that have come and said, ‘I’ve been going to different churches all my life and this is the first place I’ve come that I really felt at home.’ That’s the best way to describe it I think.” “A lot of folks have told us when they were kids they had bad experiences at some traditional churches,” Kelli Ballard said. “Well, we grew up in traditional churches, we love traditional churches and we have lots of friends in them. But the Cowboy Church structure makes it a little more open for people to just walk in off the street. It takes away some of those inhibitions, I guess.” Whether it’s a chatting over a cup of cowboy coffee made over an open fire or riding horses with the young buckaroos, Circuit Riders is a different kind of church. And its members wouldn’t have it any other way. Ballard tries to relate to his brand of crowd while preaching. He is bit soft-spoken for a pastor. Chances are, you won’t hear any
sermons laced with fire and brimstone. You may, however, get a little cowboy wisdom tossed in with your Bible study. “I try to use illustrations — when explaining something in the Bible — that a cowboy would understand,” Ballard said. “For instance, they understand about training a colt. When God starts working with someone through the Holy Spirit, it’s kind of like when a master trainer gets that colt in the round pen. He just lets him run. Until he gets tired of running and then he realizes, this guy’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be here. I guess I’ll pay attention and see what he wants. Then you get him to stop, turn — the trainer gets the colt to realize that he’s in control. And that’s the way it is with God and people who don’t know Him. And by the time even the first session is done with that colt — the trainer doesn’t quit him — until he realizes that guy is in control and I better pay attention to him because he wants something from me and I
have to find out what it is. “There’s thousands of ways that you can relate real life out in the country to what God wants to do for us to redeem us,” Ballard said. “We live in a fallen world. It’s not by our choice. We’re born into it. But there’s an answer and his name is Jesus. A lot of people won’t understand that though, until you explain it in a way that they live.” If you are interested in attending a CRCC service, members gather at about 9 a.m. For coffee and donuts. Worship starts at 10 a.m. Sunday school and youth groups take place between about 9:15 and 9:45 a.m. Weather permitting, the livestock arena is bustling and kids have plenty of activities to partake in. On colder days, there may be a potluck dinner in the party room. For more information about Circuit Riders or their community outreach work, contact Kelli Ballard at 432-466-1717. Living Magazine 23
Chronic liver disease: A silent killer
hen focusing on health, it’s easy to pay attention to the more obvious risk indicators: weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. However, many serious health conditions provide no clues in the early stages. Chronic liver disease is one such silent disease that has no symptoms, but can have very serious health effects, if left untreated. The liver — the second largest organ in the body — performs an important function in keeping us healthy, by taking the food we eat and converting it into energy and removing waste materials from the bloodstream. When the liver isn’t working properly, the impact on our health can be serious. A common cause of chronic liver disease is infection with either Hepatitis B or C — yet most people with these
By Dr. Cezary Kuprianowicz
conditions aren’t aware they are infected until they have significant liver
damage. Nearly four million Americans are affected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and another two million, with Hepatitis B (HBV), according to the American Liver Foundation. Hepatitis B and C both cause the liver to swell and stop working well. As many as two in three people infected don’t know that they have the disease. People can live for decades with an infection, without feeling ill. Liver disease, liver cancer and deaths from Hepatitis C are on the rise. So prevalent is Hepatitis C that in August 2012, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued a recommendation that every adult between the ages of 47 and 67 — not just those at risk — have a screening test for Hepatitis C as earlier diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage, cirrhosis and even liver cancer. Risk Factors Hepatitis B is caused by direct contact with infected bodily fluids (blood, semen and vaginal secretions). Other risk factors include: • A child born to a mother with HBV • Unprotected sex with an infected person • Multiple sexual partners • A sexually transmitted disease. • Ethnicity: more than 75 percent affected people worldwide are Asian American. Hepatitis C is also transmitted through the blood, including: • Blood transfusion • Use of injected or inhaled drugs • Work with
24 Living Magazine
or contact with infected needles or blood • Infection with HIV or another sexually transmitted disease • Tattoos or body piercings Diagnosis Both Hepatitis B and C are diagnosed with a simple blood test, and can be treated successfully with medications. For people with Hepatitis C, a liver biopsy may also be necessary to determine the extent of liver damage. While Hepatitis C often has no symptoms, fatigue, dark urine, muscle soreness, nausea, loss of appetite/unexplained weight loss, stomach pain, or jaundice (yellowed skin and eyes) may be clues to the disease. If you’re over 45, or have any of the risk factors for Hepatitis B or C, talk with your doctor about screening. Hepatitis B can be prevented through a vaccine; however, no vaccine exists for Hepatitis C. If you do test positive for infection, it can be treated and managed. Your doctor can work with you to monitor the health of your liver through regular screenings, and make recommendations about lifestyle modifications to promote good health. Treatment includes rest, drinking lots of fluids, a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol, as well as medication. To learn more about chronic liver disease, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, or take a quiz to assess your knowledge about these conditions or your risk level, visit www.SMMCCares. com, Choose the “Health Resources” tab and type “hepatitis” in the search box. Or, contact your doctor today to request a screening. About the Author: Dr. Cezary Kuprianowicz, Hospitalist program director and full-time physician, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Kuprianowicz completed his residency at Jersey Shore Medical Center with an internship at Mount Vernon Hospital. Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information to facilitate conversations with their physician.
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Living Magazine
Passing the torch
By Amanda Duforat
here comes a point in every life when it just feels right to start a new chapter. For Sherry Hodnett, former Home Hospice bereavement and volunteer coordinator, that moment not only brought a new chapter for her, but a new chapter for Manny Negron, newly selected Home Hospice bereavement and volunteer coordinator. “This was a new chapter for me when I first started. I took the job because it was something that I had never done before,” Hodnett said. “Now, as this chapter closes,
the next chapter is kind of the same thing. I felt it was time for something different … it was time to see what the next chapter holds.” For the past 13 years, Hodnett has been involved with home health and hospice work in some form or fashion. She has been a shoulder to cry on for those who needed someone at a difficult time; she has been the provider of wisdom and hope for those who felt they had none and she has been the one to help those left behind understand there are reasons and ways for life to go on after the loss of a loved one.
“I remember starting this because it was something I had never done before, but I also remember thinking, not long after I started, what did I get myself into?” Hodnett said. While her start at Home Hospice may have been something she simply fell into — and at times not the easiest job — advancement was something that came rather quickly. While she started out as an aid, it wasn’t long before she was offered to take on the first of many hats to come, volunteer coordinator. “When I started this I didn’t realize there
26 Living Magazine
were volunteers all over. I thought volunteers were your pink ladies, people at the VA hospital and people at the state hospital. I had no idea there were volunteers anywhere else,” Hodnett said. “So, I started with my family.” While her family helped her get started, it was the wise words of Nancy Jones that helped kick start Hodnett’s volunteer program. “Nancy told me to go on the morning radio show and issue a plea for volunteers. I listened and by the time I got back to the office, I had three volunteers,” Hodnett said. Theda Perez was the first to join Hodnett’s group of volunteers, and since then, the group has grown to include 17 volunteers. A few years back, the volunteer program expanded and added junior volunteers, which includes six students. “Theda was my first volunteer and she has stayed with me this entire time,” Hodnett said. “The thing I love about my volunteers is that they truly have their hearts in the right place. They aren’t just here for me, they are here to help others in this community.” With the success of the volunteer program and Hodnett’s work a reflection of her character, another hat was added: Bereavement coordinator. While keeping volunteers busy may have been the light side of things, the addition of bereavement coordinator added a balance to the job.
“My kids described it best; they told me they never understood what exactly it was I did with bereavement,” Hodnett said. “They always thought I just had fun with the volunteers doing crafts, painting toes and other things like that, but it wasn’t until Butch, my husband, died that they saw the other side. “My children told me how amazing they thought I was at taking care of Butch. Taking care of people is what I had always done and I think that’s part of the reason why, for the first three months after his death, I took care of the kids.” While Hodnett had spent many years taking care of others and showing them how to cope with the loss of a loved one, it was a circumstance that never truly crossed her mind for her own life until the moment came. “Death can happen to me just like anyone else. I think that is the biggest lesson this job has taught me. I truly believe the
Lord used this job to prepare me for Butch’s death,” Hodnett said. “He helped me prepare for his death by having me take care of other people.” Of course, as with anyone who has lost a loved one, there comes that moment when things just seem to crack. Hodnett’s moment came three months after her loss and while the grieving process was difficult, it helped teach her a lesson that only made her more effective at her job. “After Butch’s death I mellowed, a lot. I really did. I learned not to be so critical of people and I learned that I’m not immune to death,” she said. “Death can happen to any of us. I realize that now and I am more thankful for my friends and I will be ever thankful for this job. “While it may not be easy to see other people hurt, it is through that hurt that you realize you can make a difference … at least I did.” It is that difference, Living Magazine
that moment of hope for a grieving family that is driving Negron as he enters his new position. “I am looking forward to not only meeting new people, but to continue the work Sherry has started and continue to make a difference, touch lives and make people happy,” Negron said. “Spending the time traveling to homes with Sherry truly opened my eyes to what she has done and I real-
ize we are a lot alike when it comes to our community. We love our people and that is what it’s about, not only this job in Howard County, but in surrounding counties … it’s about caring about others and wanting to help others and being the one who makes a difference.” While Negron may be taking a leap into the hospice world, which he expects might be a bit of a challenge after coming from
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can.” Hodnett added, “Manny and I have been involved in many things together over the past few years and that is only part of the reason I know he will do great at this job. The best advice I can give him is to continue to be the Manny that I met all those years ago. Continue to be the friendly Manny that he always has been because that is what has turned Manny into … well, a man … Mr. Relay.” The years of community involvement, background in ministry and opportunities afforded him through his previous employer are just a few of the things that Negron contributes to preparing him for this new journey. “We never know what tomorrow is going to hold for us. We have to live for the moment and when that opportunity arises we have to grab it and go for it,” Negron said.
the retail world, he is no stranger to being out in the community. For the past five years, Negron has been the community involvement coordinator at Walmart in Big Spring. In addition to that, he has been involved in several community organizations — many of which he shared involvement with Hodnett — such as Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society, United Way and more. “I have been involved with the community for the past several years, but I always had to do my primary job duties first and now this is my primary job responsibility,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting out into the community and making a difference wherever I
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While Negron is looking forward to tackling each day as it comes, Hodnett is looking forward to taking time for herself again. “I want to re-learn how to cook; I want to go back to making homemade bread like I used to,” she said. “I am really looking forward to quilting a homemade quilt. I have always wanted to have a handmade quilt.” Time to herself sounds lovely for Hodnett, but walking away from the job isn’t going to be easy and walking away from this community isn’t anything she plans to do anytime soon. “I am going to miss all the calls. I’m going to miss them calling me at home on the weekends, at the house, asking me how I can help them. I still want them to call me,” Hodnett said. “I will still refer them to hospice and home health. I have been in it so long those who know me know I will guide them in the right direction and I expect them to continue to call me. “I am still going to remain active. I was raised here, I graduated from here and I am not about to give up the friendships I have here.” As Hodnett turns the page to the next chapter in her life, Negron is turning the page to his story, as well. “I am looking forward to this opportunity to have the freedom to do community work, tackling crafts head on and using my ministry background as it is called for,” Negron said. “This is a new journey for sure, but one I am ready to take on. After all, five years ago I was asked to be the community involvement coordinator and we all know I am starting this journey because of my involvement in the community. Like I told my previous boss, this is all his fault.”
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Living Magazine
A big welcome for Big Spring’s new family physician.
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