January 2022

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE January | 2022 | Volume 3 | Issue 1

52. L I F E Plan for Peace 54. S T Y L E This is Home 62. L I F E Dear Mrs. (Slightly) Sophisticated

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10. c o v e r/ H E A L T H Hidden in Plain Sight 20. W E L L N E S S Downright Beautiful

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42. S P O R T S No Gym, No Problem 48. E N T E R TA I NME N T Good Evening TXK

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29. B U S I N E S S Healthy, Beautiful, You 38. P O L I T I C S The Year of the Midterm

64. S T Y L E New Habits for a New Year 66.

T X K R O O T S Brittney Rice

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What are your healthiest habits?

CASSY MEISENHEIMER I drink a lot of water, I’m getting back into my running routine and I listen to KLOVE.

TERRI SANDEFUR I don’t think I have any.

KARA HUMPHREY I regularly read my Bible, do yoga and take as many vacations as possible.

LEAH ORR I play tennis regularly and drink apple cider vinegar.

MATT CORNELIUS I read, at minimum, one book a month. Many have a healthy body but an out of shape mind.

BRITT EARNEST I don’t watch the news or have social media,

LIZ FLIPPO I’m getting back into running regularly, I take my Zoloft and I laugh a lot!

LINDSEY CLARK From my early morning Peloton workouts, to my nail salon lunch breaks, I think personal happiness stems from best personal health. I take advantage of those quiet moments.

plus, early to bed and early to rise!

MEGAN GRIFFIN I make my bed every day, make time for daily prayer and devotionals

BAILEY GRAVITT I started putting down the remote control and started picking up my Bible!

TERRI GRAVITT I start my day with the

TIFFANY HORTON I keep the car radio on The Message, and we take lots of family bike rides.

First 5 devotional app, I try to stay within my Weight Watchers points, and I always keep Rodan and Fields products on my skin.

and only drink ONE Diet Coke per day!

BRIAN JONES I usually drink around a half gallon of water a day.

CAROLINE PURTLE If my dentist sees this, it’s f lossing.

MRS. (SLIGHTLY) SOPHISTICATED

LIBBY WHITE I f inally started taking a women’s multivitamin this past year instead of my kids’ Flinstone Gummies. Baby steps!

I’ve been working on adding heavier weights to my work out routine and upping the dosage on my meds.

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I truly believe that every day is the perfect day to start living better. This is the reason I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m sort of an “if it is worth doing, it is worth starting today” kind of gal. I even ramped up my running back in November just to make sure I had a jump on the fitness resolution crowd that inevitably doubles in the new year. But, this year, I have decided to make one resolution, and I am determined not to waiver on my commitment to it; I will avoid poison ivy at all costs! As I am writing this, my entire family is sleepless and itchy from a run in with some vines we thought were harmless. It all began when my husband rented a lift from Dot’s Rentals to put Christmas lights on our house. While we had this lift, we made the most of it and went full force DIY around the yard cleaning up trees. Fred looked at it as an opportunity to “play” on the lift a little more, so when I mentioned the trees that looked a little ugly out the windows, he was all in. After he cut the vines, the kids and I cleaned them up and burned them. Many lessons were learned from that seemingly harmless day in the yard: 1. A hairy vine with no leaves is poison ivy and is NOT dormant. 2. You are NEVER to burn poison ivy. 3. We are all allergic. 4. I deeply appreciate the local healthcare providers that take care of us. 5. There is some yard work that is best left to the professionals. Can you tell this has been a slightly traumatic experience? My Nanny recently passed away, and as I have been thinking about moving into this new year, my mind keeps going back to a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash” that my sister read at her funeral. So, for 2022, I hope to be more intentional with the way I spend my dash. Life is a privilege, and we only get one chance to live it. Let’s not waste one precious moment. Enjoy this month’s issue of Texarkana Magazine and from all of us HAPPY NEW YEAR! Cheers,

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The Dash by Linda Ellis I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend He referred to the dates on the tombstone From the beginning… to the end He noted that first came the date of birth And spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years For that dash represents all the time That they spent alive on Earth. And now only those who loved them Know what that little line is worth For it matters not how much we own, The cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash. So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left That can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough, To consider what’s true and real And always try to understand The way other people feel. And be less quick to anger And show appreciation more And love the people in our lives Like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile, Remembering this special dash, Might only last a little while So, when your eulogy is being read, With your life’s actions to rehash... Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent YOUR dash?

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Texarkana Magazine is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Magazine should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Ideaology, products and services promoted in the publication are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Magazine .

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BY L IBBY WHITE PHOTOS BY MATT CORNEL IUS HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT M y six-year-old loves to play hide and seek. I was never a fan of the game as a child because I despised the heart-racing feeling of wondering if they would find me in my dark hiding place. Maybe it was because I have never liked feeling anxious or out of control. I preferred being the seeker in the light rather than the one silently waiting alone in the dark. As an adult, however, when life is no longer a game and after having lived through heartaches and life experiences that have brought me to my knees, I now recognize my default mode is hiding. Honestly, it seems much easier to hide behind a smile or appear to have it all together in my family’s “perfect” Facebook picture rather than allow people to see the real, raw emotions and moments of life. It has taken my small circle of strong and dependable friends and family, who pursue me and care enough to ask the deeper questions, to help me peel back the layers. If we are not honest with ourselves and our close circle of support, anxiety can be a silent struggle that can lead to isolation, depression and other mental health issues. According to Billy Eldridge of Olive Tree Counseling, approximately 35% of his clients seek counseling because of anxiety. “Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of all psychiatric disorders,” Eldridge stated. Simply talking about anxiety might make you want to turn the page and skip it. Don’t worry; it stepped on my toes at first. But, through the following stories of three brave individuals who have faced anxiety head on, you will be empowered and encouraged as you discover how they have dealt with their anxiety and how they are actively overcoming it today.

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“ I could not trust my feelings becausemy feelings toldme I was about to die. It was like I was on the top of a building and I was leaning over the edge and someone hadme by the shirt collar. I didn’t know if they would let me go or not. ” —John Miller

JOHN MILLER John Miller and his wife, LaNell, have been pastors at Church on the Rock for 32 years. As Lead Pastor, Miller is not a stranger to the spotlight. He endeavors to use his position as an opportunity to share his testimony of God’s strength in his weakness, and God’s purpose in his pain. “The start of anxiety in my life came after my wife’s diagnosis with breast cancer,” Miller explained. “It was a huge blur for about ten days and, remarkably, I did great. LaNell had plenty of friends supporting her and taking her to appointments, and I continued to function in my role at church as normal. I remember even after the diagnosis, I was working 55-60 hours a week, six days a week. When she got on the other side, it was like a delayed stress-syndrome type of thing. I was preaching one Sunday morning about a year later, and after church, I started sweating and having heart palpitations. They took me to the hospital, where they almost apologetically told me they couldn’t find anything wrong. That is how my anxiety started, and it was a big pause in my life.” Miller explained that we all can get anxious, but there is a distinction between regular nerves and clinical anxiety. “Anxiety can be a good thing. It’s how God created us to cope with life. But it can become worse, and it became worse for me. I started having panic attacks, and I passed out several times in restaurants after church for no reason. That set me on a journey for an answer. Clearly, my relationship with God was impacted,

and I sought His help through it. But in the natural part of my life, I literally could not function. I had pushed myself to the edge. We took three months off and got out of town, and it still didn’t help. There was nothing I could do to find peace—nothing to help me take a deep breath and just feel normal again. It was like the chemicals in my brain, physiologically, got tangled.” Miller took the next steps and saw a Christian counselor and psychologist, along with medical professionals. “I had a wonderful Christian counselor who was very direct with me. He said, ‘You can’t just take a pill and make this go away. You’re going to have to fight this on your own as well, psychologically.’ So, it is using all the resources that really help me even today. I take medications, I pray, I do it all to make it and to cope. Depending on the level of anxiety, it determines how much you need to do. I think most anxiety can be handled through our relationship with God. But if there are chemical issues in your body that are making it difficult, then you’ve got to go another step and get medical care.” When asked to identify what the greatest help was to him during his darkest days, he confidently replied, “I could not have made it the last few years without my faith in God. I wish the anxiety would just go away. Even to this day I have struggles. But I found a depth in my relationship with God, and I’m relying on Him more today than I ever have in my entire life. I learned to not depend on myself. I could not trust my feelings because my feelings told

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me I was about to die. It was like I was on the top of a building and I was leaning over the edge and someone had me by the shirt collar. I didn’t know if they would let me go or not. But I remember God saying to me, not audibly out loud, but deep inside, ‘I will catch you. And when you return, strengthen the brethren.’ God has used this crisis in my life to help people. I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom on this side of the struggle than I ever did before. It’s like He has super-charged me.” His final thoughts to anyone struggling with anxiety were powerfully simple, “Reach out to God. You can make it,” Miller assured. “The same God who helped me is the same God who can help you. He gave His Son, Jesus, to give you new life in Him. If He loved you that much, to give His own Son, He also loves you enough to help you through. It may not go away in an instant, but you can win this battle with God’s help.” Listening to his story, I had a flashback to the summer before eighth grade and the car ride home from my grandmother’s house when my mom told me she had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a bone cancer. I wish my 13-year-old self could have heard Pastor John’s words at that moment, but instead I bottled up my fears and thought I had to be strong in my own strength. Years passed, but the fear of losing someone close to me did not. Although life and death are a reality, not having control of when I’d lose people I loved was terrifying. ALLISON THOMAS Over the last decade, my husband Brad and I experienced loss together through four miscarriages, but we now have four healthy boys under our roof to protect and love. I had an immediate connection with my youngest son’s preschool teacher, Allison Thomas, especially when she shared she also had four boys—Wyatt (22), Hunter (21), Parker (19) and Matthew (16). However, I realized when she shared a photo on Facebook of her family standing in front of two tiny gravestones that two of her boys are in Heaven. “When my husband, Will, and I were pregnant with our first son, Wyatt,” Allison explained, “we were excited like any normal, first-time parents. The obstetric countdown

“ Anxiety is like a pot of boiling water. You have to take the lid off and remove it from the heat or it will overflow and leave you feeling helpless. Let your faith

overcome your fear. ”

—Allison Thomas

this hell and anguish would endure for the next five days. I would have to carry my dead child in utero until my body decided it was time to give him up.” Five days passed, and labor did not come, so Allison had to have a C-section. “He was born beautiful and perfect,” she said. “We still don’t know why God chose for Wyatt to live with Him for the rest of his life.” “Then three months later we got pregnant with Hunter, and he chose to come into this world in a blaze of glory at 24 weeks (gestation). He was only two pounds and lived in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for four and a half months. He was on a respirator and had to have a trach (tracheostomy tube). One terrible day the nurse did a normal trach change like she did every day, and for reasons we don’t know, he went into respiratory distress. After half an hour of CPR, they were able to get a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the respiratory

had ended, and I had finally reached 40 weeks. I attended this appointment alone because it was supposed to be just a normal check-up. However, when the nurse called me back to the room and put the Doppler on to check for a fetal heartbeat, there was not one. She brought a new Doppler machine in and a more experienced nurse, only to get the same result. This was the moment that would change my world forever. This was the moment I knew that my baby was gone.” “I remember jumping off the table after the nurses left to get the doctor. I grabbed the telephone receiver off the wall, dialed my husband’s cell number, and waited for him to pick up. The moment I heard his voice, I began to yell, ‘HE’S DEAD!’ By the time I left the examining room and headed down the hall to the doctor’s office, my husband was walking in. I remember collapsing in his arms. I wanted to die that day and keep my baby with me forever. Little did I know,

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distress caused brain damage, and we were told he was brain dead. So, after 72 hours, we had to make the decision to say goodbye and take him off life support. My husband was so brave. When they took Hunter off the machine, Will rocked him until he went to be with Jesus. That’s how our story began.” Imagine with me the silence of the room after Allison finished this portion of her story. All of us were frozen, only moving to wipe away tears. I miscarried my pregnancies in the early weeks, but Will and Allison got to hold their babies, kiss their cheeks and count all their beautiful fingers and toes. As a mom, she experienced one of my greatest fears, losing the precious little people I had brought into this world. I could not imagine the difficulties of moving on from those experiences. Allison continued, “The first word that comes to mind when asked to describe my next two pregnancies with Parker and Matthew is FEAR. I couldn’t allow myself to feel excitement or joy. All I could think was, ‘What if they die too?’ Once they were born, the fear grew, and it was stronger. I now had a personal relationship with them. They were alive on earth, so the thought of losing them was even more frightening. I chose to be a stay-at-home mother so I could always be with them. I was their Sunday school teacher, scout leader, room mother. My theory was that nothing could ever happen to them as long as I was with them. I was their protector. When they reached 15, that was a whole other level of anxiety. I remember pulling in my driveway one day as a truck was pulling out. I asked my husband who that was, and he said, ‘Parker just left with some friends to go to a movie.’ I literally had an anxiety attack standing in the driveway. I wanted to run down the road chasing after the truck. I was the driver. I kept Parker alive by protecting him. The fear of loss came back up with a vengeance. I had to ‘get my mind right.’ I often say this to my boys. They both know how I lost their brothers, and I am very real in expressing my experience as well as my fears and anxiety that come with that loss. I told them they would have to have patience with me. I knew they had to grow up and have more freedom. I would give them that, but they would also have to allow me time to ‘get my mind right.’ We made a deal; first it was a 24-hour advance notice of their plans, and then as time went by, the advance notice requirement went away. But man, it was so hard letting go.” To think that this strong, beautiful woman has dealt with as much loss as she has and continues to battle daily with the anxiety and “what-ifs” baffles me, as each morning I drop my youngest off in her four-year-old class at Williams School. Her classroom is the happiest, most joyful room I have ever stepped foot in, and the smile on her face and joy she exudes daily is genuine. “Wyatt and Hunter sit beside God and watch me every day. I want them to be proud of me and say, ‘Look at my mom, she’s a rockstar.’ Now, every day I pour into these precious kids at school, and we are a family. I will protect them like they are my own, and through them, I get little ‘God-winks’ each day. I do my best to make my sons proud.” She closed by saying through her tears that “grief, loss and the anxiety that follows is a constant journey. I still have ‘first experiences’ waiting for me in years to come. The year they should graduate college, the year they should be married, birthdays, etc. It never ends. Again, you have to stop and ‘get your mind right.’

Chris Schroeder, Counseling Pastor at First Baptist Church Texarkana, holds a Masters of Pastoral Counseling Degree from Liberty University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling. I do not think there is as

much of a stigma today for Christians in reaching out for

mental health help as there was in the past. Reaching out for help is not viewed as much today as a lack of faith. The Christian church is still behind but growing in its understanding of mental health issues. The negative statements spoken, and lock downs implemented during the pandemic caused a great increase of individual anxiety in our society. Unfortunately, COVID has caused a great amount of sickness, loss, grief, depression and anxiety. We, as humans, were not created to live in a society full of fear. We were created to live in health and in community with one another, not in isolation.

I have several action steps to encourage

people who are struggling with anxiety. •

Help the individual change thought patterns. It is important to dispute negative thoughts and lies with the truth of scripture. Philippians 4:4-8 and Matthew 6:25-34 are great Bible passages I refer to often. Encourage the individual to focus on God. God wants us to trust and relinquish all fears to Him, especially through prayer. I believe anyone can experience peace. Watch for triggers which lead to anxiety. I assist the person in trying to minimize activities and input that induce anxiety.

• Encourage the person to move forward and take careful steps to face fears. I do not want them to be trapped by internal feelings of anxiety. • Assist the person in finding and developing relationships that are supportive and positive.

Encourage the individual to be patient. Growth takes time.

Focus on personal physical health. Proper diet and exercise are important for fighting anxiety. Also, necessary medication can be important for fighting anxiety.

I encourage all people to choose the best life possible. I do not want people to feel ashamed for feeling anxious. I want people to have hope and know that there are people who care and want to help. I believe that help comes from the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational components of an individual.

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Anxiety is like a pot of boiling water. You have to take the lid off and remove it from the heat or it will overflow and leave you feeling helpless. Let your faith overcome your fear. Open your heart and your mind to finding your purpose through the loss. Your purpose may bring you to a whole new direction within your journey. I know it has for me. He chose me to go through this loss so that I can help others through it.” Allison is such an inspiration in finding a purpose through her loss by helping others. Like the picture of her infants’ gravestones she posted on Facebook, she has used that platform to let other mothers know they are not alone. I wish I could say I share on social media my struggles and the realities of my life as bravely and boldly as Allison Thomas. For some, it’s a means of healing. But for others, social media itself can trigger anxiety simply from the pressure one can feel to portray the “perfect life.” LINDSEY SIMMONS “I’m 22 years old, and social media plays a big factor in my anxiety,” said Lindsey Simmons. “There is so much pressure to keep up with what everyone else is doing and achieving in life—going to college, getting a certain job, being who your parents want

“ Social media plays a big factor inmy anxiety.There is somuch pressure to keep upwithwhat everyone else is doing and achieving in life. ” —Lindsey Simmons

Is there a harm in someone going to a walk-in clinic for an anti-anxiety prescription instead of having a treatment plan created by a psychiatrist or their primary care physician? Anxiety and panic attacks create an immense amount of suffering. I would never fault someone for seeking relief. A walk-in clinic can provide acute care. With that being said they are not set up for ongoing treatment. The best option for ongoing treatment would be a mental health professional who specializes in treatment of anxiety disorders. Based on an assessment there could be a need for a referral to a psychiatrist for added medical intervention.

What percentage of your counseling clients come for counseling due to anxiety? Approximately 35%. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of all psychiatric disorders, and are associated with a high level of associated illness. The five major types of anxiety disorders are: • Generalized Anxiety Disorder • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder • Panic Disorder • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder What do you typically see as the greatest triggers and greatest help for anxiety in people?

Billy Eldridge, MS, LPC, NCC, provides many services, but primarily sees clients coping with relationships, spirituality and/ or addiction. He also provides counseling for adolescents.

Triggers are unique to the individual and type of anxiety disorder. As far as help, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most commonly used evidence based treatment available for anxiety. There are newer treatments available especially in the area of trauma related anxiety that are providing hope for those whom traditional methods have not provided relief.

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you to be and not who you actually want to be. And the pressure of looking your best in every picture can make you feel judged if you’re too big or too small. Sometimes I even feel like I’m not good enough because you see people who you think have the ‘perfect life’ or the ‘perfect family’ when, in reality, no one’s life is perfect.” I agree with Lindsey. If you look at my profile on Facebook or Instagram, you may think that I have the “perfect life.” I’ve been told that a time or two by people who do not really know the nitty-gritty parts of my life. But behind every smile, there is a story. You may not have known how cancer affected my family, or that I had miscarriages, or that I have to keep in check my thoughts when they start to spiral due to social media. Each of us has things that can lead to anxiety. Most of us have struggles hidden in plain sight, masked by a smile, all while feeling our internal struggles should be ours alone. Take a step and start by putting into practice just one piece of advice from the stories above. Whether through your relationship with God, a strong support system, medical help, or all the above, you do not have to hide anymore. If you choose a clinical route, Billy Eldridge advises to start with a licensed counselor. “The best option for ongoing treatment would be a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders,” he said. “Based on an assessment, there could be a need for a referral to a psychiatrist for added medical intervention.” Whatever your story is, there is hope for you. These brave souls, in spite of their battles with anxiety, are hopeful. They are looking forward and not backward at an amazing year ahead, and our hope is that you can as well.

Wesley Goodson, LPC, counsels individuals, children, adolescents and families on a variety of issues ranging from behavioral concerns, anxiety, depression, trauma and relationship issues.

How do you feel the of the last couple of years have affected the mental health of school-age children? Have anxiety levels increased? I believe the mandates have affected children in a multitude

of ways. In my own practice, I have seen an increase in children struggling with separation anxiety from their parents. Children have been struggling at drop off or wanting to be more isolated at home. I also believe it has impacted their social development. When we were in lockdown, children did not get to go to school; therefore, they missed the exposure of other children their own age as well as the structure the classroom provides. In my opinion, the mandates have also affected children’s self-esteem. Children and parents were trying to navigate learning virtually while also maintaining a sane household, which led to some children not being on grade level. Now that the children are back in school, children are frustrated and struggle internally with feeling inadequate. How is treating a child with anxiety different from treating adults? Treating anxiety in adults and children has some similarities. However, unlike adults, children have not developed the ability to verbalize their emotions and anxieties. The emotional education piece is very important when treating anxiety in children. I believe in the saying, “you have to name it to tame it.” If children are given the tools to identify their emotions, they will be able to gain control of their anxiety. What are some signs of anxiety in children? Anxiety can appear in many different forms, in my opinion. The most common behaviors are irritability, (becoming) socially withdrawn, needing control over their environment or having perfectionistic tendencies. Physiologically, children may complain about headaches or an upset stomach. What is “normal” vs. when should a parent reach out for help if their child is struggling? I believe some anxiety is a very normal and natural response to situations, such as, the first day of school or meeting new people. However, when it starts to disrupt the child’s day-to-day function, then I would recommend seeking professional help. I think it is important for parents to know that counseling does not have to be a long-term thing. What is your best advice for parents with children who seem to be anxious? I am a firm believer in parent-child attachment and the importance of building a child’s self-esteem to help with anxiety. Reading books with your child increases attachment because it is one-on-one time as well as an educational opportunity. I would suggest reading books about characters being brave, emotional or situational books such as not being afraid of the dark or first day of school jitters. The more a parent can identify and normalize the emotions their child is feeling, the more their self-esteem continues to build.

SCAN HERE TO VIEW THIS MONTH’S COVER STORY VIDEO

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Downright Beautiful THE ROAD TO RECOVERY BY TERRI GRAVITT PHOTOS BY MATT CORNEL IUS

THE STRUGGLE YOU ARE IN TODAY IS DEVELOPING THE STRENGTH YOU NEED FOR TOMORROW. Richard Turner could not have known when he overcame alcoholism and an addiction to prescription painkillers that he was developing within himself a strength that would be invaluable in the face of a second struggle. Cancer, as it often does, unexpectedly burst on the scene, threatening all his renewed hopes and dreams. However, that practiced and abundant strength showed up at the perfect time. “I find tranquility in the trials of life,” Richard shared. “I live my life now with the idea that life is a gift from God. Today, when I hit my knees to ask for help, I don’t see it as an act of humiliation. I see it as an act of surrender.” Richard was born and raised right here in the Ark-La-Tex area. His parents were divorced when he was very young, but they both remarried, giving him four parents instead of two and siblings who did

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not share DNA, but were siblings in every other way. Despite hating school, he still did well at it, but the only diversity he saw was in himself! “Even at a young age, I felt like the odd man out,” he said. “I never felt I belonged and knew that I was somehow exceptional. Of course, it would take years for me to know how I was unique, but I was unique, nonetheless. I doubt my story differs much from thousands of others, but today I know I have a voice that can help others know they are not alone.” Because Richard felt chronically different, he recalls escaping into fantasies, dreaming of being anyone other than who he was. I was a freshman in high school when the first drop of alcohol touched my tongue. I remember a tingle at the back of my throat when I swallowed. No gagging. No burning. The liquor slowly made its way down. Instant alleviation. A wave of instant gratification came over me. For a teen that always felt alienated, with alcohol, I did not care what people thought of me. I’ll be so bold as to say I didn’t even care what I thought about me. My biggest fear, which had been not being accepted, became a fleeting thought. The pool of emotion I felt with my first drunk experience became quite a fervor of mine throughout my teens, lingering to plague my twenties as well.” “Like any budding alcoholic would,” Richard continued, “I sustained.” Being a senior in high school, what should have been good times hanging out with friends became an excuse to “drown my demons.” He recalls going to a party shortly before graduation, intending to drink a few to “fit in;” instead, he drank everything in sight. This was the first of many blackout episodes. “You would think being violently hung over would be a wake-up call,” he said, “but no!” His only thought was “when do I get to do that again?” After graduation, Richard took a job at a new hotel opening in town. He did well at the front desk there, but in September 2008, he needed some dental work. He was prescribed narcotic pain medication and took it as directed, but soon, his addictive personality proved problematic when “as prescribed” turned in to “I wonder what two will do?” This began the downward spiral of three, four, five and even ten pills at a time. “I was hooked,” Richard shared, “but

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oblivious to the fact that I was in trouble. The only problem I could see was whether or not I would have enough to make it through the day.” Richard might have seen these red flags and rationalized them, but those around him also began to take notice. They could see the Richard they knew, with his larger-than-life personality, had now morphed into a full-blown “Broadway production.” When he added alcohol to the “cocktail,” he lost himself, displaying a complete lack of regard for everything and everyone around him. At 24, he woke up at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital after his first overdose. This event led him to his first local treatment center. He stayed for four days, but he believed he could stop the drugs with little trouble. After all, that was the real issue, wasn’t it? He convinced himself the alcohol was no big deal. So, he went straight from the treatment center to the bar. This lasted for about a year until he came face-to-face with his sister, Whitney. “In E-True Hollywood fashion,” he said, “this was to be the first of several ultimatums to address my addictions.” Whitney, standing tough in her love for Richard, expressed, “It’s treatment or out of my house.” Richard chose treatment, and this time he completed it. It was by now the winter of 2012, and the day he came home from treatment was the day he went right back into the bar. “Again,” he convinced himself, “alcohol was legal, so it most definitely could not pose a problem.” Despite years of multiple failed relationships, multiple run-ins with law enforcement, multiple rehabs, and multiple moments of harm to his friends, family and co-workers, Richard still lacked the ability to admit he had a problem. “I was a cyclone. I ripped through lives with no regard for anyone or anything other than my own selfish desires and habits. This is how self-centered I am capable of

being. I used everyone and offered nothing in return.” By May 2015, Richard found himself homeless, jobless and most of all helpless. “I lived at the precipice of death,” he continued, “and knew it all too well. Today, I can tell you at that juncture of my life, I made peace with the fact that I was an unfortunate soul, and this is how I would die. My family suffered the most, I think. They suffered things that they should have never had to endure. I sought to hurt them, and I succeeded. To this day, I maintain that the most awful thing I have said to anyone, I said to my mother—the lady who bore me. I live every day attempting to make that right, even though she says she has forgiven me.” Treatment centers did not work for keeping Richard sober, but they planted seeds for him that slowly grew over time and survived many more overdoses and trips to psychiatric facilities. Richard’s day of grace came August 11, 2015. “I was so broken, tattered and riddled with shame when I got sober. I literally had nothing but my life and a willingness to do something different.” That willingness from day to day eventually turned into months and then into years. Sobriety is now his friend. It led him to go back to school and in December 2020, he graduated with an Associate in Criminal Justice Degree with honors and became a first-generation graduate. He is currently a junior at Texas A&M University-Texarkana where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society for leadership and success. “Addictions are everywhere and in the form of everything. Sometimes it’s not as easy to spot as the person that we see wandering around vacuuming the concrete. Sometimes, it is the lady, dressed in business casual attire, sitting at a desk, carrying a designer

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Louis Vuitton purse that has half of the Walgreens pharmacy in there and enough Xanax on hand to sedate a Clydesdale. It is rarely black and white and that is where the stigmas need to be shattered. People, not meaning to, throw around jokes about a ‘crackhead’ or a ‘drunk,’ while remaining blithely unaware that the ‘crackhead’ or the ‘drunk’ are someone’s husband, brother, aunt, grandparent…add your own title. More than 70,000 Americans died from an overdose in 2019. That is too many. Help is literally everywhere, whether it be at a rehab, outpatient services, 12-step groups or church. We all know someone suffering. Odds are, they are suffering in silence.”

cancer.’” The surgeon continued to talk for what must have been 30 minutes and finally left the room. Richard immediately picked up the phone and called his sister, Whitney, a nurse at Wadley. “Whitney could tell by my voice that I was disturbed. I ultimately broke down and told her.” Plagued by the thought of telling his partner, Terry, Richard could not bring himself to utter the words “I have cancer” to anyone else. Thankfully Whitney stepped up and did that for him. After being released and sent home, Richard confessed, “I was so lost. I could think of nothing but cancer—nothing. He ended up having a total of five surgeries to remove the cancer and his large colon and

Richard’s chemotherapy regimen and medication to combat the side effects during his battle with cancer.

a port placement in his chest. He underwent four months of daily chemotherapy, including both pill form and infusions. He finally finished chemotherapy July 11. He still will need routine scans for the next five years, but he is cancer free! When reflecting on his struggles and what he has learned from them, Richard shared, “I have survived alcoholism, addictions, cancer and chemotherapy. If I died right now, I know exactly where I would spend eternity. Here is what I have to say! Bring it! I am a child of God! There is a lot to be said for people who come out on the other side of obstacles. People with substance abuse disorders are not weak, nor are they weak-minded. They are the most resilient individuals ever created! We get up daily and tackle what has been genetically designed to kill us. So, when I think of heroism, I do not have to look too far. I simply glance in the mirror and say, ‘I see you trying, and I think it’s downright beautiful. Now chin up, bro! Otherwise, the crown slips.’”

“You will never see me shame someone for battling addictions,” Richard humbly shared. “Instead, you will see the grace of God in motion. I remain vigilant in my efforts to stay sober. Everything that has been gifted to me will fit in a shot glass and that is a fact! Bottle in hand, I will ruin everything in my wake if I ever backslide. So, when I say that my story is full of broken pieces, terrible choices and ugly truths, I mean it! It is also filled with major comebacks, peace in my soul and a grace that has saved my life.” On February 19, 2021, little did Richard know another test of his fortitude was about to begin. He thought he had kidney stones and went to Wadley Regional Medical Center. Turns out, he was right. He did have kidney stones, but he also had acute appendicitis, which required emergency surgery. He was admitted to the ICU and kept for five days. Two days following surgery to remove his appendix, his doctor came in and sat down in his ICU room. Richard instinctively felt the dread of bad news. His pathology from surgery had revealed a goblet-cell carcinoid tumor in his appendix. “As he began to talk,” Richard said, “I looked away, and the room went black. I heard nothing past the point of ‘we’ve found

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2022 TEXARKANA MAGAZINE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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BEAUTY AND WELLNESS CENTER

Welcome to the Beautiful Life

5303 Cowhorn Creek Road Texarkana, Texas 75503 903-831-5659 TEXT 903-903-2885 www.TexasBodySculpting.com

“Take care of you! We have all been through so much, both physically and emotionally. Have you considered the overall effect these past months have had on yourself or those you love? Negative emotions left unchecked are turned inwards and can lead to physical illness and discomfort in the body—not to mention weight gain. This year, celebrate ‘Health’ and ‘Wellness!’ We all have so much to be grateful for and this new year is an opportunity to get out, reach out and take better care of YOU!” DR. DAVID WHITTEN MD, PHD, FACEP

WHO WE ARE The Beauty and Wellness Center (BWC) was created with you in mind! We want to help you not only maintain your health but improve it. We want to revitalize not only your skin but your life. Whatever your needs, the BWC offers a wide range of treatments to address them. From facials to body sculpting treatments, skin care therapies to cosmetic surgeries, our treatments can be combined with conventional medical care in order to achieve overall physical and mental health. We are committed healthcare professionals that want to make a difference for you! WHY WE LOVE OUR PROFESSION They say that beauty is only skin deep but when you feel confident in how you look and feel, your beauty radiates from within. You are healthier! It is an amazing blessing to share in someone’s wellness journey, whether it’s about weight loss, better skin, reduced pain or whatever gives someone comfort and makes them feel better. The BWC is a ‘feel good’ place and we love our patients! It is an honor to do what we do.

SPECIALTIES Cosmetic Surgeries—

Suture Suspension Lifts, Liposuction, Scar Revisions, Mini Tummy Tucks

Massages Facials Medical Weight Loss

Photo Facials Fat Reduction Skin Toning and Tightening Events Fat Transfer

WHAT SETS US APART At the BWC, we see Beauty and

Wellness as one. Every improvement in the way you feel and look will have a positive impact on your life. We are real people. We want to know our patient’s names. Our office has a family atmosphere and in fact, we are a family run and owned business. We listen. We understand your needs and we cater to specific indulgences and requests through individual treatments, parties and events. We are all about a beautiful life, a healthy life. Allow us to welcome you with our genuine service and laid- back sophistication to our ‘place set apart’ from your everyday experience.

PRODUCTS DeU America Skin Care EPIONCE OBAGI Medical Skin Care FarmHouse Fresh (made in Texas)

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ETERNAL BEAUTY MEDICAL

Your trusted beauty experts

WHO I AM I am Elizabeth Jacobsen, Nurse Practitioner and owner of Eternal Beauty Medical Aesthetics and Day Spa. I wanted to create a space that would induce feelings of wellbeing upon entering the door. I believe we have done that. High quality services and customer service are our highest priorities. Whether you are visiting for a relaxing spa day with a facial, steam and massage, or for a medical esthetic treatment, you will feel comforted and in safe hands. WHY I LOVE MY PROFESSION I love this profession because of the artistry involved—including the design of the space, the artistry of the work that I do, the artistry of choreographing daily business, even down to the scent of the air. Every detail counts. WHAT SETS ME APART I strive to practice the highest moral and business ethics and would say

5510 Summerhill Road Texarkana, Texas 75503 903-278-9566 www.eternalbeautytexarkana.com

ELIZABETH JACOBSEN FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER

“I don’t care for the, ‘New year, new you,’ that we hear and read every year. I think we should focus a little more on ourselves throughout the year.”

SPECIALTY Cosmetic Dermatology

that I am able to pay very good attention to the finest of details.

PRODUCTS

Neuromodulators such as Botox ® and Dysport ® Dermal Fillers such as Juvéderm ® , Restylane ® and Radiesse ® Laser Treatments such as Hair Removal Skin Resurfacing and Tattoo Removal PDO Thread Lifting Cool Sculpting Cool Tone Scar Resurfacing Potenza Radiofrequency Microneedling

Radiofrequency Skin Tightening Obagi and Epionce Medical Skin Care Medically Assisted Weight Loss BioTe ® Hormone Replacement Therapy Advanced Facials including Microneedling and Chemical Peels Eyebrow Microblading Female Sexual Health Packages with Vaginal Tightening and O-Shots Luxury Spa and Water Therapy Customizable IV Vitamin Infusions Massages

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LAVENDER THORNE All-Natural Heath Products Made With Love

WHO I AM I am a child of God, mother of three boys, loving wife, friend to all and stranger to none. I am a dedicated, hardworking, passionate, woman-owned and operated business owner and I absolutely love what I do. I fill any roles needed in the business, from taking out the trash to being the leader of the strong women of Lavender Thorne. WHY I LOVE MY PROFESSION My job is rewarding because of the testimonials from our customers that our products have truly changed their lives. I love spreading the word of God, being hands on in the community and using my platform to help people around the world. I love natural products and essential oils! They have changed my family’s lives. I have a history of miscarriages and I’ve experienced first hand what switching to natural can do for your health and ultimately your life. Several doctors told me my chances of ever having children were slim. Three boys later, I’m here to say, there is a way! WHAT SETS US APART We use natural butters, oils, organic ingredients and therapeutic grade oils in all of our products. We balance family and work life. There have been many days or nights we have had to bring the kiddos to play in the warehouse while the mamas work. This isn’t just a job with co-workers, it’s a sisterhood of moms, daughters and best friends. We put scriptures on every product spreading the word of God in a creative way, planting seeds in homes, stores and individual lives. We pride ourselves on consistency. Customer service is at the forefront of our business. We strive to make

1323 Spruce Street Texarkana, Texas 75501 903-276-5580 www.lavenderthorne.com

SPECIALTY Creating non-toxic wellness, home, baby and beauty products and whatever else our wonderful customers need. BEST SELLING PRODUCTS Elderberry Syrup (immunity booster syrup) Honey Dew (Healing Salve for eczema, psoriasis, cuts, burns, bites etc. it’s called Honey Dew, because it literally does EVERYTHING) Body Polish (exfoliating bath scrub—will leave your skin feeling amazing from head to toe) Hair Growth (hair spray made to boost hair growth, re-growth and thickening) Dry Shampoo (hairstylists favorite powdered dry shampoo) Baby Wash (organic baby wash moms can feel comfortable using on their little ones) Stain Bye (stain spray that gets out even the toughest stains) Pure Joy (moisturizing facial serum) Relief (headache and migraine roller a true God send) The Cycle (cramps, fatigue, PMS symptoms, endometriosis, PCOS, etc., a woman’s best friend)

CASSIDY LAVENDER OWNER

“It’s never too late to clean up your lifestyle. Switching to natural and ditching false fragrance or medication can be a challenge. Start slow and educate yourself. There is a product for anything and everything in life. If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help!”

sure all our customers are happy. We know our customers by name and their favorite products. All recipes are formulated in house and tried and tested before hitting the shelves. We have wholesalers in every state in the United States plus overseas—Italy, France, Cayman Islands, Netherlands, Australia, Africa, Canada and more.

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LONESTAR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Be Your Best Version

5520 Christus Drive, Suite A Texarkana, Texas 903-306-0838 903-826-1010 lonestarhealthwellness.com

SPECIALTY Facial Aesthetics

SAMANTHA HARRIS OWNER, MSN, APRN, FNP-C “Time continues on, and as 2022 begins, consider setting some skin care goals for the new year. New Year, Same You… Only Better.”

MIRANDA BAUGH MSN, APRN, FNP-C

WHO WE ARE Samantha Harris, owner of Lonestar Health and Wellness opened in November 2019. Samantha is married to local physician Jason Harris and they have three children. She has a masters degree from Walden University, multiple advanced certifications and master level aesthetic training. Miranda Baugh is married to local physician John Baugh and they have three children. She has a masters degree from North Dakota State University. WHY WE LOVE OUR PROFESSION The Lonestar Health and Wellness team love to make people feel amazing and be the best version of themselves. Samantha loves learning new techniques, the science and the why behind it. That is why education is so important to her. Miranda has like minded goals to help

the Lonestar clientele look and feel their best. She is overjoyed to join Lonestar Health and Wellness’ growing team. WHAT SETS US APART Results! Word of mouth has truly made our business as successful as it has been! Samantha is very personable, has conversations with all her patients before any procedure and discusses goals and expectations. She is very precise with her work, and all her clients know that! In terms of Lonestar Health and Wellness, it’s the combined education and experience they offer. Samantha is a master injector in Botox ® and fillers. Miranda has been an injector for 5+ years; combined Samantha and Miranda have over 22 years of experience as nurse practitioners.

PRODUCTS Allergan Products Portfolio— Botox ® Juvéderm ® Collection of Fillers Kybella Galderm Products Portfolio— Dysport ® Restylane ® Collection of Fillers Sculptra ® Genius ® RF Microneedling SkinPen ZO ® Skin Medical Grade Skin Care SkinMedica Medical Grade Skin Care

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