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DPS Urges Caution in Summer Heat

Tips help residents beat the heat, stay safe

AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Department of Public Safety is warning Texas residents to be prepared for summertime temperatures, and to take precautions to stay safe as temperatures and heat indices hit 100 degrees and above in many parts of the state this time of year. Extreme temperatures increase the risk of heat-related injuries or deaths. “Summertime heat is a fact of life in Texas, but the dangers from high temperatures are real and should not be taken lightly,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Heat-related deaths and injuries are often preventable if residents take the necessary steps to educate and protect themselves – and their loved ones.”

Warmer weather places children at greater risk of injury or death if left unattended in a vehicle. Every year children die from heat-related injuries after being left in a vehicle or by entering a vehicle unnoticed. Continue Reading →

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Best Ways to Cut Funeral Costs

I have been an Insurance Agent for quite some time. When one becomes a Funeral Director, Insurance is one of those collateral duties that compliments your skill set and assists clients as they come to the funeral home looking for assistance for their future end of life (death) needs. Insurance offers a vast selection of products based on the needs of the client. The issues related to product selection are that although clients can vocalize their concerns, they often do not understand which product provides the most efficient solution for them. In most cases, their purchase decision will be based on one of two facts. Continue Reading →

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Isolation Increases Risk of Suicide

Last night I was surfing social media when I came upon a friend’s post stating that upon reflection, he was taking a break from social media.  He stated that since the passing of his wife six months ago, his opinion posting had become offensive to his son.  He was confused and hurt by his son’s chastisements, and to discontinue causing his son discomfort or embarrassment, he had concluded that his withdrawal was in order.  His post was filled with sadness, despair, pain, and anguish.  Regret was apparent that he had not foreseen that his posts might wedge a wound in his father/son relationship, and he was solemnly announcing his intention to bend to his son’s harsh rebuke. To show my support of this man’s right to post his opinion on a social media platform based solely on opinion posting, I went through his history and began liking every one of his opinion posts with which I could agree.  It was not enough though.  As I lay in my bed last night, I found that sleep was elusive.  I tossed and turned all night worrying about this friend.  
Grief Brief 7
Social Withdrawal
People who have recently lost a loved one may tend to withdraw from family or friends in intimate and social situations. This tendency is generally brief and usually corrects itself without intervention. If one continues to withdraw from social interactions over an extended length of time, one might find it comforting to consult with a counselor. Continue Reading →

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July 4, Fireworks, Shows, Parades, and God

It started with a suggestion in June, followed by a meeting on July 2, and finally a formal signing on July 4, 1776.  From that moment on, the cry would go up around the world that the colonies of the North American Continent, all thirteen of them, had declared independence from Great Britain.  Like any country, Britain would not take kindly to losing the colonies.  In fact, no country in the history of the world has ever simply said, “Sure, go ahead and leave us and take all the investments we made into your area with you.”  No, instead the greatest empire in the world set out to reclaim the colonies and force them back into the British realm.  The rest of the story, you know as the United States won independence in the war that followed.  To this day, we still hear our friends across the pond in England wish us a “Happy Traitor’s Day.”  Naturally, this is done more in good humor now that we are friends so many years after the revolution. The founding fathers were by no means blind to the fact that they were setting in motion something that would be celebrated for years, and perhaps forever.  John Adams wrote to his wife of the importance of the entire event that officially started on July 2 and ended on July 4.  He sent his letter on July 3, 1776 that included the following statement:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Continue Reading →

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Thrifty Bird Brings Walmart Markdowns To Email

A few months ago a friend of mine shared a new business he has running with me called Thrifty Bird (Thriftybird.com).   He signed me up with my permission and I started to receive daily emails at roughly 3 a.m. each morning.  By the time I would stumble out of bed, I could pull my Thrifty Bird email and see all the latest mark downs at my local Walmart stores. Now I’m sure that a lot of folks are thinking, “Big deal, I can see the sales paper or go see the mark downs myself.”  Yes, that’s one way of doing business, but then you miss the bigger picture.  Thrifty Bird does something that sale papers cannot do.  It captures daily mark downs.  Did you know that Walmart marks prices down daily on many items?  With such a large inventory, they have clearance items, stock reduction items, and even outdated items – think digital copies free with a purchased DVD or Blu-ray that have expired.  These items do not always make the local sales paper because the item or items may be exclusive to one or a few stores.  Let’s say that all the Walmart stores nationwide sell out of a “Top Notch” television sets – don’t worry, there is no such thing to my knowledge as “Top Notch” – but the store in Texarkana, Texas still has three units on the shelf.  The main Walmart sales paper- which goes nationwide – is not going to advertise that those “Top Notch” televisions are about to be marked down.  You cannot have people in Dallas running to a store, searching for a “Top Notch” and then not finding one!  So, “Top Notch” never makes the main sale paper.  If you happen to go into Walmart in Texarkana, Texas, then you find “Top Notch” televisions have been marked down from $300 to $75 and they only have three of them left.  Because you happened to go into the store, you lucked out and got a “Top Notch” television for a great price.  But, what if you don’t go to the store that day?  You miss out and there’s no “Top Notch” television in your future.  Enter Thrifty Bird! Thrifty Bird will send you an email with your selected store – in this case Texarkana, Texas – and you’ll see a post that says something like this:  “Top Notch” Television set, 3 in stock, Reg. price $300, marked down $75 in electronics row 33”.  Now you know how many sets are there, what the mark down price is, and where to find the television once you get to the store.  You’ve received your email early in the day – remember, they just marked it down around midnight – and you can quickly run to the Texarkana, Texas Walmart and buy your set.  Thrifty Bird brings you the clearance or reduced prices before anyone else gets them…. well, before anyone other than other Thrifty Bird uses. Continue Reading →

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Gumbo

Some of my fondest memories as I was growing up are of those spent with my family.  Moments in time with parents, grandparents, and great grandparents that were once common are now priceless recollections that I hold dear to my heart.  Yesterday as I sat in church, I sent out a text to my brother asking him to cook a Cajun dinner for my eldest daughter and her family who are visiting us from the northern states for a week.  Fortunately, he graciously accepted, so last night, we traveled from Texas to Louisiana for dinner at his house. As I arrived at his home, the aroma of his cooking brought precious memories back to my mind of my childhood.  Arriving at my grandmother’s house in south Louisiana was always a culinary treat.  We entered his house through the back door directly into his kitchen and immediately my children and grandchildren began hugging their aunts, uncle, and great grandparents.  The moment was so touching, I could barely hold my emotions. We enjoyed our dinner.  The gumbo was excellent.  Afterward, we walked next door to my father’s home.  We gathered in his music room, played our instruments, and sang fun songs.  When my father was a schoolboy, he played the bass clarinet.  It just so happens that my granddaughter plays the same instrument.  As my father played the bass guitar, he asked my granddaughter if she would like to play it.  She accepted the invitation and within 60 seconds was playing the foundation base of each song.  Her younger sister strummed along on the autoharp and we all learned the complicated vocal control needed for yodeling. We had a wonderful family evening.  An evening I hope they will recall with fondness when they are grandparents and have the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren.  I see my grandchildren rarely, but that does not mean I do not love them.  It means that they live far away and that my heart yearns for them daily.  I was fortunate to grow up in the company of my grandparents, great-grandparents, and multitudes of cousins.  My grandchildren do not enjoy that privilege. When I was a child, summer vacation meant fun and play to me.   Now that I am a grandmother, it means my heartbreak will have a moment’s relief when my grandchildren pull up in my driveway and stay with me for a week.  I hope last night will be one of those memories that will bring them strength and comfort once I am gone.  I hope they will know that I loved them, that I lived all year for the moment I would be able to see them, and that I would give my last breath on earth in their defense. Continue Reading →

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Youth Programs Can Lead to Future Careers

 

Oklahoma-I had the great pleasure last week of visiting a summer youth program at Bridgestone Intermediate School in western Oklahoma City.  This group of about thirty students in the 5th and 6th grade was a joy to meet with, and many of them were already expressing an interest in politics. They asked me to share my story with them: how I became a state legislator, a gubernatorial candidate and now the director of OICA. As I related that story, I realized that many of my lifelong passions developed when I was only slightly older than them. My interest in politics really started in earnest when I served as a page for Senator Ray Giles as a high school student.  From that experience, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to a career path of helping shape policy and working in the best interest of my fellow Oklahomans. I had this experience thanks to a 4-H award which I won my junior year.  I had joined 4-H when I was the same age as the Bridgestone students I met last week, and I experienced many wonderful leadership development opportunities which not only took me outside the town limits of Rush Springs, but all across the United States. Continue Reading →

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Cherished Memories

As I was preparing to leave my office at the close of a busy day, my phone rang.  A gentleman asked if he could speak with me about the recent loss of his dear wife.  His anguish was heartbreaking and as he recounted his experience and emotions to me, I was impressed in so many ways by the depth of his love for her, his devotion to her, his ability to evaluate his spiritual reliance on her, his awareness of his emotional wound without her beside him, his ability and willingness to express his loneliness and fear of life without her by his side, and his desire to openly seek assistance.  There were so many impressive attributes expressed during our conversation, that when it was over, although I remained worried and deeply saddened for him, I was comforted that he was on the right track for recovery. A loved one’s death is overwhelming.  Prior to your loved one’s death, you understand that you love that person deeply; however, you may not realize that without that person, your life is barely manageable; barely maintainable.  Upon the other’s death, your life is suddenly in danger as well.  Your life is filled with turmoil.  Disorganization rules every aspect of your functionality.  Indeed, at times, your will to live may be called into question.  These are very frightening facts.  Moreover, upon the death of a significant loved one, someone with whom you have been married for decades upon decades, with whom you have created generations of descendants, with whom you have established reputation, successful business, wealth, and happiness; these facts do indeed become burdens of distress, that if not properly managed will end your life.  The gentleman caller on the other end of my phone understood the gravity of these issues and wanted to understand and apply the remedies for them. Unfortunately, the only quick fix for grief is to be a shallow person – a person who does not love others.  To be this type of person is undesirable.  To live this type of life is empty and lonely.  For my caller to swiftly recover from his wife’s death, he would have to forget about the many wonderful years they spent together, the trials they conquered together, the foes they battled together, the fears they triumphed over, their accomplishments, their setbacks, their hardships, their disagreements, their makeup’s, their holidays, their illnesses, their recoveries, the births of their children and grandchildren, the accomplishments of their children and grandchildren, and the list continues.  These are things this man would not give up if his life depended on it, and at this point, it does. These experiences that have built his life with his wife, strengthened his resolve to be her eternal companion and solidified his love for her are exactly what have caused his grief upon her death.  They are also the exact same experiences that will save his life and cause his recovery as he begins to reorganize his existence without her by his side.  Day by day, he will understand more and more that these sweet memories are what get him through his days and allow him to keep breathing.  Although his heart is momentarily rent in two, these memories that he sees as reminders too painful to recall, are slowly turning into bandages that will spiritually bridge his existence to that of his wife’s beyond the veil.  As he opens his heart to celestial infusion, he will realize that his wife’s love remains with him, that she has not and will not forget him, and that she awaits his arrival with the greatest anticipation just beyond his view, but never beyond his reach, in that glorious place called paradise.  And that one day, they will reunite where families are forever, where love is eternal, and where the trials and sorrows of this life will become cherished memories. My name is Tracy Renee Lee. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Ranks 36th in National Ranking of Child Well-Being

State makes modest gains and policy improvements during a difficult legislative session

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma falls below the national average in several areas of child well-being, placing the state at 36th in the nation, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Despite seeing modest improvements, advocates say the state needs to do more. Download the complete Oklahoma rankings here. “A ranking of 36th place out of 50 is not good enough for our children and not good enough for Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) CEO Joe Dorman. “Our mediocre outcomes reflect mediocre investments made in the services that children rely on, like public education and health. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana Arkansas Yard of the Month Nominees Needed

Texarkana, AR – The Texarkana Arkansas City Beautiful Commission is looking for the best, brightest, and most beautiful yards in the city.  Each year as flowers bloom, trees fill out, and the grass grows green, the commission attempts to find and recognize the hard work, clean-up, and beautification of Texarkana yards.  This year the commission is turning to you for help and nominations! Do you know someone with a fantastic yard?  You know the kind of yard the commission is looking for; it’s the yard that makes you slow down when you drive past and say, “Wow”.  Texarkana has beautiful yards all over the place….in fact, there are so many that there is no way commission members can find them all.  So, your City Beautiful Commission needs your help.  The commission needs you to find the yards, and send them in for review by the commission. If you know of a yard that should be “Yard of the Month” or you stumble across one while driving around, send a note on the commission’s Facebook page.  The commission will take all nominations, review them, and vote.  Pictures would be helpful, but are not necessary.  The address will be needed for review. Send nominations online to Texarkana Arkansas City Beautiful Commission.  Continue Reading →

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