Sunday, December 28, 2008

Military wives get glamorous

Telegram Staff Writer

Being the Belle of the Ball is a tall order for a military wife in a tough economy.
To help them out, the Enlisted Spouses Club of Fort Hood has stocked a community closet full of dresses they can use for free.
'So many military balls take place each year that it doesn't make sense to buy a gown that you're going to wear just once,' said Rachel Dean of the Enlisted Spouses Club. 'Especially when money is tight.'
The community closet will have its official start on Jan. 2 at the Montague Community Life Building on the base at Fort Hood. Military women, wives and daughters will be able to come browse through the dresses and check one out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Couple reflects on mission trip

Telegram Staff Writer

As soon as he got off the plane, he knew he was in the right place.
'I felt like I was coming home,' said Roger Russell, a career missionary with the Southern Baptist International Board. 'It's like I was being called there. I'm supposed to do this; we're supposed to do this.'
It was the June of 1998, and it was Russell's first mission trip to Bucharest, Romania. By February of 1999, his wife Melinda, also a career missionary, and their three sons had joined him.
Their first task was to build chapels for the area's evangelical Christians. It was manual labor, but it never grew tiring or bothersome.
'Each finished chapel was a success,' Russell said. 'People had a place to go worship when we finished. They didn't before. You could see the results, and that kept us going.'
Having returned home to Central Texas this summer, the Russells worked on chapels for about half of the 10 years they were in Bucharest.
'These last years have been about nurturing their individual relationships with Christ,' Russell said. 'We hosted Bible studies and tried to lead by example. We wanted to show that you could live a life of Christ.'
And that proved to be their biggest challenge.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A gift that gives back: Couple sends cow to orphans

Telegram Staff Writer

This year's Christmas gift will not fit under a tree.
'But it's the best gift we could ever get for someone,' said Michael Fortson, pastor at Canyon Creek Church of Christ in Temple.
He and his wife, Doris, are purchasing a milk cow for an African orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Heritage of Faith and Hope Children's Home houses 90 children and educates an additional 50 in its school. But it can't give them their daily serving of milk.
'They have just one cow,' Fortson said. 'It produces 18 liters of milk a day, but that's only enough for each child to have a glass of milk once every three days.'
With their gift of a second cow, the Fortsons hope to double that amount.
'The theory is that there'll be milk every other day from here on out,' Fortson said.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stained glass makes royal gift

Telegram Staff Writer

Six bridge players took a stab at making a piece of stained glass, and what they got was the Chucker of Spears.
'Actually, it's the Queen of Hearts,' said Paul Rothaus of Temple. 'But the scepter she's holding looks like a spear, so I had to make fun of it. I mean, come on, it looks like she's flinging the thing.'
His teasing was constant but good-natured. Everyone was laughing and smiling as they talked about their project.
They made the Queen of Hearts in honor of Ann Wallace, owner of the Temple Duplicate Bridge Studio on the corner of Third and Royal.
'She's done so much for area bridge players,' said Judy Dayton, one of the artists. 'The studio is a beautiful, warm place to come and play. We're very grateful to her.'
Having opened Sept. 26, the studio's a relatively new addition to Temple. Two bridge clubs, Golden Rule and Bluebonnet, play there now, but come January another two clubs will add their cards to the mix.
'So the Queen of Hearts is a housewarming gift, a gesture of appreciation,' Rothaus said. 'We presented it to her the Friday before Thanksgiving.'

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Group makes pillows to soften patients' lives

Telegram Staff Writer

Here an oink, there an oink, everywhere an oink, oink.
The ladies of Soft Touch Ministry at Belton Church of Christ make pig pillows.
If you stand one on its feet, the pig looks like it's walking. The snout leads the way, and the tail wags behind.
'But when you lay it down, it becomes a neck pillow,' said Georgia Seals, the ministry coordinator. Its stomach becomes support for your head, and the two legs rest the shoulder.
This Tuesday the Belton seamstresses delivered 175 of them to Scott & White for distribution among cancer patients.
Chaplains from Lifeline Chaplaincy, the statewide parent group of the Soft Touch Ministry, will be making the deliveries.
'The pillows are great gift items,' said Tom Nuckels, director of spiritual care for Lifeline's Austin-area branch. 'No matter how old they are, people always smile when they get them. And they're useful too.'
Nuckels said he's received several thank-you cards for them.
'Those pillows never get left behind,' Nuckels said. 'People use them on the car ride home from the hospital.'

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's a Thanksgiving Feast! Enjoy the holiday without overeating

Telegram Staff Writer

Let's not kid ourselves. Thanksgiving is a weighty affair where the calories not only wait but beg to expand your waist line.
Think about it. The dinner won't be served until 3 p.m., but you're expected to arrive at noon.
That's three hours to graze on appetizers and sample your aunt's new brownie recipe. And then when you all gather at the table, it's time to eat some more. There's the turkey, the potatoes, the salads, casseroles and desserts.
And just when you've eaten that last bite of pie, it's time to do the dishes. Mom doesn't want to stand on the stool to get another piece of tupperware.
'There's just one bite of this left,' she says. 'Can somebody just go ahead and eat it, so I can wash the bowl?'
The calories keep coming, and before you know it, you're at home in a pair of sweatpants feeling groggy and bloated. But then morning comes, and it's time for breakfast - and in a month, it's Christmas, and you get to do the whole thing over again.
'Oh,' you say to the woe of all that food. But you don't have to dread it or fear it. The food is not in control, you are. Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it.
There are ways to get beyond the holiday temptation to overeat.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brockett: It's never too late for dreams
This story was picked up by the Associated Press.
Telegram Staff Writer

Her dream was to be a model.
So having just graduated high school, Ima Jean Brockett wanted to learn the trade.
But she couldn't. Pete, the man she was engaged to marry, was more important to her.
'He gave me a choice: him or modeling school,' Mrs. Brockett said. 'It was no contest. I chose him. He meant more to me than anything.'
So without regret she lived the life of a farm wife in Munday, a small town outside Abilene. She and her husband raised two daughters and before they knew it, there were grandchildren in the picture.
'But the idea of modeling never left me,' Mrs. Brockett said. 'Every time I saw a magazine or catalogue, I'd study the pictures in it. I'd look at how the models were posed, how they smiled and I'd imagine myself doing the same thing.'
Her passion was kept secret and it would have remained so if it wasn't for the inspiration she found in her mother's nursing home.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Granger church opens food bank

Telegram Staff Writer

Granger First United Methodist Church has launched a Feed the Hungry Food Bank for area residents.
'With times so tough now for so many, we knew this could help the families who are struggling,' said the Rev. Judy Gotcher.
High gas prices and the economy's downfall inspired the idea for the food bank.
'But we knew we couldn't handle it alone,' Ms. Gotcher said, explaining that the church has a weekly attendance of just 13 people. 'So we worked to make it a community effort.'
It didn't take long for the Granger school district, some area businesses and neighboring churches to get involved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book for a cook: Seaton sisters share savory snacks

Telegram Staff Writer

If you don't know what to fix for dinner, leave it to the Seaton Christian Sisters to give you some ideas.
They've compiled a 400-page cookbook full of dinner, party and dessert ideas. Entitled 'Blessings from the Kitchen,' the book's recipes are divided into these categories: Appetizers and beverages, soups and salads, vegetables and side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, cookies and candies, and this and that.
'Most of the recipes have been handed down from family to family over the generations,' said Helen Haisler, one of the cookbook contributors. 'The dressing, for example - my grandma made it, my mom made it and now I make it. It's not Christmas without it.'
That's the way Joyce Skrabanek feels about her sausage and sauerkraut.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blind craftsman creates spooky world

Telegram Staff Writer

There's not much not scary at the Hoskinson house.
Bats and goblins fly from the trees in the front yard. Skulls and headless men lean on the fencepost, and corpses play peek-a-boo from coffins in the backyard.
'Everything's been up since the first of October,' said David Hoskinson. 'Had to be able to enjoy it.'
It's not the sight of the decorations, though, that pleases the blind Mr. Hoskinson. It's the love of his handiwork.
'He does the carpentry and woodwork,' said wife Mari - who does the painting and helps with the design. 'He works power tools, climbs on ladders, everything. He even does the wiring for the sound. Scary music plays at night.'
Neighbor Rusty Williams attests to the quality of Mr. Hoskinson's skill.
'He makes some awesome stuff,' Williams said. 'He's been working on this year's stuff since the day after last Halloween.'

'Army' plans new center

Telegram Staff Writer

The Salvation Army of Temple wants to build 'A Center of Hope.'
'We're in a feasibility study right now,' said Capt. Martha Burchett, the director. 'We have to find out the cost, what location would be best and how big it should be.'
Her goal is to create a community service facility that will offer programs in counseling, transitional housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and character development for at-risk youth.
Funds for the center will come from a capital campaign fundraiser, set to start in the spring of 2009.
Assisting Ms. Burchett in this endeavor is an advisory board full of community leaders like Sam Farrow of Extraco Bank, Richard Archer of the Texas Veterans Land Board, Lonzo Wallace of Temple Fire Rescue, Jimmy Stewart of Wal-Mart, Realtor Bob Arris and Chaplain Jack Covington of the First Responders Fellowship.
'There's a lot of needs in this community that we can meet if we can get the resources to do it,' Wallace said.
He and Covington said the homeless and at-risk youth are two populations that need help and attention.
'Growth has been astonishing in this area, practically non-stop,' Covington said. 'But when the good grows, the bad grows too. And we've got to be prepared to address it and be there to help.'
The Center of Hope, however, will not be a place for free hand-outs. It will follow the Salvation Army mission code.
'We're about touching hearts and changing them,' Capt. Burchett said. 'We're about providing the tools to make positive change and growth happen.'

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Latin Mass resumes at St. Mary's Church

Telegram Staff Writer

The Latin Mass is returning to St. Mary's Catholic Church after an absence of more than 40 years.
'It took some work to make it happen, but now that it's here, we're all excited,' said Keb Burns, director of adult Catholic education at St. Mary's.
It's not just a one-time deal. The Latin Mass will become a regular fixture of worship at the Temple church. Father Gregory Hanks of Rockdale will offer it the first Sunday of every month at 5 p.m., starting Nov. 2.
'Nothing's going to change about the regular Mass (the one said in English),' Ms. Burns said. 'It'll still be there. The Latin Mass is an opportunity for those who want it to have it.'
Officially called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and sometimes referred to as the Gregorian Rite and Tridentine Mass, the Latin Mass was a regular practice at all Catholic churches until the Second Vatican Council dismissed it in 1962.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Carrying on in the name of Love

Telegram Staff Writer

He died in 2002, but people are still talking about him.
'Robert Love was that kind of guy - he was cool,' said longtime friend Bruce Matous of Temple. 'He meant lots of things to lots of people.'
And it'll be a long time before his memory fades.
His name is a permanent fixture to the newly formed Robert S. Love Foundation.
'It's a local organization committed to raising money for cancer research,' said Charles Lucko, foundation founder. 'Everything we do will benefit the Scott & White Cancer Research Institute.'
How this came to be is a story of loss, but it's also a story of friendship.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Polka starts Bartlett church's party

Telegram Staff Writer

Hey, hey, the gang will be there for Sunday's polka service at St. John's Lutheran Church in Bartlett.
With laughs and upbeat music, Oma and the Ooompahs plan to launch the church's 125th anniversary celebration with a German flair.
'And that's fitting,' said Charles Gersbach, president of the church council. 'We're a church of Czech and German roots, family and tradition.'
A bite of the congregation's homemade sausage will prove the man's not kidding.
'We're all so excited about the anniversary,' said Shirley Fischer, a woman who was baptized, confirmed and married at the Bartlett church. 'Our families go back four and five generations. That's identity.'

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fisher House lands Santa

Telegram Staff Writer

NORTH POLE - Santa's paying special attention to military families this year.
Now through Jan. 1, signs reading 'Official Santa Landing Zone' will decorate the lawns of the U.S. Fisher House lodges for families of military members undergoing medical treatment.
The beneficiary of this year's Operation Santa Sign, the Fisher House Foundation will also receive $2 from every Santa sign sale that takes place throughout the naouttion.
Costing $12.99, the signs will be available at through Dec. 31. The signs measure 24 inches wide by 18 inches high, and the purchase includes a stake for display purposes.
Operation Santa Sign is an annual charity project of, an online store for personalized academic apparel.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Standing on the promises: Grove church celebrates 125 years

Telegram Staff Writer

St. Paul Lutheran Church at The Grove has been partying since January.
“This year is very important to us,” said Pastor John Heckmann. “We’re celebrating our 125th anniversary.”
To commemorate the occasion, the church has heard special programs from former pastors.
“They’ve given a special service every other month,” Heckmann said. “The point was to highlight church life.”
Topics were fellowship, nurture, stewardship, worship and service.
“Everything we’ve been doing has been leading up to Oct. 26,” Heckmann said.
Oct. 26 is the date set for the official 125th anniversary celebration. There will be two special worship services, festival activities and a barbecue meal at noon served with Westphalia noodles.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More than a little blue turning 50

Telegram Staff Writer

Most of us learned about the little blue people on TV.
The Smurfs, turning 50 this month, had their own show 1981-1990. Papa Smurf was the boss, Smurfette was the girl and Gargamel was the bad guy.
But the Hanna & Barbera cartoon studio wasn't where the cheery mushroom dwellers were born.
The Smurfs surfaced Oct. 23, 1958, as supporting characters in a cartoon strip called 'Johan and Peewit' by a Belgian artist named Pierre Culliford.
Always having 'gnome-like adventures,' the Smurfs - or the Schtroumpfs as Culliford called them - quickly became an entity of their own. Under the penname Peyo, Culliford authored several Smurf books.
As the stories circulated, the Smurfs captured an international audience.
The world's languages developed their own words for Smurf. In Spanish, a Smurf is a Pitufo; in Germany, they are Schlumpfs; the Nam Ching Ling are Smurfs in China; and a Smurf is called a Dardassim in Hebrew.
This was in the '60s and '70s when it seemed here a Smurf, there a Smurf, everywhere a Smurf Smurf. The cartoon was still a decade into the future; and the movie 'The Smurfs and the Magic Flute' didn't hit the silver screen until 1982.
These days, as they celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Smurfs aren't as popular as all things Harry Potter, but they're by no means an endangered species.

Love of Smurfs runs in family

Telegram Staff Writer

There's a Smurf drawer in her house.
That's where Patsy Daniel of Temple keeps her Smurfs - all 88 of them.
But on Monday they weren't in the drawer. A sea of blue faces littered her kitchen table.
There was Farmer Smurf, Chainsaw Smurf, Halloween Smurf, Mermaid Smurf and Smurfs with every accessory imaginable.
'They're for the kids,' Ms. Daniel said. 'They love to play with them.'

Fundraiser will benefit study of premature birth

Telegram Staff Writer

Mommy goes to the hospital, has her baby and takes him home.
That's generally how it goes unless the baby's born premature.
If that's the case, Mommy's a powerless person sitting on the sidelines as a team of doctors prepares her child for life in an incubator.
That's how it was for Ashley Jones of Robinson, the keynote speaker for the Oct. 23 March of Dimes fundraiser. Her son Braxton weighed 15.2 ounces when he was born.
'He had to stay in the incubator for 3 months,' Mrs. Jones said. 'We took him home Dec. 15, his due date.'
In the first months of her son's life, Mrs. Jones and her husband Luke waited and watched.
'You live hour by hour,' Mrs. Jones said. 'One minute he's doing wonderful, but the next he's taken a step back.'
While he was in the incubator, Braxton couldn't breathe on his own.
'He was on a ventilator, and then he was breathing with treatments like they give for people with sleep apnea,' Mrs. Jones said. 'But then there was a step back, and he was on the ventilator again.'
Those long months proved productive. A bright-eyed, healthy Braxton turned 1 on Sept. 11 - without any sign of having been born premature.
'We were really lucky,' Mrs. Jones said. 'He didn't have any of the heart problems or brain bleeds that are associated with being born premature. Just one eye surgery to fix his sight.'

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jail ministry plans annual banquet: Millionaire will share success story

Telegram Staff Writer

Inmates are in jail. They're not dead.
Their spirits are alive and hurting, needing support and care just like anyone else, said Steve Cannon, executive director of J.A.I.L. Ministry - a Christian volunteer group that provides spiritual nurture to area juveniles and the inmates of Bell County Jail.
The weekly J.A.I.L. schedule overflows with activities. Evenings alternate with worship services, Bible studies and one-on-one encouragement sessions.
Man power is no problem. The group routinely welcomes new volunteers.
'But there's always a need for supplies and new Bibles,' Cannon said. 'And a need for funds to pay our administrative costs.'
The J.A.I.L. budget relies on contributions from the community, the bulk of which comes from J.A.I.L.'s annual fund-raising banquet.
This year, the banquet will take place Oct. 28 at the Bell County Expo Center.

Nazarenes celebrate 100 years

Telegram Staff Writer

Sunday's a big day for the Nazarenes.
More than 21,000 churches worldwide are planning to celebrate the denomination's centennial.
No matter the church, country or time zone, the celebratory sermon and video will be the same.
'It'll all be coming from the same passages and same scripture,' said Gary Hocker, pastor of the Cove Church of the Nazarene. 'It's the same theme.'
The centennial sermon is entitled 'The Church as a Holy People.' Its author is Jesse Middendorf, the general superintendent of the Nazarene church. A PowerPoint presentation accompanies the sermon, giving pastors the option to refer to animated images for emphasis.
In order to give the celebration service an identity common to all Nazarenes, the General Board of the church has also designated a centennial set of scripture readings and music selections.
The 10-minute video that will play at the centennial services is entitled 'Out of Many One, Out of One Many: The First 100 Years of the Church of the Nazarene.' It highlights the heritage, message and mission of the Nazarene church. A companion video designed for children will be available as well.
Some of the local Nazarene churches have added unique festivity to their individual celebrations of the centennial.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Drawn soldier is safely home

Telegram Staff Writer

The soldier in her picture: 'Did he come home safe?'
Amanda Hoelscher asked that question in 2005. The Temple High School senior remembers the concern she felt for the kind face in her drawing.
'I wanted to know more about him,' Miss Hoelscher said. 'I looked and I looked but never found anything.'
She got her answer three weeks ago. A woman who recognized the soldier as her husband called Miss Hoelscher's art teacher, Barbara Wilson from the Wilson School of Art in Morgan's Point Resort.
'I was surprised, without words,' Ms. Wilson said. 'Her name was Stephanie Edwards, and she wanted to give her compliments to the artist. She said it was wonderful and that it looked exactly like her husband Lucas.'
As the two women chatted, Ms. Wilson learned that Mr. Edwards returned home without injury.
'Then I asked her how she saw the drawing,' Ms. Wilson said. 'And she said it was on the Internet.'
That bit of news dumbfounded Ms. Wilson: 'I had no idea how it got on the Internet. I didn't put it there. Amanda didn't put it there.'
So Ms. Wilson thanked Mrs. Edwards for her call and the compliments. She was eager to call Miss Hoelscher and share the news.
'That was so neat that the soldier's wife called Barb,' Miss Hoelscher said. 'It's exciting as all this is coming together.'

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boy's simple question makes the funnies

Telegram Staff Writer

Saying 'Amen' at the end of a prayer isn't common sense to everyone, especially to those of us still learning the way of the big, wide world.
'Why Mom and Dad? Why do you say 'Amen' at the end of the prayer?'
The question came from 8-year-old Isaac Romer of Lorena early this spring.
'He asked it at the end of our prayer meeting,' said Mom, Brandy Romer, adding that prayers are routine in their household.
In response to Isaac's question, Dad (the Telegram's Paul Romer Jr.) offered this explanation: 'It's what you say when you agree with what was said in the prayer.'
But Isaac wasn't satisfied. He wanted to know what people said when they disagreed.
His parents couldn't answer. There was an awkward silence, Mrs. Romer said, until one of the other three children changed the subject.
Silent for the remainder of the evening, Isaac's brain was still pondering the subject. The conclusion he came to was this: 'Awomen.'
'To him, it made perfect sense,' Mrs. Romer said. 'The opposite of men is women.'
Isaac clearly remembers when and why he started asking questions about 'Amen.'
'My sister prayed that I would start liking Barbies,' Isaac said. 'And I don't.'
Come Sept. 21, Isaac's 'Awomen' solution will be the subject of a Pickles comic strip.

Salado artists see silver anniversary

Telegram Staff Writer

Dogs howled, and the floor was stained from oil leaks.
That's how it was in the beginning for the Salado Village Artists. Not having a place of their own, they met where they could - in a car garage that had a pair of Dobermans as mascots, in gas stations and in members' homes.
But that was in 1983 when the club was planting its roots. These days, as the club celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Salado artists meet in the refurbished schoolhouse behind the Salado Civic Center.
'Getting the building, that's something we're real proud of,' said Andy Phair, club founder.
Dedicated to the Salado Village Artists in 1994, the barn-like building had once served as a storeroom for the old Salado High School. Dick Goodman of Salado rebuilt the interior with donations from local supporters of the arts.
'But the most important thing to celebrate is that because of us, Salado has an art club,' Ms. Phair said. 'It wasn't like that when I moved here. I came from Austin where I was a member of two art clubs, and when I got here, I was sorely disappointed to find out that there wasn't a single one.'

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Salem Kids say goodbye

Telegram Staff Writer

It's not just another reunion.
It's the last one for the Salem Kids - the folks who learned their letters and numbers at the old two-room Salem School.
Having dwindled from a group of 300, they have become a rare breed.
'At last count, there were about 55 of us still living,' said Victor Mueck of Waco, reunion coordinator. 'We had 12 to attend the reunion last year. Age, illness and travel distance haven taken their toll.'
For those able to attend this year, the Sept. 20 reunion is sure to be a fine party.
'They'll be some good barbecue and good visiting,' Mueck says in the invitation. 'Even if it's just for a while, the trip out will be worth it. It's likely the last chance the most of us will have to see each other.'

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Avon Phenomenon: Perfume business makes sense

Telegram Staff Writer

'No way! You can buy Avon in a store?'
Leticia Solemon squealed in delight at the idea. Cruising the halls at Temple Mall, the 45-year-old woman's attention had just turned to the new Licensed Avon Beauty Center. She had spotted the store sign.
'Well now,' she said. 'Isn't that something? No more catalogs.'
With the revelation came a desire to purchase some hand cream and a perfume set. No longer at the mall to 'get some walking in,' Ms. Solemon became a Tuesday customer.
Comments of surprise - that's all the Avon storeowner has heard since the Aug. 18 grand opening.
'People can't believe there's an Avon store,' said owner Mary Kirkpatrick of Rosebud. 'A lot have come in and asked if I was sure it was Avon.'
She's sure.
'All of the merchandise is Avon stock,' Ms. Kirkpatrick said. 'We've had good traffic through here, despite the recent rain.'

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saving Sierra: Baby needs a lot of help to beat the odds

Telegram Staff Writer

Some say it takes a village to raise a child. That very well may be true, but in Sierra's case - it'll take a world.
The future is bleak for 11-month-old Sierra Rose Fedelem. She's blind, unable to respond to touch and her brain is underdeveloped.
'The doctors say she'll never be able to walk or talk,' said Rosetta, her 26-year-old mother.
Her parents want to save her. Their plan is to raise $50,000 and travel to the Beike Biotech Center in China for Sierra to undergo experimental stem cell therapy.
'That'll cost about $25,000,' said the father, 26-year-old Jason. 'The other half is for the purchase of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.'

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Religious counselor travels to China

Telegram Staff Writer

Trauma is the common ground between the Temple businessman and his Oriental clients.
'The culture and language are so different, but trauma is trauma,' said Michael Haynes, a crisis chaplain who worked Ground Zero at 9/11. The founder of the Faith Based Counselor Training Institute (FBCTI) of Temple was talking about his new relationship with the Hong Kong Institute of Christian Counselors (HKICC).
The HKICC became clients of Haynes' Counselor Training Institute this summer, not long after May's earthquake in the China's Sichuan province.
'People were dying, and people were hurting. There were hundreds who wanted to find out how they could help,' Haynes said. 'They have military, and they have groups who can rescue people trapped under rocks and groups who can feed the hungry. But they don't have people there who can work with their spirits and hearts. Our - U.S. - spiritual care is what they wanted.'

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cemetery care: Man maintains grounds to honor his family

Telegram Staff Writer

The grass was cut, the leaves were raked and the weeds were pulled.
Joe Zvolanek was pleased with the morning’s work.
He had put his hat on and was about to head home — but he spotted something.
There was a stick that had made its way to his father’s grave.
“Can’t have that,” he said.
So, using his cane for support, the man who turns 90 on Monday bent over to get it.
That’s a common sight to the office staff at Hillcrest Cemetery in Temple.
“Mr. Joe’s out here every morning,” said manager Patricia Benoit. “Working, watering and mowing. He keeps an eye on everything, and if there’s anything that needs to be fixed, he tells us.”

Counselor transforms 'Star Trek' into class on stress management

Telegram Staff Writer

Captain Yule B. Calm of the starship InnerPeace is about to embark on a four-week mission across the Adrenal Frontier.
It is Stress Trek - one man's attempt to teach the techniques of stress management with the Bible and the glamour and hilarity of photon torpedoes.
'I promise I'm not a Trekky,' said Captain Calm, err - Larry Hall, the family life counselor at Belton Church of Christ. 'People just started giving me this stuff.'
Hall's office could suffice as a prop closet for any version of the 'Star Trek' television shows.
His desk plays space dock for a couple of miniature starships. The filing cabinet makes a nice cloaking device for Dr. McCoy's tricorder and Captain Kirk's phaser. And the closet must be subject to a force field because three of Starfleet's highest officers are held captive. Kirk, Picard and Mr. Spock look comfortable enough, but their bodies have become the consistency of cardboard.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dog's enthusiasm inspires sermon

Telegram Staff Writer

The pup's name is Sadie - and her one true love takes the form of a yellow tennis ball.
'Whenever she sees one, her eye's on it,' said Mickey Blanks, lay pastor at Belton Church of Christ in Belton. 'It doesn't matter who has it or where they throw it, Sadie's going to get that ball.'
It's obvious the dog enjoys the chase. Her tail wags as fast as it can go, her ears are pointed in attention and her mouth does a dog grin.
The happy pup gave Blanks the idea for his July 20 sermon. Worship to us, he says, should be like the ball is for Sadie.
'The privilege to worship is the greatest gift after salvation,' Blanks said. 'Worship requires God's presence, so you should approach it as such.'

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Group needs help to get kids ready for school

Telegram Staff Writer

More than 300 students from the Belton school district need your help. And the deadline is fast approaching.
'School supplies are needed, yes,' said Jeannette Kelley, founder of Project Appletree, a program that has worked for 10 years to make sure that the start of school is a happy time for children from low-income families. 'But we also need sponsors for these 300 kids who signed up for new outfits.'
Project Appletree students receive a pair of jeans, a shirt, undergarments, a pair of shoes and socks in addition to the things like crayons, scissors and notebook paper. All of the items are new.
'It's the older kids who are harder to get sponsors for,' Ms. Kelley said. 'It's because it's so expensive, with the sizes being bigger. But every year, we've had every child be sponsored, so I know it'll happen again.'

Teachers go to class in the garden

Telegram Staff Writer

Don't let them fool you, kids.
Teachers get shushed too when it's time for them to pay attention.
It took some effort to refocus the 24 teachers after break time during the July 23 class at the Bell County Extension Office. Their excited chatter was focused on the morning's activities.
From 14 area schools, the teachers were there to learn from Bell County Master Gardeners. Covering topics from vermiculture to rain water harvesting, class sessions started July 22 and continued through July 25. It was the second annual Junior Master Gardener Teacher Training.

Firefighters provide supplies for Temple school

Telegram Staff Writer

Firemen show up when needed regardless of whether there's flames.
The Temple Professional Firefighter Association, Local 846 agreed to sponsor the 15 children who were without Backpack Buddies.
'Last week we were contacted by Jefferson Elementary and asked to help 15 more students from their school,' said Carol Lynch, coordinator of the Backpack Buddies, a ministry by Churches Touching Lives for Christ that works to provide low-income students with new school supplies and backpacks each year.
Another 15 needed to be added to the 1,100 students already on the list.
'It doesn't sound like a lot, but all our churches had already committed to helping all they could,' Ms. Lynch said.

The King will rock forever in small Mississippi town

Telegram Staff Writer

TUPELO, Miss. - Go up three brown steps.
A porch swing sways on your left. To the right, you can see a church across the sidewalk.
Straight ahead, the screen door of a white house hangs open.
It's not big or fancy, but that's the building Elvis never left. It's where the King was born.
A treat for a road trip fiend, my time at the Birthplace of Elvis Presley wasn't planned.
The excursion to Tupelo was a spontaneous affair. It occurred on my second day of meeting the in-laws - err, my boyfriend's relatives.
We had just finished up an afternoon of fishing, a.k.a. feeding crickets to catfish, at a pond in nearby Pontotoc. The conversation focused on what to do next.
'I guess we could go to Tupelo,' said Ricky Parks, my boyfriend's dad. 'That's the place where Elvis Presley was born, you know.'
I squealed in response to the offer. I'd already been to Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn., and to several 'Heartbreak Hotels' - the one in Memphis and a couple of others in Las Vegas and South Dakota. So for consistency's sake, I had to go.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mom turns loss into help for others: Aquatics instructor wants to make sure another baby doesn't drown

Telegram Staff Writer

There are two sides to the swimming hole.
It can be the quick fix to a long, hot summer day. But year after year, it has been a place that children and babies die.
Drowning can happen as easy as a stubbed toe. Anatasia Dewald knows that to be true in a way that no parent should ever have to experience.
In June 2005, the bodies of her 23 ½-month-old twins, Devin and Conner, were found face down in a pool.
'They were at a licensed daycare. I took them to daycare one day a week, so that I could work,' said Ms. Dewald of Copperas Cove. 'The person who was supposed to be watching them decided to take a nap.'
So Ms. Dewald's babies - who were conceived via the expensive, lengthy process of in vitro fertilization - went unwatched.
'It was an above-ground pool. It had a gate, but it wasn't latched,' Ms. Dewald said. 'The twins got outside. The gate was open. They drowned.'
Counseling has helped her manage her grief and anger. Her need to 'find a positive in the negative' inspired her to become what she is today - an aquatic skills instructor for infants.
'I had to do something,' Ms. Dewald said. 'There would never be any justice as I saw it.'

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wedding fee increases, but premarital course waives it

Telegram Staff Writer

It's kind of like a get-out-of-jail free card, except you end up married.
Come Sept. 1, the state fee for marriage licenses will double from $30 to $60. But there's a way not to pay.
Nuptial-minded Texans can choose to take an eight-hour premarital education course to qualify for a fee waiver.
Called the Twogether in Texas Healthy Marriage Program, the law's goal is to save taxpayers money.
'With the frequency of divorce and the problems we have with marriage in this state, it's time somebody addressed the problem,' said the law's author, State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, in a recent address to Austin legislators.
With 80,000 divorces each year, Texas spends at least $8 billion in family-fragmentation programs, according to a study conducted in 2006 by Georgia College.
'It's a taxation issue. If we can promote healthy marriages, then the cost of entitlement programs will be reduced,' said Christen Wohlgemuln, Chisum's legislative director. 'Good, solid marriages will save taxpayers money in programs that cater to broken-up families like welfare, Medicaid and food stamps.'
To accomplish the goal, Twogether will look to premarital education in the form of an eight-hour, skill-based course. The benefits of such programs, Ms. Wohlgemuln said, have long been recognized and documented in social research.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Army man finds pease with bonsai

Telegram Staff Writer

Thou shall not ignore thy tree.
If there were to be an 11th commandment, Ian Toland would say it should be something like that.
And he wouldn't be joking.
Trees are serious business at Toland's Killeen home.
For 10 years, he has dedicated two hours a day to the maintenance of his 125 bonsai trees.
'That's how I end my day - out with the bonsais,' Toland said. 'I like it that way.'
Tending to them caters to his desire to be outdoors.
'Never did I think I'd have to work at an inside job,' Toland said, referring to his position as database administrator for the Killeen school district.
After eight years, Toland still is adjusting to life behind a desk. He misses his outdoor work - the years he was a mechanic and in the U.S. Army.
'I'd still be working on cars if it wasn't for my shoulder,' Toland said, explaining the injury that prompted early retirement from the Army.
But he isn't bitter over the predicament. If it never took place, he would have never discovered the art of bonsai.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hobby sparkles in TV contest

Telegram Staff Writer

The time is ticking. She's got until midnight to get what she wants.
No, this story is not about a woman with a Cinderella complex, but it is a story about a woman who makes jewelry fit for a princess.
Dori Benner of Temple, owner of Dreamshadow Designs, is one of the top 50 finalists in a jewelry design contest sponsored by cable's Jewelry Television. Open until 11:59 p.m. tonight, online voting at will determine the winner.
To vote, the user should go to the site and click on the necklace image above Ms. Benner's name. That necklace is the design that earned Ms. Benner her place in the contest.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Author and family face near blunder at border

Telegram Staff Writer

It all started when Dad decided he wanted to go to Mexico.
The family was in Del Rio, so he thought, 'Why not? Laredo's not far. Let's go look around.'
At least, that's how Mom remembers it.
'So they we were waiting in line at the border,' said Mom, Tab Lloyd of Nolanville, author of a book about cheap travel in Texas. 'And the closer we got to Mexico, the more signs we saw that said, 'No weapons, no drugs, if caught, there will be no questions, and you will go straight to jail.''
These were idle threats for the Lloyds until they realized that a guard at the Mexican border had spotted a toy BB gun that was laying on top of a luggage bag.

Texas is like a whole 'nuther country ... and you can see it without emptying your pockets

Telegram Staff Writer

Don’t cancel the family road trip just yet.
Yes, gas prices are high, but if the destination charges no admission, then a vacation could still be affordable.
In Texas alone, there are at least 120 price-free tourist attractions. That’s how many Tab Lloyd of Nolanville discusses in her book, “Free Texas: Free Things to See and Do in the Lone Star State.”
“It’s good timing that I wrote the book when I did,” Mrs. Lloyd said. “I wrote it as I traveled Texas last summer. That let the book be out now, when gas is so much.”
Her hope is that families will visit the historic Texan sites she’s described, so that little ones can learn about their state’s heritage while spending quality time with siblings and parents.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ministry keeps ladies looking, feeling good

Telegram Staff Writer

The Beatles took a sad song and made it better in 'Hey Jude.'
In the same spirit, the Belton Church of Christ has taken an objectionable phrase and transformed it into a positive ministry. The Holy Rollers program at Crestview Nursing Home is a ministry of the Belton Church of Christ.
Every Friday morning, a group called the Holy Rollers goes to the Crestview Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Belton to treat the lady residents to a day at the hair salon.
The ladies get their hair shampooed and curled.
'They are so precious,' said Jan Doke, a proud Holy Roller. 'Their faces just light up when they get all dolled up for the weekend.'

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Woman dons clown makeup for smiles

Telegram Staff Writer

Knock. Knock.
Who's there?
It's a woman. It's a clown. It's both.
She's Buttons the Clown - the star of the Buckholts Cotton Festival and a frequent entertainer for dozens of community groups.
She's also Ruth Rolston of Temple, according to her driver's license.
But don't get confused. Buttons is Buttons, and Ruth is Ruth. The persona of Buttons is more than Ruth wearing make-up.
'You become the clown,' Ms. Rolston said, describing her transformation from Ruth to Buttons. 'You can't just put a costume on and say you're a clown. You have to have something on the inside, something that gives life.'
Nurturing that something, that inner clown, is no trivial task. Even though she's a veteran clown of more than 20 years, Ms. Rolston still needs some preparation time before she trades her nostrils for a red, squishy nose.
'You have to get into character, like an actor does,' she said. 'It takes me two hours to put my make-up on, and the whole time I'm doing that, I see Buttons come to life. And then I am Buttons.'

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Woman's collection grows as Barbie nears her 50th anniversary

Telegram Staff Writer

To say she has a hundred Barbies would be an understatement.
Debra Miller keeps more than 1,000 Barbies on display in her North Bell County home. They're in a Barbie arena, a second-floor bedroom that's devoted to the collection.
The dolls that aren't waving from inside their original casing, stand at salute from within a series of glassed-in cubby shelves that decorate the back wall.
Larger items, like Barbie's Dream House, car, boat and motorcycle, sit on the tops of the room's dresser, buffet and bookcase.
Sitting inside drawers and underneath the bed and office desk are still more Barbie things: the board games, the outfits, collectors books, baseball caps and posters.
And yet Ms. Miller claims she is 'desperately seeking Barbie.' That's the phrase that titles the business card she gives to fellow Barbie collectors.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Butter inspires group to lose weight

Telegram Staff Writer

Butter is the diet's enemy. It's one of the first things on the do-not-eat list.
But, apparently, butter's not all bad.
It's the star of Sticks of Butter, a new weight-loss support group at Belton Church of Christ. Its leader and creator is Ed Wilks, a man who got inspired to drop some pounds when he opened a refrigerator.
'You can work hard all week, but when you get on the scale, you find out you only lost a ¼ pound,' Wilks said. 'And if that's all you lost, well, it's easy to get discouraged. But if you go to the fridge and get out a stick of butter and hold it up to your arm or waist, well, then you'll find out it's pretty big, pretty heavy. You see, a stick of butter is a ¼ pound.'
A light bulb flickered in his head, and the idea for Sticks of Butter was born.
The core principle is to maintain a close relationship to Jesus Christ while adhering to a self-chosen weight-loss program. Besides Wilks and Linda Cruz, group co-leader, five people are interested in participating. People from the community are welcome to join.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Making blankets, making friends

Telegram Staff Writer

The ladies work their magic with yarn and crochet hooks.
Called the Circle of Friends, they meet once a week at Sammons Community Center to make afghans, shawls, hats and satchels for residents of area nursing homes.
'It's a strong, close-knit group. A real social group,' said Lisa Potts, director of the community center. 'They enjoy each other, and they enjoy what they do.'
Eva Brown didn't know much about crocheting when she first joined, but she figured she could learn what she needed to know.
'And I was right,' Ms. Brown said, smiling. 'What you don't know, somebody will show you.'
She's glad she got involved.
'For some of us, this is our only day out,' Ms. Brown said. 'It's an excuse to come out, visit and see other people.'

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Car man remembers the Model T craze

Telegram Staff Writer

A portrait of Henry Ford hangs in the garage.
It overlooks a multitude of Model T photographs, some Ford signs and a mechanic's set of tools.
The word 'Ford,' however, doesn't show up anywhere on the two cars parked inside.
'Yeah, I'm a Mercedes-Benz man now,' said John Flanagan of Temple. 'I've owned more than 10 Model Ts in my life, and I've worked on hundreds of Fords, but now I'm interested in the Mercedes-Benz.'
But that's no sin against Mr. Ford, said the 89-year-old retired GM mechanic.
'I admire him,' Flanagan said. 'They said he couldn't do it, but he did it. There's nothing but cars on the road today, and that's because of Henry Ford.'
Yes indeed, Mr. Ford's dream of mass producing the automobile came true.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Temple woman learns a new language to spread the Word

Telegram Staff Writer

Language is no barrier for the Mormon message.
The last decade has shown that Spanish speakers are among the majority of the Church's newest members.
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of Spanish-speaking congregations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew by 64 percent, according to a recent Associated Press report.
The U.S. total was recalculated to 639.
Arizona was the state that experienced the highest increase of Spanish-speaking congregations, citing a total of 44. In 2000, there were only 20.
Texas didn't have that kind of growth, but the number of Spanish-speaking Mormons was high when the race began. Bilingual Houston already had an entire stake devoted to Spanish-speaking Mormons. (See the info box for definition of stake.)
The individual wards reported minimal increases.
For the Mormon church in Temple, that minimal increase meant the addition of a Spanish branch.
'In 2004, there were more Spanish people coming to meetings, about 30 of them,' said Holly Billings, Relief Society president of the Spanish branch. 'But they couldn't participate because of the language.'

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Temple art professor adds color to history

Telegram Staff Writer

They're both dead, but the story of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and foe Sitting Bull, leader of the Cheyenne tribe, isn't over.
Maps of the Battle of Little Bighorn are giving new insight to the infamous brawl, said Michael Donahue, local historian.
'Each map tells a story,' Donahue said. 'It's according to the person who drew it, how the map maker saw things happen.'
He's spent the last seven years sifting through and examining every map he could find that concerned the Battle of Little Bighorn. His work culminated two weeks ago with the publication of a four-inch thick book entitled, 'Drawing Battle Lines: The Map Testimony of Custer's Last Fight.'

Saturday, May 3, 2008

God trains man like the cowboy trains his horse

Telegram Staff Writer

The horse gets tamed, but it's not because of anything the cowboy whispers.
'It's a body language thing,' said Paul Daily, founder of Wild Horse Ministries. 'I guess they call me the horse whisperer because of the movie, to give it some glit and glam, but I ain't about that. I'm about God.'
In a one-man, one-horse show called, 'The Round Pen of Life,' Daily says he demonstrates how the horse-trainer relationship is the same as the man-God relationship.
'The way the horse kicks and fusses, that's me, and it's you too, if you'll be honest. A horse is a mirror with hair on it,' Daily said, explaining. 'He fights until he's sure he can trust you and then when he figures out you're not all that bad, he'll calm down and do as the trainer says.'
The roles of the trainer and God are therefore similar, Daily said. Both have nothing but love aimed at their student.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Man finds more than roots in childhood: Memory inspires him to teach young gardeners

Telegram Staff Writer

Grandpa was the gardener.
He knew what to plant where and when, and he knew how the big shovel worked.
The little boy's only job was to follow his grandpa and drop a seed in each hole new hole.
'What a feeling it gave me when the plants started growing,' said Neil Cochran of Georgetown, the little boy all grown up. 'I was part of it. I was there to plant it, and I was there to pick it, whatever it was my grandpa had planted.'
But, as they do for most people, the rigors of earning a living and having a family came to take precedence over things enjoyed in childhood.
'I didn't garden while I was in the Marines,' Cochran said. For several years after graduation, he worked as a series officer for the Marine Recruit Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina.
'And when you're a parent, you're too busy running around after the kids to bother with a garden.'
So it wasn't until Cochran was in his 40s that his passion for gardening was rekindled. The trigger that did it was a child's excitement.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Retired preacher honored for church services

Telegram Staff Writer

He was living the life of a happily retired preacher, expecting nothing but next week's fishing trip.
So when the Austin Seminary Association started contacting him, Ralph Person was more than a little surprised.
'They had to be dusting off the history books to find out about me,' said Person, a former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Temple.
But contrary to what Person thought, the Association wasn't writing an anthology.
The group wanted to inform him that he was the 2008 winner of the seminary's Distinguished Service Award.
'It's a big honor to be recognized in this way,' he said. 'In the way it's worded, it symbolizes everything that I worked for in my career.'
The script at the bottom of his award thanked Person for his 'service to the church.'
'Notice that it doesn't say Presbyterian,' Person said. 'It says, 'to the church,' the whole church. That's speaking to the kind of ecumenical work I was about.'

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Temple priest nominated for Episcopal bishop

Telegram Staff Writer

Move over, Hillary and Barack. Make room for the Temple priest vying to be bishop.
David Alwine, pastor at Christ Episcopal Church, is one of six people nominated to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The election is set for May 24 at Christ Cathe dral Church in Houston.
But Alwine's name won't be broadcast in TV commercials or plastered across plastic posters. 'To campaign for bishop is completely different from what you'd think,' Alwine said. 'People learn about you by calling you up and asking questions. They can ask any question they want, and you're obligated to answer them.'
There's about 900 lay and clergy delegates eligible to vote. Just as a handful of delegates represents each state in U.S. political elections, a handful of delegates will represent each of the diocese's 158 congregations.
Episcopalians will have the chance to get to know the candidates for bishop early next month. Meetings are set for May 7 in Austin, May 8 in Tyler and May 10 in Houston.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Clock man gives good time to shop folks

Telegram Staff Writer

What consumed James Tuck's interest before clocks?
'Well I was out on the street, messing with women,' Tuck said.
Giggles came from the corner. Dolores Marshall and Charlotte Guthrie, the two women who work with him at Springhouse Antiques, couldn't help from eavesdropping.
'Oh, you're wife will be glad to know that,' teased Ms. Marshall.
Tuck dismissed the semi-threat with a 'hmmph.'
'Ah, I was a pilot,' Tuck said.
That seems a bit of an understatement coming from the man credited with earning the United States its first aerial victory in the Vietnam conflict. An article in the October 1967 issue of Esquire magazine features Tuck and his successful air battle maneuver.
His war stories are a regular asset to the antique store.

Couple gets cozy with clocks

Telegram Staff Writer

Some people have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing what time it is.
Fred Westbrook of Belton is one such person. He has 55 clocks in his house - and they're all ticking.
When the hour strikes, there's a minute-long whirlwind of sound. There are cuckoos, bells, chimes and whistles; it's a symphony gone haywire.
But the noise is welcome. It doesn't annoy him or his wife, Barbara. And they say the incessant tic-tocs don't disturb their sleep.
'I love to listen to the clocks. I look forward to it even,' Mrs. Westbrook said. 'There I am wanting to listen to them, but I pick up my knitting or a magazine, and no sooner than I do that - I miss it. I guess we've both gotten used to it.'
Keeping their clocks on time, though, is a bit of a chore.

Grandma's clock finds its voice

Telegram Staff Writer

A customer walks in with a question about a clock.
The man David Yuergens wants is James Tuck, the clock guru at Springhouse Antiques in Salado. He's not difficult to spot; he's wearing a white baseball cap that says, 'Tuck's Tic Tocs.'
'What you got for me?' asks Tuck, a longtime clock repairman.
'It's not running,' Yuergens said, pointing at a gold clock inside an age-worn box.
The clock doctor sets the clock on the counter and leans forward, so that his eyes are level with his patient.
Not 30 seconds go by before Tuck says, 'Well of course it's not. You've got this piece on wrong.'
The repairman shares a laugh with Yuergens.
'Look here, this has got to hang on that little thing there,' Tuck said. 'You got that?'
Yuergens was now hunched beside Tuck squinting at the clock. His brow was furrowed, looking as if he were trying to commit Tuck's instructions to memory.
'Nothing else is wrong with it,' Tuck said. 'It's just got to be wound.'
As his able fingers worked, Tuck talked about the thing he was resuscitating.
'This is an anniversary clock,' Tuck said. 'Probably made in 1945. You can tell by how it was made.'
Yuergens and his wife, Linda, nodded.
The clock starts ticking. Tuck smiles, sets it on the counter and steps away.
'How will I know when to wind it again?' asks Yuergens.
'Well I just wound it for you,' Tuck said. 'This time next year, you'll know to wind it again.'

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sass is secret weaponin not-so-stylish show

Telegram Staff Writer

Women may not like to keep secrets, but they can do it - if they want.
Eight women from the Newcomers Club did.
The proof is the hoax of a style show that took place Monday at the Wildflower Country Club in Temple.
As it has for the past 25 years, the club members thought the annual show was going to highlight the latest styles of spring and formal wear.
But it didn't.
The models wore trash bags, mismatched sets of animal prints, too-tight spandex and underwear. But they did it with grace and pride.
Each of the six models used the stride of a trained model, complete with a curtsy, pause for photos and Queen of England wave.
The 130 women in the audience, who, by the way, were quite nicely dressed, hooted with laughter as they saw their friends delight in disgrace.

Bonkers for buttons: Antique dealer finds herself immersed in strange collection

Telegram Staff Writer

You've got them on your clothes. Your grandma kept them in baby jars. Bags have them.
And you - you may use them as paperweights or replacements for game pieces you've lost. Maybe you've stashed some stray ones in that drawer with the expired coupons and empty medicine bottles.
They may be tiny, but buttons, my friend, are everywhere.
Hundreds of people pay them no attention because - well - because they're just buttons. But because they are buttons, countless others pay homage to them.
They buy them, sell them and construct button altars. These people are button collectors.
Their breed isn't endangered. With 50 state chapters, the National Button Society boasts a membership of thousands.
They're not as recognizable as hunters or athletes, but they're there.
They're lurking around garage sales, estate sales and antique shows, thumbing through all sorts of odds and ends, looking for anything that might have a button, or for something that might be hiding a button - like hope chests or dollar grab bags.
One such person is Janice Canard of Temple.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Faith blends Torah, messiah

Telegram Staff Writer

The rabbi is Jewish, but he thinks Christ is the messiah.
He's not confused. Rabbi Robert Miller of Temple is a student and teacher of Messianic Judaism. He leads Agudat Bris - the Covenant Fellowship in Temple.
And he's back in town after starting five churches in the name of Yahshua, four in Australia and one in New Zealand.
The name Yahshua is, 'for all intents and purposes, Jesus,' said Rabbi Robert Miller of Temple, recently returned from a month-long visit to Australia. The translation is from Hebrew and Aramaic writings.
'But in Greek, Jesus means Zeus the healer, and that would be pagan, wouldn't it? Whereas Yahshua is 'my salvation.''

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Group's promise to pray brings healing to the hurt

Telegram Staff Writer

The yellow cat wasn't well. His collar rubbed against two patches of raw skin, and his fur hung like drapes from a small set of bones.
But he was nursing his wounds with his tongue, and he was eating. His food bowl, licked clean not too long ago, sat under a tree close to where he lay.
The cat was healing, as are the people who care for him - the residents of Rose Garden.
A half-way home for the mentally ill, addicts and parolees, the Rose Garden consists of 11 houses along Avenue A in Temple that shelter up to 60 people working to regain control of their lives.
The people who meet under the canopy at 817 E. Ave. A every Saturday morning say they owe their budding salvation to a Christian worship group led by Lee Roy Tyler.
All members of the First Assembly of God in Belton, Tyler and his five friends visit the Rose Garden residents at least once a week, except in cases of inclement weather.
'We don't preach denomination, just the gospel of Jesus Christ,' Tyler said. 'We feed them, and we give clothing when we have it.'

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Aspiring writers bind support, critique in club

Telegram Staff Writer

When writers want to fine-tune their work, they often turn to readers who can apply a critical eye - or simply said, they turn to other writers.
'Review, advice and input from other writers makes your work stronger,' said Suanne Stroup of Killeen, author of 'Living and Dying Across the I-35 Corridor.'
That's why she's so excited about the recent formation of the Temple Writers Meetup Group.

Local writers share sources of inspiration

Telegram Staff Writer

A thought and a pen - or a keyboard - is all it takes to start writing.
But what does it take to get the thought?
The ancient Greeks credited inspiration to the Muses, a band of sisters who planted seeds of song, story, music and dance within the minds of artists. Those who received such visits were grateful, the myths say, because there was no reason or pattern to the will of any Muse.
Science says it's something chemical, and contemporary religion claims all creation is for and to the glory of God. Others think it's luck.
But these explanations are second-hand.
Talk to a few writers - or artists or musicians - and you'll find that the source of the thought - the inspiration - isn't so difficult to understand.
'It's life,' said Diana Tierney, the founder of Temple's new writing club.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Does Jesus want us 'Looking good'?

Telegram Staff Writer

Sex sells. Sure.
But Jesus?
The idea of commercializing Christ makes some cringe. But it happens; Jesus sells like anything else.
His image sports a price tag on all sorts of things, from bumper stickers to glass figurines. And it's not just at Christmas and Easter. Jesus sits on store shelves all year long, always ready to celebrate a wedding, mourn a funeral or offer an encouraging word to a suffering friend.
Selling Christ in these ways is OK. Nobody seems to object.
But it wasn't OK last month when a store in Singapore tried to sell some $5.99 tubes of 'Looking Good for Jesus' lip balm. A report from the BBC said a riot started after store managers received complaints from angry Roman Catholics.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

City Federation group honors longtime community servant

Telegram Staff Writer

She had the opportunity to go to college, but she never quit trying to learn.
'Reading's been the way to continue my education,' said Dorothy Boutwell of Temple. 'I've always been fond of learning new things.'
That passion inspired her to join Temple's City Federation of Women's Clubs 61 years ago.
'It didn't matter what you were interested in, the Federation had a group for it,' she said. 'It still does. The old ones died out, and new groups replaced them.'
In her many years of service, Mrs. Boutwell has served on countless committees and held several offices, including the office of president from 1936 to 1964.
'I enjoyed it,' Mrs. Boutwell said. 'I'm quite proud of the Texas Women's Library for the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs.'

A place to heal: Camp offers children a path through grief

Telegram Staff Writer

He's 11 years old, and he's got an idea for the perfect funeral.
'I want to be locked in a jukebox,' said Nick Fortenberry of Troy. 'I think it would be great, me looking out and grinning at everybody.'
His mother, Cynthia, shook her head and laughed, but older brother Alex said Nick was serious.
'He really does want to be propped up,' Alex said, rolling his eyes in exaggerated exasperation. 'You're just encouraging him by laughing.'
He was addressing Jan Upchurch and Judy Hoelscher, directors of the Rays of Hope Bereavement Camp, an annual event sponsored by the Child Life Department of Scott & White Hospital in Temple.
The group was talking about the value grieving with peers at a meeting on March 7 at the Scott & White cafeteria. This year will mark the Fortenberry boys' fifth time at camp. Their father died in Iraq four years ago.

Beer on the wall: Family finds fun in collecting more than 700 cans of beer

Telegram Staff Writer

Nothing's conspicuous about the garage itself.
It's what's inside that catches the attention of passersby.
'Apparently you can see it from the street,' said owner Sue Judd. 'People will be walking or jogging, and they'll come up to see what it's all about.'
She giggled as she pointed at the massive display of aluminum behind her. More than 700 beer cans sat in the wooden display case her husband, John, had made for them.
'The most frequent question we get is, 'Did you drink all that?' Even if we did, it wouldn't have been all at once,' Mrs. Judd joked. 'This is about collecting.'

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Wives teach each other in ministry

Telegram Staff Writer

The words are there in the Bible, 'Wives, be submissive to your husbands.'
The idea is discussed at length at several points in Ephesians, 1 Peter, Corinthians and a couple of psalms.
Just like anything else, some people like it and some people don't.
'Not everybody understands the idea,' said Debbie Browder of Temple.
Paula Meyer agreed.
'Too many people get caught up in what they think the word means,' Ms. Meyer said. 'And they lose the meaning of what God's trying to teach.'
Mrs. Browder and Mrs. Meyer are mentors to younger wives at Temple Bible Church via a program called 'Apples of Gold.'
'We want them to get the benefit of the lessons we learned the hard way,' said Mary Jezek, another of the mentors.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mail call: Seniors stamp loads of letters to troops

Telegram Staff Writer

It's bad enough when a bill is the only thing sitting in your mailbox.
But you're here in Bell County, reading the paper in your own time and place. The TV's probably on, and you're probably not too worried about being shot.
What if you were a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan? What if you carried a rifle instead of a cell phone? And what if your name was never said at mail call?
'Think about that. You're over there serving your country, but you don't have anyone at home who misses you. You don't have anybody to send you a card or write you a letter. The thought breaks my heart.'
Connie Swinden's words came fast and earnest as she spoke.
'I want no soldier to think they're unappreciated,' Ms. Swinden said. 'That's why I started writing the cards.'
She writes - and asks others to write - messages of hope, encouragement and thanks to people serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The effort is a perpetual project called 'Encouragement Cards for Our Service Men and Women' at the Belton Senior Center, where she works as activities coordinator.

Stones bring healing, love and wonder

Telegram Staff Writer

Like the pearl of an oyster, a gemstone brings beauty from nothing.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, it all starts out ugly,” said Bryan Fritch of Salado, a member of the Temple Gem & Mineral Society.
He’s holding a potato-like rock the size of a softball.
“You think you have nothing,” Fritch said. “But then clear away the dirt, you sand down the edges and then shine a light on it. Only then do you see the pretty stuff.”
For Fritch, finding gemstones is a detective game — one he began digging into 30 years ago. He has more than 70 types of stone from across the United States and from as far away as Hong Kong.
“It’s like treasure hunting,” Fritch said. “It’s something that was formed millions and millions of years ago, and you’re the first person to touch it, to find the beauty.”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Man's dogs help teach Bible lessons

Telegram Staff Writer

Two dogs played fetch in front of a crucifix.
Nobody got upset. The puppies running the halls of Salado United Methodist Church last Sunday were doing as they were told.
With every bone they chewed, Prophet and Monk were helping their owner teach lessons of the Bible.
The speaker was Hank Hough. He's the founder of Kingdom Dog Ministries.
'I'm a duck hunter, a duckaholic even,' Hough said. 'I wanted to serve the Lord, but I didn't know how. I couldn't talk, sing or dance. But then God gave me a dog.'
And as that hunting dog became a champion in his eyes, Hough said he learned how he could become a champion in the Lord's eyes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Boy sews dainty dress, wins at fair

Telegram Staff Writer

The boy towers over his five siblings. The 16-year-old is 6 feet tall.
He's competitive and thinks he might enjoy a career in politics as a state congressman. He's a figure of wisdom, as his younger sisters look to him for help on schoolwork and guidance in tricky situations.
A right good big brother, he is.
But the secret's out: Trent Williams can sew a right pretty dress.
A handmade white smock won him the grand championship over the clothing division at this month's Bell County Youth Fair. Trent said the dress was his second attempt at sewing.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Book probes Bible's dark stories for God's presence

Telegram Staff Writer

The Bible spreads its Good News with a slew of R-rated stories.
Countless biblical figures endure pain, rape, incest and abuse until Christ saves mankind at the end of the New Testament.
In Genesis, a prince rapes a woman whose father then sells her for the highest price. In Judges, the body of another raped woman finds itself chopped in 12 pieces.
And in Acts, the very place the phrase 'Good News' is shouted, a man wonders the land desolate and unloved because his male sex organs are mutilated.
'That's right, the word is penis - and that's how I preach the story of the Eunuch,' said Diana Garland, a social work professor at Baylor University in Waco. 'The story is undermined when we try to make the story sound better than it is.'

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Addicts find new life at recovery shelter

Telegram Staff Writer

Yes, it was warm and cozy at the Humble House Monday night, not like the dark street outside where the cold wind blew.
A chandelier hung above the dining room table. Keith and Brandon sat there. They were listening to the chattering group in the living room.
Mike and Richard were teasing Randall about his resemblance to music star Randy Travis.
The men were waiting for dinner. P.K. was in the kitchen fixing some barbecue and beans.
It doesn't sound like much, but miracles can come wrapped in plain packages.
The men of Humble House are recovering drug addicts. Every night's a miracle, they said, their words true to the program's mission statement.
'There's the Good Lord, friendship and comfort - and P.K.'s cooking,' Richard Farmer said. 'There's hope we can get better.'

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Couple finds driftwood that resembles crucifix

Telegram Staff Writer

The floodwaters receded, and a sign of the divine floated to the hands of two non-believers.
This may sound like something from the Old Testament, but it's not. It's how a non-religious Temple couple came to own a 3-foot piece of driftwood that looks like Christ on the cross.
Preston Hauffpauir spotted his find at Arrowhead Point on Belton Lake not long after last year's springtime floodwaters started to recede.
'My husband - he's always looking at the driftwood,' said Holly Hauffpauir. 'He likes to carve.'
The cross's gnarled edges are what captured Mr. Hauffpauir's initial interest.
'I thought the wood's shape was beautiful on its own,' he said. 'So I took it home.'

Sunday, January 20, 2008

China craze: Woman's world shines with paint

Telegram Staff Writer

Everything pretty was painted by her mama.
From kitchen to bedroom, her childhood home was wall to wall china. There were bowls, platters, cups, saucers, pitchers, lamps and vases, all designed and painted by her mother, Lillian Burrier, 76, of Temple.
'Everywhere I looked, there was something she had done, something lovely,' said Belinda Psencik, 43, of Moffat.
Mrs. Psencik's favorite piece is a large serving plate that has a picture of a fire hydrant painted on it.
'There is a bucket by the fire hydrant. Some water is dripping on some little flowers, and some wrens are perched on the bucket,' Mrs. Psencik said. 'That's my picture. It has hung above my bed ever since I can remember.'

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ministry finishes first year; Fort Hood to launch similar program

Telegram Staff Writer

They're addicts - and they're committed Christians.
They're the people of Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based 12-step recovery program that meets at Temple Bible Church.
At least 150 people participate each week. They acknowledge their weaknesses and the need to heal through small group sessions and one-on-one counseling.
'We've been at it for a year now,' said Charlie Turnbo, the director. 'God's done a lot of good this year. We're looking forward to another.'

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Local photographer's first exhibit exceeds CAC's sales average

Telegram Staff Writer

Sometimes a photo leaves you speechless, no matter the thousand words its worth.
A stunned December silence greeted Matt Brandon's first-ever photo exhibit at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple. The curator used just one word to describe the mood.
'Shocked,' said Marilyn Ritchie, CAC curator and visual arts director. 'People were shocked. Nobody expected his work to be so beautiful.'
Six of Brandon's photos were sold.
'It's not usual for people to buy that many photos at an exhibit,' Ms. Ritchie said. 'Two or three, maybe, but not five and six. That's a lot.'
People don't buy photographs as frequently as they purchase paintings and sculptures, the longtime curator said.
'For some reason, people don't see photographs as art, but (Brandon's) photos - you look at them, and you know they're art,' Ms. Ritchie said. 'I've never seen a photo exhibit be received so well.' 

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Her trash, his treasure

Telegram Staff Writer

These are the files of Bell County lives - the records that sit in the home of Michael and Nancy Kelsey in Belton.
Folders and binders fill the storage boxes and filing cabinets that crowd the couple's foyer.
'If it sheds light on the history of Bell County, we save it,' Mrs. Kelsey said.
There are estate records, diaries, ledgers, photos, high school yearbooks, letters and newspaper clippings.
'We collect,' Mrs. Kelsey said. 'That's how we find the information for our books.'
She and her husband are the authors of the series 'Notes on Bell County.' The second volume, 'Hillcrest Cemetery,' was published Dec. 7. It joins the first volume, 'South Belton Cemetery,' in what will soon be a trilogy.

Perpetual cemetery cruise preserves Bell County's past

Telegram Staff Writer

There are at least 50,000 dead people in Bell County.
The tally didn't come from a mail-in census; it came from a tombstone count by Joe and Dorothy Button of Killeen.
Cemetery hopping, more or less, is the couple's hobby.
This particular pastime, though, is an invaluable act of community service, according to Ron Gates, chair of the Bell County Historical Commission.
'The Buttons are the cemetery people,' Gates said. 'If anybody has a question about a grave or a cemetery, they either have the answer or can find it for you.'
The 50,000 tombstones the couple has counted since 1997 are from private family cemeteries and random one- and two-man burial sites, found hidden behind groves of trees or on rural road sides and river banks.
'The total doesn't include the larger commercial cemeteries,' Mr. Button said. 'It will one day. We just haven't gotten around to it.'