23 Things I Learned This Year

By Reba

Reba_23 things.png

Divorcing after 23 years of marriage was never my plan in life. No one plans for failure. Sometimes failure is the only option. From my failure there were lessons to be learned and strangely enough laughs to be had. I never dreamed I would find so much humor and wisdom all at the same time.

1. Divorce under the most peaceful of circumstances is still a roller coaster of emotions. Every single day. Sometimes several emotions at the same time during the same day.

2. If you lose friends during the divorce they were not your true friends in the first place. You cannot lose what you never had.

3. Getting mail addressed to the “______ family” will always be a gut wrenching experience. Not sure how to let junk mail know that we are divorced.

4. It is easier to get a divorce from a spouse than get your cell phone bill separated. Cell phone companies are firm believers in “Family Plans.”

5. Christmas card season is super awkward. Cudos to my friend on Starlight Point for winning this award. She must have read a helpful article on this one. When I received her family Christmas card I didn’t feel like I wasn’t part of a family anymore.

7. You will fight over things you never imagined were important. ie WalGreens points and Brookshire’s points for gas (When Super 1 took over this ended the race to gas station for points).

8. You will be lonely at times. Extremely lonely. But you will survive.

9. Your children will be sad. They will be angry. No matter how good you are getting along with your ex-spouse they will not be at peace with the divorce decision. Patience and honesty is key here.

10. There are so many kind people in this world and our community. Let them help you. It’s okay to need others. Reach out.

11. Always put your children first. Even when they don’t want you to. Focus on your children. They act like they don’t want the extra attention but they need reassurance that they will be okay and they are loved.

12. Bitterness is better left behind. The main loser in a bitterness battle is yourself. The people closest to you will suffer too if you do not get this in check. No one wants to hear the bitter version more than once or twice.

13. If you shared children with your ex-spouse they will forever be in your lives. Make the most of it. The kids will cherish and appreciate this one day.

14. The first time you have to sign school documents listing two separate addresses for parents will leave you feeling like a failure as an adult. I haven’t even crossed the bridge of taking back my maiden name yet. Two addresses. Two Names. #fixitJesus

15. Everyone has a opinion on how and where your marriage went wrong. The only opinion that matters is the truth.

16. Broken people attract broken people. There will no shortage of people who love attending pity parties. A true friend will attend two maybe three pity parties and then refuse to allow them and attend them.

17. Change is so hard. I’ve been through so many changes this year I’m actually looking for more ways to change. Go big or go home.

18. You might drink too much. You might eat too much.

19. Alcohol and Country Music are depressants. Stay away from both. Especially both at the same time. However, Taylor Swift Essentials Play List on Apple Music is so therapeutic.

20. Not everyone loses weight during a divorce. This one made me sad. I was looking forward to this but it didn’t happen.

21. Reminder- you will be lonely. This bears repeating. Lonely will not kill you. Divorce hurts and you have to feel every bit of it to heal properly.

22. I’ve learned and made peace with the fact I am not perfect on any level. Being imperfect builds character. Or so, I keep telling myself.

23. You absolutely unequivocally cannot make it through a life changing event without your faith. I’ve heard so many people criticize others for “finding Jesus in critical times”….this is what you are supposed to do. Our God is a patient and forgiving God who will give you peace during the storms.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Movies in Many – “Legends of the Fall”

Legends of the Fall
There will be a free showing of “Legends of the Fall” at the Many Community Center in honor of Father’s Day this Saturday, June 16 at 7 pm at the Sabine Theater in Many.

In the early 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

Rated R. Admission is free. Drinks and popcorn only $1 each.

Plot Summary: In early 20th-century Montana, Col. William Ludlow lives in the wilderness with his sons, Tristan, Alfred and Samuel. Eventually, the unconventional but close-knit family encounters tragedy when Samuel is killed in World War I. Tristan and Alfred survive their tours of duty, but, soon after they return home, both men fall for Samuel’s gorgeous fiancée, Susannah, and their intense rivalry begins to destroy the family.


Black Heritage Festival set for this weekend

Black Heritage Festival

The annual Black Heritage Festival will take place this weekend, June 15-17. The festival will include a car show, gospel music, storytelling and a pig roast along with other activities. It is free and open to the public.

The festival is a day for reflection, renewal, and pride. The festival is open to the public and is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities.

Friday, June 15: Gospel concert, Sabine Theater at 6 pm

Saturday, June 16: Festival, Old Many Jr. High at 11 am

Sunday, June 17: Car Show, Old Many Jr. HIgh at 7 pm

Toledo Town Intersection Gets a Facelift

Toledo Bend Intersection

TBLA provided a grant of approximately $20,000 to the Sabine Tourist Commission June 7 to install Gateway welcoming signage and landscaping at the intersection of Hwy. 6 and Hwy. 191, to make a more pleasing site for local residents and visitors in the Toledo Bend Lake Country area.

TBLA combined efforts with the Sabine Tourist Commission, SRA of Louisiana, volunteers from the Sabine Parish Detention Center and community volunteers to make the project come together.

Toledo Bend Lake Country hosts thousands of visitors each year and is home to many residents. This project offers a positive first impression to the area and helps to set the stage for Toledo Bend’s upcoming 50-year celebration in 2019.

Night-fishing trip yields 12.4-pound Toledo Bend hawg

Toledo Bend Hawg

By Patrick Bonin
Article republished courtesy of Louisiana Sportsman

Not too long ago, Mike Carriere was wondering if he’d ever get the chance to beat his personal best 8 ½-pound bass.

“Just a few weeks ago, I was saying I might not ever catch a fish over 10 pounds in my life, but I want my grandkids to have the chance,” the 59-year-old Church Point angler said. “So that’s why we’ve been telling people to release the big fish and keep the smaller fish.

“Let all those big fish go so some kids can catch them one day.’”

All that good karma apparently paid off early Sunday morning up at Toledo Bend, when Carriere reeled in a 12.4-pound hawg during a night-fishing trip in Lanan. He was with Phil Vidrine and his son Travis, on Vidrine’s party barge when the fish of a lifetime bit about 3:45 a.m.

“We always night-fish this time of year,” Carriere explained. “It gets so hot during the daytime, unless you go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it’s just too hot to bass fish. And you’re going to catch bigger fish at night.”

They had been working a point, and moved down a shoreline to a lighted dock when the big fish bit his Texas-rigged, 11½-inch plum-colored Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.

“I had constantly cast under that light, I guess five or six times in the same place,” Carriere said. “I was like, ‘They have to have a fish under this light. They have to.’ But nobody was catching, so I said, ‘Let’s go back to the point where we were, let’s turn around.’ But I said, ‘One more cast.’ When I cast it, there she was.

“It just stopped. My rod stopped, and I hollered, ‘This is a big fish.’ I didn’t know what it is, because it’s dark. But she came up and she tried to spit it, and then I said, ‘It’s a real big fish — get the net.’

“She came up two or three times between the boat and the dock and tried to spit it.”

Phil and Travis each had a net waiting for the lunker on the first pass.

“I said, ‘Here she comes,’ and she came up right on the side of the boat — and they both missed her,” Carriere said with a chuckle. “Then she took a dive again. I said, ‘Oh no — two nets and neither one of y’all got it.’”

On the next pass, Phil had the bigger net and safely brought the giant fish aboard.

“I was thinking she looked around 10, but Phil said no — she’s more than 10,” Carriere said.

Vidrine’s scale backed up his estimate — it said the fish weighed 12.7 pounds, and the decision was made to leave immediately to try and keep the fish alive.

But the party barge didn’t have a livewell — not a regular one, anyway. Fortunately, Vidrine’s aerator-equipped ice chest that he uses to keep minnows in while crappie fishing was onboard, so the big bass squeezed inside with about 30 or 40 baitfish for the trip back to Carriere’s camp in San Miguel.

At Toledo Town & Tackle, the big bass tipped the certified scales there at 12.4 pounds, and measured 27 inches long with a 20 ⅜-inch girth.

It is the ninth — and largest fish so far — registered in the 2018-19 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who catch 10-pound-plus bass a free replica if the fish is returned back to the reservoir alive

So as it turned out, Carriere wound up not only catching that elusive 10-pound-plus fish, but crushing his personal best by almost 4 pounds.

“That’s a gift to be able to catch something like that,” he said. “I’m just so glad.”


Sabine council on aging will host Membership Drive/Open House


The Sabine Council on Aging will host its annual Membership Drive/Open House at all locations on June 15 from 10 am – 2 pm. There will be light refreshments and representatives there to answer any questions.

To qualify for membership one must be 18 years or older and a resident of Sabine Parish. Membership is free for those who wish to sign up.

Membership benefits include being able to vote for board members during the election cycle and eligibility during elections, if the member is above 60 years-old.

Life Well Pruned

By Reba

Reba_Life Well Pruned


When we stood in the driveway and gazed upon our new home in Goldonna it was a sight to behold. It was a modest and picturesque older frame home with a circle driveway made of sand and gravel. There were large pine trees and oak trees covering the house with just enough shade to make you appreciate when the sun came beaming through the leaves. This country home was landscaped with 30-year-old azaleas and camellias. At first glance the older trees and bushes seemed overgrown. It still had tremendous potential for a breathtaking yard. We all tried to imagine the beauty once everything in the yard bloomed.

Sadly no one had a green thumb or really even understood what a green thumb did. As luck would have it we had a church member who was more than eager to take on the task of pruning the elderly shrubbery. She claimed to be able to restore them to their former glory. We watched helplessly as she cut the shrubs down to bare nubs. We saw the potential quickly burned in a trash pile.

There was no burn ban and we lived in the country. This is how we handled things. Our church member turned tree surgeon kept reassuring us that she fertilized them and we should see new growth soon and the blooms the following year should be stunning.

Should be.

Every morning for what seemed like months, we would wake up with hopes this would be the day that we would see growth. There was none. Days turned into months. Months turned into years. If hope could grow greenery and blooms our yard would have looked like a page torn right out of Home & Garden. After about three years we gave up hope that we would ever see them restored.

Every time my father preached about forgiveness I just imagined he was referring to the church member who stole our yard’s dignity.

Our family did not understand the mechanics of heavy pruning and did not realize that the chopped bushes still had potential. We still gave up and made peace with the fact that our shrubbery was barren.

Pruning can be devastating but sometimes our own lives get pruned as well. Sometimes it’s willingly and we recognize the need to rid our lives of overgrowth.

We prune friends who are no longer on our same path or who are potentially just not good for us. We prune family members who we have completely given up on. We may prune a dead end job when there’s no potential or it just feels stagnate. Sometimes we’re so overcommitted with unnecessary obligations that we’re completely overwhelmed and lose sight of our true purpose in life. Sometimes we even see the need to prune our earthly possessions.

Pruning is simple when we authorize the changes.

Unexpected or unauthorized pruning feels like punishment because more times than not we are not strong enough to execute the pruning ourselves. When something is removed from our lives without our consent it is a hard pill to swallow. Something we will miss and something we had convinced ourselves that we cannot live without is gone. Somethings we were not ready to let go of on our own. We were too weak to realize that those branches were unhealthy and had to be removed. When this happens this season can be quite painful. We literally cannot see the potential for growth during this season. It can be dark and lonely.

But just like the landscape that we thought would never return, once it was fertilized for a proper amount of time and the right season came along… it bloomed. The blooms were larger and more full than they ever were before. Sometimes the blooms will be heartier and may even bloom in a better color than before. This is the season where you see a purpose for the pain. This is the season where God delivered you from your past and you see a promise for a great future. The true blessing comes when you can say, “I would go through that all over again just to be where I am today.”

I am blessed to say that the church member tree surgeon is still a treasured friend even today.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance
A time to scatter stone and a time to gather them
A time to embrace and a time refrain from embracing
A time to search and a time to give up
A time to keep and a time to throw away
A time to tear and a time to mend
A time to be silent and a time to speak
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for war and a time for peace



Hall of Fame, La Capitol Kickoff Reception announcement


NATCHITOCHES – The biggest Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Weekend ever begins in signature fashion on Thursday evening, June 28, with the annual La Capitol Kickoff Reception welcoming the 2018 Induction Class and guests to the Hall of Fame museum.

The reception is open to the public at no charge from 5-7 p.m. on June 28. It starts a series of festivities including a brand-new Friday afternoon bowling outing, a first-ever riverbank concert Friday night June 29 that is free to the public, the traditional free Championship Saturday Kids Clinic, a Sunday golf scramble July 1 at Alexandria’s OakWing Golf Club, and the feature event, the Saturday evening, June 30 Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony.

Information and registration opportunities are available at the LaSportsHall.com website or by calling the Hall of Fame Foundation office at 318-238-4255.

La Capitol has sponsored the Kickoff Reception since the Hall of Fame returned its annual inductions to Natchitoches in 2003, after a three-year trial run in Shreveport-Bossier. The reception has always been open to everyone, providing a unique opportunity in a casual setting to meet and mingle with the incoming Hall of Fame members while enjoying quality local entertainment, food and refreshments.

Natchitoches resident Mary Ann Nowlin, a regional vice president for La Capitol, initiated the financial institution’s partnership with the Hall of Fame induction weekend 15 years ago with a sense of community responsibility and pride.

“La Capitol is committed to improving the well-being of communities throughout the state. What better way than to provide our youth dedicated role models, determined to achieve a standard of excellence,” she said. “The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame honors “Real Life” heroes and presents their stories of achievements – right here in Natchitoches with this event, and all year long in the museum.”

“La Capitol is a cornerstone partner for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame,” said Foundation CEO/President Ronnie Rantz. “Mary Ann Nowlin and La Cap led the local and area business community in supporting our annual induction weekend and consistently helping raise the level of involvement by their active engagement in all our weekend activities.

“The La Cap family, from all around our state but particularly the local staff members, have been active participants and volunteers during our inductions since 2003 and we hope for years and years to come,” said Rantz.

La Capital FCU has been part of Louisiana’s financial landscape for 56 years, with roots deep in the capital city of Baton Rouge and branches spreading statewide. The La Cap mission statement says the organization’s goal is “to be a strong and growing non-profit financial institution, serving the financial needs of a wide diversity of members throughout our state, region and nation.”

For more information about La Cap and its many financial services, visit LaCapFCU.org.

The 11 inductees being enshrined June 30 at the Natchitoches Events Center include eight competitive ballot sports heroes: NFL star receivers Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley, LSU and 18-year Major League Baseball pitcher Russ Springer, Grambling and NBA champion Larry Wright, coaching legends Lewis Cook (high school football) and Jerry Simmons (tennis at UL Lafayette and LSU), and the late Paul Candies, a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Three contributors are set for induction, led by Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints defensive back whose advocacy for victims of ALS has earned nationwide acclaim. He will receive the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.

NSU graduate and noted Louisiana broadcaster Lyn Rollins, and acclaimed Lake Charles sportswriter Scooter Hobbs will receive the state’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.