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Women’s Reading Club members include (back row, left to right) Deborah Chadwick, Mary Lynn Tinkle, Stephanie Elswick, Sue Russell, and Billie Sue Payne; (front row, left to right) Jane Morrison, Fannie Watson, Montie Wagnon, Bonnie Lucas, and Dottie West. (Photo by Ginia Hooper)

March 15, 2021 - Stephanie Elswick presented this month’s book review at the Women’s Reading Club meeting. Her review was on “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier. Portions of her review and quotes from the book included:

“Rebecca” was written by Daphne Du Maurier in 1938. It is a classic tale of romantic suspense. The novel was adapted into a movie which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This famous director also directed a movie from another one of Ms. Du Maurier’s books called “The Birds.”

“She has been called one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. In 1969 she became Dame Daphne Du Maurier. 

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again. I no longer live in my beautiful Manderly. The world of Manderly. The world of beauty. The world of mystery.

“I am not the beautiful, elegant Rebecca De Winter. I don’t even have a first name in this novel. It’s not necessary. As I am but a shadow behind Rebecca.

“I am the storyteller. I am the second Mrs. Maxim De Winter. Rebecca was the first.

“I married Maxim De Winter in a rather hasty manner while visiting Monte Carlo. I did not have any kind of idea of who I was or what I wanted to become. At that time, I was serving as an assistant to a very old, very rich woman. I was flattered by Maxim’s intense attention. I never really received attention from anyone. I had no family. I was always the quiet one in the corner. Until, one day, I was thrust into Maxim’s world. Rebecca’s world. I was black and white. People that knew Rebecca painted her as a vivid rainbow. I was nothing but a frump.

“I feel so much older now. Although I haven’t aged another year since marrying Maxim. The drama that has unfolded within the first year of our marriage has made me grow up. Rebecca’s murder turned me into a much older woman.

“Manderly was our home. But it was Rebecca’s home first. Our housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, made sure that Rebecca was everywhere in our house. She loved Rebecca. She hated me. The feeling is mutual. Mrs. Danvers made my life in Manderly so miserable. She unsuccessfully tried to get me to commit suicide. She also unsuccessfully tried to split Maxim and I up on several occasions. 

“Mrs. Danvers held the power of Rebecca over me until, one day, Rebecca’s body was dredged up from the sea. She was in her boat. Supposedly, Rebecca was an excellent sailor. So how and why did she drown? We were in shock.

“My husband originally told me that Rebecca drowned one year ago. He had identified the body.

“But now, things are different. Maxim made a mistake. A life changing mistake.

“Suddenly we were surrounded by the press, as well as detectives and judges. The obvious questions were asked. Why did Maxim identify the first body as Rebecca? Didn’t he know his own wife’s body? Again, how on earth could Rebecca drown? She was a well-respected sailor. She would never leave the helm of her boat during a storm.

“Among all of this cloud of confusion an odd feeling came over me. I was no longer afraid of Rebecca. I no longer felt obliged to Rebecca. Suddenly, SHE was the shadow. I became the lady of Manderly. I gave Mrs. Manderly orders with confidence. I changed my wardrobe to reflect the money that I had married into. I no longer minded entertaining visitors in Manderly. My house.

“Along with this new and glorious feeling of release, my relationship with Maxim literally changed overnight. He no longer treated me like a child that is 25 years his junior. I was his equal now. His partner. His lover.

“We navigated through this dramatic experience together. We protected one another from her.

“The true story of how Rebecca drowned was unraveled. The unraveling did lead to intense changes in several lives. 

“Especially in the memory of a past life. Rebecca’s life.”

Article by Stephanie Elswick

March 12, 2021 - Spring forward time... Sunday, March 14th at 2am daylight savings time starts and clocks will roll forward 1 hour.

Daylight savings time is a good time to do an annual routine check of items in your house which require batteries such as smoke detectors. It is also good to check hot water heaters and other areas which aren't seen regularly as well as cleaning out dryer vent ducting.

Lastly, be sure to see if annual checkups for pets are due!

Carmen Whitaker (far left seated) with her mother, Nettie Peters, standing behind her are with family, friends, and fans.

March 12, 2021 - A new book author from Shelby County gave an official introduction to her first publication at a book signing event hosted graciously by Chelle Mooney inside her shop Mooney's Emporium on February 27, 2021. With southern hospitality which included cookies and other refreshments, Carmen Whitaker visited with all who stopped by to purchase or just visit with her about her book 'A Living Hope.'

Whitaker agreed to an interview with Shelby County Today about her authorpreneurial journey.

"It is a contemporary Christian fiction book. It has heavy tones of Christianity in it." Whitaker advises it took her a little over a year to finish and publish the book. With the help of her mom, Annette, they did the editing themselves. "I tried using a professional editor and it felt yucky to me. I sent my writing off to them and they wanted to cut stuff out that I thought was important. I write the way I speak so there are some errors in there but they are on purpose."

"I think it is all a matter of context. If I were writing a paper for a college professor or for a newspaper publication but I'm writing a fictional story about people I want the reader to relate to as real."

When asked if COVID-19's quarantine prompted her book writing, Whitaker responded, "I had started it three or four months before quarantine really took over. But I have always loved to write and I've always dreamed of writing and getting a book published. I have countless first chapters written in my laptop, started many, many, many manuscripts and after a chapter or two, I just kind of lost interest and moved onto another.

"I home school my two youngest now and I'm pretty much home all the time and I just one day felt inspired and sat down and started writing. Really, I would say it was integrally God led because everything I have written came directly from Him."

Whitaker shared about her love of books and how past health issues which required brain surgeries affected her ability to enjoy books the same, "I've always loved books and I've always been a voracious reader and then all my brain surgeries and stuff, my neurological conditions have made it very difficult for me to read. I can't focus visually the way I used to. It's hard for me to really read, sit down and read a book. So, I do a lot of audio books and I am hoping that at some point I'm going to get 'A Living Hope' on audio for folks like me who have trouble with actual type print."

"Another reason why I say the book was really God led is because as much trouble as I have had just sitting down and reading, I also don't schedule my writing. If I feel led to write, I write."

Whitaker utilized Amazon to self-publish. Her decision to self-publish wasn't made litely. "I learned a lot about the publishing process through this. Modern technology has definitely changed the way publishing looks these days. Self-publishing does give you more freedom as a writer. I wasn't willing to compromise the message that I wanted it to give, it is a contemporary Christian fiction book. It has heavy tones of Christianity in it and I wasn't willing to compromise that for any editor or publisher. Which is good in some ways and bad in some ways. There are many people who do not do a lot of editing when they self-publish so it can give self-published books a bad name but if you are willing to put in the work, I think self-publishing is the way to go."

Whitaker expressed how much she has enjoyed the feedback she has received from her readers who are loving the characters, "The world is a scary place, so, if they can find some kind of comfort, joy, and hope in something I've written then that makes me really happy."

"People who didn't even really know me, they bought the book off of a recommendation from someone they knew and they loved it. They've given me great reviews and told their friends. I appreciate everybody, every single person who has ever even said the title. It really does just mean so much to me that people are enjoying it and helping me get the word out. It's a dream come true!"

The interview came to a conclusion with Whitaker saying, "Everyday I'm just endlessly thankful and blessed. I give the Lord all the glory!"

'A Living Hope' is available for purchase on Amazon here.

March 10, 2021 - The Tracy Andrus Foundation is currently accepting applications for those who have received a rental eviction notice from the courts and those who have received disconnection notices from their utility company. You must have an annual income below 50% of the median family income determined by HUD in your county.

The Tracy Andrus Foundation is an equal opportunity provider servicing clients in Harrison, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby Counties with possible financial assistance for rent and utilities. Our mission is to assist the poor, uneducated, and at-risk vulnerable populations to equip them to visualize their full potential.

Tracy Andrus Foundation endeavors to educate, employ, and empower its program participants while assisting them with shelter, education, and financial assistance. Tracy Andrus Foundation aspires to create environments where violence and domestic abuse are not tolerated.

Please contact Dr. Tracy Andrus at (903) 471-8674 or email TAFassist@gmail.com.

Tracy Andrus Foundation
303 West Burleson St.
Marshall, Texas 75670

March 10, 2021 - Twenty-two years ago, on March 24, 1999 NATO launched an air campaign called Operation Allied Force to halt the humanitarian devastation that was then unfolding in Kosovo. The decision to intervene followed more than a year of fighting within the province and the failure of international efforts to resolve the conflict by diplomatic means.

NATO announced the suspension of the air campaign on June 10, 1999 once it had concluded a military technical agreement with the federal republic of Yugoslavia.

NATO casualties were light, and the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations.

VFW Post 8904 and the Auxiliary will conduct a wreath laying ceremony in honor of those who served in Kosovo at the Veteran’s Memorial on the grounds of the 1885 Historic Courthouse in Center on Wednesday, March 24th at 10:00 a.m. As always, the public is invited to honor their fellow Americans.

Attendees are asked to please wear a mask. Questions please contact post quartermaster Larry Hume, 936-332-0349 or email chiefhume95@gmail.com.

Click image to enlarge

March 9, 2021 - Shelby County Aggie Moms recently went to College Station to meet the Shelby County Aggies for supper at BJ's and to deliver goody bags to encourage them as they approach mid-terms. Current Aggies are Blane Agnew, Dayton Bush, Jodi Blount, Jackson Cater, Mattison Clay, Joshua Clinton, Angel Eufracio, Samantha Ferrebee, Hannah Garcia, Zack Garcia, Tyler Herndon, Logan Holloway, Brock Hughes, Logan Jefferson, Olivia Johnson, Elizabeth Landin, Ashlynn Lindgren, Emma Locke, Sam McSwain, Morgan Morris, Rebekah Potter, Sadie Ramsey, Maddie Russell, Ryan Russell, Matt Silvey, and Connor Timmons.

Anyone with an Aggie in school now or one planning to attend TAMU-CS in the fall is welcome to join Shelby County Aggie Moms. Meetings are the last Monday of the month at 6:00pm in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church, Center.

Gig'Em Aggies!

March 9, 2021 - Order a T-shirt today to help raise funds for Community Christian Services. Community Christian Services are taking preorders until Friday, March 12, 2021

A PayPal link has been provided to try to make it a little easier for everyone to pay. In the note section under the amount on PayPal, please comment the sizes and quantity you are paying for as well as a contact phone number.

Orders can also be placed on Facebook by messaging Community Christian Services. https://www.facebook.com/groups/568949747335884

Youth Small to Youth XL - $20
Adult Small to XL - $20
Adult 2XL to 3XL - $23

March 9, 2021 - The Unique Boutique is accepting donations during business hours only, which are from 9-4, Monday through Friday. Please do not leave donations after hours. Thank you for your support and understanding. See you at the Unique Boutique! For more information, call us at 936-591-8190. 

March 8, 2021 - Now that the ice from the February winter storm has been melted long enough for many folks to have time to repair the damage it caused, it is easier to look back and reflect on the beauty and memories from the icy weather.

Sheila Woodard came home to Shelbyville to check on her mother, Hazel Bolton who is 80 years old. They were both amazed by the size of the icicles which had formed. She documented the size of one from the eave of her mother's house in a photo with her mom. Ms. Hazel is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and the icicle is nearly her height.

With the water and electricity out, Sheila enjoyed the majesty of the scenery and took comfort from the sun shining through the trees forming a cross. God was with them during the storm and they all came out of it with a different view of God's beautiful scenery with the sun glistening on the ice and snow covered landscape.

From left: Linda Miller, Kristen Peace, Sheila Harris, Kerry West, Brandi Riggs, Debbie Daw, Bobby Daw, Alease Copelin, and Lisa McAdams.

March 5, 2021 - The 50 Women of Impact's first quarter donation of 2021 was awarded to the Shelby County Exposition Center/Jim Booth Arena! The winner was announced February 26th and once all the donations had been tallied, the grand total wrangled in was a whopping $11,100.

The check was presented to Shelby County Expo representatives Bobby Daw, Debbie Daw, Kerry West, and Brandi Riggs. The rodeo arena has been seeing some big changes including the most noticeable being the removal of the old and dangerous bleachers and installation of raised aluminum stands. The group working to improve the arena have remodeled the concession stands, repaired lighting, painted, and done needed dirt work. The year 2020 caused many events to be canceled and the Shelby County Exposition Center used the time to make much needed changes.

2021 is off to a great start with events already on the calendar; the most recent event was the Shelby County 4-H County Show held on February 27th. Upcoming events are March 6th Bull Riding hosted by Stillwater Cowboy Church, March 9th Circus of Stars, March 20th Shelby County Expo Playday, and April 23-24th Chamber of Commerce BBQ Cookoff.

The group plans to use the donation to help continue improving the facility and to keep it available to the community for use. To the group of volunteers working on the Expo, the increased use of an up-to-date, viable, well-maintained facility by organizations and Shelby County residents is the ultimate measure of success.

The 50 Women of Impact gives thanks to The Sign Shop and Beverly Bush Slatter for the donation of the big check.

Since the group began in 2017, the group has donated a total of $142,900.