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Fall Blessings By Johanna Hicks

               While visiting downtown Sulphur Springs recently, I noticed all the beautiful fall decorations in store windows.  With the cooler temperatures upon us, fall in definitely in the air! Stepping inside one of my favorite shops, I admired the beautifully embroidered aprons, bags, and hand towels, donning gold, orange, green, tan and brown leaves.  One hand towel in particular caught my eye, and I walked out with a new purchase – a beautifully monogrammed towel that said, “In this home, we are grateful, thankful and blessed,” framed with a garland of leaves.

               As we enter the autumn season, many families think about Halloween and Christmas, purchasing costumes, decorations, special treats, and lawn ornaments.  However, even in some retail stores, there is a special holiday that falls in-between and is often overlooked.  I’m speaking about Thanksgiving. 

               Being thankful for what we have, rather than grumbling about what we don’t have, can make a big difference in our attitude, as well as those with whom we come in contact.  A quote I heard from a Hallmark movie recently hit the nail on the head.  “Are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful?”  I choose to be humbly grateful!  How about you?

Master Wellness Volunteer Initiative

               Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers so many different opportunities throughout the state through workshops, programs, series of classes on a particular topic, field days, seminars, on-line classes and certifications, mass media, and through publications.  Extension agents utilize collaborating partners and volunteers to help with implementation and evaluation of major events.

               One program which truly makes an impact is the Master Wellness Volunteer Initiative.  In Hopkins County, there are eight trained and active volunteers who assist with a myriad of activities, including registration for classes and events, tray preparation and cooking demonstrations, 4-H projects, health fairs, preparations of materials, and much more!

               I am excited to announce the next training for anyone who is interested in becoming a Master Wellness Volunteer.  On January 22, we will kick off the training in a face-to-face workshop.  Parts of the workshop will be through a state-wide webex broadcast from College Station.  At that time, participants will receive information on two options for the remaining sessions – weekly in-person sessions, or online, self-paced sessions.  The wrap-up session will take place on Tuesday, February 19 in-person. 

               The in-person trainings will be held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office in Sulphur Springs.  Other counties may also offer the same opportunity, but the ultimate goal is the same for all – to equip volunteers with information on health and wellness, food safety, and working with diverse audiences.

               Watch for information on cost, time, and application process, but save January 22 and February 19 if you are interested!

Hopkins County Fall Festival

               It’s here!  You will notice the activity at the Hopkins County Civic Center and grounds, Buford Park, Sulphur Springs High School and the Hopkins County Extension Office!  This serves as a final reminder concerning the Creative Arts Contest.  There is an age division to fit everyone, and we’ll find a category for anything you wish to enter.  Official registration will take place on Thursday, October 25 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., and on Friday, October 26 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Sulphur Springs High School Conference Center.  (We will also accept entries at the Extension Office on Wednesday, October 24, but they will eventually wind up at the high school.)  This contest is open only to Hopkins County residents due to space restraints, but anyone may view the items during public viewing times!

               The entries will be judged on Friday morning and on display to the public following judging, until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and open to public viewing again on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Best of Show winners will have pictures made at 1:30, after which all entries may be picked up. 

               Also remember to visit the Arts & Crafts Show in the high school cafeteria!  You’ll find one-of-a-kind items, all handmade by crafters and artisans.  The Arts & Crafts Show is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 26 and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 27.  There is no charge to get in, but bring your wallet, because you will want to do some shopping! 

               Exhibits in the Hopkins County Civic Center, activities on the grounds, Kids Zone, Outhouse Races, judging of the Hay Bale Contest, Donkey Basketball, and the stew cook-off are other events that you don’t want to miss! 

Closing thought

It is possible to make each year bring with it a lasting gift to add to the fullness of experience, to be treasured up, savored, and remembered – Grenville Kleiser

Recipe of the Week

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

·        3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ “ strips

·        2 tablespoons olive oil

·        2 teaspoons garlic powder

·        1 teaspoon paprika

·        ½ teaspoon salt

·        1/3 cup parmesan, grated


1)      Heat oven to 400°F.  Line cookie sheet with foil.

2)      In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes and olive oil; toss to coat.  Remove from bowl and spread in a single layer on cookie sheet.

3)      In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika, salt, and parmesan.  Sprinkle fries with mixture.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 110 calories, 6 g total fat, 0 trans fats, 5 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 190% Vitamin A

Johanna Hicks Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Consumer Sciences 1200-B W. Houston P.O.Box 518 Sulphur springs, TX 75483 903-885-3443 – phone 903-439-4909 – Fax [email protected]

Author: Savannah Everett

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