10 Budget Friendly Ways to Make Memories with your Children

Since becoming a single mom I am routinely asked for advice on how to travel with kids on a budget or how to stretch your dollars when you are entertaining children. Well, to be frank, I always hear… how can you even afford to travel being a single mom?

I always cheerfully share my tips and tricks with anyone who asks, simply because I know that single parents have to guard every single penny in their budget. Every penny that is misspent literally takes resources away from our children.

First and foremost, I cannot take any credit for anything good that has happened to me or my daughters. God provides for us continuously. I stay in constant prayer that God shows us favor, wisdom and mercy. Aside from this, I was raised by very wise parents who were masters at stretching dollars and cents to provide for their children.

I hope these practical tips can be translated through the ages of your children. They are basic, helpful and truly become second nature once you incorporate them into your life.

1.) The grocery store is your friend. When we travel anywhere we always have a small cooler for sandwiches, drinks and snacks. Eating out and convenient store snacks can eat away at your memory making dollars. My daughters have always enjoyed a roadside picnic at a random roadside park or rest stop. (Safety first, if it feels creepy don’t stop!)

2.) When you eat out, you do not have to order appetizers and desserts. Or even cokes. You can drink water, it is free and it is healthy. (My daughters are cringing right now but I am adamant about these savings. A family of three can save upwards of $10 just by cutting costly drinks.) Also, entrees are so huge, there is no shame in sharing a meal with your child. If you choose to eat out please always remember to tip your server. It is not their fault that your budget is tighter than your pants after a big meal!

3.) Most people have a debit card that they routinely use. Choose one that makes your money work for you. I choose to use my BOM Rewards Checking Account debit card. I save the points until there is enough to purchase a hotel stay or two. The points add up quickly when you use it for all of your normal expenses and bills that allow credit card payments. Right after my divorce this was the sole reason we were able to take a few trips.

4.) When you choose a hotel, choose one that offers a free breakfast. Most of them do, it is normally very tasty, and they are all kid friendly. I love sitting in a crowded hotel lobby eating breakfast with dozens of screaming kids while the parents knowingly smile at each other boasting that it was a free meal.

5.) If you choose a destination months in advance you may want to take advantage of opening a Christmas Club account. You can dedicate a small amount each month that you will deposit into your account. Typically you cannot pull the money out until later in the Fall. This money can be used for gas, food or attractions. This is another method that I have used on numerous occasions to enjoy a small getaway with my daughters.

Sometimes out of town travel is just not in your plan. Don’t let that deter you from enjoying time well spent with your children.

6.) You can always take advantage of staying local to make memories. One of our favorite things to do is bring our boring supper to the River Bank and enjoy the view of the River while we dodge the scary geese.

7.) Local libraries and churches are always a haven with numerous programs that focus on the family. Typically each of them have free or low cost educational opportunities and group activities that children love.

8.) Make it a habit to take a daily stroll with your children. It is truly a great way to unwind and let them share the details of their day. Some of our best memories are from sitting on our porch or walking down the street. You can also take advantage of local parks and playground equipment. Again, this is a great place to bring your supper for a change of scenery. No one is ever too old to enjoy swings and a jungle gym!

9.) Go visit family out of town. When I was growing up my parents would always visit family on the weekends with me and my siblings in tow. Every so often we would even spend the night. These days people are spending less and less time face to face because of social media and other distractions. Nothing replaces family time.

10.) Take advantage of local walking trails. Most towns are expanding their outdoor walking spaces. Let your children research the trails and chances are they will have more fun than you!

Last and definitely not least, your children just want to spend uninterrupted time with you and typically they do not care how you do it, they just want you. Whether you spend money on travel or just taking long walks together… as long as it involves you, they are happy. They may not realize it until many years later but time invested in family is never wasted.

“Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
1 Peter 4:8-11

Depending on the age of your children, there are always many local opportunities that are free or very low cost to the parents. Our local libraries are always the go-to for programs and activities that are fun and educational. Our churches always have a variety of youth groups, children’s classes, and a safe place for children to hang out.

At the end of the day, your children just want to spend time with you. Whether it is walking the dog in the neighborhood, sitting together in church or eating supper with you at the family dinner table. They just want your presence.

OPPORTUNITY: Accounting Technician

Position: Accounting Technician
Location: Natchitoches, LA
Job Type: Classified
Department: Northwestern State University-Business Affairs
Job Number: 170232
Closing: 2/6/2023 11:59 PM Central

Supplemental Information
Northwestern State University is currently accepting applications for an Accounting Technician in Business Affairs.

No Civil Service test score is required in order to be considered for this vacancy.

To apply for this vacancy, click on the link below and complete an electronic application,


The successful candidate will be subject to a background check, as a condition of employment.

*Resumes WILL NOT be accepted in lieu of completed education and experience sections on your application. Applications may be rejected if incomplete.*

For further information about this vacancy contact:

Benetrus Brooks
Northwestern State University – Human Resources
200 Sam Sibley Dr. – St. Denis Hall


Three years of experience in bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, or numerical computation.

College training will substitute for the required experience on the basis of thirty semester hours for one year of experience.

An Associate Degree in Accounting, Accounting Technology, or Business from an accredited college or university will substitute for two years of the required experience.

Training in a vocational-technical school or military school in Accounting, Accounting Technology, or Business will substitute for up to one year of required experience on the basis of one month of training for one month of experience.

NOTE: Any college hours or degree must be from an accredited college or university.

Job Concepts

Function of Work:
To provide the full range of paraprofessional accounting services.

Level of Work:

Supervision Received:
Generally from higher-level fiscal or administrative position.

Supervision Exercised:
May supervise lower-level paraprofessional fiscal or administrative positions.

Location of Work:
May be used by all state agencies.

Job Distinctions:
Differs from Accounting Specialist 2 by responsibility for preparation of basic-level financial reports.

Differs from professional accountants by assisting accounting professionals in the performance of various tasks within the accounting process.

Examples of Work

Maintain operational functions at the cashier window, reconciling cash and cash items daily for deposit.

Communicates with student, parents and other customers regarding questions or problems.

Responsible for physical handling, control, and appropriate account coding of all University’s monetary transactions

Compiles monthly business reports for the bursar concerning but not limited to revenue forecasting, delinquent accounts, petty cash, and departmental advance.

Analyzes and compiles data and prepares monthly reports reflecting actives and stats for accounts receivables.

Parents, please push your kids to take Ag classes

I’ve said this before, and now I’m going to say it once more again. Parents – get your children to take at least one Agriculture (Ag) class in school. It doesn’t matter what they want to do for a living. Get them to take Ag. One simple push from every parent in Louisiana could change the future of our state. And here’s how.

A few observations and facts:

– Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Not just America. The entire world.

– The median family income is about 49 grand a year. That is nearly half of the southern average.

– More than half of Louisiana households are operating either below federal poverty standards or in the realm of “working poor” families.

– More than half of our college grads live in debilitating student loan debt.

– The number of Louisiana households receiving food stamps is at its highest ever.

– There is a dearth of skilled workers. There isn’t a lot of industry anymore in our state, especially up here, but businesses are desperate to hire people. The workers aren’t there because they don’t have the skills needed.

– Back in my previous life, we had many long discussions as a Chamber of Commerce board about what South Webster needed. Jobs. Industry. Economic growth. That’s everywhere, but it takes something to get that – SKILLED WORKERS.

– Lack of skilled workers leads to a lack of industry and jobs. This in turn leads to poverty. This in turn leads to an uptick in drug abuse and crime.

Therein ends the facts and observations. Now a way to help.

Parents – get your kids to take at least one Ag class. All parents. All kids. Just one. Please.

I’ve floated this idea to people before. A lot of times I’m greeted with a blank stare. My wife wasn’t even that kind. “I wouldn’t want to take Ag,” she told me, harkening back to those days of yore when Boy Bands were a thing and Leo was in the movie about that girl who wouldn’t move over on that headboard. There was totally enough room for two on that board, Rose!

My wife’s comment goes for a lot of folk, I imagine. Ag, for whatever reason, has the connotation of being a class for the “boys not going to college.” A lot of kids and parents never would even think to take an Ag class because it’s not part of their plan for after high school. For decades the American idea of success has been predicated on going to a four year school, earning a degree, and taking over the world. Reality is different. College is still the goal. Taking over the world … not so much.

There is an excellent video on this subject from Dr. Kevin J. Fleming. Fleming is President/CEO of Grey Matters International, Inc., a unique neuroleadership and transformational behavior change consulting firm. He is a former neuropsychologist-turned-professional coach who has served as a “thinking advisor” to high profile clientele, including professional athletes, politicians, Fortune 500 CEOs, and those in the entertainment industry around what is next when advice, self-help, and therapy have failed to change behavior. His video highlights how America got to this place where four-year college is preached as an all or nothing proposition. Those who go to college – doesn’t matter what they major in or how little money they make after graduation – are the ones deemed a success. The truth is this mindset has led to over saturation in Americans with degrees in fields that aren’t necessarily needed compared to the drought of skilled workers. The stats don’t lie and the video is eye-opening. Watch it. Please.

So I say again:

Parents – get your kids to take Ag. Exposing young minds to new ideas may open up paths they would have never previously considered. This isn’t an anti-college post. This is just a “take all avenues into consideration” post.

One Ag class may spark a passion that could lead to a life of financial gain and stability rather than one riddled with low salary and a mountain of student debt. We push our kids to have new experiences, try new things, meet new people, and expand their horizons. What’s wrong with doing that for one class in high school?

Ag classes teach a basic understanding of what it means to work with your hands, be exposed to the idea of alternatives to four year colleges that produce workers who will probably struggle in the over saturation in the market and the changed world economy.

If you are not easily replaceable, if you have a specialized skill that others don’t, and if you bring your boss money because of that skill – you will make more money. It’s basic economics. But if you are one of many who has the same skill set and an expensive piece of paper from a four year school then you might not be as irreplaceable as you think.

Take me. I have a bachelors. A masters. I don’t make a lot of money. Breaking news – Teachers don’t make much money. I have a lot of expensive papers that say I’m educated. Great for me, but the market doesn’t place much monetary value on what I do. And while I think I’m good at what I do, if I were to die tomorrow or go be a mango farmer in Tahiti (my money is on that one), there would be another teacher in my room the next day. Would they be a better teacher than me? It doesn’t matter. That’s not the point. What I do is easily replaceable. Now, if a heart surgeon or an electrician or another skilled worker were to be visited by the Grim or launch a mango farming scheme, they wouldn’t be so easily replaceable. This doesn’t bother me. It’s the way of the world. It makes sense.

We need more parents and kids interested in these more lucrative career paths. There is no magic bullet or miracle elixir to solve Louisiana’s problems. Any politician who tells you otherwise is only interested in telling you what you want to hear. We have to have jobs, good paying jobs. But in order to have those jobs you have to have workers who can do what is needed in order to attract business and industry.

Ag isn’t a cure. But what we have been doing sure isn’t working. So try something new.

It starts at home.

So again: Parents – get your kids to take an Ag class. You might just be part of a revolution.

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been honored five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)

Adapting to Farming: Precision Agriculture

By Katie Bedgood, Lakeview FFA Chapter Member

Over the years farmers have had to learn how to keep up with our world’s growing population, using things such as GMOs, cros-pollination, and artificial insemination. But how are they adapting to the fact they are having less and less land to grow on? Well, thanks to technology we now have precision agriculture which helps farmers make a lot out of a little.

A few parts of precision agriculture is GPS soil sampling which allows you to test fields’ soil to reveal all the important data you will need to know for making informed profitable decisions. Another part of precision agriculture is weather monitoring, which is when farmers collect weather data so that they know when to plant their crops and so they know when to water and not water the crops.

There are many other new pieces of technology that are a part of precision agriculture that do many different things but they all have a common goal which is to help our farmers seek the help of new technology to increase their crop yields and profitability all while using less of the traditional inputs needed to grow. Over the years farmers have had to learn how to keep up with our world’s growing population, using things such as GMOs, cros-pollination, and artificial insemination.

But how are they adapting to the fact they are having less and less land to grow on? Well, thanks to technology we now have precision agriculture which helps farmers make a lot out of a little. One part of precision agriculture is GPS soil sampling, which allows you to test fields’ soil to reveal all the important data you will need to know for making informed profitable decisions. Another part of precision agriculture is weather monitoring, which is when farmers collect weather data so that they know when to plant their crops and so they know when to water and not water the crops. 


POSITION: Accounting & Fiscal Department
DESCRIPTION: The accounting & Fiscal Department has current positions open
including CFO, Senior Accountant, Revenue Cycle Director, and Fiscal Assistant.
All positions work collaboratively to build a culture of compliance and excellence.
Roles and responsibilities vary from upper-level financial oversight and
management to bank account reconciliations; journal and vendor file maintenance;
analyzing financial information and/or assuring collection revenue is maximal.
QUALIFICATIONS: Range from BS in Accounting to fiscal experience,
dependent on specific position. Federal experience is desirable for managerial
CONTACT: Human Resources Department at hr@outpatientmedical.org or
visit outpatientmedical.org Career Opportunities section for specific job descriptions and links to apply.

Outpatient Medical Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Goldonna Village News – Honor Roll Students

Goldonna Elementary Junior High Principal, Cori Beth Manual, is proud to release her final Honor Roll list for the Fall Semester.

Principal’s List
Haiden Black
Bryson Carter
Mackenzie Dodge
Saydee Flack
Brookelyn Garner
Anthony Giannone- Flores
Brody Guin
Piper Killingsworth
Carlie Spears
Gavin Spears
Lani Todd

A Honor Roll
Daylon Ayres
Breannna Bates
Gabrielle Bedgood
Jazper Choate
Silas Collinsworth
Caylee Cotton
Alaynna Day
Jaclyn Dillom
Remy Dillon
Jasiah Grayson
Joseph Ivy
Daygen Johnson
Brett Keith
Tyler LeBrun
Penelope Mann
Carlee Martin
Alex McCoy
Bronson McLendon
Journey Nealy
Zallien Paul
Hunter Quinn
Posey Riddle
Case Sampey
Alaina Simpson
James Simpson
Victoria Stewart
Riley Thompson
Heidi Winn
Autumn Womack

B Honor Roll
Brennan Alexander
Dallas Bates
Cassi Caldwell
Brooklyn Chandler
Zaine Choate
Dylan Conlay
Chaylie Cox
Ayden Desadier
Janiah Grayson
Johnny Helaire
Aubrey Olivier
Branyia Reliford
Ozyria Reliford
Jennifer Sines
Kara Slaughter

Goldonna Elementary Junior High also has the following events coming up:
Muffins with Mom January 13th 9:00-9:45 in the school auditorium
Martin Luther King Holiday January 16th – no school for students
Donuts with Dad January 27th 9:00-9:45 in the school auditorium
Homecoming Court January 19th 5:30 in the school gym
Homecoming Dance January 20th 6:00pm to 8:00pm

If you are interested in Telehealth for your child please fill out the necessary form and return it to the school office. As you can see there are many great things taking place at Goldonna Elementary Junior High School. If you are looking for ways to support the school please reach out to the school office.

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com

Blessed: Doesn’t God Have Jokes?

“Though the mountains may be moved into the sea. Though the ground beneath might crumble and give way, I can hear my father singing over me,,,It’s gonna be ok.” Tasha Layton, “Into the Sea.”

When one boards an airplane for a trip there is an unwritten rule that applies. Everyone who has flown more than once is acutely aware of this. No, you won’t hear this on a pre-recorded message nor will you see it in the safety-manual that is neatly placed on the seat in front of you. This could have been passed down from generations before us or even friends who travel more than we do. On my recent holiday voyage it was my delight to be able to teach this to my youngest daughter who flew with me.

The unwritten but understood rule is…yes, there will be turbulence but if the flight attendant is not concerned, you shouldn’t be either. I have always reasoned with myself that turbulence is like hitting a pothole on a poorly maintained road in the sky.

I have always enjoyed flying and have never had a bad experience but my daughter was very nervous this time. We spoke at length about bumpy flights and I encouraged to download her favorite shows or a book to entertain her while flying.

On our recent mother-daughter trip we flew through many snowstorms, waited while planes were de-iced, re-filled with fuel, delayed flights and changing of planes. We felt like we experienced everything the friendly skies had to offer. We mostly chose joy and tried not to complain to each other although we silently knew we would not be flying during the holidays again anytime soon.

On our flight from the lovely town of Idaho Falls to Denver, Colorado turned into a major concern not long after we hit the air. The flight attendant rolled out her drink cart as normal and was serving drinks with a cheerful smile until the pilot voice filled the background. In a calm but urgent way he advised everyone that we were about to hit “severe turbulence” due to the weather headed into Denver. He urged the attendant to put away the drink cart and return to her seat immediately and all of the passengers should stay buckled up while making sure all of our personal items were secure.

I looked over at my daughter and she was none the wiser. She was clueless that we were about to take a fiery dive into the Rocky Mountains. I glanced at the flight attendant who was rolling that cart faster than Mario Andretti could make a lap around a race track. She had lost her cheerful, genuine smile and traded it for a fake smile that was forced. I briefly thought that this would be the end but then the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had praise music downloaded and I should enjoy the calming music and close my eyes.

Into my Apple Music Library I dove. I have a wonderful playlist downloaded that I normally use for yard work so I will feel closer to the Lord. This was perfect, not knowing what would play next, I clicked “shuffle” and waited for the Lord to WOW me with his peace.

As the turbulence began so did the music. Please refer to the lyrics at the very beginning of this article. Does God have jokes? Yes, this is the song that the Lord sent my way to remind me of his goodness and bestow his peace all around me. “Can you make something from the wreckage…though the mountains may be moved into the sea…..”

While I realize we were not flying over a sea….the words “mountains, wreckage and ground crumbling” had me so tickled. The good Lord knows me so well and is aware that I love a good laugh and can find humor in practically any situation. I smiled so big at the thought of him sending this song my way….was he laughing at me? It’s okay, I was laughing at myself and enjoying his presence all at the same time.

The recurring message in the song does say, “It’s gonna be okay, you have never let me down and you won’t.” He didn’t let us down. We truly never felt the severe turbulence.

I know that he delights in his children and he wants us to experience his love, his kindness and his sense of humor. Yes, I am convinced that God has jokes. After all, we were made in his image.

“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

Blessed: Christmas Cup

Christmas 2022 was going to be an epic one for the books. It was going to be the first time we forwent the traditional Christmas presents in exchange for a trip filled with precious memories to last a lifetime. My youngest daughter was not so thrilled. She always enjoyed a “Christmas Haul”. Tons of gifts wrapped in beautiful packaging under a perfectly lit tree.

Her Christmas Cup should always be overflowing with gifts.

This year I wanted to trade all of it for airline tickets to see my oldest daughter in Idaho. I didn’t want a repeat of last year‘s Christmas without having both daughters under one roof. In reality, I know that life is ever changing and not all holidays will look the same. Especially while your children are growing up and finding their own way in the world.

My Christmas Cup is a little selfish too, it should always be filled to the brim with my children, on Christmas Day in matching pajama and tons of laughs and memories.

We started planning in October by purchasing the airline tickets and a meticulously chosen route to ensure a holiday trip to remember. We originally planned to fly to Idaho then take a lovely drive to Banff, Canada. Passports, tickets, rental vehicle and rooms were all secured. Nothing to do except wait for Christmas Eve so we could fly out.

Unless you have been hiding under a large, quiet rock, then you are aware of the Polar Vortex that hit the entire country and wrecked travel plans for millions of people. This made my Christmas Cup a little less full. I was beginning to worry.

I had been watching my United Airline app like a hawk. I checked it daily until our trip and everything was reported as “On time No Delay”. I’m the midst of watching the app, I was also stalking the Montana roads update on their website. Before we left our house it was deemed that Canada wouldn’t happen due to blizzard like conditions and road closures. The rooms were cancelled.

My Christmas Cup was draining little by little.

As Christmas Eve approached we made our way to the airport only to sit there through nine grueling delays. As strange as it may sound there was some comfort found in the camaraderie of all the other travelers. While we were all exhausted, drained, sad, and hopeless; we still felt joy when someone finally got to board a plane or when someone’s name was called who had been on standby.

We ended up missing a whole day of travel and had to spend the night in a town that was still an hour away from our destination.

My Christmas Cup was virtually empty and almost bone dry.

Even being a Christ follower who is full of faith, love and constant joy, it is so easy to be blindsided by our cup being empty. Several times during our travels I had to literally stop and remind myself that I am saved, sanctified and Jesus would not want me acting in a way that would land me on the evening news.

All through the holiday season our cups are filled and emptied with all of the ups and downs that life throws our way. I have learned through my own comedy of errors that my cup drains quickly when I am not putting Jesus first. It drains dry when I am not saturating myself with his word and reminders of why we even celebrate Christmas at all.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2

What’d we do in ’22

In good ol’ 2022, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Love Languages, a lady named Amy earned $1 million-plus and made the Jeopardy! TV game show cry “Uncle!”, LSU’s football team won more games than even the Tigers’ most loyal and optimistic fan thought possible, and Port-O-Lets again made their presence known during Mardi Gras as one of the best inventions since indoor plumbing — which turned out to be heavy plastic outdoor plumbing.

Good times.

These were just some of the more light-hearted and trivial happenings of a somewhat gray 2022, a year that had this One Big Thing going for it: it wasn’t 2021 or, Lord help us all, 2020, when our leaders didn’t.

I was born at night, but not last night.

Actually, I was born at 8:15 in the morning, just in time to clock in, and have been carrying my little tool box and lunch pail since. Like you, the past two years have beaten all I’ve ever seen and have tried, overly hard, to beat us down.

But here we are, still flying the flag, like the old man in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, a little thinner and gaunt, showing some deep wrinkles and splotches, some deep-creased scars, but our eyes are bright and cheerful and undefeated.

We can hardly afford to buy the toot off a whistle if they were selling for a nickel apiece, but we soldier on. The world keeps spinning and we’re happy to be along for the ride into what we trust will be a more upbeat 2023.

2022 was the year that brought us Wordle. Remember last year this time when everybody was Wordleing? The fad has worn off a bit, but last spring, Wordle was almost as popular as Taylor Swift.

2022 was also the year when Top Gun: Maverick became required viewing. Is it the best sequel since The Godfather Part II?

Fair Grounds Field was demolished in 2022 — until it wasn’t. Red tape and bat poop sort of sums up the year; the higher-ups don’t want to admit a mistake and get things back on greased grooves.

Closer to home, we became grandparents in July 2022, a definite highlight. She’s a healthy five months old. Because we are good grandparents, we took her to see Top Gun: Maverick five times and sold all we have except our toothbrushes to get her a Taylor Swift concert ticket. She’ll have to go alone because one is all we could afford but the kid has got to learn to stand on her own at some point.

We did not get her a ticket to Monday’s Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando when 9-4 LSU takes on 8-5 Purdue/Purdon’t because although we love Chees-Its, one of the highest quality dairy foods you can eat, who knew LSU could threaten a 10-win season? This is a team that started a receiver at quarterback and had 38 players on scholarship in last year’s bowl game, something called the TaxAct Texas Bowl when Kansas State beat what was left of the Tigers, 42-20.

Hat tippage to new coach Brian Kelly and Tiger fans everywhere for their expectation-exceeding results this fall.

Since this is the first time ever the two programs have met and since the only alum of Purdue people in these parts might know is New Orleans Saints forever-hero Drew Brees, you might find it of interest that the nice lady who invented Stovetop Stuffing, Ruth Siems, went to Purdue, as did Orville Redenbacher, the popcorn magnate. Doubtful that either of those things will come into play during Monday’s game — unless the Boilermakers have Stovetop Stuffing and popcorn for pregame. Then we really like LSU to cover the two-touchdown spread. Kick is at noon Monday, Jan. 2.

2023 kicks off the day before.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Goldonna News: December 28, 2022

Goldonna Elementary Junior High School student, Grace Day, was chosen to have her poem, “No More Bully’s” published by Appelly Publishing. Grace entered the contest through her school and was chosen as a “Rising Star”.

“ I’m honored to have been chosen for my writing to be published. My writing came from the heart,” said Miss Day.

Grace Day is in the 6th grade at Goldonna Elementary. She is also a past winner of the NPSB Student of the Year Competition. If you see Grace be sure and congratulate the rising star.

Goldonna Elementary Junior High is pleased to announce their Students of the Year for 22-23. The 5th grade Student of the Year is Bryson Carter. 8th grade Student of the Year is Carlie Spears! The students will now move on to the District competition. They will compete with portfolio and interviews with a panel of judges.

On December 30th at 6:00pm there will be a community church service held at Goldonna Assembly of God Church located at 108 Talley Street. Come join the community as they gather to worship and leave the past behind. “Behold I am making all Things New” is the theme of the evening. Mr. Tom Gresham will be ministering during the service.

If you have News to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com

Remembering Nancy West Harrington

Nancy West Harrington departed this life on December 21, 2022 after a brief illness. She was 98.

Nancy was born December 6, 1924 in the village of Roxwell, Essex County, England to Charles Henry West and Phyllis Mildred West. She had one sibling, her brother, Don. Nancy had a happy life in the small village that was filled with many of her relatives. She attended Roxwell Church of England School, and was active at St. Michael’s and All Angels church in the village. She taught Sunday School while a teenager. Also as a teenager, Nancy founded a Brownie troop for girls in Roxwell, and became its captain. She graduated the Mid-Essex Technical College with a degree in business, and went to work for the school system. Nancy and her family lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They survived the bombing of their street and yard during the Battle of Britain.

In August 1943, Nancy and a friend were sitting on a bench at the end of her street when two American airmen from a nearby base walked by. One of them was her future husband, Billy. They started dating and became engaged. Billy was sent to France and then Belgium, as part of the Allied invasion of Europe. After Germany surrendered in May 1945, Billy learned that he was being sent to the Pacific theater with his B-26 bomber squadron. He was granted leave and rushed back to Roxwell to tell Nancy that they should get married. Her mother put together a wedding at St. Michael’s church in five days, with Nancy wearing a wedding gown borrowed from the widow of a British soldier who died at Dunkirk. They celebrated a three day honeymoon, and Billy went back to his unit.

After Japan surrendered in August 1945, Billy was sent home to Louisiana. In June 1946, Nancy finally got to join him as one of 65,000 British war brides that arrived in the U.S. by ship. They first lived at Monette’s Ferry with his family, then moved to Cypress and eventually to Flora. Nancy went to work for the Natchitoches Parish School Board, where she had a long career, including many years as the Executive Secretary to five superintendents of schools. When she retired, the School Board voted to permanently name its meeting room The Nancy West Harrington Board Room.

In 2018, Nancy was honored by the Citizens for Democratic Action for her tireless service to others.

Nancy first attended Trinity Episcopal Church on Easter Sunday, 1947, beginning a relationship with a church that she loved so much, and that she and Billy raised their children in.

Nancy and Billy had three children, Rick, Rodney, and Billy Joe. They all graduated Northwestern State University, and all became attorneys. One was elected district judge and another was elected district attorney of Natchitoches Parish. Another has a successful law practice.

Nancy and Billy loved their boys, and were active in their lives from their youngest days, teaching them to hunt and fish, play sports, and excel in school. They raised them as Christians. Nancy taught her sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren many life lessons, but perhaps the most important was to treat all people with respect and dignity, no matter who they were.

She lived her life with dignity and grace, and was a living example and inspiration to all who knew her.

Nancy lost her beloved husband in 2004 and moved from Flora to Natchitoches to be closer to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She continued to stay active in their lives and attended their sporting events and other activities. She was her grandchildren’s adored “Grandma Nan”.

Nancy was proud of her English heritage and she and her family made many trips to England to visit their relatives there. Her English family also made many visits to Louisiana to see her. She eventually obtained her U. S. citizenship so that she could vote here, without surrendering her British citizenship.

Nancy was predeceased by her parents and brother, and her husband, Billy. She is survived by her sons, Rick (Carolyn), Rodney (Jan), and Billy Joe (Donna). She leaves eleven grandchildren and their spouses: Charlotte Harrington, Andy (Holly) Harrington, Camille Harrington, Curtis (Kasey) Harrington, Eddie (Emily) Harrington, Emily Erin Harrington, Mary Catherine Harrington, Drake (Brandi) Harrington, Claire (Brandon) Mayeaux, Kyle (Emily) Lechman and Peyton Rimmer. She had 13 great-grandchildren: Austin and Naomi Page, Nell and Lonnie Harrington, Alice and Edmund Harrington, Hudson, Hendrix and Hayes Harrington, Anna and Eva Mayeaux, and Charlotte and Amelia Lechman.

The family expresses its gratitude to Courtyard of Natchitoches, Hospice of Natchitoches, Ellen Chalk, Wanda Sykes and Pam Williams for their care of Nancy.

Services for Nancy will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 822 Second Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will be in the church before the service, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Her pallbearers will be her grandsons Andrew, Curtis, Eddie and Drake Harrington, and her grandson-in-law, Brandon Mayeaux. Burial will follow at Weaver Cemetery in Flora, Louisiana, where she will be placed at rest beside Billy. On her gravestone is a phrase from a poem by the British poet Rupert Brooke: “There’s some corner that is forever England.”

Those wishing to honor Nancy’s memory with a donation may contribute to the Trinity Episcopal Church RRR Fund, 148 Touline, Natchitoches, LA 71457.

Blessed: My First Nativity Set

The very first Nativity scene of record dates back to the year 1223. History credits Saint Francis of Assisi, as the creator of a crèche for a Christmas Eve Mass while he was visiting in Grecio. After this meaningful display of an ox, donkey and a manger, it quickly became a trend. During these times sculptors mainly fabricated these out of marble. Through the years people began to use different materials such as clay and wood so they would be affordable for common people to have. Though the Nativity scene started with very humble beginnings, with only a few figurines depicting Jesus’ birth, it grew over time to include a variety of farm animals, numerous angels, Shepherds, the Wise Men and camels.

This tradition eventually morphed into the home variety of Nativity Sets that are still largely popular today.

Theologians agree that the typical Nativity Set that is sold in stores today inaccurately depicts the actual night of our Savior’s birth. They say that most Nativity Sets portray the first year of
of his life and the Magi followed the star to Jesus’ home a year after he was born.

Regardless of the historical accuracy, many people find comfort in having all of the pieces together in one big show. As a child growing up I remember our family having a Nativity Set that we set out every year as part of our Christmas decor. I vividly remember the grassy textured roof on top of the barn and it had all of the major players glued down to the bottom of the barn. I am fairly certain that my parents appreciated the fact that they were permanently in place but it bothered me.

Looking back, I think it was mainly because I wanted to integrate these figurines with my Barbies. My Barbie needed a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and farm animals to complete her family.

Over time different pieces of our Nativity Set were broken, lost, and all that was left was the dusty barn. Since that time I truly never had a crèche of my own. Years later when my oldest daughter was born, my mother bought her a Fisher Price Nativity Set. It was brightly colored, child-size and child-proof. My daughter cherished it and passed it on to her younger sister years later. Unfortunately, some of these pieces were lost, chewed up by household pets and disposed of. As of today I can only find Mary….

This year, for the very first time in my life, I am the proud owner of my own Nativity Set. It proudly sits in a place of honor on my fireplace mantle and it includes all of the extra people and animals who were not present on the actual night of his birth. It serves a gentle reminder that Christ entered this world in the most humble of ways. He was carried by a virgin teenager who God handpicked for this monumental task. He came as a baby, lived a natural and human life. He was born with the purpose of being the Savior of the world.

When I ponder all of the reasons that we need a Savior, it floods my soul to know that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. This is a gift that lives in our hearts and not on a mantle or stored away in box year to year. Merry Christmas….

“She will give birth to a son, and you are give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mathew 1:21

Goldonna Village Christmas News – December 21, 2022

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “For any American who had the great and priceless privilege of being raised in a small town there always remains with him nostalgic memories.”

Nostalgic holiday memories is exactly what has been created over the past week with the residents of Goldonna.

The Store of Goldonna hosted its First Annual Gingerbread House Competition. There was a larger than expected turnout for this sweet occasion. The competition was broken down into age categories. Winners for this banner event were as follows:

Age 19 and Up-
1st Place Julie Evans
2nd Place Anna and Daniel Rachal
3rd Place- Kim Whatley

Ages 13-18
1st Place- Rebekah Dupree
2nd Place- Addison Weaver

Ages 8-12
1st Place – Kayden and Mackenzie Dodge

Ages 4-7
1st Place – Braxton Young

Ages 3 and under
1st Place – Braden Lawson

The judges for this event had an extremely hard job but fun was had by all of the participants and spectators. This new village holiday event will definitely return next year as organizers are already planning for another successful year.

Goldonna Baptist Church and Goldonna Assembly of God Church joined holiday voices for an evening of extraordinary fellowship and fun. The churchgoers bundled up in their warmest winter gear and rode through the village singing Christmas Carols and shared God’s love to area residents. They were met with smiling faces and offers to come inside where it is warm. This too will be added to the list of annual Christmas events that must be repeated.

There will be a Community Church Service at Goldonna Assembly of God on Friday, December 30th at 6:00pm. There will be a meal served afterwards, so bring your favorite tasty dish and join the fun.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com