Tag Archives: Friendships

Remarkable History of Two Historical Markers in a Small Texas Town

Holy Family Cemetery Historical Marker
Holy Family Cemetery Texas Historical Marker, Nazareth, Texas. 


Home Mercantile Historical Marker
Home Mercantile Texas Historical Marker, Nazareth, Texas. 


It’s hard to believe that it was four years ago when I was working on two Texas historical marker applications for the small Texas German town known as Nazareth. Time really does fly.

With any historical marker application, extensive research must be conducted to prove the history of the subject, the building, or the cemetery.  Both markers in Nazareth fell into the category of a subject marker and a cemetery marker.

Learning how the local mercantile store brought in oysters and had weekly boxing matches was quite revealing. Who would’ve thought in the middle of nowhere in the Texas Panhandle oysters were shipped in for the residents as a staple? Who would’ve thought that boxing matches held in the middle of the store gave the boys a much-needed outlet besides school and farming to vent their frustrations? Or that gingersnap cookies were sold from big barrels that you could grab them by the handfuls?

Back then it was not considered dangerous to store arsenic, mouse poison, calcium cyanide right across from bulk flour in the store. At least cyanide was in quart jars labeled as rat poison with skull and crossbones on the jars.

Researching the cemetery history revealed how the small German community did not escape TB, smallpox, typhoid fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, or dysentery. Some men died in WWII. Some women died during childbirth. Remarkably, there were no deaths in 1918 in Nazareth even as the Spanish Flu swept through the community and later claimed one-half million lives in the U.S. I discovered that lightning caused four deaths.

I walked amongst the tombstones of that cemetery many times often with a great horned owl opening its eyes occasionally to see what I was up to. I came to see the names in a different light. Discovering how each person left this world gave me the understanding that no matter what – people endure and survive. Some of the tombstones gave me a little bit more – I had to learn some German.

I’m humbly proud of these two historical markers for the history they represent.  I’m eternally grateful for the getting to know Father Ken Keller (who passed earlier this year), Mary Helen Flores, and other people in this little community.  I think a little part of my heart will always be tied to Nazareth.


Photographs: ©Christena Stephens

The Power of An Apology

Power of Apology

In deleting old emails I was reminded what the power of words can do in healing distressed and broken hearts. As I was going through all my saved emails from all the rescue organizations I’ve been a part of since 2011, I was reminded what the simple words of an apology can mean to another person or persons.

The small backstory from my latest momentous apology came when the people who I thought I known showed their true characters. Once that character was revealed on all sides – my heart told me to reach out to the people whom I wronged earlier. I did it immediately. Yes – I was scared to write the apology. I remember my hands shaking, my heart pounding as I typed my words out, but I did it. Even a tear slipped by… Then I pushed the send button. Pride had nothing to do with me being apologetic at that moment in time. I felt truly bad that the people whom I had trusted betrayed my trust and made me believe the worst in the people I was apologizing to.

But what if you don’t want to apologize? That’s perfectly normal because I had an opportunity to apologize to someone earlier this year. My logical side reasoned it was better to leave the past in the past. As a friend and I were recently discussing this – there are some people you don’t need to apologize to because the wounds run so deep its better to leave the door closed, because that apology may open that door again when it should’ve remained closed.

Here’s my guidance on reaching out with an apology…

Trust your heart and instincts when it comes to apologizing. If it weighs heavy on your heart and mind – then apologize.

Attitude and heart go hand in hand when it comes to apologizing. Apologies must be given with a good heart combined with the right attitude. If your heart is not in it for the right reason then that person(s) you’re apologizing to will see through your words., as well as your attitude. Sincerity can be seen both through your actions and read into your words whether in person or in writing.

The timing of the apology means everything as well. When it comes to apologizing there is no time limit. It doesn’t matter if its minutes after the deed or months or years later – the apology still says that you are deeply sorry for what transpired.

Leaving someone speechless after you apologize means your apology did what it was intended. It was your spoken or written words that meant the world to that person and was probably a blessing in disguise they’ve needed.

So if you’ve got someone you need to apologize to – do it. Find the courage to say the words and mean them.

We all can learn from each other. If I can inspire you to reach out to apologize to someone you’ve wronged – no matter how long ago it was – then me sharing this has done what I hoped it would do. Rise above yourself. Take pride out of the equation and do the right thing because the words of an apology have tremendous healing. Never underestimate what the power of an apology can do or mean.

What happened after I pushed the send button? Emails were received back that made me cry. The simple words of my apology brought healing and recognition that I should’ve been listening to these people all along. I listened to my heart. Friendship(s) resulted from that apology and I deeply cherish those friends in my life.

Now – go make that apology.


Graphic – ©Christena Stephens