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The Way I See It...

Publisher's Letter 

Robin Rogers, Ed.D.

There are seasons of our lives for a reason. As I look at the profiles of the wonderful 40 people who were nominated and selected as the “Fabulous 40 and Under” this year, I realize how much these folks have going on, shuffling between work, family, church, children’s activities, and more. They are in their blooming season.

I remember distinctly how busy I felt in my thirties. Something or someone was always pulling at my skirt, needing attention, and there seemed to be a million things to get done each week. It was go time from early in the morning until late at night. On weekends, my ex (wonderful) husband and I were tearing up the local circuit of volunteer dinners and parties. When there were free weekends, we did family getaways, barbecues, school projects, and ball games. Somehow, we managed to be involved in local nonprofit organizations, and that was fulfilling, too. I thank God that our house was always filled with kids, many of them not our own, laughing, playing games, and being kids. My grandmother used to tell me that her thirties were her best years; with some space now between my thirties and me, I probably agree with her. Indelibly written in my soul are the happiest of memories from that season.

Now, the forties have been great, too. As my kids have grown up, the noise factor has decreased, and the conversations have greater depth. Today, there are no humans to wake; they set their own alarms. There’s no more chauffeuring to dances, football games, or meet ups at the movie theater. Strangely enough, I rarely have to clean up after anyone but myself. There are no lost Legos or doll arms to step on in the dark. You know the feeling: tiptoeing quietly around at night past sleeping kids’ bedrooms only to bang a toe on a nightstand or be pierced by some random plastic toy? There’s that intense, shooting pain, yet you must remain silent, so the kids won’t awaken. Well, that’s a huge plus for kids getting older. Only the dog bites at my heels now, and I’m pretty okay with that, as long as she stays away from my shoes.

My youngest, Briley, just started his senior year of high school, so I know that within a year, when he leaves for college, my seasons will change yet again.

Several weeks ago, we welcomed a beautiful young woman from Rwanda into our home to live with us while she gets her MBA at Texas A&M-Texarkana. We have had students in the past do high school exchange years with us, and let me tell you, you know right away whether the decision will be good for everyone. I am so thankful to report that Gabie is a caring and kind person, and the fit with her is perfect. When an international student “fits” within your family, you and your children learn more about big parts of the world that you could never experience in a vacation or a documentary. There is an interchange of customs, ideas, foods, and world views. And, as a family, we get to introduce Gabie to our favorite holidays, restaurants, and traditions. It’s a fun experience for all.

I have ideas about the future, but one thing is certain. Retirement is not in my vocabulary. I have always wanted to work and be involved. There is fulfillment in setting goals and accomplishing them, working with other people to make things better. I can’t imagine ever really retiring from anything. Maybe my feelings will change in 10 years or so (Ellen is 24) when I get a grandchild. My mom says that there’s no better thing to be than “Grandma.” I guess that could be called a promotion someday!

Life’s various stages keep life exciting. I admire the people we feature this month for their talents, tenacity, and contributions to Texarkana. Some of them sound like they are juggling many balls and doing it well. Every generation hopes that future generations will do bigger and better things for the community. I’m counting on the people in this issue to make Texarkana, U.S.A., an even better place to call home!

Have a great September, and as always, thanks for reading FSLM.

For the October issue we had two editorials, one in the front and one in the back. Below are the closing remarks from our publisher.

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From the Horse’s Mouth...

Publisher's Closing Letter 

Robin Rogers, Ed.D.

Oh, how sad I am to come to the end of this issue. In pursuit of its creation, I have reread every word that has ever been written in Four States Living Magazine. I’ve laughed at some of the crazy things we have printed. I’ve cried over the people we have lost. I have relived the births of my own three children and the passing of their childhoods throughout my own editorials (often penned in the wee hours of the night before a deadline). I have fondly remembered every single individual who has ever snapped a photograph, conducted an interview, written a story, designed a page, cared for a client, or delivered a magazine. I have felt the passage of time as pages turned.

Over the last quarter of a century, I’ve travelled by car, plane, go-kart, flat-bottom boat, limo, kayak, Amtrak, motorbike, hot-air balloon, golf cart, subway, and one horse-drawn buggy just to get a story. No lie; my back still remembers the buggy ride and the go-kart.  The travels this career has taken me on are more than I ever could have dreamed, but they don’t hold a candle to the people it’s invited into my life.

I’m most proud, of course, of our team. There are few words to describe the relationship between the people who have worked together at FSLM; “family” gets close, but “sisterhood” is better. Though we’ve always been an equal-opportunity employer, there has only ever been one full-time fella to take us on (circa 1999), so we do work life the way only a group of caring, ambitious, go-getting women can. Celebrations are our thing. We share birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, and new babies (the 11th FSLM baby was born just last year). We take any excuse to share cake, cookies, or shaved ice; we can always find a reason to throw a party.

We have taken advantage of all the perks of participating in community activities, from hosting luncheons to chairing fundraising campaigns. We have raced for the cure, danced with stars, and painted with Picassos. If you have ever worked at Four States Living Magazine, you have served the community in some capacity. Giving back is not a choice, nor is it a chore; it’s who we are. When Texarkana is doing well, we all are doing well.

And if you think we get excited to meet a hometown celebrity like Tracy Lawrence, Michael Wacha, or Ross Perot, you are correct! But, believe it or not, there is just as much thrill when we cover the local preacher giving sermons under a bridge, or the teacher who just finished her 50th year, or the donor who gave a kidney to save her best friend. We know Texarkana and the future of Texarkana depend on the good things that are happening in our backyard.

So, on that note, let me shine a light on the future of Four States Living Magazine:

We will continue to be storytellers with a promise to stay positive. 

Though we now boast a beautiful, growing website and are active on various social media platforms, our primary medium of delivery is still paper—paper which is harvested from responsibly managed forests and processed in mills employing many of our friends and family.

Like your grandmother saving mementos in a hat box under her bed, we continue to capture local events, undertakings, successes, challenges, and moments of pure joy—through photographs, videos, and our bread-and-butter: words. The words we write are not too different from the first words you learned to write on a lined sheet of handwriting paper in elementary school: we practice, critique, erase, start again, improve, and, upon completion, hope someone is proud of our work. We hope you are proud of our work.

As this issue comes to a close, I want to say thank you to the people who have given their hearts to this publication, in the shape of millions of words, tens of thousands of pages, and hundreds of monthly deadlines. 

Stay tuned, my friends; this is only the beginning.