Ring by spring becomes reality

By Andra Holbrooks The weather has been beautiful, the air crisp, purple and gold flowers in bloom, and several female Crusaders have pretty diamond rings on their left hands. It must be spring. Senior computer graphics design major, Joseph Villegas, recently became engaged to junior psychology major, Natasha Mills. They met at Mayborn Campus Center. “I was on duty working the weight room and was trying to recruit volleyball players for a team,” Mills said. “The captain asked Joseph if he wanted to play, but Joseph declined. I skipped over to him, pearl earrings and all, and asked if he would play. He enthusiastically accepted. That was our first encounter together.” Villegas shares the same story “After I found out Natasha was on the (volleyball) team she told me I should join, so I did,” he said. First encounters go a long way because the two have been a couple even since. Mills said, “I knew I loved that kid within three months.” Villegas saw Mills in his future within the first month. “One night she called me and said ‘I love you,’ and I just knew this was the one,” he said. On Feb. 1, Villegas proposed to Mills. It was a special day for them because they were celebrating two years of being together. “I asked her at the Georgetown Airport after our helicopter ride, which she thought was for our two-year anniversary. She got out of the helicopter still ecstatic from the ride.” From there she began to realize her future was about to change. “We walked up to the hanger doors because the pilot said the main ones were locked. As an employee opened the doors, Natasha saw everyone and just started crying. She knew exactly what was going to happen.” Villegas was anxious as he proceeded to go through what he had planned. “I got down on one knee and asked, but being so nervous I had the ring upside down. She informed me of my mistake, but gladly said yes,” Villegas said. They greeted family and friends thanking all for coming to celebrate their future. “I was so shocked I felt very loved and wanted by him. I started crying and being a girl about the whole thing. The proposal was a thrill and so sentimental. All of my loved ones were there to share this beautiful moment with us,” Mills said. Villegas and Mills aren’t the only junior/senior couple getting hitched. Newly engaged senior graphics design major, Brodie Reynolds, and junior history major, Cassie Konichek, have set the big day for Dec. 17, 2010. “Brodie and I met at Summer Fun during...

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‘Texas Ranger’  inspires professor to train in karate
Feb24

‘Texas Ranger’ inspires professor to train in karate

Many would call playing an extra on a TV show, whose leading actor could snap a person in two like a twig, a life highlight. For UMHB’s Professor Emeritus of English, Dr. George Musacchio, standing in the presence of the man who changed his life seemed all the sweeter as he performed scenes with the skillful karate artist and actor Chuck Norris. The 1990s hit TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger, presented Norris expertise as a martial artist, which motivated numerous viewers to engage in forms of karate and seek better health practices. Musacchio, one of those viewers, became a fan of Norris’ and one day stumbled across the fact stating Norris was only a year younger than himself. This lit a fire, and Musachhio said to himself, ‘If he can do this, then so can I.’ He began intensifying his workouts by adding more running and a weight program. When in better shape, Musacchio enrolled in a local karate class. “It was interesting and different,” he said. He recalls a young man there who teased him about his age and at one point told him to hire a bodyguard. After three years of training, Musacchio, 60 at the time, moved up the tae kwo do levels and finally tested for his black belt. He received it on his first try, whereas the teasing young man did not. He looks back and said, “The experience gave me more confidence.” Musacchio no longer takes karate classes, but continues his exercise workouts. He said staying healthy is a priority in his life. He also believes his efforts to stay in shape truly makes a difference. Finding out Musacchio, a nationally recognized scholar on C.S. Lewis and Milton, has such an active past surprises people who have known him for years. Several colleagues never knew of his martial arts abilities, and some said they just thought he was really limber for a man of his age. English professor, Dr. Sarah Brown, said she recalls an encounter with Musacchio during which he kicked a door to open it. “I was behind him, and he did not know anyone was there,” she said. “When he came to the door, I expected him to reach down and push the crash bar, but, instead, his right leg came up, hit that crash bar and he started through the door. I started laughing, and he turned around and grinned and said ‘keeps me in shape’ then kept going just as if it were the most natural thing to do.” At the time, Brown did not know about Musacchio’s experience with precision kicking. Musacchio, who taught at  UMHB for...

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Aromatherapy reduces stress, anxiety
Feb24

Aromatherapy reduces stress, anxiety

By Evangeline Ciupek It’s popping up everywhere — from General Nutrition Centers to Bath and Body Works, from the American Cancer Society to the offices of homeopathic psychologists. A practice that’s been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians, aromatherapy is enjoying a modern day renaissance. Public relations major, Angel Bell, said, “When I think of aromatherapy, the first thing that comes to mind is free mental health treatment.” Aromatherapy is the application or inhalation of essential plant oils. When rubbed onto the skin, the oil is absorbed and enters the bloodstream. When the smell of the oil is picked up by the olfactory nerve, the chemicals in the scent are carried to the brain’s limbic region. The American Cancer Society says that blood pressure, heart rate and even emotions are all affected by the limbic region of the brain. And the organization has looked into aromatherapy as a means of helping cancer patients cope with pain, depression, nausea and other side effects related to chemotherapy. The ancient Egyptians used plant oils for bathing and embalming. These oils were also a part of life for the ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Modern aromatherapy is now a marketable product in health food stores and malls across America. Bath and Body Works carries its own line of aromatherapy products. The lotions, hand creams and pillow mists contain a variety of plant oils and extra ingredients. Christina McDonald, a licensed therapist who earned her undergraduate degrees from UMHB, sees aromatherapy used in her field of work. “In holistic psychology … aromatherapy has (been) very beneficial for a number of emotional issues,” she said. “There are several scents in the psychological world that we actually recommend for insomnia … a couple of those might be chamomile, the rose scent and clary sage.” Students may get benefits from one oil when relaxing after a hard day at school. “A good smell for relaxing is lavender, which is very easy to come by. It’s highly suggested in relieving stress. That is a great scent for helping you sleep as well,” she said. On the other end of the spectrum, aromatherapy may aid a person’s ability to focus on a task or study for a test. “There are certain kinds of scents that actually mentally stimulate,” McDonald said. “Rosemary is one.” Other scents, like basil and lemon oil, have energizing qualities. “They’re not quite as directly related to mental stimulation, but the fact that they uplift could actually refresh someone who might be studying.” Many factors affect the strength of an essential oil. The University of Minn-esota’s Web site says that essential oils are hard...

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One heart, one song, One Voice

By Andra Holbrooks One Voice is a group of ten talented students who do much more than just sing. “Our group is more of a ministry than a vocal ensemble,” said James Venable, senior Christian ministry major. “We deal with all kinds of people, so we have to be able to communicate a lot. We go to churches and sing, and we don’t want to seem like a clique,” he said. The students have traveled to many churches locally and to large cities such as Austin and Dallas. One Voice has a variety of people in the group. From freshmen to seniors, males and females, they have come together throughout the years forming special bonds. Meg Gohlke, senior music education major enjoys the group’s traveling   experiences. “One Voice went to climb Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas, my sophomore year. After making it to the top of the rock, we sang our song entitled, ‘Build on the Rock’; which is about standing strong on the firm foundation of Christ,” she said. Gohlke has been a member for almost all of her college career. “The end of this semester will end my three years of being in One Voice, which is sad to think about,” she said. “I didn’t make One Voice my freshman year, but did sophomore year and have loved and cherished every minute of it.” The One Voice Concert was held in Hughes Recital Hall on Feb. 19. The performance included the group joined by a string ensemble and the chorale, another small group of singers on  campus. “The chorale is more of the classical style,” Venable said. “Together we are singing a Bach cantata. It’s more classical.” Gohlke was excited about performing with the strings as background music. “Singing with a string ensemble is not something we get to do often. It is an exciting opportunity and very enjoyable. It enhances the sense of baroque styling of Bach’s ‘Cantata Nr. 196’, which, in turn, is a more accurate experience for us,” she said. Looking back, Leslie Cross, junior vocal performance major, gave some insight of Thursday night’s event. “I thought the performance went really well. It’s always great to perform with strings, and I wish that those opportunities would happen more often,” she said. Mentally preparing for a concert is like getting pumped up for a sports event. “There is always such an excitement among us when we are about to perform. We know that we are (going) to bring the music to life,” Cross said. “I felt like that’s what happened on Thursday night: two ensembles working together to reach an audience in a way they...

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History comes to life through music, speech
Feb24

History comes to life through music, speech

Three children took part in a recent chapel celebration of black history month, reciting the 50 states with each capital and prominent figures of African-American history in rhyme. Other performers included a mother-daughter duet of “Because of Who You Are,” a solo performance of “Amazing Grace” and a rave-dance/light show by junior Christian ministry major Ryan Brack. Sophomore elementary education major Emily Phillips enjoyed the children’s routine and the way the school used chapel as a tool to inform. “The child performers were awesome. It was amazing how much they knew and how much they could remember,” she said. “I think that black history chapel is a great way to celebrate black history month.” Phillips embraces the recognition of African-American leaders as a chance to enhance the country’s rich culture. She said, “Black history is important to me because I think we should celebrate and learn about all the different cultures in our country.” Sophomore elementary education major Sarah Wooten thinks the importance of black history month lies in biblical principles. “I think it is important for people to celebrate the freedom God has given all of us. Equality is a vital part of American society, and now everyone is given the same opportunities as the next person,” she said. “I think our school did a good job at celebrating black history. The chapel was informing and enjoyable.” Gospel Fest, Feb. 16, was another event bringing attention to black history month. It showcased nine acts, including five solo performances and four group collaborations. Director of Student Relations & Community Service Dr. George Harrison and senior Christian ministry major Brandon Blackshear introduced the performers. Shelton Theater was filled with people from across the central Texas area. The audience was enthusiastic about the performers, standing, clapping and swaying with the music. Some moments in the evening left audience members crying. Sophomore biology major Viktoria Meadows thought the two events could have been combined into one to attract a larger crowd and make the celebration bigger. “I think that if the school would have combined black history chapel and Gospel Fest, the turnout to the event could turn it into something as popular as Spring Revival,” she said. “It would be nice to enjoy some gospel and learn more about black history in a larger celebration rather than within the confines of...

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The voice behind the phone: serving the Cru with every call

Many people talk to her. Few know her name. Debbie Bennett, the university’s administrative receptionist, directs countless calls each day. Responsible for the school’s main phone line, Bennett’s entire attention is on helping others. “I get to meet a lot of great people,” she said. “It’s an interesting job.” Bennett approaches her duties, which include answering phones, directing callers and assisting human resources and the admissions offices, as the chance to humbly serve others. “A student will come in crying because something didn’t go right,” Bennett said. “They’re lost and don’t have a clue. There are also those first-time parents who are sending their children off to college. I can relate.” She tries to meet the various needs that come through the Sanderford office doors, which is one of the lessons her mother taught her. Bennett dwelled on the concept “always help people.” She said her mother, who is 78 and lives in Monahans, Texas, set the perfect example. “She is very active and goes to church every time the door opens,” Bennett said of her mom. “She takes anywhere from two to three women to go with her who are normally not able to go. She’s the best mom.” Bennett has modeled herself after her mother’s attitude, according to her daughter, Lori Tupin. “My mother has always had the kindest heart, and she always put us before herself,” Tupin said. “Our needs were always met, and we are better people because of my mother’s generosity and loving heart.” Bennett’s past jobs have all been about assisting people. “(She) is the most selfless person that I know and she has a heart of gold,” Tupin said. “Any act of kindness that she gives is out of good faith, and she never expects anything in return.” Though born in Rockdale, Calif., Bennett was raised in Andrews, Texas. Her father was in the Marines. She then moved to Odessa, Texas, where she went to Odessa College and took a nine-month secretarial business class. In that same city she met and married David Bennett, her husband of 27 years, who is employed by the Texas Depart-ment of Transportation in Austin. David’s job has taken the family to various Texas cities, which have all brought a variety of adventures, including different jobs for Debbie. “Every time we’ve moved, it has been a better position for him,” Debbie said of her husband. Bennett has always been willing to make the adjustments, but it hasn’t been easy. “I’ve been very lucky to get good jobs, but it has been hard,” she said. “It’s difficult going to a town where you don’t know anybody and nobody...

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