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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Peggy McCracken

Tuesday, February 10, 1998



By Peggy McCracken

Choose hell's flames
or Heaven's gates

Eternity inside the golden gates of Heaven or burning in hell's flames. Which would you choose?

It doesn't seem like much of a choice. Who in his right mind would want to burn in flames hotter than an atomic blast forever and ever? Not me. I like the idea of leaving this body, getting a new and better one, and living forever in the presence of God in a beautiful place called Heaven - where I'll be able to sing on key.

Maybe you don't believe there is a hell. As one preacher put it, you won't be there five seconds before you start believing. My Bible tells me that hell is a real place; a place where everyone who rejects Jesus' sacrifice of his own blood for their sins will go at the end of this earthly life. A place where Satan is in charge and where his subjects will be tormented for all eternity.

Eternity is a long, long time.

What got me off on this subject? Well, the churches of Pecos are putting together a stage production of "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames" for the evenings of Easter Sunday and the two days following. It will be staged in the Pecos High School auditorium.

A professional production company will direct the show, with local actors and stage crews doing much of the work. If it draws as much attention here as it has other places, the house should be packed for every performance. And then some.

Members of West Park Baptist Church have aleady viewed a video of the production. So powerful is its message that the church will open their doors to the public and show it again before the Easter production - probably on a Sunday morning. Watch for publicity on that and make plans to attend.
By the way, admission is free, just like admission to Heaven is free. But bring your own popcorn.

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age..." Gal. 1: 3,4, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is the Webmaster and Enterprise writer of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. She can be e-mailed at:


Voices on the prairie wind

The prairie wind carries layers of voices and sounds. If you really listen you hear people, animals, nature; the sounds of past experiences, future conquests, the big sound of now.

And have you heard the wind on the river? The Rio Grande? the wind whistles across the water, over the rapids and through the canyons.

It passes like some gigantic cloud, squeezing in and out of the narrow passageways, climbing over the boulders while touching Mexico and Texas.
It glides over the dry earth, past the burros and birds, rustling the leaves on the pecan and apple trees, the blooms on ocotilo and sotol.

It makes the bear stand up and take notice, the mountain lion to pause, the deer to look up, the javelins to increase its gallop. It makes the antelope stare. It ruffles a porcupines' spines.

The prairie wind picks up things from the highway and bounces them along the pastures. It rolls tumbleweeds against barbed wire fences and bends the stems of flowers and small trees. It rubs clouds together and makes a deafening roar.

It slows the pace of beetles; small flying things have to land.

The wind drops wildflower seeds to give color in the spring. It plants trees to shade and comfort generations yet unborn.

The wind is not always fierce and wild. Sometimes it slows to a gentle breeze, swishes through screen doors, and gives soothing relief to people outdoors. When it comes to a window just open a hair, it whistles a tune of greeting and demonstrates its amazing range up and down the scale.

It cajoles and beckons, the intriguing prairie wind, trying to crawl inside the house. At times it's insistent and you either have to close the window entirely or open it completely.

The wind brings gritty things with it, spreads them over polished surfaces, making its presence known. Sometimes the wind is not welcome.

But the wind is a helpful companion. It makes windmills move and helps buzzards soar. It blows the storms away and sometimes gives the earth a sandblasting, which brings a cleansing. Then calm follows.

The wind may disappear for a time, or be momentarily forgotten, but it is usually with us and we live with it.

It has been said, "If you cannot live with the wind, you cannot live in West Texas."

But the wind is interesting, unique, a challenge and a blessing. It carries voices if we take the time to listen.

Wind in the cottonwoods is a pleasing sound.
Listen. Think. Learn.

Financial Focus

Coping with market turmoil


Have you ever ridden in a car that encountered a sudden dip in the road? The quick drop probably left you with butterflies in your stomach.

Dramatic swings in the U.S. stock market often leave investors with the same feeling. Yet it's a fact: The stock market will fluctuate. If you want to enjoy the benefits of stock investing, you've got to be able to stomach those "butterflies."

To help you do just that, here are a few tips from the chief investment officer at one of the nation's largest mutual fund companies.

Shun emotional, knee-jerk reactions to big market moves. Chasing high flyers exposes you to equally rapid declines. Avoid following the herd, especially when movement is based more on sentiment than on substantive news or analysis.
take the long view. Even the experts have difficulty timing the market. Ibbotson Research shows that over the past 70 years the average annual total return on the Standard & Poor's 500 is 10.7 percent. While that rate may sound low by today's standards, it's enough to double your portfolio in seven years.

Understand what you own. Remember, it's a market of stocks, not a stock market. The index is a general indicator. The S&P 500 may have a price-toearnings ratio of 21, but individual companies within the S&P may sell anywhere from 10 times to 50 times earnings. In short, the market as a whole does not necessarily reflect every individual stock within the market. What's in the headlines may not apply to what you own, and it may not even reflect stocks you should own.

Your asset allocation in sight. Wise investors allocate their assets among stocks, bonds and cash according to their own particular profiles. Whatever your mix, be sure to review it at regular intervals and adjust as necessary.

Consider the tax implications of portfolio changes. Remember, if you do make adjustments, there may be tax consequences. Don't let the tax "tail" wag the dog, but do weigh tax implications as part of your overall decision. If you do decide to sell, try to match gains with corresponding losses to keep your tax liability to a minimum.

Consult a financial professional. Seek the advice of a qualified professional when financial matters concern you. Ask a respected friend or colleague for a recommendation. And remember, not all financial professionals are created equal.

Undoubtedly, you've heard this advice before. Yet market volatility makes it tempting to forget these tenets and instead respond hastily. A bailout strategy, either on a dip or surge, is hard to justify if your goal is long-term results.

Over time, the market as a whole has tended to move upward, even from the sharpest corrections. During the 60 rolling 10-year periods since 1928, the S&P 500 has achieved positive returns an average of seven out of the 10 years in each period. When you look at total returns for each 10-year period, 59 of the 60 periods had positive returns that's 98 percent of the time.

Many investors have made a lot of money by following the above advice. That sounds like the right kind of advice to follow.

Critic's Corner

Dieting can be easy by following suggestions

After reading the pocket version of the 20 GRAM DIET, I was impressed with how much information it actually has in such a small book. This book will make it easy for anyone who wants to lose weight to stay on track. This book gives you information on getting started, exercising, fiber and many more aspects of dieting, and the charts in the back help you make informed decisions on what to eat and what not to eat. I was surprised at how many foods they actually cover.

Some success stories:

This is a great deal! I've lost 15 pounds in one week. I've got more energy and feel great! Thanks and keep up the good work.

M.H. Brawley, CA

I started your diet 6 months ago. I lost 30 lbs. I have diabetes, take 4 pills a day. Now I am down to 0 pills. It feels great!

J.T., Revere, MA

My husband, a cardiologist, says your book is about the clearest and most straightforward he has seen for assisting people in understanding and following a low fat diet!
C.E., Claremont, CA

-Diane Jorgenson

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