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A visit to Raphael House in Ennis

The Disciples Women of Central Christian Church toured the historic Raphael House in Ennis, Texas for a July outing. 

The landmark home on Ennis Ave. is a short drive south on I 45 and makes an excellent day trip from Dallas for shopping and touring.

The stunning neo-classical style house, both home and shop to interior designer, Harriett Adams, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. 

“The house is a great source of both pride and amusement to me,” Harriet said.  “Of course, it has it ghosts,” she laughs as she recalls some of the odd things that happened when she moved in over 20 years ago.  “But my ghosts are friendly,” she quipped. “And a house without a ghost isn’t a home,” she added.

“A house is also not a home without a dog,” discloses a wall hanging in the sun-filled breakfast room. And that is evident by the friendly, well-behaved canines lolling about the house and yard.

The entire first floor and porches of the house are filled with unique vintage and antique treasures for purchase. The sun-filled morning room sparkled with gorgeous rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings by jewelry designer, Theresa Giron.  Theresa is available for consultation on converting dated pieces, lying dormant in your jewelry box, to a new contemporary look. She also repairs broken jewelry.

A special buffet of sandwiches, fruits and salads was served to the group from the oversized kitchen island and lunch was enjoyed in the shaded, charming garden. Ice cream sundaes and cookies were the perfect dessert on a summer day.   

The Raphael House is located at 500 Ennis Avenue and the phone number is 972- 878-2400.  Call to see what is happening on a particular day and enjoy this enchanting day trip from Dallas.

The Disciples Women meet throughout the year, with monthly meetings in the fall, winter and spring. The organization combines charitable outreach service to the community, education to equip women to be the best they can be and emotional growth through social fellowship.

Contact the church office at 214- 526-7291 for more information.

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Dorsey Standish is a mindfulness & meditation expert. A career change from mechanical engineer to Chief Mindfulness Officer of Mastermind Meditation, Dorsey brings research-backed mindfulness and mindful movement to clients throughout the state of Texas.

“I now spend my happiest days inspiring others to access the full power of their minds through a daily mindfulness practice,” she said.

Saturday morning, Dorsey was at Westside Wellness Center, conducting a workshop to participants interested in achieving a calm, settled, and productive mind.

The second part of the workshop was a cooking demonstration by certified nutritionist Patricia Thomson, Ph.D.

“A plant-based diet can improve brain health, arthritis, diabetes and more,” Dr. T. said as she prepared a delicious fruit-based shake, chia seed pudding and miso soup using simple appliances like today’s popular Instant Pot and a blender.

Westside Wellness Center is located upstairs in the Mid-Century Modern church building at 4711 Westside Dr. The newly refurbished rooms that house the wellness center look out onto treetops of the mature live oaks that shade the four-acre grounds, creating a perfect venue for learning and meditation.

Contact Director Kirsten Joy Burch for information on Yoga, Tai Chi, massage, meditation and upcoming workshops.      

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National Ice Cream Day

It was 1984 when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the third Sunday in July as a day to commemorate the frozen treat that is enjoyed by over 90 percent of the nation’s population. 

America leads the world when it comes to enjoying ice cream.  Quaint ice cream parlors portray “Americana” as much as Norman Rockwell paintings and apple pie.  However, many scholars trace the first ice cream parlor back to France during the 17th century when the Café Procope introduced gelato to the French public.

America’s popular soda fountain was introduced in 1903.  It was during that era that drugstores began to attract noontime customers by serving sandwiches along with ice cream sodas, milk shakes and malts.

A 1915 issue of Soda Fountain magazine claimed the soda fountain to be an ally of temperance, having more influence on abstinence from alcohol than “all the sermons ever preached on the subject.”

Members and guests of Central Christian Church gathered in fellowship hall following morning worship to celebrate National Ice Cream Day by enjoying a variety of ice cream sodas. 

“Soda Jerks” Erik Stolpe and Frank Whitington concocted fountain favorites like Brown Cow, Egg Creams and Strawberry sodas. (recipes follow.)

Want still more ice cream trivia?  A recent survey reveals that favorite ice cream flavors are “an age thing.” Mint Chocolate Chip topped the list for 14 to 17- year old’s, while young adults, age 18 to 24, preferred Cookies and Cream. The 25 to 34-year old group said their favorite is Cookie Dough but good ole’ Chocolate tops the list for 35 and up. And “genderly” speaking, women like Ben and Jerry’s and men prefer Breyer’s.  I would vote for Cherry Garcia—the edible tribute to the Grateful Dead.

If the enthusiasm shown by the kids at Central is any indication of popularity of ice cream trends, there is sure nothing wrong with a good old- fashioned ice cream soda. Whatever your favorite flavor, enjoy ice cream!



2 scoops vanilla ice cream
10 oz. root beer
1 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
1 1/2 oz. whipped cream
Maraschino cherries

Scoop the ice cream into a large glass and pour the root beer over,

then add the chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and cherry.


2 Tbsps. chocolate syrup*
5 oz. milk
3 oz. seltzer water

Mix together the syrup and milk, then add in the seltzer

while you’re still stirring until completely mixed.

For authentic egg cream use Fox's U Bet or Bosco brand syrup. U Bet can be purchased on-line and Central Market has Bosco.

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Westside Players Academy presented “Summer Showtunes” Saturday afternoon on-stage in the auditorium of Central Christian Church.

The variety show was performed by the talented middle school age children who attended the two-week summer camp and featured songs from classic to contemporary Broadway shows including “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, Mama Mia” and “Friendship” as well as a new take on the famous Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s on First”. 

This is the fourth year that Central has offered a theater camp to the community with each session ending with an on-stage production so that the campers can show family and friends what they learned and how they perfected their talents.  Previous performances have included selections from “The Jungle Book,” “Honk, Jr.” and “Hamilton.”

Current directors are Lois Leftwich and Tim Caffee with both bringing an impressive list of credentials as instructors to summer camp.

Leftwich has a long and varied career in performing and teaching. She is originally from Dallas, but she took a 30-year detour through New York and Connecticut where she did numerous commercials, worked in daytime drama and off-off Broadway. She also developed her love of teaching while in Connecticut and has led a variety of Musical Theatre and Acting Camps for ages 5 through 17.   

Caffee is an accomplished Pianist and Music Director.  Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, he is currently Music Director at Central and a teacher with Highland Park ISD. Tim enjoys working with young actors on nurturing and bringing out their best talents.

Saturday’s performance and the “price-friendly” concession was enjoyed by young and old. There is always something going on at the Westside Campus.

The community dog park offers “church in the dog park” on the first and third Sundays of the month as well as seasonal, dog-friendly events such as “Lighting of the Christmas Tree” and “Springfest in the Dog Park” throughout the year.

Westside Wellness Center is located on the second floor of the building and offers Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Nutritional Cooking and more. Co-working space is also offered on the second floor.

Come by for a visit and tour of the building or come Sunday morning at 11 a.m. for worship and stay for fellowship. All are welcome!

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Becky Riggins coordinated the party

Disciples Women of Central Christian Church shared a wonderful afternoon with residents of Juliette Fowler Communities. Coordinated by Becky Riggins, birthday cake, ice cream, punch, music and fellowship took place in the beautifully remodeled Pearl Nordan activities center.

It was a party for everyone, but Hazel, who turned 95 this month was the "birthday girl."

The celebrations are a tradition of both Fowler and Disciples of Christ churches throughout the city.  Central’s Disciples Women make a point each year to honor those residents celebrating a birthday in July by providing cake, ice cream and a gift, in short—a birthday party!

The celebration is just one of the Disciples Women’s community projects. This year marks the 145th anniversary of Disciples Women’s Ministry.  Over the years, the women of Central have generously given their time and money to non-profits such as Juliette Fowler Communities, Austin Street Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Maple Lawn Elementary School and more.  Winter months finds them participating in coat, blanket and glove drives, and at each meeting they collect canned goods and toiletries for North Dallas Shared Ministries.

The organization is always open to ways that they can reach out to the community and help those in need. If you know of a charitable program that could benefit by the Disciples Women, please call the church at 214-526-7291 and ask for Shelia.

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Tim Caffee, Bill Forbes and Michael Raines On Higher Ground

“Lord, lift me up, and let me stand, a higher plane than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground” was the opening hymn at Sunday’s Gospel Hour at Central Christian Church in Dallas.

The choir, under the direction of Tim Caffee, received a round of applause for the riveting rendition that set the pace for Rev. Dr. Ken Crawford’s sermon, "Give Me That Old-Time Religion? What to Keep and What to Let Go”

“Jesus is the most complete revelation of who God is,” Pastor Ken said. “Yet even his story comes to us bound by its own cultural context and limitations. Our responsibility as reasoning people of faith is to continue the difficult and important work of interpreting the Gospel for our generation and to teach those skills to the next.”

Central’s mission, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to partner with their neighbors to experience God’s transforming love— whoever the neighbor and whatever their need. Sunday’s music reflected that love.

“The Old Rugged Cross,” “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” were sung by the choir and congregation at this special service featuring old-time gospel favorites— those that never cease to inspire.

Following the service was another old-time favorite—a church pot-luck. The congregation and their guests visited with each other while dining on casseroles like King’s Ranch chicken and, pot roast, traditional sides and salads as well as a variety of vegan dishes so that everyone could partake in the bountiful buffet.  Over the top desserts included peach cobbler and pound cake.

Plan to visit next Sunday.  Church in the Dog Park is at 9 a.m., welcoming everyone and their dog, and worship in the sanctuary is at 11 a.m. All are welcome!

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A Funny Thing Happened

Monday was the first day of Westside Player’s Drama Camp. 

“Summer Showtunes” is the theme and campers will learn and perform song and dance acts from a variety of Broadway musicals. 

At the end of the day, the kids were eager to show off what they had already learned in only one day at camp by performing a song/dance routine from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

These talented kids love to perform, and the drama camp is a way for them to refine and improve the talents that come naturally to them.

Performing is nothing new to return camper, Tinashe McGowan. Tinashe is an accomplished pianist who has studied at the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and performed locally in plays and recitals.

“I have been looking forward to meeting new people at camp this year and having fun doing what we love to do,” Tinashe said.

It looked like the instructors, Lois Leftwich and Tim Caffee, are having fun, too. Wind down time before going home included a game of “Big Booty” and snacks.

The grand finale of the camp is the on-stage performance when the kids get to share with family, friends and the general public what they learned during the two-week session. And it is amazing!

Each time the curtain goes up on the fully-operable stage at Central, we are reminded of the late Ed Delatte, founder of Westside Players, founder and artistic director of the NorthPark-based Dallas Repertory Theater and Associate Professor of Theatre in the Department of Dance and Drama at the University of North Texas. Ed was a local pioneer in the belief that theater and the arts both express and form our feelings, beliefs and ideas. 

The end-of-camp performance will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at 4711 Westside Drive.  There is no cost and it is great family entertainment.  Refreshments will be available. For more information call 214-526-7291. 

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Eating for optimal brain performance


Learn how to nurture your brain with mindfulness and plant-based food. Join Mastermind Chief Mindfulness Officer Dorsey Standish and TS Wellness Founder Patricia Thomson on July 27 at 10 a.m.  The two-hour brain health event will be at 4711 Westside Dr., in the heart of Dallas. 

You will dive into the brain health benefits of mindfulness and practice mindful meditation for brain health. You will also experience live cooking demos and learn how to eat for optimal brain performance. All participants will enjoy tasty samples prepared by Thomson as they are guided through a mindful eating practice. 

Standish brings research-backed mindfulness and mindful movement to clients throughout the state of Texas. A lifelong learner and scientist, she has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is enrolled in the UT Dallas Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Master’s Program. 

After mindfulness transformed her own work, health and relationships, Standish left her corporate role at Texas Instruments to share the power of mindfulness with others full-time. Her teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend and 10-day silent meditation retreats.   

Cost for the workshop is $55.00 per person. Register on-line 

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Red, white and blue colored the streets of the Park Cities Thursday morning as parade participants and onlookers were decked out in the patriotic colors of the flag.   It wasn’t just people sporting stars and stripes but dogs, ponies and horses got in on the act, too.

Central Community Dog Park was again present with a float, reminiscent of a park shaded by umbrellas and enclosed by a picket fence, inviting everyone to “Bring Your Dog to Church.” And not candy, but nearly 1000 dog biscuits were tossed from the float into the crowd.

Central Christian Church opened a community dog park on the church grounds well over a decade ago. The off-leash park sits on one-acre and is shaded by mature Live Oaks, cooled by electric fans and has plenty of seating for dog owners to sit and relax while their dog roams, sniffs and fetches.   It’s like a “play date for Fido” as many of the regulars gather at the same time each day so that people and dogs can visit with one another.  

The park is equipped with waste stations, running water, a dog bath and a “library” where you may exchange books and magazines or browse the latest issue of AKC’s "Family Dog Magazine."

Two years ago, Elder Tyson Woods began holding worship services at 9 a.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month.  The informal service includes casual dress, sing-a-longs, coffee and donuts as well as a brief lesson about God’s love for all creatures great and small.

The dog park is one of the many ways the church reaches out to the community to invite and serve everyone. It is home to a wellness center, day program for adults with disabilities, co-working space and more.

Monday begins a two-week drama and theater camp for kids that will end with an on-stage performance of show tunes. There is still space available. Visit the website.

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Nothing is more special than welcoming a new baby into our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And, nothing is more fun than a baby shower! Following morning worship, the congregation and guests of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) celebrated the coming of a new life with a lunch buffet and baby shower.

Central may be the oldest continuously operating church in Dallas, but it remains “young at heart,”— never missing an opportunity to celebrate life, love and community.

The church is home to Central Dog Park, Westside Wellness Center, The Gathering, Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Berean Church and it offers co-working space for those needing a great place to work.

Stop by on Tuesday during Community Lunch; eat, meet the staff and tour the building.  All are welcome!