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Light and Shadow


Updated: Jan 12

Thank you to our creative writers that continue to add positive and uplifting stories to The Upbeat Reporter. The magazine shines because of their talent!

Karen Benckenstein

Karen Benckenstein was a nonprofit executive and fundraiser for a decade. She is now a freelance writer in addition to being a wife and mom to 4 teenagers. Karen writes about ways to achieve wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Karen Benckenstein is currently serving as the Development Director at Sister-Bear Foundation.

Tina Brohlin

Tina Brohlin joined the High Plains Food Bank in November 2018, the week of Thanksgiving, and just one week shy of the annual Together We Can Holiday Food and Fund Drive. As the new HPFB Communications and Marketing Director, she made her media debut at 5 a.m. on her first day. In October 2020, Tina was promoted to director of development. Throughout and emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s built and led a small but mighty, team that engages supporters in HPFB’s mission to alleviate hunger in the Texas Panhandle.

Amy Crowley

Amy resides in Amarillo with her husband, Johnny, and is mom to five girls. She is a freelance writer and is the author of the Facebook page Live BOLDLY. She can be reached by email at:

Diana Fielder, M.Ed., LPC

Diana is a Licensed Professional Counselor, currently retired after 25 years in practice. She attends Saint Paul United Methodist Church and enjoys time with her children and her 19 grand and great grandchildren.

Leah Fort

Leah Fort is an author, minister, speaker, and radio host of Leah Fort Connects. She serves as District Appointed Interim Pastor and District Women’s Ministries Director.

Frances Frost

Frances is a local residential and commercial REALTOR®, serving Amarillo and the surrounding area for almost 6 years. Consistently a top producer in her brokerage, she was nominated for the Best of Amarillo the last 4 years, and was the winner of KFDA Viewer’s Choice in 2020.

Mike Haynes

Mike Haynes taught journalism and mass media at Amarillo College for 25 years and was an adviser of student media at Texas Tech University for seven years. He is co-publisher of Panhandle-Plains Basketball Magazine and writes a Faith column in the Amarillo Globe-News. He and his wife Kathy attend Hillside Christian Church.

Nola Hopkins

Nola Hopkins is a retired English/ journalism teacher, and her husband Ed is a retired history teacher/coach. They have travelled to all 50 states and six of the seven continents. They own their own tour guide company, Texas Memory Tours. They have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Dr. Aaron Hunt

Aaron has been the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Athletic Chaplain at West Texas A&M University since 2016. Before that he was a high school Spanish teacher and coach, a junior high Assistant Principal and an Assistant Professor of Education at WT. He loves spending time with his wife and six children. They enjoy reading, travel, and a myriad of sport and outdoor activities. May God bless you and keep you and may you seek His face all of your days.

Eric Miller

For over 20 years, Miller promoted Amarillo to the world. Recently, he authored 100 Things To Do in Amarillo, available at more than 10 outlets in the Amarillo/ Canyon area, and has written stories for Authentic Texas and Panhandle Magazine. This is his first piece for Upbeat Reporter.

Sharon Miner

Sharon is the director of development and public relations for Martha's Home. She has worked with homeless women and women in recovery for over 20 years. Her professional career includes politics, business and non-profit organizations.

Tammi Scoggin

Tammi Scoggin, an Amarillo resident for over thirty-two years, enjoys all forms of writing – novels, short stories, poetry, children’s books, ladies Bible studies, anecdotes, articles, and even a discipleship manual. She aims to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through all of her communication and encourage others to pursue a personal relationship with Jesus, especially through Bible literacy.

Carol Simpson

I was born at an incredibly young age in Ft. Worth, TX when Dallas was playing at home and they won!!! I gave my life to Jesus in 1973 in Canyon, TX and it has been the best roller coaster ride of my life. I have been in around Christians all my life and have noticed something…we need to laugh more! I genuinely believe that if we cannot look like God has saved us from something, this ol’ world is not going to be interested in what we have to say. I performed my first Christian Comedy in 1996 at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and knew if I could get those kids laughing that God had a place for me in this ministry of humor.

Cathleen Tyson-Day

Cathleen began her career in graphic design and broadcast, specializing in campaign event branding/ promotion for print and web. She was an on-air talk show host for Upbeat and Beyond; and was the magazine designer for five issues in 2022-23. Cathleen enjoys singing and sharing time with her husband, Billy Day.

Sara Alvarado

Sara is a freelance writer from Amarillo, Texas. You will typically find her writing fantasy, but she also enjoys writing stories that resonate in the hearts of her readers.

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