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Welcoming the New Year in an old/new way

January 4, 2017
Welcoming the New Year in an old/new way

Usually on New Year’s Eve, we have the kids and grandkids over for food, fireworks, and yee-hawing into the next year.
But this Dec. 31, the Bride and I loaded up and headed south to pick up her parents – 96-year-old dad and 88-year-old mom.
We promised them we’d take them to a place they go every New Year’s Eve – to a barn in a field to listen to country gospel music.
Because, that’s not exactly my preferred music genre, I wasn’t exactly thrilled but still didn’t hesitate to do it.
The event, we were informed, began at 5 p.m.… Read the rest

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Women had it way tougher back in the day

January 4, 2017
Women had it way tougher back in the day

You think women have it tough today…
Here in the 21st century being a woman is not the easiest thing.
We are the target audience for a myriad of consumer products that no one actually needs, but that we are pressured into buying to feel like we are feminine enough.
Let me tell you, we live a life of ease and luxury compared to our 19th-century sisters.
We can vote, pick our own husbands, choose the number of children – if any at all – that we want to have, and for the most part, watch those children grow into adulthood without the fear of losing them to some common disease.… Read the rest

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Expect 2017 to be an amazing year!

January 4, 2017
Expect 2017 to be an amazing year!

Now go and be amazing!” I simply spoke the phrase that popped into my head. And it may have changed the course of my life.
I was sitting on a bench overlooking the Trinity River on an unseasonably warm December day in 2014 (much like we have had in the past week or so). I was recording the introductory episode of my brand new podcast, Your Church Matters with Dr. Gerry Lewis, that would be launching in January 2015.
I had been telling a little bit of my story, by way of introduction, and my plans and dreams for this new podcast that would remind pastors and church leaders that, “No matter where you are, your church matters to God and your ministry is significant.” I signed off with, “Now go and be amazing.”
Two years and 92 episodes later, that’s still the final tag of every episode.… Read the rest

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‘Go west!’ worked better for writer than farmer parents

January 4, 2017
‘Go west!’ worked better for writer than farmer parents

This column first appeared January 5, 2001.

I’ve found someone else who attended the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; it was Hamlin Garland, a writer of the middle West. I ran across one of his best books, A Son of the Middle Border, his autobiography.
He used the word “border” like I do “frontier.” He told of being born in Wisconsin, but his father kept moving the family west to several places in Iowa and then Dakota. Starting over and heading toward the sunset formed a part of his father’s psyche and drive – as it did many Westerners.… Read the rest

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Patrick applauds action preserving ‘bathroom bill’

January 4, 2017
Patrick applauds action preserving ‘bathroom bill’

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has applauded the North Carolina legislature’s refusal to repeal a law banning individuals from using public bathrooms designated for the opposite sex.
Patrick, who has made the passage of similar legislation in Texas one of his priorities, said in a Dec. 22 statement: “Legislation like this is essential to protect the safety and privacy of women and girls, and is simple common sense and common decency.
“Legislation to protect women’s privacy and business is essential to assure that sexual predators, like those who exploit the internet, will not be able to freely enter women’s restrooms, locker rooms or showers and that businesses are not forced by local ordinances to allow men in women’s restrooms and locker rooms.”

Veteran state reporter and legislative analyst Ed Sterling is member services director for the Texas Press Association, whose 518 member newspapers have combined circulation of 3.7 million.Read the rest

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The year in review: Man, what was I thinking?

December 28, 2016
The year in review: Man, what was I thinking?

Well, another year has come and gone and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who’ll say, “Man, I sure loved 2016!”
One good thing (well, at least to me) is that my “On Your Mark” streak has run to 1,260 consecutive weeks (counting this one).
Since we’re doing a lot of Year in Review stuff this issue, I thought I’d look back on the On Your Marks of 2016.
There are times when I can’t wait to write a column, even if that means getting out of bed at 3 a.m. to get at it.
Then are times when I start something that seemed really funny at one time and ended up being not so much.… Read the rest

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What did the dog say?

December 28, 2016
What did the dog say?

Have you heard on the radio, or seen on YouTube, dogs and cats singing Christmas songs? They are kind of cute the first time! After that…not so much.
I know that some people are convinced that their animals can talk to them. Maybe I’m just not a good animal whisperer, but I don’t get what they are saying most of the time. And I don’t spend a lot of time speculating.
There is a little Christmas song that does some speculating on what some animals might have said if they were present at the birth of Jesus. “The Friendly Beasts” (also known as “The Gifts of the Animals,” among other titles) has been recorded by such notables as Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, and Garth Brooks.… Read the rest

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Clarks made tremendous contribution to early America

December 28, 2016
Clarks made tremendous contribution to early America

This column first appeared Setember 23, 2010.

Some families have made a huge impact on American history. John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams served as the second and sixth presidents. William Henry Harrison and his grandson Benjamin Harrison both served as president as well as two Roosevelts, distant cousins Theodore and Franklin D. and more recently the two George Bushes.
Two Clark brothers between them may have accomplished more than any of these presidents. Most of us are familiar with William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The trek westward of Lewis and Clark from 1804 to 1806 gave the U.S.… Read the rest

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A novel approach to resolutions

December 28, 2016
A novel approach to resolutions

New Year, new me? Not likely. We have all done it, made resolutions that we come nowhere near achieving.
For 2017 I have decided just to accept that I am who I am, and at this point in my life, it is time to be happy with that.
Are there areas where I can improve? Absolutely, and just because I do not set a resolution does not mean that I am giving up on all efforts toward self-improvement; I have simply realized there is a time to admit when you are not good at something.
One thing I am not good at is admitting when I am not good at something, and I am about to make such an admission, so see, self-improvement already.… Read the rest

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AG intervenes in Charlie Brown Christmas lawsuit

December 28, 2016
AG intervenes in Charlie Brown Christmas lawsuit

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Dec. 15 intervened in a lawsuit filed on behalf of nurse’s aide Dedra Shannon against the Killeen Independent School District over its decision to take down Shannon’s Christmas decoration.
According to a news release by Paxton’s office, the principal of KISD’s Patterson Middle School ordered Shannon to take down a handmade decoration that depicted a scene from the 1965 animated feature, A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the scene, the character Linus is asked by Charlie Brown whether there is “anyone who knows what Christmas is all about.” Shannon’s decoration quoted part of Linus’s response: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
The school district ordered Shannon to take down her decoration, claiming that it violated the law.… Read the rest

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