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Special session: Lawmakers will file teacher pay legislation

July 12, 2017
Special session: Lawmakers will file teacher pay legislation

A special session of the Texas Legislature, called by Gov. Greg Abbott, is set to begin on July 18. The agenda is big.
Before adjourning in late May, our 150 state representatives and 31 state senators did the only thing the Texas constitution requires them to do each time they meet for 140 days every two years: they passed a state budget to cover the next two years.
But Abbott decided he wanted them back in Austin to extend the functions of the Texas Medical Board, and to do it with all possible speed. Abbott added a while-you’re-at-it list of 19 other topics for lawmakers to resolve to his satisfaction after they breathe new life into the Texas Medical Board.… Read the rest

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A different kind of boom in July – babies

July 5, 2017
A different kind of boom in July – babies

The column is decidedly PG-13: Reader discretion is advised.

Something that happened last year ago is about to have substantial ramifications this month.
Whenever a memorable event occurs – good or bad – humans become, uh, more intimate and, around nine months later, more (little) humans that were created that memorable night arrive.
Remember what occurred last November? Donald Trump was elected our leader and was unleashed upon the unsuspecting world.
That sent humans of each political persuasion into emotional frenzies and some ended up as throes of passion.
Anyway, distraught Democrats and jubilant Republicans alike joined together and now there’s a tidal wave of newborns set to arrive this July – nine months hence from Trump’s stunning victory.… Read the rest

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Give me a rating

July 5, 2017
Give me a rating

(unless you don’t think I’m perfect)

You’ll be receiving a customer feedback survey on the service you received from me. I will be in trouble with my manager if I don’t get all 10s.”
Yes, that is what she told me. I won’t tell you which company because it doesn’t matter. The not-so-subtle message is, “Tell everyone we’re great or keep your opinion to yourself.”
“Fake news” is a big thing currently, but it’s not new. Neither is fake feedback. As far back as I can remember, people have asked for my opinion. They really want it. It really matters. Unless I don’t agree with them or have a suggestion about how they might think about it from another perspective.… Read the rest

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Gov. applauds lawmakers’ special session intentions

July 5, 2017
Gov. applauds lawmakers’ special session intentions

Gov. Greg Abbott, in the last 10 days of June, posted news releases pointing out specific lawmakers and their plans to file bills that fulfill his expectations for the 30-day special session, which he called to begin July 18.
Abbott said lawmakers first must pass a “sunset bill” to extend the life of the Texas Medical Board and then tackle a 19-item list of other issues in the month-long session. Abbott’s list is a pretty close match to a list of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s priorities.
Here are a few of those items:
• Legislation to reform property taxes, by Sen.… Read the rest

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Mom vs. preteen: The Standoff

July 5, 2017
Mom vs. preteen: The Standoff

Sometimes it’s the littlest lessons that are the hardest.
That’s true in life, but especially so in parenting.
In my case, when you combine that I am raising an only child and my lack of patience, you get a dangerous combination.
See, since there is just one of him, most of the time it is just easier for me to do things than wait for him to figure it out on his own.
Brushing his hair? I can do that in 30 seconds; if I let him do it, it takes much longer and usually several attempts before it passes the mom inspection.… Read the rest

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Fort Worth Catholic church history goes back to 1870s

July 5, 2017
Fort Worth Catholic church history goes back to 1870s

This column first appeared April 25, 1991.

Anything about the history of Fort Worth fascinates me. I never turn down an opportunity to learn more. In my Texas history class, I give students a choice of numerous projects.
One of these is a walking tour of downtown Fort Worth.
Included on the tour are many buildings that boast historical markers. One of these is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in downtown Fort Worth.
One of the students in the class took the walking tour. On her visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, she purchased a beautiful hardback book of 111 pages and many photographs which was written in 1988 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Church in that same building.… Read the rest

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The look of a God-centered life

June 28, 2017
The look of a God-centered life

Well. I was angry when I first saw this, but then I clicked on it.”
That was a Facebook comment from someone who read last week’s post: “Stop putting God first in your life!”
In case you missed it, you can read it online at http://drgerrylewis.com/stop-putting-god-first-in-your-life/.
Yes, the headline was shocking. It was intended to be so. And the point I was trying to make was that putting God first in your list of priorities is so much less than what God wants. I summarized what God wants this way: “God wants to be the center of your life. God wants to be your life and live His life through you.”
So, what does that God-centered life look like?… Read the rest

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Fourth of July – just like Dad

June 28, 2017
Fourth of July – just like Dad

July Fourth has always been a major holiday in my family.
In fact, it was my late Dad’s favorite one. (When on hospice 11 years ago, I knew there was no way he would pass before the Fourth; he died the sixth.)
Family would gather, Dad would cook a brisket – foil-wrapped and kept under the rounded dome of his charcoal smoker for hours and hours – my little brother would bring fireworks, and we’d all fish and swim at our parents’ Lake Whitney cabin.
While I was never a Fourth of July nut – I rode in parades as a firefighter in Arlington but, being on duty, I was getting paid – that’s slowly beginning to change.… Read the rest

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The story of Slaughter: The ‘Cattle King of Texas’

June 28, 2017
The story of Slaughter: The ‘Cattle King of Texas’

This column first appeared Oct. 15, 1981.

Among my numerous hobbies is collecting books autographed by their authors.
Last June I traveled to Dallas one Sunday afternoon to an autograph party for a book about C.C. Slaughter, a wealthy rancher and banker who was called the Cattle King of Texas at one time in the previous century. I had heard the author speak at a history convention about Slaughter earlier. I’m finally reading the book, mainly because I’m attending the Western History Convention in San Antonio in mid-October and want to be able to tell the author I read and enjoyed his book.… Read the rest

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History almost repeats itself, sorta

June 28, 2017
History almost repeats itself, sorta

History tends to repeat itself, I’ve learned. Another example of this presented itself on my recent trip to Galveston.
Growing up my parents were always very cautious with us kids around water.
My mother lost a younger sister to a drowning accident as a child, and that led her to be extremely overprotective when it came to her kids and swimming. We really were never allowed to swim unless one of our parents or grandparents were there.
Field trips to water parks were out of the question – at least for my brother and me, she loosened up a bit for our two younger sisters.… Read the rest

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