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My spear is bigger than your tomahawk

| August 17, 2017
My spear is bigger than your tomahawk

There’s a funny, quick moment in a great movie you’ve probably never seen that is about to become apropos.
The movie is Woody Allen’s Love and Death from 1975, a film I’ve seen about 30 times.
In it, through a comedy of errors, Allen’s coward has become a hero, and he is decked out in formal military attire – including a sheathed sword way too long for his dinky frame – at a high-class, upper crust party.
He bows toward a woman and his weapon boinks the posterior of another woman standing behind him, prompting Allen to say, “Oops, I just goosed that woman.”
That phrase is about to become much more common come Sept.… Read the rest

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Grandpa Culwell of Parker County, Texas: Part 1

| August 17, 2017
Grandpa Culwell of Parker County, Texas: Part 1

Ethel B. Tackitt wrote about her family and early Parker County.

Thomas and Eliza (Jones) Culwell came from Arkansas to Texas in the 1840s and settled in Collin County. He was a good farmer in Arkansas and the rich lands of Texas were a source of delight to his industrious spirit.
His mother and two brothers, as well as other members of his family also came as was the custom in the early settling of Texas. Families looked well to the protection of one another and usually moved in groups.
Love and kindred was a very pronounced trait in the Culwell family.… Read the rest

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Not innocent: But I refuse to be part of the problem

| August 17, 2017
Not innocent: But I refuse to be part of the problem

I got up with a heavy heart Monday, Aug. 14.
I’m experiencing an inner compulsion to speak to the ugliness and evil of racism, in light of the weekend events in Virginia.
I want to be clear in identifying evil without being guilty of self-righteous finger-pointing and name-calling. I want to speak the truth in love and honor Christ.
I want to call the people of God to BE the Body of Christ publicly and display an accurate and mature reflection of the character of Jesus.
In my work as a coach, if someone was to tell me, “I want to say…” I would ask that person, “So what’s preventing you from saying just that?”
So, here’s what I want to say and I’m going to say it:
Racism is evil and sinful, no matter the source.… Read the rest

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Confessions of someone who hates summer

| August 17, 2017
Confessions of someone who hates summer

You summer lovers are nuts.
Sure, there are fun summertime activities – swimming, beach trips, backyard barbecuing, etc. – but the pure hellishness brought on by the summer heat negates any of that.
When I ask most of the should-be-mental-patients who claim summer is better, most say it’s better merely because they don’t like to be cold.
Fair point. I don’t care to be very cold myself, and that’s why God invented sweaters, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, and so on.
Conversely, there are only so many articles of clothing you can take off in a civilized society without risking jail time.… Read the rest

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Abbott signs 3 bills; few likely to reach desk in final week

| August 17, 2017
Abbott signs 3 bills; few likely to reach desk in final week

Three bills reached Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk last week, with the 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature set to expire Aug. 16.
Abbott signed all three into law on Aug. 11:
• Senate Bill 5, increasing criminal penalties for voter fraud, by Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and sponsored in the House by Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood;
• Senate Bill 20, the “sunset bill” that extends the life of the Texas Medical Board and several other healthcare-regulating state boards, by Van Taylor, R-Plano, and sponsored in the House by Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock; and
• Senate Bill 60, relating to the funding of those revived healthcare boards, also by Taylor and sponsored by Gonzales.… Read the rest

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Incident at movie theater sets off alarms

| August 11, 2017
Incident at movie theater sets off alarms

So, I settled into my seat at a nearby movie theater.
I had my Jolly Ranchers and, at this matinee, had carefully chosen my seat so I wouldn’t kick the chair back of anyone in front of me.
There were only about 20 of us in attendance when the lights went down for the coming attractions.
Just then, a couple of guys walked in.
In the low light, I could see by their silhouettes that both were of substantial build as they walked all the way across the screen and started up the stairway toward my side.
A bright scene on the preview suddenly provided more light and revealed a sight that chilled my spine: The duo each carried backpacks.… Read the rest

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Remembering Springtown: The life of Esther Pauline Layne

| August 11, 2017
Remembering Springtown: The life of Esther Pauline Layne

In 2007, I asked some high school students to interview older people and write about that interview.
Dani Fleming chose to interveiw and write about Pauline Layne. She is now 90 years old and living in Corsicana near her son Dan Layne.

Here is her story:

Mrs. Esther Pauline Layne was born in Winkler, Texas, in the same place that most children were born in those days – at home. Her family lived in the country, about 10 miles away from the nearest doctor. The oldest of four children, her duties were to babysit her siblings while her mother worked.
Around the time of her 16th birthday, her duties were extended to include washing and ironing – using a gas iron.… Read the rest

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Three hurdles to get over to win

| August 11, 2017
Three hurdles to get over to win

I love track meets! When the Olympic Games come around every four years, the track events are the ones that get my attention. My favorite track events are the relays, the sprints, and the hurdles.
I love the relays because of the precision and teamwork necessary. The winning team is not always the one that has the four fastest competitors.
I love the sprints because it is just flat out amazing to see people run that fast.
And then we have the hurdles – speed vs. barriers. Many a pre-race favorite has lost a race because he stumbled over one hurdle.… Read the rest

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Don’t be resentful – you don’t have the real story

| August 11, 2017
Don’t be resentful – you don’t have the real story

A couple of weekends back I took my son for a much-needed haircut. As he was being groomed, I overheard another mother who was accomplishing the same task complaining about school supplies.
Not an uncommon occurrence — during this time of the year I am sure there are millions of conversations taking place across the country about the same issue.
This mom’s complaint wasn’t that she was being asked to buy supplies for her kids, but that she just knew some of those supplies would end up being used by her children’s classmates or teachers.
My first thought was “Well, duh…” followed quickly by “…and just what is wrong with that?”
Do people actually believe that just because they aptly provide their children with school supplies that those same children don’t in any way benefit from the time or money of others completely unrelated to them during the course of the school year?… Read the rest

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House passes bills to give retired teachers relief from healthcare costs

| August 11, 2017
House passes bills to give retired teachers relief from healthcare costs

The Texas House on Aug. 1 approved House Bill 20, legislation appropriating $212.7 million from the “rainy day” reserve fund to help defray rising healthcare costs for retired school employees.
Primary authors of HB 20 include: Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin; Drew Darby, R-San Angelo; Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston; John Zerwas, R-Katy; and Donna Howard, D-Austin.
The House also approved HB 80, legislation that through the Teacher Retirement System of Texas would make a one-time cost-of-living adjustment to the retirement benefits paid to certain retirees, disability retirees and survivors. To be eligible for the increase, the annuitant must have retired between Aug. 31, 2004 and Aug.… Read the rest

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