"Lamentations: God remains faithful throughout our lives" by: Caleb Gibson

   In a perfect scenario, the book of Lamentations would not to be written. It’s a sad story. 
   The nation of Israel had broken its covenant with God and began to worship other gods. 
   Because they were unfaithful and turned away from the Lord, the Babylonian empire took them into exile. 
   Jerusalem was destroyed and the Prophet Jeremiah was filled with grief.
   The Lord spoke through Jeremiah and said, “and they have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind;” (Jeremiah 19:5). 
   How bad did it get when the God of this universe says, in essence, “I would have never thought of it.” I think this is food for thought.
   Lamentations shows us human words of grief. The prophet is sad before God. 
   The design of the chapters 1-4 in Lamentations is acrostic, which means that it is an alphabet poem. 


"Reel Reviews: Horror-thriller ‘Underwater’ not for faint of heart " by: Jessica Shepard

   This week, I took my mom to the movies with me to see “Underwater” and was not disappointed by her reactions. 
   Most horror-thriller films rely on a lot of gore or jump scares and it’s become tiring and easily predictable. 
   Not so with Underwater! 
   Maybe it’s because everything happens seven miles underwater in the deep, dark crushing depths of the Mariana Trench. 
   Or, it might be because I’m not a fan of tight spaces and the possibility of drowning. 
   Either way, it was a fast-paced survival ride from start to finish; which is surprising given its rating. 
   Underwater is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and terror, and brief strong language and clocks in just over an hour and a half long. 
   Underwater is a science fiction horror film directed by William Eubank and written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad. 


Mitch Thames announces for State Representative

Carolyn and Mitch Thames

   My name is Mitch Thames and I have officially announced my candidacy for the Republican nomination for State Representative of House District 25.
   In my role as the President of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, I’m deeply entrenched in the issues that affect the citizens and businesses of Matagorda and Brazoria counties - the counties of District 25. 
   I believe it’s important we have someone in the Texas House that truly represents and promotes our interests. 
   I will fight for Texas families. I have spent my entire career helping Texas families in any way that I could. 
   I have worked closely with legislators for years as the chamber president and CEO, as well as other roles I have been blessed with.
   As a father (of 3) and grandfather (of 6!), I know how important our families are. 
   We need to bring families back to our counties and make them excited to live here. 


Doug Schoppe candidate for Precinct. 1 Constable

Doug Schoppe

   I am excited to announce my candidacy for Matagorda County Constable Precinct 1. 
   My name is Doug Schoppe and I bring to you 30+ years of experience in Texas Law Enforcement. 
   The duties of a Texas Constable are to execute and return all civil processes. Constables are Texas Peace Officers and may arrest, with or without warrants, violators of state penal and traffic laws. 
   Constables and their deputies are officers of the court. They provide fair and impartial notification to citizens of court actions that may involve them.
   I started my law enforcement career in 1987, at the Austin County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.      
   My career then took me to Columbus Police Department and then to Weimer Police Department where I was a K-9 officer. 
   I am currently an active reserve deputy at the Colorado County Sheriff’s Office. 
   I have earned a Master Peace Officer Certification - the highest honor there is.


"New kitchen appliances seem to be hit or miss" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, mom got herself an Instant Pot for Christmas and it’s kind of just sitting on the counter top.
   The excuse was that she’s always wanted one and there was an awesome sale.
   At least, that’s what she’s told us.
   My brother also took advantage of the same sale and has been taking more recipe risks than we have.
   He even brought one of his experimental recipes home for us to try and I’ve got to say – I’m not a fan.
   His recipe was for beer-steamed polish sausage for sauerkraut dogs.
   I’ve never gagged so hard in my life, outside of stomach flu, before I smelled that monstrosity.
   Mom managed to eat hers and remarked that it didn’t taste any different than a usually boiled sausage.
   I’m too picky about my preferred sausage, so I definitely skipped out on that dinner item.


"New year concerns could potentially become reality " by: John Sample

   A New Year brings new concerns for this market to overcome. The attack on the Iranian military leader put the brakes on the market last week. 
   It appeared the concerns would carry over to this week but that is what we get for assumptions. The market was in negative territory from the beginning Monday only to turn around late in the day to move to positive territory. 
   I still believe January will be good for your retirement portfolio’s value, but I wouldn’t get lazy as February could prove to be less than candy and roses.
   Speaking of negative observations proven wrong, look at Tesla. 


Protect yourself against long-term care costs

   If you’re fortunate, you’ll always be able to live independently.
   However, if you ever needed some type of long-term care, such as a stay in a nursing home, would you be financially prepared?
   All long-term care services, including a nursing home stay, are quite expensive.
   But you can protect yourself.
   For one thing, you could self-insure by designating part of your investment portfolio for long-term care – but it would take a lot of money before you could feel comfortable.
   As an alternative, you could purchase long-term care insurance, which would cover many of your costs.
   You might also consider a hybrid policy, which combines long-term care benefits with life insurance.
   If you had this policy and you never needed any long-term care, the policy would pay a death benefit to your beneficiary.


"Put your faith in God because he know what will happen" by: Betsy Monico

   Christmas vacation will abruptly end soon. If on our best behavior until then, we should be ready to wake up and work about noon Wednesday. 
   I apologize up front for our drowsiness. 
   Oh, the break…We have experienced ups and downs for sure. I believe anyone who says differently about their families might be storytelling. 
   Relationships and family dynamics are challenging. I often feel small against all of our big issues, big opinions, and all of the big voices that swirl around in my head.
   This morning when I learned one of our local teachers lost her battle against cancer and joyfully gained her heavenly wings, everything lined up. I shed happy and sad tears. 
   When I then looked at Facebook and saw a post from a friend I met during my own cancer journey at Baylor, I knew God was involved. 


"Be like the early disciples and turn your world upside down" by: Caleb Gibson

   What is going to be the highlight of your New Year? 
   Will you swim against the current or go with everyone else? 
   I believe there are three ways we can make the new year successful. 
   We need one goal focused on our relationship with God. 
   One goal for our relationships with friends. 
   And one for our personal growth. 
   Acts 17 begins with the Apostle Paul in Thessalonica. As he preached, some became jealous of the crowd and became angry with him. 
   They later joined a mob and when they couldn’t find Paul and Silas, they attacked the house of Jason. 
   Their accusation to the city authorities was this, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,” (Acts 17:6) (ESV). 
   If someone drags us to city authorities, I want them to say, “They are changing the world!” What a great statement. 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Uncut Gems’ leaves much to be desired" by: Jessica Shepard

   I have to preface this with a warning that I’m usually a fan of anything Adam Sandler is billed in.
   Heck, I grew up watching plenty of his movies and Saturday Night Live skits.
   And sure, there’s been plenty hits and misses in the past and plenty of critics decided that he can’t be a “serious” actor and should only stick to comedy – that’s a lie when it comes to “Uncut Gems.”
   I chose Uncut Gems to review this week because it’s been making a lot of buzz for that exact reason and a few friends had seen it earlier.
   I have to admit that Sandler shows off his acting chops, but overall, I’m not a fan of the movie.
   It reminds me too much of Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” descent into fevered madness and a dash of Leonardo DiCaprio’s angsty, washed-up spaghetti Western actor in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” but with a better all-around soundtrack.


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