"Stock market reflects hot summer inactivity" by: John Sample

   We have moved into the dog days of summer. 
   I am not sure my dog appreciates the heat, and solely for his benefit, I have moved my act to the mountains of New Mexico for the next two weeks. 
   I don’t know about my Lab, Rugby, but I am enjoying the reduction in temperatures. 
   Now I just have to gear up and get with the litany of projects my cabin requires. 
   I do this while the various equity indexes seem to be on holiday. Nothing really moves this market.
   The lack of activity in the indexes clouds many interesting stories. While consumer confidence is lacking, it does not keep them away from show rooms at auto dealers. 
   The Ford F-150 and the Explorer are driving sales as consumers ignore electric cars with the price of gas lower. 
   Chrysler sales were boosted by sales of its Jeep brand. 

"Start living today 1 step at a time" by: Betsy Monico

   Luckily I remembered tonight before we shut it down totally to go and close the door on the chicken coop. 
   My boys brought in the eggs earlier and opened it up so that the chickens could have some fresh air.  
   I always feel sorry for them if they are stuck inside too long.  
   I also felt sorry for them when our Jack Russell massacred part of their family. (That is another story and a subject here that I do not need to bring back up….ever!) 
   I nominated myself because my girls were all settled sitting clean and pretty on the couch.  
   My boys were in the shower.  
   My husband was already asleep.  
   I grabbed the high powered flashlight and headed on my way thinking positive thoughts.  
   I sometimes freak myself out in the dark! It is really dark here too. I mean really dark! 
   I kept my flashlight pointing down right in front of me.  

"Taking the next step forward to become a sister" by: Rosario Resendez

“...An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.  
   “But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world - how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 
   Pretty soon I am going to enter my novitiate, this is the next step in the process to become a religious sister. 
   I came home for a week to visit my family and to have a short vacation since during the first year of my novitiate I cannot come home for a year. 
   I really wanted to go to the beach during this time.  
   I actually wanted to go fishing, but since my dad and my uncle had to work I settled for just hanging out at the beach.  

"Abba, Father among great names for God" by: Caleb Gibson

   There are so many great names of God.  
   Some of these are, “El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, and Jehovah Jireh.” These names are all used to describe God.  
   Did you know that when Jesus was on this earth He actually gave us a new name of God?  
   This is one of God’s greatest names, it is father. 
   The Bible says, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom. 8:15).  
   Jesus did such a perfect work on the cross. The moment we received God’s free gift of salvation, we became a child of God. 

"Book Review: ‘Go Set a Watchman’ a first draft, not continuation, of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by: Lisa Carillo

Lisa Carillo

  From the moment I read the first page of To Kill a Mockingbird, I’ve been a fan of Harper Lee.
   Not a typical fan, mind you, I’m a rabid fan bordering on girl crush.
    Her exquisite prose, the characters who jump off the page and make me question my own, her adherence to the philosophy that she had published one novel and she would publish no other, are but a few of the reasons I consider Harper Lee to be the greatest American novelist. (Feel free to argue with me on that one.)
   As a reader and fan, I was fine with the one perfect novel from this brilliant woman.
    I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that I shall never sit across a lunch table and share a bottle of wine with one of my literary idols.
    In my fantasy, I would call her “Nelle” and she would call me “Lis” and we would discuss all things literary and political.

"Movie nerd’s lament" by: Jessica Shepard

   As I’ve said before, my family is quite proud of our “Nerd” status; especially when it comes to movies.
   Watching at home doesn’t quite have the same seat-vibrating surround sound and teeth-chattering coldness that the theater does.
   But, I am sad to say that so far this summer, the only movie I’ve seen in theaters was “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
   It isn’t for lack of trying.
   I actually had a whole list of movies I wanted to see.
   “Jurassic World,” “Ant-Man,” “Tomorrowland,” “Inside Out,” and “Terminator: Genisys,” are some of the few that I’ve had my heart set on seeing.
   So far, I’ve fallen short and many of them have already left movie theaters.
   Or, will be leaving soon.
   I could chalk it up being a vehicle short at home.
   Possibly to the other events distracting me.

"Current events give pause to even optimists" by: John Sample

   I am basically an optimistic person but the current turn of events in the equities market has made me feel that it is time for a pause to reflect. 
   China is really giving it all back and quick. The oil price has dropped lower than I would have thought. Gold is probably going to fall below $1,000 per ounce. 
   Moreover, if it weren’t for a couple of stocks the indexes would be in free fall.
   I watch CNBC daily to see what is happening. Jim Cramer came up with the acronym of FANG. 
   It stands for Facebook, Apple Netflix and Google. You throw in Amazon and Starbucks and it probably should be FAANGS. 
   The significance of these few stocks is that they are the only thing holding up the market. 
   Without them this would really be ugly. 

"Learning about true meaning of compassion" by: Rosario Resendez

   “Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 
   So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 
   But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 
   He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 
   Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ 

"Listening to Jesus the needful thing" by: Caleb Gibson

   What if I told you that only one thing is needful for today? What if, instead of worrying about what we would wear and what we would eat, we would focus more on Christ. 
   This is the heart of what Jesus was teaching in the story of Mary and Martha.  
   The Bible says that Martha invited Christ into her house. This passage explains that Mary, “…was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.” (Luke 10:39).  
   Notice how it speaks about Mary, “listening to His word.” She was there engaged in receiving from Christ. 
   Martha was in the kitchen distracted with all of the preparations. Martha was the one who, “welcomed Him into her home” (Luke 10:38). Most likely she felt the need to be a proper host and cook a good meal for him.  
   The irony of the situation is that Jesus did not need a filling of food, but Martha needed a filling of grace.  

"Why not try to help others keep fire going?" by: Betsy Monico

 My brain is going ninety to nothing tonight. My heart and mind is still at preteen church camp singing and dancing with an awesome group of kids. 
      I like to refer to them as my little brothers and sisters. 
   The main source of my mental confusion and excitement is that I have spent the last two days purging my home of unwanted items and then cleaning it from top to bottom. 
   I have made a note to self that I should really do this more often. After being gone from home for close to three weeks and landing again, it just feels right to clean up, clean out, and start the school year off with order here. 
   We learned a lot at camp. I say “we” and not “they” because the five adult sponsors came away with just as much as the preteens from our small group sessions.  


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