"Graduation: Then and Now" by: Jessica Shepard

   As graduation looms on the horizon for the class of 2015, I’m starting to vaguely remember my own. 
   Those last few weeks were a mix of painful tests, last minute extra credit assignments and tons of preparation. 
   The only thing I really recall being excited about was how many half days and off days seemed to pile up at the end of the year. 
   I graduated from Bay City High School in May of 2006 – the 31, I think. 
   Nine years and so many months makes my memory a little fuzzy there. 

"Look for value in dividends" by: John Sample

   While the economy is nothing to brag about, the market as measured by stock indexes are at all-time highs.  
   Investors might be worried, but the lack of alternatives seems to be the only answer this old investor can find.  
   One person would normally talk about precious metals, real estate or bonds. 
   While I am usually a value investor, the above mentioned threesome leave little reward. The equities market also provides me little value. 
   I am left with the belief that one should continue to look for return through dividends. 

"God comforts us by pouring his love through his people" by: Rosario Resendez

   And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Matthew 26:39 
   I’m used to being strong.  
   When times get hard I really try to stay strong and stay focused.  
   I’m not one that cries in front of others, I try to hold all my emotions together.  
   Growing up we are taught to be tough, strong women able to handle anything that comes our way.  
   Yet some of the battles that come our way are a bit hard even for the strongest soldiers. 
   I always hear from people that we should have faith and trust in the will of God,and this is true, but I think we forget that as humans we aren’t too fond of feeling pain.  
   Ever gotten to close to an open flame? It’s only natural that we move away.  

"Noah's lesson to us is giving all your trust to God" by: Betsy Monico

   I have the greatest job at church. I get to hang out with the kids. 
   We call it “kid’s church” and we often make fun of the grown-ups who are in “big kid” church because we think we have way more fun.  
   I guess that if every church member found an area within the church that they could serve and love serving, we would never have to ask for volunteers or pass around a sign-up sheet to get help. 
   Today, I started off with a question.  
   I said, “We are going to talk about what it has been doing around here for the past few weeks. What do you think it is?” 
    I had a room full of kids who responded with RAIN. They knew it! 

"Automated answering sure route to nowhere" by: Mike Reddell

   All of these years later, I still get a big headache out of those automated phone answering machines.  
   And, no, I’m not talking about calling someone and hearing an electronic voice repeat the phone number and ask you to leave a message. I get those.  
   I’m talking about the sheer misery or, at best, inconvenience of calling a big company or government agency give you options – numbered 1,2,3…whatever – after telling you to listen up, “as our menu has changed.”  
   What? Does that mean there was something in place more impersonal and confusing than the new menu?  

"Quality time spent with mom, sister" by: Jessica Shepard

   Mother’s Day was rather uneventful last weekend.  
   My sister Ashlee came home and we spent a good portion of Saturday in Sugar Land.  
   We ran errands and had a little mother-daughter bonding time.  
   Mom, Ashlee and I all got pedicures.  
   It was an interesting experience, if only because it seems like a lot of other mothers had the same idea.  
   I don’t think it would have been so bad if I wasn’t the one having to sit apart from my family.  

"Look at value of European stocks" by: John Sample

   We ended last week with a promising jobs report that allowed the various indexes to rise enough for the markets to post a 1 percent gain for the week. 
   It was almost the Goldie Locks type of scenario where the number of new hires was not too much or too little.    
   The report it appears was just right. Many analysts believed that it supported the idea that the economy is improving, but not at a pace that will move inflation. Therefore, eliminating a near-term move in interest rates upward.  
   You couple that news with the fact that the Conservative Party in England won a stunning victory in parliamentary elections.   
   I point this out as an example of the importance of all the news that an investor has to take into account.   
   Mr. Cameron’s victory will diminish the call for England to abandon the EU.   
   It will also be a positive signal for the banking industry in the UK.

"We should not allow age, other hurdels, keep us from our goals" by: Rosario Resendez

   “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis. 
   How any times have we wanted to do something but thought we were too old to do it? 
   I have a friend that keeps saying she should have been a civil rights lawyer because she is really passionate about that line of work. 
   So each time she says it I ask her why she doesn’t pursue that dream and go to college to be a civil rights lawyer.  
   She always answers that she is too old to pursue that dream. Besides she has to work to pay her bills so she can’t go to school full time and therefore it would be too long for her to graduate. 
   I then ask her how bad she wants to be a civil rights lawyer because then time shouldn’t be a factor. 
   She and I are the same age so her claiming that she is too old for something would mean that I am too old too and I refuse to 

"The Lord is helping you as you lead others" by: Betsy Monico

   There is a lot going on around here on the close of Mother’s Day Sunday. 
   I will have to work to get my thoughts out. I hit my head two times when I was getting the eggs out of the chicken coop. 
   Our coop was designed for little kids to go in I guess and retrieve the goods, not average height adults.  
   My other mishap was when I was walking down the hallway and was nearly knocked down by a wet Jack Russell who was running like a bandit. 
   We crossed paths and I knocked a picture off of the wall when I lunged to protect myself from a fall. I stayed up, the picture came down, and my four legged friend never looked back. 

"Focus on future by voting" by: Mike Reddell

   Saturday’s general election should generate excitement across Matagorda County, so turnout should be impressive. Right?
   I hope so. Almost all candidates spend money, time and shoe leather and risk higher than usual blood pressure from the stress of engaging in lots of external and internal debates. 
   There are two open seats on both the Bay City and Van Vleck school boards and they’re all contested races. 
   While some issues are special to each community, there are lots of complicated education headaches common to all Texas school board members. Nothing simple like the timeless matters of funding, taxing, student discipline and personnel evaluations.
   The city council races in Bay City are no less stressful for the issues facing municipal government here.


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