"Extension agents will offer columns for county programs" Aaron Sumrall, PhD County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources Texas A&M AgriLife

   It is hard to believe that 2020 is already here! 
   With the new year, I want to take the opportunity to again highlight the services offered to Matagorda County citizens through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (Extension) office. 
   The Extension office in Matagorda County through Texas A&M AgriLife is one of 250 in Texas. This office is here to assist citizens with university research-based information covering a myriad of topic areas that may be of interest to y you.
   The Matagorda County Extension office has four agents covering primary topic areas with all agents having some level of youth education responsibilities.
   Gabby Washington is the Family and Community Health Agent serving Matagorda County. 
   Gabby’s focus is on all aspects of family health and well-being with audiences of all ages. 


"‘Year in Review’ doesn’t look like much at first glance" by: Jessica Shepard

   Several social media platforms feature “year in review” types of posts or with some internet radio providers – songs.
   Now, since I’ve taken to just curating my iPod with an ever-growing CD collection, I can’t really do much of the later.
   Mostly because I hate radio ads and partially because I’m not limited to the number of songs I can skip in an hour.
   Even on my crafted playlists, there are still songs that I don’t feel like listening to at the moment and skipping those is easier on my own.
   Nothing seems to kill the mood faster online than trying to skip unwanted songs to find something decent to hear and being shut down by streaming rules and licensing issues.
   To be fair, my year in review posts are always the most random things varying between personal photos, news stories, art, and memes.


"2019 was great and 2020 won’t be bad either " by: John Sample

   By the time most of you read this, we will be in a new year and a new decade.
   As with everything, there are conflicting opinions on whether it is a new decade. What would we be without differences of opinion?
   It is hard to argue, however, that those with stock this year made money.
   If you were in tech stocks, you almost made a 50% gain.
   So much for worrying about value.
   Look at Apple, Facebook and Microsoft reaching new trading high levels.
   The overall markets had the largest gains in 20 years as it relates to the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index.
   We are in to the 12th year of gains since the recession of 2008.
   Times like this really concerns me, but you have to appreciate how well the economy is performing. If you’re looking for value, it is getting hard. In these times of worries about climate change and movements to electric vehicles, I would suggest that energy stocks are far from dead.


Market timing a smart investment strategy?

   In some walks of life, timing is everything – but not necessarily when it comes to investing.
   In fact, when pursuing a risky market timing strategy, investors may make a few key mistakes:
   First, they sell investments based on a prediction that prices will drop. 
But if the prediction is wrong, these investors may miss out on a market rally.
   Second, market timers sell underperforming investments in favor of those that are currently doing well. 
But today’s “losers” could be tomorrow’s “winners.”
   Finally, some people wait for uncertainty to disappear before they invest.
   But there will always be uncertainty and risk in the financial markets, so if you followed this strategy, you’d never invest.
   You don’t have to time the market to take advantage of price movements.


"Life is like a puzzle: Live by faith for beauty at end" by: Betsy Monico

   I love the holidays. Our tree is glistening by one of our large windows in the front of the house. 
   Mind you, the evergreen beauty also reminds me that I desperately need to wash the windows. Sometimes they need a few squirts of Windex; however, that is not the case now. Our windows need a real washing. 
   We are all off until after the first of the year. Hopefully we can tackle this particular job as a team. 
   That goes for packing up Christmas as well. Good news though…my kid’s rooms are more clean and tidy than ever – thanks to how I like to stay up late. I learned that it is much easier to clean out their endless clutter and stuff bags full of their old belongings without them here. 
   This takes them out of the equation and prevents reclaiming random belongings. When they go to a friend’s house; I get to work! 


"Story of Korahs in Bible shows why you should write your own story" by: Caleb Gibson

   In Numbers 16, we begin with a disgruntled group of Levites. 
   This is when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. We are introduced to a man named Korah, who was an elder of the tribe of Levi and Moses’ first cousin. 
   He gathers many people against Moses because he believes they have a bad leader. Korah gathers 250 community leaders for a mutiny. When Moses saw them he fell on his face to the Lord.
This disagreement with Moses was not a light one. Korah wanted to take over Moses’ position. The group went back and forth to Moses. 
   After a couple days, something horrific took place. God punished Korah and his group by causing a sinkhole to open up. Korah and his followers fell in with their tents and possessions.
It is estimated that 2.4 million Israelites left Egypt with Moses as their leader. 
   During the American Revolution the 13 Colonies had an estimated 2.5 million people. 

"Reel Reviews: ‘Spies in Disguise’ aims for non-violent approaches to espionage" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Spies in Disguise” is not your normal spy movie – even as a kid-friendly and family-centric sort of film.
   Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes going into the film, but that changed through the pace of the movie.
   Plus, having such a talented and wide-range of voice actors certainly helped.
   Spies is a computer-animated spy comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
   Loosely based on Lucas Martell’s 2009 animated short Pigeon: Impossible, the film is directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane in their directorial debuts.
   It also stars the voices of Will Smith and Tom Holland, alongside Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled, and Masi Oka in supporting roles.
   Smith’s and Holland’s character interactions are the highlight, by far.


"Recapturing that childhood Christmas excitement " by: Mike Reddell

   As I write this on Monday, Dec. 23, I’m reminded that many decades ago I was in such a Christmas frenzy on this day I could be barely contain myself.
   The intensive focus on the unwrapped presents under the tree made my excitement almost unbearable.
   I love Christmas, particularly the weeks and days leading up to it.
   I’ve thought in recent days about that uber excitement of childhood in anticipation of Christmas morning.
   There were family tales of how I pulled the Christmas tree down on myself or when I gnawed a hole in the arm of the couch in my Christmas tree-gazing euphoria of the moment.
   By the way, part of that fascination came from the colorful liquid-filled ornaments that would bubble when they were placed over the big, hunkering tree lights of old.  
   As much as I love this season, there’s no replacing how wondrous it felt so many years ago.


"Parenting fur babies seems harder during the holidays" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, I’m not saying that I really know what it’s like to have children.
   And I know that animals, even small ones, don’t require the same level of care as a toddler or small child in general.
   But, it’s feeling a lot closer than I expected and I think I’ll just stick with the fur babies instead of real ones.
   My mom keeps telling me that I have time to change my mind, but, the outlook isn’t so good on that end.
   The prospect of diapers just seems ridiculously harder than changing a litter box and I’m not down for that.
   But, in the continuing chronicles of parenthood by rescuing kittens, Loki has finally decided to try to climb the Christmas trees.
   I mean, he’d ignored them for the past month and I really thought we were in the clear.
   For crying out loud, January is next week!
   Sadly, he proved me wrong and dashed my hopes away over the weekend.


"Equities investors certainly celebrating profitable year" by: John Sample

   This is a holiday-shortened week with the equities market only trading half a day Tuesday and closed Wednesday. 
   No matter, we have gains this year that we haven’t experienced in over 30 years. 
   As I have explained over the last couple of months since August, there is so much positive opinion that it really gives me pause. 
   You do have to appreciate though that we have made it past the trade war with China and signed a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
   Boeing just announced that CEO Dennis Muilenberg stepped down. 
   Just another example of how important management is to a company’s success.
   Boeing is one of our country’s leading engineering firms and they fumbled the grounding of the 737 Max so badly that they allowed the competition to claw back orders that should have gone to Boeing. 
   This will end up referenced in graduate business school as a perfect example of how not to handle a crisis. 


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