"Our lives will be fruitful as long as we are connected to God" by: Betsy Monico

   I recently set a few goals in my head for myself and my kiddos. 
   I left my husband out of this mental project of mine. 
   He is always motivated, driven, and extremely hard working. 
   My older two kids were also excused. 
   My daughter is taking a full summer load and also has a wonderful part-time job that ties into her major. 
   My oldest son works 5-6 days a week. 
   He has a limited amount of time to sleep and play when he is off. They both also love their jobs-what a blessing! 
   However, my younger two needed a bit of direction in my opinion. I wanted a mix of work and play for them and myself. Obviously, they are too young to have full time jobs and lack transportation. 
   If they worked every day, I would acquire a constant Uber job, not appealing!
The past week has totally lined up though with the plan I had in my head and heart. 
   Little sister scored her first baby-sitting job. 


"When you get Jesus you inherit everything; you inherit the Kingdom of God" by: Caleb Gibson

   A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. 
   They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. 
   When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. 
   The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. 
   About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. 
   A young man stood at the door and said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” 
   The young man held out his package. The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. 
   He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the son’s personality in the painting. 
   The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. 
   The father hung the portrait over his mantle. 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ with predictable jump scares, barely creepy" by: Jessica Shepard

   I’ve been a fan of “The Conjuring” movie series since its beginning in 2013.
   Even with all of its twists and turns and offshoots – the Annabelle tangent just hasn’t left as much of an impression on me.
   Let alone actually provide anything beyond a few well-timed jump scares.
   Annabelle Comes Home is a supernatural horror film based on the legend of the Annabelle doll and serves as a sequel to 2014’s Annabelle and 2017’s Annabelle: Creation, and as the seventh installment in the Conjuring Universe franchise. 
   The film is written and directed by Gary Dauberman in his directorial debut, from a story co-written with James Wan. 
   Wan also produced the film with Peter Safran. 
   The film stars Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Michael Cimino, and Katie Sarife, along with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren.


"Checking out revamped Bowlera Fun Center, Fat Boyz Pub and Eatery " by: Jessica Shepard

   As most of you know, I’m not really a person that likes going “out” to do things when I’m off work.
   I’m a homebody and strongly against crowds and public smoking and intoxication.
   Or, at least I’ve said as much at one point or another.
   Though that sentiment could be changing fairly soon.
   Last Friday, I went to check out the recently re-opened Bowlera Fun Center featuring Fat Boyz Pub and Eatery.
   Now, to be fair, I only went to Bowlera a handful of times when it first opened years ago.
   It wasn’t my cup of tea then and I wasn’t too broken up when it closed.
   But, I can see myself visiting this newly resurrected version a lot more.
   For me, the fact that it’s largely aimed at adults only Thursday-Saturday is a huge draw.
   No offense, but, I’m really not a fan of children being everywhere all the time.


"Consider taking a profit in today’s equities market " by: John Sample

   The lazy hazy days of summer are here and I’m sad as each day gets shorter - and that this has been the most temperate and wet first half of the year that I have experienced in decades.  
   We still have wildflowers blooming in the Hill Country and many haven’t turned on their irrigation systems in their yards.  
   I think the climate is changing but I don’t think is what they were talking about.  
   None of this has stopped the equities markets from climbing back near-record territory.  
   Some hint that the U.S. and China would work out a trade pact at the G-20 was more than enough to overcome concerns about Iran shooting down a multimillion dollar drone and the President calling off a military strike. 
   It did not hurt that the Federal Reserve indicated that it was leaning toward interest rate cuts should the data support such action. 


Investment strategy can be your ‘GPS’ as you travel toward goals

   If you’re going on a long car trip this summer, you can rely on your smartphone’s GPS to help you reach your destination. 
   And to help reach your financial goals, you might want to look at your investment strategy as a similar kind of navigation system.
   Like a smartphone’s GPS, a well-constructed investment strategy can help plot out your route.  
   For example, if you plan to retire at a certain age, your investment strategy helps guide you on how much you need to invest, and what investments to pursue.
   Also, just as a GPS will redirect you if you deviate from the route you’ve been given, you may need to make some adjustments if you depart from your investment strategy in some way, such as taking on too much risk.
   Of course, it’s simple to program your GPS. 


"Finding a lesson teaching us to follow God’s will" by: Betsy Monico

   Yesterday proved to be a strange day for many residents in our local area. 
   Luckily, my family lives about 10 miles north of town and miraculously escaped the predicaments.  
   Our neighbors, if you call them that because of the massive distance between our houses, were without water for much of the day. 
   About the time that quandary got sorted out, everyone in town lost power. 
   Evidently there was a loud poof and then nothing…the town was without light. 
   This obviously happens from time to time, but seldom has an outage hit the entire community.  
   Last week, we had our share of issues out here though with no power. 
   As a result, I spent the night at home alone with our dogs. Everyone evacuated the premises, claiming total addiction to air conditioning and ceiling fans. Both are a must around here.
Last night was interesting for sure. It turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. 


"God calls on us to remember Goodness, Godliness go together" by: Caleb Gibson

   Before God had delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they were making mud bricks in Egypt. 
   Yet that was not their destiny. They had a higher calling. 
   God wanted to begin a nation that would follow after the heart of God. 
   Maybe you feel like your job is like making mud bricks. Perhaps you feel unable to have a purpose and calling. 
   My friend today we are blessed because God has given us a new calling. 
   We are called out of the old covenant law and into a life of grace. 
   The name Babel means, “confusion.” It especially deals with confusion through a mixture. 
   Today, God is calling all of us out of Babylon. He’s calling us out of mixture. 
   We cannot hold onto the old covenant while walking in the new covenant. We live after the cross, and in the new covenant. 
   It is a promise that as we believe in Christ as our savior, we will one day walk in Heaven. 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Toy Story 4’ ties up loose ends in series" by: Jessica Shepard

   I’ve been a fan of Disney’s “Toy Story” series since the beginning in 1995 and I thought the third film was a nice note to end on.
   After all, passing down toys from one generation to the next to be loved, played with and cherished is just a part of our lives.
   But, Disney took it a step further this time with “Toy Story 4.”
   It’s still got the same characters we know and love with plenty of laughs for children and those young at heart.
   I just don’t think it was really needed after the third film, but, I did enjoy this ending bit more.
   It certainly produced less tears and gave plenty of lessons for children about friendship, love and being creative.
   The film stars the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, and Joan Cusack.


"Updating iTunes creates newfound, unexpected preferences" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, I found a stash of several old CDs and decided to add their contents to iTunes over the weekend.
   During that process, I also noticed that a large number of albums already on iTunes were missing album art.
   And not just the old school burned CDs from Limewire or friends.
   No, several soundtrack compilations and older CDs were missing their album art.
   Now, usually, I can let something like that go if it doesn’t affect a large number of items.
   Sadly, this one did and it drove me crazy to not have the artwork for the albums and songs.
   I resolved myself to finding them via Google or picking something that fit the theme of the disc or music on my own.
   Often times because some of the discs were samplers from limited-runs or prior to 2002, I had to find a picture of the band or pick something random.


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