"Christmas gift wrapping annoying struggle unless siblings at hand" by: Jessica Shepard

   It’s so weird and unnerving to look at the calendar and see that there’s just over two weeks until Christmas is here – officially, that is!
   I don’t think we’ll manage to get the decorations up outside anytime soon. That being said, I’ve noticed we’re not the only ones behind or just bypassing that venture this year.
   Which works for me! Luckily, mom seems quite content with her mantles and indoor decorations.
   Besides, if we put the lights and stuff up outside now, then it’d stay up well past the first of January.
   And nothing looks as tacky as doing that, so, we’re refraining.
   Still, I’ve got to coordinate some Christmas presents and have my own wrapping party.
   Apparently, “Santa” needs a hand this year.
   I think the hardest part about wrapping is making sure the big presents get wrapped completely and nicely.
   I’m talking huge, awkward boxes and possibly some patching with squares of wrapping paper.


"President’s cold water on China trade talk contributes to market retreat" by: John Sample

   I hate to say I told you so, but look what just happened when the President pours cold water on the trade talks with China. 
    We ended the November trading month Friday with the largest increase in equities indexes and averages since June. 
   Then comes this week and December has done nothing but retreat. We saw this happen last year. 
   This is why traders buy insurance through options to prevent significant losses. 
   If the market goes down their options rise in value offsetting stock portfolio losses. Many have sell orders just below current prices to ensure gains. 
   Often, it is nervousness about substantial gains and being in the ninth inning of a year. 
   It doesn’t take much to set the market back at this time of year.
   It’s notable the President loves to be the center of attention and placing tariffs on Brazil and Argentina was the first shot across the bow Monday morning. 


Invest in family and community

   Why do you invest?
   You do it because you want to retire comfortably.
   But there are other good reasons to invest – namely, to support your family and your community.
   How can you invest in your family’s future?
   If you have young children, you could start by saving for their education.
   You might consider a 529 savings plan, which offers potential tax advantages and can be used for college, vocational school or other postsecondary education.
   Another way to invest in your family is to help your adult children avoid feeling obligated to provide financial assistance to you.
   So, for instance, you could get insurance to protect yourself against the devastating costs of long-term care, such as an extended nursing homestay.
   Moving beyond your family, you may want to invest in the social fabric of your community by contributing to local charitable, civic, educational or cultural groups.


"A relationship with the Lord is the only way to find happiness" by: Betsy Monico

   Traditions…they come and go….some linger and end up staying. 
   Give thanks if you are alive and well to enjoy them this holiday seasons. 
   Many families have to make big changes because their circumstances have drastically changed. 
   They need our prayers. It is hard to celebrate when you are dealing with grief, heartbreak, uncertainty, and hopelessness. 
   If you feel sorry for yourself or dread one or two of your festivities, pause, look around you, and think about others. Chances are, your circumstances may not be that bad.  
   My crew cracks up over my traditional “ham soup.” 
   Several years ago I began transforming the leftover ham into my very own delicious creation. 
   I recall turkey quesadillas too. I added extra cheese and spinach. 
   My goal was to add vegetables into every dish that I could sneak them into.  


"Just as with Ezekial, we are called to shine the light of God" by: Caleb Gibson

   The book of Ezekiel has some very interesting parts to it. 
   He is an exilic prophet which means he was a prophet during the exile. 
   This provided for a unique time to minister. 
   It must have been so hard to be a preacher prophet during one of the harder times of the nation of Israel. 
   One of the more interesting parts of the story of Ezekiel is that he was called to be a prophet when he was five years old.
   He did a lot of great things for God. 
   He spoke out about the judgment on Judah and the nations. 
   Another thing he talked about was the restoration and future of Judah. 
   Some people talk about numbers having meaning, I think there is validity of these numbers. 
   Five can be understood as the number of grace. 
   So there are five visions that Ezekiel had. 
   God blessed Ezekiel and gave him His favor. 


"Reel Reviews: ‘21 Bridges’ action thriller even your brother would love" by: Jessica Shepard

    Sometimes, there are so many movies out in two weeks back-to-back that I struggle finding one to review.
   This week, I let my brother choose as part of my birthday gift to him and he settled on “21 Bridges.”
   Bridges is an action thriller film directed by Brian Kirk and produced by Anthony and Joe Russo.
   The film features Chadwick Boseman, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, Sienna Miller, Keith David, Alexander Siddig, Louis Cancelmi, Gary Carr, and J.K. Simmons.
   A young Andre Davis attends his father's funeral, who was murdered during one of his shifts.
   Years later Andre (Boseman) becomes a successful law enforcer working for the NYPD, who has over eight kills working for the city.
   One night, two small-time criminals and former war veterans Michael Trujillo (James) and Ray Jackson (Kitsch) take a job to ransack a winery and steal several kilograms of cocaine from the freezer there.


Steven Johnson seeks Pct. 3 Commissioner post

Steven Johnson

   Hi Folks, I’m Steven Johnson, Republican Candidate for the County Commissioners position in Pct. 3.
   Over the last few weeks I have been driving and walking around our county and cities, talking to people about what is important to them.    
   Whenever I meet someone, I usually make a note of that persons first name and record their thoughts and what is important to them.    
   So far, the county/city residences are most concerned about taxes, quicker response time for our law enforcement agencies, flood control and increase funding for volunteer fire departments.    
   As a former City Councilman, I can assure you these are not unreasonable requests.
   Taxes, to enjoy better services from your county without raising taxes we must support the Palacios Economic Development Corporation, Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation and the Chambers of Commerce. Often these two work hand in hand bringing businesses to the county.    


"Dreamscape a Thanksgiving story; Long-ago football turkey days" by: Mike Reddell

   I really liked our main story in this week’s edition – the groundbreaking of the Dreamscape playground at LeTulle Park Monday.
   There’s a large group taking part in the ceremony, but that’s OK.
   Lots of people have a large stake in this special playground that will accommodate kids with all abilities.
   This is truly a long-awaited $400,000 project that will cover more than 9,000 square feet.
   The fund for this came from a $200,000 state grant, a $150,000 grant from Bay City Community Development Corporation and more than $35,000 in donations and pledges.
   At Monday’s groundbreaking the parts were there ready for assembly. 
   This playground should make a lot of children happy.
   Now this is a Thanksgiving story.


"New kitten putting a twist on holiday decorating this year" by: Jessica Shepard

   My sister Ashlee came down for a visit last weekend and did the unthinkable.
   She caught my mom’s motivation for Christmas and made us decorate the inside of the house.
   I’m sure if she had more time off from her job, we’d have done the outside decorations too.
   But, as someone who always gets the full brunt of the outside lights when we do, I’m glad she didn’t.
   If I was a small child, seeing weird projections of snowflakes and shadows from lawn ornaments would probably have freaked me out late at night.
   Not to mention, they probably would keep me awake due to how unnaturally bright they are.
   And yes, I know that most sane people put them on a timer.
   But, my mom has them run for six full hours until midnight.
   That’s valuable time I could spend with nearly perfect darkness and catching up on some much-needed sleep.
   I don’t know about you, but I really treasure my sleep during the holidays.


"Here’s hoping you find time to enjoy Thanksgiving" by: John Sample

   A holiday-shortened trading week is not without financial consequences. 
   LVMH announced the acquisition of the little blue box luxury retailer Tiffany. 
   This was followed by Schwab merging with ETrade.
   All was not to the buy side as EBay is selling Stub Hub. 
   So much for just taking the holiday season off to be merry and jolly.
It does appear though that this holiday season will find consumers spending like there is nothing but good times ahead. 
   I am not going to argue this point but would remind you of what Christmas can bring to equities. 
   Instead of a rate increase we could find tariffs with China rising Dec 15. 
   Many have attributed the recent bull move since August to the belief that the trade war would be resolved to some extent. 
   Some are labeling this as Phase 1. 
   There is still all the politics and articles of impeachment.


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