"God’s light is not the sun but that eternal glory of the Lord" by: Caleb Gibson

   While Joshua was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, they became allies with the Gibeonites.  
   When five kings of the surrounding area discover this, they decide that they will attack the large city of Gibeon so in opposition to Israel.  
   Joshua is under a lot of pressure now. He now has to keep his word and fight for the Gibeonites in this battle.  
   They had marched and began to battle the army of the five kings, but the sun was setting and they were running out of time. 
   In football, halftime can be when momentum will shift to the other team.  
   A team can be leading in the game, but after halftime a shift can occur.  
   In a similar way Joshua wanted to keep fighting so that they would not have to lose the momentum and not allow the five kings to escape.  


"Reel Reviews: ‘Escape Room’ provides jump scares and annoying characters" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Escape Room” opened domestically Jan. 4 and featured a twist on the popular escape room craze. 
   The film is rated PG-13 for terror/perilous action, violence, some suggestive material and language. 
   Honestly, I went into the film with high hopes only to be let down. 
   The film stars Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani. 
   Six strangers are given mysterious black boxes with tickets to an immersive escape room for a chance to win tons of money. 
   Shy physics student Zoey (Russell), struggling stockboy Ben (Miller), young trader Jason (Ellis), war veteran Amanda (Woll), former miner Mike (Labine) and escape room enthusiast Danny (Dodani) are all gifted a puzzle box and after solving the puzzle, a clue invites them to the Minos Escape Room Facility for a chance at $10,000 should they successfully escape.  


"Library cards for little ones" by: Jessica Russell

Photo courtesy of Jessica Russell
Mayne Russell, 21 months old, is held by his mother Jessica Russell as he reaches for a library card from Bay City Public Library Director Samantha Denbow.

   At one year, one month, and 21 days old, Mayne Russell is one of the youngest Bay City resident to acquire a Bay City Public Library Card.  
   You can tell from the picture he’s already in love with the imaginative adventure books provided to readers of all ages. 
   In a progressive move to entice readers of all ages, the Bay City Public Library recently lifted the age requirement for library card holders so that children of any age may become members and participate in the many programs they offer.  
   The previous age to apply for a library card was 5 years old.  
   “In 2018 we began the process of transforming our library to become more family friendly,” shared Samantha Denbow, Library Director. “After training at the Family Place Institute in Centereach, New York, we realized that the most basic library principle of getting a library card was a hindrance to everything we were working towards.  


"Christmas of a different kind by helping others recovering from disaster" By Aaron Sumrall, PhD County Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources

   Sometimes gifts come in different packages and at different times of the year in a myriad of locations and this held true this year at Christmas for me.  
   As a County Extension Agent, we tend to wear a lot of different hats and no college course can prepared us for some of the things we have or are asked to do to serve those in our communities, Texas, across this great Nation, and the World!  
   I have had the opportunity with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to receive great training in various fields, with one being emergency management as have many other agents.  
   Applying this training in combination with the many disaster experiences we have had and I, and many of my colleagues, have become proficient in broad, reaching aspects surrounding emergency issues.  


"Not one for New Year’s resolutions, plans in place to stay weird " by: Jessica Shepard

   It’s our first edition of 2019 and I’ve been unsure about what to write about for a few days. 
   Usually, column writers feature their favored work from the previous year or offer some stereotypical New Year’s resolution-centric blurb. 
   Anyone who knows me knows how I’m not too keen on following what everyone else “does.” 
   I suppose you could chalk that up to my mom encouraging my siblings and me to grow up as independent thinkers and encouraged us to find our own niche. 
   Granted, it was hard being the only kid to take a “C” from a science teacher because the bug collection project or dissections were against our beliefs. 
   But, it paved the way for us to embrace our quirks and be the oddballs out. 
   And there’s nothing else I’m more thankful for than that.  
   When I’m on the clock, I curtail most of my weirdness, but, when I’m with family or close friends, I’m all for letting my “uniqueness” out. 


"Market volatility still presents opportunities for investors to consider" by: John Sample

   In the stock market you are always focused on what will happen six to nine months in the future.  
   What you learn from the past is avoiding mistakes you might have made.  
   I do think, as we begin a new year, it’s important to reflect on what happened in the stock market in 2018.  
   With passage of tax reform and significant deregulation, the stock market started with a bang in January, boosting stock value and quickly setting record closes.  
   This pushed into higher altitudes in February when profit taking was the choice of fare.  
   The pullback continued into summer when FANG stocks regained favor sending the stock market in August and early fall to record highs.  
   As always, there was a problem. It came in the name of a trade war and higher interest rates thanks to the Federal Reserve. Those two elements and the midterm elections were more than the stock market could stand and the wheels came off.  


Roth vs. traditional 401(k): Which is right for you?

   Many businesses now offer employees a Roth 401(k) in addition to the traditional one.  
   Which is right for you? 
   With a traditional 401(k), your contributions are pre-tax, lowering your taxable income, and your earnings can grow tax-deferred.  
   By contrast, you put after-tax dollars into a Roth 401(k), but your contributions and earnings can grow tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions. 
   If you think your tax rate will be lower when you retire, you might be more inclined to go with the traditional 401(k), which allows you to avoid paying taxes on your contributions now, when your tax rate is high. 
   Conversely, if you think your tax bracket may rise when you retire, you might want to consider the Roth 401(k) to avoid being taxed at the higher rate when you start taking withdrawals. 
   Some employers allow employees to split their contributions between the Roth and traditional 401(k) accounts.  


"Mom role for me is to pray and ask Jesus for help today"by: Betsy Monico

   Christmas blew through here like a tornado. Thank the Lord though, there was no tornado. 
   Last night’s news called for thunderstorms. The meteorologist needed to add a few, descriptive words into his thunderstorm forecast. 
   What we heard and felt here was more than just your typical, little rainstorm. 
   The first pop took place when we were in the kitchen. We heard a deep roar of thunder and then a jolt of lightening that lit up our house like the “Griswold’s” at Christmas. 
   The cracking sound entered our home too, uninvited! 
   Our 55-inch, high-definition, all-of-the-bells-and-whistles television immediately snapped, popped, whatever you want to call it, and ceased working. 
   It is still “resting” from the incident. I pray it recovers after a holiday nap. 


"Four goals to help you make improvements for the new year" by: Caleb Gibson

   Should we have New Year’s resolutions? They can be positive and negative. 
   God wants us to have a vision for the future. The problem with some New Year’s resolutions is the attitude we have to keep up with the Jones. 
   I encourage you to make a New Year’s goal to improve. Every day take a step closer to your goal. 
   The date on the calendar does not change what you carry what you carry on the inside of you. 
   In this column, we will look at four goals for the new year. 
   You don’t need a New Year’s resolution to improve your life, you need a new attitude.
   The first goal of the new year is to smile more. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” 
   How can we accomplish God’s wish for our life? We must delight in God. 
   He wants you to enjoy life. We are called to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 


"Reel Reviews: Bumblebee gives ‘Transformer’ series a family-friendly prequel" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Bumblebee” manages to pack enough 1980s nostalgia, “Transformers” history and a cute storyline into nearly two hours’ worth of runtime to make a fairly decent movie. 
   The movie debuted Dec. 21 and has generated over $157 million worldwide. 
   The film stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, and Pamela Adlon, Len Cariou, with Dylan O’Brien, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, David Sobolov and Peter Cullen in voice roles.  
   It is the first live-action Transformers film not to be directed by Michael Bay, though he still acts as a producer. 
   At the beginning of the movie, we’re given a quick look at Cybertron and the Autobots versus Decepticons civil war. 
   Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Cullen) leads his team to evacuate the planet and specifically sends B-127 (O’Brien) to Earth to establish a base of operations where the Autobots can regroup. 


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