After four weeks of hearing from every agency in the State, the Senate Finance Committee has finished the first step towards finalizing the state's budget. We will now move into work groups to work out the details.

I remember once a woman telling me that the thing that surprised her the most about going through cancer treatments was how many of her friends couldn’t handle it.

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Twenty years ago, Jan. 23, 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary to India, was burned to death along with his two sons, Philip, age 10, and Timothy, age 6.

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Forget Punxsutawney Phil. We have geese to help tell us the weather outlook.

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Last week we discussed “The Magic Words,” and how saying things like please and thank you can bridge the gap and unite.

This week I’d like to discuss the flip side of that coin: Dirty Words.

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Every year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases its list of tax scams, spotlighting the myriad ways that people try to separate you from your money. Here’s a list of their top (worst) 12:

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We have made it through the first month of session. This week, Texas Association of Counties held their legislative day, and we were able to welcome Judges and County Commissioners from Senate District 3 to the Capitol.

“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6–7]

The thought struck me years ago but was never adequately addressed by me. Very simply, a semi-competent wordsmith cannot propose an 800 word solution or answers to very many world problems on a weekly basis. Literally, some topics are so deep it would require a series of columns just to address and define a perceived problem. And if you are not aware, any good communicator or speaker or educator will use almost any available tool to communicate a major issue.

The fourth week of session has been a busy one as Senate Finance continues to meet every day to hear from every agency in the State. This week we have heard from agencies such as the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Texas Supreme Court, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

I had the opportunity to speak to the ladies at the Kinsloe House. One of my table mates asked if I was nervous and my other table mates laughed.

I recently attended the third annual State of the City address. Council members did a fine job delivering the address in Mayor Denbow’s absence.

Recently Mr. Charles Moore gifted his extensive newspaper collection to your Vanishing Texana Museum. We couldn’t help but dig into the collection, specifically wanting to look back at 1968, one of the most tumultuous years in American history. Here’s what readers of our local newspaper saw that year.

Maybe you are not familiar with Manoah and his unnamed wife, but likely you are familiar with their son. Their story is told in Judges 13. Up to this point, they had no children, but the “Angel of the Lord” appeared to the wife telling her that they would indeed have a son and that he would be special in behavior and power. Though it is debatable, we have good reason to believe that this “Angel of the Lord” is none other than Jesus Christ. This “Angel of the Lord” gave several instructions for the wife and the yet to be born son. That son would turn out to be Samson, who was indeed very special. The woman related the experience to her husband, Manoah, who prayed that the Angel of the Lord would return with further instructions. God granted Manoah’s request and this time Manoah was allowed to see and hear from the Angel of the Lord, but Manoah still did not know exactly who this marvelous being was.

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry land.” [Exodus 14:16]

There has been much talk and fanfare about the visit of camera crews and hosts of the Small Business Revolution over the past few weeks.

As I was driving today I was thinking about this column. I knew I wanted write about the choice we each make in any given situation about where we put our energy.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” [Ezekiel 36:26]

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