What is the Most Powerful Habit?

It’s easy to create a negative belief. They come from so many sources, like first impressions, disappointment, failure, embarrassment, fear, exhaustion…

Your default may be to think something happened (or might happen). Our bad feeling becomes a negative belief: that bad things always happen.

Our negative belief changes how we act. Soon the voice in our head sounds like:

🔹”They are always difficult to be with.”

🔹“I can never get this right.”

🔹“Nobody wants to buy my stuff.”

🔹If I fail, I’ll lose everything.”

🔹“I never have enough energy.”

Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, tells us that when we create a negative belief, our problem goes from a small thing that happened once or twice to…

🔹PERMANENT (It isn’t going away)

🔹PERSONAL (It’s my fault)

🔹PERVASIVE (It always happens)

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW:

🔹NEGATIVE BELIEFS filter reality and filter good news out.

🔹NEGATIVE BELIEFS stomp out good thoughts before they can grow.

🔹NEGATIVE BELIEFS kill dreams and keep us small.

How do people get out of the funk?

Find something TODAY that you can be positive about, just because you can.

In God We Trust

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How You Can Finally Make a Real Difference In Your Life

During Sunday School Mr. Jones had Monopoly on his mind.

Every Sunday after church and a good meal, the family would gather around the table for their weekly round of the famous board game.

He absolutely loved this American pastime and knew much trivia about the game. It first originated in 1933 and is now played in 47 different languages in 114 countries.

Jones even counted the amount of money in a Monopoly game to realize it is $20,580. He also knew the longest recorded game. It lasted 70 straight days.

During World War II, escape maps, compasses, and files were inserted into Monopoly game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

He must have had the game and other things on his mind when one morning Mr. Jones stood up and said “I’d like us to pray for some smiling faces in this church.” Then, in typical fashion, he added, “I think more people would want to go to heaven, if they weren’t afraid it’d be like church when they go there!”

“Church shouldn’t be fake.” he suggested. “It’s not about entertainment, comfort, or fads. Church should be a place to bring your joys and your sorrows and connect with others who want to find God and be loved. Fog machines, exotic coffee, and specialty groups will never meet those needs the way the core truths will. Let’s focus on what will not change: God, His Word, and our need to love each other.”

“I grew up in a church, back in the sixties, and we only sang hymns,” Jones continued. “Then came the contemporary praise movement in the seventies and I thought, wow this might be better than the old hymns. And we all know the rest of the story. It seems my nine-year-old granddaughter will never know the great hymns like I do. And to be honest, that makes me sad.”

“Contemporary music can mean a stronger focus on individual performance rather than group worship as a whole,” he suggested. “New music should not be forgotten as it is necessary to express current burdens of the culture in song, but we should be congregation-ready and free of commercial trappings.”

“I just want to quit worrying and pay attention to the sermon,” he continued. “There is no get out of jail free card. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200.”

“What was all of that about?” his family asked, after the services. He gathered his thoughts and explained when they arrived home.

Life, according to Mr. Jones

Life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue, but in the end, it all goes back into the box. The next generation will be getting out all of your stuff and playing with it or fighting over it.

The Small Stuff

The small stuff is what makes up the larger picture of our lives. Many people are like you. But their perspective is distorted. They ignore ‘small stuff’ claiming to have an eye on the bigger picture, never understanding that the bigger picture is composed of nothing more than—are you ready?—‘small stuff.’

Have you ever been bitten by an elephant?  How about a mosquito? It’s the small stuff that’ll get you!

You Choose

At this very moment, you possess the power of perspective. You can choose to see your life becoming whatever you wish. If you choose, you can move the mountains in your life’s path with the eventual help of those who will come to love you and learn to respect you for what you are becoming.

Happiness and Charisma

You must become a person that others want to be around! This is far and away the greatest success secret in existence. This is the person who gets the chance. The second chance and the benefit of the doubt. You should ask yourself this question every day: What is it about me that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I dress that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I act that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I talk that other people would change if they could?

You WILL Make a Difference

One day, you will look back on your ‘worst time’ in your life as a fortuitous event. Even your worst times have value and can become, in retrospect, your best times. You will make a difference. Now, what kind of difference? That’s up to you.

Just keep smiling and roll the dice. When you get a chance, sing a good ‘ol gospel hymn now and then.

In God We Trust

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

What Does the Bible Say About Financial Advice?

Where do material blessings come from? It’s in the Bible, Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

Can money get in the way of more important things? Wealth can become the center of our life and take God’s place. It’s in the Bible, Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV

“This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.”

Wealth can give us wrong attitudes about material things. It’s in the Bible, Luke 12:15 NIV

“Then [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

It is unwise to make financial success a priority. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 6:24, NIV

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

I Timothy 6:9, NIV

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

While it is not impossible, it is difficult for the rich to become citizens of God’s kingdom. It’s in the Bible, Mark 10:23-25, NIV.

“Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'”

The love of money leads to evil. It’s in the Bible, I Timothy 6:10, NIV.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Greed often accompanies prosperity and can lead to crime. It’s in the Bible, James 4:1-2, TLB

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it because there is a whole army of evil desires within you? You want what you don’t have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can’t afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.”

It’s true, the more you give, the greater will be your reward. It’s in the Bible, Luke 12:33-34, NIV

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor: Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What investment strategy does God recommend? It’s in the Bible, I Timothy 6:17-19, NIV.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

A valuable reminder for property owners. It’s in the Bible, Leviticus 25:23, TLB

“And remember, the land is Mine, so you may not sell it permanently. You are merely My tenants and sharecroppers!”

Contentment is not related to amount of money or possessions. It’s in the Bible, Philippians 4:12-13, TLB.

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”

God asks us to return tithe [10%] and offerings to Him and in return He promises unlimited blessings. It’s in the Bible, Malachi 3:8-10, NIV.

“Will a man rob God?” Yet you rob Me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ “In tithes and offerings.” Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

Christ endorsed tithing. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 23:23, NIV.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

How may all, rich and poor, honor God? It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 3:9, NIV.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

If we put God first, He will take care of all our needs. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 6:33, NIV.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

What is the financial counsel of Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived? It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, TLB.

“He who loves money shall never have enough. The foolishness of thinking that wealth brings happiness! The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income, so what is the advantage of wealth—except perhaps to watch it as it runs through your fingers! The man who works hard sleeps well whether he eats little or much, but the rich must worry and suffer insomnia. There is another serious problem I have seen everywhere—savings are put into risky investments that turn sour, and soon there is nothing left to pass on to one’s son. The man who speculates is soon back to where he began—with nothing. This, as I said, is a very serious problem, for all his hard work has been for nothing; he has been working for the wind. It is all swept away. All the rest of his life he is under a cloud—gloomy, discouraged, frustrated, and angry… . To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy.”

What does the Scripture say about my monthly bills? It’s in the Bible, Romans 13:7-8, NIV.

“Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Be cautious about countersigning loan notes. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 22:26-27, TLB.

“Unless you have extra cash on hand, don’t countersign a note. Why risk everything you own? They’ll even take your bed!”

What reminder are we given about borrowing money? It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 22:7, NIV.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

God expects fairness in business dealings. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 16:11, TLB.

“The Lord demands fairness in every business deal. He established this principle.”

Honesty and fairness are always expected of those who wish to please God. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 33:15, TLB.

“I will tell you who can live here: All who are honest and fair, who reject making profit by fraud, who hold back their hands from taking bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong.”

It is important to work to earn a living. It’s in the Bible, II Thessalonians 3:11-12, TLB.

“Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people—we command them—to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living.”

In God We Trust

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Brother David Kimberly’s Devotional of Texas Oilmen

Half a block from the pristine Medina River in the beautiful Hill Country is the quaint First Baptist Church of Medina, Texas.

Over the years I have been a member of the Bellaire Baptist and Thousand Oaks Baptist Churches in San Antonio (where my two oldest children attended Awana and Sunday services). In 1994 I moved up IH-10 West and joined First Baptist Church of Boerne, Texas.

My youngest children attended preschool, Vacation Bible School and church services in Boerne. I moved back to San Antonio in 2007. Because I traveled so much, often I attended services at different churches and denominations across Texas: Waco, Corsicana, Breckenridge, Del Rio, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Houston, Austin and so forth.

When Dodie (who lived in Arizona almost 40 years) and I married at the Boerne First Baptist Church in 2019, we soon moved to Medina.

Most recently we joined the First Baptist Church of Medina after over a year attending regularly. We absolutely love the community and Church Family here. Dodie is even on the Praise Team and can be seen singing in front each Sunday.

If you ever find yourself out this way (motorcycling the Twisted Sister, hunting, visiting Garner or Lost Maples State Park) on a Sunday, come by and visit our church. Maybe, afterwards you may feel like buying Dodie and me an ice cream cone at the Apple Store Patio Cafe (Hint. Hint.)

One of the reasons we love and decided to join the church is because of our interim pastor, Brother David Kimberly (pictured here between Dodie and me) who has been inspiring us with over 50 years of preaching experience and vigor.

Here is a recent devotional from Brother David:


Do you believe God gives divine appointments? Years ago as a student at Hardin -Simmons University I worked as a switchboard operator for Hendricks Memorial Hospital in Abilene, Texas. It wasn’t real busy that evening when a call came in that 3 men had been involved in an oil well explosion west of town.

The ambulances arrived with the men who were said to have been badly burned. As I sat there through my shift I couldn’t get these men and their wives off my mind.


Earlier I had seen the wives of two of the men, getting on the elevator going up to ICU, where their husbands had been taken from the ER.

As my shift was winding down God began to impress on me that I should go and pray with and offer comfort to the wives of the burned men.


Getting off the elevator I was uncertain how to proceed, so I introduced myself to the ladies. We talked a few minutes, I shared that God impressed me to come up and pray with them.

They told me that their husbands were burned over 50% of their bodies, and would not be able to be moved to a burn unit for several weeks.


I asked them if they would like to go down to the hospital Chapel and have prayer. They said “Yes.” We entered the Chapel and they walked down to the front. I had stopped about half way down when one of the wives turned looking straight at me asked, “Do you believe God will hear and answer our prayers?”


“Yes ma’am, because that’s why I am here.” Standing right where we were I believe the Holy Spirit took over as we prayed. After I had finished praying I saw the wives to the elevator and said good night, and they went back to the ICU waiting room.


The next day my shift began at 4:00p.m. and as I was coming into the hospital I met the wives and they said, “David, God answered our prayer and our husbands are being air flighted to the burn unit at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. We praised God right there and thanked Him.


Suffering hits all people including you and me.


Out of the suffering in our own lives we can offer comfort, encouragement, prayer, and our presence to strangers in the ICU, grocery store, at a locker in your school, or wherever God leads.
I challenge you to ask the Father to guide you to a suffering soul today.

Read Matthew 7: 7-8. Bro. David.

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ ~Jesus

Please note each Sunday at 11:11 a.m. (CST) CleverJourneys posts an inspirational devotional or “What Does the Bible Say About…?” article.

In God We Trust

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Four Small Prayers For Those of Us With Little Money

We know of so many people who are struggling with finances today. It is a rarity to find someone who is not.

If you’re staring at a near-empty bank account today, we invite you to open your Bible and dive into God’s Word. We invite you to meditate on its messages of peace, hope and perseverance. And we invite you to join us in reciting these four prayers:

🔹Lord, give me peace when money is tight. 
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. – John 14:27 (GNTD)

🔹Lord, give me hope when I have none.
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.– Romans 15:13 (GNTD)

🔹Lord, give me wisdom as I make decisions about my money.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.– Proverbs 3:5-6 (GNTD)

🔹Lord, provide for my needs.
Look at the crows: they don’t plant seeds or gather a harvest; they don’t have storage rooms or barns; God feeds them! You are worth so much more than birds!– Luke 12:24 (GNTD)

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

What Does the Bible Say to Our Youth?

🔹Youth is a good time to develop a relationship with God. It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 12:1, TLB.

“Don’t let the excitement of being young cause you to forget about your Creator: Honor Him in your youth before the evil years come—when you’ll no longer enjoy living.”

🔹God is more interested in willingness than in age. It’s in the Bible, I Samuel 2:18, TLB.

“Samuel, though only a child, was the Lord’s helper.”

🔹What does God expect of children? It’s in the Bible, Colossians 3:20, NIV.

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

🔹One of God’s commandments is for children to honor and respect their parents, It’s in the Bible, Exodus 20:12, NIV.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

🔹How long are children to respect their parents? It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 23:22, NIV.

“Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

🔹Prompt discipline is an expression of parental love. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 13:24, TLB.

“If you refuse to discipline your son, it proves you don’t love him; for if you love him, you will be prompt to punish him.”

🔹Youth can be Christ-like examples. It’s in the Bible, I Timothy 4:12, NIV.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

🔹Children should learn from their parents. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 1:8, NIV.

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

🔹Living a reckless life dishonors parents. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 28:7, TLB.

“Young men who are wise obey the law; a son who is a member of a lawless gang is a shame to his father.”

🔹It is wrong to take unfair advantage of parents. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 28:24, TLB.

“A man who robs his parents and says, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ is no better than a murderer.”

🔹Young people should be selective in choosing their friends. It’s in the Bible, II Timothy 2:22, TLB.

“Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts.”

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

The Angry Snake and Sharp Saw Lesson

There was a snake that crawled over a sharp saw and was cut. In anger, the snake wrapped the saw with its thick body and proceeded to squeeze the life out of the saw.

If you liked this, you will enjoy The Donkey, Tiger and Lion Lesson.

____________________

In God We Trust

Thanks for supporting independent true journalism with a small tip. Dodie & Jack

We are thankful to our incredible sponsors!

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

_________________________

CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Using Neuro Linguistic Programming to Modify People’s Thinking

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.’

Powerful Winning Hacks That Take Venom Out of Angry People

During a job performance review in the 1990s, my boss, H-E-B Food-Drugs Vice President Ralph Mehringer said something that I remember to this day.

“You have the unique ability to take the venom out of angry people,” he noted. “You quickly de-fang them.”

I liked that.

Ralph is a keen observer and calls it as he sees it. His words were motivating, so of course, it reinforced my learning and practicing.

I became interested in studying Neuro Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short. Eventually I became a certified NLP Practitioner.

It helped immensely in leadership and dealing with others through powerful techniques such as “anchoring,” reading body language and facial expressions, “reframing thoughts” and building rapport.

As the years progressed, “de-fanging” became natural and automatic-like.

Here are some tips I learned along the way and continue to use today:

1. When someone is angry and confrontational, stand next to them, rather than in front of them. You want to appear not to be much of a threat, after all you’re physically on their side, and they eventually calm down.

2. Slow the pace of speech.They are likely to be yelling or talking rapidly. It’s critical not to engage in a like manner. When it’s your turn to reply, do so in a deliberate, kind, quiet and slower tone.

4. Rephrase what the other person says and repeat it back to them. In that slower, quieter voice, this helps you understand their concern. This makes them feel you care and are listening to them. It shows your genuine interest in them. It validates them and helps you. Note: Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to appear condescending.

3. Open with “I need your help.” Most people don’t like the guilt of not helping someone out. When asking for a favor from someone, begin with “I need your help.” It GREATLY increases the chances of getting the favor done. But best of all, it can be used as an opening line to someone very irritated about something. Usually I act innocently not knowing why they’re upset. It’s a good precursor to leading them out of their anger towards a better outlook.

5. If you want someone to agree with you, nod while you talk. I learned this as a door-to-door insurance salesman in the early 1980s and discovered it works well with group presentations too. When you notice them beginning to change their attitude, or better yet nod back, you’re on the right track. They are beginning to subconsciously agree with you.

6. If someone doesn’t like you, ask to borrow a pencil or pen. This is called the Benjamin Franklin Effect. It’s just a small favor that actually helps nudge them to like you. Not as effective, but still good, is to subtly touch someone’s upper arm when you ask for a favor.

7. Mimic them without them realizing it. It’s called mirroring and takes some practice. It has to be subtle and with finesse. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it try folding your arms in a non-threatening way. It helps to determine their interest. If someone is observing you, they will likely mimic you.

8. Repeat a person’s name many times in the conversation. Don’t overdo it, but it helps you remember their name, and makes them like you more.

9. If the person is a child, bring bubbles. Hint: this can work for adults too. Bubbles are magical mood changers.

Please note this article begins a series on posts offered to help our readers understand how NLP can not only help you in everyday life and business practice, but reveals the ways politicians, propagandists and others can manipulate your thought process to change your beliefs.

In God We Trust

Thanks for supporting independent true journalism with a small tip. Dodie & Jack

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Please Support These American Owned Businesses

___________________________

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Simple Respect at Marine Vet’s Funeral Lifted Family’s Spirits

“Yesterday during my Daddy’s funeral procession, led by the United States Marine Corps, my family noticed the man in this photo pulled over on the side of the road,” posted Rona Wallace. “His hat was in is hand and his hand was over his heart, honoring my father and our family as we passed by.”

“His respectful act touched my family and the entire procession so deeply,” she noted. “We passed many other cars along the way that simply went about their day.”

“Since his license plate showed in the photo, my daughter did some digging and we found him!!!”

“His name is Ernest Boerlin and he is also a veteran – US Navy,” she continued. “When I messaged him privately to thank him for honoring my father, he said:”


“It was an honor to show my respect for a fellow serviceman and their family. Please accept my prayers and condolences to you and your family for your loss. Fair winds and following seas. God bless.”


“Thank you, Ernest. Your act of kindness and respect touched our family and friends very deeply and we are grateful. May God bless you and yours as well,” she commented. “Let’s thank Ernest for his service and show him some love, y’all!”

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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What Does the Bible Say About Friendship?

🔹Real friendship involves loyalty. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 17:17, TLB.

“A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”

🔹The best friend to have is Jesus. It’s in the Bible, John 15:15, NIV.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”

🔹Choose friends who love the Lord and have pure hearts. It’s in the Bible. II Timothy 2:22, TLB.

“Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts.”

🔹What characteristics make you a good friend? It’s in the Bible, Philippians 2:3-4, TLB.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.”

🔹Gossip can destroy friendships. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 16:28, NIV.

“A gossip separates close friends.”

🔹Friends are worth keeping. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 27:9-10, TLB.

“Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s. Then you won’t need to go to a distant relative for help in your time of need.”

🔹A friend cares enough to be honest with you even if it hurts. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 27:6, TLB.

“Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy!”

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Art of Being Happily Poor

Today, many people are suffering just to make ends meet. Once, I was considered somewhat wealthy compared to most. Life experiences changed that.

Not many know this, but I was actually homeless for a while. I took a retirement job at a golf resort. This allowed me to sleep safely in my pickup, shower in the locker room, eat healthy and make wonderful friends. Homeless was only temporary, but I learned plenty about life and happiness. Each day at work for 9 years my goal was to make 100 people smile or laugh. I counted them daily.

For many years it has been a personal ambition to make others feel better about themselves and have a positive outlook when they walk away. It makes me happy.

After a long successful and busy career, I counted on my investigation and writing skills to earn more money. It became natural to just look around for every little thing I could be grateful for in my life. The main secret to happiness is to appreciate what we have. I became rich in my own way.

There are many ways to live a happy life. These are things that make me the happiest I have ever been:

🔹Stay creative.

🔹Help others.

🔹Do free or low cost activities. For us it means enjoying a walk, swim, bike ride, library, community center, attending classes, hiking, camping, gardening, and picnics. We don’t watch TV or spend hours on social media. It is similar to being a child again, full of wonderment and discovery.

🔹We made changes. Instead of spending every night in an expensive hotel, we take our tent and gear to ocassionally camp out overnight. It’s healthy and beautiful outdoors. We have no Internet at home. I don’t even know what internet and cable/satellite TV costs these days. We take our garbage to the local dump less than two miles away. We average $18 a month. Our nearest neighbor spends $45 to have someone pick their trash up.

It’s a simple and awesome existence. Less stress.

I learned that you can be happy when you don’t have the means and money you once had. In fact, some of the saddest people I know have plenty of money. They pay taxes on their homes and real estate. Their lives are complex. Ours is simple and cheap. We don’t spend and accumulate “things” much anymore. We survive and accumulate memories. We laugh and smile a lot.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Things My Policeman Father Taught Me

Some of our regular readers know, my father, Walter “Corky” Dennis was a policeman, homicide detective for the San Antonio Police Department for decades.

He was in the motorcycle detail that traveled beside John F. Kennedy’s limousine in the Alamo City motorcade the day before the President’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. After SAPD retirement, he was employed as a U.S. Marshal and worked on the Federal Judge John H. Wood, Jr. assassination case in 1979 and early 1980s.

One proud moment was when we found out he and I made it in the world famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon together.

Although Dad taught me a good deal about investigation, forensics, criminal psychology and police work, like all good fathers, he provided immeasurable guidance on other important matters:


1. How to make a fire
2. How to grill meat
3. How to cook on a stove
4. How to create a budget
5. Basic knot tying 
6. Basic woodworking
7. Basic firearm safety
8. How to throw a punch
9. How to take a punch
10. Basic boxing strategy
11. How to change a tire
12. Basic gardening
13. How to change oil in a car


14. How to pray
15. How to play poker
16. Basic first aid
17. How to pitch a tent
18. How to read the Bible
19. How to summarize a book
20. How to map a family tree
21. Basic dining etiquette
22. How to iron clothes
23. How to mow the lawn


24. How to read a map
25. How to be a polite guest
26. How to talk to a girl
27. Where to go on a first date
28. What to do on a first date
29. How to speak to a girl’s parents
30. How to make small talk
31. How to make deep talk 


32. How to pump gas
33. How to rope a cow
34. How to use a credit card
35. How to dress for an occasion 
36. How to “read” a person (later we called it “profiling”)
37. How to milk a cow
38. How to wrap a gift
39. How to write a thank you note
40. How to think critically
41. How to reverse engineer concepts
42. How to look for signs of criminal activity
43. How to ride a horse


44. Basic photography concepts
45. How to be aware of con artists
46. How to tie a tie
47. How to put on cufflinks
48. How to shine shoes
49. How to roof a house
50. How to use a saw

These next ten, I suppose, are not typically taught to most children by their parents in everyday living.

51. How to rescue people from a raging flooded river or creek.

52. How to dedicate yourself to helping, protecting, and sacrifice for other’s wellbeing, safety and benefit.

53. How to respond responsibly to a crisis, strangers in an emergency, and/or communities in need (hurricanes, flooding, fires, etc.).

54. How police and emergency workers respond when one of their fellow men/women are killed.

55. The importance of visiting and helping those in hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, and with victims of disaster.

56. Why some people call the police names like “Pig.”

57. Why and how some people repeatedly live a life of crime, hate and anger.

58. How to work for the betterment of a community.

59. How to smile when you are angered, fearful or scared.

60.. How much he loved me and always would, even though there was a chance he might not make it home from work ever.

Thanks for supporting independent true journalism with a small tip. Dodie & Jack

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Get Your Natural Vitamins A & D from the Sea!

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.