Features

We are going to deal with a subject today that I firmly believe God has put on my heart. I have several reasons for choosing this subject, and one of them is that some folks never get it right in an entire lifetime. There is good and helpful criticism, which leads to improvements, good jobs being done and healthy attitudes among all ages. And there is bad or poor criticism, which usually leads to anger, uncertainty, bitterness and often failure.

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At Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, every day is Earth Day.

It’s not uncommon for the volunteers and staff who operate the 252-acre ecosystem to be caught up to their elbows in dirt, up to their knees in swamp or even with their hands in a beehive. So, as you can imagine, they know how to throw an Earth Day bash for the rest of us.

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If there’s any truth to the Italian proverb that one does not age while seated for a meal, then Sophia Loren is living proof. At 76, the woman known the world over as the Italian Marilyn Monroe credits her killer curves to one lifelong beauty secret: pasta.

“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti,” Loren once said.

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The days of gun-slinging roughriders who deliver swift justice might be over, but that cowboy code of honor, integrity and courage is still very present in the men of Southeast Texas. Men who challenge the obstacles of life head on with determination — from business ventures to the fight against a life-threatening disease — are the men who achieve the impossible and inspire courage.

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Recently, while watching television, I noticed a Geico insurance ad in which the speaker asked, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?” He reasoned that it did. This got me to thinking about the ever-present pledge of conservative members of the Texas Legislature about no new taxes. This question comes to my mind: If it’s not called a tax, is it a tax, even though it takes money out of taxpayers’ pockets?

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