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Women's Day, Nancy Reagan and the power of grace

Former first lady Nancy Reagan is helped by Marine Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn as she arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial of her husband former U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the centennial birthday celebration at the Reagan Library, in Simi Valley, Calif, in this Feb. 6, 2011 file photo. Former first lady Nancy Reagan suffered broken ribs in a fall and is recovering slowly. The announcement Tuesday May 22, 2012 was made at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, where she was expected to attend a speech by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)"We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly." So said acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood back in 1939. But is this true today?
Today is International Women's Day. On this day, we collectively look back on the contributions of women in the past. We also set our hopes on creating a brighter and more equitable tomorrow. For me, I would not be half the man I am today were it not for the women in my life.

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Free Chick-fil-A? Saving money and families

Family Challenge with mother and daughter (Credit: Chick-fil-a)Over 350 Chick-fil-A restaurants are now offering a "family challenge": If you'll lock your phone up in a "Cell Phone Coop" for the entire meal, you win a free ice cream cone. This coop, a cardboard box at the center of your table, holds your phone while your family keeps your attention. The average American spends four hours a day on the phone. But Chick-fil-A is hoping to entice their customers to reduce that time and increase their calorie count.

Research shows that dinnertime conversation boosts the vocabulary of young children more than being read aloud to does. Regular family meals have been shown to lower the risk of teenage smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, eating disorders, and sexual activity. However, it does increase their chances of attaining a higher grade point average and better self-esteem.

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The final 'Downton Abbey' and the best news of all

Downton Abbey's 6th season premiered January 3rd 2016 (Credit: Downton Abbey via PBS)The final episode of Downton Abbey's final season airs this Sunday. A massive audience is expected to watch.

As a veteran of all six seasons, I can tell you that the show's acting and writing are superb, and its clothing and lifestyle details are amazing. However, as with so much of Western culture, the gospel is missing. Apart from perfunctory weddings, funerals, and seasonal services, church plays no part in the characters' daily lives. In the world of Downton Abbey, and in our culture today, we are what we make of ourselves.

How's that working for us?

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Sailor's mummified body discovered in yacht

The mummified body of Manfred Fritz Bajorat was found aboard his yacht, drifting in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Barobo town in Surigao del Sur (Credit: Barobo)Super Tuesday results are in. What have we learned?

Manfred Fritz Bajorat was a fifty-nine-year-old German sailor. His body was recently discovered in a yacht floating in the Pacific Ocean. Authorities have no idea how long he has been dead. The dry ocean winds and salty air helped mummify his body, which was found slumped over a desk in what seems to be a radio room.

His death was certainly unique, but so was his life. So is yours.

NASA estimates that there are more than one billion "Earth-like" planets in our galaxy. These are rocky planets approximately the size of Earth that orbit sunshine stars in the "habitable zone" where water could be liquid at the surface. This estimate doesn't include the number of such planets in other galaxies.

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Super Tuesday and the future of America

A voter holds an 'I Voted' sticker on index finger in front of 'Vote Here' sign outside a polling location in Berkeley, California, November 6, 2012 (Credit: Daniel Parks via Flickr)Super Tuesday results are in. What have we learned?

Hillary Clinton now has a commanding lead in the Democratic race. Marco Rubio won Minnesota; Ted Cruz won Oklahoma, Alaska and his home state of Texas; and Donald Trump won the rest of the states. Both Rubio and John Kasich can win their home states in two weeks. If that happens, as one pundit said, "it's going to go on and on and on."

Here's something else we learned: Whether you like the results or not, the system works.

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