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Happy marriage recipe: communicate about big issues, let smaller ones slide

Q. I am getting married for the second time. My first marriage was a disaster because we had none of the same interests, lost the ability to communicate and stopped doing anything together. I’m certain that my “boyfriend” has bought a ring and plans to ask me to marry him. I love him, but I am scared to commit to another potential disaster. Can you give me some tips to avoid repeating the same mistakes?

Economic growth is missing ingredient

This year’s Republican presidential race has generated an unusual number of unusually bad ideas — Donald Trump on Muslims, Ted Cruz on carpet bombing, Marco Rubio on male footwear. It has also has produced one of the best: Jeb Bush’s 4 percent plan.

Flimsy, shallow and a bother just to watch

If you’ve seen one movie based on a Nicholas Sparks romance, you’ve seen them all. Like the others, “The Choice” bleeds sap and treacle. And the story, even by Sparks’ standards, is so lame I wanted to punch the movie in the face, so to speak.

Making plan for mom with Alzheimer’s should start with conversation

Q. I think my mother, who is in her late 70s, is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She is increasingly forgetful, and has become negative and nasty. She was never like this. My two brothers think that there is nothing wrong with her because they only visit once or twice a month and then stay for an hour or two. I’m with her on an almost daily basis. How can I convince them that she has a problem that we need to address?

End-of-life talks tough, but necessary

Q. I am in my late 70s. Although I have no life-threatening illnesses, I want to talk to my children about my end-of-life wishes. When they were here over the holidays, they absolutely refused to talk about it. They will be back in February, and I am determined to have the conversation. Please give me some advice on how to approach 40-year-olds who won’t have a discussion.

Dastardly deeds and fun with food are the right recipe for ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

Back in 2008, DreamWorks Animation scored big with “Kung Fu Panda,” a sharp-looking, action-packed, lovable little movie about believing in yourself, father-son relationships, master-student relationships and the funny side of overeating. It pulled in a massive $632 million around the world. Three years later, the same studio continued the same story with the same voice cast (Jack Black played the lazy but excitable and humorously annoying title character) in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which earned about $34 million more than the original.

Why ‘dieting’ is harmful

I really dislike the word diet, or more specifically, what it stands for. The root of the word is derived from the Greek diaita, which means “way of living.” Used in that context, I have no problem. It can mean: the way in which we eat. But, the vast majority of the time, that’s not the way the word is used. In our world, a diet typically refers to something temporary, associated with weight loss. And in this context, here’s the real skinny on diets: none of them truly work.

The power of the spoken word

As a child you may have used the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Could Ted Cruz be disqualified?

If you attend a presidential campaign event, you may come across someone wearing colonial garb or an Uncle Sam costume or body paint. But a Ted Cruz rally in Iowa last weekend featured something possibly unprecedented: guys dressed up as Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Ben Carson and the Politics of Fantasy

If only Ben Carson had been in that classroom at Umpqua Community College, the outcome might have been different. The gunman reportedly asked several people their religion, only to be shot regardless of the answer. Carson said he would have been braver than they were.

Cuba: carrots and sticks

There are two ways in politics to change behavior: power and influence. Power is the stick — using your greater strength to make someone do what you want them to do. Influence is the carrot — encouraging them to want to do it themselves. Sometimes you use both.

Herbie: No love just bugs

As many readers are doubtless aware, the automaker, Volkswagen, has come under fire for allegedly including a software switch that allowed heavily polluting vehicles to circumvent emissions inspections. Not only was this an outright fraud, it also meant that buyers were getting neither the promised fuel economy, environmental protection nor performance they were promised. I wished this surprised me. It doesn’t.

Your Best Life - Exercise during pregnancy

Many women and physicians were once concerned that regular physical activity during pregnancy might cause miscarriage, premature delivery, poor fetal growth or musculoskeletal injury. However, in recent years, the stigma against exercise has not only disappeared, but working out has become a recommendation for many women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Participation in regular weight-bearing exercise has been shown to improve fitness in the mother, restrict weight gain without compromising the growth of the child and decrease recovery time after the birth. It is also suggested that exercise helps prevent gestational diabetes.

Are you ready?

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:31-33

Help teen maintain healthy weight by setting example

Q. My 15-year-old daughter is overweight. I don’t want to dwell on her weight because I am fearful that she will develop an eating disorder. She tells me that there are several girls in her school who are anorexic or bulimic. Is there a way I can get her to manage her weight problem without her becoming defensive or developing a disorder? I’ve noticed that she is spending more time in her room.

Why the gop loses in a shutdown

There’s been talk of two potential government shutdowns: one this week over funding Planned Parenthood that’s probably not going to happen, and one in December if the government reaches the debt ceiling. Whenever a shutdown occurs, Republicans will be blamed more than Democrats. That’s because of the brand Republicans themselves have created.