As 2020 begins, many people will optimistically make New Year’s resolutions. Historians aren’t certain when this custom started, but the practice was recorded more than 4,000 years ago by the early Babylonians. They believed that whatever a person did on the first day of the year would affect the next 12 months.
Author: Carolyn Tomlin
Unique Christmas Traditions for Your Family
Shops overflow with holiday gifts. Carols ring out from every street corner. Bell ringers collect monetary contributions for needy families. Families spend time together. If you’re like many families at Christmas, you continue the same traditions handed down by parents and grandparents. Could your clan honor their history while starting a few new customs? Perhaps these suggestions will work for you.
Taking Time to Give Thanks
We all have the same amount of time. Twenty-four hours in a day, 1,440 minutes
and 86,400 seconds. How do you used this time to give thanks for your blessings?
China: Then and Now
The China of yesterday is one of the oldest civilizations known to man. In this land once ruled by Emperors, architectural remains tell the story of how people lived and worked. Located on the eastern part of Asia, the land covers 3.7 million square miles and has over 1.3 million people or one-fifth of the world’s population. In the cities, family apartments and office buildings compete for land space and high-rise structures often reach 50 floors.
Exploring Europe’s Danube River
Running through or touching the borders of 10 European countries, the Danube River flows from the Black Forest in Germany and runs into the Black Sea. Covering a journey of 1,785 miles, the river is the second longest in Europe after the Volga River in Russia. Approximately 315,000 square miles make up the drainage area, and it continues to expand. Tributaries number about 300 of which 30 are navigable. The delta area is the second largest in the world and is still growing. At least 5,000 species of plants, birds and animals call the wetlands home. Fishing, once a primary industry has declined over the years. However, over 10 million people in Europe get their drinking water from the Danube.
Keep Serving Together
Like their counterparts in secular professions, most pastors will one day reach a certain age or face health reasons that prompt them to move into the phase of life known as “retirement.”
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Good For the Long Haul: Pastoral Sabbaticals Offer Renewal
Observing the sabbath can be tough for ministers, but taking time away from the demands of ministry can help them maintain emotional, physical and spiritual health.
A 2015 LifeWay Research survey of 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches revealed 84 percent said they are “on call” 24 hours a day. The survey showed 54 percent found the pastor’s role frequently overwhelming, and 48 percent said they often felt the demands of their job to be more than they could handle.
Some ministers “unplug” on a regular basis by turning off cell phones and computers for a prescribed time each week and taking time away from the church office. Some enjoy periodic retreats at conference centers. Others find it hard to get away from the day-to-day grind.
The Toys We Remember
It’s been said that we never forget a memory. Instead, it’s just tucked away in our subconscious where one of our five senses will suddenly focus on a nostalgic thought. For me, it happened while browsing an antique shop and seeing a booth of old toys displayed.
5 Fantastic Float Trips
The day dawned mild and sunny on the Gasconade River in southwest Missouri. As veteran floaters of this waterway, we anticipated a quiet, peaceful trip. And that’s just what we got. Using a large four-seater Osage canoe made in Lebanon, our group put in at Austin Ford on Wright County’s Route E for this short trip, and took out at Buzzard’s Bluff. Handling our own transportation, we tied the canoe to the top of a farm truck.
With two vehicles—one to leave at the pickup point and the other to transport the floaters and canoe—we set off for a day on the river. Packing simple provisions of Spam, saltines, plastic bottles of frozen water, and a few other items, we feasted on a gravel bar with a repast that tasted more like a five-course luncheon than a meal from a can. The bottled water soon warmed—but it was still wet!
Life on the river carries its own unique lessons. Here, the senses are on overload in this peaceful environment. There were times when the only sound was of the paddles dipping and lifting in the current. Once, we froze in silence as an otter and her young cavorted among the tree roots on the nearby bank. Yet these playful little imps showed no fear of us. One of the wiser Missourians in our canoe surmised, “It was because nothing in the water had ever done them harm.” Continue reading
Visiting China’s Historical Sites
The China of yesterday is one of the oldest civilizations known to man. In this land once ruled by Emperors, architectural remains tell the story of how people lived and worked. Located on the eastern part of Asia, the land covers 3.7 million square miles and one-fifth of the world’s population.
In the cities, family apartments and office buildings compete for land space and high-rise structures often reach 50 floors.
With more people owning cars, city streets are congested and filled with bicycles, taxis and tour buses. Yet, in the older areas of the cities and especially on the small rural farms, life continues as it has for generations.