web analytics

Archive | November, 2014

LEE & CHRIS MULLENNIX

C-ANNIV-MullennixLee and Chris Mullennix celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary on November 2, 2014. It was celebrated by renewing their vows. Family and friends attended.

Posted in AnniversaryComments (0)

Hope is a dangerous thing

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

“Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” So said Red Redding to Andy Dufresne in that masterpiece, “The Shawshank Redemption.” Morgan Freeman (as Red) and Tim Robbins (as Andy) have never been better.

For the uninitiated, “Shawshank” is about prison life. It is a story about guilt, innocence, friendship, love, struggle and injustice. It is a story about hope, and how hope can keep a man alive, even though Red had given up on hope long ago. Hope is a cruel joke, in his estimation, that convinced gullible people to long for something that was impossible to attain.

Old Red’s view is largely consistence with the ancient philosophers who used hope as a synonym for dashed expectations. It was nothing but starry-eyed, false anticipation. Modern philosophy hasn’t changed this view, as Red could have easily been channeling Nietzsche who thought of hope as the malevolent instrument that simply prolonged human suffering.

Still, Andy Defresne told Red that hope was “the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” In fact, that is hope’s exact definition. It is what never dies. More than human longing, more than personal aspiration, more than some head-in-the-cloud dream, it is the stuff of endurance.

Look at those who have survived the worst atrocities; the survivors always have some intangible power to bend, but not break, under the pressure. These individuals endured, persevered, and suffered the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” while taking “arms against their sea of troubles.” But when the battle had ended, they were found intact; hurt, but alive; battered, but not defeated. They had resiliency, a synonym for hope.

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who became the first president of the Czech people after the fall of the Soviet Union, defined hope as well as Andy Dufresne. He said, “Hope is not optimism. It is the certainty that life has meaning, regardless of how it turns out…I am not an optimist, because I’m not sure everything will end well. I just carry hope in my heart.”

Yes, “hope is a dangerous thing,” but not because it can make people crazy. It is dangerous to the status quo; it gives people the tenacity to “keep on keeping on.” It gives people the power to change their world. And right now, in this world, that would be “the best of things.”

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Real Men (part two)

First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Jim Howard

First Baptist Church

233 S. Main, Cedar Springs

 

“What is a real man? By the standards of today, a real man is someone who doesn’t exist except in the imaginations of those in Hollywood and the marketing industry. Supposedly a real man looks like an Adonis, acts macho, and always wins. In reality, a real man is defined not by what he looks like, but who he is! Real men for the most part do not look like the latest “hunk” of a movie star or sports legend. He may not have rippling muscles, or stand over six feet tall, he may not even have a full head of hair. Real men are comfortable in their skin and have made their share of mistakes, and will make more.”

The previous paragraph introduced part one of a three part series on “Real Men.” The first devotional dealt with “Becoming Men of Courage.” Today we will focus on “Becoming Men of Action!” Hollywood does know what film genres appeal to men—action films. It is because we tend to want to do or fix something about a given situation.  And like fictional Tim Taylor from Home Improvement, the more explosions and power the better!

Biblically (1 Cor. 9:27 – 10:14) there are a number of principles that will help us become Men of Action in our homes, communities, and work places. There are four principles to keep in mind.

First, be aware of the danger of becoming a castaway. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27 ESV). The word “disqualified” is a word that means: failing the test; unqualified; worthless; useless; unworthy; disapproved. In other words, let’s live this life according to the rules—God’s rules—so that we don’t end the task and find we’ve been disqualified for rule infraction.

Second, let’s learn from our mistakes. “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” were the words of Edmund Burke, a member of the House of Commons in England during the Revolutionary War. Prophetic words, for each generation seems to adopt the philosophy of doing things their own way, only to repeat the mistakes of the past. We, too, can learn to avoid the mistakes of the past such as idolatry, immorality, infidelity, and disloyalty (1 Cor. 10:7-10).

Third, let’s avoid overconfidence. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall (1 Cor. 10:12 NIV). Have you ever watched as an athlete runs across the field of play and trips for no apparent reason? Overconfidence happens much more than one might think. We often do the routine things that perhaps we’ve done for years, and lo and behold, we mess it up! Distractions? Mind was elsewhere? Remember, self-confidence without Christ-consciousness is a prelude to disaster.

Fourth, deal victoriously with temptation. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13 ESV). Temptation is not sin. We all deal with it (“common to man”).  Note too, that as a child of God, we live in a controlled environment (“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”). I’m reminded over and over again that He has his hand on the thermostat and He knows how much heat I can stand.

So how should I deal with temptation? Glad you asked! I ran across the following list many years ago that I’ve refined and hope will be of help to you.

Reside in Christ. He is our only escape (Heb. 2:18). Rejoice by Faith. Do it by faith until you can do it with your whole heart (Jms. 1:2; Rom. 5:3). Remain consistent. Hang in there—you can do it—persevere (Jms. 1:12). Request ahead of time. We must prepare ahead of time, before the test starts (Mt. 6:13; 26:41). Retreat! For some things, the only course of action is to run (1 Cor. 10:14; 2 Tim. 2:22). Remove the means. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Get rid of those things, practices or places that trip you up (Rom. 13:14). Replace bad influences. (Prov. 13:20; Phil. 4:8). Refuse to take the low road.  The low road is the path of convenience and compromise.

Keep in mind as you deal with temptation, it’s not based upon what you think you can bear, but upon what God knows you can handle! Hang in there my friend. You can make a difference for His Kingdom!

 

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments (0)

Add Some Sparkle to Your Holiday Décor

HOL-Holiday-decorating

By Melinda Myers

Liven up your holiday décor with lights, a bit of glitz and some colorful blossoms this season.

Start by gathering greenery from your landscape. Use needled evergreens like pines and firs, broadleaf evergreens like boxwood, holly and evergreen magnolia as well as junipers and arborvitaes to create wreaths, swags, centerpieces and garland. And don’t forget to include cones, holly berries, crabapples and the bluish-colored fruit of junipers.

Be selective as you prune your trees and shrubs when collecting these materials. Use sharp bypass pruners that have two sharp blades and will make a clean cut that closes more quickly. Make your cuts above a healthy bud, where the branches join another branch, or back to the main trunk. Take only a few branches from each tree or shrub to maintain the plants’ beauty.

Place freshly cut greens in a cool location away from heaters, fireplaces and open flames. Set them on colorful fabric or paper to catch the sap and avoid damaging your woodwork and furnishings.

Check your greenery for freshness every few days. The needles, leaves and stems should bend, but not break. Replace dried greens with fresh materials.

Then brighten up the display with some cool burning LED lights. Create a mantle display or centerpiece with the help of LED pillar lights. Or add a string of LEDs to your garland. Look for something unusual like pinecone string lights (gardeners.com) to add sparkle and charm to your display.

If you have artificial greens that could use a facelift, add fresh berries, cones and seedpods for a more natural look. Increase the glitz with the help of silver and gold metallic paint or glitter.  Paint milkweed, lotus and other pods and then tuck them into the greens. Painting allium seedheads white will add the appearance of flowery snowflakes in your indoor arrangements and outdoor container gardens.

And don’t forget the fresh flowers and flowering plants. Poinsettias are a long-time favorite, but you may want to change things up with Amaryllis, spring flowering bulbs and lily of the valley.  Look for unusual varieties or combinations to increase your enjoyment. Combine large flowered amaryllis with small flowering bulbs like star of Bethlehem. Or go for a unique size shape or flower color like that of the Honeybee Amaryllis with its beautiful yellow flowers that are sure to brighten your days.

Add a few flowers to your greenery and houseplants for some instant color.  Stick your greenery and flowers in dampened floral foam to create a long-lasting holiday centerpiece. Or place cut flowers in floral picks and set them in dish gardens and houseplants to brighten things up. Then swap out the flowers as they fade.

And consider making a few extra planters or centerpieces to give as holiday and hostess gifts this year.

Now is the time to put on your gardening shoes, grab the pruners and get started decorating for the holiday season ahead.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has a master’s degree in horticulture and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. Her web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos, podcasts and monthly tips.

Posted in FeaturedComments (0)

‘Tis the Season to Safeguard Your Identity

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

(Family Features) The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is an exciting time. But from the crowded malls to the big online markdowns, a silent threat lurks – one with the ability to wipe out your good financial standing and make it a not-so-jolly holiday for you and your family.

Just as you would assess your holiday gift budget, it’s equally important to understand and evaluate the status of your identity, taking special precautions to help safeguard your information.

Giving information is inevitable

In the digital world, sharing your identity to obtain credit, make online holiday purchases or even receive coupons is commonplace and necessary – but it opens the door to new risks. Today, data breaches are frequent and they can put your personal information in the wrong hands.

In fact, a new study of more than 1,200 consumers conducted by Morpace on behalf of LifeLock, a comprehensive identity theft protection service, found that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of data breach victims experienced it within the last 12 months1. And while data breaches can certainly cause considerable damage to someone’s financial standing, the stakes in identity theft are exponentially higher.

The survey also found that about half of respondents who experienced identity theft do not know how their information was obtained2. While most people assume these criminal acts occur to only those with an online presence, anyone can be a target. Even unique, permanent credentials, such as Social Security numbers and birthdates, can live online regardless of an owner’s physical presence or real-world activity.

Identity theft can have uncontrollable and significant long-term financial implications, with thieves going as far as opening a bank loan, or committing tax fraud in your name.

Take protective measures

The specialists at LifeLock offer these tips to help protect you while shopping this holiday season:

Know where your info goes. Many online stores offer helpful apps for quicker, more efficient holiday shopping. Before you download any app, make sure it comes from a reputable source. Copycat apps exist which, once downloaded, may capture your personal information and use it for fraudulent purchases. Overall, it is important to know where your information is being stored – whether on your device, the hard drive of your computer or in a file at home.

Be vigilant on public Wi-Fi. Whether at your local coffee shop or while traveling, do not transact on public Wi-Fi and be wary of any passwords you enter. It’s always safer if you can wait until you get to a secure or private network.

Change passwords frequently. Make sure the passwords you use when setting up accounts with online merchants are complex and difficult for a thief to figure out. It is always a good idea to change passwords to all your accounts on a regular basis – especially with banks, email accounts and social networking sites – to add an extra layer of protection to your personal data.

Consider using a credit card. When you choose your debit card over your credit card, you may be exposing yourself to more risk. The most you’d have to pay for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50, no matter when you report it. If you report your debit card lost or stolen more than two days after you learn about the loss or theft, but less than 60 days after your statement is sent, you could lose up to $500. And if you wait more than 60 days after your statement is sent, you could be out all the money taken from your account.

As a consumer educated on identity theft, you’ll have some peace of mind and be more able to focus on the fun of the shopping season. For more information, visit LifeLock.com.

1 Based on the responses of 1,200+ U.S. consumers surveyed by Morpace, an independent third-party research firm, September 2014. Page 13.

2 Based on the responses of 1,200+ U.S. consumers surveyed by Morpace, an independent third-party research firm, September 2014. Page 62.

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

How to help a grieving child during the holidays

HOL-Supporting-children

Advice for caregivers and parents 

The holidays can be a magical time of year, but for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or another significant person in their lives, the holiday season can be tough. It also poses challenges for still-grieving family members and caregivers around them.

“The holiday season can be particularly difficult for families, because children carry their own expectations about the holidays, as well as their own grief over the death,” said Bonnie Carroll, military widow and founder of the nonprofit organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). “The holidays can be full of bittersweet moments. They can also be an opportunity to honor and remember the person who died and the legacy that special person left for a child.”

Since its founding in 1994 by bereaved military families, TAPS has offered comfort and care to more than 50,000 people grieving the death of someone who served in the military and their caregivers, and is a recognized expert in child bereavement. TAPS Good Grief Camps are attended by thousands of children and teens annually. TAPS offers the following tips to help families supporting a bereaved child over the holidays:

Talk with your child about the holiday season. Anticipating the holiday, especially if it’s the first holiday without a family member, can be worse than the actual holiday. Talk with your child about their feelings and expectations for the holiday season. Discuss the activities your child would like to participate in or attend.

Even if your child does not talk frequently about the death, do not expect for your child to be “over it.” Children grieve on their own time frame and differently from adults. Significant milestones, such as the first holiday after the loss, may cause the child’s feelings about the loss to re-surface, even if the child has not talked about the death for a while.

Make holiday plans that help your child feel nurtured, emotionally safe, and comfortable. Review your plans for the holidays with your child. Spend the holidays where you and your child feel supported, nurtured and comfortable.

Encourage your child to attend holiday functions. Consider attending holiday parties and activities, especially if you and your child will be able to spend time with supportive family members and friends. Make an escape plan in case the event is more than you or your child can handle and trust your hosts to understand if you need to slip out.

Laughter, play and joy are good for your child. Children do not grieve continuously and they need to take breaks from grieving. Encourage your child to play, run and do recreational activities he or she would normally do. Clowning around and laughing (which releases endorphins into the brain) are healthy and normal for children.

Be observant about your child’s emotions. Realize that familiar traditions, sights, smells and tastes, may be comforting, or may jolt emotions. Watch how your child responds to events and be ready to be supportive and comfort your child.

Comfort items that remind the child of the loved one who died may help. Allowing your child to sleep in a favorite shirt that belonged to the person who died may offer comfort. Letting your child carry a special item that reminds him or her of the person who died may help the child feel connected. Placing a photograph of the child with the person who died or from a holiday celebration in a special place, may help.

Pay attention to your child’s health. It’s often difficult for adults and children alike who have experienced a recent death to sleep. Make sure your child gets regular rest, eats well and drink lots of water. Holiday treats are ok, but in moderation. Bed wetting, acting out and nightmares may be signs of struggling. Talk with your medical care provider if you become concerned about your child’s health.

Do not pretend your family has not experienced a loss. Let your child know that you also miss the person who died. Tell your child that you don’t like that things cannot be exactly like they were before the person died, and that you love your child. Children may need to hear this in order to feel it is permissible to discuss their own feelings.

Find sustenance for the soul. Your church, synagogue, mosque, or another faith community may offer services, resources and support networks to help you and your child through the holiday season.

Talk with your child about holiday traditions and how they will be observed this year. Some children insist that holiday customs remain exactly the same each year. Discuss with your child why he or she wants to hold onto a particular tradition or custom. Do not feel that you must do something because you have always done it that way, but consider your child’s feelings when making a change. Talk with your child about any changes before they occur.

Stick to daily routines when possible. The holidays tend to cause a lot of upheaval in schedules and routines. The friends your child plays with may go out of town. The daily schedule your child is accustomed to may change when schools close for the holidays. Try to keep your child on a regular bedtime routine and talk with your child about any changes.

Allow your child to remember a lost loved one through a tribute. Light a candle together at dinner time to remember the person who died. Hang an ornament on the tree that reminds the child of the loved one who died. Help your child offer a blessing at a holiday meal that honors the person who died. Create a picture or collage with your child, display a favorite photograph in your home, or let your child help you set a place at the dinner table to represent the loved one who died.

Help your child write a letter to the person who died that honors the legacy that person gave the child. Help your child write a letter to the person they love who died thanking him or her for the gifts the person gave to the child, the special things they would do together and expressing how the child feels about the person. Some children may want to mail their letter to the person, take the letter to the cemetery or “send it to heaven” on a helium-filled balloon.

Honor the lost loved one through a gift. Encourage your child to draw pictures or create gifts for others that are inspired by the memories of the person who died. Help your child make a donation to a charity or cause the loved one cared about. Consider volunteering as a family at the charity.

Use family connections to help your child. Connections with other family members can help your child feel comforted, loved and safe. These family connections can also help you as a parent or caregiver cope with the holidays. Encourage your child to build ties with other family members, but you may need to remain nearby to reassure your child with your presence.

For more tips on dealing with grief during the holidays, go to the TAPS website at www.taps.org and look for our holiday survival guide. 

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 50,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Holiday Happenings

Check out some of the fun, family activities going on around the area for the holidays. Start a new tradition!

 

HOL-Tree-lighting1-SantaCEDAR SPRINGS

2014 Cedar Springs Christmas – Come Mingle with Kris Kringle

Dec. 6: Celebrate the kick off to the Christmas season with “Come Mingle with Kris Kringle,” presented by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Looking for something sweet? Pick up some awesome baked goods at the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Bake Sale at Alpha omega Coffee and Games.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Make an ornament at the Cedar Springs Library, 43 W. Cherry Street, and take it with you to decorate the tree at 1 p.m. (see below).

1:00-2:00 p.m. Decorate the town Christmas Tree with the Cedar Springs Cheerleaders at the corner of Main and Ash Street.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Feets and Seats and Personal Care For North Kent Community Services by the Christmas Tree. Bring your new and unused socks, undergarments, and personal care items, for people in need in the community.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Free Hot Chocolate at the corner of Ash and Main Street provided by ReMax.

2:00-3:00 p.m. Story time with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more.

3:00-4:00 p.m. Christmas Puzzle Time with Santa’s Elves at Alpha Omega Coffee and Games.

4:00 p.m. Double K Farms & Animal Junction 4H Club  Petting Zoo & Bake Sale at corner of Main and Ash Street, while waiting for Santa.

4:00 p.m. Parade Line Up corner of Second and Maple Street.

4:30 p.m. Christmas Parade brings Santa from Second and Maple to corner of Ash and Main St.

HOL-Tree-lighting2-Tree4:45 p.m. Christmas Tree Lighting and Caroling, corner of Main and Ash St.

5:00 p.m. Live Nativity Scene, then Mingle with Kris Kringle. Tell him what you want for Christmas! The CS Cheerleaders will be handing out candy canes.

5:00-7:00pm Candlelight Tour at the CS Historical Museum at Morley Park. Inside the museum there is an antique sleigh set up in front of a wintery scene backdrop. Families are welcome to take pictures of their children in the old sleigh.

A Christmas night of worship

Dec. 7: Coffee, Candles, Carols, and Praise. Solon Center Wesleyan Church presents “A Christmas night of worship,” on Sunday evening, December 7, at 6 p.m. World-class desserts and coffee will be served during the concert. The church is located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Road. Join us for a great night of celebrating Christmas. All are welcome! www.scwchurch.org.

Edible Christmas Tree Decorating at the library

Dec. 13: Make an ordinary ice cream cone magically turn into a fabulous Christmas tree at the Cedar Springs Public Library! RSVP for sessions starting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Great for kids ages preschool and up. RSVP by calling 616-696-1910 or stop by and sign up at 43 W. Cherry Street during open hours.

2014 Kent Theatre Christmas Concert

Dec. 13: The 2014 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Concert hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 13th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun! Admission tickets are $3 per person.

2014 Kent Theatre Dance Extravaganza

Dec. 14: The 2014 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Dance Extravaganza hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 14th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun! Admission tickets are $3 per person!

 

GREENVILLE

2014 Christmas block party and parade

Dec. 5: Come join the fun in downtown Greenville on December 5th! The Block party will take place from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Get your picture taken with Santa, then watch while Santa magically lights the Christmas Tree at 5:45 p.m. The parade will start at 6:00 p.m. on Lafayette Street. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Classic Movie Series at Flat River Library

Dec. 8: See a holiday classic at the Flat River Library suitable for the whole family. Popcorn will be provided. 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. www.flatriverlibrary.org.

Extreme Duct Tape: Holiday Edition

Dec. 9: Teens Only! Get into the holiday spirit at the Flat River Library by making your own duct tape ornament or gift. We will provide all the materials, or you can bring your own duct tape for a custom look. Either way, we look forward to crafting with you! 4-5 p.m. www.flatriverlibrary.org/events/

Make-A-Gift

Dec. 13: Get into the holiday spirit at the Flat River Librar by making your own duct tape ornament or gift. We will provide all the materials, or you can bring your own duct tape for a custom look. Either way, we look forward to crafting with you! For all ages, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

HOWARD CITY

Homes for the Holiday Tour

Dec. 6: The Friends of the Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library is holding their Homes for the Holiday Tour on December 6, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Library or at Kindel & Company. Advance tickets are $10, on the day of the event $12. Ticket price includes refreshments at the library after 2 p.m. Follow the Snowflake Signs. Homes on the tour are; Jerry and Brenda Gartszke, Poisson Family, Susan Sunden, Brenda Tumosa and Jessie Vogel and Bob Visser.

 

Howard Christensen Nature Center

Holiday Make & Take

Dec. 6: You will not want your kids to miss this one! Bring your child to Howard Christenesen Nature Center on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., where they will make unique gifts and wrap them up with the assistance of our volunteer team. Voila! Your children’s holiday shopping is done. This event is most appropriate for K-5th graders. A cherished gift from your child’s heart, what could be better! Donation $6 per child. The nature center is located at 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, Michigan, 49330.

Learn to Snowshoe

Dec. 21: You and your loved ones can enjoy snowshoeing together on our scenic trails with a snowshoe guide from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Build a team and join the festive fun, snow permitting (about 6 inches of snow for snowshoeing). This would be a great opportunity for a “date” day! Donation $5.00/person – snowshoes included or bring your own. Hot chocolate will be served in our gorgeous Interpretive Center after our hike. The nature center is located at 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, Michigan, 49330.

 

ROCKFORD

Discover a Rockford Christmas

Take a step back in time and capture the magic of the holidays with these special events!

Dec. 5: Holiday Lighting Ceremony at Peppler Park, Friday, Dec. 5 at 6:00 p.m.

Dec. 6: Santa Parade, Downtown Rockford, Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:00 a.m. Visit Santa in Rotary Pavilion immediately after parade.

Dec. 6: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 10: Santa Visits & Free Cocoa at the Rotary Pavilion, Wednesday, Dec. 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 11-12: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, sponsored by Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 11-12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Load in front of Custard by the Dam.

Dec. 17: Santa Visits, Free Cocoa, and live reindeer at the Rotary Pavilion, Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 18-19: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, sponsored by Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 18-19, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Load in front of Custard by the Dam.

 

SAND LAKE

Sand Lake Christmas 2014

Experience a Sand Lake Christmas, sponsored by the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Nov. 30: Tree Lighting  & Concert 6:30 p.m. by Resurrection Lutheran Preschool

Dec. 6: Craft Sale 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Dec. 12: Bake Sale SLUMW 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at Independent Bank

Dec. 13: Kick off of 12 Days of Christmas 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m.-Noon Santa at the Library

10:00 am-2:00 p.m. Vintage Snowmobile Show

10:00 am-4:00 pm Quilt Show and Raffle at United Methodist Hall.

10:00 am-1:00 p.m. Kids Activities at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Kids activities at Mary Queen of Apostles Hall.

11:00am-2:00 p.m. Soup Luncheon at United Methodist Hall.

11:30 am-1:00 p.m. Community Caroling.

3:00 p.m. Out House Races

Christmas Cookie Contest

Dec. 13: Bring at least one dozen cookies and your recipe to the Sand Lake United Methodist Church between 8:30-9:30 a.m. Judging begins at 10 a.m. A $25 award will be given in each category: drop cookies, bars (cut squares), and rolled (cookie cutters). An additional $25 will be awarded for overall best cookie. Entries will be judged on first impression, taste and quality. Homemade only, no boxed mixes. May enter multiple recipes. A separate entry form must be filled out for each one. Winners will be announced at noon at the church hall. All extra cookies will be sold at the soup luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sand Lake Village Churches Progressive Advent Activities

Dec. 5: Indoor Live Nativity 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Sand Lake United Methodist Church Hall.

Dec. 6: Indoor Live Nativity 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Sand Lake United Methodist Church Hall.

Dec. 14: “Journey to Bethlehem” 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Mary Queen of Apostle Catholic Church Hall.

Dec. 21: Christmas Program 11:00 a.m. at Church of the Full Gospel.

Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

 

SPARTA

‘Tis the season! Sparta holiday calendar events brought to you by the Sparta Area Chamber and Sparta DDA.

Nov. 27: Turkey Trot in Sparta, Thursday, Nov. 27, 9 a.m. Race begins at Sparta Civic Center, 75 N. Union. $15 plus two canned food items. Registration forms at spartachamber.com.

Nov. 29: Ugly Sweater 5K Run, 9:30 a.m. Starts/finishes: Mamrelund Lutheran Church, 4085 Lutheran Church Rd., Kent City. Proceeds support local food pantries. Visit Facebook: The Ugly Christmas Sweater 5K run/walk.

Dec. 2: Santa Workshop 5-8 pm at Maddie LaRoues, 126 E. Division. Hosted by Independent Bank. Free photos with Santa, activities, & more!

Dec. 9: Gingerbread House Decorating Party, 6-8 p.m. at Sparta Township Library, 80 N. Union. For all ages! Houses & decorating items will be supplied.

Dec. 13: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-11 a.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free! Bring your own camera!

Dec. 18: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 5-7:30 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 20 Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-noon, 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 21: Sparta Nazarene Christmas Candlelight Service, 10:30 a.m. at Sparta Church of the Nazarene, 665 13 Mile Road.

Dec. 21-24: Ballard Church of Christ, 1633 10 Mile Road, presents “The Living Nativity,” from 7-8 p.m.

Dec. 22: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 23: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 11-1 and 5-7 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Report shows need to rein in Wall Street

_V-LevinBy Sen. Carl Levin

 

Recently my Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held the final hearing I will hold as its chairman and one of the most important. Our hearing, and a 396-page report we issued, examined the involvement of three Wall Street banks in the market for commodities like metal, coal, uranium and energy.

These are not activities that banks typically take on. For decades, our laws restricted banks to traditional banking businesses like taking deposits and making loans, and they were generally barred from commercial businesses like mining coal, warehousing uranium or running power plants. That changed in 1999, when Congress passed a law that weakened that traditional separation of banking and commerce. Our subcommittee spent more than two years examining the impact of those changes, and what we found was worrisome.

While Wall Street’s growing role in physical commodities has been discussed and debated, the scope of this involvement and the potential for abuse have not been widely known.

One problem is that operating things like oil tankers and coal mines exposes banks to immense risks in the event of a natural disaster or a catastrophic accident. A Federal Reserve study we reviewed showed that banks involved in these activities lacked the capital reserves and insurance coverage to cover potential losses. Should catastrophe strike, it could undermine a bank or spark fears that it might fail, which would bring turmoil to the U.S. economy. My colleague on the committee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, noted the enormous expense of the BP Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and asked, “What if BP had been a bank?”

Bank involvement with physical commodities also raises concerns about unfair trading, and in some cases, outright market manipulation. JPMorgan recently paid $410 million to settle charges by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it used manipulative bidding schemes at its power plants to elicit $124 million in excessive electricity prices in Michigan and California.

One case study from our report highlights the risks to manufacturers, consumers and markets. In 2010, Goldman Sachs bought a Detroit-area company called Metro International Trade Services LLC, which owns a global network of warehouses certified by the London Metal Exchange, or LME, the world’s largest market for trading metals. Under Goldman’s ownership, Metro mounted an unprecedented effort to dominate the North American market for storing aluminum.

Under the LME’s warehouse rules, no matter how many customers want to remove their metal, the warehouse is only required to ship out a limited amount each day. If customers ask to withdraw more metal than the daily minimum, a line or queue forms, and customers have to wait to take delivery. When Goldman bought the warehouses in 2010, the queue in Detroit was just a few days long. But by this year, it had grown to more than 600 days.

We found that Goldman’s warehouse company made a series of complex agreements with some warehouse customers that made it longer. Goldman would pay the owners of aluminum to put their metal in the queue for withdrawal. When that aluminum reached the head of the queue, it was loaded on trucks, but instead of going to a manufacturer, it was shipped a short distance – sometimes just a few hundred yards – to another Goldman-owned warehouse, and placed back in storage. The effect of these deals was that the queue got longer and longer without actually removing any aluminum from the warehouse system.

The lengthening queue boosted revenue at Goldman’s warehouses – the more metal stored in the warehouses, the more rent and fees. But this merry-go-round also affected aluminum prices by increasing the so-called “premium” that customers must pay to cover logistical costs such as storage. Our report found, and expert witnesses confirmed at our hearing, that Goldman’s warehouse, by making the queue longer and pushing the premium higher, was hurting manufacturers and consumers by making aluminum more expensive.

Expert witnesses also told us that if Goldman could use its warehouse to manipulate the queue, and therefore affect aluminum prices, it could profit by employing trading strategies to take advantage of that power. And in fact, Goldman rapidly increased its own aluminum trading after it bought the warehouse company.

Our report offers a number of ways to address these issues. The Federal Reserve is considering rules that could limit banks’ activities in commodities, and it should do so. We also need stronger rules against improper use of insider information and market manipulation. Until such protections are in place, our manufacturers, our markets and our economy are at risk.

Carl Levin is the senior U.S. senator from Michigan and the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Remembering a classmate

 

 

Dear Editor,

I didn’t know Carolyn Gillette Green died until I read last week’s Post. I remember Carolyn when she rode the Sand Lake High School bus with us. And I remember her being on the cheerleading team for the Sand Lake High School boys basketball games in the Sand Lake auditorium with three or four other girls. All those girls had a lot of pep. Just like nowadays. Carolyn was a wonderful person. She will be sorely missed.

 

Lyle Perry Jr., Cedar Springs

Posted in Post ScriptsComments (0)

Indulge in a bite of pie and take a nap 

 

HEA-Indulge-in-a-bite-of-pieIt could keep you healthy this holiday season

 

(BPT) – The holiday season is full of celebrations. From office parties to family events, everyone gathers to spread a little extra cheer. While people may be wary of what all of the holiday treats will mean for their health, avoiding all of the revelry could cause more harm than good. Creating a balance between restraint and indulgence will help sustain physical, mental and emotional well-being. Come out of the holiday season feeling just as good as you did when you went in with these easy tips.

Choose wisely.

During the holidays there are tempting treats everywhere you turn. From cookies at the office to fondue at the holiday party, your favorites can be hard to resist. But if you choose your treats wisely, you can guiltlessly enjoy every bite.

Browse the buffet line for healthy options like veggies or fruit, shrimp cocktails or chicken skewers so you won’t have to skip dessert. You can always share a sweet treat with someone else to keep you accountable. And if you’re worried about not having the will power, it’s a good idea to eat 1.5 ounces of healthy protein before an event to keep you feeling satiated.

Don’t deny yourself.

Food is connected to family, culture, tradition and celebration, and it should be a source of enjoyment. Avoid creating a list of items you cannot have. “When it comes to tempting foods, forbidding them only makes you want them even more,” says Debbie Swanson, registered dietician, and nutrition and healthy-cooking tips instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Colorado. She suggests eating smaller portions of your favorites, such as a bite of pie instead of the whole piece. “My friend makes the best apple pie. I always have two bites,” Swanson says.

Work it off.

The best way to prevent the extra pounds from sneaking up on you is to engage in a regular exercise routine. Doing something as simple as parking farther away from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help increase the number of steps you take each day.

Individuals typically gain around two pounds during the holidays, according to the Mayo Clinic. “The problem is that we don’t lose the weight,” Swanson says. Rather than adding weight that you have to work off later, maintain a workout regimen or find other ways to burn the calories you consume throughout the busy day.

Make “me” time.

Research over the past two decades has begun to demonstrate the strong connection between mental health and the strength of the immune system, which affects overall physical well-being, according to Jim Wasner, dean for the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University|Schaumburg. Wasner says that the strength and resilience of everyone’s overall immune system, feeling depressed or overly anxious, often correlates with poorer physical health and vulnerability to illnesses. “Relax and schedule time for yourself,” he says.” Go easy on the alcohol and sugar. Catch up on your sleep.” Maintaining this overall balance will keep you physically and mentally healthy during the holiday season.

Allow yourself to enjoy the celebrations, just maintain the balance between health-conscious and indulgent decisions so the holidays don’t get the best of you.

For more information about Argosy University, visit argosy.edu. For more information about The Art Institutes, visit artinstitutes.edu.

 

Posted in FeaturedComments (0)

Advertising Rates Brochure
Kent Theatre
Ray Winnie Auto Sales

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!