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Archive | December, 2014

Nothing to Prove

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer and philosopher who penned the fabled book, “Zorba the Greek.” He was an incredibly astute, wise man with much to offer, even in death. You’ll find his grave on the island of Crete. It’s a simple, plain site, a capstone with ten Greek words. Translated into English it reads, “I want nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”

This is timeless wisdom, for the things we desire, want, and chase imprison us. The pursuit, the game of acquisition—and we’re usually chasing after emotional rather than material things—actually steals our happiness and freedom.

Now, if a Greek philosopher’s epitaph is too highbrow for your tastes, then maybe you will be better served by the words of Kris Kristofferson (as sung by Janice Joplin, of course): “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” And usually the last thing we lose is our wretched insecurity that has us forever chasing after fool’s gold, playing for the fickle crowd’s applause, or trying to climb some unsurmountable mountain to showcase our strength.

No, there’s nothing wrong with ambition, for it has its proper place. The problem is when we go scrambling for accolades and approval, when we become something of stage actors trying to obtain that elusive appreciation, recognition, and validation. The problem is when we feel we have to prove to others that we are capable or lovable. Then, we have imprisoned ourselves. Only when the striving ends will we be free.

The good news is, we can quit doing and saying things we don’t mean, clutching to approval we don’t need, wasting time and energy we don’t have. We can be free from the merciless crowd, free from our own pride and insecurities, free to become people who no longer need the flattery of others; others who are as fractured as we are, others who give their approval which lasts for about five minutes, and then the exhausting, self-caging exercise must begin again.

Stay on this kind of treadmill and you will be an ego-driven, self-centered maniac; or you will be as fragile as glass, a needy little imp that never experiences a single moment of rest. Either way, you will never be free. It’s only when you have let everything go, when you have nothing left to prove, that you will have something truly to live for.

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

 

 

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HEATHER WOLFE

C-obit-WolfeHeather Wolfe, 47 of Cedar Springs, passed away on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at home surrounded by her family. Heather was born August 2, 1967 in Greenville, Michigan, the daughter of Donald and Lynne (Grannis) Zank. She enjoyed being a wife, mother, working on the farm, raising calves and being a 4H Mom. She had worked for Cedar Springs Public Schools Food Service and Latch-Key Child Care for 16 years. She was very involved in East Nelson United Methodist Church and had been Treasurer, a Trustee and President of the Women’s Group. We will all miss her smile, infectious laugh and positive spirit. She will be a bright ray of sunshine from Heaven. Surviving are her husband, David; children, Brandon (Ashley), Bayley, Brock; stepchildren, Nathan (Lynette), Jessica, April; grandchildren, Carter, Brynlee, Dawson, Felix, Alexis; mother, Lynne Zank; sister, Heidi (Steve) Reed; brother, Hod (Kris) Zank; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father. The family greeted friends Sunday, Dec. 28 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services were held Monday, Dec. 29. Pastor Herb VanderBilt officiating. Interment East Nelson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Tri-County Country 4H or Celebrate Recovery at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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RANDALL H. INGRAHAM

C-obit-IngrahamRandall H. Ingraham, 70 of Sand Lake, died Saturday, December 27, 2014 at Faith Hospice – Trillium Woods. Randy was born May 26, 1944 in Greenville, Michigan, the son of Colin and Dixie (Harris) Ingraham. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 – 1966. He was a very active person who cared about and enjoyed others. He always had a Harley and enjoyed racing motorcycles and riding cross country with his wife. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, snowmobiling, and boating. He worked hard and owned his own company, which allowed him to provide for his family. Surviving are his wife of 50 years, Shelia (Baxter); children, David Ingraham, DenaJo Rogers; grandchildren, Nickolas, SaraJo, KaileyJo, Shane; brother, TobyJoe (Gayla) Ingraham; sister, Kathy Wisler. The family will greet friends Friday, January 2 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services will be held Saturday 2:00 pm, with viewing starting at 1:00 pm. The family would like you to dress casually – boots and blue jeans. Mr. Ross Merlington officiating. Private interment at Trufant Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 or Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry at the Rockford American Legion Post #102.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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Pop the cork at home this New Year’s Eve

HOL-Pop-cork-at-home

 

(Family Features) If you’ve thought staying home to celebrate New Year’s Eve sounded like a great idea, you’re not alone.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, this year, 61 percent of Americans who plan on celebrating New Year’s Eve plan on celebrating at home. To help make your night the most memorable celebration ever, here are some great ways to ring in 2015 from the comfort of your own home.

Girls just want to have fun

Ladies leave your man at home – tonight it’s all about you. Instead of waiting for a drink in that crowded party full of strangers, have a girls’ night in at your place. Of women surveyed, 67 percent said they would skip a New Year’s Eve party for a girls’ night in. So, pop open some bubbly and celebrate 2014 with your closest girlfriends. For more inspiration on what to serve, visit www.barefootwine.com.

Sing in the New Year

What’s the best part of celebrating at home? You can dance like no one’s watching. Make your New Year’s bash a dance party. Create a playlist with all of your favorite songs from 2014 and dance the night away.

Get your party poppin’

Pop some bubbly, pop some popcorn and pop in a movie. Waiting until midnight leaves plenty of time to throw on a good movie before the clock strikes. Continue celebrating the best of 2014 by watching this year’s biggest blockbuster movies. Need a little inspiration for what to watch? Try something starring Kate Upton or Bradley Cooper. According to the survey, when asked which celebrity women most want to have as their New Year’s kiss, Bradley tops the list, while the guys would go for Kate. If you want to serve your guests a signature drink while they enjoy the movie, try the Barefoot Bubbly New Year’s Rock.

Game on

Looking for a fun game to play? Have everyone write down a pop culture event or relevant celebrity from 2014 on a sticky note (for example, Pharrell’s crazy hat, Taylor Swift, Ellen’s award show selfie, the 2014 Sochi Olympics, George Clooney getting married), and give it to the person to your left without revealing what is written, and stick it to their forehead. The person will ask yes or no questions and attempt to guess what is written on the note.

With a few friends, yummy cocktails and fun games, you’ll have a memorable New Year’s celebration.

Pink In the New Year

1/2 ounce apricot brandy

1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

3 ounces Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato

Mint sprig or lemon twist garnish

Place apricot brandy, lemon juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into chilled champagne flute. Top with Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato. Garnish with mint sprig or lemon twist.

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Tips for families to get healthy this new year

This New Year, you can get the whole family together by committing to a healthier lifestyle as a team.

This New Year, you can get the whole family together by committing to a healthier lifestyle as a team.

 

(StatePoint) New Year’s resolutions often focus on personal improvement. This year experts are encouraging entire families to consider making a pledge to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Parents have more potential than anybody else to influence their children’s behavior — including their eating habits—according to a study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, parents outrank sports celebrities as the people most children would most like to be, according to the survey.

“You are the most influential role model in your child’s life,” says Kim Larson, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson. “Modeling healthy eating behaviors encourages children to adopt and choose healthy behaviors that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Setting realistic goals

Small steps add up, and Larson recommends making healthy lifestyle changes that are realistic and easy to stick with for the long-haul. Try adopting healthy changes for the entire family, such as:

• Make sure your kids know they are part of the team and that health and fitness are a family affair.

• Encourage children to help plan meals—from developing the menu to shopping to preparing and serving the meal.

• Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

• Eat breakfast daily.

• Enjoy family dinner together each night or as often as possible.

• At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

• Get active. Incorporate physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym. Remember, children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.

Focus on overall health, not weight alone

According to the experts, good nutrition, health, and fitness fun should be the focus of your family’s goals, not calorie counting, food restriction or working out.

“You don’t want your kids to think that a healthy lifestyle is only about how much they weigh,” Larson says. “Concentrate on delicious nutrition and fun physical activities,” says Larson.

For a personalized plan tailored to your lifestyle, food preferences and the unique needs of your family, consider consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. You can find one in your area at www.EatRight.org.

 

 

 

 

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Resolve to Adopt Cost-Cutting  Shopping Habits in the New Year

NEW-GroceryShopping

(StatePoint) The start of the New Year is often a time for resolutions and improvements to your daily lifestyle. While many people vow to lose weight or take a big trip, others might focus on trying to save money in the year to come. There are some easy ways to start saving now and develop smart shopping habits for the remainder of 2015.

Plan Weekly/Monthly Meals

Instead of impulsively buying produce and other perishable items while grocery shopping, try to make a plan for all your meals that week or month. By only buying what you need, you can save money at the grocery store and limit the opportunity for food to go to waste.

Private Brands

Another simple way to save money this year is to make the switch to private or store brands. Many items can be purchased at a fraction of the name brand price, and there is often little or no difference in product quality. For instance, Dollar General offers many private brand items at affordable prices with a satisfaction guarantee, which can help you to cut back on expenses without sacrificing quality.

Digital Coupons

You can score truly great deals by clipping coupons, but doing so can be a time consuming process. New digital alternatives can make the process less painstaking. One example is Dollar General’s digital coupon program, which lets users create a profile where they can pin the coupons most relevant to them. You can have instant savings on your cell phone or computer for items you use the most, without ever touching a newspaper or pair of scissors.

This new year, resolve to make a few small changes to your shopping habits that can create big savings in the long run!

 

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How to Dress for Success in the New Year

NEW-DressforSuccess

(StatePoint) When it comes to professional success, the way you present yourself in the workplace should complement the quality of your work. Whether you’re looking to advance your career or simply make a great impression, a useful New Year’s resolution is to refine your office look and style — take everything into account, your wardrobe, your accessories and your workspace.

Wardrobe

You may not have the top job yet, but the old adage holds true — dress for the job you want, not the one you have. If budget is an issue, don’t sweat it. Online coupons can help you score great deals at mass market retailers. Additionally, discount department stores often sell designer labels at a fraction of the cost.

Be sure to press your clothes even if your office is business casual. Invest in an iron and give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to ensure clothes are wrinkle-free.

Every season, go through your closet and set aside clothes that no longer fit, are worn out, faded or out of style. Donate these clothes and make room for new ones.

Accessories

Rocking the basics can make a great impression at meetings, conventions and other professional events. Show employers, colleagues and clients organization is important to you by carrying a planner and business notebook.

Look for a sleek design, such as those from the AT-A-GLANCE Collection. These products not only keep you organized and track your story, but can act as a highly useful accessory to your professional style. Whether you’re looking to stay organized by the day, week or month, a planner won’t just help to improve your image; it can also help remind you of upcoming deadlines so you stay organized.

Workspace

Take ownership of your workspace. Your desk, cubicle or office is visible round-the-clock, even when you are off-the-clock, so make sure it makes a great impression.

A few personal items are welcome in most workplaces. Just be sure any personal photos of friends and family that you display are tasteful and appropriate.

Lastly, display a stylish wall calendar on your cubicle or office wall to keep important dates in view. Or if you prefer, a desk pad calendar gives you the same view of your busy month ahead. You want colleagues to know that not only do you have a full plate, you know what’s on it.

By fine-tuning your look, you can help make 2015 the year you reach your professional goals and look great doing it.

 

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Community groups bring Christmas cheer

 

The Cedar Springs Lions Club, with the help of the Sand Lake Eagles, helped the Santa Claus Girls by delivering gifts for many boys and girls, on Saturday, December 20. In all, 116 families in the area received gifts to make Christmas time a little brighter.

The Cedar Springs Lions Club, part of Lions Clubs International, the largest service organization in the world, works each year to help people with sight and hearing problems. They help fund eye exams, glasses, hearing aids, and more. Each year they hold fundraisers, including the Red Flannel Festival Lumber Jack supper and several spring pancake breakfasts, to support their work. To find out more about them, join them at one of their meetings held the first and third Tuesday of each month, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the North Kent Senior Center, 44 N. Park Street, Cedar Springs.

The Tri County Eagles #4467, located at 32 West Lake Street in Sand Lake, is a chapter of the Fraternity Order of Eagles, an organization that helps fund eight major charities, including kidney, heart, diabetes, cancer and spinal cord injury funds, a children’s fund, memorial foundation and the Golden Eagle Fund. For more information about them call 636-8787.

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Walk the White Pine Trail on New Year’s 

Thursday, New Year’s Day, is the 14th Fred Meijer New Year’s Resolution Walk, put on by Friends of the White Pine Trail.

They assemble in front of the Rotary Pavilion in Rockford at 10 a.m. for a photo, then walk to 12 Mile Rd.  There is no distance requirement, so you can walk as far as you like.

According to Dave Heyboer, Chairman of the Friends of the White Pine Trail, volunteers will have refreshments available for the walkers when they return to the Rotary Pavilion. Items include brats, hot dogs, cookies, granola bars, coffee, hot chocolate, hot tomato soup, and instant cider, with the menu subject to change.

Heyboer said everyone is welcome, including controlled and well-behaved pets. There is no charge, but they will accept donations to help defer the cost of the event.

“The weather will be cold, possibly with snow. Come prepared for somewhat icy conditions, as the trail will not be salted or sanded,” advised Heyboer.Please come on out for a great time!”

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Honesty is the best policy

 

 

A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked, “What are you doing with that dog?”

One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.”

The reverend was taken aback. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.”

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, “All right, give him the dog.”

 

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