Posted on 05 January 2012.
Pastor Dick Nichols
Cedar Creek Community Church
2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta
A new year is much like running a foot race. In order to begin a new one, we need to put the old one behind us, because we can only participate in one at a time.
New Year’s is the time we like to make resolutions that we hope will make our future much better than the past we just left. There are always things we know we can do better; or maybe things we shouldn’t do at all; or maybe there is something we need to change to help us be more at peace in our personal lives.
Most people. whether they go to church or not, know the “Golden Rule.” Let’s give it a try. Please complete the following sentence: “Do unto others as you __ __ __ __ __ __.” (Answer at bottom of article). This is a part of our American culture, yet many people have no idea that it came from Jesus’ teaching. Following it, though, is another story.
We read Jesus words in Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (New International Version).
We each have our own circumstances in life, where we should apply the Golden Rule, but just to help us better understand the application, let’s look at just one illustration today: forgiveness. Jesus talks to us about forgiveness in Matthew’s gospel in chapter 6, verses 14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (New International Version).
God is the God of relationships, and in order to begin a new year, we must first make peace with our past and the relationships that have been broken through a lack of forgiveness. Thank God that because of Jesus Christ and the fact that he is reaching out to us in love, whatever has happened to us in the past can be put behind us. If something happened to you in your youth or in your past or in some other relationship and it continues to hurt in your heart, then that resentment, that hurt, that brokenness is to some degree controlling your life, like a heavy burden that weighs you down.
The bible talks about how to get yesterday off your back. To paraphrase scripture, “forgive and you will be forgiven, if you don’t, you won’t.” In Romans 12:18-19, the apostle Paul wrote; “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (New International Version).
From this we can see the purpose of God’s command to forgive others. The burden of unforgiveness is like carrying a 50-pound bag of garbage around all of the time. January 1st is one day, like any other day of the year. When we resolve to do what we can to ease this burden on New Year’s day, and then carry that same resolve into the next day, and the next day, and the next etc., we will find the truth of God’s word.
Now, if we will apply this same principle to other circumstances in life, just think of what your future in following Jesus could hold. Part of this good news is that this golden rule can be applied starting today, and then again tomorrow and so on, and others did the same, can you even imagine what kind of world we might live in? May the peace of Jesus Christ dwell in you.
(Answer: fill in the blank: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”)
Posted in From the Pulpit
Posted on 05 January 2012.
(ARA) – As the old year comes to a close and the new year begins, many people evaluate their current situation and set goals for the future. For some, career goals top the list. If you’re looking for a new job or even a new career, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work, because getting on the path is going to take a lot of work.
If you were planning on scouring the want ads, you may have to adjust your thinking. “If you see an ad for a position posted, it’s almost too late,” says Becky Bates, director of career services at The Art Institutes International Minnesota. Bates suggests you tap into the “hidden job market” and get to that position before it’s posted. That means networking.
“Let anyone and everyone know you’re looking for a position,” advises Heidi Nolta, assistant director of career services at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. “Even if it’s your Aunt Sally, you have no idea who knows whom, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family.”
“Go to networking functions that cater to your field and go alone, because you won’t be able to hide behind your friends,” adds Grace Shurley, career services advisor at The Art Institute of Las Vegas. Shurley suggests you stand or sit in the middle of the room and get out of your comfort zone, because you’re not likely to make new contacts within it. Nolta advises you to volunteer at those events, checking people in; it guarantees you’ll meet almost everyone who walks through the door. “Your goal should be to get a two-inch stack of business cards,” says Shurley.
Make sure to have business cards wherever you go. If you don’t currently have a job, have a simple business card made with your name, profession and contact information, says Shurley. And while you’re at it, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and start Tweeting, suggests Nolta. “Follow the companies and industries you are interested in so you can get the latest information about them.”
If you’re not employed, be willing to take something that may not be an ideal fit but gets you out there, advises Shurley. “And don’t be afraid to start at the bottom if you’re launching a new career; that entry-level job can open up a lot of opportunities,” she adds.
Whether you’re employed or not, make sure you’re updating your skills, says Bates. If new software is introduced in your industry, learn that software. Find workshops and tutorials that can help. Nolta cautions that potential employers could test you on new software to make sure that you’re up to speed.
“A job seeker is self-employed and the biggest mistake you can make is not holding yourself accountable,” says Bates. She suggests you make a strategic plan and map out activities for every day of the week, whether it’s a job fair, sending out resumes, researching a company or calling potential employers. “Job seekers should consider getting that job, a job in itself.”
Posted in Business, Featured
Posted on 05 January 2012.
(ARA) – It might be coincidental that the new year and the beginning of tax season arrive so close together. Many people resolve to be wiser with their money in the new year, and it just so happens that being smart about your taxes is a good way to get started.
Whether it’s your only resolution or just one of a few, sticking to your new year’s tax resolutions throughout the whole year is the trick to being successful. And just like taking losing weight during the year will have you in better shape for the future, following your financial resolutions can make tax time far easier next year.
Use these tips to help build a successful approach to your tax resolution.
* Get started now. Procrastination can be your downfall – it often happens that the longer you put something off, the more daunting a task it seems. And the last thing anyone needs is an excuse to be more overwhelmed by the thought of working on taxes. If you know that you struggle with preparing your return, make the call to a professional who can help you. But again, don’t wait – tax preparers’ appointment books fill up fast during tax season.
* Set up a filing system and stick to it. The flurry of paperwork is stressful enough when you’re doing your taxes—not being able to find a necessary slip of paper only makes it worse. Create files for receipts and other documents and be sure to keep them updated. If you want to go digital, use a scanner to file everything neatly away in specialized folders on your computer.
* Take advantage of tax-saving benefits offered by your employer. If they’re available to you, consider how much smarter it is to use pre-tax dollars for things like medical expenses and childcare. If you need more guidance about how to best take advantage of the offered programs, check with your human resources department, or your own tax preparer or financial planner.
* Promise to give yourself a tax check-up twice a year. Don’t let yourself be shocked when tax time rolls around. the psychological and financial stress of being unprepared for a big tax bill can take a major toll. Do yourself a favor by checking on your tax liability a couple of times through the year. If you need to make adjustments to your withholding, do so as quickly as you can. Even if you find that nothing needs to be changed, you’ll have something to smile about and one less worry to occupy your mind.
* Make it a habit to save. Putting extra money away is always a good habit, whether the intent for it is to help pay off tax bills or to purchase a new vehicle. Giving yourself a little extra cushion to fall back on doesn’t have to make you feel fiscally stressed, though. Put away $20 here and there, or have a percentage of your paycheck sent directly to a savings account, and you’ll be excited by how much you have at the turning of the next new year.
Bothersome as taxes can seem, if you prepare for them throughout the year, you might find the experience far easier the next time you have to file. For more ideas about a financially sound new year, visit blog.equifax.com.
Posted in Featured, Tax Time
Posted on 29 December 2011.
Happy New Year!
I intend that to mean for the whole year, not just January 1. May 2012 be a year of blessings for all of us.
Our first day of the year is related to the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory. If you don’t like this one, the Julian calendar places New Year’s Day on Jan. 14. Throughout the world, people observe other dates, mostly related to religion. Pope Gregory picked this date based on Jesus’ birth on Dec. 25 and baptism on Jan. 1. It could get complicated.
I think Adam and Eve celebrated because they saw the days getting longer and the sun coming back.
A little boy opened the big family Bible with fascination, looking at the old pages, one after another. As he turned them, something fell out. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old tree leaf that had been pressed between the pages.
“Mom, look what I found!” he called out.
“What do you have there, dear?” his mother asked. With excitement the boy exclaimed, “It’s Adam’s suit!”
Six-year old Angie and her four-year old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud.
Finally his big sister had had enough and gave him the elbow. “You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church!”
“Why? Who’s going to stop me?’ Joel answered.
Angie pointed to the back of the church. “See those two men standing by the door? They’re hushers!”
A pretty girl stepped up to the fabric counter and said, “I’d like to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?”
“Only one kiss per yard,” replied the young male clerk.
“Fine,” replied the girl. “I’ll take ten yards.”
Smirking, the clerk measured out the cloth and wrapped it. Then he held it out teasingly.
The girl smiled, took the package, pointed to a little old man standing beside her, and said, “Grandpa, pay the man.”
Deer Tick Warning
I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, but this one is real, and it’s important. So, please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list:
If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, Do not do it! It is a scam. They only want to see you naked.
I wish I’d gotten this information yesterday. I feel so stupid now.
Posted in Roger on Main St.
Posted on 22 December 2011.
A Healthy, Happy 2012!
By James N. Martin, Jr, MD
President, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The beginning of a new year is a great time to get your priorities in order and to set goals for the next 365 days. ACOG urges women to put health at the top of their 2010 to-do lists. Remember these healthy living tips:
Eat Healthier. Aim to eat a balanced diet rich in a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy, and lean protein. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 35-year-old woman who gets 30–60 minutes of exercise per day should eat a 2,000 calorie daily diet consisting of 6 ounces of grains (at least half from whole grains), 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of low/nonfat milk or milk products, and 5 ½ ounces of lean meat, fish, and beans. Additionally, cut back on sodium, fats, processed sugar, and refined grains.
Get Active. Regular physical activity helps increase overall well-being while lowering the risk of diabetes, osteo-porosis, some cancers, and other illnesses caused by inactivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week to lower the risk of chronic disease; 60 minutes on most days to maintain weight; and at least 60 to 90 minutes on most days to lose weight. A well-rounded exercise regimen should be fun, sustainable, and include cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility components.
Quit Smoking. Despite the numerous dangers of smoking—increased risk of heart disease, infertility, early meno-pause, and more than 10 different cancers, to name a few—one in five American women still smoke. Quitters gain an improved sense of taste and smell, better circulation, easier breathing, and less hoarseness. They also reduce their risk of heart attack by 50% within a year of quitting.
Drink in Moderation. Alcohol has been linked to both positive effects such as improvements in heart health and bone density, and negative ones including an increased risk of breast and other cancers. If you drink, try to keep it to less than one alcoholic beverage a day.
Get Some Rest. Your body repairs and regenerates tissue, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens its immunity while you sleep. Not getting enough sleep may cause short-term problems such as irritability and memory loss and long-term conditions including diabetes and heart disease. The average adult should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Visit Your Ob-Gyn. Women should see their doctor regularly for preventive care. Routine visits to the ob-gyn help ensure women receive age appropriate screenings, exams, and immunizations, and they allow physicians to identify and treat common problems before serious health risks develop.
For more information, ACOG Patient Education Fact Sheets are available at http://acog.org/For_Patients.aspx.
Posted in Health
Posted on 08 December 2011.
The Department of Natural Resources is offering an alternative to the indoor party scene this New Year’s Eve. Swap those dancing shoes for a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and spend a GO-Get Outdoors “Shoe Year’s Eve” in one of Michigan’s state parks or recreation areas.
This year, gather up friends and family for a fun-filled New Year’s holiday in one of the state parks’ many winterized cabins, yurts or lodges. Don headlights and snowshoes for an evening adventure through the campground, and then enjoy a potluck in the cabin and ring in the New Year gathered around a blazing campfire.
According to DNR Recreation Programmer Maia Stephens, the idea isn’t new.
“People have been enjoying rustic New Year’s celebrations in our cabins and lodges for years,” Stephens said. “Just think—no crowds, no dangerous driving. It’s just a chance to relax, reflect and reconnect with the people who mean the most to you. And the Recreation Passport makes it both an unusual and affordable way to celebrate the season.”
Don’t let a lack of snow deter the vision of a simple, rustic holiday in the woods. Michigan has plenty of trails for hiking, biking or just wildlife viewing within its park system.
“Whether there’s snow for the holidays or not, the state parks offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to get out and enjoy the beauty of our parks this time of year,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “You can be part of a nationwide state park effort to start the New Year with a hike.”
If your New Year’s Eve plans already are set, plan on getting those New Year’s resolutions off to a good start by attending one of the DNR-sponsored “Shoe” Year’s Day events scheduled for Jan. 1 in many of Michigan’s state parks. Park staff, as well as local health professionals, will be on hand to guide hikes, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing events for participants eager to start their exercise commitments off on the right foot.
For a listing of state parks offering alternative winter lodging over the holidays and throughout the winter, or to find a “Shoe” Year’s Day hike near you, visit www.michigan.gov/gogetoutdoors.
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “YES” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.
Posted in Outdoors
Posted on 06 January 2011.
Are you setting some New Year’s resolutions? We want to help you succeed! Whether you are looking to lose weight, get debt-free, get fit, healthy, improve your looks or relationships, we are bound to have some hints that can help. All month long, starting in today’s issue, you’ll find articles in our special sections to help you along the way. We’d like to hear what types of goals you have, and any tips you can give to others! Log on to our website at cedarspringspost.com and click on “comment” to let us know what you are doing. Let’s get a community conversation going and help each other out! In the meantime, click here for this week’s “New Year New You” section.
Posted in News
Posted on 06 January 2011.
Photo courtesy of WOODTV.com. Trevor and Danielle Lowis hold their son, Trenton.
Some proud parents in our area rang in the New Year in a special way last weekend—by having a baby.
Danielle and Trevor Lowis, of Sparta, welcomed the first baby in Kent County at Spectrum Health Butterworth at 12:17 a.m. January 1. Their son, Trenton Austin Lowis weighed in at seven pounds, eight ounces.
Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville proudly announced their first newborn delivery of 2011 was born 26 hours later, on January 2. Nora Mae Johnson was born at 2:57 a.m., Sunday, January 2nd at the Spectrum Health United Hospital Obstetrics Unit. Her parents, Larissa Mae and Kevin Emil Johnson, reside in Greenville. Nora is the couple’s first child.
Kevin and Larissa Johnson with their daughter, Nora Mae.
Nora was 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20-½ inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Kelly Wiersema, MD after a short labor and delivery, totaling four hours from beginning until Nora’s arrival.
The Post congratulates both the Lowis and Johnson families on their special additions!
Posted in Featured, News