• Would we be the same without beauty? by Joyce Holdread

    God did not have to make the world beautiful. But, He did. This was neither optional nor superfluous. Beauty has both guiding purpose and subtle power. Flowers, with their color and tangle, pushed creation forward. Their seeds — capsules of embryonic life — rode the gusts, clung to hides, dropped far and wide — propped roots in varied soil, to burst forth fruit. In a geologic moment, flower power conquered the world, produced source of compact energy for early man and beast, swayed the course of…

  • Social media: the good and the bad - by Richard Gammill

    Social media is often accused of presenting only the bright side of life. We want to post experiences that will gather a lot of “thumbs up” or “hearts.” We are unlikely to post our struggles or our failures. This causes some users to despair over the “ordinariness” of their lives. They ask, “Why do my friends have all these happy experiences when so many bad things happen to me? Why do I have so many problems?” Sometimes when I open my social media account, I receive a gut punch. A friend passed…

  • Some intriguing numbers by Gregg Heid

    I’ve always been a numbers guy. I guess that’s why I taught mathematics for 25 years. Here are some numbers that intrigue me. The average human heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through its chambers every day. You take around 12,000-14,000 breaths a day and don’t have to think about a single one of them. Your brain doesn’t stop working either. It is estimated that 50,000 thoughts pass through it daily: That’s a roughly 40 thoughts per minute, 50 if you are drinking wine. You blink about 29,000 …

  • A walking casualty of war by Jan Davis

    Carl didn’t want to enlist, but surrendered his freedom to choose when Uncle Sam called out his number in the lottery of 1969. With the turn of a drum, he became a soldier in the U.S. Army. He left behind a young wife and 9-month-old daughter and boarded a cargo plane for Vietnam. Carl celebrated his 21st birthday in the jungles of Vietnam. Christmas soon followed. A helicopter dropped the military’s idea of a feast, as he observed the holiday with comrades. Christmas cards from home hung preca…

  • A gift that is mine forever by Dan Englund

    Dennis and I looked across this massive ranch as he pointed out something he wanted me to see and recognize. Something that made this spot where we stood so special. Beyond this huge valley on a mountainside at least 20 miles away, you don’t need binoculars to see it. An anomaly that stands in the forest, made of snow chutes and tree stands. Something that you can see from only this spot. An enormous geometrical figure made of snow — a shield with an S snaking through it, an identical copy of Su…