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Article Samples from our October 2017 Senior Beacon

Freedom

"FREEDOM"

July 4, 1993. We were more aware of fireworks than freedom...A long walk that began before daylight on this holiday morning was a search for answers, a desperate search that brought unexpected results.

Serious family problems and a recent job lay off had my mind in turmoil. The separations and upheavals in our lives were still intense as we began a week long conference in Colorado Springs. The beautiful scenery plus our long time friendship with the conference speakers were welcome.

So, long before daylight on July 4th, I was out walking. A mountain stream I encountered was of special interest, probably due to my growing up on the plains of West Texas. I followed the stream for about three miles and finally came to a road and bridge over the stream. The bridge had a sign that read "Rocky Mountain Creek". I stood on the bridge and enjoyed the sights and sounds of what West Texans only see on post cards. The stream, about 20’ wide was tumbling over rocks with a small water fall. I was were I wanted to be because the beautiful scenery and sounds of the stream were so different from all the turmoil of the past few months. I was becoming bitter and really needed for something to happen in my life. Little did I know that the something would be the Rocky Mountain Creek.

As the sun came up, I could see more of the stream and really liked what I saw. My mind was completely lost in the sights and sounds. Slowly I began to focus on the deep pond near the bridge. I was able to see every pebble on the bottom as it was crystal clear and seemed to be standing still. I looked carefully, relishing the examination, maybe like a 10 year old boy from West Texas would or perhaps like only a 52 year old could that was desperately searching for meaning in life.

As I looked, something very strange became apparent; the stream and pond had no life of any kind, no frogs, no bugs, no fish, no turtles, no plants, nothing. It was totally lifeless! I could not understand why until I looked up and saw that the sun bad now illuminated a previously unseen sign. The sign read, "Contaminated Water, Do Not Drink." All of a sudden, the lack of life made sense; the stream was dead because it was contaminated!

Then slowly I began to see my life...just like the stream, my sign read parent, employee, pastor and Christian. I looked like a employee, parent and pastor and sounded like a Christian but did not produce life because of contamination. I had allowed bitterness and resentment to ruin me; to make me to be only a look alike.

I fell to my knees, repented and asked God to forgive me. My focus had been totally directed towards others and towards circumstances. Now I could see ME. I vowed with God’s help to stop trying to have the right sign, right sound and right scenery; but to become real, pure and holy so that my life would produce life and not death.

So, as the sun came up on that July 4th, with eyes and heart freshly opened, I was now more aware of freedom than fireworks.

II Kings 2: 19 - 22

Guest writer Ted Weaver "Tedbits"

©2017 Jan McLaughlin

All rights reserved. Jan McLaughlin is Director of Prayer For Prisoners International and can be reached at 719-275-6434 or by e-mail, Jan@PrayerForPrisoners.org.

 

Vacation Can Reduce Stress Even After You Get Back

(NAPSI)—The numbers are in and it seems the news has Americans stressed out. A survey commissioned by Travelocity of more than 1,500 Americans shows that current events have almost half (48 percent) of those polled more stressed out now than one year ago and of those, 40 percent say that they are "much more stressed."

While in recent years unique and intense activities like ecotourism and adventure travel have become increasingly popular, the self-reported stress level of Americans may indicate that this is the optimal time to return to the original purpose of a vacation—rest and relaxation.

But what kind of travel is most restful? Travelocity turned to its community of expert travelers, the "Gnational Gnomads," to offer professional insight into this question.

The most commonly named activity was, unsurprisingly, a spa treatment. According to Gnational Gnomad Ava Roxanne Tritt, aka Spa Travel Gal, "There is nothing like luxuriating at a spa to truly recharge. And best of all, a great spa treatment can be part of an adventure across the globe or the highlight of a staycation across town."

Second only to spas as a restful travel option was to explore and enjoy local sights. Gnational Gnomad Kirstin Maxwell, founder and editor of kidsareatrip.com, says, "For too many people, sightseeing becomes a race to check places off of a list. Sightseeing should be about experiencing the people and culture of a new place, not just a mad dash to take selfies at the most popular landmarks."

Understanding that part of a relaxing vacation is not having to worry about unforeseen problems, Travelocity recently instituted a "Customer First Guarantee," a program that offers hotel changes, free flight changes within 24 hours of booking, and a price match guarantee, among other services. It also features class-leading social media customer service. Online analytics firm Socialbakers recently ranked Travelocity as the most responsive full-service online travel agency in the U.S.

of TheTravelMavens.com

 

 

 

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