Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire

The happiest days of my life

Joe was born to a mother he felt didn’t want him. His family told him that when he was born that his mother ordered the hospital staff to, “Get him away from me.” Joe commented, “She had children but didn’t want children. She treated children okay but she never really liked them.”

Joe admitted that he was different as a child. “I was sensitive, baby-faced and weak from rheumatic fever.” Joe also suffered from chronic mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression. He experienced multiple psychiatric hospitalizations during exacerbations of his illness. (For those interested in better understanding Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression, I suggest you read “An Unquiet Mind” and other books by Kay Redfield Jamison.)

Joe was artistic and creative, as many people with bipolar disorder, “manic-depression” are. Kay Redfield Jamison elaborates on this in her book, “Manic Depression and the Artistic Temperament: Touched by Fire.”

Joe declared, “My mind has been my best friend and my worst enemy.” He shared how he’d been ridiculed and rejected all his life for being different and stated, “I always wanted to be wanted, but I settled for being needed. So I’ve always tried to make myself needed and I went overboard trying to please others.”

When I met Joe he was in his late sixties. He’d been residing in a nursing home for a couple of months and had been battling cancer for two years. As Joe reflected on his illness it was as if a light came on and he concluded, “But do you know what? The last two years have been the happiest years of my life.”

I asked why and Joe replied, “You know, I’ve really never thought about it.” But after pondering for a while he surmised, “I think it’s because, for the past two years, I’ve been surrounded by a group of people who have accepted me for who I am instead of trying to change me. They pointed out my strengths and encouraged me to use them, and I did.”

Joe really isn’t that different, is he? Tim Keller, pastor and contemporary Christian author wrote, “Man is in search of redemption.” (“Counterfeit Gods”). We all want to be wanted and accepted for who we are, don’t we? We’re all searching for a sense of worth and significance. Joe finally found it in the hearts of his friends.

Emotional and psychological insults, injuries and rejection, especially during our childhoods, can lead us to live with a vengeance, with a goal of vindicating and redeeming ourselves. But self vindication and redemption are only illusions, because as Jesus said, “No one is good but One, and that is God” (Matthew 19:17). So I ask you, where does that leave the rest of us, including me and you? It leaves us in need of a redeemer.

So if you’re tired of living with a vengeance, if you’ve been shouldering the impossible burden of self redemption, I encourage you to turn to the “The Redeemer.” The days you spend loving and following Him will be the happiest days of your life. Jesus invites us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 – 30)

Loren Hardin is a social worker for Southern Ohio Medical Center Hospice and can be reached by email at hardinl@somc.org.

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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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