Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14
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What if you decide to jump?

Carlos was a devoted Kiwanis Club member and a retired supervisor from the New Boston steel mill. He was admitted to hospice for lung cancer at the age of 82. Four years earlier, before Carlos could have ever imagined needing hospice for himself, he roped me into speaking about hospice at his New Boston Kiwanis club luncheon. He didn’t have to tug very hard because I’ve always been thankful for the New Boston Kiwanis Club. You see, they sponsored our high school National Honor Society and managed the low-income apartments where I lived for about a year while attending Ohio University – Portsmouth Branch.

I was 19 years old when Harold, the Kiwanis Apartments manager, taught me some painfully valuable lessons about “choices and consequences.” It was around dusk when I heard a hard, sharp repetitive knock on my apartment door, apartment L-2. I opened the door and there stood Harold, a large rough-hewned middle-aged man who informed me, “You’re evicted. And I want you out of here right now!” I defiantly, and overly confidently, responded, “I’m not leaving. You can’t make me. I know my rights.” Well, later that evening Harold was back at my door, but this time accompanied by a New Boston police officer. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I moved out the next day. And in the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

Over 30 years later, when Carlos enrolled in hospice, I was privileged to meet his daughters. When his daughter, Vicki, shared the following story with me, I knew I had to pass it on. Vicki recounted, “It was about 14 years ago, back when mom just got saved and was studying the Bible a lot. Mom had only been a Christian for about a year. She and Dad got saved at the same time. When my granddaughter, Kelsey, was about a year old Mom and I were in the back yard watching the kids play. We were standing by the back porch.” Carlos interjected, “I built that porch for Pearl.” Vicki continued, “Mom and I were talking and all at once Kelsey jumped off the porch towards me. I turned around real fast just in time to catch her. Mom said, ‘That’s the kind of faith that God wants us to have in Him, to trust Him to catch us.’”

Pearl’s insight reminds me of a song by Nichole Nordeman titled, “What If.” “What if you’re right and He’s just another nice guy? What if it’s tru,; they say the cross will only make a fool out of you. What if the crown of thorns is no more than a folklore that must be told and retold? But what if you’re wrong,what if there’s more? What if there’s hope that you’ve never dreamed of hoping for? What if you jump, just close your eyes? What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?’”

My eviction from the Kiwanis apartments was one in a series of events that led me to the edge of a cliff. I vividly remember saying to myself at age 16, “I’ll never trust or need anyone ever again. I’ll show them what I can do on my own.” From that point on I lived with a vengeance. I was defiantly independent but desperately lonely. It was at that critical pivotal point in my life that a compassionate friend simply told me, “Loren, Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. I wish you had what I have.” And so did I. I didn’t know how or where to get it, but I was determined to find it. So I started searching.

I bought a paperback “Parallel New Testament” at Glad Tidings Book Store and started reading. I read from midnight to five o’clock in the morning, but nothing. I prayed, “God what do you expect from me? What do you want me to do?” I continued reading, but still nothing. I cried out in desperation, “God I can’t do it. If I’m gonna be saved, you’re gonna have to do it for me. But still nothing.

I decided to give God one more chance and I opened the Bible and read, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”(Matthew 7:7-9). I thought, “Surely it can’t be that easy. Surely I have to do more than just ask?” Then I prayed, “God, either this is true or you are a liar. And if it’s true, then it’s true for me. So I’m taking you at your word. I’m asking.” That night I “jumped” and the arms that caught me, caught me by surprise.

What about you? Are you on the edge? Are you tired of living with a vengeance? What if you decide to jump?

Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center – Hospice and can be reached at hardinl@somc.org or 740-356-2525.

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Loren Hardin

Straight Paths

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2016 People's Defender