Even though the weather may not be cooperating with tulip bulbs and gardeners, spring is actually, finally, really here! Yesterday, March 20th, was the first official day of spring, if you mark the seasons according to the astronomical method. Surprisingly, there is another way which people use in order to record when the first day of spring should be acknowledged. This newer method, called the meteorological calendar method, states that spring already began three weeks ago!
Here are some facts about the two different types of spring seasons that are celebrated in the calendar year:
- The astronomical method, the one most people and calendars follow, places spring between the dates of March 20th and June 21st.
- The meteorological calendar indicates that spring occurs from March 1st to May 31st.
- The meteorological calendar method coordinates with the dates and months of the year by splitting the year into four 3-month sections. Spring is from March until May, summer is from June until August, autumn is from September until November, and winter is from December until February.
- The astronomical method announces the first day of spring when the earth’s rotational axis is at a 23.5 degree angle in relation to its orbit around the sun. As a result, the earth and the sun line up in a perfect combination in order to bring warmer temperatures and more sunshine.
- In spring and fall, equinoxes occur; in winter and summer, solstices occur.
- Yesterday, March 20th, was the spring equinox. An equinox is a phenomenon in which the amount of daylight is exactly the same as the amount of darkness in a 24-hour period. After this day, the length of daylight hours will continue to increase until the summer solstice on June 21st.
- A solstice occurs when the earth’s rotation around the sun causes it to reach its northernmost latitude and then start slowly moving back to the south. As a result, this day will either be the day with the most daylight (in summer) or the day with the most darkness (in winter).
The perfectly timed changes within our solar system that bring about these seasons are another obvious reference to the wisdom and ability of our Creator. Being so orderly and purposeful, His creation can bring anyone to amazement when one simply views the beauty of it. Definitely, we are blessed to be able to see God’s handiwork through the many fresh beginnings of the spring season. As green sprouts begin to shoot up into new stalks and bulbs begin to unfold into beautiful flowers, let us all remember the new life that we have in Christ, and thank Him for the ‘seed’ that was once planted in us.
The Great Depression was a time of hardship, heartache, and loss for many around the country. After the GDP suddenly dropped 15 percent, over 15 million people were left without jobs. Being a poor state before the Depression hit, Kentucky was majorly affected by the nation-wide economic collapse, and can be labeled as one of the states that suffered the most during this trying period of time. Food, education, and economic growth opportunities were all extremely scarce. In the middle of the chaos, a group of “horseback librarians” traveled throughout the state in order to raise the percentage of literate people and increase the employment rate. Here are some interesting facts about these “heroic horseback librarians of the Great Depression” and the circumstances in which they lived:
- In 1931, a whopping 31 percent of the population of Kentucky were unable to read and did not have access to books or literature.
- According to the American Library Association, the average number of books per capita was somewhere between 5 and ten. However, in Kentucky, that number was only 1.
- President Roosevelt was the one who formed this new system, which was called the Pack Horse Library Initiative.
- Most of the workers in this Initiative were women. As a result, they became known as the “book women.”
- They would travel somewhere around 120 miles per week. Using horseback or just their own feet, these librarians would travel through storm or calm in order to bring literature to rural towns. Since they had no place to sleep, churches or houses would often take them in and give them food and lodging.
- The horseback librarians were paid $28 a month, which is an equivalent of $495 today. Considering most of the country was out of work, they took their jobs very seriously.
- The materials for the stock of the libraries came mostly from donations. Anything from Sunday School materials to magazines was transported by these “heroes,” who took excessive care of each article of literature.
- Many people were suspicious of these mounted strangers. In order to gain the trust of the townspeople, the librarians would often read familiar Bible verses to them.
- Robinson Crusoe was one of the most popular books in the program.
- Throughout the Great Depression, these riders helped over 50,000 families by bringing them books and fellowship.
As the Depression came to an end, the need for these heroic librarians slowly diminished. However, these determined riders still ought to be remembered for their hard work in bringing literacy to the state of Kentucky, and throughout the country.
It’s that time of year again: time to change the clocks! For many years, The United States has observed daylight saving time by setting our clocks one hour ahead in the spring, and one hour back in the fall. This Sunday, March 11th, don’t forget to reset your clocks, watches, microwaves, ovens, coffee makers, etc.
Here are some facts about Daylight Saving Time that you might not have known:
- The correct term for DST is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. In this title, the word “saving” is acting as an adjective, not a verb. Therefore the singular form of this word is the most grammatically correct usage.
- Germany was the first country to enact “Daylight Saving Time.” Shortly after World War I on April 30, 1916, the German government decided to embrace this new system of time in an effort to conserve electricity. Soon after, the United Kingdom followed in Germany’s footsteps with a new time system called “Summer Time.”
- Farmers were not supportive of Daylight Saving Time. If a new system of keeping time were enacted, farm animals such as cows, chickens, and roosters would not know about it. These animals would still follow the same routines as usual, yet the farmers would be off schedule. The cow would now be milked an hour earlier, and the rooster would sing an hour earlier as well. In 1919, a group of agrarians banded together and repealed the Daylight Saving Act with the help of Congress.
- Contrary to popular belief, the entire U.S. does not observe this biannual time change. Hawaii and Arizona, along with many United States territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico do not change their clocks all year!
- Studies show that Daylight Saving Time does not conserve energy, which was the reason for it being created. Instead of saving money in electricity by waking up when the sun was up, people now spend more money on gasoline and air conditioning by being out and about during the hot summer months.
- When you set your clocks forward on Sunday, you’re actually losing an hour. For example, if one usually wakes up at 6 am and then changes his clock an hour ahead, 6 am will become 7 am. Thus, when he sets his alarm for 6 am the next morning, he will really be waking up at 5 am –
and should go to bed early!
Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday. Otherwise you might be an hour late for church!
Klein, Christopher. “8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time.” History.com, A&E
Television Networks, 2012, www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-daylight-saving-time.
February, the shortest month of the year, is the only month that has a varying number of days. Just about every four years, the world experiences Leap Day in order to keep God’s calendar lined up with man’s calendar. Leap day is always celebrated on February 29th, and has been for many years.
Why do we even have leap years? Why February? How come March didn’t get this honor, or July? Perhaps we will never know all of the answers, but here is a brief history on the leap year and how it originated:
- The Egyptians were one of the first to realize the need for a Leap Day.
- February 29th is the 60th day of the year. It is not certain as to why only this date becomes Leap Day, but it has been that way since leap years originated.
- Leap years did not begin in Europe until Julius Caesar’s time.
- Julius Caesar created a calendar along with an astronomer of his day with 12 months and 365 days. Every 4 years, an extra day was added onto the month of February.
- It takes 365.242 days for the earth to take one full orbit around the sun.
- There was a problem with the Julian calendar! This calendar would work if it took exactly 365.25 days to orbit the sun, but the extra .008 days, or 11 minutes, added up after many years. As a result, those using the Julian calendar would lose a whole day every 128 years!
- In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII realized this problem and created a calendar system of his own which we still follow today!
- Leap Days are now celebrated in years divisible by four. However, for years divisible by one hundred and not divisible by four hundred, no Leap Day occurs. For example, 2100 will not be a leap year, since it is divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400.
Although tomorrow is not a leap day, we can look forward to the next extra day in February that is coming in 2020!
Although everyone knows the name of George Washington, many do not know much about this great historical figure. Of course, they remember from history class that he was the first president and that he crossed the Delaware River. Not only did he win the battle on that winter day, but he also became the center of a famous painting. He is known for his honesty and leadership in the history of the United States. Since his birthday is coming up, here are a few things that not many people know about the man who changed the political history of the United States:
- George Washington did not have a middle name.
- His actual birthday is not February 22, 1732. During Washington’s lifetime, the United States and most of the world changed the calendar they used to keep the date. His birthday was moved a year and 11 days forward when the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar was made. February 11, 1791, his real birthday, was before the old date for the celebration of New Year’s Day, but after the new date for this holiday. As a result, the calendar change also affected his birth year.
- In 1792, He was made an honorary citizen of France.
- George Washington will always be the highest ranking officer of the United States. When Washington died, his title was Lieutenant General. This rank of three stars seemed insufficient to commemorate such a man as George Washington as the years went on. Then, in 1976, he was given the highest honor in the American Military posthumously with the title of General of the Armies of the United States – a title that nobody else will ever be able to attain.
- George Washington was one of the sickest presidents in the history of the United States. A short list of the ailments and diseases that he faced is as follows: diphtheria, tuberculosis, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, and pneumonia.
- Washington wrote many letters. The amount of letters that he wrote during his lifetime total somewhere around 18,000-20,000!
- He was the only president to go into battle while serving under that role.
- At his first inauguration, he only had one real tooth left in his mouth.
- Congress wanted his body to be buried in the White House. Washington requested to be buried at his home in Mount Vernon. When he died, his family held on to his wish, even though pleas from Congress suggested that they bury his body under one of the marble statues in the Capitol!
- He believed in God, most often referring to Him as “Providence”. It had been reported that he spent time in the morning and in the evening reading his Bible and praying.
George Washington is a good example to everyone of strength, perseverance, and humility. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This certainly applies to George Washington — a man of honor, dignity, and, most importantly, faith.
Around this time of year, flowers, hearts, and sweet treats are largely sold and advertised in just about every store and magazine. People generously give presents consisting of rich chocolate, fresh flowers, or even expensive jewelry. Each Valentine’s Day, the money spent on gifts for loved ones in the United States is a total of almost 20 billion dollars! However, the world has a different view of love than what God depicts it to be in His Holy Word. Hollywood and other famous stars paint the picture of love as a disease that you ‘catch,’ almost like a cold. Valentine’s Day is centered on love. This year, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let us remember and teach our kids what love really is, and what it does.
In First Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul writes about the actions that love will do. Here is a summary of the fruits of love:
- Love is longsuffering
- Love is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love does not boast
- Love behaves itself wisely
- Love seeks to fulfill the needs of others
- Love does not think evil thoughts
- Love does not rejoice in iniquity
- Love is joyful in the truth
- Love bears all things
- Love believes all things
- Love is hopeful of all things
- Love always endures
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
God sent His Son Jesus as the greatest gift that the world has ever known. What amazing love! We did nothing to deserve His great love and grace that He chose to show toward us. He knew every sin that we committed and every time we would choose not to follow His way, yet He chose to come to the earth and die on the cross for us. He did all this for us so that we can be saved from eternal separation from Him in Hell. Because of His great love, He provided a way – belief on His son Jesus to save us – for us to go to Heaven forever with Him. This Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the most amazing present that has ever been given. All we have to do is accept it.