The Strength of the Mighty Redwoods

The northern California coast plays host to the world’s tallest and most majestic tree, the Redwood. Known for its enormous height and beauty, the secret to the strength of this giant can be traced to its extensive root system. Towering up to 350 feet, the Redwood’s root system is surprisingly shallow. Buried no deeper than 6 to 10 feet below these skyscrapers, you will find a convoluted network that travels for miles beyond each individual tree to intertwine into a sophisticated root system. Seldom if ever, will you find a Redwood by itself and if you do it won’t be standing for long. Each tree weighing in at nearly 500 tons, their intertwined roots provide the stamina and stability that enable these ancient landmarks to stand for millennia. With a lifespan of nearly 2000 years, the success and longevity of this kingly tree is a direct result of the tapestry of interwoven roots that connect with other Redwoods.

It’s interesting to point out that despite the shallow nature of these roots, in the sandy soil of California; these trees have survived for centuries not independently but collectively. Jesus often referred to nature to illustrate points in his teaching and the example of the Redwood is no different. Were we to pattern the network of Bible-believing Apostolics in the Michigan District of the A.L.J.C. after these hearty pines, we would soon realize that our strength doesn’t come with standing individually but as a unified body. The Apostle Paul stated that we are members of one body. Yes, we are miles away but even a shallow yet strong network of roots could provide us with the stability and stamina we hold in such high regard when we view the Redwoods of California.

With the advent of computers, email, pagers, and cell phones, we’re left with little excuse for not keeping in contact with one another. If we bind together, we too can stand as pillars of truth in this life and the life to come. Let us take to heart the lesson the Redwoods teach us; united we stand and divided we fall. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Yes, saint of God, let us build a strong network of love, prayer and support one for another and while distance may seem like an obstacle to you and me, God is everywhere present and nowhere absent. God bless you all.

Onward — RDM

Stress – Causes, Effects, and Coping by Rodger Mangold

Time Magazine in its June 6, 1983 issue calls stress “America’s No. 1 Health Problem.”[1] Fast forward 26 years and the problem of stress is still plaguing the United States and doesn’t show signs of giving way anytime soon. With the scarcity of funds and negative economic indicators it is no wonder the American Psychology Association states that 73% of Americans name money as the number one factor that affects their stress level according to a 2004 APA survey[2]. Couple that fact with the leading source of stress being “job stress[3]” and with one directly affecting the other we can draw the conclusion that anxiety and stress are quickly becoming the psychological staple of the American family. It will be the intent of this paper to ascertain the causes, effects and strategies for coping with contemporary stress in our lives. The primary reason for specifying “contemporary” stress is that stress has become more pervasive and insidious as decades unfold and each generation is presented with unique challenges from a psychological perspective that can drastically differ from their predecessors. We will be defining stress, discussing the types and various sources of stress. A large portion of this article will be devoted to the importance of coping with stress as well some modern strategies for dealing with stress. Lastly, the author will share the results of a personal stress assessment and his intentions on implementing some coping skills learned from the research for this article.

Stress Defined
Defining stress brings with it a myriad of views. Simply put stress can be defined as an organism’s total response to environmental demands or pressures. Stress in humans results from interactions between persons and their environment that are perceived as straining or exceeding their adaptive capacities and threatening their well-being. The element of perception indicates that human stress responses reflect differences in personality, as well as differences in physical strength or general health.[4] One online source points out that in the field of stress research there is the difference in defining stress as “an external response that can be measured by changes in glandular secretions, skin reactions, and other physical functions, or is it an internal interpretation of, or reaction to, a stressor; or is it both?”[5] 

Top 10 Causes of Stress
From an externally identifiable source there have been attempts to identify the top ten stressful events in an individual’s life as follows: Death of a spouse, Divorce, Marital separation, Jail term or death of a close family member, Personal injury or illness, Marriage, Loss of a job due to termination, Marital reconciliation or retirement, Pregnancy and Changes in financial state.

The causes of stress largely depend on the individual and their ability to adapt and or their genetic pre-disposition to dealing with or coping with stressful situations. These stressful situations can range from births, deaths, reunions, to weddings. Personal relationships are a constant source of contention and stress as well, as an individual is called upon to balance the responsibilities of work and project deadlines and quality time with the family. More time at work could mean less time with one’s family while more time with one’s family and less time at work could add economic stress.

Medical View of Stress
From a medical perspective stress has deadly consequences. As our bodies attempt to maintain the state of homeostasis, the ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes (American Heritage Dictionary), stress sets in motion a series of chemical and hormonal changes that make homeostasis difficult. The survival instinct that is purported to be genetically implanted in our DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is called “fight or flight.” This condition causes the following biological responses to take place, A) Heart rate and blood pressure increases the flow of blood to the brain to improve decision making B) Blood sugar rises to produce more fuel for energy. As a result there is a breakdown of glycogen, fat and protein stores C) Blood is diverted from the digestive tract where it is not needed for digestion and sent to the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength in combat (fight), greater speed in retreating (flight) from the scene of danger D) Clotting takes place more rapidly to prevent excessive blood loss from cuts, scrapes or internal hemorrhaging. The endocrine system plays a vital role in “fight or flight” by setting in motion a cocktail of hormones including adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-related hormones. These internal mechanisms are intended as life saving measures to facilitate our ability to deal with physical dangers. With our sedentary lifestyles and lack of perilous situations on an ongoing basis our bodies are still prone to this “fight or flight” response in stressful situations. Repeatedly activated without the outlet of escaping the perils of the “fight or flight” we are at greater risk for a host of medical conditions that include hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck or lower back pain, to name a few. For a pictoral of the medical effects of stress from the Washington Post click HERE.

Coping with Stress
Now that factors leading to stress have been identified a very important element in the discussion of stress that will be covered is coping. As there are a variety of sources and causes of stress so too are the strategies for coping. There were some intriguing findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology[6]. This article assesses how people cope with stress based on five scales with four items each that measure distinct aspects of problem-focused coping (active coping, planning, suppression of competing activities, restraint coping, seeking of instrumental social support). Within the scale there are two general ways in which people cope with stress. First is problem-focused coping which can be described as problem solving or doing something to alter the source of the stress. This method is often exercised when it is believed that something constructive can be done to eliminate or reduce the stress. Problem-focused coping has unique properties in that is centers on planning, taking direct action, seeking assistance, screening out other activities, and forcing oneself to wait before acting. 

Secondly, is emotion-focused coping that centers around reducing or managing the emotional distress that is associated with the situation. This method is predominately used when people feel that the stressor is something that must be endured. Emotion-focused coping typically revolves around denial, others embrace a positive reinterpretation of stressful events and still others involve seeking out social support.

 As we delve deeper into the coping aspect of a sub-element of problem-focused coping we find Active Coping. Active coping is a process in which steps are taken to remove or circumvent the stressor or to at least minimize its effects. Just as the name implies this style of coping tends to involve direct action on the part of the individual coping with the stress by increasing one’s efforts or involvement in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the source of stress. Also under the umbrella of problem-focused coping is Planning. Planning is thinking or dwelling on how to cope with a stressor. An additional element of problem-focused coping is Suppression of competing activities. This enables the individual who is attempting to cope to avoid dealing with competing and conflicting events that will enable them to better focus on dealing with the stressor.

Restraint coping involves the individual waiting until the appropriate opportunity. This requires that an individual would be holding back and deferring any action until either they are better equipped to handle the stress or if acting prematurely would simply aggravate the situation further. The last element, Seeking social support, is the process of seeking out advice or assistance in coping with stress. Essentially, this is seeking “moral support” or seeking knowledge and understanding about the source of the stress. Other more traditional methods for coping with stress include the following; medication, stress management programs, behavioral approaches, massage, cognitive therapy and mediation.

My Stress Assessment
As promised the author of this article will now reveal the results of an online stress assessment[7]. Personal Results of Test as follows: HIGH

A high level of stress puts you at increased risk of serious health consequences, including obesity, heart disease and depression. Take steps to lower your level now.

Stress is what you experience when the level of your stressors exceeds your ability to cope. To lower your stress level, you have two options.

You can start by identifying sources of stress that you can eliminate. Consider internal stressors, such as fears or unrealistic expectations, as well as external stressors, such as family or work demands. Next, seek out effective strategies for coping with stress, including exercise, painting, humor or simply saying no. If you need help identifying stress management strategies, talk to your health care provider.

In Closing
Upon review of the results of this research, which only scratches the surface, the author hereby intends on making lifestyle changes that are better suited to not only coping better with stress but preventing it. Another stress assessment put the author at risk for hypertension, stroke and even genetic predisposition for a heart attack unless measures to improve coping with stress are immediately taken. Taking this all into consideration from a generational standpoint we are training out children on how to identify and cope with stress now. It is our hope that they are better equipped to handle the stress of their day. As stated in the opening paragraph 26 years ago stress was the number 1 health problem – let’s hope 26 more years from now the problem that generation has is how to handle all their “stress-free time!”  – By Rodger Mangold 


[1] Time Magazine: June 6, 1983 “Stress! Seeking Cures for Modern Anxieties

[2] www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/topic.php?id=6 – American Psychology Association Website

[3] www.stress.org – Article from the American Institute on Stress

[4] Encyclopedia of Medicine

[5] Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine – Article by Paula Ford-Martin: Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

[6] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1989, Vol. 56, No. 2, 267-283

[7] Mayo Clinic Stress Assessment – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-aassessment/SR00029

A Southern Mystery

SUMPNOTHER

I’ve often wondered about a very puzzling southern term…it sounds like it could be a phrase, but it’s actually one word; ‘sumpnother.’

In a sentence would go as follows, “I got sumpnother stuck in my eye!”

Other examples of ‘sumpnother’.

• Sumpnother’s crawled up in there ‘n died!
• You can have sumpnother for dinner.
• You can eat sumpnother using sumpnother.
• Sumpnother can clog your drains, and you can use sumpnother to clean ’em out!
• You can even write sumpnother with sumpnother.
• You can store sumpnother inside sumpnother to keep sumpnother from getting spoiled.
• You can catch sumpnother if you do sumpnother, or if you forget to use sumpnother.
• Sumpnother can hurt for days until you take sumpnother for it.
• You can die from sumpnother if you don’t watch out for sumpnother.
• Sumpnother can clean sumpnother out.
• Sumpnother can fix sumpnother.
• You can even get fixin’ to do sumpnother.
• Sumpnother can smell unless you spray sumpnother on it.
• Sumpnother runs good until sumpnother happens to it.
• At times ‘sumpnother’ can tell you things…”Sumpnother told me ya’ll was comin’ over!”
• You see sumpnother by using sumpnother.
• You can fetch sumpnother by climbing up sumpnother.
• You can use sumpnother to remind you to do sumpnother.
• While you were doin’ sumpnother, like readin’ this, sumpnother wadn’t getting’ done, so now you gotta hurry up and do sumpnother!
• Sumpnother tells me you’re gonna forward this sumpnother to your friends so they can use their sumpnother to send it to other people’s sumpnother. Then, maybe just maybe, sumpnother will be done about figuring out sumpnother about sumpnother.

Dedicated to my brother in-law Shane Jenkinson, who always has sumpnother to tell me about sumpnother that makes me laugh my sumpnother off.

Inspired by sumpnother that someone said about sumpnother!

Rodger Mangold

If Thy Presence Go Not With Me

stone-trustConsider the following passage – paying close attention to Moses’ outright refusal to go any further without the LORD’s presence…

Exodus 33:12-23

12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Taking that Next Step

Occasionally, I find myself in situations that push me beyond my comfort zone. Situations I personally feel inadequate to handle. Certainly, I understand the Lord is always with me, but the situations I’m describing are situations that will require a supernatural confirmation and reassurance. In reading the scripture above I learned I am not alone in feeling this way. Even after the mighty things God accomplished through Moses, he still needed the reassurance that the next step he was to take would be accompanied by the LORD. Moses realized early on, that there was not enough talent, skill, ability, charisma, or clout that could make up for not having the presence of God with him. Wouldn’t you think that past experience would have built up a certain level of confidence? Try as we may we can’t placate that feeling of being overwhelmed. The feeling that the next step we take is going require an extra level of certainty from the only ONE that can give it…God himself!

Dare I say, this present generation is at that junction. Our faith is being challenged. Our loved ones are under attack by sicknesses, some unto death. Our finances are in turmoil. Our economy, our way of life, our government, and dare I say our freedoms, are on the endangered list, if not experiencing outright extinction. If ever we needed that reassurance we need it now.

What About Trust?

But, all of this begs the question, “where does trust come in?” Surely Moses could have based his trust on past performance with God. He could have even based his trust on the Word of God. God continuously spoke to Moses, as a man speaks to his friend, face to face. How much more reassurance would you need? Perhaps this wasn’t about trust at all – maybe it was more about Moses’ willingness to stay put until he knew that God had called him to the next level.

Exodus 14:13-14 – And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

You see Moses learned, as we all should, that there are times that we must stand still! We mistake activity for productivity. Movement for progress. Busyness for business. Not so with God. If ever there was a time we need to stand still and see the hand of the LORD fight for HIS people it is today!

That’s not to say we should leave ourselves vulnerable or unprotected. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:(Ephesians 6:12-14)

The Great Shaking

Hebrews 12:26-29Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

There appears to be a shaking of sorts happening now! Globally our financial systems are in dire straits! Globally we are not only financially bankrupt, we are morally bankrupt! And as this world is shaking and reeling from the calamities it faces, this truly will be the time that the chaff will be separated from the wheat!

As Christians, we should echo the opening chorus in Psalms – 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree plantedby the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

In Closing

And he (Moses) said unto him, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Moses’ remarks were far from being rooted in distrust, uncertainty, and disbelief. They were essential to the direction of the nation of Israel – God’s chosen people. We should mirror this pattern in our lives as God’s Elect! Wherever I go the Presence of the LORD must be a pre-requisite! I never want to GO where the presence of the LORD hasn’t led me. I never want to BE where the presence of the LORD hasn’t directed me. I never want to know what it’s like not to have the presence of the LORD, not just WITH me, but INSIDE of me!

James bluntly states in chapter 4 verses 13-15:  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

We are such a blessed people to have a God that cares about our future. In fact He not only cares about it…He’s creating it as you read this posting! Prayerfully consider your next step. It could be that God doesn’t want you to step at all – He may want you to stay!

Origin of the Mangold Family Name – By Peter Mangold

Böckten, Basel-Country Switzerland

Preface
Mr. Peter Mangold from Switzerland was kind enough to leave this information on our blog regarding the origins of the Mangold name. His original comment can be found HERE. I hope those with our unique name will find this helpful. A special thanks goes out to Peter for his research.

Introduction
I just found your blog as I out of curiosity entered my own name in Google. I’m a Mangold from northwestern Switzerland, a Region where this surname is relatively widely spread. In fact, as I know, the Mangold surname originated in southern Germany, a region not far from northwestern Switzerland. Still today, most bearers of this name in Europe live in this area. As far as I know, the ancestors of my family moved in from there somewhere at around 1400 – 1500. Around the year 1500, according to parish registers, a Mangold family lived in the tiny town of Böckten in the Canton (State) of Baselland. The very town my grandfather was born 100 years ago. Today, the village and its neighboring towns are still home to quite a lot of Mangolds – I grew up only a few miles away. (Official Böckten Website)

Mangold Origins – Personality to Rule
As of the origin of the name, I have other information than you: Personally, I think an origin in either Spain or Italy is unrealistic. First of all, mobility in the Middle Ages was much lower than today (very much lower!) and only very few people moved very far from where they were born. in fact, moving out of a certain area was even prohibited by the authorities in certain regions (because the people were subjects of their lords – and required a permission to move and even to marry outside of their district). Secondly, even if somebody settled down far away from where he came from (for example mercenaries that could not or would not return home), they were mostly given names referring to their place of origin rather than they kept their own names. This was not unusual, as in these days, people had normally only one name and their “last name” was either their fathers name, their profession or described where they lived (take as an example the Swiss-German name Amstutz meaning “the one who lives on the steep slope”) Therefore names could change quite quickly. When the need for proper identification became bigger as bureaucracies were created to administrate regions and rulers began to make lists of their subjects – such as parish registers – some names became permanent last names. These could again derive from either profession (for example Cooper and Miller), places or from a previous “first name” (so called patronymic). That was the case with Mangold as Mangold was – in the Middle Ages but no more today – a popular first name. It is in its development related to the name Walter – a german name that still is today both first name and last name. And as it is the case with Walter, it refers to a leadership position: Walter has its roots in Old German “waltan” and “heri”, meaning “to preside over, to dispose” and “army” as in modern German “walten” and “Heer”. Mangold derived from “manne” and “cwolt”, meaning “men” and “force, sway, violence” as in today’s German “Männer” and “Gewalt”. So it described someone who had the power and personality to rule.

I guess, the “legend” of an origin in Italy comes from a mistake (See referenced post here). Mangold is not only a name for a person but also the name of a plant in Germany (Chard or Silver Beet in English) and this plant has its origins around the Mediterranean Sea.

Greetings from Switzerland
Peter Mangold