Author  |  Jeff Olson

the power of beauty

Sunsets. People tend to stop what they are doing to watch them . . . take pictures of them . . . admire their splendor.

new

Happy New Year! It’s time again to ring in another fresh set of 365 days.

promises kept

In the 2013 film Man of Steel, young Clark Kent used his super-human strength to save a busload of fellow students from drowning in a river. Clark’s father, who believed the world wasn’t prepared to accept his supernatural son, urged Clark to keep his great strength a secret. He explained to him, “When the world finds out what you can do, it’s going to change everything—our beliefs, our notions of what it means to be human—everything!”

using your gift

The 2013 film Frozen tells the story of a troubled princess named Elsa who possessed a special gift—the power to create ice and snow. We’re not talking about making iced tea. No—with a flick of the wrist, this princess could unleash a blizzard that would instantly turn a warm summer day into a cold winter wonderland.

not far from us

Scientists tell us that the chemical element carbon is the building block of life. Hidden from the naked eye, this vital atom is in everything, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. In fact, carbon makes up nearly 20 percent of the human body.

to suffer alone

In a Downton Abbey episode, beloved housemaid Anna Bates is brutally raped. It was heart-wrenching to watch her try to keep it a secret. The head housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, found Anna shortly after the assault—bruised, crying, and hiding in a corner. Despite the strong urgings of Mrs. Hughes, Anna told her to tell no one, not even her husband. She was not only afraid he would kill her assailant, but she also felt “dirty” and believed the attack was somehow her fault.

turning to friends

Redwood trees can grow to incredible heights—some reaching more than 375 feet! Yet most redwoods have a shallow root system that typically burrows less than 10 feet into the ground.

heart condition

Every morning I pop a baby-strength aspirin. Heart disease runs in my family, and my doctor says it’s good for the health of my ticker.

for everyone

The very first time one of the apostles stood up and publicly addressed a crowd about the good news of Jesus, he wanted to make it crystal-clear that what he was proclaiming was for everyone.

clinging to hope

During the summer of 2011, Dave Mull spent nearly 4 hours adrift and alone in the rolling waves of Lake Michigan, clinging only to the handles of a Coleman cooler. The boat Dave had been fishing in had suddenly capsized and sank 5 miles offshore, forcing him and his three companions into the deep, troubled waters. Before Dave became separated from the others, he selflessly surrendered his life jacket to one of his friends who was struggling to hang on to the floating cooler.

destructive pride

In the classic 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the town’s strapping, egotistical hero. He’s a “manly man” admired by the locals and desired by many of the town’s younger women. Most seem to be huge fans of Gaston and overlook his obnoxious ways, except for the young and beautiful Belle.

the rules of grief

Two years ago, I held my father’s hand as he drew his last breath. Since then, as I’ve struggled to figure out what a world without Dad looks like, I’ve learned and relearned a few things about grieving.

sleepless nights

Sleep. It’s one of the most underrated pleasures in life. There’s nothing like a good night’s rest or napping on a rainy day. My bed feels like a refuge—a small sanctuary from the cares of life.

one

Have you ever wanted to take a quick peek at someone else’s mail? Maybe it was an envelope from a doctor’s office that held the results of a family member’s recent medical tests. Or perhaps it was a letter addressed to your parents from an estranged family member. As you held the envelope in your hands, the temptation to open it might have felt overwhelming.

dead coming back to life

The Dead Sea in Israel is a one-of-a-kind place to take a dip. Tourists who enter its waters immediately realize that swimming aids aren’t necessary. Yep, there’s no need to tread water in the Dead Sea. Due to its exceptionally high concentration of salt, people simply float on its surface like apples bobbing in a barrel of water.