Sherman County eNews #299


  1. This Advent

  2. This Christmas

  3. Position Open: Tri-County Veterans Service Officer

  4. Federal Changes to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  5. The Intersection of Only and Forever – Part 2

  6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

1. This Advent

This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.

Fill me with Your presence from the very start.

As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,

Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.

The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.

You came as a baby born in a manger.

Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,

Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,

When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.

Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.

And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”

“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.

Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.

Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.

Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.

Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.

Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.

Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.

In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.

This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.

Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.

Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.

Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.

~Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart” from Proverbs 31 Ministries

2. This Christmas

From The Editors of McCall’s Magazine

This Christmas, mend a quarrel.

Seek out a forgotten friend.

Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust.

Write a love letter. Share some treasure.

Give a soft answer. Encourage youth.

Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.

Keep a promise. Find the time.

Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy.

Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand.

Flout envy. Examine your demands on others.

Think first of someone else. Appreciate.

Be kind; be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.

Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice.

Decry complacency. Express your gratitude.

Go to church. Welcome a stranger.

Gladden the heart of a child.

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.

Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.

Christmas is celebration, and there is no celebration

that compares with the realization of its true meaning –

with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended

itself toward the core of life. Then, only then,

is it possible to grasp the significance of the first Christmas –

to savor in the inward ear the wild, sweet music of the angel choir;

to envision the star-struck sky, and glimpse,

behind the eyelids the ray of light that fell athwart

a darkened path and changed the world.

3. Notice. Position Open: Tri-County Veterans Service Officer

ShermanCoLogoSherman County is accepting employment applications for the position of Veterans Service Officer.  This is a full-time position that will serve the counties of Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler.

Primary responsibilities of this position include interviewing, counseling, advising and assisting veterans, dependents and survivors (claimants) in obtaining County, State and Federal benefits and related work as required.

For job description and/or application, contact the office of the Sherman County Court at 541-565-3416 or go online at under “Jobs/contracts”. Submit completed application and resume to the Sherman County Court, 500 Court Street, P.O. Box 365, Moro, OR 97039 Successful applicant must pass a criminal history background check. Sherman County is an equal opportunity employer. Position open until filled.

4. Federal Changes to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


(Salem, Ore.) – At least 19,000 Oregonians could lose government food assistance under a new federal rule finalized Thursday, December 5.

The rule will restrict states’ ability to allow certain adults to receive benefits for more than three months in a three-year period if they aren’t working or training at least 20 hours a week.

The change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was approved despite more than 140,000 negative public comments. It is expected to affect 700,000 SNAP recipients nationally once it takes effect in April.

Oregon, like most states, has used waivers to extend benefits for longer than three months to a group of SNAP recipients known as “able-bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWD) if they live in areas with high unemployment and limited job opportunities. This group includes individuals ages 18 through 49 who don’t have disabilities, don’t have children or other dependents and are considered able to work.

In January 2020, Oregon has approved waivers for 31 counties for ABAWD work requirements, which will now expire on March 31, 2020. Federal changes to eligibility requirements for waivers will limit the areas in Oregon that meet the requirements starting April 1, 2020. As a result, this means only six counties may be eligible to receive the waiver.

“SNAP plays a critical role in addressing hunger and food insecurity,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, Department of Human Services director. “SNAP benefits assist Oregonians during difficult times to help make ends meet, in particular those working low-wage or who are between jobs. For those already facing difficult circumstances, this rule exacerbates those circumstances. It also will result in an increased burden on food banks and other community resources to fill the void.”

Areas requesting federal waivers must have unemployment rates at least 20 percent higher than the national rate but not less than 6 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates unemployment rates for people without a high school diploma or GED are often more than double average unemployment rates. Other groups that face additional obstacles when seeking steady employment include agricultural workers, veterans, former foster youth, formerly incarcerated people and rural residents with limited transportation.

In addition to administrating SNAP benefits, the Department of Human Services provides workforce development and training opportunities so Oregonians can secure a living-wage job. More information on those programs can be found here

5. The Intersection of Only and Forever – Part 2

These last few days, we’ve been digging deeper into the subject of “happiness” – what it is, how to define it, and the different ways we go after it. The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, gave four levels to the definition of happiness, and they are just as applicable today as they were 2400 years ago.

It comes to mind that there may be an additional aspect that we can use to rank these levels of happiness, to help us choose how we want to live our lives. Plato must have been pondering the same thing, as he offered these three criteria to help with the decision-making process:

  • The longer happiness lasts, the better. Considering the number of happiness-producing events for an individual, family or organization, then those that have the longest-lasting effects can be seen as being a higher level than those that only last a short time. It’s long-term thinking vs. short-term, long-term solutions vs. short-term reactions.
  • The more pervasive happiness is, the better. In other words, if the happiness spreads beyond self to a group or organization, the larger positive effect it will have. With a larger scope, the happiness-producing event has greater value. The “see the ice cream; eat the ice cream” event is an individual experience and does virtually nothing beyond the individual. However, creating a product or service that enhances the lives of a multitude of people, grows the scope and has greater value.
  • The deeper the happiness is, the better. Now what do we mean by “deep”? In Plato’s terms, he was talking about the full use of our capabilities. When we use our powers, our abilities and capabilities, to create enduring and pervasive good, we make ourselves happy in a deeply satisfying way. At the same time, we are bringing a high level of happiness to the world.

If we use these criteria to evaluate our decisions and actions, we will discover a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. We will find ourselves living at that level of Contribution without having to struggle. Our mindset shifts in order to support these new values.

Now, it is not necessary to give up Instant Gratification or Competition, in order to move to Contribution, and we don’t need to give up these three to pursue the Ultimate. When we thoughtfully choose the levels we want to experience, expand what we want and decide how to go about getting it – based on our values – we will find that we live more fulfilling lives. ~The Pacific Institute

6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

bird.owl.limbChristianity. What is Advent? December 1st – 24th

The History and Meaning of the Advent Calendar

Columbia River Basalt Group Stretches from Oregon to Idaho

USGS. The Volcanoes of Lewis & Clark

Sherman County Historical Museum

Afghanistan war metrics were manipulated to highlight battlefield success, according to bombshell WaPo report

The World Clock

Oregon Encyclopedia

OPB Video. Portland’s World Class Japanese Garden

Wyden Announces Statewide Effort for Wild and Scenic Rivers