The 31st Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened on 5th January in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang, in north-eastern China. The event is recognized as the largest of its kind in the world. The Festival officially lasts for one month, but with winter temperatures in the city averaging a bone-chilling minus 17C, many of the sculptures remain in place for considerably longer than that.The sculptures are formed either from compacted snow, or from blocks of ice which are hauled out of the nearby Songhua River. Purified water is also used, – frozen into blocks of clear ice. Many of the sculptures are illuminated to add another dimension to the displays during the long hours of darkness at this time of the year.
The Festival began in 1963 but it was only held sporadically, because of the upheaval during the Cultural Revolution. It became a regular event in 1985. In 2001 the Harbin Ice Festival was merged with the Heilongjiang International Ski Festival, to become the event we know today. In 2007, a sculpture celebrating the work of a revered Canadian doctor, Norman Bethune, was recognised as the world’s largest ice sculpture. Featuring both Niagara Falls and the Bering Strait, it measured 250m in length and 8.5m in height. A total of 13,000 cubic metres of snow was used in its construction
Ice carving has a long tradiotion in China. Fisherman and peasants used to carve blocks of ice to form lanterns. Slides and mazes allow visitors to interact with some of the sculptures. Enormous snow sculptures lie on the opposite bank of the Songhua River Sculptors travel from the US, Canada, Russia, Japan and Singapore to showcase their skills. More than 7,000 workers have been employed to help in the construction of the Ice City. One of the highlights of the festival is a replica of the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Festival has attracted a combined total of 28.5 million visitors in the last two years.
– Richard Angwin
The reports of the death of Little Jimmy Dickens noted that he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. So who is now the oldest member you ask….. The Opry says it’s Ralph Stanley, who will be 88 next month. The longest running member is Jean Shepard, who joined in 1955. Country music has been mourning since Little Jimmy Dickens passed away on Friday at the age of 94. Ralph Stanley will release Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow on Jan 19, exclusively at all Cracker Barrell Old Country Store locations and online at crackerbarrel.com. The album features guest artists Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack and more!
– Posted by Country Girl CMTT
My steadfast Love never ceases, My mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. I know how desperately you want to believe this-and how much you are struggling to do so. Today, the only things that seem endless are your problems and your pain. But I am here-tenderly present-ready to help you get safely through this day. Believing this truth can make the difference between coping and giving up in despair.
Some days, when things are going reasonably well, it is easy to trust in My steadfast Love. But when new, unexpected problems strike, trusting Me takes much more effort. At such times it can help to remember that you receive new mercies every morning. When you are getting dressed, recall that I have clothed you in garments of salvation. Because you wear My robe of righteousness, you are on your way to heaven! This is an incredible act of mercy-snatching you from the jaws of hell and putting you on the path to Glory. Nothing you face today can compare with this mercy-gift of eternal Life!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -Lamentations 3:22-23 nrsv
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. -Isaiah 61:10 nkjv
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 esv