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We heard from you!


Appearance

Overall Size

Binding & Durability

Format of & Information on Interior Pages

Size & Space of Interior Pages

Teaching Value

Comment Form



A big Thank You goes out to all those who have filled out surveys! Your input has been great, and we have been blessed by the positive response the calendar has received! Now, some of you have made requests and/or suggestions and we want you to know we have taken every one of them into consideration. However, this truth may not be obvious just by looking at the next calendar, so we have created this "Survey Response" page.

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Of course, your survey responses are confidential, so we will in no way be telling who made a particular suggestion, but for those who would like to see a response to their suggestion(s), we feel this is a great way to share. If you have further input about the calendar and/or our response to something here, please let us know. You can use our Contact Page or the Comment Form on this page.

Click Here For The PDF Calendar Page

The bulk of this page is the survey feedback and our response to that feedback, which came during the first two years of the calendar. These were development years, and no one got a calendar which did not come with a survey they could fill out and send back. Here, the information is divided into categories much like the layout of the original survey; and though we no longer send surveys with every calendar, newer feedback on the calendar project may be received from time to time from those who contact us directly or through our electronic calendar survey. To make it easier for all those who read at least a fair portion of the original information presented here, and then revisit this page after giving feedback or just to see if anything new has been added, all the newest feedback, and our responses to it, will be posted at the bottom of the main topic section which it relates to.

In no way should anything we talk about here be considered a negative to anyone who responded. These are simply thoughts which, for the most part, reveal the overall reality of trying to produce the best and most useful product we can achieve. Everyone should understand the simple truth of life that you can not please all the people all the time! That being said, it has certainly been our desire to make this calendar everything to everyone we can. It's only the limits of time, financing, and feasibility which has caused us not to be able to accommodate every personal preference. We love all those who take part in this ministry and appreciate every response we receive.

We have attempted to handle the responses in as orderly a fashion as possible so you can hope to find the information you are looking for. However, the responses about so many things play into other factors which may not seem to those filling out surveys to be connected. Size is a very good example of what I am talking about. We had some responses which pointed out that they thought this part or that part of the inside pages should have more room; yet along with that, they desired the overall size of the calendar to be more compact. These two things are not mutually exclusive; so while we may be able to do one requested item, it's, in some cases, impossible to accomplish the other at the same time.

Of course, the other conflict with the survey responses is something we knew would likely be true, to at least some degree, on many issues. This is the fact that on some issues, for every survey which said they did not like a certain thing, there was another survey which said the person did like that very thing. What we looked at in all this is the volume of responses. Did we get a great deal of complaints about a certain item which had little or no counter response? Even in the cases where the responses seem to cancel each other out, we asked, was there a high volume of responses which would cause us to try to in some way accommodate the fact so many people expressed the same opinion?



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Appearance

Positive - We are happy to report, everyone who responded seemed to like the calendarís appearance; or maybe more importantly, just as the survey asked, they felt comfortable using it around, and showing it to, those about them. This was important to us because we hoped we had produced a product which was not so plain that some did not like it; but at the same time, we did not want it to be flashy because taste can vary greatly. We really only got one suggestion about the calendarís appearance, and we will cover that below.

* People said they would feel comfortable using this calendar basically anywhere. It seemed to us the only reason some people did not circle all the choices on the survey was because not everyone goes to school, or because of retirement, they no longer go to a job.

* People mentioned they would take it on vacation and use it while traveling.

* When it came to feeling comfortable showing it to others, again, most people circled all categories and/or simply wrote, "anyone."

* People specifically pointed out they would show it to people who did not know the Bible - someone they are witnessing to.

* One minister specified he would show it to fellow ministers.

Negative - The next item was really more of a suggestion than it was a negative; but for the sake of consistent categorization, we will list all these kinds of responses, with the negative side of things. The only suggestion we got concerned the color, and it being something which blended in so well with other papers the person carries, it was hard to find at times.

* It was suggested that a brighter color might be nice.

Solution - For this point, there are two solutions we would like to suggest. One is that the calendar is covered with a plastic jacket. Any number of things could be inserted between the plastic jacket and the cover of the calendar which could give more color. One suggestion which came up when talking about this issue was that fluorescent tape or stickers could be used to brighten up the edge(s) of the cover.

The second solution is one of the reasons the Institute has begun to produce a print-it-yourself version of the calendar. It's published in PDF format, so it's not hard to bring up on your computer and print out just the way our standard calendarís interior pages print. Once you print it, you can bind it in anyway you wish and give it any outer appearance you desire. The first two pages of the PDF file are even the front and back covers of the standard calendar. If you wanted to print these out on colored paper and insert them into your standard calendarís jacket, all youíd be doing is changing the color of your calendar. We certainly donít mind your newly colored calendar maintaining the Instituteís symbol!

All the information about what the PDF calendar is, more tips on how to use it, and even the ability to share your own useful tips about how to make it what you want, can be accessed by clicking here.

Bottom line - If there is anyone out there who did not like the calendarís appearance, they must have disliked it so much they just tossed it aside. In any case, they never told us about it. Judging by your responses, we believe the appearance is a success, and we will not be changing anything about it anytime in the foreseeable future!

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Overall Size

Positive - The item we received the most feedback on is one you might have guessed, and that is, the size of the calendar. Happily, we can report that the responses on the calendarís size were mostly positive ones! In fact, they were more positive than we expected, and for that we are grateful. It's not often you hit the nail so directly on the head with your first swing. On that note, we will start with the strictly positive side of this issue.

* People told us they liked the fact the calendar was thin.

* One person pointed out that the calendar fits on a clipboard, which they liked about it.

* People liked the fact it fit with standard sized papers, and the fact it's smaller than 8.5" x 11" makes it possible to slide it inside a standard notebook, binder, or satchel without sticking out or inhabiting oneís ability to zip or snap closed such an item.

Negative - On the more negative side of this issue, we really only received one thought when strictly talking about the calendarís outside dimensions.

* A few people would like the calendar to be even smaller, suggesting even a pocket-size calendar, or at least something which fits in a purse.

We will admit that because of these responses, we have considered the possibility of producing a pocket-size, or the like. However, the problem we run into with this is that the calendarís primary purpose for existing is to teach Biblical truths by including a format which shows you the Biblical/Jewish calendar along with the Gregorian one. When you attempt to shrink this format down to a size which is more pocket size, it becomes very hard to see everything or even fit everything in, especially without taking out all the room for notes and such. We can say without a doubt that removing Notes and To Do List areas would be a negative to many of the people who responded. Most people liked and, if anything, wanted more space dedicated to these areas.

Now, we know there are those who would enjoy having a pocket calendar, even if the information was very small and the note areas disappeared altogether. Because of this, we cannot say a more pocket-sized calendar is out of the question. However, the likelihood of it appears slim at this time. Not only is there the problem of fitting everything in, using a format which is not practically useless on the teaching level, but the feasibility of producing a second calendar which must be designed and published completely separate from the one we now produce, is just not something our organization is big enough to do right now. On top of all that, there is the point that a smaller sized calendar was not something which got a lot of votes, so weíre not sure if there are enough people interested in a smaller version to justify producing one. However, we do have one solution which could be of interest to some.

Solution - This issue is also one of the reasons we have created an alternative to the standard calendar, and that is the PDF version you can download from this site. With the PDF version, you are free to play with the size of the calendar, the way you print it out, as well as the way you bind it. This will take some effort on the user's part, but it's certainly a valuable tool for those who would like to try. All the information about what the PDF calendar is, tips on how to use it, and even the ability to share your own useful tips on how to make it what you want, can be accessed by clicking here. Who knows, some feedback from a user of the PDF version may hold the key to a simple way for the Institute to regularly produce a smaller version of the calendar!

Bottom line - The Institute will continue to produce the calendar in the size it has been produced for the first two years. We will also offer the PDF version for those who would like to print their own, and consider the feasibility of doing a second smaller version of the calendar as time goes on!

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Binding & Durability

Positive - Durability is where we took the most hits about the calendar. However, this was the kind of feedback we really needed in order to make the necessary improvements! We should point out that many of the negatives we were told about in this area had to do with the production value of the calendar, not the fact it was saddle-staple binding in general. For the most part, people liked the staple binding.

* People said it kept the calendar flat, thin, and easy to put with other papers.

Negative - We should also point out that most of the negatives came from surveys of the first yearís calendar, and by the second year, durability was not an issue.

* Some reported the centerfold of the calendar did manage to come loose before the end of the year.

* It was mentioned that the staples could catch on fingers sometimes.

Solution - The first year we produced the calendar, we utilized a long reach stapler that used a standard staple gauge which most office staplers use. For the production of the second yearís calendar, we purchased a commercial saddle stapler which uses a commercial gauge staple. This not only seemed to fix the problem of any folds coming loose, but also has improved our production speed for the calendar.

This also seemed to put the catching on the fingers issue behind us. A stronger staple is less likely to get ends bent upward. A thicker staple is not as sharp at the ends, and the new stapler bends the staples more inward than did the original stapler. Overall, it brought the calendars up to a commercial standard which exists across most all staple bound materials. By year two, the finger problem did not come up and people said the staple binding was the strength of the calendar!

Negative - * It was mentioned that the calendar was a bit of a light weight and got squished up a lot when put with other papers.

Solution - This response also came from a first year survey, and the first yearís calendar had a much thinner plastic jacket. In fact, we had some trouble obtaining a jacket at all which was the right size for these calendars. Without buying tens of thousands of them at a time from overseas companies, it looked like we were going to be left with no option but to change the size of the calendar. This would have been a bad thing since we were already getting feedback which said people liked the size.

Bottom line - In the end, we are glad to report that we did finally find a local company which was able to produce just the amounts we needed, at an affordable rate. All we had to do was pay for a mold to be set up at the size we needed and we were in business. The new jacket is much thicker plastic than the first yearís, and though the calendar will always be vulnerable to bigger notebooks and such, we believe the new jacket is a great improvement. We thank the Lord He led us to the company we now use, and we received no negative comments on the calendarís durability during year two!

Positive Negative Solution Negative Solution Bottom Line
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Format of & Information on Interior Pages

Of course, an item of great interest to us was the feedback on the formatting of the interior pages. By this, I am referring to the way the calendar is put together to visually present information to the user, and prove useful as a planner. We also received feedback which relates to the sizing of items on the pages and on the written teaching inside the calendar, but we will discuss the responses to those issues in their own segments.

Positive - The positive response was, once again, a great encouragement to us! No one found any errors in the calendar, which is great because calendars are a complex thing to put together; and I will come back to that thought while later addressing one of the negative comments we received.

We received no responses from anyone who did not like the format as it relates to the putting two calendars together. When asked if the calendar was a good teaching tool, the answer was yes! When asked if the format was helpful in bringing understanding about the Biblical/Jewish calendar, everyone weíve heard from, to date, rated it as good or excellent! This was fantastic, because showing the calendars together in a visually understandable way, is the foundation of what the calendar is produced to accomplish! At the same time, making the calendar useful for everyday life was also a significant goal, that if we had been unable to accomplish, we would have dropped the project completely.

* People liked the Addresses and Phone Numbers pages.

* People liked the Notes page.

* People liked the inclusion of an area for Notes on the month pages.

* People found the inclusion of the To Do List, "very helpful."

* People liked the Important Dates page.

* People also liked the month at a time view; as apposed to a daily, weekly, or multiple month at a time view.

* People liked the weeks starting with Sunday, which is something many business calendars no longer do. Of course, this planner, in order to show what it's trying to teach, needs to follow the days in the way God created them. Thus, it was great that people actually mentioned they liked this format, and this format will not change going forward!

Negative - On the negative side, there were very specific things certain people pointed out; so we will go over these comments and our responses, not in a list, but one at a time.

* One person pointed out, they did not like the numbers on the To Do List lines.

We discussed this comment at length and talked about the possibility of replacing the numbers with some sort of bullet type icon or the like. However, no one really liked this idea because of the fact bullets do not give a very good visual reference to the lines as you glance over to see something you know is a ways down your To Do List. It also takes away the possibility of referring to a numbered line in a note you may put on a day in order to tie information together. These negatives seemed to outweigh the negative pointed out about having numbers.

Fortunately, this person was a respondent whom we had permission to converse directly with about their responses. What we found was that this particular person looked at the numbers on the To Do List as relating to the dates of the days of the week, and not just as a visual reference for the lines. Because of this, they pointed out that the lines were much too small to be useful, especially if you had more than one thing to do in a day. They would just as soon this be simply lines for things to do so they could put their own numbers on them.

Once it was explained it's only a coincidence that there tends to be about 31 lines in the To Do List, but the intent of the numbers was not to correlate to each dayís date, the person agreed that the numbers were a better thing than any bullets would be. They also agreed they did not want us to do away with any of the lines, but adding more would squish up the room for writing, too much. No one really liked the idea of leaving the lines with no visual point of separation; so we chose to leave the numbers, with the knowledge people are free to write them out, mark over them, or do whatever they found most useful.

Bottom line - We donít know if anyone else had interpreted the numbers of the To Do List in this way, but if so, we would like to apologize for any confusion this coincidence may have caused!

Negative - Another suggestion we received, was to attempt to make the Phone Numbers and Addresses section separate-able from the calendar so it could be edited and added to by itself, then inserted into each new yearís calendar.

With the staple binding, the only way we could think to make this possible was to produce a phone number and address book all by itself. However, we ran into a conflict with the idea that so many people told us they liked the fact the Phone Numbers and Addresses part was all-in-one with the calendar. In fact, the closest thing to another negative comment we received on this issue was that one person pointed out they did not need this section at all, because they depend on business cards more. We feared if we made this section a separate book, even if it fit neatly somehow into the back cover of the calendarís jacket, there would be many people who did not like having it there. If you make it separate and do not leave the existing pages in the calendar, people who did not like the insert might want to take it out, and this would leave them with no phone number and address book combined with the calendar. On the flip side of this is that if we left the existing pages in the calendar and produce a separate book, it just adds a bit more cost to the production of the calendar on top of the added cost and time of making a separate book. This was even more distasteful when we thought about just sending the insert-able book to everyone, knowing many people would just throw it out because they like the pages inside the calendar.

What this left us with was the idea of coming up with a separate book which people would need to specifically order along with the calendar, if they wanted it. This way, we would not have to send it to everyone, and attempt to keep records of who it had been sent to so that we would not waste resources sending it out every year to those who already had it, or those who did not want it at all. However, this brought up the issue of how to send the calendar to, or catch the attention of, first time users in order to get them to understand why we had this separate book. If we send it automatically there is the waste and record keeping issue again, as well as the fact new users need to be aware they are not going to get it automatically every year. If we do not send it with the calendar automatically, we have to find a way to tell people about it in the first place - why it exists and how to get it - without a lengthy explanation?

Just as many people will not take the time to read this survey response page, many people will not take the time to understand a separate insert-able phone number and address book is available, even if they are one of those who would like to have it. Along with all this is the question of - will current users who are happy with it being included, mistakenly believe the calendar no longer contains this section? Will some go ahead and order the book when they will never use it; or worse, will some choose not to order a new yearís calendar at all because they believe it no longer contains the Phone Numbers and Addresses section they so loved having? In the end, we just couldnít see how to get it to the right people without wasting a great deal of material which could become cost inhibiting to the production of the calendar altogether.

Solution - In the way of solutions to this idea, we have two. There is nothing about the Phone Numbers and Addresses section of the calendar which has to do with the calendarís teaching value. Thus, there is no serious reason for a person to get a separate book directly from us. While we have not put the thought of someday making one, completely out in the cold, we found there are many available sizes and styles of phone number and address books available in various stores. While some people might have trouble finding one of these which fits perfectly in the jacket of the calendar we produce, there are generally those small enough to slide in the pocket of the jacket so they will not simply fall out as you carry your calendar. In fact, this may be the best we could ever offer even if we produced such an item, and it's possible that making a third party product available to go along with the calendar would prove to be a more cost effective solution in the end, even for us.

The other solution is something, which if a person is reading this entire response page, they have and/or will read many times. The PDF version is available through our website. Even if you want to order the printed calendar from the Institute, you can download the PDF version for free, and print off just the pages for Phone numbers and addresses. The print area of the PDF pages are the same size as the standard print calendar even though they print out on 8.5"x11" sheets of paper. All they need is a bit of trimming which can be done with scissors or a paper cutter, which you can use at many office supply and/or print center stores.

For those who like three-ring binders or flat portfolios with the three metal fasteners inside, the PDF version is a perfect solution to this issue! Though it can be modified in many ways, the PDF calendarís native design is for punching holes in the binding edge and putting it in a three-ring binder. Each year, you can simply print out the PDF calendar, leaving out the phone number and address pages, punch holes in the edge and replace last year's calendar. This way, you can leave or transfer to the next year's folder those phone number and address pages youíve already filled in. Also, you can print out new pages to replace or add to this section of your calendar anytime you want!

All the information about what the PDF calendar is, tips on how to print and bind it, plus, the ability to share your own useful tips on how to make it what you want, can be accessed by clicking here.

Bottom line - The standard calendar will continue to be produced with the current phone number and address pages for those who desire them. If the opportunity for us to produce or just provide a custom or convenient insert-able book arises, we will do so. We will also offer the PDF version for those who would like to print their own calendar pages.

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Negative - Also on the negative side of accuracy and formatting, a couple of people brought up an issue which we knew we were walking a balance beam on, and which there is no way to avoid the simple fact it comes down to making choices.

* We were asked about the fact certain holidays are left off this calendar.

For this, I will start with a general discussion of this point, and then I want to address a more specific question asked in one of the surveys.

When it comes to what holidays to put in a calendar and which ones to leave off, some people might believe the issue is not a problem. This is because most people have a specific idea of what holidays they would put on a calendar if they were simply putting one together for themselves. Individuals know which holidays are important to them, and they may never think about the others. However, when you are an organization who is attempting to put together a calendar which goes out to many people, even in different countries, it's not so easy to choose. One point is simple, and that is the fact you cannot include every holiday that everyone would look for or want. If you did, just about every day would list something. Not only would this make the calendar messy, but it would make it even harder to put together. Not all holidays are as straight forward as the U.S. Independence Day, which is always July 4th. Some holidays have to be calculated or declared by an organization before you know when they occur. This makes the accuracy of a calendar a very big job.

On the international issue, there is the simple point that there are many different holidays which we are just not aware of or know how important they may be to different people. We could end up putting many things on the calendar which no one cares about and still leave off things many people do care about. Then there is the issue of having some of the same holidays, but on different days. For example: Thanksgiving in the U.S. is not held on the same day as it is in Canada.

Bottom Line - The bottom line is that no matter how much we tried, and no matter how much we desired to, it became clear there was no way to include everything everyone might want. What this led to was the simple fact that we had to develop a mode of thinking which would guide us through the process of choosing what was best for this calendar!

Solution - Of course, the item at the top of the list is the issue that we developed this calendar as a teaching tool for the purpose of teaching Biblical truths. We did not want it to be cluttered with a number of holidays which would distract from this goal. Beyond that were factors such as, what events go along with what we are trying to teach in this calendar? This brought about the inclusion of such things as "Israelís Independence Day" and "Holocaust Remembrance Day," as itís declared by Israel. The modern establishment of the state of Israel is not specifically represented by an observation in the law of Moses; but it's prophesied in Scripture, and very important to believers the world over whether they realize it or not. The same is true of the events leading up to, and surrounding the Holocaust.

Another factor was to show events which we believe are held today because people are specifically following the advice and example God gave us through the law of Moses. While this was difficult to do on an international level, choosing to include American events which match this criteria serves as an example of following the example. This is why events such as, "National Day of Prayer" and U.S. "Thanksgiving" are listed. Along with that is the fact Living Springs Institute, though international, is based in the U.S. This means we understand the U.S. observations and events, and can judge their importance to users of the calendar. Thus, the inclusion of American events which at least should be important to our nation, such as "Veterans' Day" and "Presidents' Day."

We apologize to our international brothers and sisters that we do not have enough information to make such judgment calls for every area of the world, but the inclusion of the U.S. events should not inhibit the use of this calendar by the international community!

Negative - Now, I want to take a little time to talk about a specific question which was posed in one of the surveys, and which is directly related to this issue, but with more religious significance!

* We were asked, what happened to Resurrection Day?

We did not modify this. We were asked specifically about Resurrection Day, and this is a good thing. Why? You may ask. Because I can simply say that Resurrection Day is included in the calendar and is one of the main reasons the calendar is produced. Jesus died on Passover, which is the 14th day of the first Biblical month. He was in the grave during the first day of The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is the 15th day of the first Biblical month; and He resurrected just as He said He would on the third day of the process, which is Firstfruits, the 16th day of the first Biblical month!

Knowing when true Biblical Resurrection Day is, can only be done by understanding the calendar God gave to Israel, which is exactly what this calendar is attempting to do. However, there is a reason most people do not know anything about this fact, and that reason is that most people professing to be Christians have simply celebrated the event on a day chosen by the Catholic church.

This calendar is in no way intended to be anti-Catholic. However, the point here is, there are many things Catholic which, in truth, are not in line with the Bible. Again, not picking on Catholics, but the issue brought up by this question has directly to do with a bad teaching that came from the Catholic church! Here at the Institute, we are not interested in denominational doctrine. We believe all teaching should come straight from Godís Word! If there is a point of teaching or - as it is in this case - an observation which goes against or conflicts what the Bible tells us, it does not matter how popular that teaching is, we believe it must be cast aside and replaced with a more pure Biblical understanding. Living Springs Institute exists to assist the lives of those attempting to do exactly that!

Now, if it has not as yet dawned on you what holiday we were actually asked about here, it is because of something directly related to what I just said. We are talking about Easter! The Catholic church, many long centuries ago, laid out their own "Holy Days" for those in the church. These days were not laid out on a pure Biblical understanding. In many cases, the Catholic leaders of the day were attempting to overlay already existing pagan holidays with Christian meaning - and I will come back to that point in a minute. However, when the day came that some in the Catholic church protested against the church, those people became known as the other side of the Christian religion - by title, "Protestants." Unfortunately, any Christian group not part of the Catholic church, came to be grouped with the Protestant movement. However, the Catholic church does not own the Bible, they do not own the religion of Christianity, nor do they have the Biblical right to claim, as their name "Catholic," which means "Universal," indicates. They are not the only church, nor the church from which all other Christians derive their right to be called such!

Many organizations may appropriately be called Protestant because they truly do owe their existence directly to those who came out of the Catholic church, or they are an organization which came out of one of those original Protestant churches. However, everyone not a part of the Catholic church, is not a protestant from it: not directly as an individual, nor doctrinally as an organization. The true church of Christ is not a group of people running or involved in an organization. The true church is made up of all people, both Jew and non-Jew, who follow God. Who is part of the true church is not dictated by an organization, restricted to one, or any group of such. Only God knows who is truly His church, and He will be the only One responsible for separating the sheep from the goats. (Matt. 25:31-46)

Getting back to the main point of this discussion - I will say again, our calendar and this organization is simply out to teach people the truth of Godís Word. If we find we are at any time not teaching a pure Biblical doctrine, we will change what needs to be changed on that basis! The calendar does not list "Easter" for much of the same reason people outside the Catholic church have taken to calling the holiday, "Resurrection Day." Easter is a direct reference to the pagan celebration the Catholic church attempted to overlay by declaring their Holy Day. They took a celebration which, in many parts of the world, was celebrated at a time of physical rebirth. It came in the springtime of the northern hemisphere because spring is a time of plants, which were dormant for the winter, coming back to full activity. It's also a time many animals, by God given instinct, choose to produce offspring.

This seemed the perfect time to overlay a Christian theme of celebrating the resurrection of Christ; and while the Catholics have had a fair amount of success in getting people to believe this is what the holiday is the celebration of, it's not part of a pure Biblical understanding. Easter, as a name, is directly related back to a powerful pagan goddess which has to do with fertility, rebirth, and just life in general, depending on what tribe you worshiped with. Christians are specifically told in I Corinthians 10:27- 33 that if you are at another person's house, whatever they serve to eat, you do not have to ask if it was sacrificed to idols. However, if you are told that it was a sacrifice to a false god, you are not to take part in eating it. This has a direct connection with not celebrating or recognizing events which false religion holds, not because it has power over you, but because it affects the thought patterns of others you are trying to win for Christ or just be a witness to! The fact many people do not understand that celebrating Easter is actually based on an original pagan celebration of a fertility goddess or the like, means many people celebrate it in innocence, and they do not so directly violate the instruction given in Romans 14:13, about not being a stumbling block to others. However, this should in no way inhibit us from finding and following a more pure Biblical truth once we come upon a better understanding of what is going on.

Long before anyone ever thought about a Catholic church, and even centuries before The Messiah came to this earth to give His life and raise from the dead, God gave to the nation of Israel a day which would represent the day The Messiah would rise. Because prophesy is not meant to be a crystal ball kind of experience, this was not obvious until Jesus came, gave His life, and rose from the dead. However, this is why when holding an early Passover meal with His disciples, because He would not be available to eat the Passover with them at its normal time the next day, due to Him being hung on a cross, Jesus instructed that as often as the event was observed, they should do it in remembrance of Him from then on! (Luke 22:7-20)

"Bikkurim," or in English, "Firstfruits," is the day which represents The Messiah rising from the dead. It is the true Resurrection Day as prophesied in Godís law and commanded to be observed for that purpose by Christ Himself! So, the question for us was simple. Do we include the day a specific organization of men chose to celebrate this occasion, by overlaying an already existing pagan celebration, while still maintaining its pagan name, with just the adjustment of calling it by a more appropriate name - which continues to be a part of why people do not realize there is a more pure Biblical understanding about this - or do we leave it out? I would hope the question is rhetorical at this point!

We left it out for some of the very same reasons people have taken to calling Easter, Resurrection Day. We left it out, because even if you call it Resurrection Day, it's still not the day God chose to recognize the event. We left it out, because we believe all true believers should feel as the apostles felt when they told the religious leadership of the day which commanded them not to teach in Jesus name, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

Unfortunately, we would be found wanting in this discussion if we did not take the time to admit that in spite of the fact it was declared by much the same means as Easter, we did include Christmas on the calendar. I say point blank that we consider it more pure to leave Easter off the calendar altogether than to simply rename it, especially in light of the fact that what Easter claims to celebrate, has already been given a date by God Himself. When it comes to Christmas, that is the main point which needs to be made. There is not, in the law of Moses, a date laid out to mark the birth of The Messiah. This is, for many reasons, too numerous to get into here; but it's not against Godís Word to celebrate the physical birth of The Messiah. Just as the prophet and prophetess serving in the temple, jumped at the chance to see Jesus even though He was just a baby, we too should get excited about the fact The Messiah has come! (Luke 2:21-39)

Now, we believe there are many things which could have been more pure about such a celebration if the Catholic church had not, once again, thought it wise to declare the holiday at the same time as an already existing pagan celebration. However, at the very least, this one is named "Christís Mass," which in English means, "A celebration of The Anointed One."

Yule Tide is the pagan celebration, and there are as many arguments as to why they chose to overlay this holiday with the celebration of Jesusí birth as there was to overlay Easter with His resurrection. However, it can also be said, that much like Easter and probably quite a bit more, this holiday maintains more of the "Christian" meaning to people around the world. In fact, this holiday has almost gone the other way. More modern ideas of how to celebrate this holiday, even among those claiming to be part of the church, have taken more of the emphasis off Jesusí birth than do the Yule Tide traditions of the past. Many people still put up Christmas trees, but few still burn the Yule log on Christmas Eve and setup the tree for the next morning, teaching their children it represents a pagan god rising from the ashes to bring gifts (mostly food originally) of life giving properties. No, today a saint of the Catholic church is attributed with bringing gifts to the children, and the fleshly, commercial business of everyone rushing around to buy gifts for each other, is mostly what overshadows the celebration of The Messiah's birth.

One last point I will make here before we close this discussion, is this. We also left off Halloween; and while the reasons for this may be more obvious to some, it has to do with more than just the fact this holiday fails, in many parts of the world, to maintain any positive aspect whatsoever. We call it Halloween because it's All Hallowed Eve. This is not actually the Catholic proclaimed Holiday. It's only the eve. The actual holiday comes on the next day, which is All Saints Day. Saints are another unpure idea in Catholicism. People, no matter how good they are or were, cannot be claimed as saints by the church. The church simply holds no such Biblical authority; and even if it were able, we do not worship man anymore than we should worship a piece of stone, wood, metal, or other physical object. (Isa. 40:17-26) Unfortunately, the proclaiming of saints has led to both! Thus, one may note that this calendar does not list any of the holidays, based on the principles of sainthood.

Negative
Bottom Line Solution Negative

Solution - If teaching about Biblical perspectives on everyday life - such as you just read - is something which interests you, and you want more in-depth teaching on the calendar God gave to Israel, there is a companion book to the calendar which is in the works. We do not have a release date for this as yet, but when it's available, we will be telling everyone about it on the Calendar Project Page of this website and through our bi-monthly publication, Shaqah. Shaqah itself is a great teaching publication, and if you donít already have a FREE subscription, you can get one by clicking here!

Bottom Line - The vast majority of people liked the formatting of the calendar, both as it relates to its ability to present information and its usefulness as a daily planner. Also, we honestly did not receive even the volume of comments we expected to receive in the area of people wanting more holidays included on the calendar. We are left with the feeling that we have struck a more perfect balance on this issue than we originally thought was even possible. Thus, we will not make any major formatting changes to the standard print calendar. People can expect consistency in what they see when opening each new yearís calendar; and for those who want options, we will be offering the PDF version as well.

Solution Bottom Line
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Size & Space of Interior Pages

Positive - The next issue we received quite a bit of feedback on was the size, space, and spacing of, items on the interior pages of the calendar. This was a mixed bag. Some liked it, some wanted it bigger and some wanted it smaller. Again, we will start with the positive side.

* We were told the print size was great, and this relates to some of the sizing issues we will talk about in this section.

* Many people liked the Note spaces.

* Many people liked the To Do List.

* People liked the size of the days for writing notes and appointments.

Negative - People who liked the size and space given on the calendar thought it just about perfect; but on the negative side, we had directly opposing thoughts. However, we should specifically point out that while we did receive some positive response on print size, no one mentioned they thought any of the print was too small, so that was good.

* Some people thought the Note space was too small. That being said, many emphasized the fact it was not bad.

* Some said they did not use the To Do List much because there was not enough room.

* Some said they would like bigger space for each day in order to enter appointments.

* One specific comment we received was about the issue that on some months, Sundays are only given half spaces at the end of the month in order to fit the last one or two days of the month on the page. Not all months have this problem, but itís true that a few do.

The problem with fixing any of the above mentioned negatives is that there is not really any room wasted on the interior pages. The only place we could expand into to make any of these items bigger, would be to shrink the header space of the month pages. However, this would not help much, especially once you divide what you gain, between the various days and/or Note spaces.

Along with that is the fact we received positive comments about the inclusion of all these items, (Notes, To Do List, days) and the fact many people felt their sizing was just right. The positives and negatives were, at the very least, equal on both sides. Thus, we canít really consider shrinking or getting rid of any one of them. Nor can we consider eliminating elements in them (such as To Do List lines) in order to expand the spaces within an item, or to expand one of the other items.

This left us with only one other option which really conflicts with another issue pointed out in the surveys. We could make the overall size of the calendar bigger. However, with the exception of people who desired the calendar to be smaller than it already is, everyone thought the overall size of the calendar was "very nice," "just right," and even "perfect." Even the surveys which made comments about wanting a little more room in this section or another of the interior pages, made only positive comments about the overall size of the calendar; again, with the exception that a few actually thought the overall size should be smaller. This left us with a bit of a quandary!

We also had been considering various option for the issue of making those half days at the end of certain months bigger, which was an issue brought up in the first yearís surveys. However, some of the options for fixing this left the calendar a bit confusing because the days would no longer line up, so we threw those out. Looking at only options which did not create a problem with lining up the days, we ended up wasting more space than before. We felt this would only make people unhappy, unless you're one of the people who likes more open note space on the month pages, because that was the only item the extra space could go into. In the end result, we could make those couple of half days a bit larger, but overall, we would've had to make every day in the month smaller.

Once we started receiving more responses with different people asking for more space in almost every piece of the interior, we knew we could not make the sacrifice. Again, we were left with only the option of making the calendar bigger overall, and we did consider making the calendar a little longer in order to fix this issue. However, if we were going to make it longer in order to fix one issue, it only made sense to also make it wider in order to fix all the problems. This brought us full circle back to the truth, that a vast majority of people loved the overall size of the calendar, a few even wanted a smaller version, and no one asked for it to be bigger!

Solution - Again, our solution to all these negatives came down to the production of the PDF version. We understand this will not give everyone exactly what they are looking for, but it gives some very good options! If you'd like the spaces to be larger and donít mind the calendarís overall size being bigger, you can print the PDF version to fill more of an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper, or print it on a bigger sheet altogether. This will give you more room on each day and in both the Notes and To Do List areas.

Even if you canít figure out how, or donít want to mess with printing the calendar bigger, you can just print the calendar at its native size on 8.5"x11" (Which is what the PDF version is setup automatically to do.), and you will have considerable white space to the outside edge. You will also have white space on the top and bottom of the calendar. You can use this extra space for notes, and to expand your To Do List lines. This should also help with the issue of wanting more space on the last days of those months which end up using half day spaces, because you can take your notes outside the box!

All the information about what the PDF calendar is, tips on how to print and bind it, plus, the ability to share your own useful tips on how to make it what you want, can be accessed by clicking here.

Bottom Line - The Institute will continue to produce the calendar in the size it has been produced for the first two years; and because we do not want to risk making some unhappy in order to make some more happy, we will not risk changing much of anything about the spacing given to each item on the interior pages. We will also offer the PDF version for those who would like to print their own larger or smaller versions of the calendar pages.

Positive Negative Solution Bottom Line
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Teaching Value

In this section, we will look at the responses to the teaching value as it relates to the written teaching included in the calendar. The discussion of the visual teaching provided by the format of putting the Biblical/Jewish calendar alongside the Gregorian one, is covered in the "Format of & Information on Interior Pages" section.

Positive - As was the case for most of what we received, the majority of responses to this part of the calendar were positive. Even most of the things which will appear in the negative part of this section were exactly why we sent out these surveys, and that was to find anything we might have missed!

* People liked the Jewish information.

* People liked the presentation of the Biblical feast days.

* People liked the Scripture references.

* People said the article in the front of the calendar was very informative, and just the right amount of information to include in each year's calendar. However, we did receive some negatives on this issue, which we will cover below.

* We were told the calendar inspired the user's thought process.

Negative - Here again, we will tend to take the more negative side of the feedback one item at a time, because all of them brought discussions to the table as we designed the next year's calendar! At the same time, they are all very much related, so you might find a read through of this entire section quite interesting.

* We were told the information in the front of the calendar was a bit overwhelming.

This issue is actually not surprising to us; because while many people have been to Bible class and learned some about the feast days God gave the Jewish nation, few have ever delved into the complexities of truly understanding how this sets up a calendar. When we take the time to stop and try to understand how God gave Israel, not just a set of rules in which to judge by, but a set of laws which established them as a people, we find a living breathing example of the things of God on this earth. Then we find ourselves back in our school days, trying to learn a whole new system. It's not unlike the feeling many people get when having to make conversions between English standard measurements and the metric system. You're still measuring time, but dividing it in a different way!

The world has, in many ways, grown smaller with the development of more widespread standards for such things as the calendar. However, the fact remains that this is a modern phenomena; and most cultures, whether they have put them aside or not, have their own calendars. Each of these differ from another culture's calendar in many details and for many reasons unique to that culture. God knew this would happen; and thus, not everyone who desired to find His ways would have the same calendar. So, God did not put His prophetic feast days on just the most popular calendar of the day, or attempt to set all calendars by them. Instead, He chose a specific nation of people to entrust this information and gave them the calendar they needed to follow and exemplify it. (Rom. 3:1-2)

While at first, it may seem a difficult thing to stand in one culture and have to learn a different one; in reality, it is a blessing. God created a situation where anyone from anywhere who desired to find the things of God, did not have to search all over the world for different feasts, festivals, observances, and laws which might tell of the things of God. All anyone had/has to do is look to the Words God used to establish His chosen nation, and there it all is! The information in the front of the calendar may be a bit overwhelming at first, but that is exactly why the calendar exists. One can consider what they read in the article and see it played out on the calendar. Looking at the calendar will bring up questions which the article can help you find the answers to, and reading the article can bring up questions which the calendar will help you understand.

Bottom line - We were pleased to hear the article stretched peoplesí minds!

Positive
Negative Bottom Line

Negative - We did get one response which said the article in the front was too long.

This was a negative, but, at the same time, this person also told us the article was very helpful. Thus, we felt this feedback went hand in hand with another suggestion we received.

* We were asked if the feast information could be put in the back?

This was a minor concern which we had feared would be a major one. We wanted to put enough information in the calendar that people would have a reference in hand for questions which came to them as they used the calendar and attempted to understand it. At the same time, we understood that if the article was too long, it might be a nuisance to some people as they used the calendar day by day. We just were not sure how much we could push this point, and we are happy we did not go any further because of the above responses. However, we were also glad we did not go any smaller; because many people said the information was just right, and one person wanted a lot more! We will cover that in a minute, but letís get back to the suggestion of moving information to the back, because this was a consideration from the start.

The obvious solution for having more information but not building up page after page of the calendar before you even get to January, is to move some of the information to the back. We did consider the thought of moving the entire article to the back, but the first part of this article is a basic introduction to the calendar and how to understand it. While some in the discussion believed moving it would not be too big a problem, others felt it would be an unacceptable mistake. It was agreed that the only consideration on the table was to move only a portion, which was the suggestion from the survey in the first place.

The determination to do this was basically made, and the discussion of where to make the break was taken up. Thatís when trouble came! There really is only one natural break in the article where you can cut it and not separate information people would want almost side by side. That break was even pointed out in the feedback, and it is that point where you transition from the basic and introduction type information to the one feast at a time information. If you break somewhere before this, you cut into the part we agreed needed to be in the front. If you break after this, you divide the reference material people may want to quickly flip to in order to look up information about a particular feast, and that makes the calendar less helpful, for sure!

Once we determined there was only one point where it could be broken, two problems arose. First, if we broke the article at that point, it might seem to some that the article was complete, and people might for a long time, or never, really find and connect the remainder of the article in the back of the calendar. The second problem was actually a bigger one, and that was the point that going with this break made a mess. It also didnít really save us much when it came to pages. In order for the calendar months to layout right, January has to start on a left-hand page. To make January any closer to the front page of the calender, you canít move it one page or three pages, you have to move it two pages at a time. Leaving the current font size of the article, the break comes on the second page of the article, almost to the bottom of the first column. If we shrunk the font size, the article might be hard to read for some, and it wouldnít help because the first created blank page would be a right-hand page.

Unless we left a great deal of blank page, we would have to up the font size so this portion of the article filled two pages. This made the calendar article look like it was a large print addition, which while some might actually like, we felt those who cared about this issue in the first place might interpret as wasting space, just the same. On top of this, there was the same issues to deal with for the remainder of the article we were going to put in the back. In the end, the article would not take up as much space in the front of the calendar, but it would take up more pages overall than it had. The pros just were not out weighing the cons.

Finally, we gave in and went back to the idea of simply splitting the article wherever it needed to be split in order to avoid the bigger/smaller font problem. This still left us with only the hope of moving the month of January up one fold; because, again, you canít start the months on a right-hand page. Also, the break would separate the one by one feast information. This would not only require a slight font adjustment to keep us from splitting one of the individual feast sections, but it still had the drawback that some people were going to be very frustrated by the fact they flipped to the front or the back, only to find the feast they were looking for was on the other side. Then came the last nail in the coffin of this idea. If we split the article in a place unnatural to do so, there had to be a reference as to where the reader could find the continuation. The calendar has no page numbers - and rightfully so!

Bottom line - Enacting this idea does not gain us enough to solve the issue people did not like, while at the same time it caused all kinds of problems with the formatting of the calendar and the usefulness of the information. With our apologies to those who think it should not take up so many forward pages, the article in the front of the calendar will stay in the front of the calendar.

Negative
Bottom Line

Negative Ė Now, the next two negatives are related to the issue we just covered.

* One person told us they did not think we explained Shabbat (The Sabbath), and they wanted definitions of the Hebrew words.

This is directly related to the issue we just discussed about the article being too long. As we've already covered, many people thought the article was just right, with the exception of the couple who thought it was too long. This response was one of the later responses we received and after all the considerations for how to make it shorter or move parts to the back.

We do have an overall solution to this kind of information being available which we will get to in a moment. However, the simple explanation that "Shabbat" is the seventh day God created for rest and communion with Him, is in the front article of the calendar. It also covers the direct translation of the word which is, "to cease." Thus, without further feedback, we must give credit to the fact this person may feel the calendar does not have enough punch - so to speak - when it comes to the Sabbath teaching. This, in light of the fact one might want to give the calendar to someone else to help teach them about Shabbat.

As to the definitions of Hebrew words, there are very few which are not defined in the front article. All the feasts have the transliterated Hebrew name followed by the English. With the exception of Rosh Ha-Shana, the English name for the feast, is the definition, and Rosh Ha-Shana is defined later in the teaching for that feast. This Hebrew/English alignment for observances is also on the calendar months. In 2010, Nisan 27th lists Yom Ha-Shoah, and below it, April 11th lists Holocaust Remembrance Day. While some of these might not be literal word for word translations, they are what the Hebrew means in English. Also, the article in the front goes over the definition of such things as "Rosh Chodesh," which is "Head of the Month." By our count, there are only a handful of things you can say are not translated somewhere.

The two biggest items we can find which are not translated, are the actual names for the months, and the days of the week. Just quickly, I will say that the days of the week basically mean "Day 1," "Day 2," and so on until you get to Shabbat. As for the month names, Biblically they should also be "one," "two," and so on, starting from Biblical New Year. However, this is easy to calculate and figure out by simply counting the months from Biblical New Year, which the calendar lists. In order to be informative about the modern Jewish calendar, the names given on the calendar pages are those used in Israel, and they do not translate into the Biblical numbers. That being said, they are much like the months on the Gregorian calendar; they donít really have meanings which matter anymore, beyond the fact they are simply the names of months.

About the only other thing we could find that simply had no definition anywhere is, "Shushan Purim;" but again, you are talking about a name whose direct translation is mostly archaic. Also, if you go into the story of Ester which the front article explains Purim is about, you will find the reason the second day of Purim is called this.

Now, we will give credit to the fact it would be easier if there was a definition key; but on that one, you caught us! Though a definition key was a consideration, we felt it would be a bit redundant for the most part. Plus, we kind of like the fact people might have to dip back into the teaching article to find some of them, and if people are compelled to study their Bible? Well, don't even get us started on how happy that makes us!

Solution - When it comes to the Shabbat issue, we really did not want to expand the article in the front or add a bunch of pages to the back, for that matter, in order to get more written teaching in. We knew from the start there would be those who would not appreciate having a calendar every year that was thicker than it needed to be because it contained a lot of teaching which they had already learned. This was confirmed by the fact a majority of the responses said the teaching article was just right. At the same time, we knew and want to be helpful with the fact there is far more about the calendar and the observances it covers which people will want to know. That brings us to the fact, Living Springs Institute produces more than just this calendar!

For the Shabbat issue, we offer an entire book which is dedicated to this subject. It's called A Sabbath By Design, and it's available for FREE from this ministry. To order one now you can click here. Now, some people may say I have a copy of this book, but I want something I can give to others. To those people, I want to say, that is why we offer them for FREE. Donít hesitate to get and give this book to others. Weíre just glad for the distribution. However, we realize this book is a thorough look at the issue of the Sabbath Day, and some may feel it's just too daunting to give to the mildly interested friend or family member. If you want a more compact starter addition to give to others, please let us know that desire is out there! We want to spend our resources on those things people have a use for, and telling us you would like material on a certain subject is what is going to get that material produced!

Now, when it comes to the other more thorough information about the Biblical/Jewish calendar those who want to go deeper would appreciate, it's already being worked on! A companion book to this calendar is in the works, and though we have totally missed the expected time for getting this around, it is still something we are going to do. In truth, the calendar itself has taken a bit more of our time than we thought it would initially, and the backlog is only now beginning to move forward. However, this book will have much of the teaching we actually expected to have even more responses asking for.

We're not ready to give a release date, but know it's still on its way! If you would like to pre-order this book so you can be one of the first to receive it upon completion, write to us, e-mail us, or visit our online Resource Shop. The book is not represented in the Resource Shop, but you can simply fill in your name and address, then put the fact you would like the calendar companion book, in the comments box of the order form. If you would like to write or e-mail us, be sure to give us your name and address. All our contact information can be found on our Contact Page.

Negative
Solution

Negative - The last negative is also related to our discussion above, and similar in many ways to the last negative we talked about. However, it really fits in the category of things we sent the surveys out to accomplish.

* It was pointed out that we have included non-English words in the calendar, but for those unfamiliar, there is no way to know how to pronounce those words.

When it came to saying we did not have a definition key to the Hebrew words, we could say that while there is no key, almost all the words are defined somewhere. On the issue of pronunciation, we could not say that! Fortunately, we did have just enough flexibility in the calendar to come up with a free page, and by the blessing of God, it was in the back. Since it had already been suggested we move some of the front article to the back, we knew we were in good shape moving forward with honoring this request by using a back page.

Solution - This point was made in the first yearís surveys, so in the second yearís calendar, we included a pronunciation key for the transliterated Hebrew words used in the calendar. We also put in a brief discussion about what it means to "transliterate," which is helpful to people trying to understand why the words used in our calendar may not be exactly spelled the same as those used in other publications. Transliteration is a complex subject, but if you understand the basis of what it's trying to accomplish, it can be helpful. We believe this inclusion was a valuable one, and the second yearís surveys confirm that fact.

Positive - People loved the inclusion of a pronunciation key!

Negative Solution Positive
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END - This brings us to the end of our survey responses. Again, we greatly appreciate all the responses we have received! We hope this page has been helpful to those interested in the project, as well as those simply wondering how we have handled the feedback we were given. If you feel that you have given feedback which is not covered on this page, please donít hesitate to let us know! You can use the Comment Form on this page, or you can contact us directly using the contact information on our Contact Page. If you would like us to respond directly to you, please mention that when you write, and be sure to give us your name, address, and/or e-mail address. It's the policy of this ministry not to share your personal information with any other entity; nor do we add peoples information, to even our own mailing list(s), unless they request it.

Click Here For The Calendar Survey

If you would like a planning calendar, our target is to have them available each year by around the end of September. To order yours, please visit our Resource Shop!





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