I Got All My Sisters with Me

September 19, 2023
I Got All My Sisters with Me These lyrics have been rolling through my mind over the last 24 hours, “We are family I got all my sisters with me.” They are part of a song performed by Sister Sledge back in the 1970’s entitled “We Are Family. Since its release, it has become an anthem of sorts, an expression of solidarity, and that is exactly what I experienced, as did many others recently, at the Chamber’s Women’s Bloom Conference. A room filled with beautiful, like-minded women joining together with a singleness of purpose, to encourage and be encouraged. This was the fourth year for our Women’s Conference, and we had over 120 ladies in attendance. This event was designed and organized by women for women with the purpose of empowering, supporting, and pampering them. Women today serve in multiple roles and shoulder a wide variety of responsibilities. As you can imagine, that often results in weariness and discouragement. Our goal was to have one day for them to set aside their crushing loads and just “be.” To remind them to breathe a little deeper, lower their unrealistic expectations, and to realize they are not alone. Learn More

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's Off to School They Go

September 15, 2023
Hi Ho Hi Ho It’s Off to School They Go I recently spent a morning on the phone with my oldest granddaughter Saylor sending her off to her first day of first grade. Where does the time go? Wasn’t it just a short time ago that I was rocking her in my arms? Wasn’t it just yesterday when she took her first steps? I must admit my eyes filled with tears when I looked at the first day of school picture her mom sent, and a flood of memories came rushing in. The first time she said, “Nana, I love you.” The day she described in detail her one-day, prince charming. All the countless hours we spent together listening to princess music and watching Frozen while in quarantine during the pandemic. The many wardrobe changes between the various princess dresses, crowns, and jewelry. Not to be forgotten was the magnificent Cinderella’s carriage that we made from a cardboard box. She would get all dressed up and I would push her all over the house, finally arriving at “the ball” when Nana was too tired to push anymore. If I had a dollar for every time I sang “I hear the train a comin” from Johny Cash’s, “Folsom Prison Blues” (they live beside railroad tracks) I would be a very rich woman. I still smile when I go to her room and see the clay mobile we made together when she was two that still hangs in its place as a constant reminder of our times together. Learn More

Focus on What Matters

September 15, 2023
Focus on What Matters I sometimes worry that I will run out of things to talk about here, but something always seems to come through. That breakthrough thought today is the self-acknowledgement that I just might be a bit overly protective of the people and places that I love, and prone to comparison. Perhaps you too can relate. Have you ever found yourself talking with someone who begins saying negative things about your community and discover the hairs on the back of your neck begin to rise? You then square your shoulders and stand up straighter. For me, to the whole of my whopping five foot, three and three quarters inch frame. I then begin compiling a mental list of all our positive attributes ready for rapid fire, and then I unload. I do attempt to do so, however, with grace and truth. I must admit sometimes there may be only a sprinkle of grace, with an outpouring of my truth. I fully understand that at times it falls on deaf ears, but it does not negate the fact that I feel this is my job, not just as the Chamber director, but as a proud community member. I need to defend what is ours, with soldier-like dedication. This can, however, become a misapplied urge that needs to be tempered. Let me explain. Learn More

I Hear the Train a Comin'

September 15, 2023
I recently had the opportunity to visit a national treasure, and only traveled 35 miles to do so. The East Broad Top Railroad, located in Rockhill Furnace near Orbisonia, is in our backyard. I never thought of myself as a train buff, but I was absolutely enthralled by this well-preserved piece of history. It was as if time stood still, and this railroad complete with railcars, station, and machine shops had been frozen in time. It is quite an experience for all the senses as the old steam engine approaches the station. The black smoke rolls, the whistle blows, and the engine hisses, as it thunders down the tracks. After boarding, our guide regaled us with stories about the railroad and as we clattered down the tracks, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be on this train car when this railroad was in its infancy. We traveled for a half an hour before making a three-point turn and making our way back to the station. I was amazed to see train enthusiasts and photographers lining the route with cameras and tripods, ready to capture the perfect shot. Learn More

Bloom Where You are Planted

September 15, 2023
We are now a few weeks into our much-anticipated summer season, and everyone is busy enjoying every sun-soaked moment. All too soon, there will be a chill in the air, the days will begin to shorten, school and dorm supplies will be purchased, and fall will be upon us. Until then, however, there are family vacations, ball games, yard sales, picnics, outdoor adventures, and now that we have received some much-needed rain, grass to mow and gardens to tend. Flowers are blooming everywhere and since my Chamber office is in downtown Lewistown, I have the daily privilege of enjoying the beautiful planters that line both sides of Market Street. As I was walking past admiring the wide variety of combinations, I couldn’t help but think about the many parallels that can be drawn between us as humans and flowers, and what lessons can be learned. Learn More