Put a Little Love in Your Heart

February 15, 2024
Since Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, I thought it would be fun to delve into the origins of the holiday. Where did it come from? Why do we celebrate it? I fully expected to uncover stories featuring chubby, naked little cherubs flying about, launching arrows and sprinkling love dust on unsuspecting humans and Greek gods or something. I was in for a rude awakening when I discovered its actual roots. According to the much-respected History Channel, Valentine's Day began as a pagan, Roman fertility festival. Who knew? On this day, priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and proceed to take strips of its hide, dip them in blood, and gently slap women with them. Yes, you read that correctly—they slapped women with them, gently, mind you, but slap they did. Supposedly, it was to ensure their fertility for the coming year. Wait, it gets better. Then, after being blood-slapped, the young women would place their names in a very large urn. All the bachelors would then randomly choose a name, and they would be paired with that person for the year. It's like the precursor to dating apps, I guess, but much more tenuous and with a lot less control. Learn More

Sometimes Enough is Enough!

February 15, 2024
I do not make a habit of engaging with negative people on social media, even though I often want to, especially when they are saying derogatory things about our community. It is not because I believe they are right, nor is it because I am afraid of the negative comments I might receive if I voice my opinion. It is because a very insightful mentor once told me, “It is not wise to engage with a bully, they will beat you with experience!” Sage words that I attempt to live by. Isn’t that what they really are, bullies? According to Merriam-Webster, a bully is one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable. I believe this definition perfectly describes those who choose to insult and degrade our community all while cowardly hiding behind their electronic devices. Within the safety of their homes, they discredit residents, business owners, organizations, and community leaders with whom they disagree. Often these people being attacked are working hard to make a difference. There are times, however, when enough is enough, and I feel the need to defend and interject. To stand up for our beautiful area and for those working tirelessly to make it prosper. Such has been the case in recent days. Learn More

I've been everywhere, man!

February 15, 2024
Two very iconic country songs merged to become the theme of my Christmas holiday this year. The first from Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again”, and the second, to quote the infamous Johnny Cash, I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere, man, crossed the deserts bare, man, “I've breathed the mountain air, man, of travel I've had my share, man, I've been everywhere.” O.K., so perhaps I didn’t cross any deserts, but over this Christmas holiday season, I definitely put some miles on my car and no proverbial moss grew under these feet! My travels began when I left Lewistown for Mechanicsburg to spend Christmas Eve with two of my four children, Curtis and Matthew, and their families. It was a time of beautiful chaos as we attended two Christmas Eve services at their two separate churches then met back at Matthew’s house for lots of food, gifts, and holiday fun. Then it was back to Lewistown because who knows, perhaps Santa wouldn’t be able to find me if I wasn’t at home when he made his rounds. After a nice Christmas morning hike in the woods, it was back down to Mechanicsburg to watch the grandchildren play with all their newly obtained toys. We concluded our day by enjoying a family Christmas dinner together. It was then back in the car, and back to Lewistown. Learn More

Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!

February 15, 2024
There are many Christmas movies that we love and look forward to, but there is one that has become a modern-day classic, and that movie is Elf. It is a holiday tradition for many, and it is no wonder since it is the perfect combination of comedy, feel good, and romance all neatly tied up into a beautiful Christmas package. The movie contains so many iconic quotes, you would be hard pressed to go through the holidays without hearing some repeated. One in particular came to mind recently as I was spending time with my grandchildren. That quote is, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” It is quoted a variety of times throughout the movie, but in the end, it is used to encourage the onlooking crowd to raise their combined voices in song loud enough to fix Santa’s damaged sleigh, ultimately saving Christmas. Learn More

Pay it Forward by Shopping Local

December 8, 2023
Pay it Forward by Shopping Local It is that time of year, the time when I pull out my soapbox, (to be honest it is never truly stowed away) and beg everyone to consider shopping locally. I know it is easy and convenient to sit in the comfort of your own home or office, (although I am sure none of you EVER shop during work hours, especially during those long, sometimes coma inducing, ZOOM meetings!) click a few keys, and magically your gifts show up at your door, but is that the best option? I argue, it is not. When your money goes to those online retailers, a whopping zero percent of that money stays in your community. So, what is the big deal you might ask, do my dollars really make that much of a difference? The answer is a resounding yes! Stay with me as I provide you with some startling statistics. For instance, did you know that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy? Think of the negative collective impact that has on our community when we choose to pull those dollars from our local economy and instead, spend them online. A similar thing is taking place in the world of food service. The statistics for choosing to eat at a locally owned restaurant over a chain are also quite eye opening. For every dollar spent at a locally owned restaurant, 79 percent stays local compared to just 30 percent for chain restaurants. My point is this, our purchasing decisions do matter. Their effects are far reaching and produce a rippling effect. Learn More