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3 games to play at the office holiday party

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Are you looking for a way energize your holiday office party? If so, here are three fun games that virtually anyone can enjoy.

1. Office trivia. Before the day of the event, send a questionnaire to all employees asking them about their interests, pet peeves and preferred foods, books, movies and travel destinations. Collect the answers and use them to create an office trivia game.

2. Guess the word. Write words on individual strips of paper and then fold and place them in bowls. Each team chooses a player who will have to guess the word based on clues from their teammates.

3. Gift wrap challenge. Put players in teams of two. Tie one person’s right hand to the other’s left and have them attempt to wrap a gift with their free hands. The pair that does the nicest job wins.

If you play your office games in teams, assemble the groups randomly. A fun way to do this is to cut up old Christmas cards and hand out the pieces. Teams can then be formed by those who have pieces from the same card.

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Stephens City’s most distinguished citizen lived a life worthy of all imitation

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It is my humble opinion that too little attention has been given by local historians to the distinguished career of Dr. John Bell Tilden. Tilden spent the last 45 years of his life as a resident of Frederick County, leaving a lasting impression on the local church and civil government professions.

Dr. John Bell Tilden, son of Captain Richard and Anna (Meyer) Tilden, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 9, 1761 (gravestone reads 1762) and baptized in the Episcopal Church. He died July 31, 1838, in Stephensburg, now Stephen City, Virginia. He was a student at Princeton College studying medicine at the time of the Revolutionary war. He left college to join the Continental army, receiving a commission as ensign, May 28, 1779, in the Second Regiment Pennsylvania line, commanded by Colonel Walter Stewart. He was subsequently promoted to second lieutenant, his commission to date from July 25, 1780. His regiment left York, Pennsylvania, for the southern campaign in the spring of 1781 and he was present at the siege of Yorktown and surrender of General Cornwallis (was an officer appointed to receive the surrendered arms). At the close of the war he was honorably discharged and became a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. During his entire service he kept a diary, which is now in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. John Bell Tilden by Frederick Kemmelmeyer, painted in Winchester in 1814. (Eleanor G. Shutter Collection, Stewart Bell Jr Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester VA)

Dr. John Bell Tilden married Jane Chambers on August 9, 1784. Jane was daughter of Joseph and Martha Chambers of York, Pennsylvania. Sometime after leaving the army in 1783, Tilden settled in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). During that time, Tilden was converted to Christ in 1787 and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church there and soon became a layman and an active worker in evangelistic efforts.

He later relocated to Stephensburg, Frederick County about 1793, where he apparently studied medicine and secured a large and lucrative practice until the close of his life. Being a man of culture and extensive influence, Tilden was ordained to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church on January 31, 1803 with George Reed and James Chipley as Bondsmen. Tilden was elected a Justice of the Peace and also High Sheriff of Frederick County (1795-1813). He occupied prominent positions in the state as well as the church; and by the exercise of justice and integrity in the discharge of his important duties, reflected credit and honor, both upon his ministerial and magisterial professions. Tilden bought a large two story log home in Stephens City sometime between 1801 and 1815. The house which Tilden named Bell Air, was built by the Lewis Stephens family in 1788 and still stands today.

John Bell Tilden purchased this large two story log home in Stephens City, (built in 1788) and named it Bell Air. Photos courtesy of Mark Gunderman

During the agitation of the question of lay representation, Tilden advocated the equal rights of the laity with the clergy in the legislative department of the church. For exercising these Scriptural and American rights, he and other prominent brethren were expelled from the M. E. Church in Stephensburg, in 1828.  At his trial he was refused the privilege of reading his defense, so he informed the large assembly, that he would read it from the door steps after leaving the church. Nearly the entire congregation went with him leaving only his accusers behind. Tilden united with his expelled brethren and in the next year, 1829, assisted in organizing the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1872 the M. E. church admitted its error by adopting lay representation into its polity.

The most complete account of Rev. John Tilden’s preaching ability was published in 1880. That year Sketches of the Founders of the Methodist Protestant Church, and its Bibliography by Thomas H. Colhouer, included this description regarding Tilden:

“As a reformer, Tilden was like Paul and Luther, bold, earnest, and outspoken, laboring with both tongue and pen to defend and advance the cause of the New Testament equality in the ministry. He promoted the indisputable rights of the laity to representation in the free Gospel Church of Christ. Tilden was a contributor and industrious circulator of the Mutual Rights Magazine, the organ of the Reform party in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev John B. Tilden was a fine preacher of noble and dignified bearing, chaste in style, pure in diction, graceful in manner, and a profound and earnest profounder of the Word of God. In his holy life, fervent zeal and spotless character, he set an example that was worthy of all imitation.”

Early Days and Methodism in Stephens City, Virginia, by Inez Virginia Steele, first published in 1906 includes an account of a Methodist Dinner Party. The dinner party was held in Rev. Elisha Phelps house in August 1802 at Stephensburg. There Rev. James Quinn described John Tilden as, “an interesting figure, somewhat robust but not corpulent, a fine, manly face, and smiling countenance.”

As a committed early Methodist he acknowledged the equity of all people before God. These democratic views of social order extended across the racial divide. Long before the abolitionist movement was an organized effort to end the practice of slavery in the United States, Dr. Tilden freed his slaves Lucy and her small child James in April 1806 and sent them to Liberia with one year’s provision.

Dr. Tilden will always be remembered as a veteran of the Revolutionary war, doctor and Methodist Minister. His spouse, Jane Chambers was born in York County, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1766 and died May 26 1827. In 1802, at the age of 35, Jane was described as an interesting lady with white hair as pure wool and eyes beaming with intelligence. They had ten children. Dr. Tilden and Jane are buried in the Tilden family plot at Stephens City UMC Cemetery.

Dr. John Bell Tilden gravestone at Stephens City United Methodist Church cemetery.

Buried in the Tilden family plot are:

  • Anna Belle Tilden: Died 1819
  • Jane Tilden: Died 1827
  • Dr. John B. Tilden: Died 1838
  • Lorenzo R. McLeod: Died Unknown
  • Lorenzo T. McLeod: Died 1888
  • Anna Bell Tilden McLeod: Died 1890
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A generous way to wrap up your holiday shopping

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The holidays are an ideal time to be generous in supporting local charitable organizations. Fortunately, gift-wrapping fundraisers present an easy way to contribute to the causes in your community. Simply look for kiosks set up by charities in your local stores and malls. For a small fee or suggested donation, a volunteer will expertly wrap your presents. Here are a few good reasons to support them:

• Your money will go to a good cause, and you’ll benefit from a useful service — it’s a win-win situation.

• You won’t need to purchase and store your own wrapping paper, gifts bags, ribbons, and bows.

• You’ll enjoy greater personal satisfaction knowing you contributed to the well-being of your fellow citizens.

• You won’t have to worry about finding a place to hide unwrapped gifts from your kids and spouse.

• You’ll be able to check an important task off your holiday to-do list so you can focus on preparing for the festivities and spending time with your family.

To further support your community this season, purchase your gifts from independent businesses and artisans in your region.

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How to impersonate Santa

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Do you plan to dress up as Santa Claus this year? Whether it’s to raise money for charity or make a surprise appearance at a holiday party, you’ll want to give a compelling performance. Here’s how to nail the part.

The look
Santa is an iconic figure, and most children have seen him plenty of times on TV, in books, and at the mall. This means you need to get the costume right, from the classic red cap and a long, white beard down to the fur-trimmed black boots. Details like a plump belly, white gloves, a gold belt buckle, and round reading glasses are key to a credible impersonation.

The voice

Santa’s booming laugh is instantly recognizable, and imitating it is the perfect way to announce your arrival as this legendary figure. To ensure you make a good first impression, spend some time rehearsing your Santa laugh. You’ll also need to get used to speaking in a deep, jovial voice that’ll command attention but won’t frighten young children.

The attitude
The trickiest part about dressing up as this larger-than-life figure is staying in character. Be prepared to answer questions from curious youngsters about your sleigh, reindeer, and life at the North Pole. If a child is reluctant to approach you, crouch down to be less intimidating and let them come to you.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Reserve your Santa suit early
To make sure you look the part, buy or rent everything you need from a costume store in your region. Remember, Santa is a popular guy around the holidays, so don’t wait!

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December Celebrity Birthdays!

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Kristin Kreuk, 38, actress (Beauty and the Beast), Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1982. – Photo by Carlos Almendarez from San Francisco, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

1 – Nestor Carbonell, 53, actor (Lost), New York, NY, 1967.

2 –  Nelly Furtado, 42, singer, Victoria, BC, Canada, 1978.

3 – Bruno Campos, 46, actor (Nip/Tuck), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1974.

4 – Cassandra Wilson, 65, jazz singer, Jackson, MS, 1955.

5 – Margaret Cho, 52, actress, comedienne, San Francisco, CA, 1968.

6 – Sarah Rafferty, 48, actress (Suits), Greenwich, CT, 1972.

7 – Tom Waits, 71, singer, songwriter, actor, Pomona, CA, 1949.

8 – Nicki Minaj, 36, singer, rapper, Onika Tanya Maraj, St. James, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1984.

9 – Donny Osmond, 63, actor, singer, Ogden, UT, 1957.

10 – Melissa Roxburgh, 28, actress (Manifest), Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1992.

11 – Mo’Nique, 53, actress, talk show host, born Monique Imes, Woodlawn, MD, 1967.

12 – Lucas Hedges, 24, actor, New York, NY, 1996.

13 – Jamie Foxx, 53, actor, producer, born Eric Marlon Bishop, Terrell, TX, 1967.

14 – Vanessa Hudgens, 32, actress, Salinas, CA, 1988.

15 – Garrett Wang, 52, actor (Star Trek: Voyager), Riverside, CA, 1968.

16 – Lisa Bonet, 52, actress (The Cosby Show), San Francisco, CA, 1967.

17 – Milton “Lil Rel” Howery, 41, actor, comedian, Chicago, IL, 1979.

18 – Josh Dallas, 39, actor (Manifest), Louisville, KY, 1981.

19 – Janie Fricke, 68, singer, Whitney, IN, 1952.

20 – Jonah Hill, 37, actor, Los Angeles, CA, 1983.

21 – Ray Romano, 63, comedian, actor (Everybody Loves Raymond), Queens, NY, 1957.

22 – Ralph Fiennes, 58, actor (Harry Potter films), Suffolk, England, 1962.

23 – Susan Lucci, 71, actress (All My Children), Westchester, NY, 1949.

24 – Louis Tomlinson, 29, singer (One Direction), Louis Austin at Doncaster, England, 1991.

25 – CH Pounder, 68, actress (NCIS: New Orleans), born Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder at Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana), 1952.

26 – Kit Harington, 34, actor (Game of Thrones), born Christopher Catesby Harington at London, England, 1986.

27 – Masi Oka, 46, actor (Heroes), Tokyo, Japan, 1974.

28 – John Legend, 42, singer, born John Stephens, Springfield, OH, 1978.

29 – Ross Lynch, 25, singer, actor (Austin & Ally), Littleton, CO, 1995.

30 – Kristin Kreuk, 38, actress (Beauty and the Beast), Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1982.

31 – Ben Kingsley, 77, actor (Gandhi), born Krishna Bhanji at Yorkshire, England, 1943.

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Great gifts for someone living in a retirement home

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Are you wondering what type of gift to get for a relative who lives in a retirement home? If so, here are a few ideas.

• A bestseller. If your loved one likes to read, look for a new release they can add to their collection. Be sure to pick a book in a genre they enjoy such as historical fiction or action-adventure.

• A potted plant. Whether you opt for a lush fern or a flowering species, the greenery is sure to liven up their space. Opt for a modest-size, low-maintenance variety.

• A warm accessory. Keep your loved one comfortable this winter with a plush bathrobe, soft slippers, or wool socks. Alternatively, choose a quilt or blanket for their bed.

• A goodie basket. Purchase a gourmet gift basket or assemble one yourself with treats your relative loves. Make sure to avoid perishable items if their room doesn’t have a fridge.

• A decorative item. Visit local shops and craft fairs to find unique pieces that will add character to their home. Consider pairing a handmade frame with a new family photo.

While all of these presents are sure to be well-received, remember that the best gift you can give a loved one is time spent together.

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Thanksgiving quiz

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Thanksgiving celebrations are steeped in tradition, but how much do you know about the history of this holiday? Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.

1. During which historical event did Thanksgiving become an annual federal holiday?

a. World War I
b. The Civil War

c. The Great Depression
d. The American Revolutionary War

2. When was the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

a. 1904
b. 1871
c. 1989
d. 1924

3. Under which president did the turkey pardon become an annual tradition?

a. George H. Bush
b. Abraham Lincoln
c. Jimmy Carter
d. Dwight Eisenhower

4. How long had the Wampanoag been living in the Cape Cod area when the English settlers arrived?

a. 100 years
b. 1,000 years
c. 10,000 years
d. 100,000 years

5. Which classic Christmas song was originally meant to be sung on Thanksgiving?

a. Silent Night
b. Jingle Bells
c. Winter Wonderland
d. Deck the Halls

6. Why did President Franklin Roosevelt move up Thanksgiving by one week in 1939?

a. To coincide with the launch of the final phase of the New Deal
b. To allow soldiers to spend time with their families before deployment
c. To appease businesses that wanted a longer Christmas shopping season
d. To make sure the annual football game wouldn’t be held in the snow

7. When was the first Turkey Trot?

a. 1831
b. 1643
c. 1919
d. 1896

8. What types of protein were likely eaten at the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621?

a. Venison and seafood
b. Turkey and buffalo
c. Quail and ham
d. Chicken and lamb

Happy Thanksgiving!

Answers:
1-B, 2-D, 3-A, 4-C, 5-B, 6-C, 7-D, 8-A

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