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Lean into discomfort to embrace personal growth

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It’s a natural human impulse – if something causes discomfort, we avoid it, and if we can’t avoid it, we seek to resolve it. When we squabbled with our siblings, we apologized and put hurt feelings to the side. We accommodate others to avoid frayed tempers and ugly arguments. We seek to resolve conflict, stay away from uncomfortable situations, and ignore troubling feelings. We dislike vulnerability in ourselves and in others.

But discomfort and failure are powerful teachers, and when we explore those uncomfortable feelings, we often come out the other side stronger, wiser, and more in touch with what we really want.

Think about what you have been able to accomplish in the past despite discomfort and adversity and apply those lessons to future challenges. Don’t berate yourself when you fall short – instead, reflect on what you could have done differently.

Author, researcher, and therapist Brene Brown writes that while “I am a screw up” and “I screwed up” sound very similar, there’s a vast gulf between them. The subtle change in language allows us to accept our imperfections without the crippling addition of shame. When we give ourselves permission to be imperfect, we are more able to embrace failure as a powerful tool for self-improvement.



The Buddhist nun Pema Chodron urges people to be gentle in the way they talk to themselves and think about why we say certain things when we experience failure. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do, and consider that maybe the real problem not that you are a failure, but that you are just hurting.

When we embrace our failures, lean into our discomfort and seek to grow and change, we also embrace humanity’s best qualities – empathy, kindness, generosity, and openness.

So the next time you experience a major disappointment, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, learn from your missteps, treat yourself kindly and emerge from your failure as a better, stronger person.

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Earth Day 2021: a focus on nature-based solutions

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The theme for this year’s Earth Day, which takes place on April 22, is Restore Our Earth. It’s based on the growing understanding that humans can do more than simply mitigate the impacts of climate change. In addition to transforming the world’s energy, urban and industrial systems, we can restore and use natural processes to combat climate change.

Capturing carbon
To reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the power of nature can be harnessed in a number of ways. Solutions include planting trees, restoring coastal wetlands, and adopting agricultural practices that improve soil health.

In addition to capturing carbon emissions from the air and sequestering them in plants, soil, and sediments, restored ecosystems increase biodiversity and help provide cleaner air and water.

In fact, according to the Global Commission on Adaptation, these types of ecological restoration projects can provide one-third of the climate mitigation needed over the next decade to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius.


Increasing resilience
Communities ranging from rural towns to major cities can become more resilient against the impacts of climate change by restoring and protecting natural ecosystems.

For example, restoring mangrove forests helps protect coastal regions from rising seas and storm surges. Doing so is significantly cheaper than building breakwaters and other infrastructure. Plus, mangroves have the added benefit of storing carbon, preventing erosion, and helping to sustain local fisheries.

For more information about Earth Day and how you can take action against climate change, visit earthday.org.

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You never know when an idea will pop up: The invention of bubble wrap

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It’s undeniably satisfying and almost meditative: The pop of bubble wrap between our fingers and thumb. But did you know that the invention of bubble wrap — as with many great inventions throughout history — was an accident?

In 1957, engineer Alfred Fielding and his business partner, Swiss chemist Marc Chavannes, were trying to invent a textured wallpaper. They sealed two shower curtains together and initially were disappointed by the air bubbles trapped inside.

But the enterprising men soon started brainstorming other ways to use the material, scheming their way through 400 ideas. They named the product Bubble Wrap and continued to test ideas.

Three years later, in 1960, they decided to use it as packaging material and founded the Sealed Air Corp.


Their decision coincided with IBM’s newest invention, the computer called the 1401 unit, which needed a safe way to be transported. Sealed Air Corp. landed its first major customer and soon, smaller companies followed. Until then, most packaging materials consisted of balled-up newspapers, which could be messy.

Over the years, the line expanded to different-sized bubbles and sheets, plus other materials. A non-poppable pool cover even came along. The small business grew to become a Fortune 500 company with sales of $4.5 billion in 2017, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

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Volunteering: a good cause that’s good for your health

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National Volunteer Week, which takes place from April 18 to 24, is an annual opportunity to recognize and celebrate the impact that volunteer service can have on a community. It’s also an ideal time to learn more about the other benefits of donating your time to a worthy cause.

Boost your physical and mental health
Various studies have shown that volunteering can contribute to better physical health. Depending on the type of activities you do as a volunteer, you can actually reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, lessen symptoms of chronic pain, improve cognitive function and even live longer.

What’s more, volunteering can do wonders for your mental health. The social contact and sense of purpose that come with volunteering help reduce stress, anger, anxiety and depression. It can also improve your self-confidence and overall well-being.

Connect with a larger community
Since it was first established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially. Today, thousands of volunteer projects and special events are organized throughout the week, bringing together people from all walks of life who want to help their communities.


If you want to give back and enjoy the benefits of volunteering, you can use the Points of Light Engage database to find thousands of opportunities in your neighborhood and around the world. Visit engage.pointsoflight.org today.

For more information about National Volunteer Week, visit pointsoflight.org/nvw.

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Great time for stargazing

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Here’s something to do that costs almost nothing and carries the promise of awe: Look at the sky.

Humans have been stargazers forever, wondering in ancient times if the points of light were holes in the heavenly veil, offering a glimpse of the light of heaven. But even ancient civilizations knew the paths of the stars and were guided by the North Star (Polaris).

Today, light pollution from cities means that your yard might not be the ideal spot to watch the heavens, so you might need to pack up a blanket and some snacks, throw the kids in the car and drive to a good dark sky location. Visit www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/finder/ to look for a good spot near you.

And if you want to know when certain planets are visible, when you can catch a good meteor shower, whether the moon is doing something spectacular or if you’re just curious about what you might see, there’s a tool for that, too. Visit www.space.com/33974-best-night-sky-events.html to see a calendar of night sky events and stargazing maps. The website includes handy visuals, so you know what to look for when you scan the horizon.


If you’re rusty on your constellations or never took the time to learn them, there are more free tools that can help you and your family get the most out of your stargazing excursion. Download the free Star Deck constellation and astronomy flashcards. The Star Deck is available in both English and Spanish.

There are also a number of free apps available to help walk you through your journey to the stars. Try SkyView, available from the Apple and Google app stores. Of course, be aware that with your phone lighting your surroundings, your eyes might not adjust to the night sky as well, and you might miss the show.

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A brief guide to building an emergency fund

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An emergency fund is essential to your financial security because it provides a safety net in the event that you become unemployed or need to pay for an unexpected expense. Since April is Financial Literacy Month, here’s a look at how to create an emergency fund that will help you weather financial hardship without increasing your debt.

How much to save
Most financial experts recommend that you set aside enough money to cover your household expenses for three to six months. Take into account necessities like rent or mortgage payments, transportation costs, food, and utilities.

How to save
An emergency fund takes time to build up, so start saving as soon as possible. Create a plan to set aside a portion of your income each month, even if it’s a small amount. Find ways to reduce your expenses and use your next bonus or tax refund to bolster your savings.

Finally, remember that this money should be reserved exclusively for emergencies. Adequate savings will help ensure you don’t have to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans if you get sick, lose your job, or need to make a major home or car repair.


Where to save
A high-interest savings account is a smart place to put aside an emergency fund because it ensures your money is accessible if you need it. Plus, you’ll likely earn a bit of a return on your savings. Other liquid, low-risk investment options include a money market account or a certificate of deposit.

If you need help building an emergency fund or achieving other financial goals, speak with a certified financial planner or a registered investment adviser.

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How to curb robocalls

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Robocalls spiked during the pandemic last year, and scammers made off with a shocking $19.7 billion from scam calls in 2020. They used COVID-19 to deceive people in texts and phone calls, using treatments, financial relief, free testing, and the like as their bait.

Even if you haven’t been scammed, these calls are nonetheless annoying. So here are a handful of ways to curb the incoming phone garbage:

* Use a call rejection service. Dial *77 and wait to hear three beeps before hanging up. Now any call that hides its number will be rejected. Be aware that some carriers do charge for the service.

* Check your carrier for services that help block calls. They might have a small monthly fee, but it could be worth it.


* Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. When you add your name to the list, you are taken off the for-profit call list and telemarketers supposedly can’t call you. Of course, scammers don’t follow the law, but this should still cut down somewhat on the number of unwanted calls.

* Seek revenge. Peaceful revenge, of course. A new app called Robo Revenge, aka Do Not Pay, automatically registers your phone number on a Do Not Call list and gives scammers a fake credit card number. It also sends a dispute letter on your behalf demanding compensation. The company’s website also advertises help fighting parking tickets, canceling free trials, copyright protection, and more.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Clear
6:28am7:54pm EDT
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 3mph SSE
Humidity: 65%
Pressure: 29.96"Hg
UV index: 0
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Upcoming Events

Apr
20
Tue
all-day Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department Mad Science Kit contains experiments that focus on fun, interactivity, and entertainment. Participants ages 6-12 will be able to perform four (4) experiments, including Dyed Carnations, Lava Lamps,[...]
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
24
Sat
10:00 am Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 24 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
On this Earth Day, celebrate safely by doing your part to restore our earth and joining the Great Global Cleanup. Stop by one of our tables at the Explorer Outpost, Picnic Area, or Lost Mountain[...]
12:00 pm Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Come out to enjoy our favorite fundraiser to benefit the House of Hope, the Empty Bowl Supper “TO GO”! DATE: Saturday, April 24 from 12noon-3pm Ticket Link: eventbrite.com/empty-bowl-supper LOCATION: Main Street & Downtown Market Check in near the[...]
12:00 pm SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for an afternoon of golf at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal! 1 pm Shotgun, Registration from 12pm – 12:45pm. $85/Player $340/Team Help us celebrate Skyline High School Band’s success while[...]
12:30 pm Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Apr 24 @ 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Save Our Children Front Royal is hosting a Color Run/Walk to raise money for The Child Safe Center, located in Winchester, Virginia. The Child Safe Center is a local non-profit who supports sexually abused victims[...]
Apr
25
Sun
4:00 pm Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Apr 25 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
$30 per painter or 4 painters for $100. Bring the whole family and save! Join us for a special Paint with a Superhero event! Be sure to dress up as your favorite hero or villain[...]
Apr
27
Tue
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 27 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 27 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]