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Martin Luther King, Jr.: Those who knew him grow old; the promise lives

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The people who heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in person, or live on the television or radio–those people have grown old.

Is time that those old people ask the young: Have you heard his speech? Have you read about Martin Luther King’s dream? Did you read his Mountaintop speech?

Any of King’s speeches evoke spirit and truth, but one speech shines out for its hopeful and, in retrospect, its chilling words.

That is the Mountaintop speech, given April 3, 1968, at the Church of Christ in Memphis, Tenn.

In this speech, King mused that if given any time in history, he would have chosen that moment, that very day above all others. He spoke about the great and pivotal hour for the country and the world as all confronted injustice.

Then, he remembers his brush with death years before when he was stabbed and how close he came to missing that day.

And then he proclaims that he has seen the Promised Land:

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But
I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”

The next day, on April 4, 1968, King was assassinated.

King’s words, later recalled, send a shiver through hearts and minds. Those words are worth recalling even 53 years later, that one was led by God to the mountaintop, and he saw the promised future of his people fulfilled.

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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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Never touch a knight’s beard

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In medieval Europe, if you touched a knight’s beard, you were going to have to face him in a duel at dawn. His beard was his honor, according to the Chicago Tribune, and an unbidden touch was an insult.

Touch has been an essential part of human life through ages and cultures.

It has been considered the primary way to learn. Today, if visiting a museum, no visitor would think they could or should touch that painting or handle a fossil. Yet, in the Middle Ages, you certainly would do just that. It would be the way that you learned about something. People expected to handle everything, according to medievalist.com.

Touch has been considered holy. If you were so moved in the Middle Ages, you might kiss a saint’s foot at a pilgrimage site. That touch was considered to offer miraculous benefits.

A king’s touch was considered to be healing for some centuries. The king’s miracle was achieved through touching or stroking a sick person.

Since the dawn of civilization, the rules for touch have been both enshrined in culture and changed.

In Turkey, for example, a friend might greet another with a kiss on both cheeks, but this is considered inappropriate for business.

In Pakistan, a man greets a younger woman by lightly putting his hand on top of her head.

Nowhere in the West has the idea of touch changed more than in the workplace where a pat on the shoulder has been considered sexist.

Yet, rules change and remain the same. Today, it would still be considered rude for an acquaintance to reach out and touch a fellow’s beard, or a woman’s hair, even if it won’t end in a duel.

As rules in the workplace evolve, touch has become a tricky issue.

Between close friends, even at work, a hug is acceptable, especially as a way of congratulating or sympathizing. It’s best to remember that it takes about 200 hours of close contact to become friends with someone, according to Business Insider. A recent study by The Creative Group showed that 65 percent of those in advertising or marketing said hugging a co-worker was very common and 23 percent said hugging a client was very common. On the other hand, 18 percent of those surveyed said hugging was never done in the workplace.

A handshake has been considered the safest way to touch and say hello. But during COVID-19, this has also changed. It remains to be seen whether a handshake will stay in the lexicon of Western touch.

The best practice for workplaces today is a no-touch policy.

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Music lessons: 5 reasons to pick the piano

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Learning to play a musical instrument is a fun way to improve memory, relieve stress, and build confidence. If you or your child want to take up an instrument, here are five reasons to choose the piano.

1. It has a huge repertoire
With its 88 keys and impressive range, the piano has a wealth of songs written for it in all genres, from classical and jazz to pop and hip hop. In addition to having the largest solo repertoire, it’s one of the most popular instruments for accompaniment.

2. It requires little upkeep

Unlike the guitar, which should be tuned every time you play it, the piano only needs to be tuned two to four times a year. And if you play an electronic keyboard, you won’t have to tune it at all.

3. It’s fairly easy to learn
While it takes practice to play with both hands, producing a beautiful note on the piano is as simple as pressing a key. Contrarily, in the case of wind instruments, you first need to learn how to position your mouth to get a clear sound.

4. It’s comfortable to play
Certain instruments, such as the violin and flute, require you to hold your head or fingers at an awkward angle. If you play the piano, however, you’ll get to adopt a natural seated position and keep your hands relaxed.

5. It provides a solid foundation
Learning the piano teaches you to simultaneously play two different clefs. This makes it easier to transition to another instrument that uses either the treble clef (clarinet, trumpet, etc.) or the bass clef (cello, tuba, etc.).

Keep in mind that while a person is never too old to learn to play an instrument, piano lessons generally aren’t offered to children until they’re five or six years old. If you want to introduce your child to music earlier, consider music appreciation classes.

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The name’s Bond: How about a 007 film festival?

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It’s great time to relive James Bond movies. Perfect for winter evenings.

Goldfinger! He’s the man, the man with the golden touch. Sing along!

And these days you can see Bond for free — sort of.

If you are a Prime member, most are included in your subscription, including Dr. No and Goldfinger. That is sort of free if you don’t count the $100 annual membership fee.

An even more affordable option? YouTube. Bond movies are free to watch on the streaming platform, but you have to watch commercials unless you sign up for YouTube Premium. A 30-day free trial is available — just remember to cancel if you don’t want to pay for the service.

Also, some Bond movies are free with the streaming service Peacock (from NBC Universal). You can sign up for a free account and watch all the Bond movies you want, but once again, you’ll some ads. If you want to watch ad-free, there’s a $10 monthly fee after a free trial. Still, you can cancel.

Peacock does have lots of other content, including the popular Yellowstone series, which would cost $60 on Amazon Prime for all three seasons.

Here are the Bond movies are known to be online:

“Dr. No” (1962) — Not on Peacock.
“From Russia with Love” (1963)
“Goldfinger” (1964)
“Thunderball” (1965)
“You Only Live Twice” (1967)
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) — Not on Peacock
“Diamonds Are Forever” (1971)
“Live and Let Die” (1973)
“The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974)
“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) — Not on Peacock
“Moonraker” (1979) — Not on Peacock
“For Your Eyes Only” (1981) — Not on Peacock
“Octopussy” (1983)
“Never Say Never Again” (1983) — Not on Peacock
“A View to a Kill” (1985) — Not on Peacock
“The Living Daylights” (1987) — Not on Peacock
“License to Kill” (1989)
“GoldenEye” (1995)
“Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997)
“The World Is Not Enough” (1999)
“Casino Royale” (2006) — Not on YouTube
“Quantum of Solace” (2008) — Not on YouTube

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How to make a perfect snowman (or snow-woman)

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We never gave it much thought — pack a good, firm snowball and roll it around the yard until big enough for a base. Repeat two more times. Stack one on top of another.

Boom. Snowman.

But that doesn’t fly in the modern world, where you can find YouTube videos and 14-step how-to articles on snowman-building. And if you were interested in such things, snowman-building does involve a bit of science.

Case in point: Snow needs to contain three to five percent liquid water in order to be malleable and gluey enough to hold shapes, says the New York Times. The perfect snow can be found around 32 degrees Fahrenheit in regions closer to an ocean, like the Northeast or the Sierra Nevada.

Then there’s a concept called sintering, or patting. If you pat the snow as you go, you compact it and squash individual snowflakes, causing melting around the edges. As they refreeze, they bond.
This makes the snow a lot more solid — and your snowman a lot more sturdy.

A few more tips:

* Remember to face your snowman away from the sun, unless you were going for the melted face look.

* Pack extra snow around the base to give it more stability.

* Flatten the tops of the bottom snowballs so they’re easier to stack. Spheres are also a good shape to help prolong melting because less surface area is exposed to the sun.

* Try to roll the snowballs around the area you plan to place the snowman, then stick him in the middle. Avoid building a snowman on a driveway, which absorbs heat (does that even need a reminder?).

* Aim for a diameter ratio of 3:2:1 from bottom to top — like three feet, two feet, one foot.

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How to safely lend money

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If you plan to lend money to a family member or friend, it’s in the best interest of both parties to have a clear, legally binding loan agreement. Here’s how to go about it.

Drawing up a loan agreement yourself
If you’re loaning a small sum of money, you may choose to draft your own loan agreement. In addition to the loan amount, this contract should include the following:

• The full name, address, and phone number of both the lender and borrower

• The loan repayment schedule and whether the amount will be returned in a lump sum or in multiple payments

• The interest rate on the loan, if applicable

• The terms for late or missed payments

• The signature of both parties, the date and, ideally, a witness’ signature

The loan agreement should be written in plain language. If you aren’t confident about drafting the document yourself, consider looking for a template of a loan agreement online.

Getting help from a lawyer
Drafting a loan agreement carries certain risks. If important information is left out, or if either party’s obligations are unclear, the agreement may not be legally valid. Alternatively, you may unwittingly agree to adverse terms simply because you aren’t familiar with contract law. If you want extra assurance, or if you’re loaning a large sum of money, always have a lawyer draw up your loan agreement.

A lawyer can be counted on to create a comprehensive, airtight contract. In addition, they can provide legal advice about how to handle the more delicate aspects of the loan, such as the procedure for handling missed payments.

By entrusting a lawyer to draft your loan agreement, you may spare yourself some frustration if a dispute arises.

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Upcoming Events

Feb
27
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 27 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Mar
1
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
3
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 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[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 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[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 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[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 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
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]