Friday, 20 December 2002

December 20, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

   Christmas truly is a magical, mythical time of year.  We look forward to the Christmas season with much anticipation as we relive Christmases past and dust off our old traditions, while making new ones. 

   Christmas is a time of sharing and getting together with others to celebrate the warmth and goodwill of the season.  It is a time of baking, singing, shopping, decorating, as well as parties and gift exchanges.  It is a time when everyone tries to get along with their neighbour and everyone, especially children, is on their best behaviour.

   Unfortunately, for some people, Christmas is not a season of happiness and goodwill.  For some people, this will be a season of heart break and loneliness, despair and depression, sadness and grief.  Families who have lost loved ones will have to find some way of observing the holiday and its traditions without a complete family unit.  People struggling during these challenging financial times will have hard decisions to face and sacrifices to make.  Those who are struggling with illness, their own or that of a loved one, are going to find it challenging to celebrate during this time. 

   Take a moment this Christmas season to remember those who are experiencing less fortunate circumstances than yourself, and take a moment to say a prayer for them.

    Merry Christmas!

Beth

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Friday, 6 December 2002

December 6, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Some things I learnt from my computer:

  • Computers have feelings too.  It does not pay to get angry or upset with your computer, as the computer will just throw a temper tantrum or pout if you do, and then nothing will get done.
  • Computers need a lot of praise and encouragement.  Computers work best if they are continually praised for the work they do and receive lots of positive encouragement, especially when trying out new tasks.
  • Computers do things on their own schedule.  A task that only took five minutes yesterday can take hours today.  This is most noticeable when you are in a rush, doing a rush job and the computer doesn’t feel like rushing, and they do it their way!
  • Computers have a sense of humour and enjoy playing.  Just when you think you are at the end of your rope and you are about to give up, your computer comes through with a well-timed joke or two.  They are pranksters too.  I can’t count the number of times my computer has hid a file on me forcing me to play hide and seek with it.  In that respect, computers often act just like little children!

Beth

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Friday, 15 November 2002

November 15, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Generally, I wish the people with whom I speak or see to “have a good day.”  Generally, they, in turn, respond by wishing me the same, though I have been known to receive the odd distempered grunt in response.

   The other day, just for the heck of it, I decided to wish everyone I with whom I saw or spoke to “have a great day.”   The effect of that one small change was incredible.  By changing one little word, I received all positive responses and, while some people expressed surprise at my ‘unorthodox’ greeting, I did not receive one grumpy grunt at all that day.  It is amazing how by merely changing one little word, a person’s whole attitude or perspective can change. 

   We must never underestimate the powerful effect the words we use have on others around us.  Words have the capacity to harm, to separate, to destroy, to demoralize, or to belittle.  Conversely, and to put a more positive spin on the situation, words also have the capacity to heal, to join, to uplift, to encourage, and to praise.

   More than the particular words we use, the tone we use to convey our point has an impact on others around us, as well.  A combative, or accusatory, tone is not going to win you many friends in the long run, especially if you use that tone in your greeting as you inquire as to their health.  On the other hand, a sincere friendly greeting accompanied by a genuine smile has been known to work wonders on even the sourest sourpuss. 

   As humans our automatic reaction, which is not always the best choice, is to respond to others in a similar manner to the way they approach us.  If someone shouts at you, the automatic response is to raise your voice back.  Instead, we should be approaching others with a smile and kindness.  After all, smiles and kindness are free and do not hurt anyone.  So...

   Have a GREAT day! :)

Beth

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Friday, 1 November 2002

November 1, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Everything happens for a reason.  We don’t need to know what that reason is (though most of us would readily admit that we really would like to know!), or even how it fits into the general scheme of our lives.  Often, when looking back at past events, we discover patterns or explanations for why events happened as they did.  Sometimes, the purpose is still hidden from us.  While going through some of the old minutes at the Library, I discovered that there were three separate opportunities when I could have applied for the librarian position in Alix during the course of my career...and I never pursued them.  In fact, I purposely rejected those opportunities, and look at where I am now.  I never applied for this position, I was offered it.  I’m very glad that things turned out as they did, as I am very happy to be working in the Alix Library.

   The timing of events is perfect.  Though we rant and rave, grumble and fume, complain and groan, events happen to us in their own sweet time.  The other day I tried to look up information for our Library When in Oman evening on the Internet.  I sat down to complete my searches...no dial tone.  For over an hour I was unable to dial up to the Internet (one of the perils of rural communities)...then suddenly it connected as if there was never a problem.  The good news, I got over an hour’s worth of studying in that I probably wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.

   What goes around comes around.  This is such a well-worn cliché that it doesn’t really need any explanation, but for some reason, too many people still don’t take it seriously.  Smile and the world smiles with you (another cliché).  Do a good turn for someone and the goodness you displayed is returned to you.  Extend your hand in friendship, and you will find friends everywhere you go.  We all are responsible for our actions.  Let’s make sure our actions are the type that we would want to boomerang back towards us.

Beth

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Friday, 18 October 2002

October 18, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer


   If you have an older version of Internet Explorer on your computer, you may have noticed that in the top right hand corner of the screen is a little globe, or world, that spins around.   This little world turns when the computer is in ‘thinking’ or ‘processing’ mode.  As long as the world continues to turn, you know that the computer is doing its thing, no matter how slow the machine works. 

   Often I reassure library patrons using the computers that as long as their world is turning everything is still working.  Amazing how patient a person can be as long as that little globe is still spinning on its axis.  It is only when that little world on the computer stops spinning prematurely that we have a problem, and then have to find a solution.

   Real life is similar to that little computer generated image.  We can patiently (though we’ll still grumble as we are human) wait out any difficulty, problem, blip or hiccup in our plans as long as our world is still revolving around its axis and around the sun.  Delays are easier to handle if we know that our world is still turning. 

   Seasons come and go, and the cycle continues.  Winter follows autumn, and spring does follow winter.  The earth turns and our lives continue along.   The crop is planted and later, the harvest is gathered in, and so the cycle continues.  While this year was bleaker than some years of the past, generally everyone was able to harvest something.  The year was not a total loss.

   Good times come and bad times come and the cycle continues.  In this season, we need to work together to ensure that that good times will return.  Everyone has a responsibility to do their part for our families, communities, nation and world.

   We are thankful that our world is still turning.  Let us cooperate with each other so that our ride on this earth is exciting and enjoyable.  


Beth

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Friday, 4 October 2002

October 4, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   As a early riser, I often get to watch the sunrise.  On one of my last days by the lake, I looked outside and noticed that the wind was blowing furiously, the waves were rolling across the lake, and the dark clouds were filling the sky.  Basically it was a dreary looking morning with no sign of a sunrise in sight.  Or so it appeared at first…

   While looking towards the south end of the lake I noticed that the field just beyond the lake has a slight dip.  In that small dip I could see a hint of red just below the cloud bank and just above the horizon.  A sign of hope!  The sun was still rising even though I could not see it, and the evidence was found in a rather unlikely direction (as far as I know the sun still rises in the east).

   Often that is the way our lives are.  Too often, when everything seems to be falling apart, all we can see are the dark clouds of despair, the rolling waves of bitterness and we are buffeted by the strong winds of adversity and calamity.  Plans that were falling into place suddenly fall by the wayside and we can only wonder why?  Dreams and goals appear to run into a brick wall and are stalled for no obvious reason.  Things go along great, and then, no matter what you do, nothing seems to go right.  The storms of our lives are raging.

  In dark dreary times, sometimes all we need to do is turn around to see the spark of hopeful anticipation peeking out from the darkness.  The sun will emerge again as those same rough winds blow the dark clouds away.  Better times are coming our way.  Are we ready to accept and enjoy them?

Beth

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Friday, 20 September 2002

September 20, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Following a brief hiatus across town, for the past two weeks I have once again been vacationing by the lake side. 

   One night I sat watching the sun set over the water.  The air was still, the water was barely rippling, and there was a hush in the atmosphere.  Nothing was moving or making a sound, with even water fowl just floating along calmly.  As I watched the reddish sun slowly sink to the horizon, I admired its reflection on the water and the lovely hues it painted on the clouds in the sky.  It was a perfect moment, a moment when time seemed to freeze, allowing me to really enjoy and appreciate the heavenly display.  We all need moments like that in our lives.  Moments in which time stands still and all our worries, cares, doubts, and fears are placed on hold and forgotten for a brief span of time.  Moments in which we just sit, not moving or fretting, and just absorb the beauty in the world around us.

   The next morning, I went for an early (7:00 am) walk around the lake - going one direction and then turning around and returning the other way.  There was a light mist rising above the water and the air had that clean, cool, misty feel to it.  The conditions were so perfect, I could easily imagine the skirl of the bagpipes accompanying me as I walked.  I noticed the fall colours are starting to emerge, and the vivid red rosehips and the vibrant lavender thistle blossoms provided a colourful display along the trail.  I even found some juicy (and still edible) saskatoons to nibble on along the way.  I listened to the early morning birds sing to me, until the crows came along and commandeered the platform.  Walking along under the canopy of the trees, I realized that I had really been missing a close contact with nature in my life.  I am someone who needs water around, either to just gaze at such as the lake, or as a fountain flowing in the background, and I need trees, or at the very least, living plants around me, to restore my sense of balance and rejuvenate my soul (must be the Celtic blood in my background!). 

   Is there something in your life that you need to restore your sense of balance and calmness?  Are you taking the time to experience it?  Or, are you running full out, not taking the time for a pit stop to refuel.  Taking the time to watch the sun set, or rise, can make a difference in how you end, or begin, your day.  Taking the time to connect to something that calms and revitalizes you will have a profound effect on your daily outlook and on your interpersonal relationships.  It doesn’t even have to be a big thing.  Little consistent efforts can pay off big dividends in the future.

Beth

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Friday, 6 September 2002

September 6, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Recently, I have had numerous folks come up to me and express their admiration, praise and support for my newspaper and my editorials.  I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who reads the paper and Thanks for your support and well wishes.

   What amazes me, though, is the surprise that is expressed by some of these same folks as they compliment me.  I thought it was obvious that I could produce a quality paper and write thought-provoking editorials!  Now, on the other hand, if you’ve been chatting behind my back with my former English teachers I can see why you would have cause for concern!

   On a more serious note...many people in our world, as hard as they try not to be, are very strongly influenced by the expectations, realistic or not, of the people in their lives.  They suffer from guilt, insecurity, low self-esteem and fear.  If others expect you to be something you are not, it is hard to live the life they want you to live.  No one wants to be put on a pedestal, and when you fall off (and believe me, you will)...it can really hurt.

   What dreams, skills, and projects have you put on hold or forgotten about because someone else thought that it didn’t meet their expectations for you?  How have you let the expectations of others hold you back, or paralyse you, from pursuing certain dreams?

   The only person you have to answer to is yourself.  The only person’s approval you have to obtain is that of yourself. 

    Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. (Abraham Lincoln)

   If you believe that you can do it, you will be able to, despite what others may think.

Beth

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Friday, 16 August 2002

August 16, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Ahhhhhh….those lazy days of summer…

   Vacations are wonderful!  I am currently enjoying a wonderful holiday at the perfect spot – a luxury cabin (the owner’s description!) by a lake.  I am enjoying the ‘break’ from routine – with my final exam but a distant memory, and the anticipation of my next course still in the future – I have had the opportunity to do something different. 

   For instance, I have gone for lakeside walks, caught up on some reading, sorted some personal files, and visited with various friends.

   I attended the Beach Days events, and I plan to watch the Pony Chucks & Chariots this weekend.  I attended Meibion Llywarch, a men’s choir from Wales, at Ponoka last weekend, as well as the Cowboy Sunday activities in Mirror.

  When I feel real ambitious, I just sit and watch the sun set over the lake in the evening.  Yes, I really am taking a break, even though I am still going to work each week, and I’m thoroughly loving every moment! 

   Too often, I put something aside ‘to do someday.’  Of course, how many days and weeks and months pass before someday arrives?  Well, I had planned to use this month to catch up on all my ‘someday’ projects, but it seems like something else has come up, or I have attended a fun event instead.   It has been said that life is what happens while we make other plans.  I know that I will still get a chance to tackle a few of those ‘someday’ projects before the end of the month, but even if I don’t, I will not let it interfere with my holiday.

   For the rest of the summer, try to take a moment and just enjoy the sun (when it shines) and the green grass and the lovely flowers.  Take a moment to look at the sky and identify shapes in the clouds overhead.  Or, just sit and let the peaceful laziness of the day flow over you.  Pause and watch the sun set.  Let this summer time be an opportunity to slow down and recharge your batteries.

Beth

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Friday, 2 August 2002

August 2, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Socrates was sitting outside the gate at Athens watching the travellers passing by on the road.   One traveller stopped and asked Socrates, “What are the people like in this city?”  Socrates replied, “What were the people like where you came from?”  The traveller proceeded to tell Socrates, in great detail, how terrible the people were.  Socrates replied, “I’m afraid the people here are the same.”  Disappointed, the traveller continued on. 

   A while later, another traveller approached Socrates and asked him the same question.  Socrates asked this traveller too, “What were the people like where you came from?”  The traveller proceeded to expound on the good natures and the caring and compassion  displayed by the people from his previous place of residence.  Socrates smiled, “You will find the people the same here.  Welcome.”

   It is sad, but true, if you are grumpy don’t be surprised if the people you meet all seem to be grumpy and out of sorts.  Fortunately the reverse is also very true...when you smile the world smiles back.

   I frequently talk to people who say that we need to do more to help the poor, the exploited, the abused, and the oppressed peoples of this world, and they generally tell me they want to do all they can to help these distant souls.  It is true, we should do something to help the less fortunate, and desiring to do so is a very admirable pursuit, BUT...it is absolutely meaningless if you do not live out your convictions right here at home.  What I find tragic is that far too many of these people I talk to are at the same ones who ‘can’t be bothered’ to take an extra minute of their time to hold the door open for the person (with arms full of something, of course) following through behind them.  They are the same people who ‘can’t be bothered’ to take a couple seconds and say ‘Thank you’ to the person behind the counter who just performed a valuable service for them.  They are the same people who ‘can’t be bothered’ to even smile at someone they see on the street, because everyone knows that all the residents around here are merely  grumpy, gossipy, complainers.

   Did you know, provided you can afford to pay the extensive fees, that there are courses and workshops offered to teach people how to perform random acts of kindness!  I’m serious!  What is our world coming to when we have to teach adults how to smile and say ‘thank you’ to a bank teller, or to let someone with only 5 items go ahead of you in a check-out line? 

   Kindness can, and should, happen anywhere and everywhere.  We should all be ’bothered’ to do what we can, where we are, to make our small corner of the world a better, happier, kinder place.  I challenge you to smile at everyone you see today, tomorrow and the next day.  In doing our own little part, the ripples of our actions will then spread out to those around us, and will even be felt by others around the world.

Beth


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Friday, 19 July 2002

July 19, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Since it has been too hot of late for me to be profound or witty, or even mundane for that matter, I will share with you some pieces of trivia.  Did you know…
  • Anthropologists believe that people have been making and wearing shoes for more than 10,000 years. The Egyptians wore sandals woven from papyrus leaves.
  • Horned lizards eat ants. They wait in areas where ants are working and when one passes by, they flick out their tongue, catch their prey, and swallow without chewing. Apparently their digestive tract is immune to bites and stings.
  • Scientists believe that hydrogen comprises approximately 90 to 99 percent of all matter in the universe.
  • The brilliant colors in a hummingbird's feather are created by tiny platelets that resemble a pancake filled with air bubbles. They are called "interference colors," and are much like the shimmering colors seen in a soap bubble or in a drop of oil.
  • The adjective "sesquipedalian" defines itself: it is used to describe the use of very long, or multi-syllabic, words.
  • The most famous natural landmark in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway. Comprised of approximately 37,000 dark basalt columns packed together, they were formed when a volcanic eruption spewed molten basalt out 55 million years ago. As the basalt cooled, these unique polygonal structures were formed. Most of the columns of the Giant's Causeway form a six-sided honeycomb pattern. Some have as many as ten sides and measure about 12 inches across and up to forty feet in length.
  • The Eiffel Tower is painted approximately once every 7 years and requires nearly 50 tons of paint each time. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, visited by more than six million people per year.
  • The standard single oar used by gondoliers in Venice is 14 feet long.
  • In England a quarter penny was originally known as a fourthing - when coins were cut into pieces to make change - farthing is a corruption of fourthing.
  • "Mageiricophobia" is the intense fear of having to cook.
  • When a school of baby catfish are threatened, their father opens his huge mouth and the youngsters swim inside to hide. When danger has passed, he reopens his mouth and lets the fry out.
  • Of the twenty-five highest mountains on Earth, nineteen are in the Himalayas.
  • The star known as LP 327-186, a so-called white dwarf, is smaller than the state of Texas, yet so dense, that if a cubic inch of it were brought to Earth, it would weigh more than 1.5 million tons.
   These trivial facts, and more, can be found at  www.uselessknowledge.com. 

Beth

Click here to read the complete issue of The Chautauqua.

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Friday, 5 July 2002

July 5, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   “Oh, Canada.  My home and native land…”  In recognition of Canada Day, I would like to share with you some little known tidbits about this great country that we are so very blessed to live in and call our home.
  • Canada is the only geographical area with rivers running east (from the Rockies towards Hudson Bay) and west (from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean).  All other countries in the world have north/south orientated rivers.  This is one reason why the fur trade flourished in Canada as fur traders were able to penetrate deep into our western regions years before the Americans even crossed the Mississippi.
  • The longest named place in Canada is Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake in northern Manitoba.
  • Manitoulin Island (in Lake Huron) made the 1983 Guinness Book of Records due to  the lake in the island, Manitou Lake, the world’s largest lake within a lake.
  • Flin Flon was named after the nickname of a dime novel hero - Professor Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin (aka Flin Flon) from the novel The Sunless City written in 1905 by J.E. Preston-Muddock.
  • Sir Charles Tupper was the shortest-serving Prime Minister of Canada - his term in office lasted for 69 days in 1896.
  • Francis Jeffery Dickens (1844-1886), son of novelist Charles Dickens, was an inspector with the North West Mounted Police, leading a defence against Big Bear at Fort Pitt in April, 1885.
  • One of the greatest sea mysteries in the world is the inexplicable abandonment of the ship the Mary Celeste in December of 1872.  On Spencer’s Island, NS, there is a cairn commemorating the ship as it was built and launched from there in 1861.  It was originally christened the Amazon.
  • Tête du Pont Barracks, Kingston, ON was the site of the first hockey game in Canada on December 25, 1855.  Members of the Royal Canadian Rifles regiment cleared snow from the harbour, laced blades to their boots and played field hockey on ice with borrowed field hockey sticks and a lacrosse ball.
  • In 1860 one of the names proposed for the new dominion was Tuponia (The United Provinces of North America).  It, along with other suggestions, was rejected in favour of Canada.
  • It is possible to see two quarrelling men in the Canadian Flag.  The images are in the white panel at the top of the maple leaf (silhouettes butting heads).  The two men were called Jack and Jacques, or Lester B. Pearson (in favour of the flag) and John D. Diefenbaker (its opponent).
  • The national toast for Canada is “Chimo!” (chee-mo)  It is a native term meaning “cheers.”

(most of these tidbits are from the book 1001 questions about Canada by John Robert Colombo)

Beth

Click here to read the complete issue of The Chautauqua.

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Friday, 21 June 2002

June 21, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Ask someone how they are and generally the response is, “Busy!”  Often, you don’t even have to ask…the information is volunteered.  People complain about being busy, lament about being busy, get sick (and some have died) because they’re too busy, brag about being busy, define their lives by the degree of their busyness, compete with each other to see who is busier, and avoid life by being busy.  Busyness is an epidemic which is out of control.

   In my life, during the course of a year, I…work at the Library two days a week, work on the newspaper (where I am owner, go-fer, and all other staff, including writer!), work on my Masters degree program courses (involving lots of studying, assignments, research, email discussions with the ‘class,’ and exams), attend yoga class weekly, teach a dance lesson weekly, read copious amounts (for work, school and, more importantly, for fun!), usually get seven hours of sleep, eat three meals a day (plus lots of snacking), attend Church weekly, visit friends and chat with people I see when I’m out and about, deal with horrendous amounts of paperwork, spend time with family, run errands (for myself and others), play on the computer, complete typing projects, work at the ongoing task of organizing my work and home space, have a dedicated bible study and prayer time, listen to music, answer phone calls and email...

   Am I busy?  In addition to the above, I also…attend meetings and workshops, correspond (via handwritten letters) with friends, watch a T.V. program or movie (seldom), go for walks, work on various handicraft projects, houseclean (rarely!), attend public functions and community activities (some of which I also have to organize), watch the sunrise, go for a massage once in a blue moon, complete the odd ‘someday’ project, meet new people, housesit, watch the sun set, eat out occasionally, help with the Girl Guide movement, surf the Internet...

   Am I busy?  I don’t think so, though I have the odd moment when I’ve felt quite overwhelmed and questioned my sanity.  I have lots of time for solitude when I can breathe and relax while contemplating life, or better yet, do absolutely nothing!  While there are many activities I could be taking part in, I choose not to because then I would be too busy, causing other areas of my life to suffer as a result.  I have found a way to balance my life and accomplish what needs to be done.

   Busyness is a matter of choice.  If you are too busy it is because you have chosen to be.  Busyness is not something that just happens to you, it is a conscious choice, and therefore can consciously be changed at any time.  Call me hard-hearted, but I don’t feel sympathetic when someone laments to me about how they are so busy that they can’t participate in, let alone enjoy life.  I do feel sorry for them, they are missing out on the true essence of life.  Are you busy?

Beth

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Friday, 7 June 2002

June 7, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   It will soon be Father’s Day, and I would like to share with you some of my childhood (and adult) memories of my Dad.

   I can remember being a preschooler and  playing with my dad.  Okay...I played while he laid down on the couch.  This put him at the perfect height for me to use his head as my playing area.  My dad always had a brush cut, making the crown of his head (especially  right after a haircut!) the perfect lush ‘field’ to ‘graze’ my toy cows or ‘gallop’ my toy horses across.  Looking back now, I can only say that he was infinitely patient with me and could obviously tolerate a lot of pain!  Take a moment to imagine a hard plastic horse, in the hands of a preschooler, ‘galloping’ across the crown of your head. 

   Dad would also spend lots of time driving dinky cars around a track approximately 2 feet by 1 foot with me.  Around and around...and around and around...For variety, we would sometimes prop the track up slightly, thus creating an incline to race our cars down.  If done correctly, the cars would continue across the floor as we didn’t have carpet!

   Often when Dad was working outside in the yard or garden, I would ‘help’ him with my own set of miniature garden tools, imitating his actions, or I’d be stirring up a large batch of mud pies in his wheel barrow.

   When I got older, my Dad taught me to ride a bike - another occasion when his infinite patience was evident!  It was Dad who took me out and about the countryside to practice my driving.  He even accompanied me to the dealership when I bought my car. 

   Dad was also able to share with me some of the major accomplishments in my adult life.  He attended my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award ceremony where I got to shake hands with Prince Philip.  Though we didn’t actually see it, friends told us that Dad was shown in the background while I was receiving my award from the Prince - on the news clip shown on Canada AM!  Despite major health problems, Dad was attended my convocation ceremony and watched me receive my B.A. in Athabasca last year.

   Dad...I would like to say THANK YOU for your support and encouragement throughout  the years.  I LOVE YOU!

   Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a DAD!

   Happy Father’s Day to All the Fathers!

Beth

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Friday, 17 May 2002

May 17, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

Graduation is approaching.  A major milestone in the lives of 25 young people in Alix.  It marks the final sentence in the chapter of their  secondary school lives and the beginning of the next chapter..  These young people are about to cross the threshold from youth to adulthood.

   Graduation is an exciting time, and yet, a time of fear and trepidation.  Now what do I do?  What if I make the wrong choice?  Do I have to make a choice now?  I don’t know what I want to be ‘when I grow up,’ so now what?  I don’t want to grow up!!  The questions are plentiful, and the answers seem to be in short supply.

   It has been 11 years since I walked across the MACC stage in September and accepted  my high school diploma from Mr. Rutten.  Graduation was the last time our whole class was together, as many of us had already gone our separate ways - university, college, or jobs.  A lot has changed since that night. 

   To the students graduating this year I’d like to share some thoughts…
  • Listen to your heart - it does know the answers, if you take the time to listen.
  • If you truly believe in your dreams, you will accomplish them, and more.
  • If you trust that circumstances will work out, they generally will - doors will open that were previously closed and plans and  details will fall into place.
  • Remain open to the opportunities around you - opportunities for growth and learning, as well as for fun and adventure.
  • Remember...people are always more important than things.
  • And...money is not the most important object in the world - it can’t buy the things that really matter in life.
  • You can handle anything life throws at you (even computer viruses!) if you take it one small step at a time.
  • You don’t have to know it all, have it all, or be it all right now - delayed gratification is a good thing.
  • Make sure you take lots of  time for rest and fun so that life doesn’t overwhelm you.  Laughter is the best medicine!
  • Smile at everyone - it’s free and you never realize the impact you have on the lives of other people.
  • Be yourself - that is all that is really required of you in life.
  • Life is short and fleeting, so do what you can, with what you have, where you are, while you can. 

   Most importantly, you must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon.  The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about – the more you have left when anything happens. (Ethel Barrymore)

Congratulations to the MAC graduating class of 2002!  May you all be successful in your future endeavours.

Beth

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Friday, 3 May 2002

May 3, 2002 Chautauqua


From the Editor's Computer

Happy Birthday to...ME!  Yes, it’s true.  I’m another year older, and hopefully wiser.

   I read once that we should never make New Year’s Resolutions, but rather, we should be making Birthday Resolutions.  Apparently the success rate for keeping Birthday Resolutions is vastly higher as there are no hidden expectations that you’ll ever break them.  As well, most people generally become more contemplative around their birthday, thus making it a logical time to think about your life and any changes you’d like to make.

   As I celebrate this milestone birthday (29th), I am taking a moment to look back at my past, considering my present and looking forward to my future - now that my final exam is written and my income tax forms are completed and sent in (before the deadline)!!

   As I look into my past, I reflect on various memories - good and not so good.  When I graduated from high school I never imagined that one day I would be working in Alix, and, even harder to imagine, enjoying it!  I didn’t anticipate it would take me 10 years to complete my B.A. degree.  I have had to struggle with many years of personal illness, a struggle which has made me a stronger person both mentally and spiritually.  Every day I am getting healthier.  While I have no real regrets, I certainly didn’t foresee that I’d still be single when I turned 29.

   As I look at my present life, I can honestly say that at this time last year I never dreamt that my life would look like it does now.  I have a great job at the library which I love.  In addition, I am having so much fun putting out the paper - the fulfillment of a dream that I had stored in the back of my mind for years.  I have many friends, and the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful people through my jobs.  I not only have plenty to keep me occupied, but oodles of free time to just sit and read, or do nothing! 

   At this moment, my future is a blank piece of paper, full of endless possibilities, opportunities, and many, many books still to be read!  I could resolve to start a regular exercise program in the coming year...but that sounds like way too much work!   On the other hand, a resolution I could make and keep (if I don’t pick a specific deadline) is to complete some long overdue craft projects.  I plan to continue studying and complete my Master of Library Science degree (though not by the time I turn 30 - as originally planned).  I pray that my future includes a husband and children (that should effectively dispel the myth that I’m a die-hard career woman!).  I hope to continue to contribute to the community in various capacities, and have a positive impact on the lives of others around me, either directly, or more indirectly through the paper.

   All in all, as I enjoy my special day, I have to say that I am where I want to be and doing what I want to do.  I am happy and at peace with my life and that is the absolute best birthday present in the world.

Beth

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Friday, 19 April 2002

April 19, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Next week (April 21 - 27) marks Volunteer Week.  A week in which we remember to thank all the unsung heroes who make our world go round.

   It takes a special breed of person to volunteer.  A person who gives selflessly to others with no expectation of having their efforts even acknowledged.  A person who thinks the needs of others are more important than their own.  A person who sees a need to be filled, or a job to be done, and lends not only their hands, but their heart as well.  A person who all too often is overlooked or ignored when the accolades and credit for a job well done are passed around.

   Volunteers are the backbone of any community.  Without the dedication of volunteers, there would be no hockey, community groups, community functions, or even school extra-curricular activities.  Generally, it is the volunteers working very diligently behind the scenes that ensure the success of any organization or function.

   Volunteering gives a person a chance to return something to society by contributing to the world around you and making a positive difference in the lives of others.  Volunteering makes you feel good, and according to various studies, actually promotes longevity.  Just consider the number of  senior citizens who volunteer for endless hours!  Volunteering provides an enormous amount of personal satisfaction.  Knowing that you have helped out someone in need, or contributed to a worthy cause, is a great reward for all the long hours and back-breaking work. 

   To ALL THE VOLUNTEERS out there, I would like to say THANK YOU!  In particular, I would like to thank the members of the Alix Public Library Board and the volunteers who me help in the library - Carol Lukyn, Genevieve Marshall, Franshesca Bryant and Jodie Waddy.  I could not do my job without your assistance.  I would also like to specially thank Genevieve Marshall who helps me deliver the paper in Alix.

    I would like to leave you with this thought:  “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”  – Morrie Schwartz

Beth

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Friday, 5 April 2002

April 5, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

Goals and dreams...we all need them, and many of us dread defining them. 

   The goal-making gurus tell us that making goals is vital, but more important, it is necessary to write these goals down to give them concrete form, thus giving your mind something to focus on.  These goals can (and should) include everything from the ultimate direction of your life, to what you hope to accomplish on any given day, to a simple grocery  or to-do list.  Once your goals are written down, there are umpteen methods of organizing and accomplishing them, and, if you are really interested in this process, there are umpteen books available to help you complete each step in the process.

   As I am not one to follow the crowd or the latest experts, I do not have a written list of major, or even for that matter minor, life goals.  I am incapable of even functioning with a written to-do list!  But, that does not mean that I do not have well-defined, definite goals for my life.  I do.  The list is just stored in my brain rather than on paper or computer. 

   Though they were not written down, I have managed to accomplish some of my major life goals, and am in the process of working on others.  Some have been short-term and easy, others more long-term and challenging. 

   Two weeks ago I discovered that, due to circumstances beyond my control, I might have to put one of my major life goals on hold or, worst case scenario, quit totally.  As this goal has been part of my life forever and because I am not a quitter (I possess a very stubborn nature) the thought of giving up was something I did not want to face. 

   I was forced to analyze how important this goal really was to me.  What would happen if I did not accomplish this goal?  Because of the circumstances, no one would think any less of me, and my family and friends would not shun me.  Also, it would not change who I am inside.  I know I could have done it, thus I do not need this goal to prove to myself (or  even other people) what I am capable of achieving.  It would not really change my perspective of how I view life.

     So, if goal is not going to have a profound impact on my life, why is this goal so important to me?  After some reflection, I decided that I still wanted to go ahead, even though the pathway is going to be much rockier and more challenging than first anticipated.  
Accomplishing this goal will give me a sense of conquering the unconquerable and beating the odds, and, yes, it will be a growth experience for me.  Is that not why any of us try to accomplish difficult tasks?

   What goals or dreams do you have (written or unwritten) that you have had to reassess lately?  If it is important enough to make as a personal goal, and it feels right, it is important enough to strive for, regardless of the roadblocks and detours you may encounter.  I’m not giving up on my dream yet.  I encourage you not to give up on your dreams either.

Beth

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Friday, 15 March 2002

March 15, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer 

Essays...midterms...Help!  This past couple of weeks I have had to bury my head in the books, school books that is, in order to get lots of studying caught up and completed.

   While I enjoy studying and learning new things, in all honesty, I would really enjoy the process so much more if I could eliminate the assignments and exams.  Essay deadlines are worse than newspaper deadlines, particularly when they fall on the same day!  On the other hand, the luxury of writing an exam at a time of day convenient to me (7:00 a.m.), and without having to leave my home, is something that I have discovered I can handle quite well.

   However, education and learning are not confined strictly to the classroom with its teachers, assignments, quizzes, and exams.  Learning involves considerably more than school and seemingly endless amounts of homework.

   Every experience we encounter, every person we meet, every task we carry out, and   every choice we must make are learning opportunities.

   Some of these learning situations are very obvious to us.  Especially when you are faced with the same situation time and time again.  Some, though, are more obscure, and we don’t realize their real significance until later.

   Thus, we need to be open and willing to learn from every one of these opportunities we face as we travel through this great adventure called life. 

Beth

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Friday, 1 March 2002

March 1, 2002 Chautauqua

From the Editor's Computer 

While I am proud to be Canadian, I am not a hockey fan.  There, I’ve confessed!

   Despite my lack of enthusiasm for one of Canada’s all-time favorite winter sports, I have managed to catch some definitive moments in the history of Canadian hockey.

   For instance, I watched the Calgary Flames defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4 to 2 to win the Stanley Cup for the first time ever in 1989.  Lanny McDonald retired shortly after that memorable game.

   I watched the incredible shoot-out between the Canadians and the Russians, which resulted in the Canadians earning a silver medal in the 1992 Albertville Olympics.  I even remember rookie, Eric Lindros, being given the opportunity to shoot the puck.

   More recently, I watch the Women’s Ice Hockey team receive their gold medals after beating the U.S. team in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake.  No, I didn’t watch the game. 

   On the other hand, I sat riveted to the TV screen for the last half of the men’s hockey game and cheered when Canada won gold by a score of 5 to 2 against the U.S.  As the medals were presented to the team members, it was a shining moment in Canadian history as the Canada won Olympic gold in hockey for the first time in fifty years.

   I’m still not a hockey fan, but I am proud of our Canadian athletes. 

Beth

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Friday, 15 February 2002

February 15, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer 

I was quite surprised when I heard of the impending closure of the cheese plant in Bashaw.  The plant has been a fixture within the community for many years, not only as a major employer, but as a promotional feature.  Of course, this will have a profound impact on Bashaw, affecting all aspects of the community.  How?

   Now let’s look at another community.  Mirror has had more than its share of trials and tribulations in the past, and at this point, I do not see any improvements in sight.  Despite all the problems facing the village, Mirror is still here.  Why?

   Finally, we turn to Alix.  The Alix of today is not the same as the Alix of yesteryear when I was coming over for high school.    Particularly in the past three years the community has undergone a major personality shift.  What is the reason for this difference?

   What really makes or breaks a community?  Businesses, or the lack thereof?  A school?  Big industry moving in?  The number of community clubs and organizations in existence? 

   What really makes or breaks a community?Could it be the people?  People who care about their friends and neighbours.  People who are willing to help and work for positive change.  People who care about their community and the direction it is going. 

   Are you a person who cares about your community?


Beth

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Friday, 1 February 2002

February 1, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer 

Ground Hog Day is just around the corner.    According to Ground Hog legend, depending on whether a shadow is seen or not, we will either have six more weeks of winter, or it’s six weeks till spring.  If you really think about it, it does not matter, as either way, we’re waiting six weeks for a major change in the weather. 

   I started thinking about other idioms found in our English language.  You’ve heard the expression, “It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.”  There is even a joke about someone who ordered half a dozen doughnuts and was told there was only six left.  Or, my personal favourite, “If you treat the common cold it will last two weeks, if you leave it alone it will be gone in fourteen days.”  There actually are people in this world who honestly believe that the two values are not equal.   

   Of course, we cannot forget the age-old debate… “is the glass half-full or half-empty?”  No matter how you look at it, or what your personality bent is - optimist vs pessimist - it is still only half! 

   These are just some thoughts to ponder during the coming six weeks, whatever the weather may be like.
 
Beth

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Friday, 18 January 2002

January 18, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer 

   We have begun a new year complete with new challenges, adventures and opportunities.  

   Welcome to the premiere issue of The Chautauqua, a new paper with a new captain at the helm.  Yes, the rumour is true, I am the new editor.  As you peruse these pages, you will find some familiar favorites (the Library column!) and meet some new faces.  The topics addressed cover a broad range of interests.  As I continue to learn, the paper will continue to evolve.  I am looking forward to this new adventure of producing a quality newspaper.   

   I invite you to join me in this grand adventure, for this really is your paper.  As I have not mastered the art of being in two (or three, or four or more) places at one time, I encourage you to submit articles and pictures from local events that you have attended.  As well, I cannot read minds (sorry to disappoint you!) so the more events and news you tell me about, the more I can include within these pages.  I hope to incorporate more news from the various communities in the area, in addition to columns from the various community organizations.  Suggestions for future columns and topics addressed are always welcome.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this paper.  I appreciate your support.

   Finally, I encourage you to please share The Chautauqua with our friends and neighbours.


Beth

Click here to read the complete issue of The Chautauqua.

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