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And Here We Are, 2024

And Here We Are, 2024

We have just exited the Christmas season. Having made it through December and New Year’s, many people are breathing a sigh of contentment, repletion, and maybe —- relief.? Wonderful holidays and the Christmas decorations lovely, but it is time to take the tree down and put the ornaments away until next year. Twelfth Night, just past, is traditionally when the Magi reached their destination (probably not the stable in Bethlehem although all of our creches have them there), to worship Jesus. Regar

Carol Bossard

Carol Bossard

Toxic Chemicals Like Those Found At Elmira High School Site Should Be Banned

Toxic Chemicals Like Those Found At Elmira High School Site Should Be Banned

by Andy Patros   There is always great interest in the history of our community and area.  Mark Twain, Elmira College, American Lafrance, to name just a few historical items. But one piece of history that will always be viewed as a stain on our community, is the toxic history of the Southside/Elmira High School building, an item that had plagued our community for decades.  The high school at 777. S. Main in Elmira, NY, opened in 1979 on property that operated for many years,

Guest Writers

Guest Writers

You Quiet My Soul

You Quiet My Soul

Saturday morning while doing some garden cleanup, admiring the beauty of the autumn leaf carpet, I listened to the quiet… broken only by low-lying geese honking their conversation, and several birds trilling their beautiful summer songs.  It was so calm and peaceful, without busy road commotion… the call of nature, God’s creation. “Be still and know that I am God…”  (Psalm 46:10a)  Quiet your heart… slow down your pace… put aside your frets and worries… and listen as God speaks to your hear

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Contentment Flows

Contentment Flows

Are we contented yet?  It’s just an accumulation of trinkets and stuff, an assemblage that needs to be fed every so often.  I should know, because I have my own collections from the past.  But, in the long run, none of it will go with us when life’s earthly journey comes to an end.  We should be content with what we have and who we are… not seeking to satisfy our appetite with more of everything life has to offer.  Be at peace, rest in who we are meant to be… don’t compare or judge ourselves to

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Something I've Learned...

Something I've Learned...

With school either having started for some, or about to start for others, I pondered the realization that there’s so much I thought I knew when younger, but really didn’t… for education isn’t only that which is gained in a classroom. Over the years, I’ve learned I can’t turn the clock back to undo or redo what’s been done.  Life doesn’t have a rewind button for our editing... so we inevitably move forward in a relentless flow of time.  And in that flow, learning becomes an emotional and sp

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

The Artist's Eye

The Artist's Eye

I love a good painting, especially a realistic portrayal.  Actually, once upon a time, I painted landscapes, getting so lost in the effort of creating art that I’d easily forget the passage of time and that I needed to eat.  Sadly, I haven’t picked up my brush and oils in several decades… though I used pen and ink to illustrate a few stories I’d written for my grandchildren several years back. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of abstract art, though I can appreciate various works of modern

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Newtown Battle near present-day Elmira, August 29, 1779

Newtown Battle near present-day Elmira, August 29, 1779

August 29, 1779, 244 years ago, a battle near present-day Elmira in Chemung County, New York was significant to the Revolutionary War.  It played a crucial, though seldom discussed, key role.  It was not a bloody battle, but it was instrumental in breaking up the power of the Six Nation Iroquois Federation, thus allowing westward frontier expansion for colonials. For centuries the Iroquois Nation included the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca tribes.  In the early 18th century, th

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

High Upon A Shelf

High Upon A Shelf

Sometimes we put others high upon a shelf… like fancy antiques… elevating them far above what is appropriate, thinking more highly of them than we ought.  I mean, after all, we all have our flaws.  Or, we might set them up high, putting a little distance between us… thinking we can just admire them while we go on about our way, doing things without their input or assistance.  Like we do with God sometimes… I know I fail at times to look first to God for answers in facing life’s problems.  I

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Faith

Faith

Recently, I was mocked for my faith and belief in God by a reader of my online blog.  Attributing to God the special ways my prayers were answered to overcome a fear of going alone through major airports, I met folks who became helpful friends on my flights to and from visiting family.  This woman was aghast, proclaiming God had nothing to do with it. She added that her comments were “unlikely to sway anyone who has been indoctrinated into a belief system.”  Rather, her purpose was to “lay bare

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Going Back Home...

Going Back Home...

Attending my Owego Free Academy 50th class reunion last night, July 22, 2023, it was great to see and chat with so many former classmates.  We were the 100th class to graduate from OFA, and the first class to graduate from the new high school building – such honors! Being asked to give the prayer at the reunion dinner last night, it was an honor to thank our Lord for all His many blessings – of friendships, places we’ve been, lives we’ve built, and to thank Him for the friends who have left this

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Broken Beauty

Broken Beauty

Ever feel as though you’re broken and scattered… like pieces of shattered glass?  You’re so overwhelmed by life, torn apart by one situation after another, perhaps in rapid succession.  And you begin to feel like you want to run away from all the stress and responsibility.  I have… and know I’m not alone. We all get hit hard by life at times, like the disruptive past few years midst the coronavirus pandemic.  We all stumble and fall.  We’re all broken… broken by our mistakes, sins, fears, u

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

My Traveling Adventure

My Traveling Adventure

I heard this after my flights to visit family - “How can you not see God in every little thing, in every little moment?” It was a meaningful phrase in a great song by Leanna Crawford that I heard last Monday while picking up some groceries. I’d just gotten home after a 12-hour delayed flight, and thought, how fitting… especially after my trip to see some of my family the end of June. I was nervous about going through the airports... 1) Elmira to Detroit to Nashville, 2) Nashville to Minneap

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Celebrating Independence Day!

Celebrating Independence Day!

It’s a fact that we Americans love our 4th of July celebrations!  We especially enjoy family gatherings and picnics, and big parades with lots of floats and marching bands.  We look forward to fireworks with their beautiful colors and designs exploding in the night sky.  We decorate our homes with flags and bunting.  We salute, or respectfully place our hand over our heart, as our nation’s flag is carried past us by military veterans in parades.  And, we recall the two important founding documen

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

I Remember A Dad...

I Remember A Dad...

Father’s Day… a time to remember the dads we treasure.  They’ve taught us well in the ways of life.  And I remember a lot about my dad.  In fact, it would be fair to say that I had put him on a pedestal while growing up… not a wise placement for anyone. But it seems he could do anything and everything, a jack-of-all-trades, almost perfect in my little girl eyes.  Though none of us can measure up all the time, there is One who is perfect… who forgives all our failings… our heavenly Father.

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Where The Heart Soars Free

Where The Heart Soars Free

We’re very thankful for the good rains that came following the heavy smokey haze we and so much of the northeast dealt with from Canada’s many wildfires. I saw the photos taken by my cousin in New York City sent to his parents, and which his mom forwarded to me. Much denser a haze than we had here, which was bad enough, it permeated everything. And going without rain for several weeks or even a month, it was cause for joy when my students and I heard and saw the heavy rains coming down! But

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Something New

Something New

It’s been a minute … sorry about that. Life, you know?  We’ve been dealing with some family stuff, work stuff. No different than anyone else, but unfortunately it manifests itself for me in neglecting my writing. Or at least my “unpaid” writing, since writing is what I’m doing full-time right now. Without anything much but lament to share personally, I wanted to share a piece of fiction I did for a writing contest. By way of background, this particular one is a flash fiction conte

Chris Brewster

Chris Brewster

In Him I'll Rest

In Him I'll Rest

It’s another beautiful sunshine day, with cooler temps down from the mid-90s, thankfully.  Still no rain in our area, as we pray for that blessing.  Yesterday was a successful day at our Spencer-Van Etten community farmers market season opener, and a great time to see friends and meet new folks as we chatted about various topics. This week as a sub also went very well, with special hugs from students, helping students stay focused on the classwork in front of them. And that reminded me of

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

Rescuing New York Now More Urgent Than Ever

Rescuing New York Now More Urgent Than Ever

To kick off the 2023 legislative session – one that we believed represented a pivotal session with New York at a crossroads in so many areas – the Senate Republican Conference put forth a comprehensive set of goals to help rebuild and strengthen local and state economies, focus on the financial challenges facing many middle-class families and small business owners, and make public safety a top priority. At that time back in early January, I said, “New Yorkers across the Southern Tier and Fi

Senator Tom O'Mara

Senator Tom O'Mara

The Rainbow's End

The Rainbow's End

I love to see a beautiful rainbow at the end of a storm, don’t you?!  I’ve even seen the occasional double rainbow emerging as the sun begins to shine, leaving a lustrous shimmering sheen on everything wet.  Then there’s that elusive pot of gold we joke about finding at its end… wouldn’t we be rich! Rainbows have come to symbolize many things.  Since the early 1970s, the rainbow has represented the LGBT community with bright bold colors, used by gays as far back as the 19th century to ident

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

The Time Is Right For A Cantina Band Series

The Time Is Right For A Cantina Band Series

Editor's note: This column was written at the beginning of the month. Guess what I forgot to do? It’s May 4th. In some corners of the world, this is a big day known as Star Wars Day. You know, may the fourth be with you. It makes sense that we have a Star Wars Day given its cultural impact. I mean, have you noticed some of the other “days” we have? At least Star Wars Day is something worth celebrating. Now, because it’s Star Wars Day and because again, some corners of the world are sup

Ryan O'Connell

Ryan O'Connell

"What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?"

"What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?"

From as early as I can remember, I wanted to play center field for the Mets. Any time anyone asked the typical, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” - whether it was a teacher, or my grandma, or one of my friends - that was always the answer. And yeah, it’s more realistic than John C. Reilly’s doctor father wanting to be a dinosaur in “Step Brothers,” but not by much. I was blessed with enough athletic talent to be good at most sports but not enough to be great at any of th

Chris Brewster

Chris Brewster

Welcome To New York's Border Crisis

Welcome To New York's Border Crisis

For all of us, the crisis at the nation’s southern border is no longer just a story on the nightly news. And if you still don’t think the migrant crisis could be headed our way across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, it’s time to take off the blindfolds. “New York is now a border state,” Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said last week at a Capitol news conference, where we gathered to propose steps to counteract its potential impact on communities statewide. He’s right. For

Senator Tom O'Mara

Senator Tom O'Mara

A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love

What a beautiful sunny morning for Mother's Day!  Within the busyness of life of working full time in both raising a family and earning an income through a career, finding relaxation through resting or enjoying a special hobby, may you be richly blessed in all you do that is dear to your heart.  Wishing each mother a very special Happy Mother’s Day!  How to explain a mother’s love…  It’s all encompassing… She believes the best, encourages, supports, and nudges her young ones forward from in

Linda Roorda

Linda Roorda

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