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Here in the Shenandoah Valley, we are blessed with many caves. Our karst limestone topography has yielded numerous underground rooms and passageways that crisscross beneath our feet without our knowledge. Several of these caverns are open to the public and provide tours into the subterranean…

A few years back a baby grand piano showed up at a local thrift shop. One of the generous couples in our church with huge hearts offered to buy and donate it to the congregation for use in our worship services. We were all very excited and thankful for this great opportunity.

It’s hard to believe another year is nearly in the books. Twelve months ago we were peering into the unknown days of 2018, and now nearly all of them are complete. If you’re going to accomplish a goal or keep last year’s resolution, you’d better get busy for the time is short!

The little lump of clay sat patiently awaiting the potter’s attention. As he did so, he began to anticipate what he might become. Perhaps the craftsman would shape him into a large wide pot to store freshly harvested grain that would be ground into flour to feed the family. Perhaps his futur…

With the holiday season underway, local churches will be exploring the religious side of the season with live nativities.

Last month, Nancy and I enjoyed an incredible bucket list trip to Israel to literally walk many of the places where Jesus himself walked. We entered the Bethlehem cave where very ancient tradition says he was actually born and we visited Capernaum to see the excavations of the very house tha…

A few years back, Nancy and I traveled to Germany for a friend’s wedding. While we were there, we also took in a side trip to Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein. It was a wonderful trip that continues to bring smiles every time we remember it.

“A lot of hanky-panky goes on now in most communities without attracting much attention, but there was a time when this was not true in Woodstock.” So begins another vignette by county historian Fred Painter in the book “Yesterday in Woodstock.”

Now there’s a headline you would expect from a preacher, right? But it’s actually just a paraphrase of a recent study by Harvard University, a school not known for its fondness for faith.

Chances are really good that you have either heard someone sneeze already today or have done so yourself. ‘Tis the season for ragweed and pollen and all manner of allergic reactions. Although I used to suffer miserably, I’m thankful to say that my late summers and early falls are much more e…

By the time you read this article, Hurricane Florence will likely have made landfall in the southeastern United States affecting millions of people and, if forecasts prove accurate, causing billions of dollars in property damage. As I write this, I’m praying that God would minimize its impac…

Over the years our father told us many stories about his school experiences. Times were very different, rules were very strict, and expectations were very high. There were no SOLs or Common Core and the board of education was often applied to his seat of learning. That’s not to say there wer…

Mention either of two very different animals, and you are sure to trigger an outbreak of free entertainment. Allude to either snakes or skunks, then sit back and listen as the tales spill out. This is one such story about a skunk that my dad shared with us years ago.

What would you do if someone showed up to burn your barn and devastate you financially? For many Shenandoah County residents, this question was more than theoretical when Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Union troops went through the Valley in the fall of 1864 doing exactly that. I can only imagine th…

Shenandoah County primarily offers two roads for north/south travel. Most days, those who enjoy lighter traffic and more scenic views take Route 11 while the majority who prefer speed and directness opt for a more crowded Interstate 81. Route 11 is slower than the interstate, but it treats i…

We are blessed here in the valley to see thousands of birds out of our windows and over our heads. Hundreds of species inhabit our fields, mountains, and even our towns. Rare is the day that one of these feathered wonders doesn’t cross our path somewhere or the other.

I don’t remember much about the sixth grade, but I vividly remember a field trip to Thunderbird Archaeological Dig in Warren County. Mrs. Josephine Lynn transmitted her love for history and geography to many of her students and planned this special outing for us to experience the work of arc…

Over the last several months, there’s been much discussion about keeping families together. Protesters along the Mexican border and in many communities all over America have demanded that children be reunited with their parents and that laws be changed to prevent such separations. While poli…

Last week, librarians in Denmark learned that three of their books from the 1500s and 1600s could easily kill them. While using x-rays to examine the composition of the inks used, they discovered instead that the covers of these books had very high levels of arsenic.

One hundred and fifty-five years ago, on July 3, 1863, Confederate Maj. Gen. George Pickett led an ill-fated assault on Union lines at Gettysburg. Acting on orders from Gen. Robert E. Lee, Pickett and his men charged over open fields attempting to take the high ground from their enemies. Ins…

In the mid-1990s, I was fortunate enough to have Sonny Tamkin build me a home. He gave it a sturdy cinder block and brick foundation and constructed the living space of 2 x 4s, plywood, and drywall on top of 2 x 10 floor joists and topped it off with custom spruce trusses, sheeting, and shin…