By Joseph Mazzella,

My two sons are all grown up now. They are 32 and 27 years old this year. Yet, they both still have the minds of children. Autism has limited their intellectual growth over the years and they still need to be looked after 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I was a boy, the term used for people like my sons was “mentally retarded.” By the time I was an adult the term had switched to “mentally handicapped.” Later, this changed again to “mentally challenged.” None of these terms truly define them, however. They are so much more than these labels.

These days the newest term is “people with special needs.” I like this one better than the older ones because it is not only kinder, but more accurate. My sons do have special needs, but they also have special gifts.

My oldest boy may only be able to talk about certain things, Autism has limited his interests, but when he greets people by name, there is a contagious happiness in his mood and manner. He gives out love and hugs more freely than I do. And, he always leaves the people he meets feeling better.

My youngest boy doesn't speak much at all, he is lost in his own world most of the time. Sometimes he even has fits where he will cry and hit himself, but he also has an ability for laughter and joy that is far beyond anything I possess. Often, after he finishes crying, his happiness will immediately return whereas I would be lost in a mood for hours. In truth, my two special needs sons have taught me more about how to live and how to love than I could have ever learned on my own.

The fact is, all of us in this life have special needs. All of us also have special gifts. It is up to us to share our gifts. It is up to us to meet each other's needs. It is up to us to treat each other with kindness and love. Remember, we are all one family here. We are all children of the same God.

Joseph Mazzella is a free-lance writer from Nicholas County and a GSC Alumnus.

As I sit here and ponder what to write about this week, it strikes me that our government is so far behind in the reality of the world.

Yes, the President has advisors and the legislators have advisors, but none of those people seem to have a clue that the opioid crisis is over.

Actually, when was the last time you saw in the news that someone was arrested over pain killers. I do know and understand that heroin is an opioid. I get it. But heroin is not prescribed by physicians. It is a Schedule 1 narcotic just like marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and many more illegal drugs.

Yet government officials are still talking about the opioid crisis. (I wish I could insert an eyeroll)

When you see, hear or read about drug arrests, it's usually methamphetamine. That has become the epidemic!

As the opioid crisis was dying down, lawmakers, attorney generals, county governments and school officials were all suing the makers of opioids. Big drug companies are paying out huge amounts of money to states and other governing bodies to “make up for their deceptive marketing.”

Who are these government agencies going to sue now? Joe Bob in his basement who is mixing drain cleaner, battery acid and other disgusting chemicals together to make meth? Are they going to sue the makers of bottled water or pop because meth can be made in their bottles? I guarantee you that old Joe Bob doesn't have the millions that drug companies do and if he's using his product, he doesn't have any teeth either. In addition to meth rotting his teeth, Joe Bob is probably missing a lot of skin where he is picking it off.

I've been told by medical professionals that methamphetamine increases the dopamine level in your brain to a crazy high level and makes you feel amazing. While I am sure this is true, I find it difficult to believe that people really want to put drain cleaner, battery acid and other harsh chemicals in their body through snorting it up their nose or injecting it in their veins to get that feeling.

But, people amaze me all the time.

There's no feeling like being able to chew your food. You can't enjoy a nice medium rare steak when you don't have any teeth. Anyone who knows me or just sees me on the street can tell I don't miss many meals. I like my teeth being in my head for many reasons, but steak is just as good as any of my other reasons.

At this point, the drug companies have not come up with a medication to deter meth use like they did with opioids. I work in a medicated drug treatment facility a few days each week. We have people calling everyday wanting help to overcome meth. The medical help simply is not available.

Therapy is available to help people understand why they started using meth in the first place, but there is no medication to back up the therapy...yet. Maybe one day.

Government officials need to face the facts of what is going on in the real world. Washington D. C. is not the real world. Our government officials are living in a land where they think they are more important than the rest of us. But, they were actually sent there to SERVE us! Serving us, the residents of the United States, is the only reason they are there. It seems like when Senators and House members arrive in Washington they are somehow transformed and lose their grip on the reality of their home states.

Meth is a huge problem here in WV and Glenville and all over the U. S. If you don't believe me, ask the judges in Gilmer County. I was actually sitting in Magistrate Court one day when Chief Magistrate Carol Wolfe sent a person to jail to allow time for the person to come down off the high that person was obviously one. Before the person went to jail, Wolfe ordered a drug test. When this person returned for a hearing, Wolfe ordered another drug test and the person had more drugs on board than when the person went to jail.

I, personally, have written many stories of people who have destroyed their lives using or selling meth. It's horrible. It's an epidemic that medical community can not fix. Only the good Lord can do that!

I know that meth can be overcome! I know people who have overcome it and are now living healthy lives with families who are thrilled to have their real child, sister, brother, etc. back! It can happen! It takes a lot of love, patience, hugs and more! They have a story to tell. A story that may give others hope. Their story consists of more strength than most of us have. Please pray for these people, that they find the strength to overcome and our government figures out a way to face the truth.

The Perks of Small Town Living

Well, we've been here just over a year now, I still like small town living. At first, it was just a relief to get away from the noise and bad air of the city, but now, it's the people that make it a good place to live. Thanks to my husband, almost everyone knows us by name. Wherever we go in town, there is always someone to call out a friendly hello to us. When I go into a restaurant, the waitresses know I'm going to have tea.

When I walk around in town, I think my mother and dad probably walked here once when they were young, as this was their hometown. The people here are so much like them, and I can see my parents ways in them. I hope the folks here don't change from their friendly ways and will always be ready to talk to strangers who come to town. It's a good feeling to walk around where you feel like you're surrounded by friends and family.

Small town living is for me.

'Til next time,

Hazel

By Jeanette Riffle

 

I remember a story that Dad told me about turnips. Both my parents went through, The Great Depression. Dad told me of eating turnips one whole winter. Turnips were plentiful. They had a good crop that fall. I asked if they had anything else and he said they had potatoes, beans and cornbread. Farmers grew their own corn for meal. They took it to someone who had a grist mill and had it ground up. When I was growing up, Dad took his to Audie Turner, above Normantown. We made cornbread often and I remember Dad eating turnip broth over crumbled cornbread in a bowl. He evidently didn't get tired of them at home because he grew his own in the fall.

Another story that he told me was that time he and his brother, Chester Stewart, were sleeping in the bed out in the wash house and Chester thought he saw a man in the room with them. He whispered, “Ernie, there's a man in here.” Dad asked where and Chester said he was over by the door. Dad looked through the darkness and there was just enough light coming in from outside to make a long trench coat and a Sunday hat show up. Dad started laughing because he knew there was a coat tree there and when he told his brother what it was they both had a big laugh. The hat was hung above the coat in such a way that it looked like a man with a coat and hat on.

Dad and his brother, Scott, were out hunting one night and when they were coming home they encountered a bright light on the hill where they were. He said it seemed to come right down out of heaven and it lit up the ground where they were standing. I asked if it was a shooting star or something like that. He said it wasn't that big and he knew what it was. He wouldn't tell me anything else. I believe he thought that God was trying to tell them something and it was personal. He didn't want to talk about it.

He said that when his parents went to town they left him in charge of the rest as he was the oldest. I can't remember which of the five boys poured grease on the kitchen floor but according to Dad they all skated in it and some fell into the china cabinet. The top part with the dishes fell over and broke nearly every dish. They cleaned the mess up but they didn't have enough dishes for a table setting.

When I was a teenager, Grandmother Stewart told me about it and said she had to borrow enough odds and ends dishes from Aunt Sis Fitzpatrick to tide them over until she could buy more dishes. Aunt Sis lived across the swinging bridge in that big two story white house. Granny had to keep washing dishes every time someone ate something, in order to keep enough clean dishes ahead.

Until next time, enjoy this spring like weather. We had 78 degrees, yesterday.

Take care and God bless!

I have not yet settled down from the rush and joy of the holiday season of 2019, and the ongoing excitement of the news that creates a constant stream of emotions. We are watching terrible fires (in Australia), earthquakes (in Puerto Rico), rumors of war, (sounds like I copied this from Matthew 24) and serious problems and illnesses that drive us to our knees and stir up our emotions. But not all that keeps us so much on edge that it quenches the joy of the heartwarming Christmas cards, or birthday cards and especially the happy baptisms of some young ladies I mentioned in Pat's Chat for December 5. Bridgett Cutright, daughter of Nick and Tonja Cutright, and Jamie Cutright, daughter of Marsha and Jeff Cutright.

The young people and many other adults and parents were invited to a Sleepover at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Brushy-Fork Road. Last Saturday evening, Darlene Parker and Bonnie Cutright coordinated the reportedly fun time of a Sleepover, what we used to call a pajama party. They had games, snacks, popcorn, a movie, and sleeping bags.

The disturbing news I mentioned at the beginning of this Chat might make you wonder what the future holds and is there any hope for our chaotic world. Is it possible to have a happy life anymore? Can we find a happy life in spite of it all? I find my peace and security from my most trusted source, the Bible. Some folks don't believe in that old-fashioned Book, but let me tell you, it brings peace. Have you ever studied the Bible? You can get absolutely free Bible study guides. Just write to Discover, P. O. Box 999, Loveland, CO 80539-0999. Ask for Discover Study Guides and you will see the Bible come to life for you as you study the guides. You can also get Prophecy guides from the same address, P.O. Box 999, Loveland, CO 80539-0999.

If you would rather study online, you can do that, too. Just go to www.BibleSchools.com and these are available in many languages. Some people like the privacy that online study gives them. Have a safe and warm winter, everyone. Maranatha.

My House and Me

A friend, Eloise Robinson, of Charleston, called me recently. We had a nice chat on the phone. She attended our church when she lived in Glenville.

Things are coming along good with the Cedar Creek State Park Foundation. There was another meeting on Sat. at the Park for the officers.

February 15 at the Rec. Building at Cedar Creek we will have our 3rd annual Cedar Creek Campers Reunion for all those who have camped at the park. It will be a covered dish dinner with a nice fellowship.

We were saddened by the news of the loss of our neighbor, Sonya. She had not been well for about four years. Our sympathy goes out to the Postalwait family on the loss of their loved one. She will be missed by family and friends. Our sympathy goes out to the Burke, Campbell family on the loss of a cousin, Zetta (Burke) Campbell. She will be missed by family and friends. She was formerly of Cedarville.

Here we go with the electric and telephone being out again. I hope it doesn't take as long as it did before.

By Jeanette Riffle

I sent some of my writings to a first cousin on the Stewart side ,who lives in Georgia, and she wrote back asking me to write about the era in which our fathers grew up. That would be Chester and Ernest Stewart. I have tried to remember things that Dad told me. Some of it is amazing. He said he would walk clear from the farm below Normantown, to his Grandpa Smith's place over on the Lower Run. He helped with farm work and was paid well. There were no roads like we now have. People walked the ridges and down through the woods. My husband said his Grandpa Riffle did the same thing. He would walk the trails clear from the head of Bear Fork and down on the county road where the Shock log cabin was. People traveled the easiest trails and the shortest routes they could find.

Dad told me of wild hogs in the woods. Back then farmers would turn their hogs out and let them roam free. We are assuming there was some kind of mark on them, maybe in their ears, so the farmers could tell which hogs were theirs. Duane said he remembers his Uncle Ralph Perrine and Grandpa Riffle going to Nicholas Co. to deer hunt and they got into a bunch of wild hogs that put his grandpa up on a big rock. Grandpa wanted to shoot them but Uncle Ralph told him he couldn't do that because they belonged to someone. We can't remember hearing how they got those hogs to leave but we think that Uncle Ralph probably yelled real loud and shot into the air and frightened them off. I expect those encounters with the wild hogs happened a lot with people out there traveling on foot. Hogs would get defensive foraging around for food and dealing with wild animals.

A cousin of mine, on the Stewart side, called me this week and we were reminiscing about things we got into on the farm where our dads grew up. His dad was Scott Stewart another brother to my dad, Ernest. The wild hogs were gone by then but we encountered some scary situations. Scotty remembers climbing a ladder to open a trap door in the ceiling of the wash house. “Bees!!!!” He about fell off the ladder when he saw that hornet's nest. We all went scrambling for the door fast as we could but one got me in the back of the neck. Unexplained noises in that old abandoned house across the creek really freaked us out ! Those three little boys, Scotty and two of my brothers, ran ahead of Shirley Ann and I. They had that swinging bridge swaying so violently that we had to get down and crawl across. Up the hill those boys went to the farm house and out came Grandpa Frank Stewart. After a while, he came back telling about seeing a man around the back of the property who went on up the field.

A few days later, Dad heard of a convict that had escaped from the state pen up at Moundsville, who was believed to be in our area. I'm sure he moved on after being seen. Until next time, take care and God bless! Stay warm. A cold front has moved in.

I hope each of you experienced a Merry Christmas and it is my prayer that everyone who reads this Pat's Chat will have a happy New Year! It has been wonderful to be with family and friends throughout the holidays, but I have to admit that I am glad it is over. I believe I have been more tired than I ever have been before. Everything seems to take longer and I can accomplish less than ever before. I don't think any of my friends or family would have a Christmas gift if I didn't live with my daughter who happily does all the shopping ALL year long!! I am praising the Lord that Robin loves to shop, and her mind is always ready to pounce on something that would be JUST the right gift for this or that relative or friend. She has several Christmas bags or boxes going in her sitting room closet all through the year. If it is pink, it may be in Laura Beth's bag. If it is green it will, no doubt, go into Kelly's bag, even if she just purchased it at an after-Christmas sale. My friends, her friends, our friends, plus siblings, nieces, nephews, my great-grandchildren, the people she worked with (or was friends with) in KCMO, friends in Georgia and friends in California, etc. She is a marvel at shopping and remembering and I am no good at either of those activities anymore.

I am sad that there will be very little Christmas music again until next Christmas Season. I love it so much. I wish we could have Christmas songs here and there all year long.

Our children at church brought us a beautiful Christmas program with help and direction from Bonnie Cutright and Darlene Parker who are Children's Ministry officers. Also, a couple of very sweet young ladies decided to be baptized, so they were baptized at our Sabbath Worship Service last Sabbath. Bridgett Cutright, daughter of Nick and Tonja Cutright, and Jamie Cutright, daughter of Jeff and Marsha Cutright. When people decide to be baptized at our church, the Bible mode is followed, complete immersion into the water which represents Jesus' death, burial and resurrection (see Romans 6:3-5). Jesus did not sin but He still insisted on being baptized by immersion to fulfill (or complete) all righteousness. (See: Matthew 3:13 Ð 17). (I intended to send pictures of the Christmas program and the beautiful baptism, but I just could not figure out how to send them from Facebook messenger. I am sorry!)

At the Senior Center, Singing Seniors, one Saturday evening a few weeks ago I was introduced to Crock Pot Baked potatoes, which reportedly Jim Vance fixed- a delicious, foil-wrapped potato! The cookbook my daughter found the recipe in was a Goodwill Cookbook. She copied the recipe for me and gave the book to my niece, Kelly. Now I have lost the written recipe. I went on line and looked for a recipe for Crock Pot Baked Potatoes, and there are many, many. Here is one site that is beautifully illustrated: https://www.wicke-dspatula.com/slow-cooker-potatoes These can be done quickly or slowly over 5 to 10 hours on LOW. Sheri Sapp and I each fixed a Crock Pot full of potatoes for our potluck dinner last week. Just clean the potatoes, rub oil on them and fill up your crock pot (do Not add water.) I did not wrap mine. Sheri wrapped hers in foil. Mine cooked all night on LOW and can be kept warm in the crock pot till ready to eat. All the fixings were there to be added while potatoes were warm from the pot. On High the recipes say they will be done in 2 or 3 hours depending on size of the potatoes. Mine baked 10 or 12 hours on Low. Wonderful!

Maranatha!

By Joseph Mazzella,

It was a day in late December. The Christmas tree had been taken down. The lights and decorations had been boxed up and put in the closet until next year. And I was feeling a little blue. I sure wasn't looking forward to the long, cold, dark winter to come. I had always been a light lover on the inside. I tried to take comfort in knowing that a few more minutes of daylight was being added each day, but I still felt tired and run down.

I was both surprised and delighted then, when I looked out my window and saw that a spring like day had suddenly arrived. The temperatures quickly soared into the sixties and the sun was shining down on the earth with a loving light. I could hear the neighborhood children outside playing in the warm air. I smiled when I saw them and my inner child longed to be out there riding bikes and playing games as well.

I leashed my dogs for their afternoon walk hoping to enjoy some of the sunshine myself. As I was about to head out the door, however, I decided to do something a little different. I reached down and pulled my shoes and socks off. I hadn't been barefoot outside since the summer. I slowly stepped out on the cool damp grass. It felt so alive under my feet. I laughed as I walked along. I remembered something I once read: “Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet.” And with each step, I did so. My walk felt sacred and holy. I felt a oneness with the world and the love of Heaven all around me. With love in my heart, I thanked God for the gift of this day and no longer dreaded the winter to come.

All of us are walking through this life. But it is up to each of us how we do so. Are you going to stumble and stomp and complain with each step you take? Or, are you going to kiss the earth with your feet and Heaven with your heart? The choice is yours.

Joseph Mazzella is a free-lance writer from Nicholas County and a GSC Alumnus.

Last week, my column was about human trafficking. As I came into work on Monday, one of my co-workers had printed out a press release from the U. S. Attorney's Office in Martinsburg.

Yes, I know that Martinsburg is a large town and is a bedroom community for Washington D.C. But, the press release was about a man who has a Maryland and Florida address who was luring young girls on the internet to send him pornographic pictures of themselves.

This is one way human trafficking begins.

This 24-year-old man had talked to a 13-year-old West Virginia girl on an app called “Live Me” and groomed her until she sent him inappropriate pictures of herself. No one knows how far this would have gone if police officials had not intervened.

Maybe he only wanted pictures. Maybe he wanted to continue talking until that child ended up sneaking away from home to join her “love.”

These are scary times we are living in.

Live Me, Snapchat and many other phone apps are becoming a way to meet young people, boys and girls alike, and either get them to send inappropriate pictures or get them to meet them. The adults usually provide the bus or plane ticket and then your child is in the hands of a predator. In a town that is not your own. Alone. And scared.

This isn't just happening to children. Teens and adults are being lured into these activities also. Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side. But, sometimes that grass is extremely dangerous.

Many, many parents give their young children cell phones for emergencies. It makes sense for children to have a phone available to be able to contact parents when needed.

Kids are smart. They are especially smart when it comes to technology. If they have their own phone, parents need to be diligent in monitoring the apps they download and how they are being used. Once that Snapchat photo is sent, it's gone and Snapchat has been very uncooperative in helping police recover photos needed in criminal investigations. So far, not one court in the nation has been able to force Snapchat to release photos that were sent, but not screen shot.

Chat rooms are a fun place for teens to visit to meet people from all over the world. The sad thing is, predators know that too. There are sick people everywhere. Literally. Some just want child pornography, some plan to lure your child or teenager to a far away place and sell them into the sex trade.

It's a scary world out there.

The press release I received, just after I wrote the initial column on this subject, said that the man received a ten year sentence. If he behaves while in prison, he will serve 7 and 1/2 years.

You can not talk to your children enough about this subject. Honestly, they may roll their eyes, but the hope is that when confronted in life or on the internet, they will remember what you said and know that you are right. Hopefully, your child will come to you and you can report this person to authorities.

It's real. It's important. Be vigilant.

Remember those who need your help

 

The Cedar Creek Foundation meeting on Saturday evening was very successful. There was a good turn out!

Zell Jones from our church is in the Mon General Hospital in Morgantown for tests. Remember her in your prayers!

Edith Huffman, formerly of Gilmer County, Cedarville, who was living in Braxton County passed away this past week. Our sympathy goes out to her family and friends on their loss.

It is good to see Marie Wilfong back from a trip visiting some of her family.

Our sympathy goes out to the Parsons, Cottrill, Vanhorn, and Burns families on the loss of their loved ones. They will be missed by family and friends.

 

Kitchen Hints

Clean copper pots with toothpaste or worcestershire sauce, or catsup.

An excellent thickness for soups is a little oatmeal. It will add flavor and richness to almost any soup.

Don't add sugar to stewed fruits until they have boiled for 10 minutes. They need less sugar then.

Lettuce won't “rust” in the refrigerator if it is wrapped in a paper towel.

The coldest part of any refrigerator is the top back shelf.

Try loosening rusty screws by putting a drop or two of ammonia on it.

Rusty bolts usually can be loosened by pouring club soda on them.

 

Raspberry Jam

5 cups green tomatoes, ground.

5 cups sugar

1 large box raspberry gelatin

Bring all but the gelatin to a boil and boil for 15 minutes, or longer, then add gelatin. Put into jars and seal. I have made a lot of this good tasty spread for biscuits or toast. Give it a try!

By Jeanette Riffle

 

Swarms of dragonflies hit our area this week and we heard of them all around us. Our dog was barking and looking up in the air one night and when hubby went to investigate, it was bats after those flies. My friend, Susie Cook, that lives up Tague in Braxton Co., called me and said that she was outside one day, putting things away for the fall and winter, and saw a big cloud of something coming up her hollow and she thought, “What in the world is that?” She called for her son to come outside and see it. They determined that it was a swarm of dragonflies. She said she had never heard of them swarming like that, before. They went right on up the hollow. I think they eat mosquitoes out of the air and they aren't harmful, but I did read that they will bite. I wondered where they came from and why are there so many. I did a search on them and came up with some interesting things. They not only eat mosquitoes, but several fly species, also. They swarm because of the high abundance of insects found in certain areas. They will disturb the small insects in your grass and cause them to fly around more than they usually would do. The prey draws the dragon flies in and swarms form.

The National Weather Service of Cleveland, OH, posted an image of the radar from OH, PA and IN showing the insect invasion. Fox 8 viewers reported seeing thousands of them in five different counties. In Cleveland, massive amounts of dragonflies were spotted over Ohio on Tuesday of this past week. Some people view them with a spiritual meaning and some have a hobby of dragonfly watching just like bird watching. They come in different sizes and different colors. We have had katydids coming in on our front porch and I saw a butterfly one day this week. For some reason , the butterflies will come to the front porch before they take off on their journey south.

The death angel came for two of our friends this past week. Cousin Richard Vanhorn, of Fairmont, passed and his funeral is September 18 at Fairmont where he and wife, Sandy Brady Vanhorn, have lived for several years, now. He was a retired Church of Christ minister. Also, Carrell Leon Burns, of this area, took his journey home. He was a well known bluegrass singer and played guitar. He did music with many bands. He jammed with us here and did bookings back when I had a bluegrass gospel band. He sure will be missed. Until next time, watch for those dragonflies. Take care and God bless!

It's been wonderful to see Glenville State College students back on campus. I love seeing the students walking around and seeing them from the front porch of Glenville Newspapers as they walk up and down Court Street.

Glenville State College and its students are very important to Glenville and Gilmer County. Period. I think the majority of the business owners understand just how important those students really are.

I felt like this summer droned on and on because there weren't any students on campus. I certainly hope the new administration does not make that error again. Only having classes on-line during the summer hurts the town and county. It also hurts the students.

I've taken what was (low those many years ago) correspondence courses. The internet didn't exist. I needed to take my French courses at a time that I wasn't taking 21 other hours of college work, so I opted to take the correspondence courses through the University of Kentucky. At the time, very few universities offered those types of classes.

I was sent course work and completed my tasks. I learned very little to nothing. Maybe I am old (we all know I am) and maybe on-line classes are more interactive than the old correspondence courses. And, maybe you actually do learn the subject matter you are studying.

But, there is nothing like learning in a classroom with your peers and a teacher who actually cares about the subject he or she is teaching. You learn through discussion, lectures and note taking. I feel that classroom learning is important to everyone involved.

When I was in college, I would return to Glenville in the summers to work as a lifeguard and take summer courses at Glenville State College. That is how I took several classes that weren't in my majors. Those classes that I wasn't really interested in were easier to take in the summer. I got them out of the way quickly and didn't have to worry about classes that were not part of either of my majors when I was at Marshall University.

I am advocating for at least one semester of in school summer school classes next year. I hope the powers that be will agree with me. Students need to be in the classroom in Glenville and Glenville needs students to be in town.

Glenville State College is the heartbeat of Gilmer County. Make no mistake about that. We need the college and the college needs the community support. Students add life, too!

 

Webster's Dictionary defines a dream as a “series of thoughts or visions during sleep.” Biologists say dreams are our brain's way of organizing, storing and remembering what we have seen the day before. Psychologists say dreams sometimes help us work out our issues and emotional problems. Most people, however, think dreams are unimportant and do their best to ignore or forget them.

Lately, my own dreams have had a lot of visitors. While my brain has been remembering what happened the day before and my heart has been working out my issues and problems, I keep seeing my dad, mom, nana and friend Kai. The funny thing is all of them are deceased. None of them have been a part of my daily life for years now. While I remember them all with love, I have no issues or problems to work out with any of them. Why do they visit my dreams night after night?

When I see my dad, mom, nana and Kai they all seem younger and healthier than they were when they died. They have no pain in their faces and their smiles share only love and joy. They seem to be there only to comfort me, to reassure me, and to give me strength to face life and live it with love. Each time I wake after one of these dreams I feel at peace again and thank God for their visit.

Maybe there is more to dreams than just what the dictionary and scientists say. Maybe our dreams have a way of letting us see out of this world and into the next. Maybe our loved ones come to us in our dreams to let us know that they still love us, they still are watching over us, and they are waiting to see us again when our days on this earth are done. Maybe time, like death, is just an illusion and only love is real. I wish you all sweet dreams.

By Joseph Mazzella

 

I was 10 years old and I was going on an adventure. It was summer break and my family had traveled south, to TN, to visit my Uncle Richard and Aunt Charlotte. But, while my older brothers had been allowed to go all over the place, I had been stuck in the house for most of the visit. Now, however, my mom had decided to let me go alone to a corner grocery store at the end of the block. She had given me money to pick up a loaf of bread and extra change to get myself a popcicle. I felt so grown up as I made the journey, bought the food, and headed back.

When I was about half way back to the house, though, I found my path blocked. A large black dog was looking at me and growling. I had never had a dog look angry at me before and my heart started to pound faster and faster in my chest. I didn't know what to do. Should I run? Should I scream? Suddenly, I felt a calmness come over me. It felt like it was coming from outside of me and within me at the same time. I knew what to do, too. I stood up as tall and straight as I could, looked over the dog, and said firmly, but kindly, “Go home, boy!” The dog stared back at me for a moment, then turned and trotted off.

I walked on, feeling very brave and very scared at the same time. I saw my mom and Aunt Charlotte sitting together on her front porch. I skipped up the steps and sat down in between them. My mom gave me a sip of her soda while I shared what had happened with her. I relaxed in her arms feeling adventurous, but also safe, secure, and loved.

Looking back on that moment reminds me that life itself is an adventure and only the bravest of us fully live it. It is full of fear and love. It is full of lessons and learning. It is full of pain and joy. Yet, through it all we are watched over and loved. God is everywhere and in everything, including us. Embrace all the adventures life gives you, then, be they big or small. Face them without fear. Use them to become the person you were meant to be. Let your entire life here be an adventure of love. And always let God's love live through you.

 

Joseph Mazzella is a free-lance writer from Nicholas County and a GSC Alumnus.

Welcome back to Glenville and Glenville State College!!! And, to all you new freshmen, welcome!! I hope a new world of opportunities opens up to you and you have a wonderful college experience while you are attending Glenville State College.

People say that your high school years are the best of your life. I have found that is not true for me. My college years stand out as the best! The most fun, exciting time!

Your years at Glenville State College can be the best years of your life. GSC can not only offer you an education that will last a lifetime, but friendships and memories that will too.

I've stolen some common sense items that I am going to share with you to help make GSC the best experience of your life and help you to succeed in your future.

1. Go to class. Period. Regardless of whether the professor says you have to be there or not. Just go. You will learn so much more by being in the actual classroom listening than you will reading the book. It's a good habit and a good mindset for every class you take.

2. During the first day of class, get two people's phone numbers from each and every class. No, not the hot guy or beautiful girl. Get those phone numbers because, at some point during the semester, you will have a question. If you have the telephone number of classmates, you can compare your memory of what was said during the class. If anything social works out, well that would be great, wouldn't it?

3. Take notes by hand. You can't make up an excuse that I haven't already tried. You won't remember everything to type it later unless you are Sheldon Cooper, and most of us aren't. Write the notes by hand, during class with your phone in your pocket on silent. That's how our brains encode information most effectively.

4. If you really want to get good grades to keep those scholarships or just to be as successful as possible, after class or the next day, rewrite your notes. You can outline the information, highlight important points, note what page of the textbook the material is covered on and make a list of questions.

Rewrite your notes! Rewriting helps dedicate that information into your memory.

5. Being a student is your job! If you don't do any of the suggestions in 1-4, simply do number 5, you will probably make it through college with flying colors...literally.

College is your job. Your full-time job is to be a student. So you need to be a student 40 hours a week.

Look at it this way, if you have a 15 hour class schedule, you have 25 hours each week to study or do any assigned work.

I know that sounds like a lot, but if you spend from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. everyday, Monday through Friday, in class or studying then you have every evening and weekend free to have fun!

If you start your college career doing these things, they will become habit and you will be able to better gauge how much time you actually need to spend studying in the future.

6. Go see each of your professors during their office hours. Introduce yourself and get to know them just a little bit. You will have a much better experience in class if you go talk to the professor and introduce yourself. If your professor knows you are making an effort to connect with them and that you are interested in their class, they will look at you during lectures and the look on your face will tell them whether you understand the concept they are teaching or not. They will notice. If the professor can tell you aren't understanding, they will explain it again, in a different way, so that you can grasp the concept.

7. This is the last one, I promise! Do the reading before class. I understand that you have never done this before and that you can usually get away with not doing it at all, but try it. Professors like it when you can participate in class. And seriously, if you want to be successful in life, you have to do things that you've never done before.

To summarize: You are a student and that is your job. Spend 40 hours a week on your classes and you will have a lot of time for fun! Do the reading, go to class, talk to your professors. Take responsibility for your life and your education. After all, the education you are obtaining only benefits you!

Make the most of college! It really is the best time of your life!

An unusually hot and wet spring this year was followed by an extremely hot and wet summer. Sunny skies were constantly giving way to heavy showers, only to be replaced with more sun and heat. This combination has made for a few changes from our regular summer here, in the mountains of my home. The limbs on the trees are growing twice as fast as usual and their leaves are huge. The Queen Anne's Lace, Daisies, and Black Eye Susan's are growing waist high in the meadows and on the sides of the roads. The bush in my front yard is shooting up as fast as a sunflower. The grass in my yards is thicker and taller than ever. Butterflies and bumble bees are everywhere, as are the yellow jackets and hornets. Mama deer and their babies can be seen coming out of the woods to feast on the abundance of crab apples on the ground. Squirrels with acorns are scurrying up the trees and baby birds are flying out of their nests. Everywhere I look there is an explosion of growth and life. It is incredible to see.

We humans are a little different than the rest of nature, however. Yes, our bodies do grow best in optimal conditions. We grow healthy and strong when we have good food, clean water, fresh air, and plenty of exercise. On the inside, though, it is often during the hardest of times that we grow the most. During the times of death, loss, and suffering is when our souls grow stronger and closer to God. During the bleakest wintertime is when our hearts grow more loving. During the worst times of our lives is when we help each other the most.

Why is it that we grow kinder, stronger, and wiser during the toughest times, as well as the good ones? Why is it that the worst in this world often brings out the best in us? No one knows for sure, but I am happy with the mystery. Live well, then. Love much. Grow strong. Be the person God meant for you to be during the winter nights, as well as the summer days.

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