March 9, 2010

Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania: Quaint



     Kraft Singles American Cheese and Disney ABC have partnered to find the best community in the United States.

     “Every American has something about their town that makes them proud to call it home, and the great thing is Americans all have a different perspective on what makes their town so special,” says Clayton Wai-Poi, senior brand manager for KRAFT Singles. Contest judges will be looking for the one-of-a-kind features that make American communities unique.

     I considered entering until I learned that entries were taken by text or cell phone—whatever, none of which I am savvy enough to use. But the idea challenged me to write something about my community.

     The judging was based on three criteria: 60% for originality in describing what makes the town unique; 25% for inspiring others to visit the Town, and 15% for a photo that best showcases the Town.

     I pondered my community, Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania, tucked into the Laurel Ridge foothills at the bottom of Laurel Mountain Borough. What one-of-a-kind feature makes this community unique.

     Quaintness…the single most frequent word used to describe Laurel Mountain Borough, a small community in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

     How does a resident get this point across in a short description, stated with originality, that will inspire others to visit the community?

     First, one must understand what quaintness is. Dictionaries offer three definitions. First, charmingly (more…)


A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 18



Monte Holland

This is the eighteenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

 To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 17

Today’s photographs feature Iglesia Metodista de Mexico, A. R. Temple la Trinidad in Monterrey, Mexico. To view click on:


The Ninth Commandment:     16Do not tell lies about others.  Exodus 20:16  

     We are expected to be stewards of our tongues. The tongue is considered the one part of the body that can be most evil, at worst uttering words that blaspheme God in violation of the third commandment. It does this by telling false stories about others, about the world around and even about God. The tongue is truly powerful.    

     We have the term “white lie.” Supposedly these are lies that are told to “protect” another person from some bitter truth. In reality it is usually to “protect” ourselves from suffering the consequences of the truth coming to light. The term “white lie” somehow is supposed to make it better than a regular lie.

     The commandment makes no distinction. Lying is lying. It shouldn’t surprise us that this commandment is the most difficult of all ten.

     Can we clean up our act enough to face the truth day in and day out, and always witness faithfully to it? That is major challenge for each of us.

     In general trust is key to the good life—if we cheat on our spouses, if we take goods from others, if our tongue utters falsehoods, these are all trust breakers that reflect on who we are, and to an extent to what humanity as a whole is like. Lying is the epitome or the most visible breaking of the trust we have in community—one’s word is one’s collateral, or one’s reliability. “Our word is our bond.”

“Can you trust his word? Is he believable?” Don’t we often ask that question when we are trying to find out the truth about something important? The commandment zeroes in on telling the truth about other persons. How careful are we in these matters? Do we make sure the facts are correct before we share thoughts about another person? Do we nip gossip in the bud? Are we careful to not share information given to us in confidence? Ultimately this commandment is about stewardship—stewardship of our tongue by speaking wisely about others and not saying things about others that interfere with their response to the call of God on their lives. Our challenge is to be keenly aware of how our words about others affect their lives. Practicing truth-telling will make our words more truthful and allow us to be known as trustworthy.

The Ninth Commandment: DO NOT TELL LIES ABOUT OTHERS. (Or stretch the truth.)


Exercise 1:  The truth is often avoided when a person is dying. What do you say, if a person asks you (more…)

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