One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

What makes you happy?

I’m generally of the mindset that a vacation doesn’t truly start until I’ve reached my destination. I will not be happy until I am sitting with either a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in my hand on the other side of the long drive. I want to get there as quickly as possible so I can just relax. But looking back, it brought to mind a vacation I took a few years ago when I was a single mom. I threw all the kids in the car, and headed to our family home in northern Wisconsin.

I could either take the 11-hour route that went through all of the major cities along the way, or I could take the 16-hour route that was more scenic and went over Mackinac Bridge and along the Great Lakes. Now, if you’ve ever driven for any length of time with five kids in the car, you understand my hesitation of adding five additional hours. I was afraid I would either be in tears or minus a couple of kids before we got there, but I chose the longer route. I told myself that for once, we were going to enjoy the drive.

This time, vacation started the minute we got in the car. If we got in the mood for ice cream, we stopped and got some. If I saw a pretty barn, I pulled over to photograph it. We stopped in Grand Rapids to visit friends and swim. We stopped to splash in the lake at sunset. We hiked when we got to the other side of the bridge and had a picnic dinner. We enjoyed the ride. The right now. The drive ended up taking 18 hours. I was exhausted when we finally arrived, but I still had my sanity, and all of the kids. The inside of the car was covered in sand and sticky napkins and empty wrappers, but their faces were covered in chocolate and smiles. It was totally worth it. I realized that I got it right this time and I realized that in my rush to just get where we were going all the years before, I missed it. I missed the joy that can be found in just slowing down and noticing the remarkable things around us along the way.

It makes me wonder. How often are we so focused on getting to the next point in our everyday life that we forget to see the remarkable things in the right now? Maybe we feel like we’ll be happier when we can get a bigger house or newer car. Maybe we want to just get through the ball practice so we can get home and sit in our favorite chair and relax. Maybe we think we’ll be happy when we can just finish the errands and get home. Heck, sometimes I think I’ll be happy if I can just get through the day so I can have a re-do and start over the next. (Yes, we’ve all had those.)

If that is the mindset in which we live our lives, we are missing it. We are missing the joy that can come in rolling down the windows, cranking up the radio, singing to our favorite songs, and having an impromptu dance party in our old car while on the way to run errands. Great conversations can be had on the way to and from ball practice. A compliment to the person running the cash register at the grocery store could brighten the day for both of you. Even on days when you might be sick and don’t go outside, you might notice deer in the yard, or a neighborhood child picking flowers. (Hopefully not out of your flowerbed like my kids have done to our neighbors – sorry!)

Your house might be small and not the one you envisioned yourself retiring in, but it has likely been the place of many blessings and memories, had the aroma of many home-cooked meals, and welcomed many people through its doors that love you. Let us not be in such a hurry to get to the next thing that we think will make us happy that we miss those small moments. In the end, those are the things that matter.

I am reminded of that every time I see my framed pictures of the pretty barns that I took time to stop and photograph along our vacation route that summer. And every time we’ve driven to Wisconsin since then, my kids request that we take the same route, and we do. Because to them, the longer route doesn’t mean five more agonizing hours in a car anymore. Now it means they’ve been given permission to slow down, enjoy the ride, and create memories that last a lifetime.

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Denae Jones

Contributing Columnist

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2016 People's Defender