Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

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