Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Years Challenge - a little early

According to my calculations, we’re almost 6 months into this blog dedicated to sharing stories about our corner of Missouri, stories that celebrate the awesomeness of living in Atchison County.

Ann & I have enjoyed coordinating and writing so far, and we look forward to many, many more months. As rewarding and worthwhile the process is for us as regular contributors, sometimes we struggle because ideas that seem great to us feel a little clichéd. Small town customer service is the best, harvest is beautiful, neighbors are friends…many of the topics we’ve posted so far could be fodder for the next cheesy wonderful Hallmark movie. But while every day isn’t sunshine and puppies around here, and while we are aware of our challenges, the fact is that the positive spin on our stories isn’t spin at all – it’s the truth. There is good to be found in Atchison County, and by purposefully focusing on what’s worth celebrating, we find ourselves celebrating more.

There’s a lot of love and encouragement ‘round these parts. We get positive feedback about this blog from church ladies, family friends we bump into in the grocery store, buddies who live states away, and, of course, parents and siblings, the most biased of all readers. We appreciate every response, and we are touched when something that comes from our collective ‘pen’ resonates with you.

Recently someone said that the blog inspires her, a comment that has come to my mind numerous times as I’ve read back through our conversation. I thought about it when I read Ann’s post the other week about the women who taught her how to be a leader. I thought about it when I read comments about Doug Summa and the impact he’s had on our community and county. I thought about it when I read the posts by a couple of beloved pastors. I thought about it when I read the stories of professionals returning home to live and work and lead. I thought about it again when I read a recent post from Julie Hurst’s blog about church ladies, and her critically important question: who will replace them?

Things are good here because of the people we are surrounded by, those who lead groups and model values and actively participate in this county. I’m asking myself this question even as I am asking you: what are you doing to contribute to the good of Atchison County? How are you passing on what you learned from your grandparents, parents, Sunday School teachers and Scout leaders about integrity and leadership and kindness to the next generation?

One of the benefits of living in such a small county is that it's not difficult to find an opportunity to do good or leave a legacy. So, go enjoy everything this most wonderful time of the year has to offer, but in the meantime, spend some time considering what you love most here or what you'd like to see made better.

And in January, rather than swearing to eat celery and grapefruits the rest of your life, make a commitment that will last longer, maybe even a generation or two. Get involved. Do something. Ready, set....go!


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