• To frack or not to frack: Amish debate merits, drawbacks of gas drilling

    Julie Carr Smyth

    Associated Press

    BALTIC, Ohio — In parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania where horse-drawn buggies clip-clop at the pace of a bygone era, Amish communities are debating a new temptation — the large cash royalties that can come with the boom in oil and gas drilling.

  • GRACE NOTES 07/13/2013: Tales from the mountain

    Several weeks ago I went mountain climbing.

    Not really, but I did volunteer to take part in my church’s Project Beautiful work day.

    One of our mission goals is to bring beauty to our community in small ways, be it picking up trash, pulling weeds or painting houses.

  • GRACE NOTES 07/06/2013: Confessions of a rat fink

    Shortly after my husband and I got married, my youngest brother clued my new husband in on a family secret about me.

    “Nancy is a rat fink,” he said.

    It’s true.

    My modus operandi would be to go to our mom and say, “I really hate to tell you this, but (insert sibling’s name) is (insert sibling’s crime).”

  • In sickness and in health

    They met by accident, except Ron and Nancy Davis believe there are no accidents, not when it comes to the way they met and not when it comes to Nancy’s condition that has her confined to a wheelchair. 

    “I know God doesn’t make mistakes,” Mrs. Davis said. “I don’t understand why this is happening, but I trust His will for me.”

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 6/22/13: A Jewish tale from the Old West

    With many people starting to take vacation time, some trips will include plans to visit our American West. This vast, virgin territory, with its history of outlaws and Native American uprisings, is the stuff legends are made of, and these tales are especially taken up by the entertainment media, such as in this summer’s release of “The Lone Ranger.” But real history is often more fascinating than what Hollywood can concoct, and the players and events that shaped the Old West have a tale all their own to share.

  • Christian music, cultural festival to hit the stage in Citrus County

    Extreme bands playing extreme music with a message of extreme love. 

    The Extreme Tour comes to Citrus County with a slate of Christian bands and musicians in concert from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Citrus County Fairgrounds in Inverness.

    Bands include Charles’ Horse, Chaotic Resemblance, Northridge, Gallery Cat, Martay and Primisis, plus a message from Jason McLeod, an actor from the movie “Facing the Giants.”

  • GRACE NOTES 6/22/13: Membership has its privileges

    Back in the 1990s, American Express had an ad campaign for its credit card: “Membership has its privileges.”

    The ad implied that those who were fortunate enough to qualify for this status symbol card also qualified for exclusive swag and rewards — in addition to a monthly bill.

  • VBS: A summer tradition

    In the latter part of the 19th century, Mattie Miles, wife of a Methodist minister in Hopedale, Ill., wanted to find a way to teach children the Bible in a way they would understand and enjoy. She took a group of children, and for four weeks she used crafts, stories, games and songs to keep their attention. The children had fun, they learned Bible stories and Bible truths, and Vacation Bible School was born.

  • ON RELIGION 6/15/2013: A case for the common hymnal

    There was a time when the faithful in the heavily Dutch corners of the Midwest would not have been able to sing along if the organist played the gospel classic “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”

  • GRACE NOTES 06/15/2013: Holding on

    Her name is Kate, although that’s not her real name.

    Kate’s mother left when Kate was young, leaving her dad to care for Kate and her younger brother, with help from Kate’s grandmother.

    Kate never knew why her mom left, and even if she did, how could she ever even begin to understand it?