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Summer 2021 is winding down, and teachers are already preparing their classrooms for the fall semester. My Indiana granddaughters start school today (August 11). Back in olden times when I was a student, we were out of school by the end of May and didn’t resume until after Labor Day, a full three-month vacation. I’m sorry for today’s students who have barely two months of summer fun before they are required to hit the books again.

I’m over the moon with the news that Aldi’s is coming to the Middletown Commons in early 2022. That’s something that’s long been on many wish lists. Aldi is the common brand of two German family-owned discount supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries and an estimated combined turnover of more than $50 billion (Wikipedia). More good news: Apple Annie’s restaurant and bakery will locate at the Commons. I’ve visited their Morgantown location and enjoyed the delicious, home-style foods and fantastic desserts. It’s been exciting to watch the development of the new shopping center, which will soon offer Japanese and Thai cuisine, along with Mexican. El Rey Mexican restaurant is already serving quick and delicious south-of-the-border fare, and the service is top-notch. Now, if only we could add Chick Fil-A to the mix!

Here’s what’s happening around Marion County this weekend:

Palatine Park

Another big weekend is upcoming at the Park this Saturday from 12-5 p.m., starting with the TK Blockstar Back-to-School giveaway of over 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. Registration is not required, no questions asked. Help to support and encourage our kids as they begin a new school year, and at the same time, enjoy some great music provided by Six Six, Adrian Michael, Sara Rudy, and Shai VA. The splash pad will be open all day, and vendors will be on-site to offer various good eats.

Master Gardener Tomato Festival

Palatine Park will host the 12th annual Master Gardener Tomato Festival this Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Come sample and purchase your favorite home-grown tomatoes. Winners for the best-tasting tomatoes will receive cash prizes. Any gardener can submit tomatoes for judging. For cherry submissions, please bring 30 tomatoes. For larger entries, please submit 4-5 tomatoes. Enter as many varieties as you wish, and there is no cost to enter. Enjoy the sounds of the Morgantown Jazz Orchestra and spend an afternoon of shopping with local artisans, food vendors, a kids’ activity tent, garden demonstration/education, and plant sales. Learn, shop, and celebrate the tomato harvest season!

Prickett’s Fort

Today is Colonial Kids Day at the Fort. Bring the kids from 10: 30 a.m.-3 p.m for a full day of fun and educational activities. An adult must accompany children. Regular admission applies.

The summer concert series at the Fort has come to a close, and the Fort’s Memorial Foundation is grateful to the performers and all who came out to see them. Many thanks to the Marion County Commission, the Town of White Hall, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County, the First Energy Foundation, and J.T. and Patti Hodges for their generous ongoing support.


Marion County Humane Society’s no-kill shelter is sponsoring an event this coming Saturday at noon at East Marion Park. Bring your pup and plan on a day filled with music, vendors, an adoption opportunity, rabies clinic, and more.

Any biblical scholars out there?

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Sounds biblical, right? American children learn that they can rise from poverty and advance in the world through hard work and perseverance, even becoming very wealthy. Many success stories point to the truth of this adage. But this “verse” (which may go back to Aesop’s Fables) is not biblical. The Bible tells us that our help always comes from one source: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). When the terrified Israelites confronted Pharaoh’s mighty army and the waves of the Red Sea during their escape from Egypt, God didn’t tell them to build boats. He did the helping by parting the waves. “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14: 14).

“This, too, shall pass.”

Nope, this one isn’t biblical, either. It pops up often when we are experiencing trials in our lives, but isn’t necessarily true. We may not recover from serious illness or find a way to solve our problems. “This, too, shall pass” is a trite non-answer. Our pain may never pass, but God has a bigger purpose for our lives. His Comforter (the Holy Spirit) will always console us, but God won’t always remove the source of our pain.

“God wants you to be happy.”

Oh, really? This may be one of the most destructive ideas floating around. It’s the easy and popular answer, but it is false. Our happiness is not God’s highest goal for our lives. We inhabit a culture that leads us away from the biblical mandate of obedience to God. We are here to praise Him, not to be popular, feel satisfied, or succeed. Jesus gave us this simple command: Love God, love people (Luke 10: 27).

“Work hard and you will succeed.”

The book of Proverbs tells us that we’re supposed to work hard. Jesus himself set the example during his earthly ministry. The Apostle Paul even condemned those who don’t (2 Thessalonians 3: 10). However, hard work isn’t a biblical guarantee of temporal blessings. Our task is to glorify God, our reward being that we did our best for him.

“Follow your heart and believe, and you can do anything.”

We all love a rags-to-riches story: the frog will become a prince, a fairy godmother rescues hard-working Cinderella; and didn’t David the shepherd boy grow up to become a king? But the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it?” The passions God provides prepare us for His purposes, just as He prepared David to be a giant-slayer, a king, and forerunner of Jesus Christ, but only if we surrender our lives to Him.

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