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The Season of Giving

by Desi Sowers

The holidays are a time for togetherness and fun.  Whether you are decorating the Christmas tree or gathering around the Menorah or simply celebrating the joy of the season, spirits are high and love is in the air.  But unfortunately, the holiday season is not fun for everyone. For some people, it brings with it financial strain, stress and loneliness.  This is the time of year when those less fortunate need comfort and assistance more than ever.  Here are a few ideas of how you can make this a season of giving and compassion for those in need. (click links for more information)

  • Angel Tree Sponsors. Each year, sponsors ranging from neighborhood associations to private companies volunteer to place Angel Trees in high-traffic areas within their community, organization or office. Many sponsors provide a tree as an added donation along with promotional materials to inform their community, members or staff of the program along with confidential information about the children, who will benefit from their generosity. The sponsoring organization also serves as a collection point for the gifts, and provides secure storage until a volunteer from The Salvation Army can collect the gifts for distribution along with food and meals to help needy families enjoy the holiday season.  Click on the link for other opportunities through the Salvation Army.
  • Radford Elf Shelf is a 100% volunteer organization whose mission is to offer dignified Christmas assistance to low income families in Radford in the form of gifts for children newborn-18 years of age and food vouchers for any income eligible families.  Click on the link to see how you can help. How to Help
  • The Dwelling Place Food Bank is 100% volunteer operated. Volunteers are needed each morning seven days a week (10am-11:30pm) to collect food from local merchants. Volunteers are also needed to distribute to the general public on Wednesday evenings.  In all, there are over 25 volunteer posts that need to be filled each week to effectively operate the food bank.
  • Toys for Tots Southwest Virginia Location a personal favorite! The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. The principal Toys for Tots activity which takes place each year is the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located.  In communities without a Reserve Unit, the campaign can be conducted by a Marine Corps League Detachment or group of men and women, generally veteran Marines, authorized by Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a local Toys for Tots campaign. 

No matter how you find a way to GIVE during the holidays, bringing joy and comfort to others is the best gift of all! 

Merry Christmas from Desi Sowers!

New Home New Traditions

by Desi Sowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this is your first holiday in your new home, it is a perfect time to start some new traditions!  When you move, you don’t leave everything behind.  You bring your belongings and your memories and yes, your traditions.  But a fresh start in an unfamiliar house is just the inspiration you need to begin unique traditions that will make that house feel like your home.

Check out these fun ideas for creating new traditions:

  • Take and annual family photo. Choose a theme or a pose that you can recreate every year.  Label the photos with the date and create a photo book or framed collage with them.  It will be so much fun for your family to see how everyone changes through the years. Creative Family Photo Ideas
  • Incorporate a cultural tradition.  No matter what holiday you celebrate, you will find a cultural tradition to go with it.  Make it a family activity to research your heritage and make new discoveries about how your ancestors celebrated.  Multi-Cultural Holiday Celebrations

     
  • Gratitude. Sometimes we take all that we have for granted. A wonderful way to experience the holiday spirit is to express gratitude.  This can be a fun and meaningful activity for the whole family.  Go outdoors and find a branch to use to hold your “leaves of gratitude”. Cut leaves out of colorful paper and each day have family members write something they are grateful for on a leaf. Then hang the leaves on the “tree” to create a beautiful reminder of all that is right with your world!  Gratitude Tree

If you are still in search of the perfect house to make your new home, contact

Desi Sowers for all your real estate needs! Happy Holidays!

The New River Valley Holiday Main Streets

by Desi Sowers

Main Street-Blacksburg VA

Historic Main Street in the heart of Blacksburg is decked out in holiday decor.  Walk along the brick sidewalks enjoying the decorations and visit locally owned businesses for that perfect gift. 

On Friday December 2nd from 3-8 PM the town comes to life with singing, lighting of the tree and a performance of TubaChristmas.  Line up along Main Street and enjoy the Holiday Parade at 7pm.

Main Street-Radford

The town of Radford is home to a thriving Main Street this holiday season, with a nice mix of shops, and eateries.  Wreaths on light post, decorated trees in shop windows and greenery all around add to the festive flare.

Main Street-Christiansburg

Take in the lovely architectural styles including, Colonial Revival and Queen Anne, along Main Street this holiday season.  Stroll along the sidewalks taking in the decorations and shops along the way.

 

How to Have a Stress-less Holiday Season

by Desi Sowers

Dear Stress…I’m Breaking Up with You!

  1. Don’t Strive for Perfection – Put down the Martha Stewart magazine and focus on what is important.  What is the point of having perfect decorations, meals and gifts if you are not enjoying yourself? Martha has a full staff to help her decorate, bake and shop.  Stop killing yourself trying to create and image of a perfect holiday and let yourself EXPERIENCE the season. Pick and choose what you want to do.  Baking with your kids, decorating the tree…whatever makes you happy.  You don’t enjoy entertaining guests? Then don’t do it. Keep it simple and enjoy! Easy and Elegant Christmas Decor

 

  1. Shop Online – Avoid traffic, parking garages and crowded malls by doing your shopping online.  If a trip to the mall during the holiday season is something you look forward to, then by all means, go for it! But if fighting the crowds is not your thing, then put on some comfy pjs, fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and shop until you drop…only you won’t actually drop because you won’t be so tired!  Shopping online will also save you a lot of time which you can use for RELAXING. Check out this site for unique gifts: Uncommon Goods

 

  1. Delegate Responsibilities – Who said you have to do it all yourself?  If you have older children, have them decorate the tree. If you have guests coming over, make it a pot luck…you provide the main course and have them bring side dishes and desserts. Have your spouse pick up what you need from the grocery store on the way home from work. With everyone chipping in, chores and events won’t feel so overwhelming.

 

  1. Find Ways to Save Time – Here are some ideas for saving time during the holiday season:
  • Don’t be afraid to say NO. Stop wasting time on activities you don’t want to do. Learn to Say No
  • Purchase pre-printed holiday cards and envelopes.
  • Keep your decorations simple.
  • Make a list of what you need at the store so that you can complete your shopping in one trip.

 

  1. Be Compassionate – The joy that comes from doing something kind for others may be all you need to relieve the stress that accompanies the holiday season. 

 

Take care of yourself and stress LESS!

Thinking about buying or selling your home this holiday season? Contact Desi Sowers at 540.320.1328 or desi@desisowers.com. 

 

May the Blessings of this Thanksgiving Fill Your Heart and Home!

by Desi Sowers

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Henry Van Dyke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know?:

-    The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians and lasted three days. Many historians believe that only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn't survive that difficult first year in the U.S.

-    Thanksgiving didn't become a national holiday until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who actually wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after writing letters for 17 years campaigning for this to happen.

-    No turkey on the menu at the first Thanksgiving: Historians say that no turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving! What was on the menu? Deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. They probably ate pumpkins, but no pumpkin pies. They also didn't eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries. And no, Turduckens (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) were nowhere to be found during that first Thanksgiving.

-    Thanksgiving was almost a fast — not a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is what they planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, that is, until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day feast!

As you gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, take time to remember all that you have to be grateful for.  

Wishing you and yours a day filled with joy. 

 

 

Courtesy of your New River Valley Real Estate Expert Desi Sowers

 

Happy Veteran's Day!

by Desi Sowers

It happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. An armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Show your appreciation for our veterans by attending one of the events being held in their honor. See the links for details.

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ Veterans Day remembrance ceremony. Veterans Day Remembrance Ceremony

Radford University Annual Veterans Day Ceremony

Event Link: Event

Virginia's Veterans Day Parade

Desi Sowers Wants to Help You Turn Back Time!

by Desi Sowers

It’s that time of year again!  Crisp Fall days, colorful leaves and oh yeah…”falling back.”  Clocks shift back to Standard Time on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:00 AM. This shift in time moves one hour of daylight from the evening to the morning hours and gives us that treasured extra hour of sleep! With the end of Daylight Saving Time right around the corner, let’s take a look at the history of time change in our country.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) started in the USA in 1918 as a way to conserve fuel during WWI. It was not a new idea though.  Benjamin Franklin was an early proponent of changing clocks to create more daylight hours in order to save on candle use.  Time change use in the USA has changed often since 1918.  The most recent change was in 2007 when the dates were changed to the current schedule of the second Sunday in March as the beginning of DST and the first Sunday in November as the beginning of Standard Time.  One practical reason for this change was to extend DST past October 31 in order to provide more daylight for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  Currently, 48 states observe the time change with only Arizona and Hawaii not participating.

Many people dislike DST and don’t understand the need for it.  The primary argument against it is that the time change effects sleep patterns thus causing an increase in workplace accidents and a decrease in sleep and productivity.  However, if we maintained Standard Time year round, the sun would set earlier during the spring and summer.  Retailers say that business is better when the sun shines later into the night and since more people shop in the evenings than in the mornings, DST is good for commerce. That’s part of the reason why Congress expanded DST in 2007. Since people generally do most of their free-time activities after work and not before, it makes sense to have more daylight in the evening. This begs the question, “why not keep DST year round?”.  Well, just ask farmers.  The primary defenders of Standard Time are farmers and others who must rise early. There is only so much daylight to go around and nobody enjoys having to get up when it’s dark, which is what DST does: it pushes the earlier hours into deeper darkness in exchange for more light after work.

One thing is certain. Moving our clocks in either direction changes the principal time cue - light - for setting and resetting our 24-hour natural cycle.  In doing so, our internal clock becomes out of sync with our current day/night schedule.  It can be especially challenging for young children who’s sleep patterns are disturbed by the time change.  A tip for helping children to adapt to the time change is to begin adjusting their schedules by about ten minutes at a time each night over the week prior to the time change.  Changing the clocks is also a good reminder to check your smoke detectors and to replace the batteries in them.

So, remember to “fall back” on November 6 and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

 

If you would like to talk about buying or selling a home, give me a call 540-320-1328  or visit my website to Discover your new home.

How it all started - Costumes Pumpkins and Candy, oh my!

by Desi Sowers

Halloween conjures images of costumed children going house to house offering the question “trick or treat”? But it is so much more than that. It has become such a popular holiday that it is second only to Christmas as the top grossing holiday in America. Halloween has a rich history and hasn’t always been the holiday that it is today.

Evolving from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, modern Halloween has become less about real ghosts and goblins and more about costumes and candy. The Celts used the day to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, and also believed that this transition between the seasons was a bridge to the world of the dead.  Over the past thousand years the holiday has transitioned from a somber pagan ritual to a day of merriment, costumes, parades and sweet treats for children and adults.  While trick or treaters venture out for one night on October 31st, a whole season of Halloween activities celebrate the fearful fun of Halloween.  Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses and hayrides can all be found starting in late September and running through the first of November.

Here are a few fun facts you may not have known about Halloween:

  • The first jack o lanterns were made from turnips.
  • Fifty percent of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween, compared with 24% who prefer non-chocolate candy and 10% who preferred gum.
  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record     in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.

Halloween Happenings in Blacksburg

Wishing you a happy and safe Halloween!

Desi Sowers Your New River Valley Realtor

Columbus Day Holiday!

by Desi Sowers

The Columbus Day holiday is a New River Valley VA extravaganza for retail merchants. It is a federal holiday in the United States when typically banks, post offices and federal offices are closed. If you happen to have the day off and would like to talk about buying or selling a home, give us a call; we are open!

Here are a few fun facts about Columbus Day:

  • Columbus Day is the celebration of Christopher Columbus landing on the shores of the United States in the year 1492… you know how the song goes! “Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492; he sailed he sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492.”
  • This day of observance became a state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and in 1937 the day became a federal holiday.  Why Colorado? You ask? Well, a first-generation Italian living in Colorado at the time lobbied the governor, and the first Columbus Day of resignation was born.
  • To this day, many Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus Day in honor of their heritage.
  • Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and the state of South Dakota do not recognize this day as a legal holiday. But, (now this is government lingo…) Hawaii and South Dakota “mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance.” Iowa and Nevada are also on this list of states that do not recognize the Columbus Day festivities.
  • In Italy, Columbus Day has been officially celebrated the “National Day of Christopher Columbus” since 2004. The Art Gallery of Como opens her doors on each October 12th, allowing visitors to view and admire the portrait of Columbus.
  • The second Monday in the month of October is deemed the official Columbus Day.
  • In Puerto Rico, Columbus Day is celebrated along with Puerto Rico Friendship Day.
  • In Virginia, Columbus Day is celebrated along with Yorktown Victory Day.
  • New York City has the largest parade to celebrate the day.

I hope you’re enjoying the day and you have off as well! Give me a call 540-320-1328 or visit my website to Discover your new home.

 

Displaying blog entries 11-19 of 19

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