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In spite of everything, we are lucky to live here

Every week, I look for something to write about for this column.

It doesn’t always come easy. There are times I just sit here and stare at the computer screen waiting for something to pop into my head.

Sometimes after the articles for the week are finished I feel like I am too, and an idea for “Bits” is hard to find especially a happy one.

Usually I’m an incurable optimist, but just like everyone else sometimes I get down in the dumps or start feeling sorry for myself over something that has happened in our lives.

I know we will never be rich or famous, but sometimes I get to feeling like it would be nice if things went our way a little more often.

Even the writing, something I love to do, gets me down sometimes.

Newspaper work seems mostly about the bad things that happen around us. Every week I am writing about meth labs, people stealing, accidents that cost lives, budget problems for our communities and schools, lawsuits that seem to go on and on … sometimes it seems never ending.

We live in a depressed, unhealthy county, we are told. And times have been tough on a lot of us – a lot of people are struggling to make a living, losing jobs and having a tough time finding work, or dealing with health issues.

It is easy to only see the negative things that we all deal with every single day.

But that’s not all there is to life here in mid-Michigan. When you are feeling that the whole world is against you, you just  have to look around. There’s always someone who is having a tougher time than you. Just having a home and a family that cares can make you realize that just maybe things aren’t that bad for you after all.

And then, every once in a while, there’s wonderful stuff, things that boost your spirit, to write about – young people who excel at sports and academics and still find time to help others, and people who take time out of their busy lives to try and make a difference for someone else.

I wound up this week’s bout of writing with one of those stories. It’s in this issue.

Bushels of Roses to Margie Clark and Sharon Williams and all of the people, volunteers and board members of The Stone Soup Project.

After researching the Stone Soup Project for this week’s article, I am just amazed at how people come together to help others in hard times and how one or two people with just an idea can work so hard and make that idea grow into a community wide project that makes a difference in a whole lot of lives.

The Community Kitchens in Farwell and Harrison, under the umbrella of The Stone Soup Project are not just a place for the needy. They welcome everyone, no matter their age station in life, and provide not just a meal, but loads of companionship, and they don’t cost a dime. The whole thing is free – to anyone!

The people providing all this are all volunteers who donate their time – and sometimes their money, and food and supplies – just to make it all possible.

And they are just one of the community-minded projects that are ongoing right here in Clare County. Thank God there are so many people who will go out of their way to help others, whether it is aid for people down on their luck, or something geared towards helping our children and young people.

You only have to look around to see these things in action. It makes me thankful for what we have and grateful that we live here where people truly care about each other.