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The Current is a twice monthly informative and literary publication for Smith Mountain Lake and Southwestern VA. It is designed as a gentle read to make you smile, introduce you to people and places in the community, and encourage you to create a life you love. We are a reader-supported e-magazine.

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Image by: Kathleen Riordan

I'm feeling a whole lot of gratitude today as I reflect upon how thankful I am for this journey that has become The Current. I wouldn’t still be here writing away without a readership (YOU!). So, sincerest thanks, for being on the other side of the screen each issue, for sending encouraging notes, for becoming members, for stopping me in coffee shops to say “hello." Your being a part of the Current family means the world.
May your Thanksgiving be abundant. ♥

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It's been a big week around here with the launch of the new Current Goods shop. I wanted to start off small to make sure things were running smoothly on the back end, and so far, so good! The first orders should be hitting customer's mailboxes very soon, if they haven't already. 
My goal with this initial product line was to create a design that's truly universal. You could wear it dressed up with a blazer, relaxed with your favorite jeans, or nearly anything in-between. These super soft shirts are offered in sizes XS-5XL (they have a good bit of length to them, too!) and come in a single timeless colorway. I chose heathered charcoal gray with white lettering, because such a classic, versatile tee will never feel dated or trendy.
What makes these special is that they feature not just SML, but the individual branches of the lake. If you don't see yours listed, drop me a line!
 Grab one for yourself, your visiting friends and family, a holiday hostess... They're perfect for gift giving.
Members of The Current receive 10% off all Current Goods purchases. If you're already a member, you should have received an email the day before we launched with your discount code. If you'd like to become a member, you'll receive a code in the "thank you" note that pops up after you've joined.
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Haven't checked out the shop yet? You can do so by clicking the button below. Ready-made options available include: Blackwater, Becky's Creek, Gills Creek, The Roanoke, Craddock Creek, Bull Run, Little Bull Run, Betty's Creek, Witcher's Creek, Main Channel, and Hickory Cove. Special request? Ask away. 
So far, the Gills Creek folks are leading the pack with the most lake branch pride!
 Go have a browse and see what I've been up to:

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Image by: Kathy Coulahan 

Christmas Lights
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Did you know that there are several fabulous Christmas Light displays within easy driving distance of the lake? I've personally been to all of the ones listed at the link below and can highly recommend them! In our family, hot chocolate, cookies, and favorite holiday tunes are our must-have accompaniments.
Bookmark the post on our website (via the button) for future reference over the holiday season!

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Image by: Kristin Dunker

100+ Women Who Care

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I had the privilege of chatting with Jan Ruehle and Sarah Chichester recently (two of the friendliest ladies on the lake, I am convinced!) about 100 Women Who Care. Jan is the founder of our local chapter here at SML, and Sarah is a member of the Steering Committee.
The 100 Women Who Care Alliance is actually a national “Giving Circle” that was formed in 2006 by a nurse in Michigan. Jan initially heard about it from her sister who decided to get a group going in her own city. Being newly retired to the lake, it seemed like a great way for Jan to learn about all of the many non-profits that serve the three surrounding counties: Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania, which is the geographical area that the WWC - SML chapter supports. It would allow her to start literally investing in her new hometown, and maybe even meet some potential friends along the way! Apparently, she wasn't the only one who thought it was a good idea, because 75 women showed up to the very first informational meeting she held in 2016, and the group has been going strong ever since. 
So, what does the club do?
Three times a year: January, September, and May, they hold an “Impact Meeting”. Each meeting is an hour and a half long. The first part is a relaxed social catch-up, and then it's time to get down to business. Members nominate their charity (or non-profit) of choice via blind ballot. Three are picked out of a hat, and the nominators are then given the floor to talk about the work their organization is doing for the community and why they could use the support. Following a brief Q+A session surrounding the charities being considered, the ladies then cast their vote for the nominee they find most deserving. The charity with the highest count, wins! 
Immediately after the selection, each member writes a check directly to the winning non-profit for $100. In the seven years of the SML club's existence, over $300,000 has been donated to the hard-working folks spreading tangible goodness right here among us. Once a charity has been a recipient of this giving circle, they cannot be nominated again for three years.
What makes 100 Women Who Care different from other charitable organizations is that it's not a non-profit (as in, the club collects no operational money at all) and membership requires very low physical participation. It's perfect for those who aren't able to volunteer their time or talents for various reasons, but still want to be involved in making a collective difference in their community. It's a legacy that Jan and Sarah are so excited to be a part of! A member commitment is for one year, and a total of $300 to be collected across the three Impact Meetings. If you're unable to attend one of the meetings, you can also just send in your check - which makes this a feasible club to join even if you're not a full-timer here.
With their roll standing at 167 women encompassing all ages and walks of life, they welcome new potential members to come and check out one of the Impact Meetings as a guest to see if this is something they might like to be a part of! The next one is scheduled for January 9th, 1:00pm, at Trinity Ecumenical Parish.
For more information about this local philanthropic giving circle, check them out on Facebook via the button below, or email:

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Image by: Kristy Albert

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
-Eckhart Tolle

My Holiday

*Affiliate links below
From Marlitta Smith: author of "An Awakening of my Kid Human Powers"
As a child the first thing that I would look forward to before opening my Christmas gifts, would be to first check to see if Santa Claus had eaten his cookies and drank his 8oz glass of milk, which was left for him the night before. Once it was determined that he left crumbs and a drop of milk, I would join my siblings around our Christmas tree with ooohhs and aaahhs, while they opened their gifts. All while listening to Mom's Motown Christmas album.
From Colleen Shaw: owner of Tiger Lily Jewelers
Having adult children that live in different parts of the country, Christmas seems to be the only time that many of us are able to get together to enjoy a fun filled day on the slopes. We are a family of downhill skiers, so our tradition is snow skiing on Christmas Day. When the day is done, we gather to share dinner, open gifts, and give thanks for the blessing of being together.
From Brenda Strickland: author of “Moonshine and Salteens
I have fond memories of my 92 year-old dad in my Christmases past. Besides being Santa in the Gretna Christmas parade for over 40 years, he and my mom (Mrs. Santa) would go to at least 20 homes on Christmas Eve to visit the sick, elderly, and some little ones. He has many special pictures that people have taken over the years. 
If you have a Christmas memory or tradition that you would like to share, please send it to: - or just hit “reply” to this issue.

Our mid and top tier members are the very foundation of The Current. We are so grateful for their support!!
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SML Steel Drum Band

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Richard Rudolph, and his wife Delilah, are longtime SWVA music teachers. Back in 2000, born out of a desire to keep things new and fresh for their students, they attended a steel drum summit in West Virginia. Amongst this international gathering of Carribean musicians, they found themselves jumping on the train that is the joy-filled, endless-summer, can't-help-but-dance-along world of playing the "pans".
They decided to bring this contagious experience back to their students in Roanoke and formed a couple of bands that performed local concerts whilst also traveling around to competitions and presenting informational workshops in the area. One such workshop took place somewhere around 2008 here at Smith Mountain Lake, and dozens of the attendees that evening were enthusiastic about weaving steel drums into the permanent musical fabric of the lake!
Here we are nearly a decade and a half later, and the SML Steel Drum Band is 50+ members strong. The group practices year-round on Monday evenings at Bridgewater Plaza, so this is a fantastic opportunity if you're looking for a fun outlet during the winter months. Do you need prior musical experience? “Absolutely not!”, says ‘Pandaddy’ Richard who heads up the group. All ages are welcomed, and if you're worried about being on your feet for too long, well, you can even play the pans sitting down!
When a new member joins the band, Richard has a few one-on-one sessions to acclimate them to the instrument. After that, they join the 'Toucans'. This is the beginner/intermediate arm of the band, and members are welcome to stay there as long as they'd like! If, however, they would enjoy the challenge of more difficult music, they can move up to the ‘Parrot Band’ which dives into the more intricate side of playing the steel drums. Sidenote: there are even apps available now that allow you to practice at home!
The combined bands perform 2-3 local concerts each year that benefit area charities/foundations. They also enjoy traveling to competitions and just getting together and making festive music! Whether it's island style, Latin, pop, holiday, you name it, you can't walk away from a practice without a smile on your face! 
If you'd like more information on joining the band, feel free to contact Richard via text:
or email:
Their next concert is coming up on December 16th from 3-5pm in support of the Scruggs Volunteer Fire and Rescue. You can find more details via the button below:
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Image by: Gilles Delhommeau

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Until next time, friends…
Be well,
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This issue may contain affiliate links. While they do not raise your cost at all, we may receive a small commission when you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support!