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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Thankful
    This time of year, we hear the word “thankful” a lot. Sometimes, it’s not even for things that are that great – like a person is “thankful” they got a parking spot up close or just made the light. But right here in Sterling, we have plenty of big things to be thankful for – like our neighbors, groups that enhance the community and organizations that reach out beyond their walls to embrace everyone. And that’s exactly what I’m thankful for.

    When you write for a living or for a hobby, it’s like having your ego on a bucking bronco and getting thrown an awful lot. Writers tend to be a bit nervous about asking others for opinions on their writing – there’s that nagging fear that the person will actually say what they think. However, writing can’t exist without readers, and what any writer really needs is constructive, supportive criticism and encouragement, so that’s what Chapter Four is offering. They’ll be meeting at the Sterling Library on Enterprise Street on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Whether you’re a newbie to verbs and nouns, or got those prepositional phrases down pat, you’re welcome to just show up and get some friendly ears and eyes for your latest opus.

    If you missed “Once Upon a Mattress” from the Sterling Playmakers, you missed a whole lot of fun. Luckily for us, though, we can count on our local theatre group to send us into the holidays with a song in our heart and a laugh in our throat. The Playmakers will be putting on their holiday show, Holiday Happening 2014, Dec. 5-7 at the Sterling Middle School Auditorium. Tickets will go on sale soon, so don’t miss it. For more details, you can go to http://www.SterlingPlaymakers.com and get ready to get into the holiday spirit.

    Although many of us will be sharing our Thanksgiving table with family, no one ever said how big that family – or that table – had to be. Who says you can’t share the holiday with your community family? St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on Frederick Drive will be hosting a community Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27. Just show up. You can also offer to help them throw this amazing feast; because there’s a lot of turkeys to baste. Just contact the church at http://www.stmtts.org or call 703-430-2121.

    And thanks!

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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Late fall fun for everyone
    Get ready to phone a friend and make some plans. There's plenty to do in eastern Loudoun for everyone, from the retired set to toddlers, teens and pet lovers.

    Holiday fun: The Cascades Senior Center offers a trio of opportunities to celebrate the winter holidays. The festivities launch with a Thanksgiving feast, complete with all the trimmings, on Thursday, Nov. 20, at noon. A lunch donation is requested. Next in line is a holiday potluck dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The evening includes a holiday performance by the Park View High School Band. Admission is free if you bring a dish to share and a small gift ($5 value) for a gift exchange. For those not bringing a dish and a gift, advance tickets are $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. The center will ring in 2015 with a new year’s party and dance on Tuesday, Dec. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m. Snacks and beverages will be served. Transportation will be available after the event. Advance tickets are $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers. For information, call 571-258-3280.

    Toddler Treks: Algonkian Park is offering a series of Fresh Air Toddler Treks Nov. 20 and Dec. 4, 11 and 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. With the help of The Audubon Naturalist Society, the park authority program provides nature-based programming for youngsters ages 2 to 5 and a parent or caregiver. The sessions use songs, books and hikes to foster the development of social, physical and academic skills. Participants should dress for the weather and bring a lunch to share at the park’s picnic tables. Registration is required. The cost is $42; ages two and younger are free. Younger siblings are welcome to attend. For information, call 703-669-0000 or send email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Teen nights: The After Hours Teen Center at the Cascades Library presents DJ Joe Schwarz on Friday, Nov. 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. The teen center, open to middle and high school students, also offers games, computer access, music, arts and crafts activities and pizza. Admission is free. The center will be closed on Friday, Nov. 28.

    Pet photos: Just in time for the holiday card season, Dulles Town Center presents two chances to get a festive photo of your dog or cat with Santa. Pet photo mornings will take place Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 from 8 to 10 a.m. All pets must enter through the mall’s main entrance, near Vapiano. Pets must be on a leash or in a carrier, must be up to date with all shots and must be licensed.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Something to be thankful for
    Every year Thanksgiving comes around and we’re reminded that we have much to be thankful for – like kids that do good things, a community we love and the opportunity to share what we have with others. All in all, we’ve got it pretty good.

    On Thursday, Nov. 20, our local Girl Scouts will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner a wee bit early for senior citizens in our area. It’s wonderful to see our youngest Sterling residents get to know and host a dinner for those who have been down Sterling Boulevard a few more times.

    Not only will there be a Thanksgiving dinner with all the usual trimmings, but the Girl Scouts will be providing entertainment and smiles to every senior that attends. The dinner starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. at the Sterling Community Center on Enterprise Street.

    Want to know how you or a senior citizen you know can join in the fun? Just call the Community Center at 703-430-9480 and let them know you’re coming. I know a few Girl Scouts that are looking forward to seeing you.

    This weekend is also your last and final chance to see “Once Upon a Mattress.” If you think community theatre isn’t top notch, then you haven’t seen a Sterling Playmakers’ show. Broadway would be lucky to have the talent we’ve got – both on stage and behind the scenes. This fun-for-all musical retells the classic “Princess and the Pea” with a few twists that make it that much better. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a “Don’t you miss it” final performance on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. – and it’s just down the street at the Sterling Community Center. Want to make sure you have a seat? Buy your tickets online at http://www.sterlingplaymakers.com and they’ll be waiting for you at the door.

    And if you haven’t made Thanksgiving plans yet, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is saving a seat for you at their table – and, don’t worry, they’ve got a big table. From noon until 4 p.m., St. Matthew’s, near the corner of Frederick Drive and Sterling Boulevard is hosting a meal for everyone, just come on in. Have plans but want to help out? You can do that, too. Just visit the church online at stmtts.org or call the church at 703-430-2121 to find out more.

    And thank you!


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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Mobile Hope Needs Your Help
    STERLING BOULEVARD:  Once upon a craft show
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Share a Laugh with the Girl Scouts
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Ands, ifs and butts
    CountrySide/Cascades/Sterling: “From the Top,” Live from River Bend
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Out on the streets
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Cascades is Running for Trish
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Find a friend
    STERLING BOULEVARD: Helping those who help us
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: On the run for art education
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