November & December 2017: Greetings from Lady Dunrovin
Happy Holidays! What a joyful time of year to gather with family and friends to celebrate the season by honoring long-held traditions and creating new memories. I feel fortunate and grateful that my own family traditions have been centered more on creating winter magic than on exchanging gifts. My childhood memories are full of community holiday decorations and celebrations that reflected the Christmas and Hanukkah traditions from countries across Europe. Miners from throughout the world came to Butte in the late 1800s to escape poverty and strife in their homelands. They brought with them colorful art, music, food, and holiday traditions. They also brought an ability to rise above poverty, to give generously of what they had, and to delight in community. Christmas and Hanukkah in Butte was a citywide feast for the eyes, ears, and appetites in a multicultural collage of beliefs and customs. Is was magic. The weather was always dependably cold, the streets covered in snow, the skies full of stars, and people outdid themselves with homemade goodies.
This year finds many of us longing for the peace and joy of the season. It has been a most difficult year in so many ways for our country. Conflict and anger, war and destruction, floods and fires have dominated our national and even local news. At times it seems the world has suddenly slipped off a cliff into a dark and ominous void. The future seems uncertain.
Dunrovin and the DaysAtDunrovin community have all seen their shares of struggles this year. The fires of last August clouded our air and lives with billows of dark smoke, filled our hearts with fear, and drained our bodies as people scrambled to help one another escape the flames. California is now in the throes of exactly the same circumstances. Many of our friends on the Gulf of Mexico are still coping with the aftermaths of hurricanes and flooding.
But it is exactly at times like these that our community and family gatherings and traditions are most needed. They are our psychological refuge, our harbors of safety from the storms that rock our ships. And the light of a new day, a new year, always gives us hope. It is in our sense of community that we can make sense of the world, help one another with the challenges, and pull each other through. Thank you all for being there for us at Dunrovin. Your kindnesses and encouragement are important to us. We celebrate YOU during this season of gratitude and giving.
The word community has been overused in marketing and social media. The dictionary defines community as a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. Note that the traditional meaning of community includes a shared place, culture, and history. These are what distinguishes the DaysAtDunrovin community from all other internet communities. We share a place, Dunrovin Ranch and its history and culture, a common culture of interests and curiosity about nature, animals, science, education, and the arts and one predicated by mutual respect and kindness.
Our D@D community is a subscription-based online community. Our subscription serves three very important purposes:
First, it allows us to pay the costs of operating DaysAtDunrovin without having to use our limited resources chasing advertisements as a source of revenue. We do not see our community members as consumers in the online world, but as friends who have come together to celebrate animals, nature, and learning. We strive to create an online community free from constant, invasive pushes to purchase. Information about and links to our partner organizations appear without charge on our public D@D pages. We are proud to be associated with these entities and hope you will support them. They share our values and will serve you well.
Second, our subscription creates a "gated community" where people with common interests and values can freely communicate without fear of disrespect. Requiring a D@D membership to participate in the open chat and posting forums ensures protection from internet trolls and bullies. Open and respectful communication opens hearts and forms the basis for friendships. Our website must be safe and secure in order for meaningful conversations and friendships to thrive. Furthermore, this is very personal for me. I live at Dunrovin and I am inviting you into my home. I need to know that you, too, are a real person with honest and good intentions.
Third, we would love to raise money to give back in meaningful ways and support nonprofit causes which speak to the values we all hold. As a community, we can collectively be a force for good.
If you want to join the D@D community and cannot afford the $8/month subscription fee, please email us at email@example.com and we will work with you to set up a scholarship. Willingness to divulge who you are and abiding by our conversation standards of respect are more important to us than payment. Ability to pay should not be a barrier to community membership.
Please share your thoughts about our magazine. Email your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot promise to answer every message, but we do promise to read every one and post them in our Discussion section for our D@D members to see and discuss. We will work with our D@D members to determine the magazine's course together.
Thank you for your time and attention. Welcome to Dunrovin. I'd love to hear from you.