"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
– Matthew 10:42: English Standard Holy Bible
It was a brief announcement that I typed into the newspaper’s events section.
Just a line or two saying that Registered Nurse Pat Cronk would give a diabetes education program today at Ebenezer Presbyterian, a sweet old country church deep in the countryside. I emailed that I’d like to attend the fellowship gathering to write about the program for the next her magazine for women.
Pat’s husband, Pastor Alan McCraine, said that would be great.
The program was interesting, informative, and the story will appear in the magazine, as planned.
But what I didn’t anticipate was an unrelated personal challenge. Alan said he is encouraging churchgoers to offer a “cup of cold water” in the name of Jesus, to – someone. In fact, members are urged to dig into their pockets at the end of the day and save the dimes to donate back to the Cup of Cold Water Fund so this project continues.
He figures the “cups” or in today’s application of the term, portable, plastic bottles of water, cost a dime apiece. The fund will replenish the bottles.
Alan urged everyone attending today’s community-outreach program to grab a bottle of water and accept his challenge to find someone to share it with in the next week, and offer it on behalf of the Lord.
So I did. As I drove home from work today, I eyed the water bottle in my cup holder. It looked like any other bottle I might have on hand in that very spot. But this one is different.
It’s for someone else.
I’m on alert for that someone, and in keeping whatever appointment God has for me in the days to come to share the water. I’ll let you know what unfolds.
Have you ever accepted a challenge such as this?
Want to share what happened?
One of the challenges of editing a quarterly women's magazine is that with that project, I'm never working in season. I'm always thinking of what readers will see on the date the magazine appears which is three months out.
I've asked a cover subject to dress for late fall on a hot August day -- and could she please get out her autumn decorations for props? However if I'm working on the winter issue in the fall, the last thing I want in the background of photos are pumpkins.
So eyebrows might have raised Friday when a column appeared in the New Castle Courier-Times, publisher of her magazine for women, announcing our new holiday recipe contest. I wonder if there were groans such as when you walk into a department store this time of year and find Christmas trees lit up.
We did a survey among her magazine for women readers and the most common response was that they wanted more recipes. Our readership has always been recipe-oriented. For decades we hosted a successful annual recipe contest in March but after the magazine was created, that took the time that previously went into the recipe contest so we discontinued it.
That contest was rather elaborate in that we had six categories, a preliminary as well as final round, brought in a celebrity judge, and had a resulting publication devoted to recipes.
This new her Holiday Recipe Contest is a simplified competition. In fact, it's all new. We'll have 20 finalists, one top winner who will get $100 the evening of the finals and the cover spot in the fall issue, a tasting party for finalists, an assortment of door prizes, and a nice stash of local recipes for our magazine readers inside their Nov. 5 issue -- just in time for holiday fun.
I'm reprinting Friday's article here with the rules and regs. Since my blogging audience both overlaps and is expanded from the newspaper one, please keep something in mind. Only enter if you are able to prepare and bring your prepared recipe to the tasting party finals. And remember than the paper entry does not assure you are in the finals. I will notify you if you are.
While the top 20 recipes will be selected based on the submitted written recipes only, no one can win a thing if the actual food is not brought in to the finals. And above all, have some fun with this! I have no idea if it will be an annual thing. Maybe. Guess it depends on how this one goes.
OK! Here we go, from Friday's issue.
It’s not time to buy your Thanksgiving turkey, nor cook a batch of Christmas fudge.
But it’s always time to be thinking ahead to the holiday season.
Her magazine for women will devote the fall cover story and multiple pages to a new contest, and event, sponsored by the magazine and The Courier-Times. Let me introduce to you to her Holiday Recipe Contest. Today begins the entry period for the competition which extends through noon, Monday, Sept. 11.
Detailed instructions follow. The short version is that each reader is invited to submit a written recipe to the contest before the deadline. Of the recipes submitted, 20 readers will be invited to bring their prepared recipe in the form of edible food to the judging which will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4 at The Courier-Times, 201 S. 14th St. Contestants should be there no later than 6 p.m. for preliminary photos and registration.
The finalists will be seated and watch as a team of three judges comment on the food and a single overall winner is named. The top dish and the person submitting it will be featured on the cover of the fall issue. During the evening, a variety of photos will be taken. Finalists will have the opportunity to taste each other’s foods and door prizes will be awarded before the top winner is named. The top winner will take home $100.
As many recipes as space allows will be printed in the fall magazine, which comes out Sunday, Nov. 12.
Specific rules follow. Direct any questions to her magazine editor Donna Cronk at 765-575-4657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. One recipe per person may be entered. By submitting the recipe, the person submitting it affirms to the best of his or her knowledge he or she has permission to submit the recipe and is not in knowing violation of a copyright. The recipe must not be knowingly copied from a cookbook, internet or social media site, but instead be either created by the person submitting it or handed down in the family with the original source unknown.
2. The recipe should be something served by the submitter during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday season. It may be sweet or savory. It could be a favorite breakfast casserole, pie, cake, cookie, or any other dish that is a family favorite.
3. Only submit a recipe if at the time of submission you are available if contacted to prepare the dish and bring it to the Oct. 4 judging. The complete written recipe, with ingredients, amounts and instructions must be provided as the preliminary contest entry to be considered for the final judging competition.
4. Current Courier-Times employees, columnists and stringers, and those living in their households, are not permitted to enter.
5. In submitting the full written recipe, send it via one of the following: email (preferred), U.S. mail or drop it off at the newspaper office. Email to: email@example.com; mail to The Courier-Times, Donna Cronk, 201 S. 14th St., New Castle, IN 47362; or drop off at the S. 14th St. address. Include your name, full address, email and daytime phone number.
Notification from her magazine and Cronk will go out to the 20 chosen contestants on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Those selected will have until noon, Monday, Sept. 18 to respond if they plan to participate in the judging and tasting party. If they do not, alternates will be named.
Note: Today's post is a reprint of my Sunday Courier-Times newspaper column. Inspiration comes in many forms and for me, most recently it arrived through my discovery of TED Talks (TED.com), courtesy of Dr. John Dickey, a retired optometrist in New Castle. He'll celebrate his 99th birthday soon, and he is one of the most interesting -- and interested -- people around.
A few weeks ago, Kent Kemmerling mentioned that he attends TED Talks at John Dickey's home.
Where have I been? I had never heard of the talks which number in the thousands. I figured "TED" meant a guy, maybe a man of considerable influence and intellect whose name I should know but don't.
A simple Google search provided multiple links to the world of TED Talks where I quickly learned that TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design in the form of a decades-long series of speeches — or talks, if you will — on anything and everything by experts on said topics. These experts are able to condense complex information in a way that inspires, encourages, challenges, and motivates. And even if the thousands of talks didn't do all that, they do with certainty accomplish the mission of spreading ideas.
I knew if Dr. John Dickey was a part of the talks, they were worthy. I've written about Dickey's handmade clocks, and our newspaper and the evening TV news have covered his autograph collection, and his travels.
I've always been impressed by his spirit of adventure, optimism, engagement, and yes, brilliance. I hadn't realized that he will be age 99 next month. Yet he enjoys new ideas, loves technology (and uses it adeptly), and enjoys sharing intellectual thoughts with those who fill his home weekly for the TED Talks -- which he hosts.
When I got the official invite to attend a Talk and write a story, I was delighted. In fact, I didn't mind Sunday night at all last week as I eagerly awaited Monday morning and my first experience with TED.
I may be obsessed.
When I left the gathering my head was spinning from the speakers, the new ways to look at math and science. I watched Yves Rossy spiral through the air with his Jetman wings as though a bird in flight. Amazing. I was inspired by Jim Yong Kim who sees beyond poverty and limitations and wonders why people everywhere can't have a shot at good lives.
I marvel at these brilliant people. From each Talk, I tried to imagine my own takeaway. I will never be good at advanced math concepts such as the gifted Roger Antonsen. But his challenge was to create the ability to change your perspective and see it in a new way. I can do that.
I will never have a bestseller as author Anne Lamott. But I left over-the-top inspired by her to come up with my own list of truths I've learned from life and writing.
I would be too chicken, if I even had the unlikely opportunity to soar through the sky like Jetman Yves Rossy who appears birdlike. Footage from his flights will take your breath away. But I sure can apply his tip to "always have a Plan B."
Now I have an idea that I can't shake. I'd like to get together with a group of friends where our agenda is to present our own TED-inspired talks. How fun would it be for each person to bring a surprise talk or activity or craft or reading or talent or song or musical representation to the table and wow us all with -- something. Something that inspires us. Challenges us. Delights us. Or even if it doesn't, makes us proud that our friend was gutsy enough to put it out there.
How about you? Would you and your friends consider devoting an evening or an afternoon to a sort of TED workshop? Or at least select some videos, play them for your group. Then see what happens. I think you and your friends will be changed.
Donna Cronk is Neighbors editor at The Courier-Times and edits the quarterly her magazine for women. Connect with her at dcronk@thecouriertimes or call her direct line at 765-575-4657.
As Brian and I wrestled my tent Saturday morning at the first-ever Pendleton Music and Art Festival downtown, a task that emphasizes my vertical challenges, here comes a helpful soul who lends a hand. He didn't know us, but quickly I recognized him. Never mind the FAMOUS AUTHOR tag -- I had heard about George Kramer the day before via a text from son Sam.
George works with Sam at St. Vincent Hospital, and the heads-up came that this good Samaritan would be selling his books at the festival. Turns out George had the next booth, and is a friendly guy who loves writing The Arcadis Series in the sci-fi genre. (www.amazon.com/author/georgekramer). I love his sense of humor, spotted immediately in the author tag.
The least I could do was share my chicken pasta salad, above.
Even though I was in my adopted hometown of Pendleton, and quite a few friendly local faces stopped by, it was also old-home day in the form of author friends.
Tipton writer Janis Thornton bunked with me and as usual, we did some brainstorming on a variety of writing and marketing ideas. Here she signs one of her cozy mysteries, the spanking-new one being Dead Air & Double Dares.
My pal Sandy Moore took part as well, signing a copy of her children's book, Sadie's Search for Home.
How cool is the local coffee house, Falls Perk, just steps from our booths? An iced mocha was in order for my own personal afternoon perk.
Not a bad time when there's pleasant local music in the background throughout the day, community folks passing by and stopping to say hi, authors and other friendly vendors all around, including Spiceland's Mark Herbkersman and Mt. Summit-turned Pendleton resident, writer Christy Luellen who was there selling antique musical instruments and sheet music.
It was fun to make a new friend in George. Thanks for telling me about him, Sam. Nice guy!
Life is about people and relationships. It was fun to visit with old friends, and make a new one besides. Saturday was a good day. Thanks to everyone who visited the festival.