Back in the winter, (don't you like using the word winter in the past tense?), LauraLisa out at Senior Living at Forest Ridge invited me to speak to the April brunch of the Social Society. It's free to any retiree who would like to come by. Just call to let them know you are coming so they will have enough food.
I decided to switch things up and do a new program for those attending. I've selected three posts from right here on my Home Row blog, and tweaked them for a "live audience." I'll be talking about basketball, newspapering and grocery shopping with the husband. There's time for questions about these or other topics, and yes, I'm bringing along a door prize. Best of all, it's free! So come on out to beautiful Senior Living at Forest Ridge, the place I tell folks that I'd like to be put in layaway.
While I'm plugging an upcoming program, here's a run down of some places I'll be speaking this busy spring. As I've said before, I could never have guessed that the "tour" continues, but it does, and it takes on new aspects. Maybe I'll see you on the road. We have a good time.
Note: I wrote the following for today's New Castle Courier-Times. I've seen these adorable tiny libraries in Hagerstown, Knightstown, and Irvington but this is New Castle's first, we believe.
New Castle's Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Pastor Matt Masko says his challenge is not so much how to get people inside the church, but how to get the people inside the church to go outside it in service to their neighbors.
“The church exists for the sake of the neighbor,” he says. “We gather in worship to be sent into the world.”
A new project along those lines is the church’s new Little Free Library, located outside the front of the church at 535 S. 14th St., New Castle. It is open to one and all. The wee library is stocked by members with Bibles, study guides and other wholesome books, all available 24/7 for folks to borrow – or even keep if they wish.
The library opened Thursday, March 15.
“I was quite pleased with the donations we’ve gotten,” says Marti Allen, chair of the church’s evangelism committee that put the project together.
Committee member Callie Yanos said everyone is welcome to use it.
The committee members believe this to be New Castle’s first Little Free Library. Funds were acquired through a grant from Thrivent Financial. Church member Ron Kaufman designed and built the two library boxes. Once installed, the boxes were blessed after worship by Masko. All materials were donated by members.
Along with the Bibles and study guides are Christian materials, good literature for both adults and children, fiction and nonfiction books.
According to information from the Little Free Library organization, there have been more than 65,000 of the libraries installed around the world.
Have you ever heard of a sunshine box?
More than 50 years ago, sometime after Grandma Jobe came to live with us, the ladies from her church, probably the WSCS group (Women’s Society of Christian Service, predecessor of the United Methodist Women) sent her a sunshine box.
The tall cardboard box appeared wrapped on the outside with a collage of paper flowers but the top of the box was open. I’m thinking they made the collage with pages from seed catalogs. As a little girl, I thought it was beautiful.
Inside were a variety of personal-care products Grandma could use. I’m picturing a pink container of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, for example. There was a devotional book – and I have it today on my bookshelf and a variety of other small gifts that Grandma could use or enjoy – such as the bright pink peppermint discs she always kept in her candy jar.
Of course being a little girl I was very interested in these gifts to Grandma.
But the takeaway was and is that I thought it was wonderful that they thought of Grandma in this way. More than the gifts, it was the thought that a group of friends thought about my grandma and cared for her. Each individual gift wasn’t costly or all that significant. But when gathered in that pretty box, they made an impact that I remember half a century later.
Last week I assembled a sunshine box for a friend who has a long-term illness and won’t get to return to her home for a while.
I gathered some books from my own collection that I thought she would enjoy reading and that I don’t need back, some envelopes, postage stamps, a clipboard with a notepad, some hand sanitizer, and small packets of tissues, some of my favorite teas and a new product I recently found and love.
Then I wrapped most of them singularly, just for drama. I gave her a choice to open the packages all at once or to open one a day. She chose to open one a day to stretch out the fun. A little something to look forward to.
One can’t have too much sunshine, can she? My friend lives in another part of the state and I can’t get over to see her much. But through these small tokens, she’ll see that I care. And that I’m sending her sunshine.
Have you ever heard of a sunshine box? Or received one?
The mission, should we accept it, was for everyone to be ready to leave for a surprise dinner honoring Sam. Our daughter-in-law Allison, in the gray and white stripes, would text everyone with the good news.
The good news we all wanted to hear would include one word: PASSED! If that word wasn't in the message, well, celebration canceled. But it happened! Our son Sam took and passed a very long, difficult test yesterday. Once he finished, the computer generated the results to the proctor: PASSED!
Sam is now a Certified Surgical First Assistant at St. Vincent Hospital in Indy. Yes, the big one.
He's been a Certified Surgical Tech for several years now, working in surgeries of every kind that you can possibly imagine and many that you can't. We are so proud of our boy. He's also the Robotics Coordinator there.
I have to give God all the praise how He has had his hand on this boy who has had more obstacles than computerized tests to overcome. How about open-heart surgery at 11 months, and again at age 19. But still, he perseveres. And we can't be more thankful for his wife Allison, and for her supportive, wonderful family. Blessings.
The newly certified Surgical First Assistant, (CSFA) Sam, left, and little bro, Ben, last night.
Also surprising Sam last night was his good buddy, also a CSFA at St. V., Jas Sharp.
We all met up at the Castleton MCL. Jas leads the pack, then Sam chatting with his sister-in-law, Lauren, who is a nurse practitioner at Riley Hospital, then his father-in-law, John, and Brian behind him. The rest of the group had already gotten their food.
When we visit Terri's lake house on Cordry Lake near Nineveh, we pass through Franklin. You probably know the town for Franklin College, but you may not know that Franklin has a vibrant downtown with a number of sweet little gift and antique shops, along with plenty of what-nots, just waiting to be upcycled.
We stopped in Sunday on our way home with only two shops open, but they were well worth our stopping. There was this one, where I found the mug mats. Far more absorbent than the stone variety.
Then we went to the next shop, next door, I believe, Salvage Sisters. And no, the gals in the photo are not the salvage sisters but we do like to salvage!
When two or more of the 12 Midlife Moms gather, there will usually be crafts ... at least there will be on those weekends when we head south to Terri Fredericks' place on Cordry Lake in Brown County.
For this cozy, late-winter weekend away, MLM Karen Carr brought the fixings for us to make bath bombs and other scented goodies such as shower scents and salts. In the photo above, Karen photographs the bombs and to the left, the shower scents, still in their molds.
It was a relaxing weekend from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, and while there were just five of us this time, we enjoyed conversation, crafts, a movie, HGTV, and food. But we ate healthy (for the most part).
Donna Shields crafted a tote bag from a T-shirt she was ready to re-purpose.
I brought fruit and veggies and we all brought along various reading materials from herbal and oil guides to a Kindle novel to our Bible Study Fellowship and MLM lessons. Since getting serious about Weight Watchers in January (yeah, once again), this was my first weekend away. I not only made it, but stuck to program! Here's a brunch plate for me Sunday: leftover salad, low-cal ranch dressing, more veggies -- and an egg. YUMMO!
We had to get some group shots before we hit the road.
Then, it was time to hit the road for a stop in Franklin. They have some great shops that we enjoy. Only a couple were open but they were fun.