Archive | October, 2012

“SMART” begins again… and to celebrate: Apple Pie!

21 Oct


Last week began another year of SMART reading for those of us who volunteer with this organization.  As I’ve mentioned many times, I am a huge fan of the SMART program because its’ goal is to help young people become “confident and successful readers.”  Each week from mid-October to mid-May, volunteers spend one hour reading to two children… and once a month each child receives a book to keep.  It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and it’s so very important to their educational success.

The SMART website states that:  Learning to read is one of the most important steps in a child’s life, laying the vital foundation for future knowledge and education. Prevailing research proves that shared book reading and the availability of books in the home during a child’s first, formative years are the strongest predictors of early literacy skills. SMART provides both.

I’ve been a SMART reader for a long time – and I hope to continue to be one for many years to come.  Reading to my own children when they were younger was a favorite activity for me.  I still have most of their books and I plan to read them with my grandchildren one day… and until then I will be happy sharing those same books with children who have not yet heard the stories.

And now for the funny (as in a little bit strange) part of my week… Last Monday I met a young woman named Ally who seemed very familiar.  It took a little while for me to realize that I was her SMART reader more than a dozen years ago!   Ally then told me that she still has all of the books that she received through the program – which I think is a very good indication that she enjoyed her time in the program.

The next day I made an Apple Crumb Crust Pie for Ally’s mom, Cathy.   While I’ve not seen Cathy in a long time, at one time we were volunteers together… and I’d just been reminded that those moments spent volunteering are pretty special indeed.

It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.
S.I. Hayakawa

SMART readers are always needed – If you have an hour a week to give to SMART, and live in Jackson County, please call this number: 541-734-5628, or go to their website, www.getsmartoregon.org.  Thank you!

 

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle….

10 Oct

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.  Jill Churchill

Quiche Prep

Yesterday my friend stopped by and told me that her Mother had passed away a few days ago.  She told me that she was there at her bedside when her mother took her last breath and that she’d been able to spend some time with her sister who had been the main caregiver.  She shared how glad she was to have been there and how hard it was for her now that she was back home.

How well I know that feeling!  Having lost several family members, I know how hard it is to get back into your normal routine when you can’t help but feel that your world has forever changed.  And it has changed, whether or not it is apparent to others.  Life will be different from now on and that is not an easy thing to accept or to live with.

My own Mother has been gone for nearly 24 years.  I tried to make sense of that today.  Was her work on earth done?  Had she taught me everything she needed to?  I don’t think so.  But she did the best she could in the time that she had… and for that I am forever grateful.

Tonight I made a quiche for my friend to help her through this very difficult time of loss.   It’s just a small gift of food – but hopefully one that will help her realize that she has friends who care for her and understand what she is going through.

Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.  George Eliot

Spinach, Mushroom, and Sun-dried Tomato Quiche

Why Rotary?

5 Oct

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Ashland Rotary Club.  To be more precise, I am an Honorary Member of that club.   Here is how the Rotary International website describes what that means:

Honorary members have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in support of Rotary’s ideals. They’re considered friends of Rotary for their permanent support of Rotary’s cause and are elected by the club.

To tell the truth, I’ve never read that before tonight.  I thought I was chosen to be an Honorary Rotarian because I made the monthly birthday cakes.  But I know that it there is more to it than that.  Since my husband joined the club more than 16 years ago, I’ve participated in the club in one way or another.  At first I only sang with “the Rotary band” at the annual Holiday Party for shut-ins… but over time I found a number of ways to make a difference.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been very active at the Rotary garden.  Just last week I learned that over the last four years our efforts have resulted in more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce being donated to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.  How wonderful is that?

Mixed Berry Pie

Apple Almond Pie

One of the Rotarians who works with me at the Rotary garden made this special request, “Could we please have pie instead of cake at the birthday table in October?”  Of course I was happy to comply!  The only thing I did in advance was to send an email to the “other” October birthday folks asking if that was okay with them…. and I was not surprised to learn that it was.

Early yesterday morning I prepared two pies for the meeting – one a Mixed Berry Crumb Crust Pie… and the other, an Apple Almond Pie.  Then, to top it off, I picked up some vanilla ice cream so that the pies could be served a la mode.  Almost as soon as they were delivered to the birthday table, the pies were cut and distributed all around… and it warmed my heart to see everyone devouring them.`

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked by curious friends if “it helps” being a member of Rotary.  What the question means (to me) is “does it help your business.”  Perhaps it does… but if you’re asking that kind of question, I don’t think you understand what Rotary is all about.  Again, from the RI website: The Rotary motto Service Above Self conveys the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members. Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.  

By being a member of Rotary I have met people from all over the world – and have had the opportunity to help make a difference in some amazing ways.  And I’ve gotten to know my fellow Rotarians better by working alongside them to do good.  And so, if you were to ask me “Does being a Rotarian help?”  I’d have to say “Yes. It helps so many people… and it will help you too… but probably not in the ways that you expect.”

Tonight I would like to dedicate this post to a friend and fellow Rotarian, Hal.  He was a great man and will be greatly missed.

Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.  Minor Myers Jr.

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