Tag Archives: Rotary

A Special Ingredient

24 Jun

pie prep for PK

pie for pk

Prep for a Three Berry Pie; the finished pie

A few weeks ago, Emile and I went to a Rotary gathering at a nearby winery. There we met with other Rotarians and also with people who are considering joining our club.  During one conversation, the topic of my pie project arose and I mentioned that sometimes I really had to think about who “needed a pie” that day.  At that moment, the gentleman I was talking to stopped me with a question: “Does anyone ever really need a pie?”  Before I could answer, his lovely girlfriend piped up and in an exasperated tone said, “It’s not about the pie!”

She immediately understood that, for me, giving away pies has little to do with the crust, or the berries, or any of the other tangible ingredients. Instead, the only ingredient that truly matters is the love that is added during the process of making, baking, and delivering the confection. The recipient can’t see this… but they can feel it.  At least that is what I’ve been told: the many pie recipients who have reported back to me have shared just how good receiving a pie made them feel.  Of course, hopefully the pie tasted delicious… but more importantly I believe the knowledge that they were thought of with love made each person feel wonderful. That love just happened to have been transformed from thought to pastry—it’s kind of cool when you think about it!

In light of the horrific news of the killing of the nine church members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, my efforts to make a difference in a world that can be so evil truly seem insignificant.   My heart grieves with the families of those slain, because the senselessness of their deaths is incomprehensible.  However, my soul also feels great hope because those same grieving people offered forgiveness.  I am both humbled and in in awe of their faith and spirit.

The question that we all face is “How do we move forward from here?”  How I wish I knew the answer!  This quote by Edmund Burke comes to mind:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  

In my heart I know that we must do something.  What we do will be different for each of us, but I believe that if we act with the desire to do good—and if we act with love—we’ll be moving in the right direction.

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” 

~ Thomas Aquinas

Family, Friends, and a word about Kindness

11 Jul

So many things to share… and this time, I hope to do it with pictures (well for the most part!)….

Here is a photo of me and my Dad.  We took a drive to Crater Lake one Sunday… and he really seemed to enjoy it.  I’d forgotten how cold it could be… even in the summer!

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Then, a few weeks ago, a group of friends, many of them Rotarians, met to bid farewell to Lucka, our exchange student from the Czech Republic.  It was a wonderful year for her… and for us… and now Lucka is back home with her “real” family.  But we know that she made lasting friendships while she was here… and I’m sure it won’t be long before we see her again!

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Lucka’s Going Away Party

Recently, I’ve been lucky to have been asked by a few friends to cook for them…  what fun!

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And of course I found time to make a few pies.  One pie, a sausage, roasted pepper, and broccolini quiche found its way to a friend who has MS.  The high heat of summer makes her symptoms worse and so I thought this might be a way for her to enjoy a few meals without having to turn on the oven.

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Another pie, an apple blueberry, was made for a friend who was first diagnosed with cancer 25 years ago.  He is battling the disease once again, and I wanted to offer him something delicious – fresh from the oven… to feed his belly and his soul.  We’ll be praying for you, Caballo!

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Lastly, I wanted to share a message from our friend, Len, who passed recently.  He asked that rather than sending flowers, that his friends do something kind for a few other people instead. He wanted us to find people in need and instead of just giving them some food or money, that we also spend a few minutes talking with that person, asking their name, etc.  The gift to them would then be greater because we would also acknowledge their identity and hopefully grant them some dignity… something we all need.

My first “gift” was given yesterday.  On a very hot day I sat for a few minutes with “Henry.”  I met his dog and offered him a sack lunch and a cold bottle of water… which he said he would share with the dog.  At first I wondered how it would go… but It was really so easy to do and, not surprisingly, it felt like one of the best things I’ve done all week.

John Prine

Here is a link to the song entitled, Hello in There, by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, John Prine, that shares a similar sentiment.   Enjoy!

Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.  Mother Teresa

Welcoming visitors from far and near

17 Sep

It will come as no surprise for me to say “Life has been busy!”  For four days last week we were lucky to be visited by a couple from Scotland, Andy and Ryan Bond, who were traveling with fellow Scots on a Rotary exchange.  They traveled all the way to Oregon and spent two weeks visiting various Rotary clubs around the state.  As part of their visit to Oregon, these folks had a chance to tour the coast at Newport and the Rotary club there made sure that they had a fabulous time.

Ashland was the last stop on the journey for many of the Scots, though some of our visitors did plan to extend their trip into Vancouver, B.C.  We met our  guests on Tuesday and had a lovely dinner together.  I think that Rotary has a great idea here:  visitors come to a new city and are greeted by Rotarians… and are hosted by Rotarians, and are shown around the area by Rotarians.  It is a great way to see a new area… and make new friends along the way.

One of the goals of this “program” is to break down barriers, find common interests, and forge new friendshps.  That was easily done with our guests.  Andy and I found that we both loved to cook and bake… and we also shared an interest in contests!  She is a wonderful baker and one of her specialties is making traditional cakes covered in marzipan.  From the way she describes them, I just know that they are delectable!

Saturday was our last day with Andy and Ryan and I asked Andy to visit the Rotary Garden with me.  On the way I saw a sign for a yard sale and thought Andy might like to see what we call a yard sale here in Southern Oregon.  After a few minutes of browsing the items for sale, I could tell that Andy was sorry that the weight limit on checked luggage is 50 pounds!

We are so lucky to be a part of this amazing organization.  Through our participation in Rotary, we have made friends around the world.  Our world view is greater because we are not isolated from the rest; we can see that we are all connected.  And that is a wonderful thing.

What does this have to do with a pie?  Well, give me another moment and I will explain.

Quiche prep

Today I made a quiche for a couple who run a business in Ashland.  They are both hardworking, caring people.  They are amazing to me because they help out a man who has few options.  This man is like a visitor in a way.  He lives simply, doesn’t ask for much, but he needs help.  And these folks give it to him when they can… not because they have to… but because it is the right thing to do.

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I’ve gone to church all of my life… and I think I know how we “should” live.  And I believe that these folks are doing it.  Just because.  I am truly touched by their simple act of grace and wish that we all could give of ourselves as easily and without judgement.   It seems like a nice dream anyway.

Finished Quiche

“If you can’t fee a hundred people, then feed just one.”  Mother Teresa

 

 

Day 94: Happy 70th Birthday to Ashland Rotary!

9 Jul


Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Tonight there was a celebration for the 70th Birthday of the Ashland Rotary Club. There are nearly 34,000 Rotary Clubs in the world and their stated purpose, according to Rotary International, is to “bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”

My husband joined the Ashland Rotary Club in 1995. I have been making birthday cakes for this club for more than 12 years and a few years ago was made an Honorary Member of the club (an honor that few people have received). We have been active in many of the club’s activities (The Taste of Guanajuato, The Rotary Garden, The Shut-In Holiday Dinner to name a few). Some people think that you join Rotary (or other service clubs) to gain access to community members and maybe improve your business. That may be true – but if you join Rotary to gain you’ve missed the point.

Rotary is a primarily a service organization – and their motto is “Service above Self.” We have met wonderful people in this organization who model this behaviour everyday. We know doctors who have raised money for hospitals in Africa; we know others who have raised money to eradicate polio; and still others who have helped raise money to build homes for impoverished folks in Mexico. Ashland Rotary is an amazing community of people and we are proud and honored to be associated with them. Both of our children have been Rotary Exchange students – my daughter spent a school year in Denmark, my son spent one in the Czech Republic. What a gift it was for them to spend time living abroad and learning about another culture while still so young.

I could go on and on about Rotary and would gladly share with you any information that I have. Tonight, I’d like to toast the Ashland Rotary Club for 70 years of community service and would like to congratulate the men and women of this club – for all that they have accomplished thus far and for all that they aspire to do in the future. We are happy to a part this incredible fellowship.

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