Tag Archives: Czech Republic

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!


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!


Lucka’s Going Away Party

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

P1030113P1030119 P1030112

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.


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!


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

Day 129: Stephan

13 Aug

Today the Medford Food Coop had its Grand Opening. Many people have been waiting for this event for a long time. And I know that the co-op staff has been working like crazy to make this happen.

My son (Coco), and my Rotary exchange student (Stephan) and I volunteered to help with the opening. Stephan and Coco directed parking, while I sat at a desk with Kay (another co-op spouse) helping folks get their co-op member cards. It was a lot of fun – and the time flew by!

It was about 2PM when we finally left the store to go home. We all were really tired but felt that the day had gone well. So many people had come to see the co-op and we received so many compliments about the fact that it was finally a reality.

When we were heading home I glanced in the back seat and saw that Stephan had dozed off. He had gotten up early and had worked about 5 hours in the hot parking lot. I knew that I wanted to give him a pie while he was here visiting – and what better way to say thanks for his help today than with a Chocolate Cream Pie?

We hosted Stephan in our home in the Spring of 2006. He is from Germany and was able to speak four languages. He was always trying to understand the nuances of (my) english. One day he asked if he could eat something that was in the fridge. I answered, “Sure, that’s fine.” And I was stopped cold in my tracks when Stephan asked, “Is it fine as in – Sure, fine go ahead and eat it (all the while sounding angry) or do you mean, “Okay, sure, it is fine” (and really being okay with it). It was so remarkable to me that Stephan had picked up on this subtle difference in the language (oh, and by the way, he did get to eat what he’d asked about).

The Rotary Exchange program has been a huge factor in our lives. Both of our children have gone on exchange (our daughter to Denmark, and our son to the Czech Republic) and we have learned through them that the world is really quite small; that we are all connected.

Last year we planned to visit Coco when he was in the Czech Republic and I contacted Stephan to let him know that we would be in Europe and hoped that we could see him as well. And as I had been hoping to visit Paris (since I was 19 or so) I sort of mentioned that I would like the chance to fit a short trip to France in our itinerary.

And as miracles sometimes do happen, Stephan (and his wonderful family) helped arrange for our family to visit Paris. We stayed in an apartment near his Grandma and shared Easter breakfast with his family. It was absolutely amazing!

We are so very happy to have had the chance to get to know Stephan – and his family – through the Rotary exchange program. Our lives are richer because of this experience – and we are all incredibly grateful.