Loving One Another

Archive for September, 2013

Peace and Purpose


Living with Peace and Purpose

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Do you have a sense of purpose out of which grows an increasing peace in your life? One of the groups of people with whom I volunteer is the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary. This week we presented to the CEO of our MVMC a check for $8,000. The money represents the proceeds from our recent fundraiser, a Home Tour. Volunteering to help that event happen was a pleasure. The ladies all worked together amiably. The homeowners were gracious, hospitable, and generous. We had determined in advance what the local need was: the replacement of a portable x-ray machine for the hospital.

In presenting the check to hospital, the ladies had a sense of “Mission Accomplished” and looked forward to finding and fulfilling a need for next year. As we look ahead, however, we are mindful of the fact that this check does not begin to pay the balance owed by MVMC for the cost of this life-saving equipment. We are like the child picking up starfish on the shore and throwing them back into the ocean. “Look at all those stranded fish! What difference does it make to throw ONE back?” Well, as the child responded, it makes a difference to THAT one!

Isn’t that what life boils down to? Making a difference for that ONE? That’s my life’s purpose: one act at a time, spread God’s love. Find a need and fill it – or begin the process of filling it. Every starfish counts! What is your purpose? Find it – and be at peace!

No Expiration Date


 

Feeling lost? Need to be found? Need help finding your way? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then Sunday’s sermon was for you! As for me, I always need help finding my way through the maze of life’s choices!

The sermon was titled, “How Far Will the Love of God Go?” Based on Luke 15:1-10, preached by Rev. Jean Johnson, with poetic notes taking the usual liberties, I titled the poem, “No Expiration Date.” 

Jesus was not very selective
In the company He chose to keep.
He sought the lost and sinful
The way a shepherd searched for lost sheep.

Like Our God who searches for us,
Jesus looked for the lost day and night.
He didn’t give up when others might;
He kept looking until the lost were in sight.

He went to the ends of the earth.
He even descended into Hell!
He was there with the Good News,
With the story of salvation to tell.

Hell is separation from God –
So Jesus went to an estranged abyss.
Even after His crucifixion,
He lowered Himself to such as this.

He entered solidarity with those
Who had lost their way in darkness.
He brought the light of God to show
The Hope of Salvation in all that starkness.

No matter what you do to try
And remove yourself from God’s reach,
There is no place you can go –
Not even Hell – that God cannot breach.

God will go to limitless lengths
To find you and bring you home.
There is no time limit, no expiration –
The Shepherd seeks until He finds His own.

Amen?
Amen!

 

Laughter Shared


Laughter Shared.

No better gift than laughter shared.

I love the sound of laughter;

But babies’ laughter?

Oh yes, that takes the cake!!

Where the Money Goes


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In my last blog, I told you about the many helping hands in the Madison Valley Woman’s Club and shared a song we sang to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.” I indicated that the ladies of the MVWC donate countless hours as well as gently used clothing and household goods to the Nearly New – the thrift store owned and operated by the club. They sell the items for an affordable price (like $4 or $5 for a nice pair of jeans or a shirt or pair of shoes, and $2 for a t-shirt). Over $51,000 of the proceeds from the store in fiscal year 2012-13 went back into the community.

As promised, here is a list of the individuals and organizations to whom the money was donated:

Woman’s Resource Center
Ennis Caring and Sharing
Madison Valley Public Library
Senior Companion Program
Montana Dentist Outreach
Piecemakers of the Madison Valley
Madison Valley History Association
Montana Talking Books
Madison County Volunteer Respite Care
Meals on Wheels
Madison Valley Manor Auxiliary
Madison Valley Manor
Ennis High School Booster Club
Pennies for the Arts
Ennis Children’s School
Madison Farm to Fork
Ennis After Prom
Ennis Lions Club
CASA
HOBY
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Ennis Arts Association
Madison Meadows Golf
George Ball Australia Trip
Madison Valley Medical Center Foundation
Ennis Community Choir
Giving Tree
Madison Byways
Madison Valley Aquatic Center
Ennis Ambulance Service
Madison Valley Rural Fire Department
14 Scholarships (ranging from $500 to $1000 each)

The total giving actually was closer to $52,000 (exact amount was a whopping $51,890.00). Remember, our little community of Ennis has less than a thousand residents! This is an impressive undertaking. It takes many hands working together to make all that giving possible.

Isn’t it amazing what the sale of other people’s castaways can do? If you have items to donate, be sure to come by the Nearly New in Ennis, MT. You can be sure your cast-offs will find a new home – and the proceeds will be put to good use!

God Bless the Madison Valley Woman’s Club and their incredible generosity!

Madison Valley Woman’s Club


I am the inspirational leader for the women’s club in my town – the appointed “Chaplain.” The club is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), known as the Madison Valley Woman’s Club (MVWC). This week we kicked off our new year with a meeting of more than 50 ladies (our town has a population of less than 1,000 – so fifty is a sizable number for our little community). For the inspiration this month, we featured M&M’s = Music and Movement.  I explained that the M&M’s on the tables were not just a sweet treat, but a reminder to add Music and Movement to their lives for a fuller, healthier existence. Then, clapping along to the accompaniment of my accordion, the ladies joined our “Sing-Along”  to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountains.”

ImageGet up, stomp your feet, clap your hands and sing along with me:

 

We’re the Madison Valley Woman’s Club, you know.
We are women in the flow and on the go.
We work hard at Nearly New –
Donating hours (quite a few),
As we give and sell and buy and work and grow.

We don’t have to work at Nearly New it’s true.
But some do it to be helping me and you
Earn the money for our giving,
Providing others a better living;
We give scholarships – and donations, too – Woo-hoo!

We have interests that are as varied as we are.
Some attend a church or garden or sit at a bar.
We are philanthropic souls, though;
We accomplish many fine goals, oh –
We cook, play bridge, fish, hike, sew, paint, golf near par!

We’re the Madison Valley Woman’s Club, you see.
We live here and love to be in this valley.
We tell others how we groove it,
Finding ways we can improve it.
Join us, friends, and you will smile contagiously!

Our Madison Valley Woman’s Club returned more than $50,000. back into the community in the 2012-13 fiscal year! Those were the profits realized from the sale of “Nearly New” items at our local thrift shop. It is owned and operated by the ladies of the GFWC-MVWC. Amazing, isn’t it? So much good comes from the donation of time and talent and “stuff” that people don’t need or don’t want anymore. If you’re anywhere near Ennis, Montana, come by and see us! You, too, won’t be able to help yourself – – – you’ll find a bargain for a few bucks – – – buy it, knowing it is for a good cause – – – and leave the shop smiling contagiously!

Tune in tomorrow for a list of to whom or what those funds were donated 🙂

 

Help for Troubled Children


Sermon Notes
Guest Speaker – Michael Kalous

“Intermountain Thoughts”

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He lived in one hundred one places –
Cars, tents, parking lots, too,
Foster homes and back roads.
A hard life for years – quite a few.

The boy had a loving mother,
But his dad was a troubled guy.
God sent the boy Christ-like people
Who helped dry the tears he’d cry.

Then God sent him to InterMountain
Where his dorm parents were saints.
They gave him unconditional love –
Listened compassionately to his complaints.

With people behind him like his Grandma Grace,
And people with him who showed Christ’s love,
He found our Lord and Savior
And got to know our God above.

With God’s help and these beautiful people,
The damage of his young life faded.
God is able to use him now
And bless others whose bodies and souls were invaded.

With the common bond of a wounded soul,
He can tell his story and feel others’ pain.
He can reach out to a hurting world.
His road of suffering leads to God’s gain.

About seven years ago, when I first learned about Intermountain in Helena, Montana, I was a new member of Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT. A boy named Chip came to speak to us that summer about how he and his four siblings had been saved by an adoptive parent and a program at Intermountain that provided Christian counseling to struggling children and families. Kids like Michael who were physically, mentally, and/or sexually abused and young boys like Chip who were abandoned and/or neglected found the loving, professional help they needed. In addition to a school for pre-school through 8th grade children, there are four cottages on the site. Each one is “home” for up to eight children – and a set of highly trained, loving “dorm parents” live with them. The professional staff at Intermountain also goes into homes and public schools to provide support for parents and teachers. Most of the children aided by Intermountain have what is known as “attachment disorder” because of the way the adults who should have loved and protected them the most let them down in one miserable way or another. It is hard for them to trust any adult.

So, when people like Michael “make it good,” survive in spite of the odds, and go on to finish high school and college, become counselors, and return to the facility to “give back,” they have a greater opportunity for success. They create a “common bond with a wounded soul.” Their background makes them believable. It serves as a springboard to convince the troubled, mistrusting youngster that someone else CAN understand their plight. God uses their sad history to save another soul from a lifetime of continued abuse, neglect or abandonment. The cycle can be broken.

My gratitude goes out to Michael and to all the counselors at Intermountain and at children’s shelters across the world. May your rocky path serve as a lighthouse – a beacon to help others find their way toward a healthy and secure future. With God’s help, you can help heal the wounds and allow God’s children to love and trust again.

With gratitude for what you do and an understanding of the financial needs to carry on your programs, my husband and I donate a small amount monthly to Intermountain. I invite my readers to consider doing likewise. If each of us helped a little, it would add up to a lot – and more needs could be met. God bless you! And God bless the givers who help to make your work possible.

To learn more about Intermountain, log on to: http://www.intermountain.org/   Help meet the needs of a troubled child who is learning to trust again!

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