Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Montana’

Ennis, Montana


Our little town of Ennis, Montana has in it some of the most interesting people in the world. There are less than 1000 residents in the city limits. Another 1000 (perhaps) live in the surrounding area of Madison County.

They come from all over the United States and from every background imaginable. I am constantly amazed as I get to know people at what their previous (or other) life involved (involves).

Many of them are part-time residents who come here to hunt, fish, golf, hike, ski, or take a break and enjoy the gorgeous scenery seasonally. It’s a relaxing, slow-paced place; a little like stepping back fifty years in time.

People here are friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. A typical first question is, “Where are you from?” Montana natives are far outnumbered – hard to come by! A treasured rarity! But because they welcome us “transplants” with open arms, strangers aren’t strangers for long.

There are more than 50 service organizations in Madison County. Each of them, from the Woman’s Club (👍yup, spelled singular on purpose) to the Lion’s Club, the Aquatic Club to the History Association, the various churches (7 of them) to the Friends of the Library and the Madison County Writers’ Group, all are anxious to help people find a way to serve, to connect, to feel a sense of purpose and belonging.

In his daily devotional, Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) wrote today, “… being a member means being a vital organ in a body, an indispensable, interconnected part… ” Quoting from Romans 12:4-5, he reminded us, “We are created for community. Don’t just come, belong!”

It’s such a privilege to BELONG to a community where folks are encouraged and welcomed and valued. You might think such a place only existed in “The Good Old Days.” Guess again. Come to Ennis, Montana! It’s a place where The Wild West still is. The deer and the antelope roam. And the sky is not cloudy all day!

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Don’t just come. BELONG!

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 🙂

 

Jumpin’ Jack Rabbit


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We have a family of jack rabbits who live under our porch. It is such fun to watch the bunnies emerge, tiny and vulnerable, with the most amazing ability to jump great heights and long distances. Our neighbors have jack rabbits who live in their field. Curious about humans and their habitations, the bunnies often hop over to inspect the house. Doggie doors are not a good idea. Not only might jack rabbits find their way in (as did this bunny when we left our double doors open one afternoon in our downstairs bedroom), but skunks, badgers, and coyotes might become unwelcomed house guests as well!

This week my husband received a phone call from Texas. It was our neighbor’s husband. His wife had called him in a panic because a little jack rabbit had jumped into the hole of their downstairs window grate. Try as it may, bouncing like a… well, like a jack rabbit… it could not leap high enough to escape. She watched the frantic creature and recalled an incident a year ago when something similar happened. They were not home to see and help it, so the bunny died. They found it weeks later when they returned. The only reason they discovered the carcass was that the smell drew them to the area!

Determined not to let this bunny meet the same demise, she called her husband. Now, what was he to do from Texas to Montana? Why she didn’t call us – or one of the other neighbors – I have no idea! But, that’s what her husband did. We weren’t home at the time, so he called the next neighbor. At a neighborhood dinner last night, we learned the outcome. Oh, how I wished I had been there to capture the incident on video!

Dashing over to help the damsel in distress with her trapped rabbit, Bob discovered the frantic creature still bouncing as high as it could inside the window box grate. He lifted the grate out of the window well, set it down on the ground in front of him, and as the jumpin’ jack rabbit leaped, he placed his hand under the bunny’s tummy and gave him a boost. Up and over his head she went (with his help, of course) and off she bounded! The neighborhood gathering got s good chuckle out of it as we imagined the story Little Jack must have told his bunny mates when he returned to the hole in the field.

Do you suppose a screen over that window well might be a good idea?

Believe me, we learned to be sure our downstairs door is closed!

 

La Dolce Far Niente


I have a new internet friend! I discovered her blog today… and fell in love with her and Italy in one reading! You can find her and travel  with her through the magical land of “La Dolce Far Niente” at  http://afriendoftheking.blogspot.com     Her name is Leslie Suzanne.  Her subtitle is Unlocking barriers and opening doors…  She and her daughter are living for a few months on a horse farm in Italy – immersed in the language and the culture. As bloggers you will appreciate the way she began her entry last Sunday:

“Language is a key that unlocks barriers…
such simple, yet powerful things…
words…”
As a second generation American whose paternal grandparents immigrated from Italy, and as a retired educator who spent many years jumping up at the crack of dawn and running from one deadline to the next, I appreciate her love of the Italian culture. She wrote, “The Italians have a saying:  La dolce far niente… The sweetness of doing nothing.” Then she challenged us to try it. She postured, ” It is almost impossible.  At least at first. For an American.”
My guess is that it’s not IMPOSSIBLE – not even at first – to “do nothing” – but the hard part is to “enJOY the sweetness” of it. We learn that BUSY is BETTER. Productivity is what life is all about. “What did you DO today?” my husband asks when he comes back from a day of fishing (that’s where he is with three of his buddies today). Even if it is recreational, it is DOING. And, by the looks of it, and the words that come out of his mouth when he is trying to tie flies or clean and prepare his fishing lines, it certainly is not relaxing! It’s all “catch and release” around here, so he never brings fish home. But, he certainly finds sweetness in the catching, the fight, the beauty, the release so he can come back and hook that same fish tomorrow – or leave him for the next fisherman to marvel!
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Leslie, my new Friend of the King wrote, “Living here in Italy, I have been practicing.  I mean really Practicing.  It’s an art… To stop being preoccupied. To not be driven by the tyranny of the next thing.  To actually be in the moment…..”
My fisherman husband knows about the moment. You only have a moment to enjoy that beautiful fish – and then you better get him back in the water! Be in the moment! Snap a picture, kiss the fish good-bye, and slip him back into the water. The moment is gone. Now, live in the next one! Yes, be present.
Moments in time. Precious presents! Don’t crowd them.  La Dolce Far Niente!!
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Sharing Your Faith Journey


Sharing Your Faith Journey with

Yesterday I met Lois Olmstead. She shared her faith journey with me and a group of my friends who are Senior Companions in my part of Montana. I was so inspired by her and her message that I checked out her website today and ordered a couple more copies of her book, EnJOYing the Journey. She is a humorous, genuine, authentic, inspiring Christian lady who has survived breast cancer and has lived to tell her faith story. The sub-title of this one (of three) of her books is, “90 spirit-lifters for the potholes of life.” Check out this link and fall in love with our Lord all over again as you fall in love with “Time Out With Lois.” She has a gift – – – and she shares it so beautifully!

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