Helping Hands – Volunteering in Today’s World

Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations.  Rotary, Lions Club, Job’s Daughters, Scouting, musical organizations, political organizations, and a rock club (I’m sure there are more but they don’t currently come to mind).  Over time, they all come down to some type of political/power struggle.  I volunteer to do something, and later on wonder what was I thinking?

I was thinking I want to help.  I want to assist their progress in some way.  I want to see them succeed. How can I help?  With my take-charge personality I end up the chairman, the president, the leader.  I find myself pulling away from those decisions more and more.  Would I be Secretary of the Rock Club. No thanks.  How about the Membership Coordinator? Grant Writer? Publicity Chairperson?  NO, NO and NO.   I’ll help where I can, but I don’t want the board meetings, the distraction to creating, the politics.

So how can I help?

I’ve been knitting for years.  As my little sign says, “knitting keeps me from unraveling”.  I can create something useful and keep hands busy.  I’m a much nicer passenger when I knit and don’t watch Tracy drive.  I’ve gifted hundreds of blankets over the years both knit and crochet.  I’ve taught both my youngest daughter and grand-daughter how to knit and they also have “busy hands”.  So what do we do with all that stuff?

When we had our art/gift gallery we sold well over 100 scarves to travelers looking for something useful to offer that would remind them of their trip.  Grandmothers love the scarves as gifts for grandkids.  And some locals bought them on a regular basis as gifts and for their own families. But now that the store is closed what happens to them?

One day on Facebook an ad showed up for an organization called “Operation Gratitude”. They provide “Care Boxes” for our active military, veterans, first responders, and wounded warriors.  They take only scarves made of acrylic fibers – check;  4-6” wide – check; in masculine colors – check.  If you go to their website you can download their donation form to see all the other ways you can help.  They recently had a “service day” at their base of operation in California and created 3,000 “care boxes” for the first responders in Dallas.  This is an organization I want to give to.

I’ve put together a box of scarves with the labels as requested and will send them off this next week.  They also ask for letters to the care box recipients.  It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what to say, and how I might help take their mind off where they are.  I wrote a letter using pictures from our previous time in the heart of the Grand Staircare Escalante National Monument.  I hope it will give them something else to think about.

It also reminded me to add their service as volunteers to my gratitude journal.  I’m grateful they believe our freedoms are worth fighting for. My grandmother, mother, father, and 1st husband all volunteered for the Marine Corps.  They each had their own reason for that service, and each contributed in a unique way.  They wanted to help in some way.  I guess it’s in my blood.

Until next time – – –


The Bone Feud – Book Review 4/27/2015

Spirit of 13 - Book Review

Historic Fiction comes in all types of styles, genres and themes.  The Bone Feud is a story of two “Professors” that are in a race to find the most dinosaur bones and get them identified so they can name them.  The true story is fictionalized by adding wonderful characters to the tale and making one of the participants the bartender  and storyteller.

I was captured from the beginning of my #fridayread.  From P.T. Barnum to Wild Bill Hickok, the authors ability to bring other characters of interest into the story was great fun.  His writing style is clear and the story flowed nicely.  However, I missed hearing from the storyteller himself in the middle of the tale.  He got lost, and so did I, in the middle.  Thankfully, he was found and once again took charge at the end.

For a fun #fridayread, it’s great and is well deserving of 4*’s.


Social Media lives on – 1/8/2014

Social Media – Not New, Just Different

Petroglyphs - Social Media

Newspaper Rock,UT

Mankind has been depending on social media for hundreds of years. Beginning with the Petroglyphs and Pictographs of the early American Indians, Newspaper Rocks are everywhere in the desert southwest. Hyroglyphics are found throughout the European nations, and even Spain has a collection of messages. These early tweets are no less difficult for us to understand than our grandparents have with hashtags.

We advanced from scratching on rocks to printing on paper. Thousands of trees were cut and processed for paper. Paper for general interest publications, magazines, tabloids, catalogues, you name it and it was created. Until WWII, then the government controlled the use of paper and ink and frugal families began to think carefully about it’s consumption. Newspapers started being recycled through the use of rollers that made fireplace logs. Burning them was better than putting them in the landfill. But change continued to march through.

Lodges became the next “social media” opportunity. Eagles, Elk, Moose, Masonic – thousands of lodges opened around the country. These were places for like-minded folks in their 50’s + to gather to dance, party, and share the tweets of the day. Today, as I travel around the west I see many of these buildings abandoned, closed, and in worse shape than the newspapers. Their members have passed on or changed their social habits to be “in touch” with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many carry cell phones and have learned to tweet to their families.

Today social media continues to grow. There are so many different “sites” available it’s hard to keep up. Each new provider appeals to a different age group or area of the world. Different languages, different cultures, and different life styles. Religion continues to play a major role in social media, as do crime and greed. The continued advancements of technology adds to the many changes in social media. More Newspaper Rocks Online – fewer general interest printed material – less need for TV and their “news/entertainment” centers. More direct communication, but less personal. Much like the original “Newspaper Rocks” – chipped by a lone member of their tribe, sent on it’s way by the occasional visitor, and pondered over by future generations to ask, “just what was the purpose of the hashtag?”.

Hole-In-The-Rock Foundation Trekking Permit

Public Comment is being accepted by the Monticello BLM office on the request by the HITR Foundation to allow trekking along the road and trails within the GSENM.  These are non-invasive, controlled adventures that should be allowed.  I submitted my comments (below) and hope all goes well.

“I am writing in support of the Hole-In-The-Rock Foundation Trekking Special Use Permit.

The activities planned are consistent with the historical usage of these trails and promote proper use of lands due to the sponsor training/guidance requirements.

The historic nature of the entire length of the Hole-In-The-Rock Road and trails is of significance to the thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. Their continued access and use of these lands should be maintained in perpetuity. Not only is it a cultural/heritage consideration, it is a financial benefit consideration for the many small towns near the trail/road and the many small businesses that depend on these activities.

With the limit on the number of users within the time period, the limit on number of users per group, and the types of activities, I see no justification for denying these groups use for one year with evaluation for four additional years.”

If you are interested in commenting sarch for Monticello BLM and scroll down the page to the press release section for the permit.  Your support would be most welcome.

Art On Fire – A Book Review 10/4/14

Life of speudo-realism painter Francesco deSilva — 13 of her paintings hang side-by-side at the Francesco deSilva Memorial Museum in Turo, Mass.

An unusual genre for me, I’ve been exploring various writings with my oldest daughter in the LGBT literary category. Art on Fire is the story of pain, love, art and learning about ourselves and being proud of who we are.

Author Hilory Sloin used the 13 remaining paintings, after a horrorific fire, to tell her version of Francesca’s life as a painter, lesbian and recluse. Francesca lived in the attic of her parents stark home by choice and was always over-shadowed by her younger sister who eventually goes mad.

Francesca’s love life is explained using the author’s interpretation of her paintings. A unique way to write with a clear voice, gave me the opportunity to think about art in a different way. It’s also a window to the LGBT community and their pain and isolation in society then and now.

This well written story of life could and should be read by all who wish to understand a different way of life.