Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Week-end: taking stock of what we've got -- and --

Broken fence, lawn to mow.
Home Sweet Home
Our Core Volunteers are away this weekend. And, me? I’m re-learning how to live, again, up in the mountains, writing to my heart’s content like I could not away from here. My spirit wasn’t free in town. If I had any doubts, I have truly proven to myself – I am country! As you know, “you can take the girl out of the country, but….”

Sue has gone to a grandson’s graduation. Sam and his wife, Kathy, are doing their church and family stuff in Hagerstown, U.S.A. Kathy was a dear to come out here and help Sam when he put up our falling down front gutters. (But she wouldn't allow pictures.) On an earlier trip of Sam’s she sent us some treats; flowers, plants and berries to add to our re-newed gardening efforts. We are grateful that she came, grateful for her gifts – and – that she so generously loans Sam to us as she does. Lorrie – love -- is putting her time in at a job she detests. Board member, Lisa, is creatively and skillfully giving generously of her time to develop our #2 blog, soon to be posted, as family needs allow.

This week the mountain laurel has been in full bloom -- gorgeous. Sue has been out here working with me, gardening and general fixing up. She also has been putting in some quality time building relationships in town for gifts in kind donations; friend building with generous potential donors; some of that with Lorrie as a team, some on her own. Lorrie and Sue have started to develop fundraising strategies. As a team, we are very new at this -- and -- challenged, but having fun learning. This past week Lorrie was recovering from pneumonia. So Sue went off on her own, building community support for the remodeling project. And we missed Sam – and – Kathy.

It smelled so bad

Five hours later, ta da!
In Sue’s role as the head of our Habitat For Healing Remodeling Project – with fourteen years behind her as manager of the Non-Profit Building Supply -- I think she must know everyone in town who has recycle - able treasures for us. I don’t know what we’d do without her as my right arm – though she customarily sits on my left. Her qualifications are purr-fect.

I, personally, am blessed beyond measure to have Sue on this peace-building, community-building journey with me. (For example, take a look at her hard work with the refrigerator cleaning project. She probably put in a full day’s work, taking down the old frig that was all smelly from old, decaying food left in it from the fire. Could this kind of effort be the reason for which she got her master's degree in public health?

That frig sure was a "health hazard." I'm glad somebody had some cleaning skill. I did not and was overwhelmed by the task.) While everyone is away -- and, I’m out here writing – and – contemplating our next program and project development steps, it has gotten clear to me that it’s time for an updated assessment of what we’ve accomplished so far this year with our Habit For Healing Remodeling Project and our other New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” Project.

In the past year while I was sojourning in town and away from the mountain, we accomplished an enormous amount, contributing our community bridge-building efforts to local issues, and being wonderfully rewarded by the results achieved. The "Saving Centennial Mission" was the best!

Now that we’ve accomplished that – and – gotten our Habitat For Healing Remodeling Project off the ground, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves as well as others, “How can we now best help our various communities; locally, regionally and nationally, expand their small "zones of peace"? Where do we want to go from here? We’ve got a dream; building small "zones of peace" everywhere. Now, how do we best manifest it?”

Having trotted around Ecuador for about six weeks last year, without knowing a word of Spanish, I, for one, am fairly certain that I’d just as soon do our building in the U.S.A. for now and keep my passport on idle for awhile. Traveling to South America brought me a enhanced appreciation for things American. Even, if we aren’t quite perfect here.

From the mountains,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lots to learn -- at least for me

We are a bit over a month now into our Habitat For Healing Remodeling Project. So much has happened – and we’ve just begun. First and foremost, we (or could it just be me) need to learn how to adequately and appropriately show our appreciation to our contributors. Me – I’m inclined to gush, thinking I’m not offering enough back. So that’s one of many things I’ve got to learn as we move ahead; how to show gratitude in just the right way. Changing light bulbs might be another.

Imagine, then (with my tendency to not say or do enough – or, go to the other extreme and say or do too much) how I responded to Remodeling Project Manager, Sue deVeer, taking down a ceiling fan/light from her house – and – putting it up – totally on her own in my fire damaged kitchen.

Oh, my. Oh my. I was so impressed and bursting with gratitude all over the place for her lighting up that kitchen that been in the dark since the fire. On this same subject – gratitude – one apparently appropriate way for our appreciation to be expressed – mine, Sue’s, our board, supporters and etc. etc. – is that shortly we will be posting a “volunteer appreciation” spot on this blog.

And -- postings to acknowledge our donors – cash and gifts in kind – by linking from our blog to their online sites, if they permit. I do hope I learn to get it that that just might be enough, even more than enough -- for our donors who, no doubt, are giving from their hearts anyway.

Thanking everyone, again, for your generosity,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Re-building Our Home-Base

April 15 was the kick-off date for our Habit For Healing Remodeling Project.

Since then we have been putting much time and muscle out here to bring our training and healing center back to life and rekindle our original vision. By April 30, we had made enough progress for me, Exec Director, Anastasia, to move back into my quarters. What a welcome home experience that was!

Now -- we are almost full-steam ahead for the remodeling project. Give or take many needs from energetic onsite volunteers, gifts in kind and $$, we feel embraced by abundance already. Contributions of time and labor (and lol) by Remodeling Project Mgr, Sue deVeer (upward of 50 hours for her in April), hard working, dedicated volunteer, Wilbur Smith, and our dear friend and plumber, Tony, got my living quarters ready.

Friday night April 30, I slept in my own bed. I woke up the next morning to the birds chirping, busy, busy in conversation with one another, and the wind in the trees rustling. I felt like I was in heaven!

A week later, we had four volunteers (plus me) diligently working away. Wow! Community- building are we – our small “zone of peace” in Harpers Ferry. We got much accomplished. Sam Hawbaker, our friend from Hagerstown, brought his strong armed, carpenter friend wiz, “Anonymous.” Together they installed two very heavy, brand new huge doors (donated to our cause). That was an all day job.

Sue, Wilbur and I spent the day raking leaves, planting flowers and plants etc. etc., Stage one of bringing our sacred fire circle back to life. Etc. etc. etc.

We are so happy and blessed at our Habitat For Healing.

Hope you will soon be joining us out here soon.