Friday, November 30, 2012

12 in 12: November Update

During 2012, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing a special challenge that we've named 12 in 12. We are doing 12 different activities that help people in need, animals, or the environment. 

This is how we did during November: 

- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf. We donated a package that contained 12 noodle soups to Family Pathway's food shelf.

Food we donated to Family Pathways.

- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization that is chosen each month (can be the same one or different one).  We volunteered for the African Library Project again this month. We are now in the sorting process, and have received the packing sheets and address sheets for shipping the books.

We talked with the post office to notify them of the project and the timeline. They recommended a good box size and package weight since books are very heavy. This is important in the United States. However, once it gets to the African Library Project in California, all our boxes of books are put on a pallet and then shrink-wrapped before they are shipped to Lesotho, Africa.

This is such an exciting time because the reality that we have over 1,000 books that will be used to create a brand-new library at a primary school is sinking in. We are so happy for the children and their families who will have these books so they can learn English and have more opportunities because of the resources that they will be receiving.

- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop. We donated a bag of clothes to Recylced Wardrobes.

Sophia and Olivia by Recycled Wardrobes.

- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop. We donated a box and a bag of non-clothing items to Family Pathways.

Donations for Family Pathways.

- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books. We donated 25 more books to the African Library Project.

- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment. We donated $12 to Northwoods Humane Society.

Sophia and Olivia with Kitten Chow and $12
for Northwoods Humane Society.

The funds will be used to support the animals that are waiting for new families.

One of the dogs needing a new family.

When we visited Northwoods in November, there were only three dogs there. That is the fewest number of dogs that we have seen. The rest of the dogs were all adopted. 

Another dog that was so eager to receive attention.
He was very gentle and would make a great addition to a family.

We were happy to see that Boota and Athena - two dogs that had been there for over two months - finally found homes. They were such gentle animals with sad stories - the former arrived at Northwoods after his owner died; and the latter was abandoned and found in a ditch with her 12 puppies.

Thankfully, they each have new families who will love them and provide a safe home for them.

- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives. This month I didn't write a letter to someone specifically. Rather, I wrote a thank you that was posted in the church bulletin where my Dad went to church (and my Mom still attends). It read:

November includes two events worth noting: National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and Thanksgiving.

Many of you who knew Deacon Don Rinkenberger were aware that he was diagnosed with middle-stage Alzheimer’s Disease in May 2009 and died on January 5, 2012.

Our family is very thankful for those at St. Joseph’s who stepped forward to offer their support, encouragement, and prayers while Don was living with Alzheimer’s Disease as well as following his death.

We also are grateful for both the staff and volunteers who helped with the funeral arrangements, prayer service, funeral mass, and luncheon.

As we come closer to Thanksgiving, we are reminded not only of these blessings, but the blessings that Alzheimer’s Disease revealed to us through Don. We learned about the gift of appreciating the simple things in life that Don took pleasure in such as:

- - a colorful bird at the feeder,
- - the joy of having some ice cream,
- - the comfort of touch, and
- - the reassurance of a gentle voice.

We learned that living in the present moment was all Don and we could do as Alzheimer’s took a firmer hold on him. We feel incredibly blessed and very appreciative of the kindness of those who took the time out of their schedule to spend time with Don or us; to make a phone call to see how we were doing; or send an email acknowledging the challenges of caregiving.

In a homily that Don delivered on December 13th and 14th, 2003, he reflected upon the most precious gift someone can give to another: time. As he said, “It doesn’t cost anything – but it is often unavailable. Time to listen. Time to be with someone: someone sick, someone in a nursing home, someone with a debilitating or terminal condition, or someone who is alone.”

Our entire family is grateful for the time that each of you gave to us during these very difficult past few years.

With sincere thanks,

The Family of Deacon Don Rinkenberger

- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds. We chose to bring a bag of cans to Northwoods Humane Society again this month.

Sophia and Olivia with the bag of cans.

We like that the cans are recycled and then the amount earned used to support the organization. 

This cat enjoyed playing by sticking her paws out of the cage,
and playing with the paper I had in my hand.

It helps the animals waiting for homes by paying for their care, food, and shelter. The funds also pay for the costs associated with running the humane society (e.g., staff, building, electricity).

This dog was so friendly and happy that we stopped 
to talk to him play with him.

- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow to Northwoods Humane Society. We were surprised that there were so many kittens this month at Northwoods. The volunteer who took our donation seemed very grateful that we brought a bag of Kitten Chow.

Two levels of cages with plenty of kittens who liked 
to play with us and with one another.

It seemed like there were more kittens than cats this month.

This kitten kept turning over on her back as she played
with the car keys and paper we had.

It was so much fun playing with the kittens and seeing how much energy they had.

- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife. We continued to fill the bird feeders throughout the front and back yards.

Olivia and Sophia filling the big feeder 
by the side of the house.

It has been fun watching the birds this month. There are a few larger flocks of birds - sparrows and black-capped chickadees - that fly from the feeders to various piles of brush or shrubs.

Sophia and Olivia filling the feeders in the backyard.

We made sure that the feeders were filled - especially the day after Thanksgiving when there was snow on the ground. Having the feeders makes it so much easier for the birds to eat.

The male cardinal ate from the feeder the day after Thanksgiving.
There was constant traffic of birds at the feeder all day.

We also made sure that the bird bath was filled. Up until Thanksgiving afternoon, the temperatures have been high enough so that the water hasn't frozen. In fact, on Thanksgiving there were seven birds at one time in the bird bath taking baths and splashing water all over the place.

The most special bird that showed up on Thanksgiving was a beautiful red cardinal.

The red cardinal that showed up on Thanksgiving.

My Dad loved cardinals, and so - in spirit - it felt like he had joined us for Thanksgiving.

- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society. I hand-embroidered a wool felt toy this month. It's supposed to be a hedgehog according to the image I saw. However, both Sophia and Olivia felt it looked more like a bear.

Hand-embroidered toy I made.

After packaging the hedgehog/bear, I put it in the children's section at the library. There were packages near the back of the children's section that contained CDs or cassette tapes as well as books. 

The toy by the audio/visual packs 
in the children's section in the library.

I hope the child who finds the toy enjoys playing with it.

- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others. This month there were no opportunities to sing at church. Rather, the girls are practicing twice a week with the children's choir for the three times that they will sing during December (9, 23, and 24) as well as during a play at church that has several songs they will be singing.

In addition, Sophia is practicing four songs for the December 23rd church service in which she is playing as part of a harp duet (with her instructor) as well as with an ensemble (harps, organ, and violin).

She also is practicing "On Eagle's Wings" which she hopes to play around the time of her Papa's one year anniversary of his death. We are hoping that the church he and my Mom/Sophia's Nana attended will have an opportunity for her to perform the song at a weekday Mass. This was one of Dad's favorite songs and holds special meaning for our family.

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference,
ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, 
add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
~ Marian Wright Edelman ~ 

1 comment:

Rita said...

Wow! Busy, busy! But doing lots of wonderful things!! :)