Thursday, September 29, 2011

Story Hour At The Library

Hello dear friends!

I have been MIA for quite awhile now, due to trips to MI to see the grandkids and lots of time spent crocheting. But I forced myself to sit down today and write this post, as I really wanted to share this experience with you!

Although I do crochet extensively for charity, I have wanted to find something more hands on that I could do, within my physical limitations.   Impact 52 founder’s, Aaron and Erica Brown and daughters, have really inspired me to make this happen.  As often happens when we start to really focus on something we want to accomplish, the perfect scenario presents itself.   My local library hosts a great program for pre-school children, as well as after school crafting classes for the older children.   In the process of donating a slew of craft items I didn’t need (or have room for!) I was invited to participate in the morning “story hour”.   Don’t let the name fool you though; I was astonished to discover that there is much more to story hour then the name suggests!

Dana, the young lady in charge of the children’s program, is a bundle of energy and passion for the kids!   Each story hour has a theme and prior to the children arriving, Dana decorated and set up tables with crafts for the children to make after the story.  Upon arrival of the kids, Dana began the hour by playing music and leading a great little exercise routine.    This was a great tool for capturing their attention and pulling their focus toward Dana.   Once they stretched and bounced around a bit, they all sat down on the floor while Dana introduced the day's theme.   Our theme on this particular day was the circus, Elephants and the letter “E”. Dana started by helping the kids think of words that start with the letter “E“.   She then transitioned into her first book.   At this point, the kids were completely focused on Dana and her story.   There were about 18 to 20 pre-school children sitting quietely and I thought that was pretty amazing!   After reading a couple stories, Dana told the kids that they were going to have a circus parade and she invited them to pick out a silly hat to wear, from a huge basket of clown hats, cowboy hats, crazy hair and tiaras.  What fun to see them all dressed up in their silly hats!   Then they proceeded to march around the room and return back to the reading area, where they were ready to hear the last story Dana had chosen for them.

Once she finished the remaining book, Dana then walked the children and parents over to tables set up with crafts that were ready for completion.   The kids colored a cute paper elephant, which was then completed with a little folding and some pipe cleaner finesse!  I was incredibly impressed by the organization and thought that went into this story hour.   I can honestly say that I enjoyed it every bit as much (or more) then the kids!  It didn’t seem like I had done much, other then to help with a few of the crafts and keep a running tally of the children, but more then one person went out of their way to tell me that my time was appreciated.   What a great feeling that was and I hope to be doing more with the library soon.

Unfortunately today I am challenged with some pretty severe pain. I am hoping it is related to the cold front coming in and not the time spent with the kids yesterday. I really want to continue volunteering in this capacity and have also been invited to help with a crochet class coming up for the older kids. I very much want to be able to do this!! I’m frustrated by my pain and ask that you please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Also, if you would like to read about some really great outreach being done, please check out Impact 52, and see what these awesome people have been up to!

Blessings all!
Mary Anne

Cool hats!

Yes, that's me above helping the little guy with his project.

Enjoying the parade!

Miss Dana sharing a story!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

For Dad............

Today, being Father's Day, I want to honor my dad!
I was extremely fortunate that, at the age of 4, my mom remarried an incredible man.  He has been the rock in our family since that time and has truly been everything I needed in a father.  We may not have had the same last name, but he was the one who was ALWAYS there for me.  It was as if we had a spiritual connection that went beyond blood and biology.  It didn't matter what mistakes or scrapes I got into, he would always pick me up and brush me off with a hug and the support to keep on going.

I know I gave my dad more then a few gray hairs too!  My biggest problem has always been thinking I could do it ALL while trying to save the world......which as a child included many animals, big and small!  Probably the biggest fright I gave my dad was when one of my horses got loose.  The horse was running full tilt down St. Joe Hwy. and my dad and I were in the van following him, hoping to get him to stop so I could get a lead on.  You have to understand that as a kid, I was convinced I should have been born Native American.  I was always the "Indian" when we played Cowboys and Indians!  (Yes, I was a Tomboy too ;o).  So I guess I had it in my head that I could leap out of the van and land on that horse.  We had the side door of the van open as we came even with my galloping horse and I just jumped out of the side of the van to catch him!  Oops................
I actually made it fine, no injuries (I do have a little Cherokee in me lol)!!  However, I think my dad came pretty close to a heart attack that day!  Thankfully, he didn't loose a finger that time.....that is another horse and another story, for another day ;o)

Like most of you, there were a few stories like that and as I got older, I went from trying to save animals to trying to save people.  Throughout it all he has been calmly waiting there, on the sidelines, to pick up the pieces when I fell apart.  Now I have a chance to give back a little of the support he has given me over the years.  Although his dementia seems to get worse daily and he can't always remember what we talked about 5 minutes ago, he is still the same sweet, funny and brilliant father he has always been!

So a BIG THANK YOU to my dad and all the dad's out there who pick up the pieces when we stumble along life's path.  Of course, I have to end this with a picture of what I made dad for Father's Day.....poor thing doesn't have a bit of fat on him to stay warm, so I made him a lap blanket to give him a little extra insulation :o)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recommendations for donating shawl???

Hello peeps!

I finally finished the shawl that I have been working on for several weeks.

This shawl is so soft and warm and I want to find just the right home for it!!  I'm having some trouble deciding where to donate it.  Possibly a nursing home or homeless shelter?  Another thought is to donate it to a flood victim, but I don't know how I would go about getting it to someone. 

Does anyone have any great ideas on where I might donate this shawl?  I would really welcome any thoughts on this!

I am ramping up to start working on little vests and hats again for the children in South Africa with AIDS!   I love working on those darling little hats and it really makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile!  If you haven't had a chance to check out the website, please do so when you have a moment.  The pictures of the children are so sweet and it really puts life into perspective when you see how little it takes to make them smile!
(link at the bottom of this post) 

The only hitch with sending items to South Africa is the postage; it's very expensive.  My cousin Michele told me she thought there was a way to request and take donations on Facebook.  She suggested I might be able to get donations to put toward postage.  Hmmm.......  Does anyone know how to do this on FB?  I'm sure there is also a way to do it on my blog, but I am still learning how everything works on this thing!  Below is the link to see pictures and information regarding the children in Africa.

"It is estimated that there are 14.8 million orphans in sub-saharan Africa. 1.9 million live in South Africa."

I hope everyone has a really great week!!
With love and fellowship,

Mary Anne

Monday, May 9, 2011

A little bit about moms........

Hello dearhearts,

I wanted to share these sweet little baby geese with you.  It seemed appropriate, being so close to Mother's Day.  I have been in awe of the two Canadian geese we have that come back year after year.  The mother has a bad leg and we have always wondered if she would make it back each year.  But she keeps hanging in there, coming back, year after year.  And with her mate they have hatched several babies for us to enjoy.

They are very protective of the babies and clearly committed to raising the babies together.  When they come up out of our pond and sit in the shade daddy stands sentry, off to the side, while mommy and babies feed and clean their feathers.  When I got closer to take pictures, the daddy got quite upset with me and did a lot of "hissing".  Eventually, after moving slowly and talking to him, he did let me get fairly close (bribed with crackers as well, lol).

I noticed later when they were back in the pond how the mother swam in front, with the babies in the middle, and the father holding up the rear.  My parents have certainly supported me through all of the easy times as well as the tough times.  My mom has been a strong influence in my life and when people say how much I remind them of my mom, I am always flattered.  I have learned so much from her, not only in how to raise my own children, but more recently in how to deal with chronic pain.  I continue to be amazed at how she copes with both M.S. and fibromyalgia, and continues to provide love and support to our family.  She shows a quiet dignity in dealing with her challenges while at the same time knowing how to set her limitations.  I've learned from her that we all have to be advocates for our own healthcare.  My mom is truly my hero and I am sure many of you will identify with that statement.  How similar mom's are across the ages and even in the animal world.  When injured or in pain or dealing with  life's challenges, our moms continue to be there for us!

I am blessed to have been able to spend Mother's Day with my mom and thankful for every year that I continue to have that luxury.  I hope that you all enjoyed a beautiful day yesterday and felt the "God like" love that only a mom can give.  Whether she is here with you or has made that journey to be with our Lord, her immense and undying love lives on for eternity..........

Love and blessings to you all!

Mary Anne

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Crafting and digital designs

Hello peeps!

After spending so many hours crafting for charity, I decided to take a short time out and create some cute Easter items for the grand babies.  A little lamb hat for Ellie and my version of a "pillow pet" for Sawyer :o).............

I also spent some time making Spring cards, and discovered a new "tool" that I had not realized was available.  While perusing Etsy, I discovered something called "digital stamps".  Now, most of you may be aware of these, but this was completely new to me!  Oh my gosh, the options are limitless!!  Not only that, the digi designs don't take up any room, because they are stored in your cool!  I'm adding a link for one of the designers I fell in love with.  Her darling little illustrations remind me so much of a cute book I have had since I was a child; "A Friend is Someone Who Likes You".  I loved that book and her designs feel like a great big hug when I see them!

If you enjoy making cards, then definitely check out Etsy digital designs.  In addition to finding tons of material out there to get the creative juices flowing, I am starting to draw again and have several ideas for my own digital designs, woohoo!!

Here is the link for the digi designs I used:

I wish you a wonderful weekend and love and kindness wherever you go this coming week!

Love and blessings,

Mary Anne

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Spring - time for growth and challenge!

Hello dearhearts! I am continually amazed at how quickly time slips by. Of course, the older we get, the faster it goes! Since I last attempted to post on this blog, I have been blessed with two more, beautiful, grandchildren and moved two more times! Now that I am settled from my last move and have found a new focus, my challenge will be to try and post once a week. We'll see how that goes ;o)..... A year ago, I had hoped that I could continue creating floral arrangements and donating them to hospitals and charity. I'm afraid that didn't work out too well for me, as creating the arrangements required me to be on my feet for too long. I had been contemplating crochet or knitting, as I thought I might be able to do that reclining. I spent a few months in Michigan helping out with my newest grandchild and my daughter-in-law suggested I try Youtube for learning how to crochet (again :o). Thank you Larissa, you are awesome! WOW!! You can learn ANYTHING on Youtube! Did you know that? I was amazed, I had no idea! Granted, I am a little behind the times when it comes to technical advances and a bit challeneged that way as well LOL! But Youtube ended up being an awesome thing for me. I can pull up a video to learn a technique....slow it down, or stop it at any point and resume when ready. For now, I am finding so many gorgeous projects I want to try that there aren't enough hours in the day to do them all! I am also staying very busy crocheting for charity. I am posting pictures of squres that I am mailing to Africa. These are then turned into blankets for the many orphaned children with AIDS. This is an awesome charity and I urge you to check it out! The children are so beautiful, in the midst of coping with horrific challenges. Here is the link where you can read about the program and see pictures of children that have been given warm blankets, hats, sweaters and vests by the KAS. What will be your challenge and new growth for Spring 2011? I wish you a beautiful week and an awesome Spring! Love and blessings, Mary Anne