Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Two-fer: A field trip to Savannah, Missouri to see some Bob the Builders...

Given the tradgy in the South today, I figured we could take a "vacation from our problems" for a moment.
I do not believe the day will ever arrive that I will grow weary of a good story. 

A good true story.

Mel and Kathy said it best today when we watched Rotarian volunteers donate almost 2,000 pairs of collected children's shoes today in 30 minutes:  all the good done in the world and there is no media here to share it.

That is where I come in.

I know, you are thinking, "But of course, Valsy, you ARE an all-powerful media  type...clearly illustrating it is difficult to see the difference between you and Mogal Ted Turner..."

I saw the news this morning before we left.

My fellow Southerners (I bet you didn't know that I am a honorary GRITS: girl raised in the south--plus my ancestors are from Kentucky...the Kentucky that doesn't have pavement and that the local "convienence store" is someone's living room stocked with bags of stale pork rinds...Kentucky...seriously I have seen it)suffer.  The town I served part of missionary work in Alabama was hit by a tornado last night.  I cried when I saw it this morning.  Those people are my friends.  Wanna see what I looked like in 1990 when they met me? 

I know there are many who suffer.  As Dave says, I am "possessed" with charity for people who suffer.  I carry them around in my mind everyday.  My boy.  Tom.  Others.  People I see on tv.  People I don't know.  People I never meet.

The dictionary says possessed is defined as having super-natural powers or madness.  I think it could be a little of both.

Referencing back to Mel's comment today about no media covering the good we saw today, I am happy to do it.

Meet the head Bob the Builders for today:  Larry and John.  Both are super smart.  Super talented.  Super nice.  Super compassionate.  I would say they are "possessed" as well, but without the ratio of maddness that I have.  These are some of my favorite folks.

Hi!  We are rock stars in the Shoe World

Rotarians around the northwest part of Missouri collect money and/or shoes for orphans all year long.  Larry said today that we have collected almost 200,000 pairs in the last few years.  That is a lot, when the majority of the collectors live in towns without shoe stores or Walmarts.  You do the math.

This is the inside of the semi truck...
this is only half of them so far

Rotarians are one stands idle
except the photographer...:)

My buddies Kathy and Mel rode along for the
field trip fun.  Mel even dressed up!

As soon as he saw the box loading action, Mel jumped right in.  They may not be Rotarians, but they have Rotarian hearts. That is why I brought them along.  I knew they would love Mel could do my part of the heavy lifting! 

After the shoes are collected, they are driven to Dallas, Texas
the home of Buckner International, folks who specialize in
providing services for orphans. 
These shoes will end up all around the world.

I know it is a sad day.  For many.

But I can think of about 10,000 orphans that it is a good day for.  Thanks Builders.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wanna take a field trip? How about the Tweed Valley, Scotland

We were in the British Isles two years ago for a few weeks. 

I posted blogs about Ireland.  Northland Ireland.  England.  And just two measely pictures of Scotland.

The most beautiful part of the trip.

We got to Scotland in the blogging world, and I seem to remember some sort of medical traumas and upheaval so I never got to give Scotland the credit that Scotland was due.  It has bothered me since.

If I (Scotland) had hosted me (Val), and I (Val) had raved throughout the entire countryabout how great it was, I (Scotland) would want me (Val) to rave to my (Val) adoring fans.  Ok, fanS might be a stretch--meaning my mother and some old buddies from my past.
My Long Overdue Ode to
The Tweed Valley,Scotland
(insert bag pipes here)
It was such a beautiful place that
I have nothing to say.  Just enjoy the view

This is the view from our castle room

There you go Scotland.
Your beauty made me weep for joy.
I feel that I have now repaid my debt to you.
Thanks for hosting us.  :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bob the Builder Award: 10 year old Donovan Parten and his origami cranes

Isn't this as adorable as it is inspiring?  :)
Kids create a flock of paper cranes to aid Japan
The Kansas City Star

Donovan Parten is a regular kid. Plays baseball and soccer. Reads books. Writes stories. But he’s also a fiend when it comes to paper folding.

Paper airplanes. Origami. Donovan can keep at it for hours.

Which explains why his mom showed him the email she received last month from the makers of OshKosh clothing.

The pitch: Fold paper cranes, as in the bird that the Japanese see as a symbol of health and well-being, and for every crane delivered to one of the company’s stores, the head office will donate an article of clothing to Japanese kids who lost everything in last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

A cynic might have dismissed it as so much spam. But Kelly Parten saw it as an opportunity for 10-year-old Donovan to expand on one of his other interests — philanthropy.

or a fourth-grader, Donovan has quite the social consciousness. And while he doesn’t have money of his own to hand out to charity, he’s rabid when it comes to collecting box tops and pull tabs and whatever else the PTA is gathering to buy books for the library.
Still, Donovan had the same question I had:

“He asked, ‘Why don’t they just send the clothes over?’ ” his mom said. “ ‘Why do they want us to make cranes?’ ”

Answer: Because kids often feel powerless. Making paper cranes, while only symbolic, is a way to teach them that they have it within themselves to make a difference.

So Donovan started folding cranes. Dozens of them, but he couldn’t make them fast enough.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to make more of them,” he told his mom.

So he asked the principal at Christa McAuliffe Elementary in Lenexa if he could teach the other kids how to fold cranes because it’s sort of tricky.

Pretty soon lots of boys and girls were making cranes during free time and after school.

“I was surprised how many people came up to me at recess and helped me make some,” Donovan said.

Most times it’s kids doing what adults tell them to do, grudgingly. For once, the grownups stayed out of it.

“It was his vision and his initiative,” principal Kent Peach told me.

Now, with only days until the Monday deadline, the kids at Donovan’s school have made 400 cranes in response to OshKosh’s promise to donate up to 50,000 items of clothing.

“He started it, but everybody knows he couldn’t have done it by himself,” Kelly Parten said.

It’s a reminder for adults and kids both.

Speaking of grownups, I had to laugh as Donovan, his mom and I sat around their kitchen table in Overland Park the other day. I’d asked him what his next challenge might be.

Donovan looked straight at me, as if we were two old guys sitting at the corner bar, and said, “Whatever life throws at me.”

Yep, Donovan, life throws us all a curve now and then. So when you can, pay it forward.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Special Edition of Pictures from the Purse: Religious

In honor of Easter's arrival, I thought it called for a showing of my collection of pictures from my purse (camera) that have a religious theme. 


from the Easter Inspirational section of the Walmart.
I bet Cecil DeMille did not know he would share
shelf space with Hannah Montana...

some people apparently don't get what a donation is...
I have never seen a "required donation"
Is that like our favorite oxymoron:  best of the Bee Gees
(nothing personal Bee Gees, I like you...but it is a good
family joke on the Anderson side)

Annoyed wives know no religious boundaries

A sign at the thrift store run by the nuns
I like that they really mean it.

I didn't know a gorilla was known for gentle answers.
I have wondered who sat around and thought,
"you know, we should put an abstract of an angry gorilla
with a THAT will speak peace"

The LDS folks didn't get the memo that God gave us
wine to lift our spirits.  Shucks.
She does look happy.

Here is a little shout out for the Mormon artists.
These covers are done by LDS painters.
Found on books at the local Sam's Club.
Next to the autobiography of Cookie Monster.
(I bet Jesus liked Cookie Monster better
before he converted to veggies too)

From the car show

I liked this chapter title.

errr..something seems a miss here.
Does the guy with the gun need protective glass?

Once a very important LDS church leader told
me I was "cheeky."  I had to look it up.
Maybe that has something to do with why
I am serving in the library?  :)  Again.
Like a time-out chair for Valsy.

These crack me up.  I had to buy the beer once for Rotary.
This is what they got.  I told them, "You never send
a Mormon to buy the beer...make the coffee....brew the tea."
They haven't asked since.
You know I am a friar, but I think I might have gone with
the Hebrew beer.  I mean, it is the "Chosen Beer."

These are folks that don't shave their legs, wear buttons, use
mirrors, or have carpeting, but they have upgraded to
wheeled luggage.  :)  Priorities.

In seriousness though:
I can tease about all these funny images,
but there is truth to the Gospel of Jesus' words.
Even beyond that, just living a life that one
feels to be true and right.

I see it everywhere.
I saw it when I stood by a monk who has followed the Dahli Lama's
ways and given up everything material and earthly to live his truth.
I saw it just tonight when the boy scout and I counted out
4,537 pieces of candy donated by the LDS Church Ladies
for the Homeless Men's Shelter for Easter.  I know,
nothing says "Celebrate the resurrection of the Saviour of
mankind" like Reece's peanut butter balls.  But still.

I saw it when I secretly watched my one neighbor helping
unload another neighbor's bricks.  Both neighbors,
of which, who have served our family.

I have seen it when the most talented people I know donate
(not a required donation mind you)
their time to children they don't know.
(this is all-powerful judge in the state of MO)

I have seen it when strangers come together to send
notes of encouragement in emails
to Japanese kids they will never meet. 
Catching them before they fall.
To help lift them up. 

I have seen it when people came from every walk of life
to say a proper good bye to a great man.
Who, as Dave so perfectly said, is great because he
doesn't try to be great. 
I wish I was great like that.

I have seen it when my parents have
opened their home to probably hundreds
of people they don't really know
to help them feel welcome and cared about.
God bless my parents.
By the way, do you have Easter plans?
Let me know if you don't.  We have room.

I see it in people who
serve with smiles.
The same kind of smiley people who sat in my
driveway recently and listened to my
heart ache.  Free of charge. 

I have seen it enlarge a heart.

I am prone to wander.
It is in my blood.
That is why I have so many strange
pictures of so many different things.
I hope in all my wanderings, I don't accidently
wander away from my truth.

There are words from a hymn that sum it up
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Happy Easter.