Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stop Dithering

I feel in a dither.  The news of the earthquake in Haiti reminds me of the friends I now have on the other side of that island in the Dominican Republic.  I'm learning that the more connections I make with disenfranchised people, the more I care, deeply. Having walked the streets of Los Alcarizzos, DR, I can picture the poverty which the Haitians already endure, made all the more harsh with the loss of their country's pathetic infrastructure.  Having helped build a concrete block house there last summer, I can picture the kinds of homes the Haitian people have seen shaken to the ground. 

In the midst of this, my most profound blessing is hearing from Christian friends of immediate responses that are being made. 

My dear husband asked the guys at our prison Bible Study to pray Tuesday night - just an hour or so after the earthquake.  We prayed for a collapsed hospital - the first of the sound bites he heard on the radio news.  If only it were JUST a single hospital that was lost.

My pastor posted a link to UMCOR - the United Methodist Church's mission organization.  She's much more computer savvy than I am - I searched for too long for a mailing adress to send a check, and posted my frustration on Facebook.  She responded with a link, saying it was easy.  I STILL couldn't get it, but eventually navigated my way to UMCOR, PO Box 9068 New York, NY 10087.

Another friend, Sandi, who got me started in the whole Gulf Coast relief effort, posted information about her Syracuse Presbyterian Church's effort to make health kits to be distributed.  Now that's something I can get  involved in - I've made a few flood buckets myself, in response to floods in June 2006 in the southern tier of NYS  - I sent Paul on a mission to find free 5 gallon pails (pickle buckets from a deli filled our garage at one point.)  Years ago an ecumencial youth effort in Auburn prompted a bunch of adults to get the teens including my son Jason involved in sewing (yes sewing!) kits and filling them.  We had kids all over the social room cutting, sewing and filling more than a hundred school bags.  I may spend a few bucks this weekend making a couple kits, and urging others to join me.

Information about kits:
Health Kit
• One hand towel measuring approximately 16" x 28"  (no fingertip or bath towels)
• One washcloth
• One wide-tooth comb
• One nail clipper  (no metal files or emery boards)
• One bar of soap (bath size in wrapper)
• One toothbrush (in original packaging)
• Six Band-Aids®

Please do not add toothpaste to the Hygiene Kit. Toothpaste that has an extended expiration date will be added to Hygiene Kit shipments just prior to shipment. Seal all items in a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure.

School Kits
• 1 pair blunt scissors (rounded tip)

• 3 pads (or loose leaf) of 8 1/2" x 11" ruled paper
• 1 30-centimeter ruler
• 1 hand held pencil sharpener
• 6 unsharpened pencils with erasers
• 1 eraser, 2 1/2"
• 1 box of 24 crayons (only 24)

Prepare a 14" x 16" (finished size) cloth bag with handles and an optional closure (Velcro®, snap or button) and place items in the bag.  (I'd make a bag if anyone wanted to buy supplies)

And finally, Henry, an aquaintance from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's Gulf Coast response has posted a desire to help on his blog,  Looks like he's dithering too.  But having met this gentle but determined man when we were in Mississippi last year, I just know he will find productive ways to serve in Haiti.

Time to stop dithering.  Gotta keep praying, write my check, collect a few supplies, and listen for other ways God's calling in the midst of this disaster.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Like Goldilocks - Just Right!

Earlier this week, I put my skis in the back of the car, planning that I would ski after work.  Today I carried my ski clothes into the office, in preparation for going straight to the nature trail on my way home.  Unlike our pre Christmas skiing, this evening was perfect - not too little snow, and not too much snow as was the case Sunday when I went out, but just right! 

Several people before me had skied, and no one had come along with snow shoes to mess up the tracks.  There was lots of nicely packed powder snow.  I was all alone in the small woods, and there was just enough light in the sky to show the path.  The wind blew fiercely as I crossed the open space alongside the middle school field - my face hurt from the cold!  But as I went into the woods, it was sheltered, and was just about perfect.

I am reminded of being a kid and going sledding - dragging sleds from our house to Pierce's hill to play all afternoon before treading back home - feet numb, and mittens caked with snow.  Or walking the block from home with the guards on my ice skates to Lincoln School, where the ball field was flooded to make an ice rink.  Once, I skated with my hands in my pockets, tripped, and banged up my chin - it was sore and scabbed for days!  I guess I'm glad my parents urged us outdoors even on wintery days.

I debated making a second loop around the nature trail and decided to just do it!  Am I glad I did - as I rounded one corner on the far side, three deer stood alongside the path.  I came within 20 feet of one of them before it took off into the woods.  As I turned the next corner, I saw two more - they froze in place - did they really think I couldn't see them?  I continued on, up a slight hill into the trees, and them down a nice incline - makes me feel like a real skier!  The blessing of today was a ski trip that was just right!