Good morning to everyone out there. Another gorgeous day here in Chicago. The sun is shining again, the birds are chirping, and the temperatures are rising. Promises to be a nice day.
I have to share with my readers the topic of summertime. Now I could surely not cover all of summer in one blog, but yesterday's activities for me seem to inspire that theme.
You see, I belong to a woman's ministry at the Salvation Army. Yesterday, I was in charge of the Penny Social and a Service Activity. For those of you who may not know what a Penny Social is...it is where you place items on a table with a bag next to it. Tickets are sold and you place your tickets in the bag connected to the items. Then when the time is up we pull a ticket from each bag and that person wins the item. Nothing today would ever cost a penny anymore, in fact today's more modern adaptation of this would most likely be called a silent auction....at least similar to it, but in the olden days they were called Penny social's...Being that it was called that I found a wonderful story about a wealthy man who finds a penny on the street while walking with some guests from his company who were definitely not in his $$ range. He stops to pick up the penny and his guests wonder why a wealthy man like him would bother. When questioned whether it was ar are coin or something, he hands it to the woman and asks her to read what is on the coin....she reads....United States of America...he tells her no, keep reading....she says one cent....he says no...then tells her it says In God we trust. He tells her that when he sees a coin, he feels that God is sending him a message and he stops to pay attention. When we look at a coin do we only see the monetary value or do we ever stop to read what is on it? Pretty insightful story. There are loads of Penny stories, some say angels or loved ones leave a penny to let you know they are there and so on.
Well, after the social, we wrote cards as a service project. I suggested that the women write about their favorite memory of a summers day. The women range in ages from about 60 -93. They all wrote their cards and since I was teaching art later in the day, decided to take them with. Now here is the pay back for a job well done and I cannot wait to share it with the girls from the Salvation Army. When I got to the Alzheimer center where I teach art, I sat with the ladies and read the cards out loud. As they sat attentively and listened to the summer day stories, they were able to identify with some of the experiences or memories and were allowed to keep that card. What we did after the cards were handed out was to color pencil in a rose and place it on the cover of the card which was all white. They got to keep then the card with their rose and the note. One women asked me to reread the name of the lady that wrote the card so she could pray for her and that she would think about her everyday. Now that is what I call a payback and a paying it forward. Most of the letters recalled a day at the lakes or beach. Family, friends, food. When I read aloud the cards, even I thought how similar they all were. What wonderful times that were had in old days....family, beaches, BBQ' s. It was a day of togetherness. A day that all seemed to look back and realize the work that mom had done to create that special time. Many commented on the naps that dad took. And all seemed to remember themselves in the water having a great time. Back in those days, it didn't take a lot of money to amuse us. It didn't take mega bucks to enjoy the day. I myself remember the biggest expense was probably buying an ice cream bar at the concession stand. Amazing that the one thing that gave almost all of us was a gift from God...water. Pure and simple. Family...what a blessing. We didn't need anything to amuse us there except perhaps a bucket and shovel...mostly back then we used a glass of sorts to build a sandcastle. We search the beach for shells and sticks to add to our castles or forts. What we used mostly was our imaginations. Times back then were so much simpler than today. Our needs centered around family time.
Well, I cannot wait to share with the ladies from SA what a wonderful afternoon their service gave to another group of ladies. There are so many in this world that are lonely, lost or just need a pick me up. Perhaps you might want to share a memory with someone young or old. Write down a memory and share it. You never know how it may change a persons day or outlook. And to top it off, going back and reminiscing will make your day as well. I once read a story about a child who was dying of cancer, he got loads of cards when it first happened and then eventually the cards stopped. It was the highlight of his day to receive the cards, so his mother started to write a secret pal card to him so he would receive mail. He eventually asked his mom to mail a card back to his secret pal....she discovered, after reading it that at the bottom he added "thanks mom". When he passed away and she had the time to clean out his things, she came across the box of cards from his secret pal...and on top was his address book from camp...they were all the other kids that had cancer too. So this mom decided tow rite to these children, thinking that this must have been her sons wishes. So much came out of those letters from the children....they too had missed the once received letters. The news got around and more than 60 volunteers joined forces and soon, over 300 were writing letters. What a great story from a Chicken Soup Stories for Mothers book. An inspirational story that led me to ask a group to write letters for some who might need some cheering up. Perhaps you may be inspired as well. Have a beautiful day remembering.