One Blessed Mama

Today started with a 7:30 am meeting with some amazingly successful women in my part of the world! Even before my arrival at the meeting as I sat in my driveway at home, I joint-texted my three adult children (ABC) and told them I loved them. 

Meeting was a success. It was kept to the one hour time frame.   In this one hour, we share about business, lives, needs, and offer what we can to help one another in our respective roles. My heart was full when the meeting ended.

Moving into the next phase of the day before turning on my computer, I checked my text and saw the messages back and forth among my children—bantering fun words filled with familiarity, joy, and most of all LOVE. 

I am truly one blessed mama!


Look Up

 

My granny always used to say “look up” when I’d hear my mom or aunts talking about problems/issues that were happening in this very large family’s varied lives.  She meant “time to say your prayers.”

I thought of that today as I was driving to work and the driver in front of me at two different intersections didn’t “look up” to see it was time to go.  After I got to work I had another observation.  From my office I have two windows looking out into Parker Square.  I saw four cars trying to get safely into the parking lot off Kell access road.  As I looked more closely, a pickup had just stopped inside the parking lot and the driver wasn’t looking up (looking down) and had caused the backlog.

I just want to say ‘LOOK UP.”  Put down the phone, engage in real conversations with live people.  Whether you are a teacher taking your students to the lunchroom, a parent in a car with your children, a worker at your desk using cell phone, a friend at lunch who takes a non-emergent call, family members on holidays, etc., etc., etc.

So here’s the deal, I’ll look up and include in my looking up that old fashioned conversations and phone calls come back and that I set a stellar example each day that I have the privilege of being on this great earth.

As you look up today, please enjoy every minute.  And, keep the cell phone in your pocket and/or purse when your family and friends are present AND when you are in vehicles.  Here’s to “looking up” a lot.

#lookup  


Questions

Don’t you love 4 year olds?  I love their abandon and innocence in questions asked, big

words being tried out as vocabulary builds, and just everything about them.

A few weeks I have the joy of having the four and a half year old granddaughter at our house for three days.  On the first day I was busying about getting us ready to go out for our day of errands and other adventures.  As she waited on me making my wet hair (Grammy, you look like a thorny-headed dinosaur) dry and styled, she was at the jewelry armoire trying on all my necklaces.  She looked up when the blow dryer went off and said, “OK, now you look like my Grammy.” 

Heading to the car she asked where all we were going.  My list went like this:

To Kenny at his jewelry shop so he can fix my favorite earrings

To the post office to get stamps

To the donut shop to get you a donut

To the bank….My list didn’t get any further than that.

Her next questions, “What is a bank?  I’ve never heard of a bank.  Have I been to a bank?”  Think about it—four and a half years old—not been to a bank.  OK.  When I told her a bank is where you get money, she said, “My mama gets her money from a machine.”  I marvel at all the changes and technology this little girl will encompass through her years. 

I will use her question to drive home the point to nonprofits about how online giving, social media, and other changes yet to be revealed will affect charitable giving.  Let’s hope I can make a great case so most of the nonprofits in our Wichita Falls, TX Service Area will participate in Texoma Gives on September 13, 2018.  #texomagives

#onlinegivingisheretostay


The Golden Rule

I moved to town school when I was in sixth grade.  I was the new kid in a class of 25 or so kids.  I wanted to belong.  That is not an excuse for what I am writing in the next sentence.  There was one girl in our grade that had a very funny name, wore clothes that were way too big for her, and basically was very plain.  Guess what?  Some of us (me included) were not very nice to this girl.

At our 40th class reunion, I apologized to her for the part I played in being a “mean girl” back in sixth grade.  I had tears after I apologized and she said she was very grateful for me saying, “I’m sorry.”    As we talked, I learned she hadn’t had the best of life experiences.  Instead of us (me included) acting mean and saying hurtful things to her, I wonder if any of us could have made a difference in her self-worth and ultimately her life’s outcome.

Fast forward from sixth grade to my now being 66 and hearing from grandchildren their “escape” routes from schools in an active shooter situation.  What happened in 60 years?  There are still plenty of mean kids in classrooms.  There is an enormous number of video games, television shows, and movies depicting violence as a way of life.  Who is to say about parenting styles, programs about bullying in schools, etc.

Questions I am asking myself about the school shootings include the following:

  • Are the shooters some of those kids who have been treated mean by life?
  • Are the shooters from homes with abundance and homes of neglect?
  • Are the shooters known for being teased and excluded by classmates?
  • Did other family members, teachers, preachers, other parents, neighbors, church members take extra time with troubled youth to maybe make a difference?
  • Have I done enough to make a difference in my section of the world of children?

Kids learn from adults.  Kids learn from other kids.  Adults can learn a lot from kids.  As perhaps the kids grow kinder, we adults can grow in the ways we interact with all ages within our corner of the world.  Kinder and gentler—can we all say the Golden Rule?

#goldenrule    #iamsorry     #everyonematters    #bekind


Dreams for Wichita Falls, TX

A community developer I met in 2003 or 2004 said that every community holds the expertise and resources to solve the community’s problems/issues IF a team spirit develops and folks are able to step outside comfort zones and territorial positons.  The following is a think tank activity I participated in here in Wichita Falls in January 2015—some of these have come to pass:

Hunger/Community Kitchen

Food Bank and The Kitchen located in same place with a COMMUNITY KITCHEN

Downtown Revitalization/Marketing Wichita Falls for JOBS

Zales Building completed to make the 8th Street Corridor the possibility glimpse

Green spaces—acquire dilapidated buildings—tear down for green space/art

Amphitheatre and Music Hall

Rename a downtown street to MAIN STREET; donate to Downtown Proud for tree/weed team

Support of and to COC and SAFB

VISITORS CENTER downtown.  Pedestrian and bike friendly town

Water

Geologists to locate water well resources and dollars to dig

City water plan—Lake Ringgold joint project with Richardson (?) AREA water plan.

Lake Wichita DIG:  take care of salinity issues now and WHEN it rains, commercial opportunity

Education

Career Technology Center AND new schools

Literacy:  Primary grades 2 and 3 handled by Read to Learn mentors

                 Adults handled by Wichita County Adult Literacy

Homelessness

Another home for Faith Mission; Faith Refuge and First Step merge or work closely

United Way and Hands to Hands

United Way a grant seeker and program specific organization    Early childhood/taxes/vets

Hands to Hands:  operating dollars for key youth/senior programs

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Great need for mental health first aid training; substance abuse treatment

 

I don’t have the answers. I want to be part of the opportunities to be discovered in working as a team in this town to make a GREAT city even GREATER.  #dreamsforwichitafalls


Hot and Cold

That title can describe me on writing this blog in 2018.  I have been totally cold and this is my first Thinking on Thursday$ with Teresa in 2018.  It has been busy at work.  I love to write so why have I been such hot and cold since 2018 began?   I have no answer and I have promised myself that I’ll get back in the swing of writing this each Thursday.

This title came to me today while I was driving away from a funeral and thinking about the weather.  Our weather has been hot and cold.  How is it possible to be 70 one day and wake up to 21 degree weather the next morning?  I know that’s a rhetorical question and I also know the answer—just makes me wonder.

Emotions can be hot and cold.  At the funeral today I observed tears one moment and laughter the next.  I compare that to hot and cold. 

In the grand scheme of things, isn’t it about balance and being able to be flexible and flow like the jet stream or the memories of a dear one that hold tears and laughter? 

Enjoy the sunshine today and tomorrow and get out the heavy coat this weekend.  

#hotandcold    #wfacf   www.wfacf.org   940-766-0829    


WFACF Scholarships 2018

Since Academic Year 2000-01 through 2017-18, the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation has awarded $3,735,296 in scholarships to area students.

Scholarship Funds that have made this possible include the following:

  • Archer City ISD Windfarm
  • Jack and Jeaunell Aaron Family Scholarship Endowment
  • Carl T. Anderson Family Endowment
  • Bellevue Alumni
  • Best of Burkburnett
  • Dorothy Roberts-Burns
  • Jan Banta Vocational or Professional Education Endowment
  • Nelda and Doyle Bivins
  • Bridge Builder
  • A.P. and Christine Clark Memorial
  • Café con Leche
  • City View ISD
  • Charlye Farris—Wichita County Bar Association Endowment
  • Clyde Fillmore– Wichita County Bar Association Endowment
  • Ted and Deedy Conrady
  • Andrew Duncan Memorial
  • Pat Ehlert Memorial Scholarship
  • Felty Family
  • Buster Haas
  • Martha and Ralph Harvey, III
  • Lysle and Ken Huddleston
  • Royal B. Kinder Endowment
  • T. Edgar and Robbie Davis Johnson
  • Martin Luther King
  • James McCoy Foundation
  • Muzzie McDaniel
  • Bill and Katherine McGregor
  • Olney Education Foundation
  • Olney One Arm Dove Hunt
  • Quanah Alumni Association Endowment
  • Betty Jo Baker Ramsey Music Scholarship
  • Remember the Vietnam War
  • Richard Gaines Russell
  • Rotary Club of Burkburnett
  • Mattye and Ollie Sisk Memorial
  • The Chairman Tommy Taylor Memorial Scholarship
  • Lucia Hartgrove Waggoner Art Scholarship–MSU
  • Whiteis Family Fine Arts/Agricultural Endowment
  • Wichita County Board of Realtors
  • Wichita County Jr. Livestock Association
  • Zavala

Scholarship Funds that will award scholarships in the future:

  • Nelda and Doyle Bivins Endowment
  • John Crane Scholarship
  • Maurine Henry Endowment
  • Dr. Phillip and Susan Kelly Endowment
  • Martin Luther King Endowment
  • MWH Group Accounting Scholarship
  • The Katherine Marshall Memorial (Quanah)
  • J. Charles and Debra Carroll White Endowment

One of the most rewarding parts of this job at the Foundation is having fantastic donors that have stepped forth and realized that young ones need a helping hand and these scholarship funds offer the help that fulfills dreams and changes lives. Here are some words from various scholarship fund recipients.

“Because of your generosity, my long-time dream of becoming a dentist has become a reality. I chose to come back to this community to practice because people here supported me so much. I owe a debt of gratitude and service.”

“My family and I cannot tell you how much your kindness means to us. Because money was not such a worry, I was able to focus more on school and my GPA.”

“Often my mom and I sit down and talk about my education and the cost of it. We realize that without this scholarship, it would be very difficult. I just can’t thank you enough.”

“Education is an important factor in my life because I will be the first person to attend college. As the oldest of four children, it is very important for me to set a good example for my brother and sisters to follow. You are helping me do that.”

“I am an Electrical Engineer. I owe my entire education to scholarship donors such as you. My college experience would have been very different if I had not had the support from people like you.”

“You all have been a blessing from God. I cannot describe the feeling of joy I felt when I opened the letter and read the words about the scholarship I had been awarded.”

“I refused to surrender my dreams to circumstances. I choose to do only my best and use this education as my way to make the changes in the world that will benefit those who come after me. I hope I’ll leave a glimmer of light to follow.”

Learn more about all the scholarships, click here, or call 940-766-0829

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day: Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.—Lao Zi


IMPROVEMENT

Last week while involved in a group activity we were talking about change.  One group member added this pearl of wisdom to the group think:  “Most people don’t like the word change or the thought of going through a change.  When talking about change now I use the word improve.”

I love that.  A colleague is seeking a new career opportunity and in visiting with her, I heard the word change many times.  I used the newly learned concept of substituting the word improve for the word change.  It was amazing how the mood of the conversation shifted from one of dread to one that for her had a glimpse of hope when I said, “This improvement in your life will….” 

It’s not time for me to write down those 2018 resolutions.  I want to get through Christmas first.  I do write my goals each year and this year if I see the word change in any of them, I’m diverting to the newfound word “improve.”

#wfacf  #merrychristmas  #happynewyear #notchangebutimprove

Questions about Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Burkburnett Legacy Foundation or Texoma Gives?  tpontiuscaves@wfacf.org  or 940-766-0829


Songs of the Season

Yesterday was a day of singing for 10 year old grandson.  His grade school choir had four concerts during the day and his city-wide honor choir had a concert in the evening. 

I attended two of the concerts during the day—one at an assisted living center and the other at the Teachers’ Credit Union.  The choir director gave so many children a chance to be in the spotlight.  Each number was introduced by at least three children.  One gave the name and history; one gave the composer; and one gave an interesting fact.  At the credit union, there was a dedication made and grandson got to deliver the surprise.  The choir director’s sister worked at the credit union and the concert was dedicated to her.

It was most joyful watching these grade school children as they filled the venues with heavenly voices—so pure and sweet.  Some of the singers added an extra flair of tapping feet, swaying bodies, bobbing heads, or smiles almost bigger than their faces.

It am glad I made time and was able job-wise to go to the daytime concerts.

At the evening concert, the venue was packed!  This program was filled with singing and some piano solos.  One happy song that had the audience moving included hand jive motions.  I was doing my own hand jives and grandson saw me and had a look of surprise that Grammy would know about this.  It was a day of singing and I’m glad my grandson can express himself through song.

Whatever songs of the season are in your heart during Christmas and New Year celebrations, I hope it fills you with joy and smiles.  If you remember the hand jive and can fit the motions to one of your songs, I bet you’ll have fun.

#wfacf  #merrychristmas  #happynewyear

Questions about Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Burkburnett Legacy Foundation or Texoma Gives?  tpontiuscaves@wfacf.org  or 940-766-0829


Ten Ways to Celebrate and Say “Merry Christmas”

Would you please take a look at this top 10 list of suggestions and perhaps one or two of them will speak to you as the holiday season goes into overdrive:

  1. Clean out those drawers, closets, storage units and DONATE now to any of the thrift stores in our area, i.e. Burkburnett Boys and Girls Club, First Step, Faith Mission/Refuge, to name a few.
  1. Help your children clean out their toys. Have them pick good used toys and take them with you when the donation is made to the church nursery, a resale shop, a woman’s shelter, a homeless shelter.  Purchase new toys and take your children with you when you deliver them.
  1. Make your gifts to charitable causes in honor of those on your gift giving list. The charities/nonprofits send you an acknowledgement and also your gift honorees will receive cards telling of your lovely holiday remembrance.
  1. If there’s not much money for gifts this year, how about looking in your cupboards and having kids or grandkids help you take canned goods to your church food pantry or to Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, Grace Ministries, or Interfaith?
  1. Have your kids and/or grandkids go with you to buy big bags of dog food and cat food and then head over to an animal shelter and make the donation.
  1. Take some time to contemplate what really matters in this life—things vs. people. A heartfelt note and a visit to a widow, widower, or shut-in is far more precious than a material item.
  1. Seek out a single parent, a neighbor without close family, a military person and “adopt” them for not only the holiday, but for many holidays.
  1. Spoil the children still at home, in college, and of course, the grandchildren. But, help them learn too.  Instead of filling those stockings, use the amount you usually spend on all the items in the stockings and replace it with a card that tells them what donation you made in their name and for what purpose.  It gives a different feel to the whole evening/morning when their honor is revealed and you talk about blessing an organization that gives tirelessly year in and year out.
  1. There are “Angel Trees” in the vast majority of communities. Take those angels off that tree and become an angel to a child you’ll never know.  Teenage angels are usually the last to go—please consider taking those first.
  1. Don’t forget that Times Charities begins each Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas. This is a charitable endeavor championed by the Times Record News and serves unmet needs through the year for Faith Mission/Refuge, Interfaith, Grace Ministries and Salvation Army.  The Times Charities fund resides at the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation and you can give all year long. 

This year when asked “What do you want for Christmas” a teaching, touching reply could be, “Please donate to one of my favorite charities.”