Seasons of Friendship

The first weekend of May is a special time for a cast of friends with whom I am linked through decades of moments and memories. There is a three day gathering on this weekend where we re-connect, re-charge, and laugh until our sides hurt. Many of the friends live in the hometown and are retired teachers/school administrators. I get double pleasure with those because I catch up with them and on my hometown. Others of us live in varied Oklahoma towns and states. To make it easy for everyone, we try to stay centrally located in either Oklahoma or Texas.

Our gatherings have included such things as train rides, murder mystery weekend (the quietest one of our group was the guilty party), praying at our school mate’s chair at the Oklahoma City Memorial, wine tasting, community theatres, Budweiser plant adventure, demonstrating the hand jive no-stage at Branson, art fairs, scrapbooking, casino concerts, Amish dinners, cable cars, and weaving baskets. One of our May gatherings was held in Wichita Falls.

Many of us met in first grade or at earlier ages in Sunday School. We have kept the friendships alive through these annual gatherings. Nothing is as soothing to the soul as a warm hug from a seasoned person who still has the sparkling face of the one with whom you jump roped, took swimming lessons, rode horses, went fishing (complete with fish hook in one’s head), endured junior high boys, participated in high school antics, took off for college, hosted wedding and baby showers, sat at funerals together, planned countless class reunions…and still we laugh and play even at this age like we were still on the playground jumping rope!

Nonprofit organizations experience seasons with donors. Different aged donors have their preferred ways of donating. Younger donors will most likely be inclined to donate electronically and on the web. It is no surprise that just like banking and its transition to online banking, online donations will be a mainstream way for charitable giving in the future. Texoma Gives will spotlight online giving in a big way during its second Texoma Gives on September 7, 2017, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.   Can’t you see the seasoned donors keeping up with the spring and summer donors during this day of giving! All seasons of donors are encourage to log on to www.texomagives.org and learn more and to put 9/7/17 on their electronic calendars!

#texomagives

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


It Runs in the Family…

 

A Dennis the Menace cartoon depicted a room in disarray, mom with broom and dust pan, and Dennis asking, “Didn’t I get any good traits from my dad’s side of the family?”

That was good for a short laugh and then the “thinking on Thursday” began.

Every doctor questionnaire one completes asks about family medical history. Adoptive situations sometimes has one dig for the birth family’s medical history. This medical history can alert caregivers to potential illness/maladies.   Do all medical factors run in the family?

Five kids in a family, have the same parents, and grew up in the same house. Three go to college, one goes to the military, and one wanders yet never leaves the childhood home. It seems that life choices can alter “it runs in the family to be productive, educated, and generous” mantra taught from an early age.

My growing-up family’s name has been said to be English with the meaning “craftsman.” My grandfather, dad, and uncle were carpenters. Both my brothers have/had those same skills—not taught—almost innate. Did that run in the family?

Let’s go back to Dennis the Menace cartoon. Maybe mom was scolding Dennis on being clumsy and breaking the lamp. If dad had been standing in the cartoon instead of mom, wonder what dad would have been saying to Dennis? Maybe it would be, “You know, Dennis, when I was your age, I also broke my mom’s favorite lamp. I know how that feels. Let me help you clean this up and then we’ll both go tell your mom.” Sounds like Dennis got some good stuff from his dad’s side of the family—caring for each other’s feelings. I hope caring for other’s feelings runs in your family.

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


Doorknobs

A twenty-three year old mother traveled to Germany with a two year old and a baby. On the long leg from JFK to Frankfurt, the flight attendant moved the young mother’s two seats to a row with lots of legroom and helped her make a bed for the babies on the floor. Needless to say, this young mother was grateful beyond words as the small boys slept almost the entire way across the pond.

This young mother and boys met the Army dad in Germany. Life in Germany was a daily adventure and this adventure lasted almost four years. For anyone who has lived in a foreign country for any length of time, there are lots of similar life “things” and lots of different life “things.”

Take doorknobs, for example! The two year old wasn’t tall enough to turn a doorknob when he left the USA to live in Germany. He was five, approaching six, when the family was on a plane headed back to the United States. The family grew by one while in Germany. The two boys now had a baby sister who didn’t get a seat and was a permanent fixture on mama’s lap. The five year old had to go to the bathroom. The family was seated two rows from the bathroom door so five year old was allowed to go alone.

Time passed with no son reappearing. As the mother squirmed with nervousness, little sister began to fuss. With a crying baby, mom does to the bathroom door to inquire about five year old. “What is taking you so long, son?” Son: “Mama, I don’t know how to get out?” Mom: “Turn the doorknob.” Son: “What’s a doorknob? All I see is a round thing.” Mom: “Son, in Germany we had levers and in America there are door knobs. Take hold of the round thing and turn it.”   We learn to adapt to what is around us. Levers were the way to open doors for this five year while in Germany. Round things would be the adaptation to make in America.

There is always a door of opportunity waiting to be opened. Opportunities to help through sharing time, talent, and treasure. Many doors are opened each day at Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation. Thank all of you who have shared time, talent, and treasure and were willing to open doors—whether with a lever, a push button, or a round thing.   Questions about Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Burkburnett Legacy Foundation, Texoma Gives? wfacf@wfacf.org 940-766-0829 #wfacf #texaomgives


Stormy Weather

Spring has sprung and along with the budding trees and awakening perennials comes stormy weather. Our Texoma area of N TX and S OK is playing host to lots of storm clouds, rain, wind, and hail this week.

Isn’t this area blessed with dedicated and educated weather spotters? When storm clouds start rolling, spotters dig into their roles of watching, reporting, and keeping us informed. Additionally, very talented weather men and women from KFDX, KAUZ, and KSWO keep Texomans aware of storm worries.

I learned this morning that an Oklahoma City weather team made famous by Gary England, used a drone in W TX to document a tornado.   I wonder how much more weather knowledge will be gained by technology that advances each storm season.

We’re in tornado country. Other parts of the U.S. experience extreme blizzards, chinooks, hurricanes. NOAA is the key to keeping all of us advised with whatever weather is headed our way. I am grateful for all these different weather factions that play a collaborative role in our safety.

At Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation in Wichita Falls, TX, we have the Weather Spotters Fund that is used for expenses that could arise, e.g. replace technology on the towers, tower climbers, etc.   Charlie Byars, a seasoned weather spotter, is the advisor to this fund and from time to time folks and companies donate to the fund.    

Keep your eyes and ears open during this season of weather. We will be keeping ourselves weather aware while working at our new offices in Parker Square, 2405 Kell Suite 100, Wichita Falls, TX. www.wfacf.org   940-766-0829

#weatheraware   #KAUZweather   #KFDXweather   #KSWOweather   #wfacf      


The Ultimate Volunteer

Today I’m thinking of all the brave, community-loving volunteer firemen and women who have regular wage earning jobs and then “volunteer” their time, talent, and most times their treasure to serve in fighting fires. It’s fire season and there are fires raging in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas with many more areas predicted to have a bad fire season. I continue to tell this message—85% of all fire protection in the United States is VOLUNTEER.

For those who were raised in towns or cities, firetrucks use hoses to attach to fire hydrants and fires are battled. Country fires don’t have fire hydrants. There are hoses attached to tank trucks (many made from Army surplus trucks with tanks retro-fitted) or there’s a pump in a tank/pond/river/creek/lake that draws the water out to aid in the VOLUNTEERS fighting a fire that could save oilfield properties, homes, livestock, crops. It’s the volunteer firemen and women that I’m calling “the ultimate volunteer.”

I am asking you to donate, donate, donate to any and all volunteer fire departments that are raising monies through fish fries, raffles, garage sales, brisket/rib feeds, bakes sales (I hear there was a pie in Joy, TX that regularly brought $500).   You can also donate to the Volunteer Fire Department Fund here at Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation (WFACF). There are over 165 volunteer fire departments in the 18 N. TX and 6 S. OK counties that are served by this Fund at WFACF. Volunteer fire departments can seek grant funds once a year from this fund. During times of extreme fires, Emergency monies are made available that help the departments repair, replace, and replenish basic items—boots, pagers, windshields, melted tires, replenish gas supplies, etc.

www.wfacf.org 940-766-0829   We can tell you lots about volunteer fire departments. #volunteerfiremen #volunteerfirewomen #donatetovfds #wfacflovesvfds

 


As the World Turns

I have had friends through these working years that arranged their lunch hours so they could go home and watch the soap opera, As the World Turns, and/or taped it and watched all the taped versions on the weekend. At that time, we just thought that was binge watching. Now with Netflix, Amazon, Hula, etc. one can binge watch to a heart’s desire. Now back to the reason for this title.

It’s the last day of February in North Texas. I can count on one hand the number of times I have worn my heavy winter coat in the past 5-6 weeks. It’s supposed to be winter. I had found my long lost gloves and was READY for winter. It’s not too late. Winter could knock on our door any part of any day in the next 5-6 weeks.

It’s 70 degrees out today, there is a strong warm wind blowing, and it’s cloudy but there’s no rain in the forecast. I have two great windows in my new office so I was day dreaming watching the cars pass on Kell, listening to the wind, and thinking that “as the world turns” humans don’t control the weather—or anything—really.

As the world turns, who’s in charge? Well…recently our three year old granddaughter was not minding her mama. Mama firmly said, “Daughter, look me in the eye and tell me who is in charge!” Without a second’s hesitation, as it was reported to me, granddaughter put hand on hip and said, “Jesus!”

As your world turns today, enjoy the weather, whether hot or cold. Be kind to someone you don’t know. Be loving to your families, friends, and co-workers. We’re here for such a short time on this earth…let’s make it matter.

#makeyourdaysmatter #onedayatatime #wfacf #donatetodaytoanynonprofit


Sunshine

I lived in Germany for 4 years. At the same time I was in Germany, my brother lived in England.  There were limited phone calls in those days because you paid by the minute.  Believe it or not, we wrote letters to one another—keeping up on each other’s children and our European adventures.  I remember in one letter exchange we were both complaining about the endless foggy, cloudy days in both our locations and lack of sunshine.

Fast forward many years to long winters in Rock Springs, WY and lack of vegetation in this region of Wyoming. So, no sunshine and not a lot of trees or green grass to help maintain a cheery outlook.  These two experiences have helped me develop a deep appreciation of sunshine and beautiful green grass, trees, flowers, etc.   On February 25, 1985, we drove into our new hometown, Wichita Falls, TX.  I knew I was in heaven because sun was brightly shining, daffodils were coming up in our new home’s flowerbeds and there were trees!  I didn’t even mind the dusting of snow that we received about 3 days later because I knew there was sunshine returning soon.

Today on February 23, 2017, the yellow blooms on our trailing vine on the back fence were peeking out as I left for work, trees are budding out (hope winter decides to be over and not hurt the trees), and the sun is showering its warmth and promise of spring. A visitor just left my office and her parting words were, “I hope you have time to enjoy this glorious bliss!”

I am passing that sentiment to you. Enjoy the sun’s glorious bliss.  Let it seep into your soul, warm your heart, and move you to brighten someone’s day.

Every day at Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, there is brightness made possible by the generous donors who make grants that touch lives throughout our area. Want to be a part of that “glorious bliss”?  wfacf.org   940-766-0829


Do Overs

Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by the number of times I have fallen and continue to get back up…Nelson Mandela

I call those times of falling down and getting back up “do overs.” I bet you know that getting back up sometimes takes all you have got.  Getting back up takes energy, a sense of pride, and good old fashioned gumption.

At a recent family gathering, cousins were talking about all the crazy things we did as kids on our grandparents’ farm. We wondered how on earth we hadn’t been chopped up by the windmill blades, drown in the creek, got bitten by snakes or chased by the beavers when we tore up the beaver dam.  None of us wanted “do overs” on all those cherished childhood memories.

That conversation moved into the crazy things some of us had done in our adult lives. There were some tears, some defeated statements, and lots of encouragement from those blood relatives who share pieces of each other hearts.  The “do over” one cousin wished for seemed very insignificant to some of the cousin group, but to the one cousin, the “do over” was an earnest desire to have a different outcome.  I hope this cousin gets that “do over” and has the desired outcome.  There is that one line in the chorus of a country and western song that says, “….and if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Do plan to stop in at Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation (WFACF), 2405 Kell Suite 100, Wichita Falls, TX and share your story about falling and getting back up for that “do over.” The generous donors with funds at WFACF recommend grants to countless organizations that are involved in assisting “do overs” on a daily basis with the clients served.

Get back up…dust yourself off…and enjoy your “do over.” It could be that chance to know yet another part of your amazing self.

#doover   #fallandgetbackup   #wfacf    940-766-0829   wfacf@wfacf.org


Pictures

Do any of you remember the commercial a few years back that showed a youngster jumping mid-air off a diving board? I think it was a commercial for a phone or computer company to advertise about “printing/saving pictures” in your phone.  I remember the voice over in the commercial saying something like this, “Please don’t keep me up in the air and stuck in this phone forever.”

I was back in my hometown recently for a family funeral. There was a very cool picture board made for the service and so many who came to call spent a lot of time looking at those pictures.  Nieces and nephews also spent many hours pouring over pictures that were in albums, still in the Kodak envelopes, and some just stuck in a shoebox.  A conversation started about how pictures would be captured when some of those youngsters (20’s and 30’s) had their funerals.   One visitor heard that conversation and said her phone had recently fallen in water and all her pictures on the camera were lost.

We all have a story and pictures, whether in your phone/computer/hard copies in a shoebox, are so very important. Pictures can capture special moments and make lasting memories—memories that can be passed on to other generations.  I hope your pictures are safe and that your story can be told for years to come.


The Eyes Have It

Last week I had the occasion to be on a crowded campus and had to walk several blocks to my destination. It was a beautiful “warm” winter day so no coat, feeling more like spring, I had a spring in my steps.

I must have passed 30-35 people on my walking path to and from my car that day. As is my norm, I looked at passerbys to say “Hello.” No engagement on this day. ALL passerbys had heads down, hands clicking on the keys of handheld device, and/or talking on the device.

So here is my “thinking on Thursday,” if limited eye contact is on the decline, how can true contact be made? This is just not youth on a college campus, but business contacts, families at dinner with all on a device, holiday gatherings with an assortment of phones going off?

The eyes are the window to the soul and to the beginning of a connection. Look up. Walk briskly. Look for attentive eyes and say HELLO.

All eyes will be on you when you stop in to our new location in Parker Square, 2405 Kell Suite 100, Wichita Falls, TX to say HELLO. We’d love to show you our office, tell you about all the offerings at Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation (WFACF), and see your eyes fill with excitement. We are also the office for the Burkburnett Legacy Foundation, an area fund under WFACF.

#theeyeshaveit #lookup #stopinWFACF @wfacf www.wfacf.org 940-766-0829