Posted by: abbiewatters | July 27, 2014

Gift of the Heart School Bags

Today at worship at Bethany Presbyterian Church, we prayed with our hearts, minds, and hands. We had a participatory sermon when we stuffed Gift of the Heart school bags for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to distribute here in the United States, and throughout the world in case of disaster or violence that leaves school children without access to school and school supplies. International assistance is provided through Church World Service.

This is what the sanctuary looked like when we arrived this morning. Instead of the regular configuration of pews facing forward, the seats had been switched around and tables had been added. Each table had a printed responsive reading, and a scripture from Proverbs, extoling the virtues of Wisdom.

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Here’s the view from above.

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All the supplies were stacked on a pew at the back of the sanctuary.

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Folks came in, and found “new” seats at tables – sitting somewhere they don’t usually sit.

The first part of the service followed our regular order of worship, with announcements, opening hymns, prayers of confession, scripture readings, and a very short reflection from Pastor Sarah.

Then we watched a short (about 5 min) audio/visual presentation about some of the places the school kits have been distributed in the past, and where they might be going in the future.

Sarah invited us to share our experiences of honoring God with our minds, as we began the process of stuffing the school bags.

10-12 bags had been pre-placed on each table, along with a “recipe” for what went in them.

1 — pair of blunt scissors (rounded tip)

3 — 70-count spiral notebooks or notebooks (total 200-210 sheets of ruled paper; no loose-leaf or filler paper.)

1 — 30-centimeter ruler (12″)

1 — hand-held pencil sharpener

6 — new pencils with erasers

1 — large eraser

1 — box of 24 crayons

1 — cloth bag, 12″ x 14″ to 14″ x 16″ finished size cotton cloth bag with cloth handles

The folks – young and old – proceeded to gather the ingredients, and stuff the bags.

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A very short time later, 100 bags were stuffed, and ready to be packed and shipped to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, care of Ferncliff Disaster Assistance Center in Little Rock, AR.

We prayed over the completed bags as we collected the offering and sang the Doxology.

Following the Prayers of the People, we sang our final hymn, and were dismissed to go and serve the world – especially the children, who desperately need our love and assistance.

 

Posted by: abbiewatters | July 16, 2014

Emergency Preparedness

(This is a guest post from Big Al, who attended the presentation last week.)

Senior University at Franke Tobey Jones presented a program from the Mt Rainier Chapter of the American Red Cross. They discussed the actions residents can take before, during, and after a natural disaster to eliminate or mitigate the problems they might face. Fortunately we, in this area, don’t have to worry about most natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, but we are at risk for earthquake and wildfire.

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The representatives first explained the chain of help should an emergency situation arise: local fire and rescue, state disaster response teams, and federal emergency management.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur when two sides of a fault line move due to plate movement. Earthquakes can occur in this area either as part of seismic activity or as discrete events.

In the event of an earthquake they stress three points:

  1. Have an emergency plan for what you and your family will do. This includes a potential meeting point in case of home destruction and a person out of state (preferably) that everyone of the family, if separated at the time can call with the status of the caller. 
  2. Try to earthquake proof your home to include ensuring hot water tanks are strapped to the wall and anything else that could tip over possibly on a person. Also have a place in the home to go that is structurally stronger like the cubby hole of a desk or under a table.
  3. Try to have an emergency kit with emergency clothing, food, and water for approx. seven days.
  • Clothing shouldn’t be anything fancy or new but things you can do labor in.
  • Blanket and something to keep warm at night.
  • An old pair of shoes so that you are not barefooted and having to walk on glass or other sharp items.
  • Food should be canned and/or dry.
  • Matches for a fire.
  • A mechanical can opener.
  • About two gallons of water/person/day. Food and water would be rotated out and used and replaced periodically.

Wild Fire

Generally the suggestions in case of wildfire are the same as for earthquakes, except that you usually have more time to prepare in case of a wildfire. In any case be ready, AND WILLING, to evacuate if you are threatened by a wildfire.

In addition to all this good information, the representatives referred us to several Red Cross Apps that you can get for your iPhone and Android to remind you of what you need to know.

Wildfire App

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Earthquake App

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The hour-long presentation included numerous questions with helpful answers. Attendees were encouraged to call or visit the Red Cross if they had further questions.

Get a Kit

Make a Plan

Be Informed

Posted by: abbiewatters | July 2, 2014

Provide

As you may remember, my one word for the year is “Provide”.

Goodness gracious, where on earth did June go? July has totally snuck up on me!

I didn’t do much about “Providing” in June, except to be one of the eight people required in order for Franke Tobey Jones to take the bus sightseeing. It may not sound like much, but I can’t tell you how many really great sounding trips get cancelled because we don’t have enough people to go.

Anyway…

Early in June, Big Al and I took the train, and spent the day in Portland. I thought I posted about it, but apparently I didn’t. We didn’t have any particular plans or sightseeing aims, we just went down for lunch – left at 8:15 in the morning and were back at 5:15 that evening. Portland is a great little city with easy-to-get-around trams, and lots of “street art.”

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I know I’m in the Pacific Northwest because the public drinking fountains bubble water all the time.

The flowers and plantings in the public parks and on the streets were beautifully tended – it was the Rose Festival the following day.

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The train station has great mission architecture, and has been refurbished/well-maintained, and the views of the sound from the train were reward enough for our tickets.

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On Friday that week, the FTJ Lunch Bunch went to Seattle for lunch at Sky City at the Space Needle. (Good Grief! I never posted the pictures from there either.)

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It was a beautiful day, and I overwhelmed myself taking pictures, as well as eating myself stupid on clams and mussels. We had great views of the sound, of the city and of Mt Rainier.

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I KNOW I did posts about FTJ’s trip to Northwest Trek and Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad.

I think I remember now why I hadn’t already posted about Seattle and Portland. I spent most of May and June doing a photo-a-day in anticipation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). You can find all my post by searching here for #journeytoGA and/or #PCUSA. Also during the week of deliberations, I followed the proceedings on Live Feed and on Twitter and Facebook. GA will be in Portland in two years, and I’m determined to go, even if it’s only as an observer.

At church, I continue to provide leadership as a member of the session and as the chair of the Hospitality and Outreach Team. Summer is a busy time for us as we are the organizing group for our National Night Out Street Party in early August and our Annual Picnic in mid-August. Additionally we will be trying an activity during worship in July when we will pack “Gift of the Heart” School Bags for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Church World Service. If that goes well, we will do a similar activity in the fall, making hygiene kits for a local homeless shelter.

Now that I talk about all the “stuff” I’ve been doing in June, I understand why it seemed to disappear in a puff of smoke.

On a related note, the deer continue to demolish many of my flowers, and Big Al and I are off to the nursery to see if we can find something that they won’t destroy. I’m thinking maybe Foxglove (digitalis). I understand it’s as poisonous to deer as it is to people. Bwhahahahaha!!!!!

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 30, 2014

Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad

Last Saturday, a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones joined folks from the Ruston Senior Center to have a wonderful day on the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad. Our bus driver took us to Elbe, WA, the terminus for the tour.

We got there in time for breakfast at the local diner which is made from old railroad cars. There’s also a motel behind the restaurant made out of old cabooses.

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The interior is has some wonderful old artifacts including this etched window (I hope you can see where it says “Silver Palace Car” and “Southern Pacific 1865″).

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They also have a large emblem from Union Pacific Railroad.

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The best part, though, are all the model trains – engines and cars – they have on display on a ledge around the top of the walls.

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Elbe is an historic little town with an interesting old church and some old buildings that were there around the turn of the twentieth century. It was a jumping off point for the logging industry who spread out from there to logging camps all over Mt Rainier.

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They have one of the old logging engines and coal cars on static display by the depot.

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We looked around their gift shop, and about that time here came the train.

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We climbed on board, and settled ourselves for a 45 minute ride to the old logging camp and museum they have set up near Mineral, a little town on the shores of Mineral Lake.

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Along the way we passed wild flowers in the fields, and beautiful old trees and second growth forest.

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We crossed a bridge over the Nisqually River which flows out of the glacier on Mt Rainier. Unfortunately the clouds were thick and we couldn’t see the mountain.

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After we crossed the river we followed the winding track which ran alongside Mineral Creek.

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We finally arrived at the Railroad Camp.

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The Railroad Camp is where they have a museum, many old steam engines, and a whole logging camp set up. The buildings were built on skids and moved from camp to camp by flatcar when the trees in one area had all been logged.

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They have one of the “dormitories” set up with furnishings for the women who cooked and cleaned for the lumberjacks. The others will be furnished as bunkhouses as funds become available.

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There were all sorts of equipment from logging donkeys to large steam engines to things I had no idea what they were. I know Ray would love to poke around there. (The one thing I noticed was that none of the engines had cowcatchers. I guess they didn’t need such a thing in the forest.)

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As we rode back to Elbe, we were reminded that Mt Rainier is so big, it creates its own weather. As we crossed the Nisqually, the rains came and we were glad to be snug in the railcar, and close to our bus for the ride back to Tacoma.

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Posted by: abbiewatters | June 27, 2014

Northwest Trek

   

 Our History

In 1971, Dr. David “Doc” and Connie Hellyer donated the original land that became Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to Metro Parks Tacoma. After four years of diligent fundraising and planning, Northwest Trek officially opened its doors on July 17, 1975. read more here

Sculpture at entrance

Residents and friends at Franke Tobey Jones boarded the bus a couple of days ago for a trip to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. When we reached the park we walked down a little hill, and boarded a tram for a trip around the area to see the free-range animals who live there.

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         Photo credit: http://www.nwtrek.org/tram-tour/

The ride begins by a lake filled with Canada Geese at this time of year.

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Throughout the park we saw beautiful foxgloves, in all shades of pink.

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Apparently the deer have sense enough not to eat them. (Maybe I should put them in MY yard since the deer leave them alone.)

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We saw lots of herd animals – big horn sheep, mountain goats, buffalo (really bison, sorry), moose, elk, and, of course, the ubiquitous black tailed deer.

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There are also beautiful views across the hills to the Cascades,

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After a fine lunch at the Rainforest Café, several of us took one of the many walking trails to see some of the caged animals.

Joan, Patricia, etc. Kate and friend

Most of them were sleeping in the brush, but we were able to spot a cougar, a lynx, a coyote, and a couple of grizzly bears.

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By that time we were all tired, so we loaded back on the bus to return to Franke Tobey Jones, after a wonderful outing and early summer’s day at the park.

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 15, 2014

Papa

This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post. I’ve posted this several times, but I can’t do any better on Father’s Day.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 14, 2014

Arrive – #journeytoGA #PCUSA

40

years to arrive in the Promised Land

days of wilderness preparation for Jesus’ ministry

days to journey together to General Assembly.

Celebrate the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a photo-a-day journey.

Sending Ray home (9)

Sharing who we are and who we want to be.

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 13, 2014

To – #journeytoGA #PCUSA

40

years to arrive in the Promised Land

days of wilderness preparation for Jesus’ ministry

days to journey together to General Assembly.

Celebrate the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a photo-a-day journey.

Look to the Right

Sharing who we are and who we want to be.

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 12, 2014

Fed – #journeytoGA #PCUSA

40

years to arrive in the Promised Land

days of wilderness preparation for Jesus’ ministry

days to journey together to General Assembly.

Celebrate the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a photo-a-day journey.

Papa's Funeral (9)

Sharing who we are and who we want to be.

Posted by: abbiewatters | June 11, 2014

Open – #journeytoGA #PCUSA

40

years to arrive in the Promised Land

days of wilderness preparation for Jesus’ ministry

days to journey together to General Assembly.

Celebrate the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a photo-a-day journey.

Christmas morning at Bill W's (8)

Sharing who we are and who we want to be.

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