Friday, December 30, 2016

Five memories or events from 2016

5 memories or events from 2016.
The highlight of the year for me was spending 2 nights at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Hubby and I had a hotel room on the 16th floor overlooking the falls, and I took a LOT of photos. Rainbows moving over the falls all afternoon, sunrise, sunset, a thunderstorm and the colored lights on the falls at night. And there's a small window you can open, to hear the falls during the night as we fell asleep. (and the trucks and buses in the morning...I closed that window pretty early!)

That trip was also our first time crossing an international border, so we had to get passports! We stopped at Port Huron, Michigan, dipped toes into Lake Huron, as we hadn't been to that Great Lake before. The border crossings were very smooth, just time consuming because of traffic backups. We knew that was likely. Funny, in the line to cross back into US, (into Detroit) the faster access line was moving more slowly than the line we were in!

This summer I also chaired our local Book Bag Bash, an event with a non-profit organization and several churches in which we give out backpacks filled with school supplies to needy families. There's also a free lunch, games, bounce houses--it's a few hours of fun for families. We began this at my church in 2012, giving out 162 backpacks the first year. We now host it at a city park, as we have outgrown the church grounds! This year, with 12 churches and about 75 volunteers, we gave 764 filled book bags. I have chaired this event from the beginning and have now 'retired' from it. We have an excellent team who will conduct it very well. And I may drop by to take photos ;)

My photography hobby has mushroomed. For a few years, I've managed the church Facebook page, and photo posts do very well there. The church secretary likes photos for the newsletter too.
 My personal photos of nature scenes are also well received. Many of us find a sense of God or higher power in Nature. To take a walk and get some good photos is so relaxing.

The negativity and divisiveness of the national news and election has been deeply distressing for me as well as many of us. For a few years I have worked with other pastors & churches, especially the African-American churches in town, to have community services. These have been well attended and received. We will be planning our Lenten series very soon and I look forward to helping in some way to bridge the divides in our city. We all have a lot more in common than we realize and we must learn to seek and celebrate the commonalities.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity! –Psalm 133:1 NIV
Good Friday Community service at United Church of Beloit. \

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