Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Everything

Monarch butterfly


(photo: Lorie Sheffer)

“Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something.”

So simple yet so powerful, that statement. Think of how many times we don’t do anything because we can’t do “enough”. We can’t solve the problems of hunger, poverty and sickness. We’ve all seen the TV commercial with the sad and unloved shelter pets, waiting for a home. We know that there are miles of roads littered with trash. Monarch butterflies are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the polar ice caps are rapidly melting.

Several years ago, when my daughter was working for a non-profit organization, I asked her about the private donations they depended on to fund their services. She said that they absolutely did depend on those large donations, but that the bulk of their donations were the accumulated monies of small donors. All of those $5, $10 and $25 donations really did make a huge difference.

When we are searching for a pet, we can all decide to visit a shelter. We can all carry a trash bag with us and clean up when we find along our normal walking route. We can all make a donation, no matter how small, to our local food bank, or volunteer a few hours to help sort and distribute. We can stop spraying weed killer on milkweed- the only plant on which Monarchs will lay their eggs- and incorporate them into our landscape. We can smile and say hello to someone, or hold open a door or let the person with only a few items who is in line behind us move in front of us.

If we all do something, that would mean everything.

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Lorie Sheffer: Who says?

A clearing of weeds


(photo: Lorie Sheffer stumbled upon a clearing of ‘weeds’… and MLC is unable, despite trying, to reposition the photo to portrait… any ideas?)

Lorie’s post:

Who decides what is desirable and what is not?

Who decides which flowers are weeds that need to be eradicated and which flowers should be sold at a high price at the garden center?

Who decides which animals get to be our beloved pets and which get to be our beloved dinner? We wouldn’t eat a peacock or a flamingo, but we can’t wait for that Thanksgiving turkey; they are all birds. We think it barbaric that there are countries where dogs, cats and horses are part of the diet, and yet there are countries where our national cow consumption is seen as equally disgusting.

Who sets the standard of beauty? Why was actress Lillian Russell, 200 pounds, considered to be the most celebrated beauty of her time in the early 1900s? Botticelli’s “Venus” and pretty much every female painted by Peter Paul Rubens would be considered overweight by today’s standard of beauty. Will there be a time when we celebrate that first gray hair or bald spot, or that first laugh line, instead of coloring or hair replacement or Botox injections? Will aging be seen as “becoming more attractive”?

Walking through the woods I came to a clearing of “weeds”. I decided they were beautiful. We all have the power to choose our own standards, despite what society dictates.

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Guest Bloggers Life Transition (Dec 2014)

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Acceptance

Acceptance poster message


(photo: From Church School Media Center wall a few days ago)

“Acceptance: The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.”

We live in a society that sometimes discourages us from accepting ourselves. We’re always supposed to be striving for more, aiming higher, never be satisfied with things the way they are. We should be thinner, richer, have a better job, better grades. Not having a competitive personality is seen as a character flaw.

Last night, while watching the PBS series The Roosevelts, I couldn’t help but think of acceptance. FDR was arguably one of the best Presidents in the history of America, yet he had to hide the fact that he was unable to walk without extreme difficulty and much assistance. To be photographed in his wheelchair, or being carried, or having the public see the extent of his disability would have been perceived as a weakness.

Sometimes there are things that happen to us that leave us with permanent consequences. Polio, in the case of FDR; a spinal cord injury in the case of Christopher Reeve; Parkinson’s in the case of Michael J Fox; traumatic brain injury in the case of Gabby Giffords. While it’s important that people never give up and never stop trying to rehabilitate to the fullest extent they can, it is also important to accept themselves as they are in the moment, and for us to accept them as well. We also need to understand that sometimes, no matter how consistent or diligent the effort, there are folks who are never going to be 100% the way they used to be. That doesn’t make them a lesser person, just as governing from a wheelchair didn’t keep FDR from being a great President.

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Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Nothing Lost



(photo: Lorie Sheffer)

When I agreed to walk my friend’s dog, the first thing I thought of was losing weight. Back in March, when the snow was still on the ground, I had a vision of what I would look like today, as summer is coming to an end. Surely I would be slimmer, more fit and toned. Five days a week, a half hour to an hour each day, for six months. I never expected that I would look the same much less weight the same. I felt as if I had failed.

Then last week, I noticed something on the sidewalk. It looked like a tan tarantula. I gently nudged the fat, hairy body with a small twig. This creature opened its wings and I actually gasped. The wingspan was about six inches; I had finally found a silk moth. My friend Julie had shown me a photo of one a few years ago and I commented that she “always got the good stuff” in her yard. “You have them too; you’re just not seeing them” she told me.

The sight of that beautiful tan and brown moth, its subtle colorings, those two markings that looked like eyes staring up at me, came with a realization of a much bigger picture.

I have seen snow melt to reveal spring flowers. I have seen the bare woods become lush and dense. The creek banks look as if they were on fire from the blooms of thousands of orange lilies. I’ve heard the deafening sound of frogs mating in the spring, only to go silent by July. I’ve had a daily check-in with a rather large snapping turtle, while marveling at the grace of a swimming water snake and recoiling at the sight of a copperhead. I’ve seen orioles and blue jays, swallowtails of both yellow and black and I’ve even spotted a monarch. I’ve collected black walnuts that have fallen to the ground and I’ve watched a groundhog chew on a discarded piece of cookie.

The past six months were never about what I was going to lose; they were about what I was going to gain.

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Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Choose wisely

We all tend to do it; someone makes an insulting or negative comment about us and we replay it over and over in our mind.

Imagine if we were to pay less attention to the negative and instead replay the positive, kind comments.

Happiness is a choice; we have the choice to focus on the negative or focus on the positive.

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