Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving- Thanks Giving- Operation Christmas Child Comes to Diamond Bar

"I have found a paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." 
~Mother Theresa

Giving the gift of time are volunteers (l-r) Cindy, Ashley and Alysa Van Vliet- Cathy Richardson, Sandy Hardin, Kathy Cosier.
Ann Lovell in the box- and Dick Clark representing the men.

Diamond Bar has heart. When there is need, this community is generous. Back when I was an editor covering donations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina- the students of Diamond Bar High School pulled together over $70,000 for the American Red Cross over a single weekend in this solidly middle class community.

VHA is a  Diamond Bar company I had not heard of until yesterday, when local coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, Ann Lovell told me that they delivered 1315 boxes filled with gifts for children with over $9,000 to pay for their shipment to everywhere in the world Operation Christmas child serves. 

When the non-denominational Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham first founded this avenue of Christian outreach, he thought 1,000 shoe boxes was a nice goal.  But God blessed the program- people hunger for simple ways to give-  the 100 millionth shoe box gift handed out . The program now well on its way to distributing its second hundred million gift.

Angie Sielert and Katy Cosier joyfully load up a carton for shipment 
Best known for distributing gifts to children living in impoverished areas abroad, Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse. This year,  500,000 boxes will go to the Philippines, where Typhoon Haiyan wrecked so much havoc.

Not as well known, "the shoe box project"  also reaches out to where national tragedies have disrupted family life here in the United States. From serving families from Hurricanes Katrina through Sandy; to where tornadoes wrecked the heartland of Oklahoma.

Libby Burgtorf of First Baptist in Walnut delivers 175 boxes on behalf of her home congregation in care of Ann Lovell at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Diamond Bar
The name of our national holiday is nuanced. The truest expression of thanks is to give of what we have, through any avenue available. Some joined this drive as individuals, some coordinated through churches, irrespective of denomination.

A truck with customer donations from the Chick-fil-A in the City of Industry is stacked and ready to sort by gender and appropriate age categories
Some businesses incentive  their customers. Most Chick-fil-A locations are giving diners who donate a box  a coupon for a free chicken sandwich.

Pastor John Scharlemann is so pleased at the opportunity for Mt Calvary Lutheran Church to host the community desire to serve "children who have very little in areas of great need."  It was at his invitation that I learned of this opportunity to serve others through my Christian faith.

Words of prayer, silent or said, are best when they are the beginning of a chain of action. 

The relay center for Operation Christmas Child will be open this week. No gift is to humble, Please feel free to drop by with a check, a shoe box filled with appropriate items or a bit of time. 

Nov 18-21 3 pm- 6 pm
Friday Nov 20 Noon - 8 pm
Saturday Nov 23 9 am - 6 pm
Sunday November 24 11 am to 1 pm
Monday, Nov 25 9 am-1 pm

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church is located at at 2330 Golden Springs Drive, Diamond Bar, California, 91765.  ( It shares a property line with Lorbeer Middle School) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) November 2013 - Roses and friends

The early morning rewards an early rise with the sun's first yawn.  How can a day beginning sky echoing through  the petals of Betty Boop roses not hold promise? 

The season of planting and harvesting, of hope and fulfillment, Autumn is always busy. 

This German rose was slow to bloom, but that was long, long ago. Back before I forgot her name. Now she sends up these mini bouquets, a thank you that I gave her a chance to prove her worth.

 This common orange butterfly weed asclepias tuberosa popped up next to my husband's shed.  Spy, just below the flower head, the caterpillar costumed in green, black and yellow stripes, climbing up the stem.  In a day's time, the team of caterpillars will have denuded the stems of leaves. Cocoons will hang about the garden- reminding me to go easy on any chemicals so that in coming warm days we will be delighted by ever more butterflies.

Sexy Rexy- What fun story must lay behind that flirty name.

A passed along tuber from friend and colleague Gene Sasse, This deep purple iris made her debut in my front garden. What a joy that she shall be fruitful and multiply.

The Tamora rose refuses to go to bed early in the year.

Julia Child- The buttery yellow petals remind me to put cream on the grocery list. Before Thanksgiving, a fresh batch of butter needs to be churned.

2013 certainly marks the year our Mary Rose came into her own. 

Protected in the alleyway between my shed and the house, the Richmond Begonia, 'Begonia 'Richmondensis'  shows off her salmon-pink blossoms throughout the year. She'll be clipped back to fill a vase where her polished  dark green leaves with red undersides can be appreciated up-close.

The green zebra striped leaves are of the ubiquitous '70's hanging houseplant  going by different aliases from airplane to spider plant, Chorlophytum comosum. An excellent air filter who doesn't mind the low light levels inside a home- some will be potted up to bring in the house. 

An ancient clump of sea lavender- Limonium perezii  greets visitors at our front door - be they walk, hop or hover in for a visit.

2013 was an excellent year for bougainvillea.  After a well-deserved rest from a record breaking summer bloom, bracts of our specimen are bursting fresh in orange, then fading to pink before falling like tissue paper-like confetti.  

Valerian -Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus' - its hot-pink mop of a flower head cheers the garden from the most unlikely places. Not just where it was planted by the conventional route digging in with a spade- it pops up in driveway cracks and in pots, even  yards away from irrigation.

Graptopetalum paraguayense ‘Pinky’ was the first plant I ordered from Annie's Annuals. Its thick succulent leaves  of jade tinged with pink are sublime wherever they set anchor.  

Time to grab that next cup of coffee- link on over to Carol May's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day  

Until we meet again, thank you for all you do to make the world more beautiful.