Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Please enjoy these links!

I have been meaning to share with you the websites of my service sites.  There is a lot to look at, read, watch, take in.  I hope that they can supplement and support all I've told you about these incredible ministries here in Ridgely, MD.  Here they are, along with a few others.  =) 

St. Martin's Ministries= "The Barn" (food pantry & thrift shop) and "The House" (residential program for women)... http://stmartinsministries.org/ 
and on Facebook "St. Martin's Ministries" http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/St-Martins-Ministries/146146165419502

Benedictine School for Exceptional Children http://www.benschool.org/ 
and http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Benedictine-School/49643943549?fref=ts

My host community, St Gertrude Monastery http://www.osbridgely.com/ and on Facebook "Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely" http://www.facebook.com/#!/BenedictineSistersofRidgelyMd?fref=ts

BWSC (Benedictine Women Service Corps) is an outreach of Saint Benedict's Monastery, St Joseph, MN http://sbm.osb.org/

You will love the rich, reflective words of Sr Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB's blog "Song du Jour."  From the St Gertrude website click on the most extreme right icon at the top of the page, or http://www.osbridgely.com/apps/blog 

Thank you!!! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some of my favorite things & shared reflection

I love children, their aura, innocence, honesty, purity.  I love how with infants and toddlers we understand them through their actions for lack of verbal communication.  This connection teaches me something about communication with others in my life.  Really what I love is walking into St. Martin's House to a handful of children who are just themselves.  And to, "Aaaaaaaa--" (for Aaa-shley), a 14-month old prancing over to me to be picked up and snuggling into my neck for just a second before squirming down to resume playing, to smiles and clapping, to 3- and 5- year olds fighting over who gets to open the door for me.  I've spent quite a bit of time around children before, but these children are what I most look forward to every day. Everyone would have a friend.

Life is unexpected.  Life is a plethora of the unknown.  A youth surprises me by getting close, almost in a hug, and then remaining there, allowing my to keep an arm around her for a whole two minutes as I stood on guard waiting for the moment her comfort passed.  She typically holds out an arm or both to ensure everyone keeps their distance.  And for good reason, because just this week she was upset and decided to express that emotion by pinching and scratching--also unexpected but just the flick of a few fingers.
Right could always win.

I never expected that worlds could come together and I would be a sounding board, a confidant for some of the clients here.  Even those that seemed to try so hard to make it known to me that I was different from them and hardly capable of relating to their lives and hardships are open now, slowly with time.  And trusting, too.  Or maybe the trust had to come first.
Time will heal all hearts.

Back to communicating through actions.  Someone wise and admirable in my life put it something like this, "Don't hang onto the words of others but look to and trust their actions."  With infants and children, those who are nonverbal such as persons with disabilities, and others including the elderly, we have to look for and make the best decisions for them based on their actions, body language, and nonverbal cues.  Oftentimes I get so caught up in what people say or I wait for a friend to say the right thing.  Or, I may hear the same words from an acquaintance but no action taken to follow up or support those words.  Making the best decision for myself can be possible if I am aware of what that person is communicating to me through her actions.  I want to thank all the nonverbal persons currently in my life for reminding me of this which improves my work experiences. 
Love would have no end.

Remember the warmth a smile can bring and offer that to another.  Know how simple a greeting of blessings is to a friend.  I have a dream that acknowledgement means greeting with a smile, a nod, a positive energy.  I have dreams of kind words, affirmations, encouragement, broadening of minds to the betterment of the community, opening of minds and hearts to the injustices we can prevent each day, fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves.  Affirming children so they don’t grow up to affirm themselves by abusing others.  Taking an extra four seconds to listen. Taking an extra two to respond.  Taking a final half-second to smile. 
No more lives torn apart; and wars would never start.  This is the world we share.

Included is an incorporation of lines from the song "A Prayer for Every Year" by Plus One --the statement at the end of each paragraph.  Thank you for keeping up with me in this post!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Yes, yes, it indeed has been a month since I last wrote something on my blog.  I know you are disappointed, so here I am-- enough of my reasons of illness and weariness. 

Well 5 months ago I drove up to St Benedict's Monastery in St Joseph, MN to begin my orientation retreat for BWSC.  And I'm sitting here trying not to think about the fact that my time with this program will conclude in just a little more than four months.  I also have been reflecting on my mid-year evaluation/review for BWSC, as well as the new year's revelations.  There are so many reflections to share...might I suggest you just take a little trip inside my mind ?  Okay, great-- that will make this blog post lots shorter.  Haha, how about, then, taking a little trip to Ridgely, Maryland to visit?  Good compromise. 

Alright, to begin: an update on my service works. 

          The Barn had a great, busy month in December.  We were fortunate to be able to give additional food for the holidays to all clients during the months of November and December.  St Martin’s Ministries has incredible donors that enable us to continue giving time, talents, resources, and more to those in need, in this community.  I keep busy with tasks: stocking the food pantry, creating recipe sheets for items in monthly food boxes, set up of data spreadsheets, filing, decorating billboard, cleaning, planning, reviewing cash register—you name it. 
            Clients continue to visit us monthly.  I now recognize many faces and am learning quite a few names as well as a few more helpful Spanish phrases!  I am without a doubt the newest and least-seasoned of the volunteers at St Martin’s Ministries.  Most have been giving to St. Martin’s for 20-30 years!  I am blessed to learn from the example of these selfless persons around me. 
            I have had many bonding experiences with beautiful people.  I don’t know what I expected during my time here but I have formed rich relationships with so many.  These have been with co-workers, peers, children, and clients alike—through all of the ministries in which I serve.  I look forward to my service BECAUSE of sharing time with people.  I have been able to extend these relationships beyond our scheduled working hours which has been time both relaxed and social for me.  

To be continued... :)