Friday, December 19, 2014

Lesson 327: All is Well

Holiday preparation is in full swing here at the Lamp Post.

Me and my little elves have been
and wrapping,
and baking,
and mailing,
and ho-ho-ho-ing it to the max.

The month of December brings Eloise great joy.

Sometimes life throws a curve ball a you in the middle of all of the fun.
We lost our beloved dog Sadie this week.
She was a loyal pet and the void is felt by all of us.
Thank you to everyone who sent condolences.
Your thoughtfulness helped us heal.

It's been fun going to the mailbox this week.

Holiday mail has been arriving daily.

If you know Eloise, you know that I LOVE mail!
Even my own parents 
who live in the red house 44 steps east of the Lamp Post,
mail me my Christmas cards.
We like to support the US Postal Service around here!

I couldn't wait to open this one.
It was addressed to me.
I accidentally cut off the full envelope in the photo,
but it was addressed to:
Favorite Daughter

The inside of the card didn't disappoint either.
A woodsy Santa Claus carrying a lamp post!
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
I hope Kenyan got that post card you sent her.

Don't feel sorry for Kenyan.
She was born a week before Christmas and gets a ton of presents.

So what do you give your only sibling,
and the person who has everything?

A retro soccer jacket from 1986!
Erieites, look for her running around town in it.
It's stylish!

My friends and I ran around town last Saturday.
We pooled our charitable contributions this year for SafeNet,
a shelter for women and children in Erie.

I made a new discovery while running this week.
If you wear your flip top gloves upside down,

It makes a handy protective pocket for your iPhone!

You can run with your tunes playing sans the ear buds,
while still protecting your communication device from the elements.

A truly unusual gift arrived at the Lamp Post this week,
directly from Switzerland.
Thank you Angie from Philly for the books!

I think this could very well be the design for my Christmas card for next year,
or perhaps a theme for a future December Run series.
Natalie People have morphed into Ran Deer.
I think these would look great on a long sleeved shirt!

 I hope a large crowd gathers for the future Ran Deer Run.
I'll be all prepared with my new Selfie Stick.

I plan on breaking it out this weekend at our family holiday party.
I'll try to put it into use BEFORE all the drinks take effect.

I would have loved to use it tonight at the Junior High Winter Formal,
but Ellen wouldn't allow it. 

She rolled her eyes at the mere thought of me,
in front of all her friends,
with my iPhone and an extendable arm.

I had to use my regular lens tonight.
Ellen sure looked pretty!

Lover Boy has still been on his best behavior.
He wants the new Skylanders game very badly.

He's been a great holiday helper,
and full of hugs and kisses.

I got the best teacher gift today at school,
and I couldn't wait to share it with all of my Lamp Post readers!

This beautiful bracelet is part of the 100 Good Deeds Movement.

I absolutely love what it promotes,

as well as the mission behind it all.

Eloise loves the 100 Good Deeds logo just as much.
Tracy Southern, my college roommate,
was a communication graphics major 
and I learned lots about logos from watching her work.

Put this on your List of Things to Purchase for 2015.

Thank you Abby and Haley D!
Your one act of kindness will promote 100 more.

Last week I put out an All Call for plates for an idea I have in mind.
I would like you to send me one of your dinner plates.
It could be an extra one from your own set,
or an old chipped one that doesn't match the others.

I have a plan for your plates for 2015 and I'd like a huge stack.
Get them to Eloise at the Lamp Post this holiday,
and stay tuned for your plate to appear on this blog
and in a future project.

I got the first ones for my collection today.
I got a holiday set of paper plates from our dear departed friend Edna.
She's smiling down on me, knowing they will be put to good use.

This one appeared on my desk at school.

Uh, oh.
Someone is on to me!

Enclosed was a beautiful plate with a handwritten note
(my favorite of all things--sentiments in a person's own script)!

The plate came to the Lamp Post with a really great story.

I am adding it to the book I am working on.
It is a cookbook titled
The Cookwizardy of  Peculiar People.

How perfect because the person who have it to me
was once my music teacher,
and 33 years later I am her colleague!

If you send me a plate with a story attached,
it will be featured in my book,
hopefully out this spring.

Send to 
Eloise @ the Lamp Post
5768 Firman Road
Erie, PA 16510

It is six days until Christmas and all is well.

Eloise was just too busy to make my own video this week,
so I am sharing Carrie Underwood's performance of her duet with Michael W Smith
on the CMA Country Christmas.

Watch it.  If it doesn't give you chills, you've had too much eggnog.
Go to bed and watch it again in the morning.

Be well, My Readers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lesson 336: A Collective Effort

December is a month of giving,
and there are many ways to donate to worthy causes.

This year my running group planned our Second Annual Charity Run.
The Erie agency of choice this year was 
SafeNet, a domestic violence center.

In lieu of race fees, each participant donated items needed by the shelter
which helps women and children right here in my city.

Before yesterday's run, I knew little about SafeNet.
My life path has not led me to their doorstep seeking help and refuge.
I live comfortably, and yesterday I was reminded of the people who don't.

SafeNet offers shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and education to those in need.

The important lesson I learned this weekend is that collective efforts make an impact.
Sure, donations could have trickled in from a few of us here and there this season,
but by choosing one worthy cause, and putting the power of the people behind it, 
a big difference can be made.

Donations of cash and other needed items arrived by bike messengers.

My group has a way of attracting attention.
We got 29 honks,
and lots of cheering from Erie's well wishers.

On behalf of my Seussicized group,

I can state for a fact that our hearts grew three sizes that day!

Eloise urges every single reader of this blog to do one thing this holiday:

Your greatness is not what you have. It's what you give. #wisdom #affirmations

The Ebola Fighters were chosen as TIME Magazines Person (People) of the Year.
Dr. Kent Brantly is my personal favorite.

Because there was not a single recipient of the honor this year,
TIME designed several covers.

The Lamp Post copy sits on the coffee table opened to this page,
which briefly describes
Dr. Brantly's personal experience with ebola.
Known best for surviving the disease and donating his plasma so others
could build immunities, Dr. Brantly downplays his own experience
and focuses the opportunities that await him because of it.

From TIME magazine, December 22, 2014 edition:

"I don't live every moment conscious of what I've been through.  But I think whenever we go through a devastating experience, it's not about there being some inherent redemptive narrative, but it is an incredible opportunity for the redemption of something.  We can say, How can I be better now because of what I've been through?"

What is Ebola like?
Read Dr. Philip Ireland's account of his illness.
Hiccups are a sign of advanced ebola.

Does it seem too far removed for you?
Reluctant to throw money at a problem that 63 countries
have donated more that $1.8 billion in aid?

The least you can do as a member of the human nation
is to take a moment to know someones pain.

I can't travel to Liberia, 
but I can pray for Esther.

When she awoke from her coma, she was the only one from her family to survive.
The woman pictured with Ester took her in.

Don't be a grinch this holiday.

The message Eloise is trying to convey is this:
When YOU becomes plural and takes on a collective action,
the possibilities are limitless.

If you have a few extra dollars, spend it in ways to benefit someone.
If you aren't using something you once had a need for, donate it.
If you have a special talent, share it.
If you have
a heart
 and a mouth 
and two hands 
and a free moment,
stop and say a prayer for those in need.

It will make a difference.
Make your Christmas a little bit more.

Enjoy the photo story of the Will Run For...Chapter 2 Charity Run, set to Welcome Christmas from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, of course!