Spring 2006 Issue                   From the Teaching & Sharing Center                    www.wsharing.org

 

Board of Trustees Meeting

The board did not have a quorum at its April 8th meeting, so no official business could be transacted. However, we did have an informal discussion about having an open house at the annual meeting (October 14th), what to do to allow the Center to be open in circumstances like williamís recent absence, and we welcomed Mona Southworth (see next) onboard. 

Wellness Education Coordinator

The T&SC welcomes the addition of Mona Southworth into the volunteer position of Wellness Education Coordinator. She will also be officially voted onto the board as a trustee at the July 8th meeting (2:00 p.m.) at the Center.

From Monaís Pen (Computer)

My name is Mona Southworth, I am a Wellness Educator. The information I share has helped the lives of literally thousands of people through individual consultations, & group presentations, I am able to provide information so you can make thoughtful and informed choices about your health. 

In 1992 I became involved in wellness and the prevention of disease because of my own health. My mother had colon cancer, and I myself had a colon disorder, always fatigued, and very anemic I knew I needed to take control of my own health. Through my own research of several companies that offer Natural Alternatives to drug therapy, I chose Shaklee as the company to work with. This is by no means excluding other alternatives, I have just found something that works for me and will help you do the same.

In general, most people think they have all the answers about their body, until they are in pain. Then, all they want to do is relieve the pain. Rarely do they learn how to correct and prevent it from reoccurring again in the future. 

I teach families about Wellness, and how to prevent or keep their bodies from dis-ease. This is by no means a cure all. It is merely making a choice to take control of your own wellness. 

The question I askÖ "Is your health enough of a priority that you want to find answers at least as to why your problems exist?" 

I will provide to you the opportunity to begin a healthier and more functional lifestyle by giving you the steps to begin and create a healthier lifestyle. 

Back to Nature with Healthy Lifestyles,

Mona Southworth
Wellness Educator
517-622-1777
cmsouthworth@comcast.net

Still Need Involvement

From bringing the library up to speed, to someone to process memberships, to grant writing, Center programs, open hours, and so many other possibilities, we still wait for God to touch willing hearts.

We also have yet to have a person step forward onto our board of trustees as the corporation secretary. This is a top priority need for our communications and records keeping. If you are gifted in this area and willing, or know of someone who might be interested in serving in this position, please contact the Center, or board President Paul Pretzlaff at (517) 646-9534 (or Email at ptpretz@sbcglobal.net)

Experiencing the Heart of Christianity

A twelve-session course, "Experiencing the Heart of Christianity," will be offered at the Teaching & Sharing Center, 417 S. Bridge St., Grand Ledge, beginning on Sunday, June 4th, at 5:00 PM. This course is a companion to the best-selling book, "The Heart of Christianity," by Marcus Borg and will explore the issues that lie at the heart of Christianity today. Participants will discuss such topics as the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, sin, and how to live in a multi-faith, pluralistic society.

At the initial session, the members of the group will decide on future meeting dates and times. It is recommended that participants purchase the book in advance of the meeting; it is available at Barnes & Noble, who will quickly order copies if it is out of stock.

The leader for this course is Paul T. Pretzlaff, a retired Lutheran pastor whose most recent pastorate was St. Paul Lutheran Church in East Lansing, which he served from 1973 to 1995. For more information, contact Pastor Pretzlaff at (517) 646-9534 or Email at ptpretz@sbcglobal.net, or Ms. Kim Zipple, (517) 886-1595.

John Two-Hawks Concert on June 10th

JTH will be presenting a concert in East Lansing on June 10th beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Hannah Community Center on Abbott Rd. Cherokee Billís Trade Center is one of the sponsors and also the local coordinator. Tickets will be available at the T&SC, or Crazy Horse (in the Meridian Mall), and by phone or online from Circle Studios at:

1-866-444-0940 or www.johntwohawks.com.

Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door). Anyone 15 and under accompanying a ticket holder gets in free (does not require a ticket). We need some volunteers to help with the details (primarily to distribute posters to stores, restaurants, etc. and general promotion). We have given a demo of Johnís new CD to WKAR (MSU) radio along with two giveaway tickets. Does anyone know of any other reasonably local stations playing Johnís style of music that you would be willing to take a CD and posters to? Contact william at Cherokee Billís if you are interested and willing to help.

 

Also, John was just nominated for two Native American Music awards, One for the Two-Hawks CD and one for spoken word for the How not to Catch Fish CD with Joseph Marshall. Voting will start in a few days (it quite likely already has by the time you get this) online at www.nammys.com.

New Memberships Renew in July 2007

All memberships renew on July 4th each year. However, the first time you join, your membership does not renew until the calendar year following the year of enrollment. A new supporting membership sent in today (2006) does not renew until July 4th in 2007.

United Way

Since the T&SC is a 501c3 public charity you may donate through your United Way contributions simply by writing in our name. This does not apply to some of the special campaigns they run. 

What Kind Of Water Do You Drink?

Many people are buying the small bottles of water for events, parties, or regular use. In the grocery and discount stores, I have noticed that Purified Water has replaced Spring Water taking up most of the space on the shelves. I have tested a number of brands people have shared with me, and in virtually every case the Purified Water tested out to be acidic and the Spring Water showed an alkaline base. Much of what we eat and drink is already acidic. The more you can balance that with something alkaline, the better off you should be. You might want to consider your choices before grabbing any old pack of water, or whatever happens to be on sale. 

williamís perspective
One Of Lifeís Little Side Journeys

This column has changed three times now. Back in January, I saw a segment on one of those hour news programs about a woman writer who was in a committed lesbian relationship, but wanted to do a book on what it was really like to live as a man in todayís world. So, with the help of some professional make-up and "masculinity" lessons she went undercover. It sounds pretty bizarre, but was actually quite well done. She had some very insightful observations including some on male intimacy. I originally started writing a perspective called "Male Intimacy & Christian Marriage" but decided the topic and my thoughts about it were way too complex for this space. I still think it is an important issue. Anyone interested in the topic should feel free to stop by the Center to discuss it. 

Then I was going to share something I did not write, titled "A Gift," about "being old," and though obviously written by someone of the opposite gender, it reflected quite well my own feelings about growing older. It is still in this newsletter later on. 

However, the events of March trumped both the others and begins as follows. 

 

 

Monday morning at 7:15 a.m. on March 13, 2006, I was taken into the operating room at Sparrow Hospital for quadruple-bypass open heart surgery.  But, that is not where the story begins. 

The story could begin in early childhood, but for now I will start in December or January this past winter. One day I finished up my computer work at home and went out to shovel some wet (heavy) snow on my way next door to the Center. You know those cramps you can get in your leg (calf) where you cannot move in any direction without it hurting more? Well, I got one of those in my chest which expanded to my left armpit area while shoveling the snow. I was aware there was an outside chance these could be the signs of a heart attack, and not wanting to collapse and die in the wet cold if it were, I went in to lie down just inside the front door of the house. I put my total focus on God (this is what I do with leg cramps in order to allow the muscles to relax by not focusing on them) and basically said, "I suspect this is a muscle cramp but also know it could possibly be a heart attack. I have surrendered my whole life to You, and this is Your call, including if this is my time to pass from this earth." Well, in about ten minutes the pain subsided, (doctors recently confirmed it was not a heart attack) and I went on about my business, taking some time at the Center to relax.  

I did not do anything about that incident, beyond mentioning it to a couple of people, at the time, but over the next couple of months I noticed some numbness in my finger tips and toes when I would wake up in the morning. From my herbs and vitamins training days, I suspected I was having a circulatory system problem and finally decided in late February I should go to my family physician (I had not been there in four years) to see whatís what, figuring I might need to alter my vitamin and herbs to address the problem if one was developing. 

My doctor ordered some blood tests and said she would like to send me for a stress test. She advised that if they found any problems, they (the cardiologist) might want to do a heart cath (inserting dye into the heart through a tube to see any blockages) which could lead to putting in stints. She knows my philosophies about intrusive non-natural medical procedures, and as I offered that I would not necessarily proceed with those even if the stress test revealed a problem, we discussed whether or not to do the stress test at all. I said my purpose in being there was to find the truth, but I would leave it up to her. The stress test itself was not intrusive and I was OK with doing it. We decided to proceed, and it was scheduled for March 7th at 1:00 p.m. 

The stress test was being done at Sparrow Hospital. I drove myself there. It was our week to host our golf group card night, and Donna was at home getting ready. At the hospital I joked with the very nice young lady doing the test about how slowly I walk, so the treadmill might seem like a jog to me even at its lowest setting. We had very pleasant conversations about many things as I was taking the test and afterward. I was lying on the table for quite a lengthy time after the treadmill, waiting to get up and go. Finally, the cardiologist came in again and said, "this is a very abnormal test." He probably thought I was a lunatic, because I had not heard the "ab" part and thought he had said "normal," so I responded, "thatís great." Finally we got things clarified, and sure enough, they wanted to admit me directly for a heart cath procedure expecting to discover blockages needing stints. I had been discussing my philosophies throughout the test with the various hospital personnel, and told them I could envision too many dominos lined up prepared to cascade once the first one was pushed, and was not prepared to proceed until I had gone home and prayed about it (among other things). After a few tries by the cardiologist and a physicianís assistant to convince me to stay (we respect your beliefs but) they finally released me from the hospital. The nice young lady who had been administering the test looked very sad as I was dressing to leave, so I gave her a card and suggested she might want to visit the wsharing website and read my poetry and see my photography to understand my philosophies and to lift her spirits. 

When I got home and mentioned to Donna they wanted to keep me there, her response was, "you are kidding right?" But, within fifteen minutes of getting home, my family physician called. The cardiologist had phoned her from the hospital. We had some discussion about whether I would proceed, and she admonished that if I were going to, I needed to decide fast. After I got off the phone, Donna suggested I call Sportron (one of the herbal companies whose products I use) because I trust their science and they have doctors on staff. So I did. They suggested some herbal things I could do, but added, "if your doctor says you need stints, you need stints." About that time I was starting to feel a pain behind my left shoulder. I called my family physician back and told her I would be proceeding, quipping that "besides, I had started to feel this pain and trying to make the damn decision was probably going to give me a heart attack." She laughed, and said she would call the cardiologistís office to get things scheduled. 

After having been given an EKG Wednesday (8th) morning in the cardiologistís office, he walked Donna and I out to his scheduling person and asked what his day looked like at the hospital tomorrow. She told him he already had three people scheduled for procedures. Then he said, "start my day an hour earlier and put Mr. Gibbons in first thing at 7:00 a.m." His urgency significantly elevated my sense of the severity of whatever he was seeing in the various tests.

We arose at 4:00 a.m. to get ready, and arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m., as instructed, on Thursday. The heart cath was begun at 7:00 and stopped almost as soon as it started. I was wheeled into a holding area and the cardiologist came in to inform me there was nothing he could do with stints. He said I had major blockages in my heart arteries and I was looking at open heart surgery. I was not sure if they meant that day, until 11:00 a.m. when they brought me some food (I was still in the recovery area). 

Sometime in the early afternoon, the cardiac surgeon came by for a visit. I really liked him. He took whatever time was needed to explain things and to listen. Of the four major blockages (up to 80%) the one they were the most concerned with was a main artery they call the "widow maker" which was 60% blocked (I later quipped, my first inner reaction was "well that means it is still 40% open and it took 55 years to get 60% blocked). The surgeon indicated he would have liked to have operated right away, but the soonest there was an opening in the operating room was Monday morning (13th) at 7:15 a.m. He indicated he had discussed it with the cardiologist, and both agreed I should stay in the hospital (four days) until then so medical attention would be readily available if something were to happen (in the main artery in particular). I think they may have been anticipating an argument because of Tuesday. However, I told him I agreed, even though it was for different motives. I said, medical reasons aside, I felt I needed to stay for spiritual and emotional reasons. I explained that I know myself well, and there would come a time in these next four days when I would question every decision I had made up to then. I was there because I was convinced it was the path God wanted me to follow. If the questioning came (and it did big time on Saturday at 6:00 a.m.) and I was in the hospital, I would stay the course, believing I was in Godís will, until whatever the natural conclusion. But, if I was at home when the doubting came, since to me life still felt normal, they would be hard pressed to convince me to walk back into the hospital for the operation. 

And so there I stayed ó receiving your prayers, well wishes, and visits. People were surprised to visit and see me looking normal (except for the monitors). That was a major part of the difficulty for me too, because life did feel normal. I was taking it on faith that what they said was actually happening inside me, was indeed something threatening my physical existence in this world. Because I had been steeped in the world of herbs and vitamins for the last ten years, had never broken a bone, and had not been in the hospital for physical reasons since having my tonsils out as a child many years ago, I felt much of the time like I had been captured by an enemy camp. I needed to remind myself often, that God is at work everywhere, even in places where operations and drugs are more prevalent than natural ways of doing things. There were times of peace, but there were also many times when my fears, and anxieties skyrocketed. In particular that Saturday morning already mentioned. Finally, God asked me what I was afraid of? Death? "No, I would not have lain down on the floor that day shoveling snow if that were the case." Pain? "No, I do not look forward to the pain, and will not like being in the midst of it, I am sure, but that is not it." Then what? "The same thing I have been afraid of since I began my spiritual journey 20 years ago. I am afraid of making bad decisions that will cause myself (or others) lifelong suffering or pain." 

By late Sunday night, I was entering a pretty good space emotionally. My nurseís father had gone though the same operation at 55. I was listening to soothing music, and I was as ready as I would ever be to proceed. In fact, Monday morning I called home at 4:00 a.m. with "hello, this is the front desk, and this is your wake-up call." (It was the time my family had said they needed to rise to get to the hospital on time). 

I have no recollection of Monday from the time they started wheeling me down the hall (they had already given me an oral drug). I do have a vague memory of people giving me ice chips on a spoon later that day. I am told my family was being allowed in, two at a time, for ten minutes each hour. I was in intensive care into Wednesday only because there was not a bed available in the regular cardiac care unit. There were continuing ups and downs emotionally, and the night I was moved to regular cardiac care we had a little crisis (an extremely racing heartbeat) physically. Although to this day I do not know if my emotional state triggered the physical crisis or the physical event created my emotional state; the most intense since my Saturday Gethsemane (as I called it). In spite of this my recovery progressed well, and I was released around 7:00 p.m. on St. Patrickís Day (Friday 17th), as befitting someone half Irish. 

I have been home over a month now, and healing has continued at a good pace. As of this writing I have been given green lights by my family physician, cardiologist, and the cardiac surgeon. 

Those are the basics. Now I would like to share a few reflections, and maybe a side story or two. 



 

I was quite surprised at the minimal amount of physical pain considering the severity of the operation. I did tell each of my nurses that I was relying on their expertise for how often to take the pain medications, rather than waiting for pain to show up first. They always asked how my physical pain was, on a scale of 0 to 10, and the highest I recall telling them was a three. I did suggest, when the hospital called to do a survey after I got home, that had they asked about my anxiety and fear levels (emotional pain), there would have been many times when it was at least a seven. 

Speaking of fear and worry, I have heard it said that these are a sign of a lack of faith. I have even heard worry referred to as an insult to God. If so, then faith is one of my lesser qualities. However, I have heard it said of courage, that "courage is not the absence of fear, but is stepping forward in spite of the fear." I think there is a dynamic of faith which is like that. 

Related to this, someone asked me if I could "feel" the many prayers being said for me. The ability to feel spiritual energy is not one of my gifts. Unfortunately, I tend to spend more time in my head than in my heart. However, I did have a visualization pop into my mind several times in the midst of this. I saw the story of the paralytic being carried on his bed by his four friends to be healed by Jesus (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:2-12; Luke 5:17-26). Except, in this vision, I was the man on the mat, paralyzed by fear, and there was not just four, but hundreds of you helping to carry me to Jesus to be healed. It was both an emotionally powerful and humbling image, bringing me to tears several times. 


A comment was made, "The doctors saved your life." It actually prompted me to write a poem in which I say, "This is not the truth." My doctors are gifted, knowledgeable, and highly skilled. And they used those gifts to prolong the usefulness of my physical body in this time on Earth. But, that is not my "life." My life is far more than a body. Only recently has my "life" begun to return, as the Holy Spirit reminds me what my life has been about, and how my relationship with God and His purpose for my life are as strong as ever. 

Indeed, even if I were to focus only on the bodily aspects of this journey, each doctor used their gifts well, right up to the surgeon who sewed, glued, and wired me together as he finished his work, yet the real healing took, and is taking, place away from all these hands. Sometimes God heals directly. But, our Creator has also intricately placed a healing process within our bodies (and also within our minds and spirit). 

Doctors tend to be seen as either gods or demons depending on what a person is experiencing at the time. We would all do well, myself in particular, to remember they are simply human beings doing the best they can just like the rest of us. For all their highly specialized training, the big picture is as much a mystery to them, as us. 


My view of doctors, hospitals, drugs, and the companies who make them, was a significant factor in my emotional sufferings. Having spent the last ten years working with herbs, vitamins, and other natural products, I have read many articles "demonizing" (though not always that blatantly) the "other" side. And, adding fuel to the fire, a number of the medical personnel tried to argue the lack of difference between drugs and natural products. In one of the doctorís offices I made the statement, "shouldnít we all just be trying to find the truth." We spend so much time in these turf wars trying to protect a financial bottom line, or some ego need to be right, that we seem to lose our perspective. 

I am very glad I have no recollection of my surgery or the immediate hours following it. The drugs and anesthesia were great blessings. I am also very glad that I felt lead to follow that "natural" path ten years ago. I believe the herbs and vitamins have contributed to my excellent healing process and likely also helped me not to have had a heart attack or other crisis before. And speaking of blessings, I took a moment in the hospital to be grateful I am living here, in a place of highly trained professionals, with a clean hospital equipped with some unbelievable technology to help things go as well as possible. Too many people in the world get their medical attention in mud huts and unsanitary conditions. 


I continue to have much to be grateful for. My physical healing has come along exceptionally well. Emotionally, I still wince with a little anxiety when an unfamiliar ache or pain appears in my chest, but the cardiac rehabilitation people assure me that is quite common because heart patients are so focused on every little twitch in their bodies for a while. 

I saw a bright yellow bird through the window in the bathroom as I was showering the other day. It sat on a tree limb for a few moments, then off it flew. I was reminded that the bird was not likely thinking about its heart. It was just getting on with the business of life. It was doing simply what God created it to do. I am looking forward to that too. Of course, those of you who know me well, understand that in my beliefs it was only my experiential perspective which saw things outside of the circle for a while. In truth, I never left Godís path for me. 


OK Ė last item. Before all this happened I had picked up a Lent guide with daily "six-minute meditations on the Passion according to Luke." This booklet started the Sunday before Ash Wednesday by suggesting taking some time that day to "talk over with the Lord" some Lenten plans rather than "pulling out a file of resolutions we save for a time like this." I spent some quiet time listening for Godís leading. 

Exactly halfway through Lent, after reading the dayís meditation in the booklet, I picked up a book which my step-daughter had given to me in the hospital. It was about a Christian writer who had faced several events which lead to a faith crisis over a three year period. He decided to go on a silent retreat at a monastery. But, even in a silent retreat they give you a spiritual director to meet with daily. At the end of the first chapter, he had just finished meeting with his spiritual director and asked what he should do for the next 24 hours. The spiritual director responded, "Nothing." To which he said, "Nothing? What do you mean nothing?" Then the SD added, "Donít do anything which accomplishes something. Take a walk. Sit by a brook. Listen to the birds." I sat there stunned, and put down the book. It was as if, exactly halfway through Lent, God was asking me how we were doing. You see, I remembered the answer I had gotten from God, when I asked that Sunday before Ash Wednesday what He wanted me to do for Lent. I had written His one word answer in the front of my meditation booklet. That word was "Nothing." 

Doing "nothing" is more difficult than it might seem. I did not succeed entirely. But, my lack of sending emails, the length of time it has taken to put this newsletter together, my not returning to the Center right away, and a number of other things testify to my willingness to try to make it through the entire 40 days in spirit. I continue to examine my days in light of that spirit as well. The incorporation, added on top of everything else, allowed me to lose track of the balance. As the T-shirt John and Peggy sent me says, "Find Once Again The Sacred Balance." 

I intend to do just that. 

The opinions and philosophies expressed in "williamís perspective" are solely those of the poet william. They do not necessarily represent positions or views of the Teaching & Sharing Center, its board of trustees, or other members of the non-profit corporation.

          Godís Peace,               

We Need You

For the last three months, the T&SC has had to hold back (go past due) sending in its heating bill, because there was not enough money to pay it on time. Of the more than one hundred and fifty households on our mailing list (the poetís circle), only about 10% became paid members of the Teaching & Sharing Center non-profit 501c3 (public charity) corporation in 2005. God can, of course, provide miraculous ways to keep things going if it is His will. But, it is not likely we will survive long-term with such a small support base. Perhaps the miracle waiting to happen, is a change in your heart of whether to support the Center financially. Memberships are reasonably set (as low as $5 per year). Please prayerfully consider what God would have you do. 

a walk in the woods with william

Before all the heart stuff took place, I had been considering what types of classes I might be able to offer beyond the Vitamins, Herbs & Going Natural class which was held in December. Some of the possibilities I placed on the drawing board included, An Overview of Cherokee History, Debt Free & Simple Living, The Basics of Life Insurance, An Introduction to Good Photography, and General Instruction for First-Time Computer Users. Well, priorities change. My time was pretty jammed before. Add into that, a daily walk or a cardiac rehab session, taking time for a healthier lunch, etc., and all of a sudden there is precious little time for anything new.

So, here is my solution. Iíve never been particularly fond of classroom settings anyway. Since I need to do a daily walk, the new offering is exactly that. Do you want to learn about debt free and simple living, Cherokee history, or perhaps the fundamentals of good photography? Would you like some information basics about real estate, life insurance, or maybe just to talk about life and spirituality in general? I will not be offering any formal classes on these and other areas I have experience and accomplishment in. But, Tuesday through Thursday during the week, usually in the early to mid afternoon, you may take a walk in the woods with william, and discuss any of these things and more.

I do most of my walking at Fitzgerald Park on the nature trails there. But, depending on my transportation situation, I also donít mind going out to Woldumar (Delta Township) or Fenner Nature Center (Mt Hope on Lansingís east side).

If you wish to take advantage of one of these times, simply call me to make arrangements. Since my hours at the Center have been reduced, you may wish to contact me at home (627-3462).

2006 Lansing Pow-wow

Details have been a little sketchy, but at this point it is still our intention to have a vendor (and informational) tent at the Lansing Pow-wow. If you would be willing to contribute a couple of hours manning the tent on June 16th, 17th, or 18th, please let us know. If you are a member of the T&SC, and have a related product you would like to offer for sale at the pow-wow, please contact the Center to discuss the options and details.

williamís role plus . . .
Volunteer Staffing & Personal Spiritual Time

The following paragraph appeared in the last M7N.

Beyond the sole-proprietor duties of a touch of william and Cherokee Billís Trade Center, in the new corporate structure, william serves as the Centerís caretaker. He is also treasurer on the board of trustees, our online webmaster, creates our brochures, flyers and forms, and is the newsletter editor. We have a board (of 9) which guides, but without people who "do" the stuff, it simply doesnít happen. What is your role?


As a result of williamís surgery and recovery, the Center was closed for over a month. Only those with keys (trustees and some volunteers) had access to anything here. We need to address this situation, particularly since william will be cutting back his time here to a couple of hours daily (most days) during the week.

Many people talk about their need to find a regular quiet time for their own spiritual devotions, readings, and meditations. However, frequently, nothing gets done about it. Could you perhaps set aside two hours per week, to spend some personal spiritual time at the Center, but also learn how to open it up so others might have the opportunity to use it too? Most of the time you would have the place to yourself. But, at least it would be available to others. And, rest assured, when others do visit, an opportunity to serve Christ will likely appear. An additional benefit of doing this is you would be among those having 24 hour access because of having a key. And, any member volunteers serving in this role, while meeting both their own needs and others, would step up to Center Circle status with accompanying CC member benefits.

Let any board member know of your interest or call the Center and leave a message.

Member Obituary - Dorothy L. "Dot" Kuester

T&SC member and personal friend, Dot, died this April. She served on the Grey Feathers Advisory Council which made the decision to incorporate the Center as a non profit charity. Below is her Lansing State Journal obituary.

-------

Dorothy L. "Dot" Kuester Lansing, MI Age 81, went home to be with her Lord on April 6, 2006. She was born in Detroit, MI August 6, 1924 to Hubert and Justina Graether. She married Kenneth J. Kuester on August 20, 1949 at Martha-Mary Chapel, Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI. Dot was the quintessential teacher. Her most important teaching job was mothering her three daughters, Caroline, Kristen and Karla and grandsons, Karl and Todd Thurston. She held a degree in art education from Wayne State University in Detroit and a Master's Degree in Library Science from Eastern Michigan University. For thirty-three years she was a dedicated teacher and librarian in the Lake Orion and Pontiac Schools, immersing herself in the lives of many children. After her retirement she continued teaching and community service, becoming an Ingham County 4-H instructor, and women's Bible study leader at University Baptist Church in East Lansing. She networked with her fellow educators as a member of Michigan Educators' Christian Fellowship for over forty years. Her connection with her fellow craftsmen was through Spinners' Guild. Her extraordinary faith and love of beauty was the spiritual foundation for all aspects of her being. A close circle of friends greatly enriched her life. Despite health challenges in recent years, she enjoyed full creativity and use of her hands for the arts and crafts she loved until one week ago. Her patient endurance of chronic painful conditions ended as she passed painlessly in the presence of her husband and all three daughters. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth; her daughters, Caroline Thurston, Kristen Kuester and Karla Kuester; grandsons, Karl (Eva) and Todd (Tobey) Thurston; her sisters, Ruth Graether and Mary Ruth Millham; her brother, John (Irene) Graether, MD; and nephew, Bruce. A funeral service [was] held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 10, 2006, at University Baptist Church, 4608 S. Hagadorn Rd., East Lansing, with the Rev. Dr. Christopher Smith officiating. Interment [took] place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Owosso, MI at 2:45 p.m. on Monday. The family [received] friends at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Saturday and 3-6 p.m. Sunday and at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time on Monday. Memorial contributions may be made to The Dorothy L. Kuester Memorial Fund at University Baptist Church or to Eaton Rapids Camp Meeting in memory of Dot Kuester.

From My Emails - A Gift

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old.

Upon seeing my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know.

Growing older, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body . . the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to be messy, to be extravagant, to smell the flowers. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 a.m, and then sleep until --?  I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50's & 60's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love . . . I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But then again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

I can say "no" and mean it. I can say "yes" and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive.
You care less about what other people think. 

I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being older. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. 

I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. . . if I want. 

Today, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles.

Members With Websites - Your URL?

Just a reminder Ė if you are a member of the T&SC and have a website of your own (business or personal) a link to your site can be placed in the Centerís web pages. Simply let william know what your siteís URL (address) is.

From My Emails - Sister Mary

Sister Mary, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it a gas station was just a block away. She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas.

The attendant told her the only gas can he owned had been loaned out but she could wait until it was returned.

Since the nun was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient.

Always resourceful she carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gas, and carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank two men watched from across the street.

One of them turned to the other and said, "If it starts, I'm turning Catholic."

Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival 2006

We have received the form to sign up again as a demonstrator for the FCC&IF October 13th thru the 15th. Let us know if you wish to participate.

 

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