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Message from the Senior Warden

Message from Our Senior Warden

While searching for a topic for this month’s message, the topic of kindness kept appearing in my everyday life. Church signs always have great messages. You know how it is when you’re driving up and down the road and various churches along the way put inspirational messages on their sign. This month, I kept seeing messages about kindness.

The first message read, “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” As I thought about this message, all I could think of was how true it was. When others can’t see but someone helps them navigate a path through a group of people, that is a language that they can feel but not see. Or if someone can write out directions for someone who can’t hear, that has to be so helpful to that person. That’s the language of kindness in action.

The second message read, “I serve God when I show kindness to others.” Sitting with my dad in his final days, my sister, Barbara, showed tremendous kindness to Dad to help him enter into peace with God. Dad was deeply troubled and life was not comfortable for him. We were in the process of moving him from Assisted Living to Long Term Care as his care needs exceeded the skills of the staff in Assisted Living. We knew the move was not one that Dad wanted to make, but we felt we had no choice based on his needs. But Dad had a choice, and he made it while kindness, and love, surrounded him.

So next time you have an opportunity to share kindness with someone, take that extra step to do so. It will be appreciated more than you’ll ever know.

Blessings,
Diane Flayhart, Senior Warden

Message from the Senior Warden

Some of you may know I am a member of a non-college affiliated International Sorority, Sigma Phi Gamma, and have been a member for 41 years. The sorority is based on friendship and service. It is structured with individual chapters which are regionally grouped into Provinces. The Provinces meet annually to discuss what happened in the previous year and make plans for the next year. My Province meets the 4th weekend in February. We also hold an annual convention of all members in June or July.

Sigma Phi Gamma will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, and our membership is concerned that there might not be many members around to celebrate. So among the topics of constant discussion at Province Meetings and the International Convention are recruitment and growth. Sound familiar?

At my recent Province Meeting, we were asked to write down how we became sorority members and what keeps us in Sigma Phi Gamma. It was a thought provoking exercise that could be applied to any organization, including St. Thomas’. How did you come to be a member of St. Thomas’? And why do you stay?

We also discussed what makes others appeal to you. Are you friendly? Do you offer assistance when asked, or even when you see assistance is needed, do you just jump in and help? Do you make suggestions and offer new ideas? Are you smiling? Are you welcoming? Or are you grumpy? Do you ignore strangers when they walk in the door? Do you hold back on ideas and suggestions? Are you constantly complaining instead of helping to do things better?

A positive, friendly person almost always appeals to someone as opposed to someone who is negative and non-welcoming. What kind of person are you? How do you portray St. Thomas’ to others? Let’s hope it’s the former, the positive and friendly person!

Blessings,
Diane Flayhart Senior Warden

Message from the Senior Warden

THANK YOU!

Two little words – “thank you” – but what an impact they can have on another person. Research shows that saying “thank you” is good for your health as well as your social relationships with other individuals. It promotes self-esteem, it boosts confidence, and it can actually lower your blood pressure! Saying “thank you” tells someone that they are appreciated, and how can that NOT make someone else feel better or improve your relationship with that person?

Too often we are caught up these days in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, running here and there, shopping, wrapping, baking, planning, etc., all for just a few minutes of happiness. However, we need to slow down and express our gratitude to the people around us – our friends and loved ones, the cashier at the grocery store, the clerk in the mall, the person who holds a door open or helps us when our arms are full.

More importantly, when was the last time you thanked God? When did your prayerfully thank him for all he’s given you? God’s presence is constantly with us. He looks out for us and helps us in subtle ways that you might miss because you’re busy doing all the things on your To-Do list. Take a moment to spend time with God and thank him for all he’s done.

And thank YOU for participating in the Loose Change Challenge … every little bit counts!!

Blessings,
Diane Flayhart, Senior Warden

Message from the Junior Warden

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; it makes no noise at all, but softly gives itself away; while quite unselfish, it grows small. – Eva K. Logue

I found this quote some time ago and have never forgotten it. It makes me remember that this life we have been given is not for us to keep as we should like, but to be truly meaningful, as God intended, it must be given away, shared with others until, at last, emptied of all we have to give, it is extinguished. What a wonderful thought. To have the ability to spend our life giving to others. Imagine what the world would be like if we could really do that. But there’s work, and dealing with others who maybe aren’t having a good day, and worries about schedules and finances and parents and sickness, and…well the list goes on and on. Some days it’s not easy to give, is it?

Christmas is a time where giving is in the forefront of our thoughts. Primarily the buying, wrapping, and giving of gifts, but there is also that well-known feeling of Christmas Spirit; a little extra kindness or patience that grows as the holiday approaches, giving a smile comes easier as we feel the warmth of Christmas in our hearts.

I want to challenge you to join me in an endeavor this December. I want you to look for an opportunity each day to give something of your time, your talent, your treasure, or yourself (a smile can have great impact) to someone. The object being to make someone’s day a little better because you were there. A word of support or thanks, a helping hand, pay a toll for the guy behind you, whatever. There are no rules. How, what, when, who, and why are entirely up to you. My hope is that by the end of the month, we’ll all have an expanded practice of giving and will have shared our light with many more people than we might have otherwise.

One more quote, from a very wise man:

“Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression.
We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous.
We experience joy in the actual act of giving something.
And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.”
– Buddha

Best wishes for a joyous Christmas!
Sharon Greenbeck, Junior Warden

Message from the Junior Warden

It’s November already. Wait…what?!? I realize, especially at this time of year, just how fast time goes by. In January we’re shuffling by, holidays are over and we’re waiting for the spring thaw. Then the trees and flowers start to bud, but we still have to get the kids to school, work, work, work…then BAM! It’s July! Oooh, that long-awaited vacation is coming! Aaannnd it’s over…the kids are back to school, and the holidays are around the corner AGAIN. A very condensed version of the year, I know, but as I’ve gotten older and my children have grown, I notice that my to-do lists get longer and the days get shorter. To quote an old saying… “So much to do…so little time.”

The property committee volunteers started out the summer with an ambitious to-do list, and I am truly humbled by what they accomplished. (That being said, I think the list is longer now). I want to shout out a big THANK YOU to the folks who gave, and continue to give up their time to work on the church property. Whether it’s fixing a bathroom soap dispenser, moving bricks or planting greenery, there is SO much that needs to be done…all the time! I also appreciate those who notice things and bring them to my attention. This church property seems to have gotten larger now that I know all the things that need to be done.

This season has always caused me to raise my often preoccupied heart in real gratitude for all that our loving God has given us. As we get into Fall, please take a moment to enjoy the bounty of colors, watch the leaves fall, enjoy the beautiful earth he has given us.