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Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Day Volunteer Appreciation Event

As a Director of Volunteers, each year I plan, create and execute a Volunteer Appreciation Event. This year the date I decided on was Wednesday, April 22nd. This is earth day and my theme this year is "Volunteers Make a World of Difference."

Oh, how I adore event planning. All these exciting ideas from Pinterest and other venues I have been a part of. It somehow all comes together. I just let the creative part of me take over.

Since my theme is "Volunteers make a world of difference" and it happens to fall on Earth Day, I really played with this like a kid in a sand box.

Creating a theme and event is so similiar to the process of writing. You just let go and let the process happen. I am sure many of you out there feel the same. I knew I wanted some globe shaped glass to hold something earthy for the theme as my center piece.

Out I went and scouted out different craft, dollar stores and flower shops . It was Michaels that I found my treasures that led me into a fun earthy center piece. I first bought a large bag of moss since the big bag cost less than a small bag. That was a no brainer. Then I looked for different round glass holders. Boom, there it was. Tear drop and circular glass globe containers perfect for making some type of earthy terrarium. The  pragmatic part of these is they had a hole in the front for watering. Also they had a rope on the top so you could hang them or put them on a table for decoration.

Then I went to different flower shops and landed at Bachmans. They were the only flower shop that had more than two or three air plants. Most of the flower shops that carried air plants had more Easter flowers or plants. You know your idea is leading to a creation when it happens so easy. It  is meant to be when you count out exactly the perfect amount of air plants that would soon be centerpieces on each table for each generous volunteer.

So, that is how my earthy, air plant terrariums were born. It was so fun to bring air plants back with Shells and rocks that I had found at Bachmans and dollar stores to put this idea together.

I trained a volunteer resident on the creative technique. I had planned on recruiting volunteers on Volunteer Match and Craigslist Community section for to do all 18 of them. It only took one three hour block of time to put these together.  I received input from the active living team and decided to put a colorful blue and green earth place mat circle under each of these. My event caterer had mirrors, so I thought circular transparent mirror, on top of Blue and Green earth cut out and on top of that the center piece. So much color, simple and beautiful and not costly. Each volunteer was to receive a give away of a little piece of the cosmos.  The Easy Breezy Instructions:

First put a light layer of decorative pebbles down on the bottom of the glass terrarium, then add in one small amount of moss in the middle of the pebbles and put a hole in it. Add the small air plant in this moss hole. Once the air plant is in the hole firmly, then create away. There is no right way, just let your creative juices flow. I tried to make all of them a bit different. I added white and colored sea shells and colored decorative rock.

Make sure you spritz your air plant and moss each day. You want lively, replicas of the earth to stand out at your earth day event. It is hard to kill air plants since they live by air, but they can tend to dry up a bit. I bought a 99c spray bottle at the dollar store to water them daily.
Have a fun Earth Day event and remember water your baby eco systems daily.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Review of Sheppard (Band)




I am absolutely stoked about the band named Sheppard. My twin sister and I had the opportunity to listen to this talented indie pop band that was formed in Brisbane in 2009. We took front row seats in over sized cushy brown lounge chairs at Cities97 Studio C. We had stumbled upon their great sound and harmonies while watching Ellen one day. From there on, it was love at first sound. It was October of 2014 when we saw them live. What is really exciting is that this band is independent and was nominated at the ARIA Music Awards of 2013 for Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Independent Release, Best Pop Release, Song of the Year, Producer of the Year and Best Video for the "Let Me Down Easy."

The band members are Amy Sheppard (Lead vocals, harmonica, songwriter), George Sheppard (Lead vocals, keys, songwriter), Jason Bovino (Rhythm guitar, backing vocals, songwriter), Michael Butler (Lead guitar), Emma Sheppard (Bass guitar, backing vocals), and Dean Gordon (Drums). Two of the members could not be there the day the band played live at Studio C. Having less members did not hamper the performance in any way, in fact, this band is the "Real Deal" as they walked in with  angelic voices/ acoustic guitar and knocked our socks off.

How many bands that you see live can stroll in and knock it out of the park singing perfect harmonies and do it with the confidence, ease and unadulterated talent? This band is killing it in 26 countries and are the new family genre band of the century. Their debut studio album, Bombs Away, was released on July 11, 2014 and peaked at number two on the ARIA Albums Chart. Their second single, "Geronimo", from February that year, spent three weeks at number one on the ARIA singles Chart, knocking Pharrell Williams' single "Happy" from the top spot after its 12 week run.

George Sheppard shared with all of us Studio C guests, a fun story on how this humble band got started. Amy had asked her brother for help as she was to write a song sprinkled with harmony to a new song she was to compose for a college class. She heard her brother singing and he was the  only one home. She loved his harmony and That is how it all started. 

Sheppard sang three tunes for us on this day and it included "Bombs Away and Geronimo."  Sitting front and center listening to this talented band was a wonderful experience. We were able to get a picture with them as well and they could not have been nicer. The band teased my twin sister and I since we were moving our bodies and heads in unison. Brian Oake told the group he needed to get our names on the cushion chairs since we have been to so many Cities 97, Studio C performances. 

I highly recommend that you get acquainted with the sound of  this group because they are upbeat, talented and fun to watch. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Billy Dream

The love of my life
Together in my dream life
I long for you-PAIN

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tim Mahoney 'Rocks' Ebenezers' Minneapolis Campus at the Volunteer Appreciation Event

Tim Mahoney, a well known singer and song writer is a homegrown Minneapolis, Minnesota man. He was discovered on the first season of NBC's 'Voice' and was chosen by Adam Levine. He has been playing great music for over fifteen years. He is an amazing and talented tenor who makes any song sound outstanding. He has been featured on publications such as City Pages and Rolling Stone magazine. He has won countless singing contests and received countless accolades in his music career and is highly respected in the music industry. Check out his website. http://www.timmahoney.com/home

Tim generously accepted to play for the Annual 'Volunteer Appreciation Event'  for the Ebenezer- Minneapolis Campus. The Volunteer Appreciation luncheon took place on April 23rd. As Director of Volunteer Services on the Minneapolis Campus, I know that  music is an integral part of this annual event. The theme this year was 'Volunteers Rock' which had a double meaning; Rock music and the Rock of Ebenezer.  Ebenezer means 'Stone of Help' and our volunteers are the cornerstone of our organization.

Tim Mahoney's uplifting music was icing on the cake at this special event. Tim made the 'Rock' theme come to life with his talent and personality. The luncheon was a sit down event, serving approximately 200 of  the volunteers that have given almost 33,000 hours to the residents on our campus. This number reflects having approximately 16 Full Time Employees.

Ebenezer's mission is "to help older adults live more independent, healthful, meaningful and secure lives." Ebenezer provides access throughout Minnesota to a full range of senior housing options, community-based programs and medical care.

Tim showed up in a trendy black leather jacket and dyed blue jeans. His silver guitar glistened throughout the St. Mary's Event Center where the appreciation event was held. Keeping with the theme of 'Volunteers Rock', each table setting had a thoughtfully wrapped inspiration rock, tied with a tag that had Rock and Roll insignia, guitars, and rock and roll stamps. The centerpiece was a colorful pail overlaid with 'You Rock' gel stickers on it. Under the centerpiece was a mirror sprinkled with pastel colored flower petals.




Can I just say, "Tim Mahoney rocked the house!" Strumming on his glitzy silver guitar during and after the luncheon, one could see that the instrument is an extension of himself. This kind, down to earth musician made the volunteers feel extra special.  He welcomed Ebenezer volunteers to join him on stage and get their picture taken with him and his famous guitar, which has his name inscribed in black across it.

What do you get when you bring in a talented musician and a room of volunteers? Happy 'Rockin' Dancers. Thanks so much Tim-you made this years' Volunteer Event a true success. You will always be a friend of the Ebenezer organization.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Review of Saving Mr. Banks

When my twin sister and I went to view the PG-13 Rated Movie, Saving Mr. Banks, we had no idea how rich the story-line would be. The cast included: Director John Lee Hancock, Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Bradley Whitford. 
Who says our past does not haunt us? As a person with a Master Degree in Counseling & Psychological Services, I so appreciated the way they took us all on a journey into our childhoods. We may say that our past does not affect our current state of being, but that is not true in any form. We may choose to shut it away, but even that behavior gives credence to our past, good or bad. 
The movie shows how a dad, Walt Disney, wants to keep a promise to his kids. They beg him to make a Hollywood movie from their favorite book "Mary Poppins". It took him twenty years to bring P.L Traverse, the writer of Mary Poppins to finally come to talk about the prospect. He wants to obtain the rights to take the book to the movie screen. 
P.L Traverse is not an easy woman to get along with and that is a nice way of putting it. She is a controlling, unhappy woman. She comes to work with the Hollywood team put there to help write the movie from her script. P.L Traverse seems to badger the team and also dictate her way at each and every turn, reminding them that she may never give over the rights.
Walt try's to sway the tyrannical author into giving over the rights. He wants to keep his promise to his kids. The two weeks he has P.L Traverse there in Los Angeles he does everything in his power to make her see what a gift this movie would be for adults and children. He has her stay in his lovely hotel, gives her many Disney gifts, and treats her like royalty.
You sense the deep wounds that P.L Traverse has endured by the way she reacts to the Hollywood team and by the flash backs she has in the two short weeks she is in Los Angeles. She knows she needs to at least think about giving the rights over to Walt Disney since her money has run out from writing Mary Poppins. She is at a crossroads.
You watch as her childhood memories flood her and she try's so desperately to protect the man who you learn was her father, Mr. Banks. We learn near the end of the movie why she can't let Mr.Banks be portrayed as a mean man. Walt Disney also understands that underneath P.L.Traverse's hard exterior, she is really a scared little child. Her child within comes out in a big way.
 Walt promises her as he describes his tough childhood and compares it to hers, why it is essential for him to save Mr. Banks in the movie and have him live eternally in the movie for all to see. Mr. Banks will be the endearing loving father forever more. Together, they will write the script so his charm will  live on in the hearts and minds of all ages. This is where the past and present and future can meld together to heal childhood wounds.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review On My First Colonoscopy

Dear Friends,

I thought a colonoscopy review could be helpful so here it goes.
I know I was so afraid of having to think of going in at age fifty for my first colonoscopy.  I did not do it till just today at age 51. I thought it could be helpful to take you through my experience so you would feel more comfortable and less anxious than I was.



Last night I did the prep at home which many of you have heard about. You drink a solution, about one gallon, all throughout an evening, so you release all the stool in your colon. Let me forewarn you that yes, you have to stay very close to the bathroom. Every ten minutes you drink one cup of this solution. I wrote down on a piece of paper every ten minutes and checked off each time I drank it. It took me about four hours to drink the entire gallon of the solution. It doesn't taste great, but it really did not bother me at all. I drank soda pop during this process. As you are doing this just stay very close to the bathroom. Your doctor will make the referral and then send up a order to your pharmacy for what you need to do step by step.

You take four pills which are a laxative the evening before. I took them and knew that whatever was not out of my colon would surely be gone by the late evening with this laxative. I actually wrote a hub post as I did this entire process. It kept me focused on something other than just drinking and being in the bathroom.

I felt very anxious as most people do about the next morning going in to have this procedure done. I did however, actually sleep. I got in to the endoscopy office for my visit at 9:50 am. They called me back and my heart did flip flops. I am a highly anxious person anyway, so this visit had me awfully nervous. The nurse assistant was amazing and explained to me that the doctor would be in to talk about the procedure and we would fill out paper work. She inserted a IV in so that I could be sedated before the procedure. I want you to know that other than having my two children, I have never had a hospital stay. This IV being put in was nothing. I could hardly feel it. It was just a little prick feeling.

Whew, so far so good, but I was getting a bit freaked out when she put me on the bed and put the blood pressure cup on me and showed me the screen that I could watch my colon procedure on. I was thinking to myself, yeah right, I will just sleep so I don't have to deal with the reality of it. I have to say, this gurney bed with the cover over my body was really comfortable.

The doctor came in and went over instructions on how the procedure would go. He said they would be giving me a sedative and morphine would be flowing through the IV they gave me. I was thinking as he was talking, "do I still have time to run?" I stayed, but in total trepidation as he went through the paper work and told me the things that could go wrong and I needed to sign my signature to say he could go ahead with the procedure. He told me once we were done talking they would put the drugs in the IV and I would get very sleepy and I could choose to watch the procedure on the screen.

All of a sudden just seconds later, I felt really dizzy. I said, "I'm scared, I am really dizzy." They told me that was normal and it was the sedatives and narcotic taking hold. Seconds later, I felt real calm as if nothing could bother me. Earlier when the nurse assistant took my blood pressure, it was extremely high because of my anxiety. Now, I could not even hear the blood pressure machine. The doctor explained every move he made. "Laura, I am putting in the tube right now and we will go all the way through the colon to see what's going on." I can honestly say, the feeling of him putting the tube in did not bother me at all. I hardly felt it.

I can't believe I actually watched the whole entire thing on the screen and asked questions. There were times it was a little uncomfortable but nothing to write home about. The sedatives had me so sleepy and calm. I think it took about 15-20 minutes in total. When the doctor said it's over, I was amazed and exclaimed, "Really?"

The nurse assistant rolled me into recovery which only lasted 30 minutes. They just want to make sure blood pressure and oxygen levels are normal.  They did have an oxygen clamp on my forefinger during and after the process.

Then.... My twin sister came to pick me up. I guess I was a bit loopy, but she drove me to a quick Chinese lunch buffet and then home to bed. I had not eaten in 24 hours so I had to eat. I got home and my sister got me all set up in my lovely bedroom where she had our wonderful fury family come sleep and nap with me. My dogs knew that something had been off, so I think they were as relieved and tired as I. The dogs and  I slept for 4-5 hours. What a great nap, great smooth procedure, and great news, my colon looked great and there were no polyps. I won't have to go back for ten years.

I hope this post helps you get in for your colonoscopy. It really is a very safe and easy procedure. It could save your life. A screening is easy and prevents a horrid type of cancer. I now know the stories and drama I hear about the colonoscopy procedure is not true. Here I am writing you the very day I had mine done.

Good luck to you and let others know this procedure was not a big deal.