Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bama Quilt Gets a Tryout

I finally finished the quilt for Nicolas. Here he is lounging around on it at a wedding shower last weekend at a wedding shower in his mom’s hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Nic was the only guy there. His dad was at Grandpa and Grandma Hammer’s house watching Alabama’s A-Day football game on ESPN. Unlike urban protocol, Mid-America small-town protocol still allows that men don’t much care for attending wedding showers. Personally, I agree, but Nic did not seem to mind one bit I am told.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

National Volunteer Week Starts April 19

Most of my long-time readers know I work for a nonprofit organization that helps low-income senior citizens and children. Heck, some of you have even contributed to HSP. So, y’all shouldn’t be surprised that I would have volunteers on my mind this week.

I recently recruited three new volunteers for our speakers’ team. These speakers spread our community outreach efforts further than our small staff ever could. What impresses me most is that these talented people are working full-time; and yet, they are called to volunteer their time when I’m sure they could be otherwise engaged. Our nonprofit’s lifeblood is the volunteer. With a lean paid staff, volunteers support us every day in our mission to alleviate some of the pain caused by poverty. I’ll bet it’s that way at most nonprofits.

Today, contrary to what was once the image of volunteers as retired folks seeking ways to fill newly acquired “down” time (we have a great bunch of those folks too), volunteers come in all ages and from all backgrounds. One of the new speakers is a young man not long out of university who plays music on the weekend in a band. Another is a working-outside-of-the-home mom with two teens. And the third is a dynamic young man who is working and going back to school. The common thread is that they are passionate about wanting to help others and have chosen our organization as the conduit.

If you have an extra hour or two, find a way to volunteer. You’ll make someone happy and that could even be yourself. And if you happen to be in the Chicagoland area, drop by for a tour this Tuesday. I’m making oatmeal scotchies.

Open House for National Volunteer Week
Humanitarian Service Project
465 Randy Road, Carol Stream, Illinois
Phone: 630-221-8340
Tuesday, April 21: 9:30-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

We lost a dear family friend this week. He passed way too early, barely out of adolescence. For the last few months he had faced an illness which only seemed to get worse. Finally, the time came when we had to say goodbye.

Like those we love and lose, I will remember the good times most of all. As a youngster, he swam in our pool and chewed sticks in the front yard of my Alabama home when he visited. He flunked obedience training, but he was smart. He learned to go the door, indicating a need to attend to business best completed outside if you know what I mean. Then, he would pull the trick of stealing my spot on the most comfy chair before I could close the door.

His human mom and dad are sad and so I am.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Revisiting Spring

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Sheltered from the still chilly north wind, the bright daffodils surprised me the other morning as I headed off to work. Yet, there they were as if overnight they sprung to life, brave little souls they were tucked safe against the south wall of the house.

I think of daffodils as the first harbinger of spring. Maybe I should credit my fifth grade teacher for my love of daffodils since she required us to memorize poems, and I think that was when I first read William Wordworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” more commonly and appropriately called the “Daffodils.”

Today is sunny and soon less hardly plants will venture forth. I can barely wait. As the life contained in dormant seeds and bulbs begins to push its way up toward the light and warmth, so shall I.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Cause for the Little Ones

February 23, 2008, doctors at Rush Copley Hospital in Aurora, Illinois, delivered Nicolas Bryant Noblitt at 26 weeks gestation. In case you “don’t know nothing about birthin’ babies,” that’s way too early.

Baby Nico spent 101 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, best called NICU by those families all too familiar with NICU alarms, monitors, endless tests, teams of medical professionals, and constant worry about what comes next.

On the cusp of summer, Nic came home that sunny June day with machines, monitors, and tubes and wires. Not exactly the vision most new parents have for their baby’s homecoming. Books like “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” and its cousins can hardly prepare new moms and dads for the exhausting and anxious ride they are in for when their baby is born prematurely.

So worried and hungry for more information shortly after Nic’s birth, I turned to the March of Dimes Web site to learn more about what this little guy could face. It delivered (pardon the pun).

The March of Dimes is a charitable organization I supported long before baby Nic came into this world. As a schoolgirl in the late 50s and early 60s, I remember the March of Dimes coin cards handed out to raise money. Think about it, this campaign worked! When President FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, that was the goal—find a cure. Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine against polio did just that. Dr. Albert Sabin’s oral vaccine brought even easier access to protection. Little pink sugar cubes dosed the vaccine to millions worldwide.

With the success of the vaccine for polio behind it, the March of Dimes shifted its focus to preventing premature births and fostering research into helping those little ones born too soon have a shot at a good life. And today, they fund research that gave Nic and his NICU buddies a chance. Yes, I know the organization needs to work on fiscal responsibility, and since I work for a 4-Star Charity Navigator nonprofit, the fact that March of Dimes is not there yet bothers me a bit. However, they have my support.

If you happen to be in northern Illinois on Sunday, April 26 at 8:00 a.m., join Team Nic at Pottawatomie Park, 8 North Avenue in Saint Charles. And if you can’t make it, follow the link and help Natalie reach her goal.

And visit Nic on ciao-nico. He is surely one cute guy.