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Why Care About Neighbors?

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  Logo Credit: purepng.com Could the little town of Nokomis, Illinois, population 2126, be classified as a food desert? It may be soon if their only grocery store is shuttered. Although community leaders have lobbied Kroger, the Cincinnati-based national grocer, to reconsider, the plan is to close the store at the end of January. My heart goes out to these people. My mother was born and grew up in Nokomis. Over the years, I have enjoyed many visits with relatives living there. This closure is problematic because many of the community residents are senior adults who cannot drive the 15-30 miles to nearby groceries stores in Pana, Hillsboro or Vandalia. Meals on Wheels America research notes that 9.7 million seniors face varying degrees of food insecurity. I fear that many of these older adults live in rural communities like Nokomis. They are going to be left without their neighborhood grocers that were a familiar sight during my childhood years.  These small grocery stores dotted small

"There is Grace for This!"

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  I learned last week that they are tearing down the old Greer Hospital in Vandalia that was built in 1925. This is where I was born in 1951. For the last years it has served as an annex and professional building adjacent  to the main hospital. This will "pave the way" (literally!) for a parking lot expansion on the property. I first heard of the demolition from my dad and then read around the subject in the local Vandalia paper online. Surprisingly, the news of this change left me feeling a little "nostalgic depressed." Especially when you consider that the house where my ninety-one year-old dad was birthed is still standing! That doesn't seem fair!  Mark Greer Hospital Demolition Photo Credit: Kevin Keppler About three years ago, I remember walking with my grand daughter Chloe from my sister's house near the hospital over to the annex after the Thanksgiving meal that day. I wanted to show her the humble setting of my beginnings and to retell the story pass

"Craving the Light!"

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During this past Christmas season our church participated in an Advent study resourced by Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Hamilton told a vivid story in his book,  Incarnation about how Resurrection sets up the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service. They turn down all the lights in the worship center and sit in absolute darkness for what seems like an uncomfortable amount of time. They are trying to demonstrate that "we cannot appreciate the light that Christ brings until we linger in the darkness for a moment" (p.121). "Crave the Light!" Image credit: depositphotos.com Hamilton further describes the drama that builds in these moments of anticipation, "We sit there in the darkness... babies crying, children antsy, we sit there craving the light... then one candle enters the room" as a reader shares this scripture, "In the beginning was the Word... In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. T

Wishing You Happy New Year!

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This is the time of year in which our well-wishes turn from Christmas to New Years. We have spent this past month of December wishing everyone a "Very Merry Christmas!" Now with the turning of the calendar, our sentiments are expressed as wishes for a "Happy and Prosperous New Year!" The dictionary defines a wish as "a desire or hope for something to happen." We bless others with a positive wish for good things to come to our family and friends. This is the often repeated expression of the New Year. Making New Year's Wishes! Image Credit: depositphotos.com The other evening, we heard something different about wishes while streaming the latest super hero film, Wonder Woman 1984!   Warning! This could be a "spoiler alert" for those who have yet to view WW84!   The two-and-a-half hour action-packed adventure is based upon the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe and features the comic series character Wonder Woman. The ending has a susp

Christmas Eve Musings!

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  Just days before Christmas and all through the room, Not a person could stand or a cleaner could broom! The gifts, stuffers, boxes and packages awaiting their wrappings Were seasonal reminders of loving and celebrative trappings! Santa's Helper! One of Santa’s most dedicated helpers was full of Christmas passion As she studied, contemplated and talked through her every abstraction. Would this match up better with a preteen grandchild or younger? Or… should I bestow this special surprise on a larger age number? The time is counting down without a way to stop the clock. Getting these sacked and delivered is causing me obvious shock! I’d ask Mike to help but he’s bossy, difficult and dismissive! I’ll just plod on my own and pretend to be short of taping adhesive! 🎄🎅🤶 It is for sure that I am not the rhyming writer of our family, but I couldn't resist this little verse! Monique has been writing the family Christmas newsletter for more than thirty years now. W

"The Beginning of the End!"

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 "Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end!" These are the sentiments of many who watched as people in the United Kingdom were being given the first shots to end the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, I was watching the global news broadcast "France 24" through our Roku and delighted to see the first and second persons vaccinated. The first British person to receive the Pfizer-released vaccine was a ninety-year-old grandmother. The second individual to receive it was an eighty-one-year-old man who had the unique name of William Shakespeare (like the famed English playwright!). I laughed when Francois Picard, the news desk reporter said, while holding back his laughter, "We can't make this up! My colleagues in the newsroom are calling this moment, 'The Taming of the Flu!'" (an obvious and playful reference to Shakespeare's Shrew!). A Vaccine of Hope! Image Credit: iStock.com A little levity is appropriate in order to release the pressure val

Christmas Double Trouble!

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We have a daughter who is coming home with her family to spend Christmas with her identical twin sister! It is "double trouble" once again at this season. Twin sisters and their families home for the holidays! Eleven people will fill up a house for sure! If you don't know, twins are inseparable! They are a great blessing that's hard to explain and impossible to divide! The best of friends and the fiercest of rivals! One thing I have learned over the years, don't take sides because they can "turn on you" in that moment! Like the athletes they are, they will take up for each other and tag team any opposition that comes their way! Since 1939, the Wrigley company has been using twins in their marketing of chewing gum. We have delighted in seeing various twins who have been featured in television commercials over the years. As many of you, we have sung along the catchy Doublemint  tune while chewing away, "Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doub