Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Join Jasmine and Jasper in supporting Alzheimer's research

An e-mail from Jasmine Showers:


In 2010 both my maternal and paternal grandmothers died from Alzheimer’s disease. My brother and I grew up in close contact with our maternal grandmother, whom we called Momonee. She was wonderful; both of our grandmas were warm, comforting, and accepting people. Over the last five years I witnessed Momonee’s mental decline as the disease grew more advanced. I saw her anger and confusion as she struggled to remember moments of her life, and later when she tried to remember how to eat, dress, and talk. The worst parts to watch were the sudden moments of clarity – the times she knew something was very wrong and realized that she had no control over the situation. Author Thomas DeBiaggo was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s and described the experience of the disease as “the closest thing to being eaten alive slowly.”

As the brain is slowly devoured and gradually succumbs, turning the body into an empty vessel, remembering and writing are more than difficult; they are cold receptacles emptied of content. My memories are slowly disappearing from places inhabited for so long. In themselves, my memories do not compare with the great sagas of this century, the births, deaths, tumult, madness, great art and music, and the intense suffering of so many human beings. Our immortality, such as it may be, is not contained in what we dreamed or the secrets we kept; it is how our friends and loved ones remember us. - Losing My Mind, Thomas DeBiaggo, 2003.

My brother and I want to contribute in remembering our grandmothers. After considering Momonee’s lifelong dedication to reading, writing, and learning, we decided it would be appropriate to try and raise a tribute donation for Alzheimer’s research. On May 6, we are both running the Santa Barbara Wine Country ½ Marathon in memory of our grandparents. http://www.runsantaynez.com/

Please consider sponsoring us as we run to raise a tribute donation. We started a blog where family and friends can post pictures or memories. If you feel like you would like to give a little in Helen or Jean’s honor (or to support Alzheimer's research for someone else you know) please follow the “donate” button on the blog. The donations will be compiled in a donation paypal account that Jasper created and then go to Alzheimer’s research through the Alzheimer’s Association:http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp

Link to blog:http://momonee-grandmashowers-tribut.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Our Easter worship will start with children's activities at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 24. We will have a lesson, a piƱata, perhaps some surprises and no doubt some candy!

Our formal worship service will begin at 10:30 and will be filled with joyful proclamation and singing. Visitors are welcome, and of course children, with or without their parents! Bring visiting family members. Bring friends. Bring neighbors. Bring strangers, even! Our calling is to share the Good News of Christ's resurrection with everyone.

Afterward, we'll have fellowship and snacks.

Good Friday

We will observe Good Friday (April 22) with 7 p.m. service at the church. Our worship will be quiet and short, although everyone is welcome to remain in the sanctuary, or visit it throughout the weekend, to pray and meditate on the events of the week.

There will be no Maundy Thursday service because of the spring program at the school. As we all watch the children, keep in mind the new commandment — the mandatum of Maundy Thursday — that we all love one another as Christ loved us, and consider the ways we join with our community as a loving presence.

Chapter 15, on May 1

We will skip class on Easter Sunday, so that we can devote more time to music and children.

The next Sunday, May 1 (wow!), we will return to "What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be A Christian?," talking about Chapter 15, "Jesus' Example: What Brings Fulfillment?" Here are some questions to get us started talking. Feel free to reply with more questions or comments.

•What are some of the reasons we grow disillusioned with the American Dream?

•One reason I have heard is that it is not, at base, a dream of community but a dream of individual achievement and fulfillment. What is our dream for everyone?

•What possessions enslave us? The house, the lawn, the computer or television, the cell phone? What can we do to break free?

•What possessions enable us to do God's work in this world more effectively?

•In our various opinions, what makes work fulfilling or meaningful?

•What do you think about the life prescription of the fictional Dr. Mark Green on ER: "Be generous with your time. Be generous with your love. Be generous with your life. Be generous."? Is generosity the highest standard of stewardship?

•Ours is a result-driven society. Karyn talked about that a couple weeks ago, and suggested that we don't always need to fix something — that goal is often beyond us; we just need to make the right choice each time we have a choice and trust God to put the pieces together. In the last story in this chapter, Gus, the cancer patient in hospice, died with a smile on his face even though he had not saved the life of the little girl who was his fellow patient. What had he accomplished?

•Bottom line: Can we (the book-study class) come up with a brief outline of reoriented values that would better serve God? Could we be happy with those values?