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Blanket Jackson. I never understood why Michael Jackson would name his son, Blanket. Celebrities, in general, never choose ‘normal’ names like Mary or John. Gweneth Paltrow chose Apple for her daughter; yes, like the fruit. And, Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller chose the name Moxie Crimefighter. Nothing says, ‘It’s a girl!’ like Moxie Crimefighter. But, Blanket—that one’s making a bit more sense to me this winter. We just experienced a polar vortex, where boiled water thrown from a pan outside freezes in mid-air; no wonder a fuzzy blanket readily becomes your favorite accessory. With temps and wind chills, both in the negative double digits, our thermostats had a hard time keeping up…no matter where they were set. We were on a strict 68-degree limit growing up, to keep the heating bills low. Recently, we were lucky if the indoor temp stayed at 68 degrees. So, blankets were essential. I used to have a favorite blanket. It was a muted green with the softest fleece on one side. Some friends got it for me for my birthday one year—from Comforts of Home when it was still in downtown Marion. I loved that blanket. Well, technically, I still love it—although I...

The pain was fierce. Not fierce like when your husband has a cold, but still awful.  😊 Although I came to work that Halloween day several years ago, I ended up urgently seeking a doctor’s attention before the day was done.  I’m obviously still here, so it wasn’t anything life-threatening.  But, he did write me a prescription which I had filled before I went home.  Once I arrived back to the Brown Bungalow, I headed straight to bed leaving it up to my husband to distribute the Halloween candy that I had already placed in a bright orange trick-or-treat container on the table next to the door.  Once I took my meds, I was down for the count and really don’t recall much until the very next day.  That was when we became ‘those neighbors’. Technically, the problem started much earlier in my life when I discovered that I liked to organize things.  And, I must admit that I do have an affinity for a good label maker.  Who doesn’t?  Yes, I’m one of those people who makes a label that says ‘label maker’ just so I can stick it on the label maker.  So, when I was organizing the pantry...

Twelve. A dozen.  It works well with eggs and even Tollhouse cookies.  But, when your house turns twelve, something starts happening.  It’s been a bit like dominos falling.  One-by-one, like teenage hearts, things started breaking.  First up was our washer.  I loved that washer.  It was orange.  I love orange.  And, technically it could be fixed—but the repairman said that would cost more than a brand-new machine.  Ugh.  After washing thousands of loads of laundry and probably eating an army of socks, we had to bid farewell.  So, I told my husband that I’d be shopping for a new washer and dryer after work.  Now, all the wives reading this probably know what’s coming next.  And you’d be right.  The hubs had no idea why we’d need both a washer and a dryer—after all, the dryer was working just fine.  When I informed him that an orange washer replacement wasn’t an option, he still didn’t quite get it.  That’s right, he was perfectly fine with having a white washer and an orange dryer…as long as they both worked. Any woman with Pinterest knows that’s not happening.   So, we compromised and got a new washer and dryer.  He wanted working machines...

Eight years ago, my son’s baseball team had just played their final game of the season and we were looking for a way to celebrate their hard work all summer. In my normal go-big-or-go-home fashion, I had this wild idea that we should take the whole team and their families to an Indianapolis Indian’s game. You’ve probably been to an Indian’s game before—good, old-fashioned family fun. But, I didn’t just want them to go to see a minor league game, although I knew they’d love it. My hope was that they would get to experience some things most of this team had never experienced in their short ten years on earth. We don’t think about this much, but with 1 in 3 children living in poverty in Grant County, some of the team had never been outside of our county before. Not only had they not been to a minor league game, most had never even seen the skyline of a city like Indianapolis. Not surprisingly, they hadn’t done these kinds of things because there just wasn’t money for extravagant activities like this, which would be costly for an entire family. But, they were awesome kids and I was on a...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text] Community Foundation and United Way Partnership Launches Nonprofit Leadership Consortium Together, the United Way of Grant County and the Community Foundation of Grant County are excited to announce a new capacity-building training initiative: Nonprofit Leadership Consortium. Through this initiative, participants will collaborate and learn from one another allowing local nonprofits to maximize their impact, strengthen their organization, and gain valuable ideas to help safeguard their resources. This initiative was formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member. Nonprofits are the backbone of our community, and funders like the United Way and the Community Foundation, help to provide the fortification to keep them healthy and strong! In a cohort setting, participants will have the opportunity to receive a Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CRFM) from Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and also Leadership Development training from Harris International’s own Tim Harris. Registration for the Nonprofit Leadership Consortium ranges from $1,500 - $2,250 (see scale below). Full payment is due upon registration via credit card or PayPal. Registrations must be paid in full to secure a spot. The Cohort will meet every month, August 2018 - May 2019. You must attend every session...

Some of my favorite authors have an impeccable ability to paint pictures with their words.  Roxanne Roberts is the author/artist who created this masterpiece, which actually involves paint, and I love it so much: “Think of your life as a can of white paint. Each significant experience adds a tiny drop of color: pink for a birthday, yellow for a good report card. Worries are brown, setbacks gray. Lavender — my favorite color when I was a little girl — is for a pretty new dress. Over time, a color begins to emerge. Your personality.” This week, I, and about 10,000 of my closest friends, added a few drops of red, white, and blue to our buckets of white paint as we all overtook Gas City Park on the 4th of July.  The weather was perfection for this mid-summer Concerts in the Park/Fireworks Extravaganza.  I don’t think it’s officially called an extravaganza, but it should be!  It was a spectacular event with Adam Wakefield from The Voice opening for 80’s classic rock band .38 Special and a fireworks chaser.  They were definitely Rockin’ into the Night! And, as if that weren’t enough, they had Fair Food.  Yes, yes, I know…this kind of food...

If memory and reality become confused, perhaps that’s as it should be.  I have no idea where I first heard that phrase.  With so many different mediums entering our brains these days, it’s hard to recall the source, but I like the idea. For example, I remember the time that Griffin and a couple of friends found themselves in the most massive of pickles when they handcuffed Dalton to the bannister downstairs.  OMGEEE!  Now in many households this wouldn’t be a big deal.  Those plastic handcuffs they sell at the dollar store can be broken easily.  But, when your dad is a cop, the handcuffs are real.  I had no idea where the keys were and neither did the boys.  Barring a pair of bolt cutters, those puppies weren’t coming off without the key.  There was scurrying and problem-solving and a bit of panic.  I don’t know if they were as concerned about giving Dalton his freedom or the fact that daddy was going to be home soon.  The clock was ticking! There are still a few scuff marks on the stairwell from all the finagling they did to set Dalton free that night.  Occasionally, I notice it when I go downstairs...

Measuring & Communicating Impact: Implementing Results-Based Accountability June 5-9, 2017 (10 am - 3:00 pm local time) Want to learn ways to better measure and communicate your impact? Join our 2017 Regional Forums taking place at five locations throughout Indiana, June 5-9. The program is designed for both funders and their grantees who are interested in achieving measurable results and increasing their impact within a community and/or organization. Each regional forum is led by Lisa Osterman of Community Solutions, Inc., who will provide a walkthrough of the Results-Based Accountability ™ (RBA) framework and how to apply it to specific work you are doing (or contemplating doing) in your community. Funders & their grantees will explore: A practical understanding of the principles of RBA. How to use the RBA framework to measure results and communicate impact. How to develop common language around: results, indicators, baselines, and performance measures. How funders and grantees can use language discipline and data to work more effectively. LOCATIONS June 5: Northeast Indiana, Fort Wayne June 6: Northwest Indiana, Merrillville June 7: Central Indiana, Fishers June 8: Southwest Indiana, Huntingburg June 9: Southeast Indiana, Scottsburg WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Indiana foundations, grantmakers, and giving programs of all types are encouraged to attend and should invite community partners (grantees, nonprofit agencies,...

It was a Thursday night about 7:00 p.m. when my husband arrived at the MGH Emergency Room.  It wasn’t a life-threatening event, but our 2-year-old son, at the time, fell in the slippery bathtub and hit his chin just right.  Just right means a small gash that left the bathroom looking like a crime scene on CSI Las Vegas.  As a police officer, my husband works well under pressure, so he handled the blood, stitches, and tears like a champ.  He even managed to clean up the mess, give the boys a bedtime snack, and tuck them in—all before I made it home for the night.   You see, I didn’t even hear about all of the ‘excitement’ until I arrived home at about 10:30.  I was at my night class, just as I had been every Thursday night for the past two years.  It wasn’t easy getting a Master’s Degree when my kids were only 2 and 5--having a superhero husband helped. Let’s be realistic, life is messy…glitter messy.  And, frequently (read: all the time) when I was working full-time and completing my second degree, my house resembled the before picture of any home improvement show.  True, there was one time...