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Grace United Methodist Church

Mary's Message: Seeing Grey


Pick a Star Fish and Help
Today I received a very nice email from a Wraparound Specialist at an elementary school. Wraparound Specialists are people trained to help meet the needs of students outside of the classrooms so that they can have success. Sometimes academics can be hindered by fears of food or housing insecurities. This email was from the third Wraparound Specialist that has contacted me since the school year began. I also saw the Wraparound Specialist from my alma mater, Lamar High School, reach out to the alumni on a Facebook page. This tells me that a) Wraparound Specialists are getting better at reaching out for help, b) there may be more of them employed across the district, and c) the need for assistance is very great.
We were able to deliver 150 backpacks filled with supplies to Burrus Elementary, our partner school before in person learning began. We also brought a giant box filled with extra supplies. Ms. Black, their new specialist, said that she would help get the supplies to other campuses in need, so I referred the other two specialists that have contacted me to her.
The need is great in Houston, even all across the world, but our little church can’t help everyone. I think I’ve shared the starfish story before, but I’ll share it again because I love it so much. There was a boy walking on a beach littered with starfish. He walked along, picked up a starfish, and tossed it back into the ocean. The grown up stopped him and asked why he was doing it. He couldn’t possibly save them all. The boy replied, but I made a difference to that one.
I have a heart for helping others, but I know my limits. I thought to myself, we already help at Burrus, when I saw the call from Lamar for sanitary items, shampoo, and deodorant. Let someone else take care of that starfish. But I went out and got some inexpensive items anyway. As I was preparing Grace’s school supplies for her return in November, I sent a message to her teacher asking if she needed any of the extra things I picked up… and what else did she need. She needed hand sanitizer, crayons, and pencil boxes. I got that. I can handle that.
We can’t save all the starfish, but you can make a difference to one. Is there a local school near you that is in need? Give them a call and find out what they need. Maybe it’s extra clothes because it’s a free dress year. Maybe it’s hand sanitizer (it’s almost always hand sanitizer.) Maybe they need more crayons or individually wrapped candy for the teacher’s lounge.
Pick a starfish and help out. You can make a difference.







Self Care

I got to attend a virtual workshop on Self Care and Burnout today from my Christian Educator group. It was good to see some of my friends and colleagues again, but it was also really good to hear the topic at hand. The first thing the presenter did was state the obvious: we are in the middle of a global pandemic. It is a traumatic situation. We all have different tools for coping, but it is hard on everyone.
She said something I had heard before, “Everyone is in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.”
We are all in this together, but we are all experiencing it very differently. Some may have a very difficult pandemic, but it is hard on everyone.
Our presenter defined burnout as a special type of work related stress, a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss. If you would like to know more about the symptoms of burn out, email me and I will send you my notes.
One of the ways to deal with burnout is self care. It’s not a luxury or all about bubble baths and chocolate. (Okay, maybe a little. You know what you need.) Self care is about doing what you need to do to be the best version of you. If that means cleaning up the dishes before you go to bed so that you have a clean kitchen in the morning, you do you. If it means taking a walk or sitting in the car to eat ice cream, you do you.
I want to leave you with the same challenge that she gave all of us attendees. Make a “SMART Goal” for yourself. A SMART Goal is:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
A smart goal would not be: “I’m going to write.” Instead, it would be something like, “I’m going to write one page a day for a month.” Or more realistically, “I’m going to write 15 pages in the next month, or about half a page a day.” We were encouraged to make a SMART Goal that involved something to do with exercise, diet, hydration, or sleep. We were encouraged to just make them something you could accomplish in a week because the pandemic is so hard on everyone. My goal is to get in 10 minutes of walking for five of the next seven days.
Finally, she encouraged all of us to not necessarily take away a bad habit, like eating ice cream, but instead to add something healthy. So instead of taking away ice cream, you might just add fruit to your treat.
Stay healthy friends! I hope this helps you do a little self care during this very trying time.
Don’t forget that the pumpkins arrive on Saturday, October 17, at 9am. We would love your help unloading. Please remember to wear a face mask, and you might bring gloves as we pass the pumpkins around. We are also in need of volunteers at the Patch to sell pumpkins. If you are able, please sign up here:
Grace United Methodist Church
1245 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77008
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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