Struggles—good or bad? by MARCIA HUFSTADER Third Church of Christ, Scientist One answer to the question “Good or bad?” could be: It’s all in how you handle it. While mowing the lawn the other day, I found myself singing a song I danced to when I was six years old. Part of the lyrics go like this: “Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May; and if it’s raining, have no regrets; because, it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining violets.” Analogies can only be taken so far, but this made me think about how we interpret our experiences, our struggles. In this song the rain could symbolize our challenges and struggles. Sometimes struggles get the better of us, especially ones that have gone on and on. We might find ourselves focusing on the struggles and how to get out of them, how to manage them, or how to avoid them. In the midst of it all, maybe we need to look for the blessings instead of the pain, the flowers instead of the rain. Just knowing that there is a good side to every challenge or struggle can be helpful and hopeful; it can give us a reason to go on and proceed with even an ounce of joy. That ounce of joy does wonders. Maybe that’s the type of leaven that Paul refers to in the Bible (Galatians 5:9): “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Sometimes all that’s needed is to add even one little part of joy, hope, forgiveness or perspective to our thinking process so that we can start seeing that the situation isn’t as bad as we thought. I read and study another book along with the Bible, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. I have found comfort and assurance in its pages as I have faced challenges and struggles. One of the statements I have found helpful is, “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.” This is especially assuring when we think of another statement from the Bible (1John 4:16), “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. […]
August 18 2011
Business going well at Ed Koehn Chevrolet An open house at Ed Koehn Chevrolet, 4650 14 Mile Road, proved auto and elegance go well together. With a crowd during the entire two and a half hour event visitors mingled, enjoyed fantastic food by Twisted Vine, and had a chance to visit with Ed Koehn of Ed Koehn Ford in Greenville, as well as his son, Aaron, in charge of the dealership they purchased in February of this year. John Decker, former owner, was among the visitors and couldn’t be happier the operations are going very well. He was glad to accept “a generous offer to go away,” seven months ago. The dealership employs five salespeople with more planned to bring on. There are also three office staff, two service techs, a tech manager and just opened a new quick oil change facility. “This is a great place to work,” said James Israels who came to the dealership after Israels in Grand Rapids closed.”It’s great to be with another family company. We have fun customers and the Koehns are good people to work with.”
SCHOOL BEAT Designing Inclusive Environments by JIM VANDERKOLK Director of Operations Rockford Public Schools My daughter is finishing her masters degree in occupational therapy and presented me with a challenge (as my daughters frequently do): to assess the accessibility of Rockford High School from a wheel chair. So, I did. I navigated through the empty halls. Even though the school meets requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a few challenges are still there, especially with my lack of skill in a wheelchair. Entering various rooms, hallways and athletic fields, trying to get into the art hallway, navigating the elevator, and accessing the football stadium are all tricky maneuvers. I could only imagine what it would be like if I were trying to traverse a busy school full of students, employees and parents. Rockford has always made accessibility a priority. New projects and existing facilities all must meet specific requirements. Continuously evaluated for accessibility in order to develop the least restrictive environment for all. When planning new projects we must consider those who will be using them. For example, a visually impaired individual can locate and access a restroom, classrooms are available for an individual in a wheelchair, and athletic facilities manageable for someone with an orthopedic condition, among many other scenarios. Spending an afternoon in a wheelchair was a unique perspective, to say the least. Our existing facilities should strive for absolute inclusion. It is our responsibility to make accessibility for all a reality. The team component and a district-wide effort to remove hallway and classroom obstacles would improve the flow. Our continued goal is to provide the best possible environment for students, staff and the community. This requires a vigilant awareness of accessibility above and beyond the requirements. Spending time in the facilities with alertness to potential barriers to individuals with special needs will improve our own awareness and ways to improve Rockford Public Schools.
Candle Shop, Burlap-n-Rags leave location after 32 years by BETH ALTENA Shoppers will no longer be able to find The Candle Shop and Burlap-n-Rags at the little red store at 52 Courtland Street in downtown Rockford, but will soon find the inventory from those two businesses at 27A North Main Street, where Meg Franz has operated BowDacious for just over five years. Franz is excited about the consolidation, although she admitted to having shed tears more than once at the idea of closing the doors where her parents ran the businesses before her. She chooses to see it as an opportunity to streamline business and expand inventory. “We will completely close August 21, 22 and 23 to move and have a grand re-opening Saturday, September 10,” Franz stated. Catered by Twisted Vine, Franz said she believes people will absolutely love the new look of the store as well as the new product lines she will introduce during the grand re-opening. She said the back section of her store will combine wedding and baby items, the middle will be shabby chic and “artsy fartsy,” and the front will be the rest of the apparel, jewelry and home décor. Blended throughout will be The Candle Shop inventory and her mother Sally’s rug-hooking will be in an “earthy” nook. Franz’s husband, Charlie, who has been holding down the fort at The Candle Shop, will now be able to concentrate on his custom candle business, which he has been doing for 38 years. Franz believes he is the only person in the area left who still creates candles with wedding invitations, memorial photos, congratulatory cards or about anything else built into the candle for viewing. The candles can be burned in such a way that they last forever and can be a permanent memento of significant milestones. Franz is sure the transition will be a new era in her business and hopes her loyal customers, and new ones, will be as excited as she is. The hours at BowDacious are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or, as Franz likes to point out, “until the last customer is ready to leave. When people are in shopping, I stay open.”
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last Friday evening the Rockford Blockbuster Video store hosted, for the first time ever, a Community Involvement/Awareness event. What a better way to kick off what will be an on-going program than to support Rockford’s Farm Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest. Your reporters, acting as unofficial campaign managers for the Rockford Farm Market in this contest, were allowed to set up a voting site just inside the entrance to the video store. Going forward, Blockbuster plans to make their store available to other individuals, groups, or organizations as a service outreach to their customers in Rockford and the surrounding communities. “Events such as a community blood drive, fire department safety programs, first aid demonstrations, and law enforcement programs such as ‘say no to strangers/say no to drugs’ geared towards children are examples of events Blockbuster might consider hosting,” said Rockford’s Blockbuster Video store manager, Kelly Hoye, adding, “We would not approve petition takers especially those backing a recall or politicians campaigning for public office, for that matter. In other words, nothing of a controversial nature that would imply Blockbuster’s support.” That evening we were honored to be the first group chosen to participate in this newly begun program. We were there to further promote a feel-good community effort – that being named America’s Favorite Farmers Market. We had little difficult harvesting some 100 new votes in the three hours we were allotted. Very few people “say no” when asked to cast a vote for our cherished hometown farm market. Thank-you Blockbuster for allowing us to take advantage of the high customer count traffic at your Rockford location. And thanks also to everyone who voted that night. Every vote counts and yours might be the one that will put us over the top! Groups or individuals interested in reserving a day or evening in this on-going program may contact Rockford’s Blockbuster Video store manager, Kelly Hoye, at 863-9996 for further details.