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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Ginger Dawn Harman!!!

Ginger Dawn Harman (#6451) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning a Beginner Level Let’s Get Physical Merit Badge!

“In January, I spoke with my doctors and received the approval to exercise at our local Health and Wellness Center associated with our hospital. I have been battling a left bundle branch block and pulmonary issues. After several tests and a couple of different inhalers, my health has stabilized. So, time to increase my physical fitness. For starters, I have set the goal to visit the gym four days a week. I also did the physical assessment and will do another one in three months. This will also be given to my internal medicine doctor. For weight loss, I have set the goal for 10 pounds. It is best for me to go slow and steady so I do not get discouraged. As for eating, let’s face it, I eat too much and eat terrible food.

Nevertheless, I am making it a goal to purchase more local and organic items. Oh, and eat less of it. I am really proud of the progress that I have made in my first month. I have lost four pounds and have tried several different classes such as Tai Chi, Water Aerobics, Interval Weight Training, and the machines on the main gym floor. I am a fan of the elliptical and recumbent bike. My favorite class is Water Aerobics, but today, I decided to step it up and do Aqua Boot Camp. Oh Lordy, my arms and calves are still feeling it. This was a good lesson to not jump into the harder classes when I am not ready.

I feel very fortunate that I am able to attend the Health and Wellness Center and look forward to my next doctor’s visit with my results. Even if you set a small goal, with 250 steps an hour, that is a start. To be honest, I take my health for granted, even though it is not perfect. Many would be more than happy to walk, swim, or ride a bike. When I get discouraged, I imagine that those who are not able to do these things sorta step into my body and go for it. I imagine their joy and happiness. This snaps me real quick out of my negative mood. I feel that sometimes, our biggest challenge is ourselves. Anyways, I am glad that I am taking the time to take care of my health and I encourage all to do the same.”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Denise Meister!!!

Denise Meister (Denisemgm, #1976) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level UFOs Merit Badge!

“Oh dear, I have a lot of UFOs (but not as many as I had a few years ago!). I’ve been diligently working at decreasing my UFOs, particularly with fabric and yarn.

I put several different projects in designated bags with the right supplies and patterns. I made a list that I can check off when I finish a project, and I try to spend some time every day working on a project (whether it’s bringing my knitting with me when I’m waiting for my kids or whether I dedicate an afternoon to getting something done).

Lists are always good, but here are my two major lessons:

1) Don’t buy supplies “just because”—only buy supplies needed to finish what you’ve already started. (Admittedly, this is sometimes hard advice to follow, but it also helps me not to get distracted in my favorite stores—especially when I tell my daughter not to let me get more stuff!)

2. If you’re not still in love with the project, it’s okay to pass on the supplies on to another person or to a thrift store. I find that when I finish UFOs that I’m not passionate about, it becomes a little bit of a waste of time because I won’t really use/cherish what I just spent all that time making. So I pass it on and focus on UFOs that I still really love!”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Marcy Lundy!!!

Marcy Lundy (Marcy, #170) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Quilling Merit Badge!

“I started off learning to quill by making quilled snowflakes, then I wanted to progress further by learning how to do different shapes and flowers. So I thumbed through the quilling books that I have and decided to make a small collage that I plan on framing and hanging up once I find a frame that I like for it.

I really like how it came out and I loved learning how to quill the different shapes. It’s a bit time consuming, but I think it’s worth it. I’m already planning what I want to quill for my expert badge!”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Marcy Lundy!!!

Marcy Lundy (Marcy, #170) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level UFOs (Unfinished Objects) Merit Badge!

“I started off the new year by finally cleaning out my craft closet … and that was when I came across these crochet squares. I completely forgot that I even made them. Lucky for me, I have enough yarn to finish them, although I am not sure how many more I will make. Once I think I have enough, I am going to sew them together and make an afghan out of them, complete with a wavy border.

I’m really liking how the squares are turning out. I have enough leftover yarn too! So this is a great way for me to use up the leftover yarn as well. I will post a pic of the afghan on the chatroom when it’s finished.”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Ginger Dawn Harman!!!

Ginger Dawn Harman (Ginger Dawn, #6451) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning a Beginner Level Mindfulness Meditation Merit Badge!

“As soon as I read the e-mail from MaryJane listing the new merit badges for 2017, I squealed in delight when I saw mindfulness. I cannot begin to list all the positive effects of mindfulness. First, my health in general has improved. My blood pressure is lower, I am able to regulate my breathing much better and now only use my inhaler once a day. Moreover, I am sick less often and my immunity has improved greatly. I also feel less stress since I began practicing a mindful lifestyle. I meditate every day and have been using the Insight Timer app since Jan 1, 2016! I haven’t missed a day. I prefer the guided meditations, but I have also used the bell. For the purpose of this badge I started again on January 1, 2018.

There are many benefits to regular meditation. For one, the health improves. I am a great example of this. Interestingly, one of the central benefits of meditation is that it improves attention and concentration: One recent study found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points. In 2013, I participated in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia. It was an 8-week course that taught me how to meditate and live more mindfully. Our class had a nun, several doctors, a retired preacher, and a few who were battling different medical challenges or learning to practice mindfulness within the public school and health professions. There’s been increasing interest from educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school kids who are dealing with the usual stressors inside school, and oftentimes, additional stress and trauma outside school. Some schools have starting implementing meditation into their daily schedules, and with good effect: One district in San Francisco started a twice-daily meditation program in some of its high-risk schools—and saw suspensions decrease and GPAs and attendance increase. Studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation for schoolchildren, but more work will probably need to be done before it gains more widespread acceptance.

INeedMotivation.com made a wonderful list of 100 benefits of meditation.

Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 min. per day is good). Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it!

Oh and after you have meditated for a while, you might enjoy a Mindful retreat! Can you believe that I have done this and went an entire weekend with NO TALKING! I encourage everyone to give Mindfulness a try!”

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: All Dried Up, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,200 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,226 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/All Dried Up Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I invited Nora to take a peek at my spice cabinet.

She seemed a little suspicious, but she agreed. This badge was all about those yummy, fragrant, delicious bits of greenery: herbs.

photo by JoJan via Wikimedia Commons

Helpful hint from me to you: when dealing with smallfries, be sure to call the plants and such ‘herbs’, not ‘spices’. Call them ‘spices’ and you will watch your children’s legs turn into the Road Runner’s as they hightail it outta there. Or at least, such was the case with Nora.

She was pretty certain I was trying to trick her into eating spicy foods. I reminded her that spice just meant flavor and when she got a little bigger (and grew into her taste buds) she might not mind a little kick now and then. She was skeptical, but at least she came back into the pantry.

The Beginner Level badge was all about learning and tasting (does it get any better than that?) and smelling and touching. If you want to up the ante with your rugrats, do a blind taste/smell taste. But if you’re like I used to be before I was bitten by the farmgirl bug, your spice cabinet might need a real overhaul.

I mean I may or may not have had a jar of marjoram that expired in 1994.

Whatever.

I digress.

Don’t be like me.

Nora was delighted to discover some scents she really dug. Sage, bay leaves, oregano, basil, vanilla bean, cardamom, clove, cinnamon sticks, ginger, mint leaves, celery seeds … okay, you got me, not all of those are herbs per se, but once we got to opening jars and sniffing and tasting, we were hooked. She was not overly fond of ground mustard and she discovered that yes, inhaling pepper will indeed make you sneeze (she thought that was an urban myth).

photo by Casey Fleser via Wikimedia Commons

“But how do you know what goes well in what?” she asked, sneezing again. “Pass me the cumin, would you?”

“Trial and error, my girl,” said I. “Here, what do you think of smoked paprika?”

“Yum. Oooh, lavender! Give it here!”

We spent some odiferous time together and we emerged with slightly singed nostrils and a well-organized pantry. Not all were a big hit with Nora, but I assured her they taste differently when used in recipes, or if you had fresh as opposed to dried.

“Put your money where your mouth is, Aunty,” she replied.

“Absobloominlutely,” I answered, pulling down a cookbook from the shelf. “What should we start with? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks? Desserts? Brunch?”

“Yes,” she said.

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