Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Working with the DAR and who are they?

In December. The House of Hope had the pleasure of working in conjunction with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the TS DAR.
 The Crab Orchard DAR helped organize and transport record-able books donated by the House of Hope to soldiers at the Fort Campbell, KY base.  The books will be recorded by the active military members for their children telling them a story that reminded them of all the things they would do if they were home such as “give them a hug”, “play games with them”.  

On Saturday, November 5th, 24 Junior Members of the Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Revolution (TSDAR) gathered in Crossville, TN for their annual Junior Membership Retreat.  Membership in the DAR provides many opportunities to serve in a variety of projects promoting the motto of God, Home, and Country.  As part of their annual retreat, the members volunteered their time at the House of Hope and Threads of Hope Thrift Store.  Some members worked sorting items at the store while others gave their time to clean and assist at the House of Hope.  A Junior member is a DAR member age 18-35.  Junior Members are encouraged to learn and to lead in support of DAR objectives.  For additional information about the TSDAR, please visit our website,
This is the first time the DAR and House of Hope have joined efforts and I was intrigued to know more about them.  I see the DAR words in the paper quite a bit and am also an American Revolutionary patriot ancestor, yet I know absolutely nothing about the group or what they are.  I contacted Emmy Edwards and the Crab Orchard Chapter Regent Jayne White and asked to meet with them and find out more.  I was amazed at all the things they do not only for our county but nationally and worldwide as well.
I was under the impression that these ladies sit around and have tea, talking about our ancestors and the wars. I was so out of the ball park on that.  They work hard at preserving our most important history of the inception of the Unites States of America.  The war that united our country together for freedom and independence and something we should continue to remember and celebrate especially in a time when there is so much separating us. 
 The Crab Orchard Chapter isn’t necessarily from Crab Orchard.  The name was chosen for this area due to the significance of historical events that took place there as is with most chapters’ names.  The Crab Orchard station was a popular resting place for travelers on the Avery Trace. Among those travelers were Presidents Jackson and Polk.
The DAR not only helps to maintain historical records, artifacts and monuments, they work tirelessly with veterans of all wars, active military personnel and their families. They are dedicated to betterment of our country through education and working with our school children is a huge passion for this group.  They offer scholarships in history, music, nursing and medical. 
Many of our counties members read to the children in local schools and host celebrations for Washington’s birthday creating the atmosphere that is fun for all and the kids get to learn all about our founding fathers and our country’s beginnings.  They also sponsor our high school girls to go to Girls State in Nashville.  I was really amazed at the continually work they do in the county as well as in the nation.  The women would also travel to our nation’s capital for events and representation of our area.
To be a member of the DAR, you will need to prove heritage association to a patriot that served during the American Revolution.  Not only a service member, but may also be a civilian that aided the cause.  If a descendant had previously been in the DAR, you would only have to prove heritage to that descendant.

I have found, through meeting these women, it is exactly what we need as a country to come together and never forget the courage, dedication and sacrifice it took to be who we are now.  The DAR continues to embrace that unity and the foundation that built this country. Even though many times we are divided in opinion, we will always be united as Americans in the shadow of what our ancestors achieved.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kids and Drugs. It's Just Not My Problem

As a parent, have you ever looked into those beautiful eyes of your four-year-old child and your heart exploded with love and you think all I want for this child is to be this happy forever. 

What is it that we truly, honestly want for all our children?  If we are true to our parent intuition, we would say that we want our children to be happy.  We want them to not get addiction to anything and not want their life ended before ours.  I did sit at my dinner table one evening. I watched my son eat, talk about his day at school and tell corny jokes that just made me laugh anyway. Then I imagined. What if? What if this very child made one choice, one day, to try a drug.  A drug that would consume him the very first time he just tried it.  What if this child right here, telling me about his love for science decided things were too hard, peer pressure said there was an easier way, changed course and fell down the slippery slope of drug addiction?

My heart began to break into a million pieces just thinking about it and I could have cried right then and there.  All too often that’s a nightmare many parents have or will have to live.  Just because my child has not fallen victim to such behaviors, doesn’t me my heart doesn’t break for those who do. In fact, it motivates me even more.  I don’t want you to live that.  I don’t want even just one more child, regardless of who they are or what their situation is, to head down a path that would destroy an entire family or the families to come.

In essence, it is my problem.  If something so strong can break my heart, even if I haven’t experienced it first hand, I move.  I’m called to move. It is now my obligation to do my best and seek out answers.  This is your call too. I don’t feel any human can turn a blind eye to an epidemic of such mass proportion just because it doesn’t affect them directly.

One year ago, Cumberland County began an anti-drug coalition.  It encompassed all non-profit agencies, law enforcement, health care, Rehab Centers and any individuals interested in coming together to head into battle on the front lines of addiction.  As it is named, Cumberland County Rising, it is in the business of help, support and education in an effort to take back our children.  There should be droves of people in this county coming together to say, “I’m in. Tell me what to do!”.  Get involved, get educated. Take just one minute and visit  It is your battle. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Domino Effect

I thought I had a grip on this domino effect., until I started to volunteer my very limited and insignificant skill sets to the House of Hope.

We have so many dedicated volunteers at the Threads of Hope Thrift Store.  This store not only gives the House of Hope the ability to create programs, classes and help for families in our community but is also a hub for the needs we are called to meet.  Here's the scenario of a day in the life....

Margaret Handley recently lost her husband 6 months ago, a wonderful man and father she has spent the last 60 years sharing a life with.  As part of Margaret's healing, she finally is able to part with his belongings.  Knowing his passion for kids and community, she decides to donate his clothes, personal items, his favorite recliner and those old silly John Deere wall hangings she can't wait to be rid of.

Margaret calls the Threads of Hope and asks if they could pick up these items for her since her kids have moved away and she has no other means to bring them to the store.  The pick up is scheduled and the crew is on the way.

In the meantime, the House of Hope receives a phone call from Department of Children's Services.  A family they have been working with recently has the opportunity to go from the homeless shelter to an apartment and asks if there is anything we can do to help out.

The truck pulls up to the residence.  One employee of the store and one volunteer greet Margaret with a smile and conversation about her needs.  They understand this is a hard situation and offer the utmost care with her things. They reassure her that her husbands items will be a great benefit to the community, give her information about our mission and leave with the same smiles and wonderful stories of a man they never knew.

Denise Melton, the director of the House of Hope inquires of the DCS worker as to the needs of this family. The father, Jim,who had lost his job and couldn't pay for his rent, packed up his kids and showed up at the homeless shelter. Nine months earlier, Jim's ex-wife, was arrested for sale and manufacture of meth amphetamines.  DCS became involved when the children were removed from the home after the mothers arrest.  Jim was notified that his children were at the House of Hope waiting for placement. He had no idea of the situation and received full custody of the three.

The truck pulls into the unloading area of the Thrift Store. Items are unloaded, labeled and ready to prepare.  Clothes are ironed, electronics are checked, items are cleaned, dusted and repaired if needed to a working, good condition.  All this is done by volunteers at the store.

Denise, with a passion to help this family get back on their feet and give these kids some sense of a normal life, goes to work.  A call to the store reveals that they just got in some men's clothes that Jim could have for interviews and clothes for everyday wear. The recliner would go for their new apartment and the shaving kit and personal items will help him through building back a life he once lost.  All this will be freely given to him at no cost and as soon as possible.  The children are also taken care of with plenty of clothes, beds, personal care items that they need as well as school supplies and food baskets.

Does the volunteer who checked and repaired the electric razor know that he just helped a man get a job and keep his kids?  Probably not. Does the volunteer who tirelessly irons the clothes know that 3 children may be able to eat a meal and be full because their dad has clothes to wear to work? Probably not. That woman I see hidden in the back,  dusting dishes and items and maybe a couple John Deere wall hangings, does she even have a clue that a child is looking up on his wall right now, smiling and thinking that one day he would like to be a farmer? I know for sure she does not.

This is the domino effect.  We do the best with the gifts we are given, the heart for others and know that behind the scenes, everything works for the ultimate good.  Margaret would be thrilled to know that her one act of letting go, gave a whole family a new start.  I would gladly and proudly dust glasses, answers phones or whatever little task I am given, knowing that ultimately not one small task will be wasted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life Overview

One of the things I never thought I would do is become a volunteer for a non-profit, community serving organization. I have spent so much of my life working full time, writing resumes, raising children and keeping life from getting away from me, who would have time for that?  I found out that volunteering is something you can do even if you think you don't have the time.  I had no idea you can volunteer even just a couple hours a week!  Just a small amount of time turns into a huge difference for your community.

I should warn you though, volunteering changes your life.  It changes your perspective of the world, your place in it, and what purpose we all serve on the planet.  Since I started my journey over 7 years ago, I'm not the same person I was before.  I see life with new eyes.  I see that every person has a story.  Every child has potential and every human has a gift.

In my desire to use the gifts and talents God gave me, I began searching out ways to use them.  I reached out to the House of Hope and asked if there was anything I could do.  They put me on task right away using the things I love to do most.  Figuring things out and messing with the computer.  It was fun and I was able to work as my schedule allowed.  More on all that later.  I have made some irreplaceable friends and serving makes me happy.

So much happens behind the scenes of the regular public that I really felt the need to share it with you.  These will be my first hand experiences inside the House of Hope. You will hear my stories as well as stories from others volunteering with me.  Buckle up and we'll get started