Spring-stravaganza!

SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012

Spring was definitely in the air at Benedict Inn this week. We made a quick transition from the success of Girls Night Out to setting up for our Spring mega-sale, which was held today.

The Spring Open House sale offers not only our usual hand-crafted merchandise and books found at Shop Innspired, but rooms full of discounted items as well. Most of this week was spent carefully laying out our inventory for customers to view.

Or should I call them “guests?” That’s how we refer to nearly everyone that comes into Benedict Inn. Today we were visited by two separate church groups in addition to members of the local community, and what I think sets them apart as “guests” rather than “customers” in the experience shared at Benedict Inn. Everyone who makes a purchase at our seasonal sales, or any day at the gift shop, knows that their monetary contribution is supporting a good cause, namely Our Lady of Grace and its corporate ministries. Those who work with the items for sale, including those who make, donate and even ring them up at the cashier like myself, know that the purchase is important to the guest. Whether they are buying a good book for themselves to enjoy, or a gift for a loved one, everyone has a purpose behind their purchase.

I guess you could say that working in Shop Innspired is a different sort of retail experience, one that I think provides a deeper satisfaction than just in the material.

Women Helping Women

SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012

Last night, it all came together.

For months, Benedict Inn has been planning Girls Night Out, a new event for the organization. Our wonderful & ingenious marketing coordinator took over most of the planning when duty called, and has seen it through to the end; and what a great end it was!

Last night, 33 women (by my final count) came to Benedict Inn for an evening of special time with their girl friends. The women were offered mini-manicures, massages, t’ai chi, card making, jewelry making, vendors to shop from, and, of course, a delicious dessert bar. Then, to top it all off, all the vendors donated door prizes for us to give away. It was a fantastic evening, and some women even decided to stay overnight and make it a “slumber party!”

However, what I love most about Girls Night Out is that it didn’t just benefit the women who came, but other women and their families as well. Part of the proceeds from last night’s event will be donated to The Julian Center in Indianapolis to support those affected by domestic violence.

Working on Girls Night Out has further shown me the grace of Benedict Inn, and people, in two ways. First, I have seen how much passion someone can bring to planning an event such as this. I know how exhausting, and sometimes frustrating, the process has been for our marketing coordinator, but I can honestly say that I have never seen someone so committed to making sure everything came out so perfectly. I have, and everyone at BI has, such a great appreciation for all the hours and dollars she spent to pull off this program. Second, I am even more convinced of the important role that the Inn has in the local community. I think it is so cool that we can host an event that serves both the women who attend and the greater community at the same time. Last night I was able to see the smiles and hear the laughter of the attendees, but I can also imagine the effects the donations will have for the families aided by The Julian Center.

What’s next for us? Well, of course we have plenty of more events & programs coming up, but we also hope to bring back Girls Night Out bigger & better next year!

For more information on The Julian Center and its services, please feel free to visit their website: http://www.juliancenter.org/

Food for Thought from James

This week I have been home on my spring break from school. However, although I have not been at Benedict Inn, I still want to post a little something to think about.

Here’s a passage that has become so central in my life, and that I associate with OLG and Benedict Inn. It’s James 2:14-26…

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God.” See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

“So you want to teach?”

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

I’d like to give readers a fair warning that this post deviates slightly from what I’ve been writing, but I’ll ask you to bear with me…

More times than not, when I tell people I major in History and Spanish, they ask if I want to: a) teach, or b) working in a museum.

While much of life I considered teaching I now answer this question with “Well, actually…,” and usually set people up for a longer explanation about my interest in non-profit.

I have to admit, it wasn’t until relatively recently that I fully consciously understood non-profits. Throughout my life, I’ve had various experiences volunteering with non-profit organizations that benefit both local and global communities, all of which were positive. When I sat down and really considered these experiences, I came to some important conclusions. First, compared to several of the paid jobs I have had, I have enjoyed my volunteer positions much more. I think this is due to the passion that others put into these projects, and my own passion that I can contribute. Therefore, I reasoned, I want a job that feels like one of these volunteer positions, one where I can use my passion to serve others.

And now you may ask how I explain the relevance of my fields of study to the non-profit world. Well, right away I would say that both my history and Spanish classes have helped me develop my oral and written communication skills – and trust me, it wasn’t always easy! As well, as trite as it may sound, I do think I’ve learned to “think critically.” I’ve been trained to ask questions of nearly everything I encounter, and to think about material in various ways in order to find a multidimensional perspective. Yet, these are skills that are important in any career. What I believe is most significant is the perspectives on humanity I have gained from my studies. Naturally, my Spanish studies have expanded my world; for example, without the ability to speak Spanish, I would have had greater difficulty learning about Honduras and building relationships with the people there. What I think studying history can do for anyone is give them a greater understanding of and appreciation for humanity. History has opened my eyes to not only the problems humanity has encountered, but also the ways in which people have striven to make their worlds better. So much of this is beyond the scope of the work that I will do, but it is the optimistic spirit that I see passionate individuals bring to their work, particularly in not-for-profit organizations.

This is how I view the benefits of my studies to my future and to my overall person. I hope that this post, though lengthy and digressive, will shed light on my thoughts and cause you to think as well.

A Planner Learns to Appreciate the Bumps in the Road

FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2012

As anyone who is close to me knows, I am undoubtedly a planner. I like to have my days and weeks arranged in nice lists of tasks to accomplish. When it comes to my school work, it’s not uncommon for me to work at least a few days, if not a week, ahead of schedule. My goal is to make sure that I have everything accomplished on time, and that everything has its time to be taken care of.

And yet, life does not always accommodate my desires. On a daily basis, I find that new, unexpected things arise that cause me to adjust my plans. As frustrating as this can be, I know that it’s good for me. Besides, you never know when a great opportunity might present itself…

Readers of my previous blog posts will be aware that I’ve had some frustrations lately. My summer plans (as I had them laid out so precisely!) got changed a few weeks ago when I found I could no longer go to Honduras. This change triggered a network of worry about what I am going to do this summer. However, as I have experienced with the little things that arise and can make a day better, I found that having a little faith can bring about something wonderful.

As I fretted over what job, internship or volunteer experience I would take this summer, I kept thinking about how much I enjoy my current internship with Benedict Inn. After some contemplation, I realized that through the fact that my plans were being altered, perhaps God was opening my eyes to other possibilities…including the possibility of staying on with Benedict Inn this summer.

After discussing the opportunity with both Benedict Inn and Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation, I am so excited to say that I will be continuing my internship this summer. I believe that God called me to do the internship this semester for a reason, and so, likewise, I believe I am being called to continue this work. As of now, I do not know what exactly lies in store for me, but, surprisingly, I am okay with that. I’m simply thrilled to know that I will be able to continue to do work that I believe has a positive impact on those I encounter at Benedict Inn.