479 Tuscany Drive
Portage, MI 49024

Tel: 269-365-0401
Cell: 518-222-6622

Whew! I suspect that for many of us, since about mid-March, there have been some trying times. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it fear, concern over the loss of certain rights, and a somewhat higher emotional level for many of us. Each of us has our own specific concerns during this time, and it is not always easy on any given day dealing with the stress. Mother Nature even seemed to be emotional as the Midland floods caused many to lose their homes, and severe storms left people without power for up to four days.
Following, or at about the same time, a series of significant events have led us to consider another topic that is emotional for everyone, no matter what your personal beliefs and feelings are. Our country continues to grapple with its relationship with race.
As Lecturer, I am tasked with providing education and presenting factual information, so far as that is possible. I took some notes this afternoon regarding the topic, but came upon the National Grange statement released and posted to the National Grange Facebook page and the website on June 9. Since many of you may not have easy access to either of these, I decided to copy that post below and forego additional comments.
I hope that each of you has the opportunity to think about the statement below, and what it might mean to you as we move forward, as a country and as the Grange.
The National Grange unequivocally opposes racism. The voices of Grange members across our country join those who cry out in sorrow for the lives lost to racist actions, for the divisions racism has cleaved between us and for the inequality that racism has spawned across our beloved nation.
Since our founding in 1867, we have lived by our motto, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” We have always welcomed and invited people of all races, creeds, religions and nationalities into our membership. We have asked none to join us who cannot see good in their fellow beings, who are willing to put to work their generous hearts and open hands to raise all their neighbors and communities.
Our Grange founders provided us a Declaration of Purposes for our organization that addressed a need for unity and civil discourse: “We shall constantly strive to secure harmony, good will, and brotherhood… We shall earnestly endeavor to suppress personal, local, sectional, and national prejudices… We desire a proper equality, and fairness; protection for the weak; restraint upon the strong; in short, justly distributed power.” These words still guide us today.
One does not merely join the Grange, but lives by the principles of faith, hope, charity and fidelity and loving their neighbor as themselves.
We have a deep commitment to the freedoms of speech, expression and peaceful protest enshrined in our Constitution for all people. The Grange’s Declaration of Purposes also teaches us that “…difference of opinion is no crime. Progress toward truth is made by differences of opinion, while the fault lies in the bitterness of the controversy.” Therefore we urge everyone to exercise their individual rights of expression in a civil and respectful manner. Each day, law enforcement officers must uphold the law equally while exercising good judgment and compassion.
Just as we do in each of our meetings, we must meet the peaceful expressions of various opinions with open ears and open hearts.
In this time of social unrest and anxiety, Grange members renew our pledge to combat prejudice and racism and will continue to strive to do better. We continue our 153-year-old tradition of welcoming all to our membership, building an inclusive family fraternity and providing our communities with a place for civil discussion and proactive, positive change.



Time to Create and Grow After receiving about four inches of snow in the past week, I was wondering if we really would have Spring. However, today is a beautiful Spring day. My daffodils survived the cold weather and snow, and even came back with more blossoms, and the weeping cherry is absolutely loaded with flowers, which the bees have found and are enjoying.

​Today, I knew that I needed to write this article. I am always telling everyone to work on their State Grange Contest entries, so decided I need to practice what I preach! This afternoon, I completed an entry for the Deaf Awareness Essay Contest. Luanna has three different topics you may choose from, and are limited to 300 words. It is not necessary to develop a topic into a long story as this is only about ½ page typed. I also have experimented making a new recipe of quick breads in the last week that I have enjoyed eating that might be a potential candidate for entering in the Family Activities Baking Contest.

​Of course, I hope that you might consider creating something for the Lecturer’s contests. With time on our hands, this is a great opportunity to bring forth your creative side – perhaps in drawing. Contests are not designed for experts, but instead to help members grow their talents. For those that have access to the In t er ne t, there have been an abundance of art related resources online as a result of the kids being out of school that could provide some ideas. I found this website that is designed for kids, but could give adults ideas for drawing as well: https://craftwhack.com/100-crazy-cool-drawingideas-for-kids/ . For those with limited computer access, often magazines are available in the household and can provide ideas for sketching a drawing. For the two-dimensional drawing/painting contest category, pencil drawings are an option, so it is likely that you have supplies on hand to create that kind of entry. Looking forward to what you create!

​The COVID-19 situation has meant more time spent within family for many. In an effort to keep everyone busy and engaged in a fun activity, you might try creating a scavenger hunt. Some of you may have a tradition for doing this Easter morning to find the Easter surprises, but it could be done any time of the year. This is especially fun when there is some sort of reward that is at the end of the hunt. The hunt could be done indoors, outdoors, or both. Depending on ages involved, it could involve taking photos of “found” items. It could be an individual or team event – lot of options for some fun.

​The word “persevere” came to me during the “stay home” as I was considering my particular scenario. And while watching our church service on Facebook Live, where Hope was discussed, the light bulb went on in my head. The Fifth Degree in the Grange ritual emphasizes and has lessons on “hope and persevere”. Let us move forward in the days ahead doing exactly that – Hope and Persevere! New ways of doing things, and new things to do are likely to evolve as we proceed in the months ahead.