December was delightful.
We were still turning the region orange and becoming ever more creative in doing so. I am thinking of SI Keighley with their large television screen showing the slide show of information in the shop window of the town. There are other examples too many to mention. THANK YOU to all those involved in lighting up, dressing up, leaflet distributing, hanging up and speaking out.
On Sunday the 4th December I found myself singing at the Carol Service organised by SI Dewsbury. My husband Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed galloping through the carols to the sound of the brass band.
On Monday the 5th December I was singing at a more gentle pace in the castle with SI Skipton.
Thursday 8th December brought me the honour of sharing the 90th birthday celebration of Elizabeth Hughes. We were entertained by a group of Ukrainian refugees who sang and danced for us. They presented Elizabeth with a traditional doll they had made especially for her. A gift I am sure she will treasure. Lesley Berry summarised with humour, and delicious tongue in cheek, the Soroptimist journey Elizabeth has taken. I was asked to say a few words in recognition of Elizabeth’s great contribution to Soroptimism over the years. My conclusion was that –
- Elizabeth’s contribution to Soroptimism is immeasurable.
- The positive impact she has made on the lives of women and girls around the world is unquantifiable.
- The consequences of her actions, the ripples of the pebbles she has thrown are infinite and unimaginable.A good night was had by all. My thanks and appreciation go to those organising the event and including me in it.
The 13th and 16th December saw me contributing to the ever growing need to distribute food parcels for local people. I was reminded of the tangible sense of community emanating from this when sat listening to the King’s Christmas Broadcast on Christmas Day. He referred to the words ‘in the dark street shineth the everlasting light’ from the carol Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. He spoke of the belief
the Queen had in the power of that light as an essential part of her faith in people. He said that the power of light in overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief and within those of no faith; it is seen in the true humility that lies in our service to others and gives hope for the future.
Like him, I say lets celebrate our service together and cherish it always for the difference it can make to lives of others; women and girls everywhere. I agree that the service we give to those around us in greatest need shows heartfelt solidarity which is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as ourselves. How rewarding it is to be a Soroptimist – the best of sisters.
So here we are at the start of 2023. A new year full of potential, possibilities and the unknown. Let us begin the adventure that is 2023 with this poem by Edmund O’Neill.
Set yourself free from anything that might hinder you in becoming the person you want to be. Free yourself from the uncertainties about your abilities or the worth of your dreams, from the fears that you may not be able to achieve them or that they won’t be what you wanted.
Set yourself free from the past. The good things from yesterday are still yours in memory; the things you want to forget you will, for tomorrow is only a sunrise away. Free yourself from regret or guilt, and promise to live this day as fully as you can.
Set yourself free from the expectations of others, and never feel guilty or embarrassed if you do not live up to their standards. You are most important to yourself; live by what you feel is best and right for you. Others will come to respect your integrity and honesty.
Set yourself free to simply be yourself, and you will soar higher than you’ve ever dreamed.
I wish you all peace, good health and more good news than bad for the year to come.
Take care and stay safe.
Yours in friendship,
SIyorkshirepres2223@hotmail.com 07505294382 or 01274427303