TOM SMITH, DIRECTOR
816 4th Street
Three Rivers, MI  49093

269-858-8305​
FAMILY  ACTIVITIES
MARCH/APRIL 2019 GRANGE NEWS

Still have that program book handy that came in your last Michigan Grange News? It’s important to hang on to that, because all of the contests in all departments are right there waiting for you to get started on. Now is a great time of the year to start some of those crafts, take a picture or try a new recipe.

​I recently received our Michigan State Grange Roster, like many of you. It’s kind of sad in a way that many of our Granges do not have anyone listed for many positions. The material goes out, to the Secretary, who in many cases is already overloaded with duties. Each Grange should strive to be sure that they have someone designated as a Chairperson to help get information out to our Grangers. To grow, we need participation and without our Granges showing some effort and interest, it’s difficult. Hopefully, we will be doing conferences again and we can discuss this at that time. And if you have ideas or thoughts on conferences in your area, please let your state leaders know.

​As I am writing this article, it’s 4 degrees above zero, with winds! So I though this information might be of interest to all.

Heating Safety — Be Warm and Safe This Winter
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three foot “kid free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying in to the room, ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.  Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly!

​​Which Wood Burns Best?
It’s fireplace time again and with it comes the problem of buying or cutting your firewood. Now, I don’t claim to be a scholar on this subject of what’s best, but this poem might help.

​Beech wood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut’s only good they say,
If for long its laid away.
Birch and Fir logs burn to fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
Elm wood burns like a church yard mould,
E’en the flames are very cold.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room,
With an incense like perfume.
Oak and maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter cold.
But Ash wood wet, and ash wood dry,
A King shall warm his slippers by.
**source unknown
MAY/JUNE 2019 GRANGE NEWS

Is it really Spring? What a wild and crazy winter season we’ve had, here’s hoping the rest of the year is a little more moderate.

I wanted to announce some changes in our department. In the not so distant future, you will be getting your annual report form for the Family Activities Department. Please take the time to read and go over this with your member and be sure to send it in. Every Grange (Subordinate and Pomona) who report will receive a certificate for their efforts during the year. A special award will be given to the Grange with the most outstanding work for the year. It’s acceptable to just check yes or no, but a small explanation of your work would make for better clarity for the judges. I’m really hoping for at the very least to have 75% of our Granges reporting. We can do it, if you do it!!

​For years, this was the Women’s Activities Department, and has now evolved into Family Activities, and I would like to encourage every Grange to work a little harder in promoting the family aspect of not only the department, but our Grange as a whole. The Grange is sort of unique in that all ages and genders all come to the same meetings and activities. This is great, but we have to strive to make sure there is something to interest the varied make-up of our Order. Plan outings that would interest all. Go as a group to a local zoo and have a picnic. Go as a group to a concert or sporting event and sit together. Put together a potluck favorites cookbook that centers around those tasty treats that are a special favorite at your own local Grange. Put a float in a local parade with all ages on board. The ideas are unlimited as is our potential for growth, if we choose to.

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For the last few months I have been taking a class called “Brain Training” here in Three Rivers and have really had a good time as well as learning a lot more about myself and others. It’s a 90 minute class, once a month but I wanted to share just a little with you to maybe help when dealing with others.

Benefits of an Optimistic Attitude
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines optimism as a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. An optimist is “one who usually expects a favorable outcome.”

Benefits of Optimism
Recent research has shown that optimistic people have better memories. Some of the many benefits of optimism include:
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Decreased likelihood of depression
  • Better overall health, including reduced blood pressure, better circulation, and a healthier immune system
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater likelihood of achieving goals and dreams
  • Reduction in time needed to recover from setbacks. A longer life
  • Increased sense of life satisfaction
  • Greater likelihood of having healthy relationships. People enjoy being around optimists and are more likely to socialize with them than others who are pessimistic.
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Nurturing Optimism
There are many ways to Nurture optimism, below are some examples. Add your own at the bottom of the list and review it on a regular basis.
  • Limit the time you spend with pessimists.
  • Incorporate more humor and laughter into your daily life
  • Look for the positive
  • Focus on what you an change and let go what you cannot.
  • Do things for others. Volunteer
  • Develop friendships with those who are optimistic. Optimism is CONTAGIOUS.
  • Look at the mistakes you make as opportunities to grow.
  • Look for the best in every situation.
  • Try to solve problems rather than just complain about them (or creating them)
  • Adopt positive language, saying you can’t do something is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, saying that you will be able to do something may result in success!
  • Celebrate each day and all that is has to offer.