ONE YEAR AGO, my nightstand was essentially a simple shelving unit with one tiny drawer and open shelves—open shelves which drove my husband crazy with the menagerie of books, rotating found items, lotions, and potions, and dust. Since the “stuff ” was not going to change, we bought a pair with two drawers and an opening at the bottom. Voila! I was going to be organized and streamlined.
Well … that did not happen. I have more “stuff ” in the drawers, the same number of books, and the nighttime necessities seem to have grown. What I display changes quite frequently as I am a hopeless rummage enthusiast. Pair this obsession with an Eldership at First Presbyterian Church Lake Forest (FPCLF) overseeing the Bi-Annual Rummage sale (requiring daily donation and sorting operations) and you create a reduce/reuse/recycle monster. It has been a passion and labor of love to work with our team of dedicated Rummage volunteers for the past three years. There are some involved who have been there for as many as 50 years since start of this mission 70 years ago!
Mission is a major focus at FPCLF, and over 30 partners are supported through church fund donations and the proceeds from Rummage sales. Over 2 million dollars have been distributed to charity throughout seven decades of sales. One of the most brilliant relationships is with Beacon Place in Waukegan. During the sale week set-up, members of the Beacon Place community aid in set-up and then shop the sale. The organization then receives proceeds in the form of grants. A true full circle.
Nothing goes to waste. When donations are dropped at the church, they are sorted, then sale worthy items are packed and stored off-site until sale week. Damaged or broken items are sorted for textile recycling, local artisans for use in their creations, and special collections for area charities who are collecting specific items throughout the year. One of our biggest partners is WINGS Chicago, which takes our sales-worthy overflow to its shops to raise money for domestic abuse relief programs.
Rummage aside, my nightstand collects books from the Lake Forest. Presently I am reading three of the Monks of New Skete tutorials on how to raise a puppy. Yes, we adopted a COVID-19 puppy and I need refresh on the basics. How quickly we forget how much work they are and what joy and love you receive in return! Also in the queue are The Happy, Healthy Non Profit and Ken Follett’s The Evening and the Morning, which I will read when I finally get some sleep.
Although the top shelf books come and go, the bottom shelf is the permanent home of my heirloom bible gifted by a dear friend and the beautiful trinket box my son handmade for me.
Finally, my most recent found item is a sweet frame from the rummage in which I placed a favorite picture of my dad the year before he died. We were all dressed up for church and I don’t even recall who snapped the pic. It was a happy time before he was taken from us by suicide. Seeing him before I turn off the light makes my heart happy and reminds me that everyone has a story, everyone is going through something, and to never forget to reach out to your people with messages of love as often as you can.