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Merit Makers

Every week, there are seen and unseen heroes that help keep Kadampa Center running.
Here are just a few!

Big thanks go out to Kevin Murphy this week for buying us a lovely tall, sparkly Christmas tree! Kevin heard us mention our old one was on it's last leg and he stepped up and offered to get us a brand new one. He even dropped it off the next day for a couple Family program elves to decorate it in time for our Sunday Celebration with Robbie-Claus. Thanks Kevin, you are appreciated!

A huge thank you goes out to Ann Skvarcius this week for her amazing Annual Appeal design. Ann worked diligently and happily to produce all the products you saw when mailed out to you, the poster, the mug design and your gift that will come when you Fill Your Heart! Thank you once again Ann, for bringing a vision to life in hopes that many will benefit from ... all the way to enlightenment.

Thank you Erin Sloan, Cherie and Jen Sutorus, Miranda Benson, Dan DeMaio-Newton, Deva and Viola Kumar, and Sheila Smith for your practice of one of the six perfections: Generosity. Your offering of money, time, and attention to Kadampa Center's members and especially to the children in the Family Program made this year's 5th annual holiday celebration a heartfelt success.

Thanks go out this week to the small yet committed group from the 3-day Lamrim Retreat and its leaders Don Brown and Robbie Watkins. Lee Clark, Scott Dickerson, Linda and Orion Saah finished this intensive retreat together on Thanksgiving weekend. No one professed to be enlightened yet lots of positive seeds were definitely planted:) They dedicated it all to others. Hands folded to you all especially our first teenager to do a full retreat!

Thanks go out this week to Carol Love, Julia McCollum, Diane Meyer, Rene LaReau, Venerable Lhamo, Miranda and David Benson for stuffing envelopes just days before Thanksgiving stuffing! We had a lovely time and some shared backgrounds were discovered. The more we get to know each other the stronger our Center becomes. Thanks to all y'all!

Thanks go out this week to Joey Gooch, David Horton and CJ Wilkerson. They have labored diligently to create a attractive block wall in our garden by the stupa for erosion control. The view from the road is enhanced and our property is well taken care of. Thank you guys for the hard work!

Thanks go out this week to Carol Vogel. Carol's love of flowers and plants blossomed into a question "May I take care of the plants and the freshen the flowers at the Center once a week?" Yes Carol you can! She visits us every week to nurture the plants and freshen the flowers on the alter, thrones and desks. We all appreciate your artistic eye, love of growing things and your happy, content smile when done. Thanks Carol!

Many thanks to all the volunteers who are helping to make Jonathan Landaw’s visit a success! We rely on our members to pitch in with greeting, setting up and taking down water bowls, driving the teacher and assisting during the program. Big thanks to Ven. Khando, Julia McCollum, Jim Barnes, Karen Mastroianni, Carol Vogel, Arlene VanRyckeghem, Elise Strevel, Jill Medford, Fran DeRespinis, Craig Cornish, Joey Gooch, Amanda Henry, Peter Cranford, Sara Alasandro, Jill Marie, Glenn Hunt, Erin Sloan and Trish Coffey.
You rock the Center!

A big thank you to Kim Lillig and Patti Pandya for planning, hosting and leading a very fun Mala Making class Saturday morning. Everyone had a great time learning how to redo broken malas or design new ones from scratch. Patti and Kim were so excited they can't wait to do another class, so watch the calendar and start shopping for beautiful mala beads now! Thanks Kim and Patti for all your time and effort.

Thanks go out to David Horton this week. David popped in a couple weeks ago saying he'd like to help and after we discussed what he loved to do, we quickly found an uncoated new set of cabinets that could use some attention. David finished the project with ease, a happy mind and lightening speed. Now our communication corner is complete. Look to the wall over the bench for communications about 'us' and the wall by the bathrooms about events or offerings from our 'members.' Thanks David for your willingness to step in and help.

Many of us get our first taste of the Dharma through one of our introductory courses — Meditation 101 and Buddhism in a Nutshell. A wonderful group of senior students leads these courses, helping to open the door to the Buddha’s teachings. We’re so grateful to them! Our big thanks to Ven. Lhamo, Ven. Khando, Ven. Choekyi, Sandy Carlson, Karen Mastroianni, Elise Strevel, David Machles, Scott Miller and Hemant Pandya.

Thanks go out this week to our former bookstore manger Cherie Sutorus. Cherie has decided to step down as manager after many years of volunteering in our fabulous bookstore. She oversaw the relocation and design of it's beautiful current location as well as the procedural changes of a new register and it's helpful ease of use. Cherie supports and manages a volunteer staff of 7 comprised of 2 managers for merchandise and books, Kolleen and Dan, plus 5 check out staff. Of utmost wonder is how Cherie managed this year's LOP retreat with sales that support our ability to fulfill Lama Zopa Rinpoche's wishes.
Thank you for your loving years of service to the Center Cherie!

Thanks go out this week to Erin Sloan for kitchen magic! From time to time kitchen cabinets bust at the seams and need to be culled out. Erin took on this task with gusto and is making our KC kitchen more functional and user friendly. She has worked many hours during the day and after classes at night. Thank you Erin for all your hard work behind the scenes!

Thanks go out this week for a behind the scenes helper, Michael Flaherty. Most of you would never know the wonderful things that Michael does at the Center since he has a "call when you need me" approach. He has opened, picked up, dropped off, repaired, moved, touched up and driven whenever we ask. "Happy to do" is reflected in Michael's smile. If you want to catch him to say thanks, drop in any weekday at 8 am when he opens the door for our morning meditators. Thanks Michael!

How lovely to come back into our gompa after the Light of the Path retreat and see the face-lift that our altar received. The beautiful blue background gives the illusion of clear sky beyond, and opens up the whole room.
Many thanks to Joan Lacey and her husband for painting the altar wall!

We were blessed last month with a visit from Lama Zopa Rinpoche for a day of teachings here in Raleigh and a two-week retreat in Black Mountain. Dozens of committed Dharmateers pitched in to make these amazing events possible. People helped in so many ways — greeting folks at the door, setting up and cleaning up, packing and moving a truckload of materials to the retreat, providing food, offering flowers, planning details, renting chairs — and much, much more! Every offering of service was essential to the whole, and every moment of service is deeply appreciated!

Thanks to all in our community who helped to make it happen!

The Light of the Path retreat is truly a dependent arising and could only exist through the efforts of many, many people. While dozens of people contributed to the success of this year’s retreat, special thanks go to the core group of planners who gave countless hours of joyful effort, beginning eight to ten months in advance, to creating a retreat that was truly an offering to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and our fellow FPMT students.
Big thanks to Joanna Smith, Cherie Sutorus, and Karen Edwards for their dedication and hard work!

Thanks go to those who stayed in Raleigh during the Light of the Path retreat to keep things moving along. You helped those who were away to have a peaceful mind by your offering of service. It takes the whole team to make our Center thrive, so thank you for your team effort!

There are so many people to thank for the preparation of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's visit and for Light of the Path retreat in Black Mountain that we couldn't fit them in this note! So thank you, thank you, thank you to all y'all. You are very appreciated. May your merit expand exponentially!

Thanks to all the gardeners that helped get the Center gardens clean, tidy and weed free! You are lovingly appreciated. Without helpful people like you, the Center wouldn't nearly be as beautiful as it is for the arrival of Rinpoche. Gardening hats off to you!