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 At least once a year - often, over the Presidents' Day Weekend - my wife and I make a three-hour trek south of Louisville, near Bardstown, to the Abbey of Gethsemani for a weekend retreat. We did so again last week.


The forty or so Trappist Monks who live and work at the Abbey have a very structured life: seven services a day, from 3:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., within which they chant the Psalms (completing all 150 Psalms every two weeks), simple meals at the same times each day, work assignments between services, because each monastery must be self-sufficient (The Monks at Gethsemani make and sell cheese and wonderful bourbon fudge.). And, although the Trappists do not take a vow of silence, they do speak only when it is necessary, thus leading lives of contemplative silence, in order to make them more receptive to hearing and understanding God's will.


My wife is Catholic; I am not. She looks forward to our regular retreats as an opportunity to reinvigorate her faith (and to regain a modicum of her sanity, which is always at risk because she has to put up with me). Even though I find it easy to consider weightier topics than usual during the retreat, I usually am satisfied just to retreat into the silence for a weekend to catch up on some reading, perhaps a little writing, and empty out the clutter in my mind. And, though I don't often wake up for the very early morning services, I do attend most of the ones I am awake for. And I never get tired of the neat little tent signs that are placed on the tables of the dining room: "Silence is Spoken Here."


One of the lessons I have learned as a result of the eight or ten years I have been retreating is that there is value in taking a step back and examining your life and its priorities to make sure the two are lined up. Someone once told me that in order to understand what is important to a person, you need examine only his calendar and checkbook. That was a revelation to me, and one that I use often.


In addition to weekend retreats, I try to take a little time each day to reflect on the alignment of what I think is important, and what I am spending my time and money on. It's an exercise I would encourage for anyone, and it takes just a few minutes at the beginning or end of the day.


And if sometimes, a weekend of peace and quiet sounds like a good idea, check out the Abbey of Gethsemani.








For many people, philanthropic giving is a lifelong commitment that provides both personal satisfaction and financial benefits.


Through the Butler County United Way Planned Giving Program, you can give a general endowment gift that benefits you and your family, while ensuring vital health and human service programs are available for generations to come.


To learn more, contact Mitchell Willis, Director of Resource Development at [email protected] or 513-863-0800.




Our Volunteer Recognition Breakfast and Awards will be held on Friday, April 20, 2012, from 7:30am - 9:00am at The Oscar Event Center at Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield. Our Day of Caring-Spring 2012 when hundreds of volunteers with do projects in our community will immediately follow the breakfast ceremony.



Liberty Mutual celebrates its 100th anniversary by serving!  Friday, June 22, 2012 Liberty Mutual employees across the globe will serve the communities they call home.  Here in Butler County over 800 employees have the opportunity to serve.  Projects coordinated through Butler County United Way include pre-work on homes that will be served by the Group Work Camps this summer through SELF, Reading with the children and painting in the buildings at the Boys and Girls Club and helping Big Brothers Big Sisters organize materials as well as a bowling outing with children on the waiting list to be matched with an adult.


Students and seniors served by volunteers from all generations


Butler County United Way's Women's Leadership Counsel and the West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance's Impact 21 joined hands at Shared Harvest Food Bank On Friday, February 10th. Women from our community and 19 high school students worked side by side filling 890 bags for the weekly Backpack program and 299 boxes of pantry items for our senior citizens. 


Click here to read the rest of the story on our website.

The Requests for Proposals for the 2012-2013 funding year have been released. Documents and information are posted on our website.

2012 Hamilton Home Repair 


Volunteer to Help Repair Homes


In July of 2012, nearly 400 kids will be coming into Hamilton from around the country to repair between 50 and 60 homes in the city.


There are a number of volunteer opportunities to help these kids do a great thing for Hamilton. Take a look at this list of roles and responsibilities, and contact Vanessa Jackson at [email protected] if you would like to help or for more information.

Butler County Volunteer Administrators Network

Butler County Volunteer Administrators Network Business Mixer

If you're a volunteer administrator or work with volunteers is some capacity, join the Butler County Volunteer Administrators Network for an after-hours event from 4:00pm until 6:00pm at the Hamilton Welcome Center on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012.

For more information, contact Rhonda Brown at 513-524-5670 or at [email protected].

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