Tag Archives: Gratitude

A Christmas Campaign that ACTUALLY Matters: GIVE LOVE

It’s a marketing campaign that is simple and understated and red. It’s not flashy, nor fancy, and not overtly “church”-y either. But I’m not referencing coffee cups. I’m not referencing boycotts or hashtags. I am referring to something that actually matters; something that will make a real difference in the lives of others.Give Love

I’m talking about: GIVE LOVE.

While some people are ranting and making noise about things that don’t really add up to a hill of (coffee) beans, there are other people just outside of Sacramento, California, spending this holiday season being generous and doing good. They are looking into their hearts and reaching into their pockets to make this Christmas season very special for an entire county of foster kids. What are they doing, you ask? They are choosing to GIVE LOVE.

The GIVE LOVE campaign got its humble start just last year in Yolo County (yes, folks, it’s really named “Yolo”) when a brand-new church saw a need in their community and met it. While serving as a chaplain with the Woodland Police Department, Matt Van Peursem, the lead pastor of Catalyst-Woodland, became aware of the considerable need for more resources for the county’s Child Protective Services. Nearly every single day, the county adds one new child to the foster care system in Yolo County. Unfortunately, there is generally a gap of approximately 48 hours from the time the child is in CPS care until he or she is placed in a more permanent home. During this time, the resources (think everything from comforts of home to basic hygiene needs) for the kids are incredibly limited. Enter generosity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and everything good in this world… in the form of Catalyst and people who genuinely wanted to make a difference.

The 2014 GIVE LOVE campaign resulted in 425 backpacks filled with overnight clothes and toiletries for all kids entering the foster care system. Bonus: stuffed animals were donated as well and were added to the bags given to the younger kids. Now if that doesn’t warm your heart more than a tall caramel macchiato, I don’t know what will!

Because last year’s generosity was so grand, and the Police Department still has backpacks awaiting their future owners, Catalyst decided to find a new way to GIVE LOVE this year.   Last year, they met needs. This year, they decided to make wishes come true! With a little bit of help, the Church was able to get the Christmas Wish List of every single child in the foster care system. They intend to transform each and every wish into a wrapped present.

GIVE LOVE 2015 was launched just this past Sunday and will culminate on Catalyst’s one-year anniversary, December 6th. In the first hour, the good folks in Yolo County have already picked up 160 GIVE LOVE cards containing the Christmas Wish of a child currently in foster care. Most likely, more than 300 wishes will be turned into reality this Christmas season. These wishes range from grandiose requests for a new bike or a Nintendo DS, to the more unassuming, like a wish from a 17-year-old girl for a $20 gift card to simply get her hair cut.   No matter if someone is granting the smallest of small wishes or making the unimaginable come true, one thing is certain: it matters. To quote Pastor Matt, “We do this because these kids end up in foster care as a result of devastating circumstances that communicate to these kids that nobody loves them, adults can’t be trusted, and promises are made to be broken. Everything we do in the GIVE LOVE campaign is to restore hope in those three things: Love, community and a bright future.”

The act of showing love and kindness, of finding generosity when it’s least expected, of being able to GIVE LOVE is the reason for the season.

It’s easy to get distracted by rants and other irrelevant noise streaming into your various social media feeds. I urge you to take time this holiday season to focus your eyes and heart on people who are doing things that really mean something. This is just one example of people doing good. No doubt, there are many more such examples; look for those examples; highlight them on your feeds. Find the good and GIVE LOVE.

For more information about the GIVE LOVE campaign, click here 


Motherhood: The Half-Time Report

My daughter turned nine years old yesterday. She is my eldest child. When she was born into this world, I was born into motherhood. Now, this morning, the day after her ninth birthday, I realize she is closer to her eighteenth birthday than she is to the day she was born. With the revelation that I am, essentially, at the halfway point of my parenting career with her, it’s hard not to take a few moments and consider where I stand.

I stand a near-decade away from those interminable nights of lying awake wondering if my brand-new daughter was safely asleep in her crib down the hall. While she slumbered, I wondered if I should swaddle her tighter, use organic bath wash, or pay more attention to “tummy time”. I would gradually drift asleep with one thought remaining, “I guess I will do the best I know how.” My feet are firmly behind the war-zone lines where battles and wars were fought regarding which side of the slice of bread the jelly goes on, why sandals are not appropriate winter footwear, and why toddler hands do not belong near a stove-top. Those battles were sometimes long and drawn-out when the wee toddler showed the determination and stubbornness that had only been seen in the likes of… well, her father. My strides have taken me through emotional storms of postpartum hormones, seemingly insurmountable doubts of my parenting abilities, conflicting desires to hurry-up this tedious job and at the same time beg the clock to just SLOW DOWN FOR MINUTE OR TWO OR THREE!!! I have slipped and fallen; I have tripped and stumbled; and I have skipped and leaped and jumped a time or two. I have stepped along so many milestones cheering her on; first steps, lost teeth, two-wheel bikes, new schools, diving into pools. The moments have been photographed or recorded, but mostly the journey is imprinted on my heart.

I am here with nine years of parenting history behind and look out towards nine more years ahead. I just might have an idea about what the future holds for me. I will pace nervously in my bedroom during MORE endless nights wondering if she is safely asleep in her bed down the hall, or at a friend’s house, or in her college dorm. I will wonder if I should sign her up for more extra-curriculars, let her go to the movies with that boy, or insist that she make her bed every morning. I will try to find my sleep with the thought, “I am doing the best that I know how.” I will continue to try to find solid footing on battles over clothes and friends and school-work and tone of voice and curfews and music choices and music volume and cell phones and social media boundaries and car keys and which college to attend and so much more. I hope that while she may not look at me and see a friend, that she will also not look at me and see a foe. I hope our battles will be interspersed with peacetimes at coffee shops and practice fields and laying on her bed talking about whatever comes to her mind. I am confident that I will have to stride through tween/pre-teen/teen hormonal angst like none I have ever imagined. These next nine years will surely make me second-guess my mothering instincts and continue to have a love-hate relationship with the clock… it’s unfailing ability to neither tick faster nor slower. I nervously step up to the milestones that lie in front of me; school dances, wins and losses, driver’s license, first loves and heartbreaks, and so many more “real life” moments that will be so very important to her along the way. I hope I will know how to encourage while giving her space, letting her fall but giving her a place to land, letting her know she will always, always be my baby girl.

So here I stand, closer to embracing my daughter as a young woman than I am to snuggling her new-baby self.   I am not sure if I want to cry for days gone by or smile for adventures to come. For tonight, I will probably just sit down and do both.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…
well today’s blog is worth five doodles:Nine 4

Nine 2

Nine 3

Nine 1

Nine

Today’s quote isn’t famous, but just a reminder:

“I’m going to do the best that I know how.”
– an average mother


Heavens to Besties!!

Some of the most important people in my life are my best girl friends.  I am a lucky girl to have found my best girls and today’s blog is for them… 

15 Reasons Why I Love My Best Girl Friends:

  1. You have noticed and asked me why I haven’t blogged in a long time.  Thanks for supporting me by reading my blog and encouraging me to get back at it.
  2. You have made me snort-laugh, which only makes me snort-laugh more.  Extra props to those of you who snort-laugh with me.
  3. You have sent random post-cards to say hello and let me know you are thinking of me.  Thank you for brightening my days most unexpectedly.
  4. You understand that talking on the phone is practically impossible for me with three kids in the house and you happily text along with me.  Thanks for enduring my paragraph texts and/or emoji obsession.
  5. You have eaten frozen pizza at my house on more than one occasion. Thank you for not complaining that I am not a gourmet chef.
  6. You look past my messy house. Thank you for making it so I don’t even have to apologize for it any more.
  7. You make Girls Night Out so fun that I have to repeatedly ask my babysitter if I can stay out later.  I do not thank you for the babysitting bills I have paid though.
  8. You understand my enthusiasm for making t-shirts slogans for just about anything.  Thank you for not rolling your eyes at me every time. 
  9. You let me be dramatic which sometimes includes me hitting you on your arm or leg or shoving you across the room.  Thank you for being my punching bag when I get too excited.
  10. You have witnessed some of my most embarrassing attributes (non-plucked chin hair, sweaty arm pits, inability to pee when others are within ear shot, etc.) and have loved me anyway.  Thank you for letting me borrow tweezers, promising me no one notices my arm pits or leaving the public restroom, etc.
  11. You love to dance. I’m pretty sure if you are one of my best girls you must love to boogie… at least a little. Or a lot.
  12. You have pushed me to be a better me. Thank you for the advice, kick in the pants, and support you have given me, even when I’m whining and complaining.
  13. You have loved my kids almost as much as I do.  Thank you for being surrogate Aunts to my kids and giving me a hand in raising the most important people in my life.
  14. You have encouraged and celebrated and supported Paul and I through the ups and downs of our marriage.  Thank you for being there for us when we had babies, deployments, and every day in between.
  15. You have made me feel loved and accepted and confident in the person I am. Thank you for being my best girl friends!
    I hope that one day me and my best girl friends can recreate this photo!

    I hope that one day me and my besties can recreate this photo!

     


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