Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back 2 School 2009 Event

Going to school should be an exciting time for every child. Spreading Joy Corporation is pleased to announce that through the giving of a few corporations and many individuals, we were able to spread some back to school joy to 800 children and teens, thus making our Back 2 School project a complete success!

Your compassion towards children you have never met has touched my heart and blessed me deeply. These children will never be able to thank you personally or repay your kindness but you need to know the gift you provided will have lasting effects on their hearts.

There were 4 separate events of giving out back to school supplies as well as several neighborhoods that were covered door to door.

Each bag contained at least 2 spiral bound notebooks, pen, pencil, eraser, glue stick, bottle of glue, ruler, pocket folder and box of crayons. Ten items total.

In this economy, when people need help, many tend to head to a local church for immediate help. One of the events was at a church where their members have a heart for kids and they were able to add to these items. They added 1 inch binder as well as a mechanical pencil, 5 more pens and pencils. The members also gave out 24 completely filled book bags as a special prize.

There is no way to describe the joy and happiness of watching all the children walk away with a bag full of school supplies. The love and compassion from so many people that gave and prayed and told others about the project was very evident as the eyes of the children lit up with sheer delight while rummaging through their bags.

The joy of shopping, bagging and watching the children get their bags was such an honor.

The store associates had such wonderful attitudes as they rang up thousands of items for us. One even joked with me about help for my glue habit! (At least he didn't see me sniffing the crayons, he would have truly wondered then!!)

I'm grateful to my wonderful friends Dale and Jeanne Strickland who helped with the shopping, delivering and was the extra car that we loaded up with goodies. They endured hours of searching, counting and loading the buggies as well as unloading to the car. Not to mention the silliness that comes from just being near me sometimes when I'm tired. They deserve medals for that much alone.

So many people donated their time to bag at the church as well as my family who spent a day helping to bag at our home. Todd had to keep me in line and make sure I was productive - using a ruler to "whip" me back into shape. (I promise I did not take it when it disappeared son, I have NO clue where it when...honest!)

A million thank you's for your generosity could not even begin to cover how I feel for what you've done!

May you always remember that there's NO joy like spreading joy!

You have not lived a perfect day, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.--Ruth Smeltzer

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back2School Challenge

I was so blessed to be able to have an opportunity to try and raise $10,000 to help 1,000 children go back to school with a book bag full of brand new school supplies. The Apple Foundation of Denver NC issued me a Matching Challenge and I started sending out letters, emails, phones and a few tweets.

This was also the time that Megan started having severe issues with Gastroparesis. She had lost ALL ability to digest solids and to make matters worse, liquids were at this point not digesting well at all! Now, please, do not think that I'm using her as an excuse, because I would do the same in her case each and every time. I spent all the time needed to make sure she was taken care of as any Mommie would do. She is my Princess and she had to be taken care of.

The only thing I would do differently is TWEET it first. That's right. When I started tweeting this on Monday, you guys rallied around and the RT's were unbelievable. So many people were spreading the word and trying to help these wonderful kids and I thank you for it. I'm so grateful for how you guys jumped in and blogged, tweeted and then many of you donated towards this project! I say it all the time, but I really do mean it - I follow the greatest people on twitter.

So, what happened? We were able to raise $1150.00 and the Foundation is mailing a check for $1150.00 - matching what we raised, so we'll have a total of 2300.00 to spend on these children. Will I be able to purchase 1,000 new book bags and give them 16 different items to go back to school with? No, heavens no - but IT IS ALL GOOD! Do you hear me? All good!

Remember the story of the loaves and fishes in the Bible? Hmmmm? Indeed, time to walk the talk. Time to show you that we can make a HUGE difference in the lives of some FUN children. Time to pray for wisdom, make some decisions about which of the 16 items can be purchased and go from there. Time to do what I can with what I have!

Am I discouraged? Mercy NO! I'm so encouraged by what happened last week, you would not believe it! I found out just how HUGE your hearts are! I found out that I know some of the greatest people on earth! I found out that it never, ever hurts to ask.

So, unless someone ships me 1,000 DONATED book bags in the next week - the school supplies will be assembled in plastic bags. Will all 16 items be purchased? Probably not. Doing some quick math and glancing over prices in the stores it appears that the kids will get about 6 or 7 things each. But I honestly believe this will be huge to them and will come back and post the pictures! We may have to cut down the number of bags to 700 or so, but still praying about that direction.

I just wanted to give you an update on what happened, where we are and where we are going. As with any Non Profit, transparency is the key. I always want to remain open, honest and up front. I give because I want to make a difference. That's why Spreading Joy was started. A desire to give. I can't stop it, it's in me!

Oh, just one other piece of info - for transparency sake. I'm blessed to have a full time job - so all of these funds go towards the purchase school items. 100%! One day, when I'm living the dream and Spreading Joy full time, I'll probably take a salary, but until then, it is all about the giving!

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.~James Matthew Barrie


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Making a Change Series - Launch the Dream!

A DREAM you should be launching
This post is the 2nd in the series Making A Change.
(again, if you wrote this, please let me know so that I may give you the proper credit for inspiring me!)

To go out and change the world one should have:

A GOAL you should be pursuing;
A DREAM you should be launching;
A PLAN you should be executing;
A PROJECT you should be starting;
A POSSIBILITY you should be exploring;
An IDEA you should be working;
A PROBLEM you should be tackling;
A DECISION you should be making.

The greatest force in the world is a positive idea

Doing for others is something that I’ve always had a passion for. I love making sure things are taken care of, I love meeting needs of those around me and I love making a difference in the life of someone who is not expecting me to do so!

Spreading joy and doing fun, silly yet encouragement type things is just in me. I can't help myself!

I’ve worked with inner city children for many many years now and have always tried to do more for them to give them the encouragement they need to know that dreams do come true, to know that this path they struggle on now will not always be. I do this through a local church. Sadly, many organizations will no longer support a "religious" Non Profit group and these children feel the pain of it. I kicked around the idea for a year and a half about starting a "non-religious" Non Profit so that anyone, anywhere could benefit from it and so that I could make a difference and satisfy my craving of giving to others. I also realize that so many people are discouraged and think that their little bit doesn’t help – but I want to remind them it does. I want them to know the joy of spreading joy! I personally benefit from spreading joy as I have a need – a huge desire to give and give big!

With the paperwork approved in an amazing 78 days and legal in the sight of the IRS, Spreading Joy Corporation was a go! My dream was beginning – as so was a major recession. Many said "You are crazy, this will never work!" Others said, "no one will get Spreading Joy."

Bottom line – Spreading Joy Corporation wants everyone to realize that every single act of joy done for someone (anyone) reaps HUGE benefits for the receiver as well as the giver. Encouraging others is FREE and anyone can do it. I also believe that those of us who can give and do for others – should.

What are my dreams for Spreading Joy? What if money was no object and I was spreading joy on a full time basis day in and day out? I’m glad you asked, I’d LOVE to share that with you! (Well, at least a few of them!)

1. I would feed the inner city kids I work with every weekend. Many only get "free" school lunches, so when school is out – meals can be scarce.

2. Christmas in July wouldn’t be about preparing for the upcoming Christmas – Nope, it would be a full blown Christmas celebration with all the works, trimming and presents to go along with it!

3. Groceries for others – I would love to be able to walk up to several people as they are checking out of the grocery store and pay for their groceries. 1 person a day, each and every day. Never knowing where I may show up next.

4. Back to school wouldn’t be a horrible problem for several thousand children. Not at all.

5. Christmas – boy, that would be an awesome celebration. All the fixings of a Christmas Dinner for several thousand of the finest inner city I know! 2 or 3 gifts for each of them. Maybe some new clothing. There isn’t enough room to right the dreams I have for these kids at Christmas time! It would be a blast just to sit back and WATCH the magic happen!!

6. Spreading Joy Across America! I would go state to state reminding people of the joy of giving! Speaking about the huge blessings of doing for others! Having sponsors that would enable me to "give" things as I travel to help those in need. Reminding people that there truly is NO joy like spreading joy! There is joy for the journey! It is all around us! We just need to be reminded sometimes!

SNAP, SNAPback to reality. That is honestly just a few things off the top of my head. I would be a little more structured, have a plan etc. But the question now becomes, since we are in the midst of a horrible recession and things are financially worse than ever, what is a gal with a big desire to give supposed to do?

WORK THE DREAM! Launch it! Keep at it until it becomes a reality! Never give up!

*I can’t travel across America and tell others about how wonderful and easy it is to be spreading joy every day and making a difference – but I can meet with various ladies groups in churches and start there. I can show/remind them that there is joy in the journey – no matter what we are facing!

*I can’t throw a shindig of a bash at Christmas, but I can start now, collecting toys and money to make a difference for as many children possible this Christmas. Making sure that 1,000 kids get at least 1 present, but will SHOOT for 3 each.

*I might not be able to fill 1,000 book bags with the necessary school supplies, but I can purchase a few supplies and give that to the kids to help!

*I can’t purchase groceries for 1 person a day, everyday, but I can distribute food to the homeless in my area and help them with their food needs.

*I can’t make Christmas come twice a year for some wonderful deserving children, but I can plan ahead and start asking various organizations to support Spreading Joy Corporation with a toy drive or a change drive that will be used for the upcoming Christmas season.

*I can’t feed the kids every weekend, but I can call companies and see who would be willing to take 1 weekend day a quarter and set a goal of finding 13 Organizations that will commit to feeding the kids once a quarter. I already have one, (Jim – I’m calling you) so I only need 12 more to go!

Will my dream stop there? No – no way! I dream of giving big, HUGE. This is just the beginning. Don’t focus on what you can’t do when it comes to your dreams!

Focus and work on what you CAN do and get those dreams out there! It isn’t enough to "launch it" – work at it. Set goals! Never give up!
Photo: Kids I DREAM of helping! These guys have been hugging me for 3 years now! We helped them at Christmas! I love you Q and S!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cheesy Glory of Pizza!

Oh, the Cheesy Glory of Pizza

Is there anything that brings more joy to a teenager than pizza? Really – is there? Ok, yes, there may be something like getting their license or their first car. Maybe driving off for the first time without a parent in the vehicle is better than pizza. Wait…come to think of it, for a teen, anything without a parent may be better than pizza.

But back to the purpose of the blog post.

After not digesting anything other than liquids for 3 months – Megan enjoyed Pizza for the first time AND kept it down Wednesday night!

I’m so thankful for your prayers, your emails and the tweets that have encouraged us through this entire ordeal! The question is what now? Her next Doctor appointment is August 26th and we will find out more then. But until then - she will stay on currents meds and keep eating solids!

The research I’ve done says that she may go back and forth fighting this for a long time. It is probably going to be a long battle and that she will have to make dietary adjustments for the rest of her life, but this slice of pizza – this is a huge win!

Will there be future texts that says – Megan is having a hard day, can you text her? Maybe. Will there be the phone calls that ask for prayer because the digestion has stopped again? I don’t know. Will there be the 2 am tweet that cries out in the night for a hug because the battle has been long and the heart is heavy? Possibly. There are a lot of theings that I do not know, but something that I do know is that I’ve had an incredible support group that has held us up in prayer. I know that God is still in control and that miracles do still happen and your love and support has blessed my heart so deeply that I could never express my gratitude completely!

My heart can never say thank you enough for your prayers, love and compassion for a 14 year old teenager that just wants to be a normal kid and that I love with all my heart!

You are amazing at spreading joy!
Kindness in words creates confidence;
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness;
Kindness in giving creates love.--Lao-tzu
Photo: Megan's actual slice of pizza!
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