Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Operation: 100 FAMILIES

DISCLAIMER: This post is REALLY long, and for that, I am sorry. If you simply want to know how Operation: 100 FAMILIES went, it went well, donations were few but appreciated and everything was brought to Deanna's house on time. We were able to donate useful things, thanks to everyone who donated. THANK YOU, ALL!

Also, this post is very jumbled. I am sorry for that. I spent the week trying to organize my thoughts, but I am not good at that, and I wanted to write what was on my heart, not what sounded "good" or sounded right. I was able to write what I wanted to say, disorganized though it may be.

Finally, this post does hold some "ugly truth". It may be difficult to hear, but hey, it was difficult for me to witness.

Operation: 100 FAMILIES was an interesting operation. I saw many things and learned many things through this operation! I watched as complete strangers reached out and donated to Sixteen Small Stones as a way to reach out to the people of Haiti. I also watched, as I talked about Operation: 100 FAMILIES, as people who profess to be Christian stuffed their hands in their pockets and turned a blind eye. I felt a deep, deep gratitude and respect for all those who donated. Penny by penny, dollar by dollar. People sacrificing the little bit that they could...REALLY sacrificing. While others, with more than enough, refused to donate even a tiny amount. Who refused to even sacrifice one second of their time to listen to the story of those families, to spend even one second of their time allowing their heart to break for their brothers and sisters in Haiti. I learned what REAL sacrifice is. It isn't a dollar amount, or an hourly amount. It isn't a certain amount of anything. BUT when REAL sacrifice is made, it is recognized without a doubt, as if it WERE a set-in-stone amount.I suddenly realized my own definition of sacrifice. I realized sacrifice is when you give up something that in some way benefits you. If I had ten million dollars, a dollar donation would not be a sacrifice for me, because that one dollar is insignificant to me. It would not benefit me. Giving a dollar away would not take anything away from me. At the same time, if I have only three dollars, and I give away fifty cents, that really is taking something important and useful from me. Monday was the day all donations needed to be to Deanne. My plan was deliver the collected donations to her house after work. So, before work, I scrounged through my closet and pulled out shoes I had either never worn or had worn little and were in good condition. I was so excited at all the great shoes I "found" to donate!And then, I came across Taiger's crocs. Now, STOP JUDGING me...I don't like crocs! Here is the story. When Taiger was little he was OBSESSED with the movie, "Cars", and with Lightening McQueen. One day, I was shopping for Taiger some new shoes. He REALLY needed some new ones! Shop-ko was selling these adorable Lightning McQueen crocs. The day I saw them, I left the store without them...and regretted my decision. As soon as I had some time off, I raced back to Shop-ko...but his size was gone! I panicked! What kind of mother was I, to not spend ten bucks on shoes, which he REALLY needed, that were SO cute and fun, not to mention TOTALLY practical?! My reprimanding of myself for being a terrible mother thankfully ended (for the moment! Ha-ha) when I found some at another Payless location.Taiger wore those shoes every second he could. No, really. He bathed in them. He SLEPT in them. Those shoes were ALWAYS on his feet! They were light-weight, so perfect for a little guy who loved to run and jump and play. He could wear them in water, rain, shine, dirt, mud...they held up through EVERYTHING. Until the day he grew out of them.A tragic day.But SUPER-MOM was quick on her toes! We went to Shop-Ko and bought another pair!Each year since then, he has gotten new Lightening McQueen crocs. The others he has worn until they are worn out, but that first pair he outgrew before they wore out. In fact, they were in amazingly good condition for the use they held up to! Fast-forward to last Monday. As I looked through my closet, I found that first little pair of shoes.Being a single Mom, I don't know if I will ever again have a little tyke toddling around the house. When my sister became pregnant, my Mom asked me if she could have my maternity clothes and I burst into tears! I wanted to hold on to the hope I may again someday have the opportunity to wear maternity clothes! I wasn't ready to admit that may never happen. Of course, I have always wanted to adopt. But that, too, may not be even possible. Without a huge income, and with my dreams to move to China, even adopting may never happen. So, I am sentimental about Taiger's baby clothes, baby blankets... and, apparently, toddler shoes! Anyway, I digress. I sat in front of my closet, thinking about how much some little child in Haiti could benefit from those shoes! Lightweight, they are perfect for a little girl or boy to wear to run, jump and play. They can be worn in water, sun, rain, dirt and mud. They are perfect shoes and super comfortable. I tried not to think too much as I placed them gently in the pile of other shoes. I had planned to take a picture of those shoes before I dropped them off to Deanne, but left my camera at work by mistake.So, I carried the Lightening McQueen crocs, along with the other donations, to Deanna's door. As I handed over the bag of shoes, I mentioned the crocs, and was thankful for her response. "Oh, those will be PERFECT! How wonderful!" Just what I needed to hear.I left her house that night better understanding sacrfice. It is not about giving. It is not about donating. It is not about time versus money. It is about if the sacrifice will effect you. It is real sacrifice if you give something up that would benefit you. In this instance, those crocs, old and useless as they may seem, gave me something. They gave me memories of my little Taiger, of his youth, of the joys of being a mother to a small child. They gave me hope that someday, I may again be a mother of a toddler. Yes, they gave me hope. And now, they will give someone else hope. This is just one story of many. This was MY story, so I shared it. Others have stories just as poignant, but they are not mine to share, so I will not tell them here. HOWEVER, I recognized their sacrifices. I comprehended the cost. I realized that what they gave, no matter how much or how little, was a REAL sacrifice...that it was them giving up something that could have benefited them. Every donation was very, very appreciated. Now, to make sure this post is the longest in blogging history (sorry guys!), I will tell briefly what I saw the night I dropped those donations off at Deanna's house! I will skip the part of the story where we got lost, our GPS failed us (CURSE you, GPS girl!), and we drove around really lost (but we DID get to see the Draper Temple, and boy! is it ever beautiful!) and start when we walked up to Deanna's door. They lived in a lovely home. Yes, it was a big home, but that it not necessarily what made it "lovely" to me. It was filled with a soft, bright light. The kind that makes it feel...homey. As the door opened, I saw many children of different ages, scurrying around busily. This is one thing that made it "lovely" to me. The next thing that made it lovely to me were the donations! Piled EVERYWHERE were donations! Boxes of shoes, bags of clothes, canned food...all spread out everywhere! Donations EVERYWHERE. To me, service is BEAUTIFUL. Then, I met Deanna, and she grabbed me in a warm hug. A hug and love, of appreciation, of sisterhood. Love was EVERYWHERE, and this, too, made her home lovely. From another room where he was busy organizing donations, Deanna's husband waved and smiled to us, a warm, welcoming smile. He was excited about spending hours organizing. He was happy to have his house filled with bags and boxes of donations. He was full of love for others, and it shone in his eyes and smile. The next thing that made their home lovely to me were all of the beautiful paintings on their walls. I am a sucker for good art, but these were breathtaking! What were they? Pictures of Christ! This may seem over-the-top to many people, but I am an over-the-top kind of Christian! I see nothing wrong at having paintings of my Saviour hanging around my house, not as a sort of "statement" to others, but rather as a reminder to me and to my family of who we worship and follow. Also, the paintings were tasteful and lovely. They brought at air of beauty and spirituality that was felt throughout their home life. They set the tone for the household and the home. They were very appropriate and lovely. And I LOVED seeing them in their home. They were matted and framed beautifully. They were not there to make someone feel like this family was "holier than thou", or any nonsense like that. The paintings were breathtaking and added to the beauty of their home. But the message they sent, that this family loved The Lord, was powerful and joyful! Their love of Christ portrayed in their decor was something else that made their home lovely.
One of my FAVORITE paintings was hanging in their home. (Taiger has this picture in his Church Book! We LOVE it!!)
The donations, provided by all of YOU, were very much appreciated AND NEEDED! With the money you all sent, we bought children, infant and adult Tylenol, something that I don't think had so far been donated, but that would be of great worth. We also provided non-perishable soup (my fancy way of saying Top Ramin...did you like that?). It was exciting to see all of the donations! To see many hands (Deanna's neighbors and friends were there helping organize the donations, too) working together for the people of Haiti. To sense the excitement that comes with organizing a huge donation collection like this. To feel the love of the many donars and volunteers. It was a wonderful experience to be in that room full of energy, excitement and LOVE! Thank you all who supported this operation, be it through donation, prayer, thought or encouraging word. I personally want to thank each and every one of you. This Operation was a success because of YOU, and I am so very, very thankful to you all.

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