I have been anxious to post all about THE SALE. However, ever since the sale, I have been exhausted and have not even had the energy to post! I have slept a ton, and finally yesterday, started feeling sick...for the last few, exhausted days I have been fighting some sickness, and that is why I have been so, so tired. But it has caught up to me. So, I am curled up on the couch with body aches and a sore throat, listening to Taiger talk on and on and on (and on, the way only Taiger does), and have decided to buckle down and post about the sale!
First, I want to say AGAIN how THANKFUL I am to everyone who helped, donated, came, prayed for success, and who helped in any other way imaginable. :)
Although we had been getting ready for this sale for weeks, the REAL "last minuet" preparation began Friday night. Bryttan, Michael and I worked at making the signs for the yard and the signs to place around town. The signs for the yard were AMAZING! I had printed off pictures of FACES of the children we help, and they were beautiful! We mounted them on signs to set up around the sale. The signs for around town were perfect, and Bryttan and Michael even showed off some of their amazing art skills by drawing Africa on some of the signs! I was super impressed (you should have seen my attempt to copy their idea! HA! Africa looked like a limp balloon. It was pathetic.). My Mom had been in Idaho and drove all the way back that night to be home in time for the sale the next morning. My sweet board member, Natalie, had spent the last week or so baking goodies to sell at the sale as a Bake Sale portion (see what I mean about spending the past few weeks getting ready?!). My Mom transported the goodies from Idaho to Utah for us. My Mom stayed up LATE that night, despite being exhausted from the days in Idaho and the LOOONG drive back alone at night, and took care of Taiger while we got ready for the sale. Taiger helped make signs for the Sale. Saturday, I woke with a smile on my face. I knew what day it was, and I was so excited to see what God had planned. The day dawned grey and cloudy. I am NOT a morning person, and I don't know the last time I woke up at 6:00am, so, because of my complete lack of early-morning experience, I kind of thought maybe that grey look was how all days started. I threw on some sweats and my Sixteen Small Stones shirt and raced outside to start setting up. Wouldn't you know it, a few minutes later, my sweet Mom came out and helped set up. What an angel! As soon as things were ready, my Mom drove me around town to put out signs. A light rain began to fall. I knew the donations, the clothes AND the lovely posters and pictures would be ruined, and I prayed...not for the last time that day. When we returned from putting out signs, three men were at the sale! I was THRILLED! One wanted to know how much a table was. I told him it wasn't for sale, only display. Three men, two together and one alone, left the sale...without even dropping a nickel in the Nickel Basket. The rain drizzled on. I was freezing and sat in the car to watch if anyone came. People would drive up and stop, even turn off their engines. They looked at the pictures. They looked at the information signs. But all they SAW was a garage sale with nothing they wanted, and they drove on. After so many "drive bys", my heart broke. I saw the suffering of the children. I saw the hardness of the hearts of people. I went in the house and dropped to my knees. As I stood from my prayer a woman pulled up. She turned off her engine. She looked at everything. I thought this was one of the miracle times, when your prayers are answered immediately, and you feel your testimony grow and your faith in men restore. I pictured (with minor trepidations) this woman burst out of her car in tears and throw thousands of dollars at me to use to help the poor children. Instead, she turned her engine back on and drove away. I went back to the car. My board member Natalie texted me and I burst in to tears. She wanted to know how the sale was going. At first, I didn't want to tell her. She had worked SO HARD baking goodies, and has donated SO much (I joke that she is singly handedly trying to clothe the entire orphan population of Africa!). In the end, I unloaded all of my sadness on her. She was a kind and listening ear, and I appreciated that. Then, someone came! The woman bought some cookies and left! Then another person bought his grandson a toy for a dollar. More people came. More drive by's. More BUYS. Bryttan woke up and then Michael came, and it made a HUGE difference to have some support rather than sitting alone in the pouring rain, watching cold hearted people drive away from the needy. A little later, I was feeling discouraged again. I had been praying all day ("Please let them buy", "Thank Thee, God, for letting someone come", "Please let someone stop", "Thank Thee for sending someone", "Please help me help those in need", and so forth) and just when I was feeling so sad, Jeremy came! I cannot express how thankful and happy I was at that moment. Then, a woman came. She looked at everything. She commented. And she went to leave. I handed her a card and told her she could at least go to the website and learn more about the people we help. She handed it back and said, "I'll remember the name". Let me say that again: SHE HANDED THE CARD BACK! It was in her hand, and she gave it back. Really? Did she REALLY do that? Yes. Yes, she did. I stood there stunned. I felt the hurt coming into my heart. I felt the tears growing, swelling and pushing to come out. I held them in. I didn't want to cry in front of everyone. I don't know if Jeremy could tell I was about to burst or if God just prompted him to say SOMETHING, but he started talking about how nice the sale looked, how well everything was set up, how good the pictures looked. I was more thankful to him than I have ever been (and that is a lot, because I really owe him my life, and that is a TON of gratitude!). We all went inside after that and watched from the window for someone to come. I was still on the brink of tears when Jeremy left.
After the rain, it became very windy. Don't you love my rain-wind treated hair? No wonder no one was stopping or buying anything! They thought the whole thing was being run by a CRAZY woman! HA! They were right, but not because of the hair-'do!Then, something incredible happened! A woman came. She spoke little English. Her daughter was there to translate. Her husband was with her, but two little kids were in the car, so he went back to the car after a while to wait with them. These people were kind hearted and gentile. They asked the price on some items, and when I said, "Whatever you want to donate," the woman chuckled, I think in disbelieve. She asked on some other things, and I gave her the same answer. Some people had donated some amazing things and some really nice children's clothing. She began gathering all of the nicest things. At first I thought of how poorly this sale was going, and I thought, "If she takes all of the 'good stuff', there will be nothing to LURE people in!" But I stopped those thoughts and figured God had a plan and He had sent this woman and I had better stand back out of His way! So, I watched as she found some good things and started making a pile. When she had all she wanted, she and her daughter walked to the Nickel Basket and began dumping in change! They were speaking in hushed tones to one another. I was overwhelmed with GRATITUDE! Look at all the little ones they were helping! Then, the woman reached in her purse and held out to me five one dollar bills. The daughter translated as she spoke, "My mother says she is sorry, but my Dad is not working and this is all we have." I quickly and sincerely said, "NO, no, no! It is fine! Anything helps! Thank you so, so much!" The woman again had her daughter apologize, and I walked right up to the woman and looked deep in her eyes and said, "NO! It is fine!" Then, I pointed to the pictures and said, "Look at all these children you are helping! Whatever you can give is PERFECT! Thank you so, so much!" At that, she had the daughter translate more. "I have two daughters still in Mexico." And with that, she burst into tears. I hugged her, and the sobs came freely. I asked the daughter how old her sisters were. 15 and 13. They are staying with family. But they cannot see the girls. The mother misses them very much. I felt her Mother Heart. I could tell this Mama loved her children deeply and being away from them was torture for her. She sobbed and sobbed. I held her as she cried. Then, Bryttan held her as she cried. Our hearts were broken for this loving Mother. After she left, my heart felt healed. Somehow, I think we helped her...at least we gave her someone to open up to. When we looked in the basket, we saw she had put in the basket pennies. Isn't this what Sixteen Small Stones is all about? Sixteen SMALL stones. It is not about doing some great, unbelievable things. It is about doing all we can, no matter how small it is, and allowing God to make up for the size. Her pennies were like gold to me. She sacrificed all she had to help others. It didn't matter how little or how much it was. God makes up for that. It was about her giving all she had to help others, even in her own pain and sorrow. TO BE CONTINUED