Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Drops of Hope Project

drops of hope earrings

I have often wondered, in my years here in this community, how I can give back...aside from helping the wayward kids that have wondered through our doors over the past Nine years here. There have been many that KW and I have cooked for, sheltered and briefly fostered to our best ability, while navigating turbulent teen years of our own children. The house is more settled now, and I have some time to spend on a small project here and there. I try to know my own limits as a person, so I don't take on too much at once and beat myself up for not "making it happen".
My current project is one close to my heart. I have even gotten help of my youngest, who punches cards for me. I think it is very important for children today to be involved in giving back. I think it helps to keep them more aware of the community in which they live, and it shows them the importance of working together.

our little guy punching cards
This project, I call "Drops of Hope". 
The earrings I make are simple. Made with vintage bead caps, faceted glass and non-reactive brass earwires and they come in pretty colors. At the end of each week, I use the money I make to purchase baby food for the local food pantry. So far, I have sold several pair and was able to donate two whole flats of large jars of babyfood to the local pantry, "People Helping People."

I am also hosting a free earring making class at the local library in August, and have plans to speak with the local Lions Club about hosting a walk-in workshop  for local teens to learn how to make jewelry of their own.  I'll keep you posted!

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite.” ― Jean Vanier

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Pennies from Heaven (because I forgot the really good title)

            I found the perfect one word title for this post, and then as quickly as it came, I lost it. Which is very much like me I imagine. Forgetting things, names, words and appointments. Forgetting why I came into another room with the purpose lost by the time I entered into the middle of it. And then leaving said room frustrated with myself. I read that it has much to do with the neurological issues I have. I have so many labels...fibromyalgia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, depression, bulging disks and torn stuff in my spine, arthritis, Fabry's disease...
            Truth is, no one really knows why I am loosing myself to whatever this body of mine decides to do. Could be hereditary, but I know very little about my natural fathers health before he died. I only know that sometimes I am scared. I am scared of becoming encased in skin that cannot feel.
            I've lost my feet to numbness and  I experience excruciating neuropathic pain that saps my energy. I've lost my shins to partial numbness and parts of my thighs. Parts I didn't even realize were gone until the neurologist started poking me with a pin and caressing parts of me with a piece of tissue paper as my eyes were closed...
"Can you feel this?"
"How about this?"
           Mostly, I miss the feel of the grass beneath my feet. Oh, and sand too. Now I have to wear "special" shoes. I smile to myself as I write this because I think immediately of Forrest Gump when I put them on each day....these expensive pseudo-hip mary janes with fat heels and velcro straps to keep me steady.
I miss my feet.
         But none of this can stop me from my belief that it all has a purpose beyond what I can see. Because I've seen it in action, this truly amazing Grace that God gives to us each and every day.
I look for it. And it is there.
In the smallest of things.
            Last Sunday before church we were running late. The last spots were by the big mud puddles outside of the parking lot fence. I decided to walk along the fence so I could touch it as I skirted past front bumpers, secretly savoring the cool metal beneath my fading fingertips. It reminded me of my childhood, walking by fences and running my fingertips along to cool metal as I walked. I held on to the fence to steady myself before entering the parking lot of our church. When I reached the entrance, I happened to look down. At the entrance, right by the big metal post, embedded in grass and mud and leaves, was a penny.
I was not looking for pennies. It found me. I picked it up and looked closely at the date.
The year I was born.                                                                                                                                                                                                           God knows my thoughts. He knows my pain. To me, it was a sign  that I was born for a reason. That my life has a divine plan.  Not to give up.
I'm not saying that God throws pennies down just for me to find.
What I am trying to say is that if your heart is open to receive will find them.
There are little miracles everywhere. I truly believe this. Signs of God's love exist all around us.
        I could not stop the tears coming from my eyes during the whole service that day. My youngest son, looking over at me from his seat with questioning eyes and I couldn't explain why the tears would not stop.
How can one really explain to anyone how finding a penny with 1969 on it was such a touching thing...
I guess that is what I'm trying to do here.
Through an old penny, God said to me that I was born to do this.
That my life is purposeful and that I was on the right path...just watch for big muddy puddles, touch everything and everyone you possibly can. Hold on. This numbness in your body is a gift. Use it. Use your life.

You were born to do this.