More Love Letters went and switched things up. Instead of monthly requests for a few letter recipients all at once, they’re doing one request each Monday and letters must be mailed within 48 hours. If that doesn’t kick your butt in gear to get writing, I don’t know what would.
This is my first time doing a “Monday Mission” and it’s for Ilona, a college student whose three-year (now ex) boyfriend cheated on her; the experience has left her struggling with confidence and trust so her best friend reached out for support and encouragement.
I ordered a new set of cards just for writing More Love Letters, called Every Thing Is Going To Be Okay.
I love writing for More Love Letters because it feels like I am literally sending something positive out into the world and hopefully helping someone in need.
Even though I’ve consistently written letters in December, January, February, March, and April, I’m not sure I’ll be writing weekly letters. I’ll commit to at least one per month though and plan to continue my letter writing through the end of the year. Will you join me?
By the way, I’ve got all of these super cool notecards now to write fun, positive, loving words into so if you’re in need of a pick-me-up, let me know and I’ll send something your way! :)
Feeling a mix of confusing emotions about life, relationships, love, and purpose.
Needing to find at least one form of exercise that really excites me.
Remembering that three years ago I bought my house on the same day John and I had our first date. And five years ago I graduated from college. Whoa.
Preparing for a lobster feast on Friday with friends and family.
Wanting as much spinach as a human can possibly consume. And mushrooms. Those are my go-to veggies.
Loving that Summer makes me feel like anything and everything is possible.
Starting to get serious about some things I’ve been thinking and dreaming about for many months and/or years.
What’s going on in your life?
I was supposed to be on vacation right now and I’m not one bit upset that I’m not.
I was bummed at the time, and that’s putting it lightly. But then I remembered that our local Great Strides event was the weekend we were supposed to be away – which we were now going to be home for! – so I slept on that idea for a while, ran it past Amy, and decided to go for it.
Just four days before the event, I recruited John, J-slice, and John’s cousin Jason to form The J-Team and emailed all of our close friends and family for donations and support. They came through like champs and in four days, we raised over $400 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That was more than double my original goal for us. To anyone and everyone who donated on behalf of our team, thank you so much!
We raised enough money to qualify for a team sign so we felt pretty legit.
Our Great Strides event was in a small-ish town and I’m told it doesn’t have a lot of leadership in terms of organization, promotion, fundraising, etc. I’d say there were less than 200 people there and it seemed everyone was part of a family-and-friends team for someone they knew with Cystic Fibrosis.
I felt a little out of place with our very small team, homemade shirts (custom printed shirts at the last minute would’ve cost us $85!), and not having a direct connection with CF. We brushed all of that off as we chatted with some of the groups and started our walk.
I was thinking about Amy and her family, her brother-in-law Ben who seemed to always have a smile on his face but recently passed away from CF, our health and ability to give to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and everyone creating a CF-battling community by coming out for this event. I can only say: it was really cool. Such a good vibe.
By the way, J-slice “won” the walk. He ran up ahead of us and aside from the turnaround point, we didn’t see him at all. We were upset with him at first, explaining that it wasn’t a race and that he was supposed to stay with us, until he said, “Well I thought there might be a prize for the first finisher and I wanted to donate it back to find a cure.” Melt my little heart. How could we be upset with him then? Nope, couldn’t. What a sweet boy.
Our local group of Great Strides walkers raised a total of over $43,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I thought that was pretty incredible considering we were such a small group.
I was so thrilled to play a role in this fundraiser, to encourage giving back and generosity in the little redhead, to get to do this as a family, and to honor Ben’s memory and support his family who walked their own Great Strides event in Texas.
I’ll wrap this up by sharing an out-take from our attempts at getting a team photo. Cracks me up every time and I love it even more than the photo that actually got all four of us in it.
(Yes, we saw Star Trek over the weekend!)
Have you ever gotten that Spring itch?
(I’ll give you a moment to giggle about that).
I mean the itch to clean, purge, tackle projects, and get ready to boogie down for the Spring and Summer. Yeah, that one. Has it hit you yet?
It definitely hit me a while back but we’ve been so busy working on John’s house that my house kinda took a back seat. So I made a list of Spring Cleaning projects and I’m tackling them one by one. We already tidied up for the cleaning fairies so I moved on to purging our bedrooms of stuff we no longer need.
I’ve seen a couple blogs do donation challenges so I decided to create my own 100 Item Challenge. I had just sorted through our stuff back in December for Day 14 of 25 Days of Giving so I knew “challenge” was definitely a fitting title.
J-slice helped by growing over the last few months and us confiscating some pieces of clothing that he’d still be wearing if we let him. What a sight that would be!
John helped by… staying out of my way? I tried to convince him to donate a few of his older tan shirts and Army green socks but he wouldn’t budge. I can’t even tell you how many he owns but considering he wears the same thing every day, I’m pretty sure there’s a surplus.
The weekend is upon us so maybe you have some Spring cleaning and purging plans of your own in the works. Try the 100 Item Challenge and let me know how it goes!
Tomorrow is our Great Strides walk and we (well mostly the boys) are hoping to see the new Star Trek movie. What are your weekend plans? Hope it’s a great one!
This is me right now:
Because on January 1st I decided my blogging goal for the year was to write 100 posts. Here we are not even half way through the year and BAM! This is my 100th post in 2013.
I believe this calls for the Macarena. (What?!? Don’t hate. I’m not down with the whole Cha Cha Slide thing).
So picture me putting my hands out, turning them over, crossing my chest, putting them on my head then my hips then my boo-tay, doin a little swirly hip shake, and yelling “hey macarena!”
Okay that was awkward.
But seriously, this year is fuh-reaking fuh-lying by. I know I’ve got the “curse of being busy” going on but I think I’ve also been pretty darn productive. I feel good!
So this is your friendly reminder that if you’ve forgotten about your New Year’s Resolutions, well, um, you might wanna get on that. In the meantime, I’ll be macarena-ing and planning out my next batch of brilliant posts for you.
I guess it’s pretty unusual to participate in an event in memory of someone I’ve never met and raise money to find a cure for a disease I thankfully have no personal connection to. I thought people might think that’s strange in the “oh that’s kinda creepy but I’m not saying that out loud” kind of way so I hesitated to commit at first. But then I realized that if it was my family and me, it would be so heartwarming and uplifting for someone to offer the same support for us. I also remembered that I’m the kind of person who cries when someone else cries, especially in person but also random people on tv and in movies. (Don’t even get me started with Long Island Medium).
So we’re doing it. John, J-slice, and I are supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at our first Great Strides 5k walk. We’re walking in memory of Ben, a man I never actually knew but whose way-too-short life touched my heart.
About two years ago I made friends with a kind, supportive, very cool ladyfriend (and Army wife!) named Amy. (You have probably seen her comment on posts here!) Her husband’s brother, Ben, recently passed away from Cystic Fibrosis at the so, so young age of 25 after a rollercoaster of a battle with CF.
The boys and I are participating in the Great Strides walk in memory of Ben and in support of Amy and her husband Stephen, Ben’s family, and all of the other CF families who still have time with their loved one.
We made a commitment to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help raise money to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease. We would appreciate it so much if you could make a donation to our walking team, The J-Team. Click here to donate to our team; just find the yellow “Click to Donate” button at the top or bottom left of that page.
You can also scroll down through this post and find a badge on the right sidebar of this blog. It looks like this:
Your donation to our team is tax-deductible and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is rated pretty well on charity-rating sites for putting their donations to good use (not paying salaries!) There’s no deadline for donation but we’d love to see the majority roll in by the end of this weekend.
Thank you so very much. Don’t forget to donate to our team, The J-Team. If you’re feeling super generous, I also recommend donating to Amy’s team here or just saying a quick prayer/sending good vibes to Amy and Stephen’s family, since this year’s Great Strides walk (in Texas) will be their first after Ben’s passing. It’s gonna be a tough one for them but I think we can all get together to offer our support.
PS – I greatly dislike “asking for money” so I must think this event is worthy (it is!) for me to reach out to you guys. I promise not to start asking for money regularly… although that would fund a very nice vacation through Europe! :) Just kidding ;) Thank you in advance <3
Don’t get too excited… these fabric flower bouquets aren’t for a wedding; they’re for my Mom. (Way better!)
Two weeks ago when she was sick, I spent a lot of time at her house and bedroom and noticed she still had the flower bouquet I had made her in 2001 out of crepe paper, green pipe cleaners, and a painted old jelly jar. I think I did a pretty awesome job for being 14 or 15 years old but crepe paper wasn’t exactly designed for the long haul. It isn’t too dustable either.
I think this was possibly my first ever fabric purchase on my own. Such a big girl moment. And yes, I had no idea what I was doing.
I knew I wanted teal-ish and pink/fuchsia-ish with some hints of other colorful stuff. I also figured a bigger pattern would turn out more abstract when rolled into flowers but in the end, I really just went with any fabric that had the colors that spoke to me. I even picked one that was a cotton dress type of cotton (not the greatest for this project) and one that was a tougher indoor/outdoor fabric (a little harder to work with but was fine).
In Katie’s tutorial, she ripped the fabric which left random strands flying everywhere. The perfectionist in me had anxiety over that so I actually cut my fabric with a rotary cutter and trimmed off any rogue strands. (In case you’re wondering, I have the same approach toward my hair; I’m best friends with the hairspray can, a trait I inherited from my Grandpa of all people!)
Katie also pinned her flowers but I wanted something more permanent. I had seen Christina use hot glue on her fabric flower wreath so I gave that a try. Thank gawwwd for Cool Shot hot glue gun; it was something like six bucks at JoAnn Fabric store and saved all of my fingers and a few limbs from glue gun burns.
I’m not gonna write up a full tutorial because Katie’s has very helpful details as well as a video that shows every step. The only other thing I did differently is that I wanted two sizes of flowers so I cut my fabric strips into 3″ x 12″ and 3″ x 24″.
In the end it gave me flowers that were about one inch across and two inches across after wrapping the fabric pretty tightly. You could use less fabric or get bigger flowers if you’re a little loosey goosey with your fabric twisting and wrapping.
Apparently I didn’t take photos of the flowers alone but when they were done, I realized I needed to attach them to something to make it a bouquet. Otherwise I would’ve had to tell my Mom “here’s your flat, lifeless, supposed-to-be-a-bouquet jar of fabric flowers that looks worse than my attempt at flowers 12 years ago.” That would mean a definite loss of Favorite Child points.
I had a few options:
- Attach the flowers to a styrofoam ball with a string to make a hanging flower bouquet
- Scrap the bouquet idea and attach the flowers to a wreath, vase, card, or art
- Give up altogether and buy a present (thought about that many times)
- Cry out to the interwebz for advice
I actually went with none of those. I went looking for wood skewers and come up empty-handed. BUT! I found a pair of chopsticks from sushi takeout so I hot glued one to a flower, wrapped it in green floral tape, and oh Lawd Jesus it’s a flower. (Then I went to the store for actual skewers).
I trimmed (broke) down each stem to the height I was looking for and dropped them into their permanent homes: an olive oil bottle painted on the outside and a glass vase painted on the inside, both sealed with the gloss varnish that I used on the painted terracotta pots.
I kind of fell in love with these guys. The whole project was very back-and-forth and I really debated giving up several times. But I persevered and I so love the result!
My heart goes pitter patter.
After those photos I added a little flair to the tall hunk of handsomeness in the form of a scarf.
My Mom loved them. Or she lied to me to preserve my self-esteem and confidence, as mothers often do. The colors were in the family of colors that my Mom loves but in bold, bright tones that I love. I think the bouquets ended up being a happy little mix of both of our styles.
Pretty damn good Mother’s Day gift, right?!
What gift did you get your Mom? What’s the best gift you made your Mom as a kid? Worst? I’m sure I had a couple “winners” when I was younger.