Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My 40th Birthday/Fundraiser for Ethiopian Orphan Relief
After my husband, Andrew, informed me that I would indeed have a 40th Birthday party against my wishes, my controlling side took over and tried to accept it.
Informing him right back that the idea of a surprise party absolutely made me cringe and the thought of a kazillion gag gifts was an even worse thought, he “allowed” me (tongue in cheek) to plan and direct my own party. Recalling the huge gift bag of black and white ‘over the hill’ gifts we still had from his 40th last year, I knew my party had to be different. The waste of money going into such things just disgusted me…and yes, I planned his surprise party.
Recently, we were delighted and surprised with pictures in an email of our daughter, Ruby’s birth mom. Something we did not know existed! This really touched my heart in ways I cannot describe. Looking into the face of a woman who selflessly gave up her infant child so they both could have a better life, made my heart ache in good and bad ways. I knew we have to be more than just parents to Ruby and Roman. We have to be accountable to the children still there. The faces that may never see a forever family. (“Whether You Turn To The Right Or To The Left, Your Ears Will Hear A Voice Behind You Saying ~ This Is The Way, Walk In It”. Isaiah 30:21)
I did think of several ways to usher in my big 4-0. Just nothing really interested me. I even considered a rousing Bunko night but something just didn’t really click. After reading about my favorite charity, Ethiopian Orphan Relief (EOR), holding their annual auction in May, I knew what my party would be about. Now, just convincing my friends and family to join in! I started by creating an open event on Facebook and inviting pretty much everyone on my friends list to my birthday party/fundraiser for EOR. I had a goal of $440 that I hoped to reach in donations. A lot of people who RSVP’d said “no” and there were a lot who didn’t even respond. I was really dismayed and prayerfully took it to God, asking Him to show up to the party and bless the attendee’s and the donation pot. At this point, I didn’t even have a place to hold the party. Not knowing how many people to expect was difficult to plan for. My very dear childhood friend offered to have it at her home and this was the first blessing of many to come.
Andrew planned a raffle, selling tickets for $1 each. The prizes were $100 certificate to Galeotti’s Restaurant in Battle Ground, $50 gift card for Barnes and Noble book store and $30 to Bernie’s Southern Bistro in
The night of the party, I was still pretty much in the dark about how many people would show up. We provided appetizers, beverages and birthday cake, of course. We hired a wonderful young pianist who goes to school with my daughter, Cody Shearer to play piano as our live entertainment and everything had come together just beautifully. Friends started showing up here and there until the house was full. I was just overwhelmed with joy and the outpouring of love from everyone. The raffle bag was filling up with tickets and the donation jar was getting more and more green stuff and checks with each family. It was truly a birthday celebration I will never forget…the best one ever. Not just because people gave money but because they cared enough to support an idea. Did my friends need to donate in order to attend? NO, but anything helped and YES, we did accept pennies, dimes and nickels. At the end of the night, not only did God show up, but He had brought a flock of Angels with Him! When Andrew counted the donations there was $702 in the jar! I had passed my goal by $262.00! I was overcome with emotion and cried in sheer joy. I really was speechless and those who know me know that doesn’t happen often!
Throughout the following week, donations continued to come in either online or by people stopping me in the parking lot when I’d drop my 7th grader off for school.
At this writing, we have over $1100 in donations and another $100 pledged. The company my father in law works for has agreed to match a portion of the donations, bringing another $700 to the pot! God Is Good All The Time!!
The donations will go to a program EOR partners with called Children’s Heaven. Children’s Heaven is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned girls who have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic. It gives the girls a safe environment, meals, education, basic needs, and spiritual guidance, among many other things. You may read more at www.childrensheaven.org.
If you would like to support Ethiopian Orphan Relief, please donate online at www.ethiopianorphanrelief.org . They have an excellent site where you can get a tax deductible receipt and designate what program you want your dollars to go in to.
YES! Happy Birthday To Me! 40 is an excellent age and I can only imagine what the next decade holds. Bring it on! I can't wait to see what God has planned!