Happy and Fulfilling Times

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I think in a way it was to actualize the fun things happening right now. Do you remember as a kid not quickly sharing something exciting to keep from jinxing it and to make sure it was still going to happen?

I got a good raise.

A few weeks ago we had reviews at work and I walked out of that meeting with a generous raise. It wasn’t impressive in a moving-up-a-tax-bracket way, but it meant a lot to me. In the meeting my boss praised me for my attitude, commitment to detail, and professionalism. Not only that, be he was excited to do my review first because he was most excited for it. He told me that he wants me to be a vital part of this company and fill bigger shoes with a more managerial role. Essentially, be the marketing director in the making.

Not only that, but I figured out the extra income I’d make with the raise and God specifically answered a request with it. I have a large electronic purchase to make, in the thousands range, and numbers nearly matched. That is a huge praise. I know that after taxes it won’t completely cover the device, but I believe that pre-taxes amount matching is from God.

I am doing a bigger part for the non-profit.

This year I didn’t get to be print chair. I got to be publicity assistant. But I’ve done a lot of stretching and contacting and making connections that I think will benefit our cause in the future. And that, despite some stress and extra time, is super empowering for me. I connected our executive director with the president of a county-wide Autism organization and she said she’d like to partner with us to give foster kids with Autism a bigger voice. I kickstarted a PSA process so that we can spread the news of our event via broadcasting from now on. I reached out to bloggers and advertisers and built up my sense of brave.

I’m helping out my brother and sister-in-law.

It’s been seven months and my brother is still dealing with a lot of pain and the concussion has not improved noticeably. With all the medical bills post accident, my sister-in-law is working hard trying to break even while working, driving my brother to specialists, and exclusively nursing their 6 month old son. It’s been tough to keep it together with the financial and emotional strain coupled with the lack of sleep a baby brings. She is so strong and I admire her so much. My brother is such a trooper too. I don’t know how he is coping with so much pain. On Friday or Saturday I’ve been spending the night and helping with my nephew so my brother can rest and my SIL can do the paperwork side of her job/catch up on housework. I try to get the dishes and other little chores out of the way when my nephew naps to help them out.

It’s a very busy but fulfilling season of life, and I’m filled with gratefulness.

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12 Days until Race Day!

The race and foster festival is almost here! Like, less than 2 weeks away! I’m so excited. The culmination of our year’s worth of efforts will finally be put to action very soon.

I have so much respect for all charity races now, especially ones that are just starting up. It’s A LOT of work, and there are so many people behind the scenes to make it possible.

You start your year hoping that enough donations and fundraising help spread the message and provide you a backbone for all that happens. Then you run into little setbacks and people trying their hardest to secure a race place and work with the city to set the route and all the planning aspects. You work on race cards and flyers and hand them out hoping businesses will let you display them on their community boards and that they catch the attention of people around town and county wide.

This is my first year on board, for the fourth annual event. Our race numbers are the highest they’ve ever been which is a good sign, and God definitely put a hedge around us as other charity races around our timeframe were cancelled due to low sign ups. Now we are just praying that rain doesn’t get in the way.

I have learned so much about foster youth and some of their struggles. And I know what I currently understand is only a tiny amount. I think I naively assumed for a long time that all foster children wanted to be adopted and one of the primary reasons to foster was to adopt. The reality is that the heart of fostering is providing a temporary home and safe environment where you can foster hope, love, and encouragement. Sometimes that leads to adoption, and sometimes that leads to a child reuniting with a parent or a relative gaining custody. Sometimes children do wish to age out of the foster system with no plan of being adopted. Sometimes they place their loyalty in their parent(s) and refuse. Our race helps pay for things the state may not be able to offer, like orthodontia, extra curricular activities, and learning programs – things that help boost self-confidence and prepare them for a bright future.

Next Saturday and Sunday, we go to the site and walk through plans and do our training with volunteers. We need an estimated 200 volunteers, we’ve grown so much!  I’m just flabbergasted at that. 200 volunteers from all over the county have stepped up, local businesses and big corporations have stepped up, and the feeling of community is just so overwhelming. There are so many hearts unified for a great cause. This is what fuels us for next year.

Volunteering – Using Talents for Good

It’s been a while. There’s a lot of neat things happening and of course, just living life as well. And, as incriminating as this sounds, I keep forgetting my password and getting locked out. Yep! I’m human.

Long story short, I’ve taken on some no pay volunteer positions and have kept quite busy after my 9 to 5 with helping use my career talents towards causes. The first one is a maternity home for expecting women that have no where to go and need help establishing a new life and stability for them and their child. I’ve designed some jewelry for them to sell to raise funds and offset costs for their tenants. This place is special because they do not charge for their program. They instead, ask that the moms to be SAVE what they make to put towards their future. It’s been neat seeing which jewelry ideas sell better and knowing that I’m impacting lives this way.

The second cause is a festival and run that benefits the county’s foster kids. Fostering and adoption are big on my heart and as I’ve soul-searched for ways I can get involved in that community and help, this opportunity came up. I walked into a planning meeting not knowing what exactly I could do. I’m not a big people person and I’m not a runner. Where could I be useful? I signed my name on the list and under interest wrote that I had design knowledge, specializing in print media.

As they went around the table and introduced themselves I heard how all the special chairs were calling and contacting people and companies and felt so intimidated. But as they read through their list of opening positions and needs, Graphic Design came up. So I spoke up. And I offered that I specialized primarily in print media and may not be the right fit for interactive/web stuff and the coordinator stopped me in my tracks.

“That’s exactly what we need! Print media!”

I walked up after the meeting to get some ideas started and the coordinator said to me, “We’ve been praying for you to arrive for months. You have no idea.”

The event is not religious but the founders are believers and those words comforted and encouraged me beyond belief. Sometimes we wonder how we can be useful with what talents we have and forget that God works out those details.

I’m so excited for our next meeting this Saturday. Who knew in one meeting I’d become Print Media Chair?