Paying It Forward: Alzheimer's, Veronica's Voice, and Me.

(If you still haven't entered my Get Your Green On Giveaway, please check it out. You could win a monogrammed/personalized reusable tote from Lara @ La Plates! And if you can't wait or don't win, there's a discount code for you to grab while you're there!)

I've been paying it forward lately, doing good things for good people---because they deserve it, and because it comes back to me tenfold. It makes me feel better about myself. Sending good karma out into the world where it can float around, alight somewhere, only to flutter away and land again upon some other unsuspecting but deserving soul is a powerful and liberating feeling. I'm addicted.

We recently held our annual fundraiser for our local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. It's called Memories in the Making, and it features watercolor paintings done by Alzheimer's patients in art therapy programs in KC & surrounding areas. The art is auctioned off and the funds raised go towards research, education, and programming. Because I'm on the board, I was lucky enough to preview the art ahead of time and decide which piece we'd bring home tell Hubs how talented all the artists were. I'd fallen in love with this particular piece by Ken Roberts:

"Day at the Beach" By Ken Roberts, 2009

Interestingly, Ken was born a twin in Wichita, KS, in 1936. He joined the Navy at 18 and four years later he began studying at KU, where he earned his BFA. He will tell you he is a photographer with 35 years of experience, but in his modest way, will deny that he is a painter. He worked for the Kansas City Star as both a layout artist and advertising art director, and for The Sun as creative director. He enjoys the beauty of nature and has said, "I have old fashioned ideas about art."

The auctioneers, the Nigro Brothers, were amazing and they allowed me to borrow a hat and pose for photos.

Me & The Father Load

Me with Jennifer and Liz who were some of our guests that night.

Then I had the privilege of meeting Ken Roberts, the artist (& Alzheimer's patient) himself. It was a moment I almost have no words for. I thought back to reading Still Alice, and back to the day Hubs' grandmother died--- the day I knew this was a cause I wanted to become heavily involved in. Hubs' grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer's while I was pregnant with the girls. Unfortunately she never got to meet her great-granddaughters, but I know they would have been bosom buddies. Helen and her husband, Ben, both treated me like I was their granddaughter. Helen is the one who dubbed our Mini Poodle, Monster, "The Mons Mons," a nickname that has stuck ever since. 

I got into a bidding war, but I was intent on winning this piece. And win I did, in more ways than one. It was a win for Ken, a win for Alzheimer's, a win for Helen, and for all the others who have suffered needlessly at the hands of this horrible disease. It was a night of celebration, of knowing we will never give up. We will not stop trying until we have a cure. It was a night where I felt like I was making a difference.

It was an emotional moment and I asked Ken if I could give him a hug. He indulged me.

He told me the painting was of his granddaughters. I choked up.

Then I began to blabber about my girls & how I fell in love with his painting months ago when I first saw it.

A Day at the Beach now has a prominent place in our foyer where everyone sees it when they walk in.

Then last week, my friend Shelly Kramer of V3 Integrated Marketing told me about a cause near & dear to her heart, Veronica's Voice. It's an organization dedicated to social change for American victims of commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution). Veronica's Voice helps encourage, empower, and educate them so that they can make lifestyle changes and heal their hearts and spirits. I was inspired and thanks to Shelly, I found their wish list on the site. I flew to Target and Dollar Tree and stocked up on shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, infant clothing, snacks, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. I called and set up a time to drop everything off. After I did so, I felt lighter and happier. I meant to take all my old magazines (Real Simple, Vogue, Elle, US Weekly, etc.) but I forgot, so I'm going to bring those to another type of shelter with some more things soon. I would love to volunteer there (or a gazillion other places), but until the girls start kindergarten, my free time is limited.

There is so much ugliness in the world sometimes I can't stand it. The least I can do is take one piece at a time and try to make it beautiful.

How do you pay it forward? How are you making a difference in the lives of others?


Pouring My Heart Out : Mission Monkey

Today I am Pouring My Heart Out along with Shell over at Things I Can't Say. For more infomation or to join in, please go HERE.

I have been known to throw myself a pity party every so often where I wallow, wail, and expect everyone to join me. There was the time in sixth grade when I waged war against the Queen Bees, lost terribly, and was thenceforth relegated to the Worthless Wannabes; there was the time in eighth grade when I liked a boy who surprisingly didn't return my overbearing affections; there was the time in tenth grade when I didn't get into National Dork Honor Society (I got in the following year, however). And when I was 15, my dad revealed he was as queer as the day is long gay, moved out, and my parents got divorced: a triple header. That pity party lasted quite some time.

Once I finally got off Prozac I was off to college, where it didn't take long before I was back at it: Bid Day, 1994. I didn't get into the sorority I wanted. BOO freakin' HOO. To add insult to injury, there was nary an "A" in any English class I took (my major, I'm afraid).

Then I met the love of my life and we got married. YAY!
We tried to have kids & learned I have lazy ovaries. BOO! (commence pity party)
After our 2nd IVF attempt, we conceived & learned we were expecting twins. YAY!
Morning sickness set in quickly without warning. BOO! (pity party in bed all day)
Twins were born-- perfect, healthy girls. YAY!
I was home alone with them all day every day & I sucked at breastfeeding. BOO! (pity party with endless tears)

Even recently I've continued my pathetic pity party tradition. I had radiation treatment for my hyperthyroidism (Graves' Disease) and had to completely isolate myself in the basement for four days. BOO!

Last summer I had a hernia and surgery repaired it. But it's back. One of our girls also has one and it has to be fixed as well. Double hernia BOO!

I've had enough of my damn pity parties. I feel like a complete chump. There is nothing so serious or terrible in my life right now, and there's certainly nothing I can't handle or fix. We all have obstacles and bumps in the road, but there are much bigger fish to fry and we must maintain proper perspective. A prime example is Michelle, my bloggy friend, who has recently learned her little girl has Neuroblastoma. Go here and here to read more about it. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine what this would be like. I want to do everything I can to help spread the word. I am keeping Monkey, Michelle, and the entire family in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sure it would mean a lot to her if you went over there to say hello and let her know you are thinking about her.

Please visit Ian over at The Daily Dose of Reality for ways to contribute to the cause. Here's the thing---this could be my kid, your kid, or your best friend's kid.

Click on Monkey to donate...please help!

Look at this precious little face and for a moment close your eyes and imagine it's your baby. What would you do? How would you feel? And wouldn't you want everyone to help? I have 400+ followers. If each of you donated just $1 (by clicking on Monkey's picture), that would be over $400! I can't begin to imagine the financial, emotional, and physical weights upon Michelle and her family right now. Let's pull together and do what we can!


Get Your Green On With the Lovely Lara at La Plates: Darling (Personalized!!) Reusable Tote Giveaway

My new friend Lara graciously agreed to help me host another Go Green Giveaway! Lara is an incredible mom to two sweet boys, a runner (she calls herself "Forrest Gump"), and a Chelsea Lately fan. Somehow she also manages to juggle her La Plates blog & business on the side. I recently went to one of her La Plates parties and bought oodles of fun things from her, including this darling reusable tote made from recycled plastic. After you visit her blog, you should check out the other fantabulous items on her website. I came home with a set of monogrammed plates, personalized pink placemats for the girls, a monogrammed cooler, and personalized stationery.
(I love pink with the nautical print! But lots of other combos to choose from!)

Please go here to view styles, fonts, colors, etc. The winner will get to personalize a bag and once it has been made, it will be shipped directly to you. Lara is so nice, in fact, that if you can't wait for the giveaway, she's giving you discount code ERIN10 to get 10% off your tote (expires 5/21/10)! And because I'm a special kind of awesome, I'm going to throw in a set of three reusable produce bags from Whole Foods so you can get your GREEN on. I have these and love them:

To enter (please leave separate comments for each entry):

You must be a follower of The Mother Load (*mandatory*)--1 entry
You must be a follower of La Plates (*mandatory*)--1 entry
You may follow me on Twitter (@erinlynn76)--1 entry
You may follow Lara on Twitter (@laplates)--1 entry
You may tweet a link to this giveaway once per day (please leave a link to your tweet in the comments)--1 entry
You may become my Facebook Fan (click on the badge on my sidebar)--1 entry
You may become La Plates' Facebook Fan--1 entry
You may post on Facebook about this with a link to the giveaway--2 entries
You may blog about this giveaway, linking back to both Lara and me--5 entries

For more Go Green Goodness, please visit Deb over at Menopausal New Mom and Big Sis over at Speaking of Witch today!

If you aren't a giveaway guru, then at least check out the new Sun Chips in their 100% COMPOSTABLE BAG. This gets our Green Stamp of Approval for sure--healthyish snack + no waste = WIN!

C'mon---let's GET OUR GREEN ON!!! Giveaway begins now and ends on Tuesday, May 18. Winner will be contacted via email, so please make sure I have a way to contact you if you do not have a Blogger profile!

Design by Bloggy Blog Designz Copyright © 2010