Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Abby's Purple Bag Project

In my last post I mentioned that we were working on Abby's Purple Bag Project.  After she originally came up with the idea, we spent time deciding how best to go about reaching enough people to accomplish her goal.  We decided that we should put a number on her goal so this would seem achievable to everyone we asked to help us.  I suggested 150.  She responded with 1,000.  She also said that she wanted them delivered in every state.   (States were something her teachers taught her in PreK.)  So we decided the best way to get the word out was through a Facebook campaign.  We launched a page just for her goal and she created a video so it would be coming straight from her mouth.

We are launching Abby's Purple Bag Project today because Lala is currently getting her chemo today.  So while she has to sit there and feel yucky, we wanted her to know that soon there would be lots of purple bags being put together.  Lala has such a gracious spirit and always thinking of others.  It is neat to see Abby taking on that same trait.

I started writing this blog post right after I uploaded Abby's video on Facebook and launched Abby's Purple Bag Project Facebook campaign.  In the minutes that is has taken me to write this, my Facebook must have dinged over a hundred times with likes and reposts and phone has been receiving texts.  Its amazing to see the support in my Facebook friends.  I know that only God can take a project like this and make it so successful.  All Glory goes to him.  I just feel honored to have a daughter with this vision.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Delivering Bags to Lala

As we were planning out our PURPLE BAG PROJECT, Lala's next chemo treatment was approaching.  I asked Abby if she wanted to put bags together with her friends again.  She said, "no I want to put bags together and take them to the place Lala gets her chemo."

Well that would be great but Lala lives about 5 hours away.  Now I honestly wanted to pull Abby out of school, take the day off work, and show up Tuesday morning with purple bags, but my sensible husband helped us come up with a better plan.

We probably would have made a family trip down there the weekend before if we weren't already committed to go the following weekend.  So Abby and I decided we would make the trip just the two of us.  Her 18 month old little sister isn't the easy traveler that she is.

We decided to take all the supplies down with us and asked Lala to help us put the bags together.  The drive was long but SO WORTH IT.  Lala was very surprised and it was a very special time for us to spend with just Lala.

the Purple Bag Playdate

Abby was so excited to put together bags again that she wanted her friends to help her.  I felt so blessed to have had this experience that I wanted to share this joy with other moms.  So we set up the Purple Bag Playdate.  We put out a list of items on Facebook and had friends pick one item to bring to fill 12 bags.  When everyone arrived at our house they made one or two beautiful pieces of artwork to put inside the bags.  It was a really special experience watching the bags come together and explaining where the bags would go to our children.

Every bag gets a letter explaining what we are doing and letting them know that we are praying for them.

I can't tell you how exciting it is to load up the back of my car with purple bags.

We invited anyone who could go with us to drive down to deliver the bags.  Abby's friend Claire was able to join us.  They don't let the girls go back so we just handed the bags to the receptionist and she promised to make sure they got to the patients.  We got to talk to a few people in the waiting room who thanked us for doing this.  

We drove away and Abby said, "Mom, I feel sad."  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why she would feel sad.  I felt great and blessed after delivering those purple bags.  After asking her why, she replied, "I don't thing we had enough bags.  I want to do more."  I assured her that we would deliver bags the next time Lala had her chemo treatment.  That wasn't good enough for Abby.  She told me, "I want to deliver bags to EVERYONE who has to get chemo." 

Well that would be nice but impossible. 

Thankfully I kept my mouth shut and didn't crush her dream.  I didn't want the limitations I see as an adult to kill the hopes and dreams of my five-year-old to make this world a better place.  Instead I replied:

"Well, if that is really what you want, then I will do everything I can to help you do that."  And so began our 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chemo Care Packages

Abby's grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.  She is very fortunate, and although this will be a challenging year of treatment, her prognosis is very good.  Her outlook on life is amazing and inspiring.   Her birthday came after her first round of chemo, and she emailed out her birthday list.  Her list didn't include gifts but asked that her family and friends put together chemo care packages to give to local cancer treatment centers.  I put Abby in charge of this project.  Abby and I reviewed the list that her "Lala" sent out of suggested items to put in the bags.  We wrote down each item we wanted to include and the two of us went to the store.

She picked out the items, she pushed the cart, and she scanned them on the self scanner.

She then put the bags together.  She decided that purple should be the color of the bags because purple is Lala's all time favorite color.  She drew a very special picture (and she spent hours on each one) for each bag.

We wrote up a letter to put in each bag explaining why we were giving out purple bags, that we were praying for the person who received this bag, and that we hoped they felt better soon.  

We decided the perfect day to deliver the bags would be the day of Lala's next chemo treatment.  We drove to the VA hospital of Las Vegas.  This hospital is where Abby's teacher's husband received treatment last year.  Abby and her class spent all last year praying for him.  We decided that we wanted to give back to a place that took good care of someone important to us.  

It was an honor to deliver bags to this special place.  The oncology nursing staff was incredible.  They were so kind and grateful.  They were excited to meet Abby and hear why we were doing this.  We were so blessed to deliver the chemo bags that we received so much more than we ever could have given.  As a mom, this experience was more than I could have ever expected or hoped for.  This day, it didn't matter if she ate junk food, watched too much tv, went to bed late, or finished her homework.  This day, I wasn't holding myself to any of the parenting standards I used to believe mattered.  This day I did something right.  This day my daughter served others and served Jesus.  And as a mom, I couldn't have been more proud.

And on the way home, do you know what Abby said to me?  She asked if we could deliver more bags.  And so a mission began.  We decided to deliver chemo care packages every time Lala received treatment. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My goals

I was recently taking a parenting class that was a dvd series by Dr. Kevin Leman: Have a New Kid by Friday.  (I really don't want a new kid.  I've grown quite fond of the one already living in my house, but I want to make sure it stays that way.)  I gained  several useful tips how to be a better parent and all of them concrete, easy-to-implement advice.  I really notice a difference.  What stuck out to me the most was something Dr. Leman said the very first class.  What are your goals for your children?  What do you want them to look like when they move out of your house?
Here is my list:

  • love Jesus with all their heart
  • to be kind to others (friends and strangers)
  • to be a servant to others
  • a hard worker
  • someone who finds joy in little things
  • compassionate
  • someone who wants to make the world a better place
  • someone who is not scared to get their hands dirty
  • a cheerful heart

I looked at my list and boy did it give me a truck-full of perspective.  Suddenly, this battle of Kindergarten homework didn't seem to be quite so important.  My list didn't include being smart or getting good grades.  From that day on, I decided as a parent to put our focus (our parenting blood, sweat, and tears) into the things that MATTER.  That was the start to figuring out how to raise a servant heart in selfish world.