Anyways.. Ella's Run. It was awesome. And we are SO thankful for everyone's support. I honestly feel incredibly blessed to have been a part of this experience. I think the most amazing thing to witness was how so many people came together and shared their talents and resources for a goal bigger than themselves. We've always tried to teach our kids about how God gives each person their own set of talents and special gifts and our job is to find out what those are and do good with them. I will admit to putting my own little spin in it a few times.. See boys.. see how mommy isn't very talented at keeping the house clean or the laundry folded and put away? Well, that's okay because God just didn't give me those talents. But He did give me lots of other special talents like.. like.. well. There are other things I'm good at. I'm sure..
Honestly though, to see in action the wide variety of people's talents and the pure goodness of people's hearts was really an unforgettable experience. From the owner of a local meat locker who read our story in the newspaper and called me up one day volunteering to donate all the meat to our Spaghetti Supper, to the bottling company who donated water bottles for the run, to my crafty friends (and some people I didn't even know) who made things for our silent auction/raffle, to businesses donating gift cards, to the 10 year old little girl who called her mom at work adamantly asking her to stop at the store and pick up baking supplies on her way home so she could bake cookies to sell at a garage sell to raise money for Ella and who excitedly ran up to me the next day exclaiming how she did "sooooo good" and handed over $23.75 (LOVE her), to a local newspaper donating advertising space, to the old man with a prothetic leg who hobbled up the driveway to our freewill donation rummage sale and dropped a check in the jar and hobbled back down again without saying a word, to the countless donations and cards we received from friends and family and sometimes complete strangers. Perhaps my most favorite donation was a card from a sweet elderly lady that came in the mail one day. Enclosed was a note saying that she didn't have much to give, but she knew that every little bit helps. Inside was a check for $5. I still tear up today thinking about her generosity and sacrifice and thoughtfulness.
Isn't that the whole idea? The fact that we don't have to give it all to make a difference. We don't have to single handedly solve the world's problems or fund major projects that impact millions of people. If we all just give what we can, whether it be time or supplies or gifts or talents or money or resources or just plain showing up. It makes a difference. I know I've fallen victim to the excuse of "Well, we don't have that much to give so I'm sure our little contribution won't make much of an impact. I'll just let someone with more money take care of that and make a bigger difference." Let me tell you.. it does make a difference. Whether it's $23.75 or if it's just $5. It makes a difference.
We have been so humbled by this experience and even just sitting at the Spaghetti Supper and looking around at all the people that came out to support us by eating (I mean, is there even a better way in all the world to support somebody than by eating??) was so awesome. Towards the end, our 'fundraising' became much less about the money and much more about sharing experiences with people. It really does make the hard days much easier-knowing what a supportive community we are part of, even if you all can't be here in person every day to help with the terrible 3 screaming fits of rage. (But if anyone's in the area and wants to stop by...)
We are constantly looking around for ways we can help and give back and I truly hope that by helping us, we have helped others as well. I hope that the little girl who stayed up late in her pj's baking cookies to sell for Ella always remembers that no matter your age, you can make a difference. I hope that Ella's brothers always feel as proud as they did the day they ran the 5K 'to help my sister' (even though they rode in the golf cart part of the way.. See? CHEATERS) I hope everyone who gave got joy out of giving. And I hope you all know how thankful we are for each and every one of you for making a difference in our lives.
California or BUST!