Friday, January 16, 2009


Blogging has opened up a whole new realm of communication and information sharing to me. Not only are blogs great tools for professional resources, project how-to's, and idea-sharing - but they are an incredibly impacting way to share stories and spread messages. I've stumbled across so amazing people, whose stories are both tragic and inspiring. What is perhaps the most amazing part of the blog phenomenon though, is the way people are reaching out and supporting those in need throughout the country and all over the world:

Take the Freeman Family for example. Their daughter was born incredibly premature, and was born 6/23/08 weighing just about 1lb. They have been in the hospital since she was born, and are constantly battling their daughters medical issues. The story is truly amazing - what a brave family and fighter of a baby! You can visit Kayleigh's blog here.

Another amazing couple in Charlotte, NC lost two baby girls. In honor of them, they have launched an annual premature baby onesie drive for the babies of the NICU where their baby was cared for. Talk about turning loss into something amazing. You can visit their blog here and there is all of the information on how to donate. They are half way to their goal, and I'll be mailing an outfit or two to them this weekend. Such great work they are doing, and honoring their daughters' memory.

Another amazing, traumatic and beautiful story is that of Matt, Liz, and Madeline. Matt's wife Liz died the day after she gave birth to their daughter, Madeline, and Matt was left to mourn his wife and raise his daughter alone. This man is a moving writer and photographer, and has received a huge outpour of support from the online community. So much so that he has launched a foundation in honor of Liz to support others who have lost a spouse. You can visit his blog here. I believe his story is also going to be covered in this week's issue of People magazine, so watch out for that.

The online community is truly an amazing thing.

In local fundraising efforts, we received a note from our friends and wedding photographers Steven & Jessica Fox who will be embarking on a mission trip to Zambia in April of this year. A trip of this magnitude is obviously a great expense, more than $6,000 for the two of them. We are happy to do our small part to contribute to their efforts, and encourage you to do the same. You can find out more about Steven and Jessica and their photography by visiting their blogs (look to the right side of your screen to find them). I'm assuming that if they don't have info about their mission trip up yet, they will do soon.

In work related news, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities is partnering with D&W grocery stores for their D&W Steps Up program. If you live in the Grand Rapids area and shop at D&W, write down these dates: FEBRUARY 15-21 and APRIL 12-18. Shop D&W during those weeks, and give them this code: 95760 at check-out. 2 12% of your purchase total will be donated to Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities. Easy. Hassle-free. Awesome.

As for my personal life. What a week it has been!

It's been busy, and stressful, and tiring. I'm fighting a bug of some description, and like the rest of Michigan I'm completely sick of snow. A shining moment however, was a great success at the YMCA this week. For those of you who don't know, in addition to my full-time development work at GAAH, I work limited part-time for the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids at the Visser branch in Grandville where I coordinate the Arts & Humanities programs. What started almost two years ago with me teaching a handful of flute and voice students at the Y has blossomed into over thirty programs in art, music, photography, dance and languages. We kicked off our Winter 1 session of programs this week with almost 140 participants enrolled in the A&H programs. This is HUGE. I have an amazing staff of instructors, who are as equally passionate about the arts and their impacts on peoples lives as I am, and it is their energy that keeps me at the Y despite everything. As a visual, check out these kids on the first night of classes last night...

This weekend I'll be embarking on a variety of crafty projects - I need to unwind and so something artistic! I have two scrapbooks underway - one of which being my wedding one which I have hardly started. I have Valentines cards to make, and will be working on some shower and bachelorette party invites for my good friend Alison's wedding. Also for Alison's wedding - I'll be experimenting with pinatas. Yes, pinatas. There are going to be lots of children at Alison's wedding - and Alison's life is influenced by Hispanic culture in so many ways (family, education, work) that we thought it would be a great idea to have a pinata for them! Here's a photo of the type of thing we're looking at doing... so fun!

I'm also hoping to tackle our upstairs bathroom, and by tackle I mean paint - or at least prep for painting. We'll see how that goes... typing all of these plans are making me realize what a lofty task list I am setting myself!

And before I sign off, some more feedback is required. Erinn recommended awhile ago when I was feeling insecure about the subject matter of my blog, that perhaps having multiple blogs would be a good idea. One for work "stuff," one for hobbies and crafty things, and one for my personal life. While it seemed like a lot of work when she first suggested it, I'm thinking she may be a genius. (Love you Erinn!) My blog posts are a conglomerate of topics, photos, and events - and I think they might be better organized in separate, linked blogs. My only concern is that I may bore my *huge* readership of 14... and have even less interest in my writings! I know there's a lot of you closet blog readers out there though that don't like to publicize that they read my babble... (Meg) ... so we'll see. Whaddaya think?!

Seriously though. This is the end of my post. Happy Weekend to All!

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

-- Frederick Buechner


Lindsey Wolfe said...

Isn't it amazing how my checking facebook lead me to your blog which pointed you to my blog which pointed you to Kayleigh's blog which pointed you to the onesie drive, etc etc etc. :-)

Joanne said...

I know right. Check out "Matt, Liz and Madeline" if you haven't already...