It was late. The children were sleeping, the house was quiet, and James was snoring beside me. I was lying in bed--covers tucked under my chin like so many nights from my girlhood--thinking about all I needed to get done for the week!
(And isn't that the truth?! As women, as mothers, we think and think and think about our "to-do" lists when we should be sleeping!)
I had recently cleaned out the pantry and the storage closet, and was thinking about the closets I had yet to finish. I knew Lilly and Camren's closet was bad, and that that would be the next on my list to tackle. As I was drifting into slumber, I thought about the boxes of books buried beneath the toys in their closet. I thought about how I needed to sort through them...
And then I dreamed about giving books away. I set up a booth--like a lemonade stand on a sidewalk--and handed them out. It was weird. But it was wonderful!
The next morning--as I was sluggishly rolling out of bed--an idea struck me like a splash of ice water in the face! Donate some of your children's books to kids who could use some literary love for Christmas.
The idea resonated within my heart and rang brightly in my mind. I knew, knew it was something I was supposed to do. I felt my breath quicken as I ran for Lilly and Cam's bedroom and threw open the closet door! That's how it started--me in my pajamas, sporting my noteworthy bedhead, sitting on the floor, sorting stacks of picture books.
My sister, Erika (who writes a book review blog), saw my Instagram posts about giving books away, and quickly caught the vision of my project. She eagerly got on board and it became our project. Our blessing.
We set up a GoFundMe campaign and started spreading the word. We watched as what started as a spark of a dream turned into a warm fire of love and kindness. And then we watched as friends and strangers alike took that beautiful, burning fire and turned into a blaze of service.
Fifty new books were donated. We received over $400 to help cover shipping and packaging costs, as well as the purchase of more books. Wrapping paper was donated. Requests for books flooded my inbox. A fifth grade teacher felt inspired to include her students in the project. They donated books using their class book order points. To say that the generosity of others has been astounding would be an understatement.
Books have been sent to local Sub For Santa families. They have been sent to first graders in Georgia. They have been sent to a children's hospital, to a family who lost their home in a fire, to children in a number of states in the US, and to special needs children with disabilities similar to my Camren's. All have received new books from us. From you--Christmas angels who have lifted us and have shared our desire to put books in children's homes.
Through this experience I have learned a number of things. I have learned that there are good people in the world; the unsung heroes, the silent saviors, the humble givers. I have learned that the sincerest of desires can be made reality, that God always prepares a way for goodness, and that we are loved more than we comprehend. We are a universal family; we take care of each other.
I've learned that "charity never faileth." That books, cards, pinatas, whatever the gift...it matters. Because it's love. And I've learned that I live to love others.
Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your love, enthusiasm, donations, and support. Thank you for your willingness to help me, to buoy me up, and sustain me. YOU inspire ME! Thank you for being the good in the world and the beauty in this holiday season.
Thank you for being so divine.