Friday, November 7, 2014

A Good Cause for AM~Erica to Decorate

So anyway...

It's that time of year again! You know...when October is over right a midnight...all the ghouls & goblins are getting tucked in bed from getting & eating so much candy...and then...BOOM! CHRISTMAS!

You see it a little bit before that as holiday decor & gift sets begin to leak into spiderwebs, masks, makeup & pumpkins...but it just takes over come November 1st!

This doesn't bother a few, but for many it can be really irritating. It's like the precious middle child of Thanksgiving GETS PASSED OVER.

I'm not big on that thought. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas! It's just a bit of overkill of commercialism the moment we flip our calendars to November. No breather between the Halloween hype. Just turn around and we are smacked with the hype of commercialist, materialist Christmas stuff. the elections happened, too. And I am SO thankful the negativity of the mudslinging ads are done, but I'm talking holidays here.

Now then, even though I'm so irritated by the onslaught of Christmas carols loudly piped thru the grocery stores, along with the sound of actual jingle bells & premature twinkling of lights on trees & wreaths, I did some prep work by buying some ornaments, glittery things, clip-on poinsettias, and a tree. Then I went straight to decorating that tree.

Yes. On November 1st, I fell to decorating a tree. But it's not for my home. We certainly aren't ready for that yet!! Instead, it was for an incredibly important cause!

If you remember a couple of years ago, my mom, daughter & I decorated a tree as part of THE ENCHANTED FOREST. It was such an awesome experience, we did it again!

The Marillac Center is an organization that helps children & teens in the mental health department. No matter what payment can or cannot be, they take these kids in to make sure they are put back on track to be able to function in society without hurting themselves or someone else. And I am so proud to be supporting them! We get to help them with creative contributions so that they may auction off these holiday creations to be able to supplement payment for the families who cannot pay for the treatment of their child's mental health.

Find out more about Marillac HERE

So, with an idea I had about 5 years ago, got the stuff, but never got to use it, I got the chance to recreate the idea this year!! YAY!!

We got an unlit tree, gold bow topper, pine cones, gold curly ting ting, poinsettias, ornaments in deep reds, coppers, browns, add gold ribbon, snowflakes & icicles, you get a beautiful tree called "Warm Winter Splendor"...

It was nice to have Teen Girl in town to help decorate. She was amazing wielding the hot glue gun!! And my mom found some beautiful decorations to add to our gorgeous tree! It was definitely teamwork to get this thing together!

Unfortunately, Teen Girl had to head back to college & could not join us for the decorators' reception. But my mom & I fought the insanity of rush hour traffic & parking to get in to a portion of our reception & so we could enjoy taking in & critiquing the other trees & wreaths. It's what we've done for 20 of the past 22 years. And we snapped some pics of our tree set up...

"Warm Winter Splendor" is one of many trees & wreaths up for bid this weekend ONLY! Bidding happens on site, so if you are in the KC area, you can head over to the Overland Park Convention Center to check out the Enchanted Forest for FREE & to make a bid on some beautifully decorated creations!

You can also purchase a ticket to get in to shop at the Holiday Boutique...which also helps benefit local businesses AND help out Marillac!

And if you need an extra push to get there, I want to tell you what happened when the CEO/President of Marillac sat down with my mom & me at the reception. Lynn Lemke introduced himself, sat down with us, and thanked us for donating a tree. He then when into a brief description of Marillac...and then did something amazing! He told us that he'd spent the evening sharing a different story of a child with every person/group he was speaking with. Then he chose to share this particular story with us:

There was a boy who lost his father to an alcohol-related death. His mom was addicted to drugs. He was living with his grandparents, but needed to be helped for his mental health state. He was having a rough time, and was even suicidal. They worked with him until they could get him back living with his grandparents. And at that point, he had told Marillac that he was looking into maybe a career as a therapist thru music! Isn't that awesome?? But the story doesn't end there...
Mr. Lemke went on to say that there was a Marillac fundraising gala recently. He wanted to find one of the kids to speak at the gala to make the awareness very real. He asked Zack (the boy in the story). The grandparents were asked first, and they agreed as long as Zack felt OK with it. Zack was reluctant, but Mr. Lemke informed him that there would be nothing to be afraid of. He told Zack that we are all failures at some point, and it's OK to say that we have issues. And, even though Zack was still going in for outpatient upkeep treatment now, his story would be a great one to share. Zack agreed to speak in front of 200 people. That night, in front of 350 people at the gala, the sound system didn't work the whole time...that was until Zack got up to speak. The sound system worked perfectly for the 20 minutes he told his story to the crowd. Afterward, person after person after person approached Zack with congratulations for a great job, with gushing encouragement, and so many thank yous for him being so open with his story.
This led to Zack telling Mr. Lemke that this experience changed his mind about a career & is now wanting to be a motivational speaker.

Several things about Zack's story resonated with me. And, if you read about MY OWN STRUGGLES, you will know why it hit me so hard & why I tried not to ugly cry in that moment. Only intervention of the Divine led Mr. Lemke to tell us that particular story.

With my recent advocacy with the AFSP (more info HERE), I am also wanting to do more with Marillac. If we can help these kids early, maybe they can be functional prepared & functional adults.

In God's time was it made aware to me why I felt led to do a tree for Marillac after so many years of just attending. But it took until now to truly understand.

So...won't you go to bid on a tree? Not just "Warm Winter Splendor", but any of the trees &/or wreaths to help such a worthy cause?

By the of last night, there was already a it's your turn thru Sunday!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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