Monday, December 7, 2015

Be what you would like to see

I don't know about you guys, but the crap on the news has been depressing me.
I am sick to death of all of the ugliness and shootings and bombings and hatefulness.
I'm also just worn out with all of the politics that we are constantly being bombarded with.  For the LOVE OF GOD, we have eleven more months of this crap before we get to vote...and then it is likely going to be reminiscent of the South Park episode where the kids had to vote on a new mascot and their choices were between a Douche Bag and a Shit Sandwich.

We are well into the month of December, and I have been struggling to pull my head out of all of the negative and get into the holiday spirit.  It has been an uphill battle this year.

Until yesterday...

I hang out with a fantastic group of women, the infamous (we believe) Funkalicious Alabama Kudzu Queens. I cannot adequately explain the number of times and the variety of ways that these ladies have impacted my life.

For the most part, we are a loosely regulated coalition of multifarious women. I say loosely regulated because our group's guiding rules are not very strict: 

  1. Pay our yearly dues.
  2. Don't do anything to get us arrested or get our children taken away.
  3. Show up as often as you can.
  4. Love one another.
  5. Support one another.
Multifarious because, well, we are.  Our ages range from early thirties to late sixties.  Our professions are extremely diverse: business owner, chemist, engineer, travel agent, nurses, controller, fitness instructor, interior designer, domestic goddess, etc. We are single, married, divorced; with and without children.
We convene monthly for our "liquid lunches" (that should be self-explanatory).  And several times a year, we try to use our many combined talents, resources, and just plain awesomeness for the forces of good.

Recently, a member of our group, Rebecca, became aware of a serious issue right here close to home. There are several families in our local community that have a difficult time providing food for their elementary school aged children on weekends and whenever school is out. Several organizations have been sending food home for these kids in backpacks on the weekends. However, Christmas vacation is on the horizon and these kids are looking at 17 days straight of no school breakfasts or lunches.
We (Rebecca) identified 16 families with a combined total of 38 kids that really needed some help. (Rebecca got with the principal & some of the teachers at the elementary school. The kids and their families we chose were vetted by the principal and teachers. Those of you out there in the education system know that it’s the teachers and school administrators who REALLY know the stories of the children in their care.) In a lot of cases, you have grandparents who have been thrown into the task of raising children on a fixed income…or single parents who are just struggling to make ends meet.
The KQs as a group decided to raise money amongst ourselves, as well as our friends and associates  to provide care packages for these families so that these kids will have something to eat while they are out of school for Christmas break. We each gave what money we could, several ladies put boxes out at their work places to collect items, and we put the call out far and wide for donations.
The response was fantastic.
We raised approximately $1800.

Yesterday, 6 of us out of the group met together to do the shopping for the care packages:


We bought non-perishable items such as: cans of ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, breakfast bars, ramen noodles, Spam ( I have been assured that kids love this, even though I cannot stand the smell of it myself), mac n' cheese, apple sauce, fruit cups, juice boxes, etc. (we made sure not to get anything with peanuts!)  We stuck primarily to the stuff with some nutritional value...though we did include some chips...'cause everyone needs a little treat.


You know what really, really made my day?
While we shopped, we kept a running tab on what we were the time we had everything we wanted in the quantities we needed, we calculated we'd be about $16 short. The six of us shopping were just going to split the extra...but on our way to the register a lady stopped and asked us what we were doing...when we told her, she handed us a $20. God is truly shown in the kindness of strangers.

There wasn't a dry eye among us as we put that lady's $20 with the rest of our money and proceeded to check out.

At the register, we got another pleasant surprise.  Because we were spending so much and Rebecca was a "Plus" member, we got $10 back for every $500 we spent.
We hadn't calculated that in our original tally, and we had money left over.
So...we had a quick little conference...and we'll be getting each of the families a Christmas ham to go along with everything else.

Next week, we'll be getting together to put the packages together for delivery to the families.

This experience has finally put me in the Christmas spirit.
It has reminded me that there are good, kind, giving people still out there.
It has reminded me that there is more beauty than ugly out there.
And it has reminded me that if I want the world to look different I need to "Be What I Want to See" in the world.
A modern twist to "Man in the Mirror", I'm changing the "Chick in the Selfie"