Oct 222011
 


“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32


After reading Tova’s incredible essay about her baby Joy, I started feeling a little sad. Because I thought that one day I’d be writing an essay like Tova’s about my family’s adoption. I had the essay all planned out. I even had our Christmas Card designed. It was going to be a family picture in front of our beautiful LOVE WINS sign and underneath our family of six it would say:

JOY TO THE WORLD! Love, The Melton Pot.

The Melton Pot. I mean, seriously. You KNOW how excited I was when that gem lit up my little brain.

But it was not to be. It is what it is, and it’s not what it’s not.

One night while I was pouting, Craig said, “Honey, you know, we’re still the Melton Pot.” And I rolled my eyes and said, “OH, C’MON. NO WE’RE NOT. We’re Asian and white. We might be like a Melton skillet of some sort but we needed Africa to be a Pot. We are So Not a Pot.

Kay, fine. Not a Pot, he said. Sorry, hon.

Anyway, skillets are fine, I guess. I’m just saying that adjusting to the recent changes in my life has been a little tougher than I thought it would be.There is something that I really, really wanted that I gave my all for and I ain’t gonna get it. Because of LYYYYME. Boo. I feel very five years old sometimes.

Like Tish. Tish is quite dramatic. And I am always telling her that sometimes she is so focused on what she doesn’t have that she misses all the wonderful things she does have.

Whenever I tell her this Craig raises his eyebrow at me. SO annoying.

But he’s right. I do that too. I feel sad that I didn’t get the new person I wanted to love, and so I overlook the hundreds of people God gave me to love. YOU PEOPLE.


It’s crazy, really. I have this sickness (it’s back, of course) that doesn’t allow me to get out much, but God gave me this computer, and this community, so that Ican reach out and STILL offer myself to the world. No matter what, He always gives us a way to stay open. Stay open. This is what I’m learning, Stay Open By Any Means Necessary. Do not allow anything that life throws at you to close your heart. Heart wide open. Always. No matter what. If you can do that, good things will come.


Today I want to talk about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa . . . the December holidays.

I know, it’s not even Halloween, one holiday at a time, I know it.

But we do Christmas preparations a little differently at the Melton Skillet, and it works for us. It is the Melton rule that all Christmas business . . . gift buying, wrapping, etc. . . is done by Thanksgiving. Yep, we miss some sales. But we also spend the month of December in peace, together, making memories instead of trips to the mall. Our minds are not full of to do lists and so stress is low. And since we tell the kids that Santa stops taking gift requests at Thanksgiving, they don’t spend all of December talking about what “they want.”

Each of our kids gets three gifts and if there are ever any future complaints, we plan to ask them if they think they deserve more gifts than BABY JESUS GOT. ON BABY JESUS’ BIRTHDAY. After that, any further complaining will result in each child receiving actual frankincense and myrrh instead of Wii games and skateboards. Have fun with your spices, kiddos. That’s the plan.

Staying out of the stores in December is healthy for our family in many, many ways. This year we’re shutting down the computers in December, too. So we have lots of work to get done at Momastery before the shut down happens.


Back to Monkeedom.


I love you. I really do love you, Monkees. I don’t express how much because I’m afraid of coming across as a dramatic, crazy, cheesy computer lady. But I really do. This community has saved me and made a believer out of me.This community has made me feel safer and braver and cozier out in the big world. You have changed me, supported me. You are like a world –wide family to me, which is the truth, right? We are a world- wide family. That’s how we should all feel. Cozier in the world.


I was watching a news story about the economy recently and there were many families talking about how they were going to have a hard time buying gifts for their children this year. Some said that having their usual Christmas dinner was not an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they were worried about paying the heat bill during the holidays. One man said he just wanted to buy his wife a little necklace, a little something to show her how much her work at home meant to him, but he couldn’t. There just wasn’t any extra. None.


All of this made me want to stick the fork I was holding directly into my eye.


Then I started thinking about how there are probably many Monkee families in these situations, and that made me want to put my fork down and start brainstorming. Because no way, Jose. Not on my watch. Not my Monkees. We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. We can acknowledge each other’s needs, hear them, and then help each other in little ways, because we belong to each other.


You know, I’d rather my kids have three Christmas gifts and your kids have three Chistmas gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts.

And that’s the bottom line here, for me. And I bet it is for you, too. I think I know you well enough to know that you agree.


I figure that everyone reading this has a need this holiday.

Some of us don’t have enough this year. These Monkees need a hand putting food on the table and buying gifts for their kids.

Some of us have a little extra this year. These Monkees need to reach out to other families and share, in order to wake themselves up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean.

And some of us have just enough. These Monkees need to sit back and witness some miracles, to keep believing in people and love.


We all have needs. When we don’t share our needs, out of pride or fear of rejection, we deprive other people of fulfilling their needs. Sometimes we need to receive and sometimes we need to give. Seasons change. So please decide which type of Monkee you are this year, and participate accordingly.


This is how I’m hoping this Love Extravaganza will work:

Craig and I would like to start the party off by offering checks for $75 to six Monkees who could use the money to make the holiday a little brighter for their families.

SO:

If your family could use this money, leave a comment about how you will use it and then email me at momastery(at)gmail(dot)com with your address. Our check will arrive at your home by Nov 1. The end. No strings. Just tell your story, anonymously or not, not so we can judge how worthy you are of the money, everyone is worthy, just so we can know each other and love and understand each other better.

Now.

Obviously, I am expecting more than six requests.

That’s where you come in.

If you are a Monkee who has some extra this year. . . read the comments. Find another Monkee who touches your heart and reply to her comment. Tell her you will help. Then you both email me and I’ll put you in touch.


**Also…if you are a Monkee who would like to donate money to this cause and let me distribute it….email me. I’ll take care of that, too.


At this point you might ask yourself….how is all of this really gonna work?


Well, how could I possibly know that?


I’m going to do this like I do everything else . . . I’m going to ANNOUNCE THAT IT IS HAPPENING and then wait for crazy things to start occurring and then I’m going to become completely overwhelmed with JOY AND PANIC and start crying and hide under my bed and then Craig will try to teach me to make a spread sheet and a Pay Pal account AGAIN and I will yell at him: WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO CHANGE ME?? and he will say I am not trying to change you, I just think there are more efficient methods of record keeping than writing things on piles of used paper towels and scraps ripped off of Chase’s homework papers, to which I will reply: GOOD GOD, THIS IS NO TIME FOR A LESSON ON CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY. I AM JUST TRYING TO BREATHE, HERE. And then Craig will take the kids away, for their own well-being, and let me work for a couple days.


And it will all get done, in spite of me . . . the same way that this Holiday Love Project got done and this Holiday Love Project got done and this one and THAT ONE and everything else worth doing gets done. One deep breath and little miracle at a time.


And we will wrap all of this up by Thanksgiving, so that we can rest and celebrate, knowing that our sisters are cared for. And our sisters can rest and celebrate, knowing that their families are cared for.


That’s the plan. Help, please. All ideas welcome.


I LOVE YOU.

GDo



PS. Thank You, Bloggess, for inspiring this idea, and so many others.









Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  230 Responses to “Holiday Hands”

  1. […] one morning and whispered. “Just ask for help.” That’s where you all come in. I thought of Momastery’s Holiday Hands Love Project. I contacted Glennon. She and I started emailing back and forth. My favorite thing she said […]

  2. I so love what you are doing here! We are looking for help and hoping this place to find it. My brothers family is facing poverty this Christmas. Our family (not just my husband and I) have circled around them and their basic needs will be met, but we cant cover Christmas for them and their Sweet kids as well. Their sweet hearts are hurting and I am praying they are gifted with hope this Christmas. Can you help us?

  3. hi my name is tammy and a fellow facebook friend sent me your page.I love your page andall there is about it,i love reading all you post.We are a family in need for christmas.About 2 months ago my husband had a mild heart attach and i had to go back to work,we have talked to many people and have been told your family is very large and alot of people dont want or cant help a family of your size.We struggle everyday but i can say were happy.If theres any place you could send us your thoughs would be greatly appreciated thank you and have a blessed day

    the harris family

  4. Hello! I am a new reader of this blog and I’m hooked! :) I have a friend who is truly in need this holiday season. She is a newly single mom to 3 little ones. Her husband of 8 years took off and left her with nothing, out of the blue. He is troubled and its a long story why, but she is getting her own place and really needs anything you can give. I’m currently scouring Craigslist to find bedroom furniture for her and her daughter. She needs a washer and dryer. Anything.

    She is devastated by her broken heart, but I am so proud of her because she is looking up and moving forward for her babies. She has kept the kids and herself in church. Anything anyone can give would be a blessing to my sweet friend and her kiddos.

    Thank you and God Bless!

  5. Hi G,

    I don’t know whether anyone still needs any help but I’m here if they do. I’m only 17 so I don’t have much but my monthly allowance of £30 (I’m from England- does that mean I can still help?) just came through and I want to donate it to help a fellow monkee. I also have stuffed animals from when my brother and I were little if there are any baby monkees in need! My brother and I loved our toys well so they are in good condition.

    “Tell me I’m not alone. Prove to me that love wins.”
    I don’t want anything for Christmas this year, I’m a lot blessed already. However I would like to prove to another monkee that they are not alone, that monkee love is like no other and that there is always hope; let them know they are unconditionally loved.

    Love you all monkees, you are changing me and I am grateful.

    Laura

  6. I am a brand new monkee and am ready to help!!! This is an amazing idea!! Is this happening for this Christmas 2012? If so where do I sign up? Glennn you are an angel!

    Xoxo Nicki

  7. Hi Glennon:

    I am a new Monkee-wanna-be, and started off with the amazing Croyle family. My heart has been filled with love and hope for their future, my kids’ future, the world’s future, etc.

    Since I just found you, I missed the Christmas giving cycle of 2011. I can’t wait to see what the Christmas season of 2012 brings.

    Hugs to you and all the Monkees!

  8. Hi Glennon, I am late to the game for this Christmas but would love to help with food for families. I am a rep for a natural food company (www.mywildtree.com/egirard). Please let me know how I can help with future needs.

  9. Love to see this happening. I can't be a monkeey giver this year (we gave our extra to a different group already), nor am I monkey in need. I'm just thrilled to see people coming together.

    And I Love your verse from Acts and your comment about wishing your kids had 3 gifts and mine had 3 gifts instead of yours having 6 and mine 0. That pretty well sums up my political views too. :)

    Merry Christmas to all!

  10. Mommy2one21….I have your Monkee family for you.

    Email, love. momastery(at)gmail.com

  11. Mommy2one21-

    We got this. Give me a day and we will have a plan. Love is on the way.

    G

  12. Miss Jess….

    Would you email me at momastery(at)gmail.com?

    I would LOVE to match you with another fabulous monkee!

  13. Hi Glennon,

    I am a new (and faithfully converted) Monkee…And this post has me crying and smiling and happy tears and everything. I am amazed at the beautiful people who are generously giving anything and everything, and humbled by the ones who are courageous enough to ask for help–not an easy thing to do.

    I want to help.

    My husband and I are fortunate enough to be in a position of "way more than we need" this year, and I would love to be matched up with someone who needs help. As of right now we are living overseas, but will be back in the States in December and I can buy/send stuff then, or I can send you money for you to distribute as you see fit. Let me know what would be best.

    Again, thank you for posting this and being a LIGHT to others. GOD is so good and He is working through ALL of us to show us the wonderful truth of His goodness. I feel so blessed and hope everyone else does too, no matter what end of this project you are on.

    Happy to be of service,
    Jessica

    http://www.jkcoffeyfamily.blogspot.com

  14. I am new to Momastery, I've spent a week reading all of your archives. You have an amazing way with words, and such a big heart Glennon. You've inspired me to branch out in my unfamiliar host country. We are a military family who has been stationed in Japan, and just yesterday I made a call to a local orphanage and was lucky enough that they had an English speaking volunteer on board. Come December 1st, my son and I are going to once a week volunteer there as janitors/reading/dish washers/whatever they need. And I can honestly say it's because I've been inspired by your blog. I just wish I had seen this thread a lot sooner, although I don't think I qualify as a monkee yet since I'm just a week old :) If it's not too late, I'd like to put in a request for my mother, who has taken on two boys from foster care. Her friend Jaime lost her two boys (drugs,nasty house…it was a health hazard) and she has no interest in her children now that they are with my mother. My mother is a single mom, all of her children are grown, and she works part time at a Wal Mart in Upper Michigan. I'm hoping it's not too late to ask if it is possible to receive clothes for the boys (ages 6 and 8), and maybe some toys? My mom is given $70 a month per child from the state, but spends that easily on food for them, not to mention she has to pay for childcare while she's t work. The upcoming holidays are weighing heavily on her. We are not in a position to help, I have a seven year old and a three year old boy, so other than a box of toys I was able to send a few weeks ago, along with some of my sons school clothes for the older boy, those two boys have NOTHING. I want to do more for her, but we are hurting as it is (our move has cost us dearly, and the military is in no hurry to reimburse of the huge costs of having to buy our own plane tickets while in PCS status(huge mess there), the moving company that stored our goods flooded out and it will take at least six months to be reimbursed for our goods that were ruined..not to mention the enormous cost of renting a house in Japan…none of our paperwork has gone smoothly to receive the money we are supposed to get to help so we had to pay A LOT out of pocket, wiping out our savings).. our own holidays are going to be rough. Forgive the ramblings, and if this request is too late, or I'm too new I completely understand. I do know she tried toys for tots, but is unsure of if she will be receiving anything from them.

  15. Anonymous…we have warm clothes for your son and some money and a few gift cards we'd like to send to you. We wish it was more, we wish we could fix everything.

    But what we send will be with great love. Would you email me, please?

    Caroline- would a little gift card help you out this holiday? I know the medical bills are brutal and relentless. Let a sister know. I've got $25 Wal Mart card with your name on it right here.

  16. Caroline, Kristin, and Anonoymous at 7:24…can you please email me at momastery(at)gmail.com?

    Of course, it is never too late. Bring it on, I'm still here.

    Love you all, thank you for caring and inspiring!

    G

  17. Glennon,

    I know I am late in reading this – and responding… but maybe not. Maybe today is the perfect day. I know you are on break from blogging until 2012… but if you read this… are you still taking help? Are there any latecomers that need help? Please let me know. My family has been very blessed – and our version of "just enough" is still much more than many have I'm sure. I would love to help in some way. We recently moved to Western NY and I would love to donate time as well if anyone knows someone in need… babysitting, spending time with an elderly friend/family member, etc. I stay home with my two boys right now and would love to help someone else out with my time. I seriously have spent much of the last few hours reading every comment (my poor kids think I've abandoned them to the TV!) and am amazed at your ability to connect people from all over. Thanks for reminding what the holidays should be all about.

    :) Kristin

  18. What a joy ya'll are!! My dear friend recommended this blog to me and now I know why! I totally need to be your friends. I'm still investigating exactly what a monkee is, but I'm pretty sure i wanna be one when (if) I grow up! :) Gmonkee- we have sooooo much in common, girl, it's not even funny! I don't have enough space to tell u my entire story, nor do I want you to fall asleep in your food from the length of it, but I,too have spent years trying to raise my three kids during an illness that has zapped me of my normal boisterous, energetic mommy-ness. Please feel free to check out my story (www.mamaholzberger.blogspot.com) if u have some spare reading time next month. I have a blog and God has just told me to step out there and do something big for others too! Man, I would love to chat with u about it! I freak out at the thoughts of spreadsheets and organization in general, too. My family is in the "not enough" group this year, with me being voted "most popular" by Blue Cross Blue Shield for the fourth year in a row. :) but, if I am too late, that is fine, I'm just blessed to have found y'all! Ok, gotta to feed my monkeys. Pun completely intended! God bless u all!!!

  19. I am sad to say that this year I find myself quite in need. When my son was born almost two years ago, he had health problems that prevented me from returning to work on time. My job was given away and I was left bills I couldn't pay. We lost our apartment, and had to move into a housing program. We have been struggling to get by and it's so much harder this time of year. We have gotten almost a foot of snow but my son still has no coat and we only turn the heat on in spurts because our home is in a basement and the heat leaks right out the windows. I am touched by all of your generosity for people you have never met. I am not very good at asking for help, but I thank you for taking time to be here.

  20. Monkees,

    You should all know–because I want to say LOUDLY–how wonderful Kristi is, and that I have a gorgeous "We Can Do Hard Things" sign now in my new home, and even an extra something special for my girl–to be revealed when she gets home from her dad's house tomorrow!

    Thank you, Kristi!

    Thank you Monkees, ALL!!

    Love-love-love!

  21. I just nominated G as a "Hometown Hero" in People Magazine for the work she's doing with Holiday Hands. If anyone else wants to nominate here here's the link: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1225145,00.html

  22. Absolutely amazing! I just took this idea and am doing the same thing with my 10,000+ fans on my facebook page (Olive to Sew). I hope this holiday season will bring hundreds of people joy and happiness from the goodness of others!

  23. All,

    I'm the husband of the special mom that Natalie (above) introduced you all to with . . .

    "She was laid off over a year ago and when she was offered a job she took it, because minimum wage is still better than unemployment. So now she's in her mid-50's, with 2 kids still in college, and not even making enough for the monthly bills. It breaks my heart to see her still struggling at the age when she should no longer have to worry about such things."

    . . . needless to say, I'm also the father of the very special Natalie. I'd to thank you, assure you of our appreciation, and encourage you a bit:

    I served as a deacon in our church for years and I know people are often uncomfortable receiving this kind of aid, ugly pride convinces them this is some shameful episode rather than the beautiful celebration of God's love that it actually is. I want you all to know that we genuinely recognize your sacrifice and thank you for that, but we also recognize your joy and privilege in serving others.

    I think, with all the glorious family surrounding me, one of my fondest Thanksgiving memories is one year when Natalie was still in high school and friends with a Vietnamese girl . . . her family had newly come to America and they didn't have much at all. Natalie was concerned that while everyone at school was preparing for the celebration and abundance of Thanksgiving, this young girl, who so desired to fit-in and be a part of her new American life, did not have the means for such a celebration.

    So Natalie and myself, and I think a brother and sister or two, took a couple of grocery bags filled a turkey, stuffing mix, vegetables, etc, to their home – standing in that doorway is a cherished memory for me. They weren't nearly so thrilled about the impending feast as they were that some of their new American neighbors took an interest in their welfare.

    That is my experience now, with all of you chimps (or whatever you are). The gifts you've so graciously sent us will make a real difference, Natalie's mom will be able to set a bit of her excruciating scrupulousness aside and enjoy shopping for grandkids, etc – but more than that, we will carry the grand old phrase 'the true meaning of the holidays' with us through all the festivities ahead.

    So I sincerely thank you, genuinely appreciate you, and enthusiastically encourage you.

    . . . and, I'd like you all to know a bit of the beauty and wonder that is Natalie's mom and my sweetheart, so Momastery, if you want to delete this link I understand that such links are permitted or welcome on some sites and not others, so I'll not be offended or troubled at all if the links are blocked or removed, but, here she is . . .

    http://mickeysr.hubpages.com/hub/The-Burden-Of-Love

  24. All,

    I'm the husband of the special mom that Natalie (above) introduced you all to with . . .

    "She was laid off over a year ago and when she was offered a job she took it, because minimum wage is still better than unemployment. So now she's in her mid-50's, with 2 kids still in college, and not even making enough for the monthly bills. It breaks my heart to see her still struggling at the age when she should no longer have to worry about such things."

    . . . needless to say, I'm also the father of the very special Natalie. I'd to thank you, assure you of our appreciation, and encourage you a bit:

    I served as a deacon in our church for years and I know people are often uncomfortable receiving this kind of aid, ugly pride convinces them this is some shameful episode rather than the beautiful celebration of God's love that it actually is. I want you all to know that we genuinely recognize your sacrifice and thank you for that, but we also recognize your joy and privilege in serving others.

    I think, with all the glorious family surrounding me, one of my fondest Thanksgiving memories is one year when Natalie was still in high school and friends with a Vietnamese girl . . . her family had newly come to America and they didn't have much at all. Natalie was concerned that while everyone at school was preparing for the celebration and abundance of Thanksgiving, this young girl, who so desired to fit-in and be a part of her new American life, did not have the means for such a celebration.

    So Natalie and myself, and I think a brother and sister or two, took a couple of grocery bags filled a turkey, stuffing mix, vegetables, etc, to their home – standing in that doorway is a cherished memory for me. They weren't nearly so thrilled about the impending feast as they were that some of their new American neighbors took an interest in their welfare.

    That is my experience now, with all of you chimps (or whatever you are). The gifts you've so graciously sent us will make a real difference, Natalie's mom will be able to set a bit of her excruciating scrupulousness aside and enjoy shopping for grandkids, etc – but more than that, we will carry the grand old phrase 'the true meaning of the holidays' with us through all the festivities ahead.

    So I sincerely thank you, genuinely appreciate you, and enthusiastically encourage you.

    . . . and, I'd like you all to know a bit of the beauty and wonder that is Natalie's mom and my sweetheart, so Momastery, if you want to delete these links I understand that such links are permitted or welcome on some sites and not others, so I'll not be offended or troubled at all if the links are blocked or removed, but, here she is . . .

    http://mickeysr.hubpages.com/hub/The-Burden-Of-Love

    . . . and about what's behind all this . . .

    http://mickeysr.hubpages.com/hub/Regular-Normal-Christianity-God

    MickeySr

  25. Hi Glennon- love this concept and would like to give. We just found out we are pregnant with baby #2 – a girl this time – so I have plenty of infant – 2T boy gently loved boy clothes to give. I already cleaned out the clothes once before storing them, so I can attest these are are clothes that are gently loved, but not too loved. :-). Please let me know how/if I can help!!!
    -TriMom

  26. Hello Monkeys.

    I read this blog all the time, and like many of you, have been touched. I don't know where to start. First off, I am in Canada – a Canadian monkey. Can Canadian monkeys request help too? Well, its worth a shot…

    I am writing on behalf of a family member, a young man who is 22 now, but was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer at 15 (unusual as it usually strikes infants). He has fought hard but has all but run out of options for conventional treatment in Canada.

    He has researched an alternative treatment in Texas and has HOPE that it might work for him (just think how beautiful it is that a guy who has spent the last 8 years fighting to live remains hopeful!). His family and friends have rallied around him and together we are trying to make this dream a reality for him. Funds have already been raised, and an auction/dinner is planned for this month. Good things are in the works, and we are thankful for that. There is a long way to go but we are HOPEFUL. I know Tristan would be deeply grateful for any measure of support, it would make his Christmas! Glennon I have a flyer with more information if you think there might be a Christmas match for Tristan among Monkey-givers.

    Thanks for the inspiration,i love witnessing this cyber-community activism.
    Yours,
    Meagan

  27. Dear Monkee "by way of Washington DC",

    Just wanted to let you know that we received your box today. I didn't open it until my husband got home from work and then we opened it up together. My friend, I am still crying. I hope you don't mind but we opened up every package and ooo'd and awww'd over every single outfit you sent for our children. When I dress them in these warm and cozy outfits this winter, I will tell them how good the world is and how we belong to each other and need to take care of each other. I will tell them that someone on the other side of the country loves them. I wish I knew your name!

    Your giftcard is such a blessing! We are going to get Ben the big Monster Tonka truck his Papa has been looking at and Emma will get the dollhouse that I have been dreaming of giving her. They will also be getting books and puzzles and things that will help me do "Mama School" with them this winter. I am so excited to teach my children!

    Mere words cannot express how much you have given us. We love you, our unnamed friend and hope and pray that you will be blessed for giving us so much happiness during this hard time.

    God bless you!

    Wendy

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