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Nov 122014

It's Match Day!


This is the day when people all over the world log on to their computers (energy portals) and release senseless, lavish, radical love into the world by meeting the holiday needs of total strangers.

We participate in Holiday Hands to be good. We participate to help others. We participate to change another family’s life. And then somewhere during the process we realize that the family that was changed by this offering of love was our own family. Because when we act out what we want to believe- when we not only SAY LOVE WINS but we DO LOVE WINS . . . when we not only BELIEVE THAT WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER but WE MAKE THAT SO . . . WE BECOME THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

We do that TODAY!!! Today we stop wishing for a kinder, better, more magical world and start creating one. The way we do that is to tap a stranger on the shoulder and say – Hey, friendI’d rather my kids get three holiday gifts and your kids get three holiday gifts, than my kids get six gifts and your kids get no gifts. We let our families watch us do this. We show our children the families we’re helping. 

And then we can show our family — not just tell them – what love is. We can show them what grace is. Grace is undeserved love. And so sometimes the best way to PUT GRACE INTO MOTION, TO MAKE IT COME TO LIFE, is to love strangers. Strangers who haven’t earned our love and never will.

Because that quote we all love is TRUE:  “Character is how you treat those who can never repay you.”

Participate today in Holiday Hands- make the leap from HOPING grace is true to MAKING it true. BE THE CHANGE you want to see in the world. And then show your family WHAT you did and WHY. Tell them all about grace, and how it interrupts the normal order of things and then makes everything beautiful.

We know that everyone–our givers, our listers, and our miracle watchers–are eager to get started with the Holiday Hands matches. Before you begin, please, please read all of the information below.

Directions for Givers:

To see available listings:

  1. Go to the Holiday Hands section of the Together Rising website.
  2. Click on the box marked “Available” and a list of available listings will be displayed.
  3. Once you have found an available listing that you would like to sponsor, please scroll down to the bottom of the page to the comment section to find out if the need has already been met.  We will be moving listings from the Available to the Taken category once the needs have been met, but there may be some lag time between when we can make the updates. If the comments on the listing indicate that the need has already been met, please try to partner with another lister.

To respond to a listing:

  1. First, add a comment at the bottom of the listing stating which of the requested needs you would like to meet. For example, please indicate whether you are going to satisfy all the needs listed (up to $100), or whether you are going to fund a portion of request (for example, “I can provide the train your youngest wants” or “I can provide $30 toward your needs”).
  2. Click on the Contact link at the top of the listing to send an email directly to the author of the listing.  Let her know which portion of the listing you would like to meet and ask her to respond to you with the address where you should send your gift.  Please also ask her to write a comment on her listing acknowledging that the two of you have communicated and confirm what you will be sending.  Here is an example listing with example comments that show how this conversation might play out:
  3. Once you see your gift publicly acknowledged in the comments section of the listing, go ahead and send your gift. (Please do NOT send your gift until you the author of the listing has posted your name in a comment on the listing — this will help prevent duplicate gifts if multiple givers comment on a listing.)  Please try to send your presents within a few days of your communication—the listers will be eagerly awaiting your response!

Directions For Listers:

  1. Listers, after you submitted your listing, you should have received an automatic message letting you know that the listing had been received and was awaiting approval. This message contains a direct link to your listing, which is the easiest way for you to access your listing online. If you do not see this email, it may be in your spam or junk email folder.
  2. If your listing has been approved for Holiday Hands, you should have received another automatic message letting you know that your listing has been enabled, with another direct web link to the listing.
  3. Givers are being asked to respond to you in two ways–publicly in the comments section underneath your individual listing, and privately, through email.  Please respond to them both publicly in the comments section and privately via email.  To see an example of how this might look in the comments section, click here.
  4. Please be prompt with your responses so that we can know when needs are filled as soon as possible.  Givers are being instructed not to send their gifts until the see their names listed in the comments section of your listing, so do not forget this important step.  
  5. When a giver or givers have indicated their willingness to support your request, a Together Rising volunteer will write the word TAKEN in on your listing and move it to the Taken category.

  A few final words for our Beloved Holiday Hands Participants:

  1. Please read and reread and rerereead the instructions before posting questions.
  1. We have added a cap of $100 on requests in order to serve more families.  We are asking our givers and receivers to honor this part of the program. If a requester has already received items or contributions totaling $100, please find a request that has not been fulfilled. It’s more important that everyone get something than someone get everything.
  1. We approved as many listings as we possibly could.  In fact, Together Rising is meeting the needs of 23 families in addition to the ones you see listed by sending $100 gift cards to use toward groceries and basic needs. Some other listings were flagged by our system for a variety of reasons and need a bit more vetting. If you submitted a listing and received an initial confirmation message (but have not received another message letting you know that your listing has been enabled or that you will be receiving a gift card), please click here to give us a bit more information so we can look at your listing again. We carefully filter all listings for the safety of our community, and the additional information you provide will help us in this process.
  1. Some listers, particularly those with Hotmail or MSN email accounts, have not been able to receive email correspondence from us. If you submitted a listing but have not received an initial confirmation email or any email follow-up, please send us a message so that we can look into this for you. Our email address is [email protected], and once you write to us directly you should be able to receive our messages as well.
  1. While the collection of Holiday Hands listings is over, the requests for help continue. We have not vetted and cannot vouch for requests made on the Facebook page and on the blog, so we are asking that no one attempt to make matches this way outside of the Holiday Hands program. Please honor our commitment to this community by bringing needs to us and by only answering needs through us.
  1. If you are a giver who wants to give to the many people who continue to ask for help, or to give in support of the requests that we have not posted, please consider making a donation to Together Rising. After all the public matching is done the work will continue, as we work in support of so many HER stories. Every day we work to match needs with resources. Every tax-deductible penny you give goes straight to mamas and dads in need.  This is unusual. A miracle, really. Made possible by those two unbeatable teammates:  FAITH & SWEAT.
  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you — to the Givers, Receivers & those Cheering and Praying us on — for proving that Love Wins and We Belong to Each Other. Thank you. 

God Bless Us, Every One.

Click Here to Get Started

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

Nov 112014

JoJo in his crib

Friends. Tomorrow we begin matching Holiday Hands listing with givers. It’s the most exciting, terrifying, holy project of the Momastery year!!!

Holiday Hands is a miracle that YOU pull off every year. It is when we re-learn that small things with great love are what change the world. It’s when we PROVE what we BELIEVE: that We Belong To Each Other.

Tomorrow you’ll get all the important, exciting information and meet all of our Holiday Hands families. For today: read the letter we received from Anna below about her Holiday Hands experience two years ago. HER story is the story of thousands of other HERS whose holidays and hearts are forever changed by this program. By YOU.

Then PLEASE come back tomorrow morning. Be a PART of the miracle. This is for YOU. Just show up, please. Come back TOMORROW and allow your heart to be busted open and widened and softened. We want to offer you the gift of a heart transplant this holiday season. We need you. We need everybody. Everybody matters.

G, Anna and Together Rising


Glennon, dear, dear Glennon,

So I have something fun to tell you.

In 2012 life was rough. We were behind on a bunch of bills, we had a baby boy outgrowing the pack and play he was sleeping in and no way to buy him the crib he needed so badly. We had a broken bank account and broken spirits and very little in the way of hope.

Enter Monkees.

Feeling weird, a little depressed and icky about our needs I posted a request on the Holiday Helping Hands board. For all of five minutes that’s how I felt – weird, icky and depressed. Oh but, no, I wasn’t allowed to feel that way for any longer, because within those FIVE WHOLE MINUTES I received messages from like a billion people (ok, it was 5, but it felt like A BILLION FREAKING PEOPLE) wondering how they could help.

I had asked for a bed for my baby boy. I didn’t care if it was pink, because at least it would match his big sister’s sheets that he would be using. I didn’t care if it was used, or ugly or smelled like a bathroom, I just wanted somewhere safe for my baby to sleep.

Well, I got hope instead.

I got hope in the form of a brand spanking new, beautiful cherry-finished convertible crib complete with a safe and comfortable mattress. Hope flew in brown boxes on my doorstep full of not one, but two precious, all-boy bedding sets. Hope came to my family by the names of Amanda, Catie, Jennifer, Janet, Lindsey, and Lisa. And then more and more gifts and love poured in. Much of it from their friends whose names I don’t even know. Hope rocked our freaking world.

Hope must do a body good because after sleeping on it for a couple of years my two and a half year old giant of a child is ready to move on from the toddler bed. This bed is magic. The boy asks me how much longer till he can sleep in it. I’m telling you, there is some kind of crazy Monkee Voodoo all up in that bed because I have never heard of a toddler ASKING for naps. Regardless of how much we all love it, it’s time for it to go.

Think we can find a mama I can give a little hope to? I’d just donate it somewhere nearby, but I’d rather it go directly to a mama who needs it instead of getting sold to someone who doesn’t understand just how big a win Love and Hope had with this bed.

Thank you. Thank you for a making a place for all of us Monkees to come together. Thank you for the Hope that we so desperately needed.

All my love,
Anna Hope Duffey

P.S. – I promise that’s my actual middle name…

Anna and Family

To celebrate Holiday Hands Eve and in honor of Anna, her little boy, and her hope spreaders Amanda, Catie, Lisa, Jennifer, Janet, and Lindsey – Together Rising would like to give away THREE NEW CRIBS to babies who need them.

The Holiday Hands listing submissions have been closed for 2014. We are reading every single request with the tenderness and diligence and with the weight of this community’s generosity and trust on our shoulders. TOMORROW–WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12–the listings will be published and the holiday miracle matches will begin.

The Holiday Hands needs that are flowing in are holy and hurt-y and many. Please, PLEASE gather your giving-est friends and prepare them for tomorrow. I have faith that we can pull this off- but we’re going to need you to show up. Love is showing up. 

Here’s what TOGETHER RISING Needs from You:

1) If you need a crib, please enter yourself in the giveaway by leaving a comment to this post that includes the words “Holiday Hands Giveaway.” Or if someone you know could use a crib, leave a comment here tagging them — and include the words “Holiday Hands Giveaway.”  We will private message two of you to let you know you’ve won!

2) For Tweeters who may need a bed, tweet this essay — tagging @Momastery & including #HolidayHandsGiveaway — and one of you will receive a magic crib too!

3) Please think of the most good-hearted, open-hearted, most loving people in your life — think of your friends who might benefit from witnessing a miracle this year — then leave a comment on this Facebook thread tagging those friends so they know they’re invited to be part of tomorrow’s HOLIDAY HANDS magic.  Trust us, we’re going to need everyone.

4) For Tweeters, please tag your giving-est miracle-seekingest friends in a reply to this Twitter message so they can join in too!

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

 Posted by at 1:00 pm  Comments Off
Nov 052014

Holiday Hands 2014



A few years ago – I was sitting on my couch, eating noodles and watching a news story about families struggling to buy holiday gifts for their children. Some said that preparing their usual Christmas dinner would not be an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they couldn’t buy gifts because that money was going to pay for the heat bill. 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 and the office 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 our watch. Not our community.

We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. WE must do for ONE Family what we wish we could do for ALL families. That is enough. That is everything.

I want to live in a world in which there is no MINE and YOURS when it comes to children. I want to believe that all children are OUR children. And if we want to live in a world like that- than we have to create a world like that. We do that TODAY. Today we stop wishing for a kinder, better, more magical world and start creating one. We BE the change we want to see. The way we do that is to tap a stranger on the shoulder and say – Hey, friend. I’d rather my kids get three holiday gifts and your kids get three holiday gifts, than my kids get six gifts and your kids get no gifts. That’s the truth here.

And the truthier truth is that Holiday Hands is not really about GIFTS FOR KIDS. It’s about revealing to their parents that they and their children are SEEN AND VALUED AND LOVED. That’s what it’s about. It’s about proving that there is no such thing as a stranger – and that there is NOBODY who is truly alone. AND IT WORKS.

Remember last year when Kandra told us that her little girl, Gabby, didn’t have any friends and so what they needed from Holiday Hands was letters from strangers? GABBY JUST OPENED HER TEN THOUSANDTH LETTER. She now writes back to the people who write her to tell THEM that they are not alone and that it gets better.  Before Holiday Hands last year, little Gabby was lonely. NOW GABBY IS AN ADVOCATE FOR THE LONELY.  Her mom came to one of my speaking events to tell me this story. She stood up in front of hundreds of people to say, “Please thank the Momastery community for me. Their letters and their love changed my little girl.”

Here are just a few examples of some of the hundreds of miracles that happened during last year’s Holiday Hands:

  • Scores of families received holiday meals or Christmas trees to help celebrate the season.
  • Many families received books or diapers or shoes or winter coats for their children.
  • A three-year old with autism received a special trampoline.
  • Two daughters received handmade quilts in honor of their late quilt-making grandmother.
  • A reader’s elderly neighbors received some much-needed new clothing.
  • A mom received a sewing machine to use to support her family.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Everyone reading this has a need this holiday. Some of us don’t have enough this year. These families need a hand buying gifts for their kids. Some of us have a little extra this year. These families 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 families need to sit back and cheer us on and say hopeful and grateful prayers 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 category you fall into this year, in this season of your life, and participate accordingly. Just DO IT- Jump in. This process CHANGES people. Become part of the most holy rhythm on Earth – Giving, Receiving, and Actively Witnessing.

OKAY. Are you ready to get started???? Today is the day for folks who need a little extra to post their needs. If you have a little extra to give this year or you know some folks who do, pleasepleaseplease mark your calendar to meet us back here on Wednesday, November 12 to review the requests and find your family match for this holiday season.


First: Please read and reread and rereread the instructions before posting questions.

Second: Starting in 2013, we set a cap of $100 on each request (per family) in order to be able to help even more families. HOLIDAY HANDS is the time when strangers help other strangers provide holiday cheer for their families. It is specifically designed to help provide for the holiday needs and wants of families so that they can put the funds they would have spent on gifts toward other needs.

Third: Requests may be submitted to us for a limited time. You will receive an confirmation email once you submit a request– please be sure to check your SPAM e-mail folder. We will keep submissions open until we reach our Holiday Hands capacity (which could happen in a matter of hours or days).  Requests will not automatically be posted when submitted and just because a request was submitted does not mean it will necessarily be part of our Holiday Hands program. Rather, we will be collecting and reviewing requests and then we will post the final, approved requests that will be part of Holiday Hands on Wednesday, November 12.

Fourth: Every year, after Holiday Hands is shut down, the all-volunteer Together Rising Board continues to receive requests for holiday miracles all the way up to the end of the month. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution directly to Together Rising to allow us to help those families, please click here to donate.

WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER. LET’S PROVE IT. To list your needs and become part of our Holiday Hands 2014 Miracle, click here now:

Click Here to Get Started

G and Your Together Rising Board

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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