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.

Love,
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

HERE WE GO, FRIENDS! IT’S THE MOST MAGICAL TIME OF THE YEAR!

IT’S OUR FOURTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY HANDS!!!!!

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.

 PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES.  THEY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THIS YEAR:

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

Love,
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


Nov 012014
 

courage today

Yesterday I got home from Storyline. Storyline is a conference about how to transform your life into a beautiful story- or how to recognize that your life already is a beautiful story.  It was created by Donald Miller, and now he runs it alongside Bob Goff and Shauna Niequest and this whole team of ridiculously creative, loving people -all of whom are my heroes. Don Miller asked me to speak at Storyline this year with all of these folks I’ve admired from afar for years.  There are no words for the gratitude and holy terror I felt about this invitation. Zero. None. I won’t even try.

I prepared my speech for seven million hours and I showed up at Storyline in Chicago. I was scared but kept smiling. Straightaway- a woman I’d never seen before came up to me and handed me a bracelet. It said courage on it. I thanked her and put it on and stared at it and felt comforted by this message, but also kind of tired. I keep having to have courage. I really truly feel sometimes that I might just run out of courage like a car runs out of gas. I wished the message on the bracelet said: just go ahead and chill for a while.

A few minutes later, a very strange thing happened. A different lady walked up to me and handed me another bracelet that looked exactly like the courage bracelet – except that it said: Today. My eyes widened. I put it on and it sat right under the first bracelet so that the message became “Courage Today.” This message clicked.  Just today. Just have courage today, Glennon. One day at a time. Today is all that matters.

I met a woman at a book signing once who told me that she has a sign in her kitchen that says: “Feel free to use up every bit of courage you have today- you’ll get a fresh refill tomorrow.”

Like that.

I loved my bracelets. They helped me through the day. I climbed up on stage and told those two thousand people ALL the things. I told them all the things you already know about me. I told them that even though parts of my life look shiny these days- the truth is that I’m still messy and lonely and confused often but I’m showing up BIG ANYWAY. I told them that this showing up messy and scared thing was actually going sort of fabulously most of the time. I felt courageous on stage. I felt like I did my best for the Storyline team. That’s what I really wanted – just to do my best for these people I respect so hugely – and to truly serve that audience well. I always think of myself as a servant with fun shoes.

On my flight home I was in the aisle seat. There was an older man in a cardigan reading the newspaper in the middle and next to him there was a woman staring out the window. When the plane took off there was lots of turbulence and the window lady leaned over and put her head in her hands. This is the international symbol for: I hate flying I hate flying I hate flying I am so scared why the hell did I get on this plane? So I reached over cardigan man and put my hand on window lady’s back. She didn’t respond and then I remembered physical boundaries so I pulled away and read my book. An hour later I was sitting in my seat wishing that I had brought food. I was hungry. All of a sudden a bag of Cheez-Its landed in my lap out of the clear blue sky. I felt like Katniss. I looked over at window lady and she nodded at me. I told her that she was a Cheez-it Angel. No smile, another nod. When I finished my Cheez-its, she reached over cardigan man again and put a piece of gum in my lap. I had really wanted a piece of gum. It was all quite odd and lovely. I said thank you to this Haymitch Window lady and read more of my book.

A little while later, I heard cardigan man ask window lady what her plans were in Florida. She said, “My dad’s in the hospital. My dad had a heart attack.” My body stiffened and I looked over at her and she looked terrified. Her face was suddenly WIDE OPEN. Like maybe she’d JUST found out. Her face was asking us questions, like: How can this be happening? What is going to happen next? Do you have any idea what is going to happen? Do you believe this is my DAD I’m talking about????” I realized that maybe her head had been in her hands for different reasons. I said, “Oh God. I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.” I reached over and touched her back again. I felt really helpless and sad and grateful that she had shared. I thought about how everyone is fighting such a hard battle.

I started reading my book again, and as I turned the page I saw my bracelets. Courage Today. I thought about how yesterday I needed big courage and about how today, window lady was going to need big courage. I thought about how two strangers had passed on the courage reminder to me- and so maybe I should pass it on, too. I took my bracelets off and reached over cardigan man again and placed the bracelets in window lady’s hand. I said, “Someone gave these to me yesterday. They helped me. They’re for you, now. Just today. Just show up for your daddy and be brave today. Today is all anyone can ask of you.”

She looked at the bracelets and looked at me and said, “Thank you.”

“Thank you, too,” I said. “You can do this. This is going to be really, really hard but you can do hard things.”

Okay, she said.

I know this essay isn’t well written, Sorry about that, I’m kinda tired. But I just wanted to get it down because I think it’s about all that matters in the world. Kindness to strangers. The moments that at first glance seem ordinary and suddenly turn into absolutely everything.

How long is forever? Sometimes just one second. – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Jumping off script with people. Touching strangers. Going out on a limb and feeding them. Telling people the truth about your fear. Inviting people in. Passing out courage like Halloween candy. Reminding people to Use It All Up Today. Love. Passing it on. Understanding that that gifts that we’re given- whether they are talents or Cheez-Its or bracelets- are for giving away. Living as if our gifts are important and good enough to heal the world.

During Don Miller’s speech at Storyline, he said that you can tell a story is good when after it’s over, you get the feeling that maybe life is more special than you thought it was – and so you feel grateful just to be alive. That’s how I felt when I got off that plane. That flight was a good story. And I’m praying for window lady. I’m asking that Today, Courage will flow toward her and her family like a mighty river. Or maybe more like the ocean waves pounding the sand – powerful and constantly renewed. Never stopping. Never finished.

Courage Today,
Glennon

 



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