Nov 122014
 

It's Done!

I’m sitting next to Amy in my dining room. We do not dine in here. We work in here. We have the best work in the Universe.

I just got off the phone with Sister and emails are flying among Liz, Katherine, Nicol, Erin and Allison. These are the women making Holiday Hands happen- the all-volunteer Together Rising board. They have – quite literally – been up for nights and nights vetting requests and gathering information from friends in need. Today- they’ve taken the day off of work because it’s GO time. They are juggling babies at home. They are sweating and their typing fingers are flailing and they are occasionally cursing. There are a lot of tears. There are tears every time they open a new email like this one….

“Every year I spend December desperate and bitter and shameful and so sad, because the commercials are on and the Christmas cards come in, and we have nothing.  My husband left and I’m working so hard but I have just enough to feed them. I’m so grateful for that. My kids eat. But they don’t get gifts. So we avoid everything Christmas. My kids are strong about it, but we all dread the holidays, alone and together. But this year. This year I started reading this blog, Momastery. A friend sent it to me. I read it after work when I get lonely. It makes me laugh and cry and feel less lonely. And so I went on a limb and asked Together Rising for help. And somehow- now- it’s the morning of November 12 and my kids are getting Christmas. Somehow, each of them has a brand new toy on the way. One woman is sending wrapping paper. My babies’ gifts will be wrapped. And there will be tags on the top of each gift that say: Love, Mom. I’m not going to say they’re from Santa. I’m going to say they’re from me. Because they are. I feel brave that I asked for help. And because I want to see their faces when they see that their mom has provided them gifts.

I have ten dollars in my pocket right now and I’m going to the dollar store to buy some cards and some lights before I pick up my kids. We are going to decorate tonight. We are going to send out cards. I am so proud of my little family. We are a family and we deserve to celebrate. Strangers proved that to me today. I will never forget. Thank you.”

YOU MET THE HOLIDAY NEEDS OF FOUR HUNDRED FAMILIES. YOU MET THE NEEDS OF FOUR HUNDRED MAMAS LIKE THE ONE ABOVE. IN THREE AND A HALF HOURS. IN THREE AND A HALF HOURS.

YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SPEND SOME TIME READING THESE STORIES FROM  TODAY. TRUST ME.

I don’t know what to say. What’s happened today is a miracle. I feel so quiet, you guys. I just feel like my heart might crawl right out of my throat if I try to speak. My eyes keep filling and I think maybe awed is the word for how I feel? Like I should take off my shoes because this is holy ground we’ve got here. We’ve created holy ground on the internet. I have to go teach the kiddos at church in an hour so I am trying to walk around and be normal, but I don’t feel normal. I feel like Jerry Maguire when he announced to his entire office: “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!!!!!!!!”

I just want to FLIP OUT. If ANYTHING is worth flipping out about, Today Is.

Four hundred families will breathe easier this holiday season. The holidays –  which are supposed to be about Love and Mercy and Grace will be about Love and Mercy and Grace for them this year. This year- these families will walk around feeling held. I’ve always felt held. Even when things were really hard- when I was so sick- even when I was behaving very, very badly- even when I was hurting people I loved every day- I felt held. Like the world wasn’t so big after all. Like even if the weather was really bad as far as I could see- my world was really a snow globe. A snow globe being carried around by somebody HUGE. Somebody who loved me and was watching over me and would make sure the weather settled soon. Even if it looked scary- in some bigger way – from some further perspective- All Was Well. I was held. I want everybody to feel held, because I really believe that’s the truth of things.

Anyway.

I know how it feels to be down and lost and empty and lonely and hurting and have a stranger offer a hand. Something shifts inside of you. I’ve felt that shift in hospitals and addiction meetings and in therapist’s offices and in churches and here at Momastery. Always here. It’s just everything- to be seen. To be loved when you’re DOWN – just for being a human being –without earning it. It’s everything. There is nothing else.

And for the givers- isn’t it crazy? We spend so much time looking at the world with our hearts broken- wishing it were different. Wishing people cared for each other. Wishing people would be kinder, live bigger, think beyond themselves. Wishing. And then one day we find ourselves jumping in and MAKING IT SO. We stop wishing and DO. We CREATE. I cannot handle the truth of this: that you MADE A BETTER WORLD for four hundred families today. Do you see that? That these four hundred families will go to bed tonight in a kinder, bigger, smaller, better world than the one they woke up in? That we all will?

“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

Remember in A Streetcar Named Desire- when Blanche, right before she heads to the hospital says: “Whoever you are – I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  Blanche had a rough time of things, for sure, but folks still repeat that line because it is true for all of us. It is so true for me. We all depend on the kindness of strangers. Thank you for being so damn dependable.

Today I feel like if tonight the Universe said – Okay! Glennon! It’s over. You’re done. No more writing for you!  I would say: “Okay. That makes sense and all is well. Because there is just no freaking way it could ever get better than today.”

Thank you. Thank you for being SO good. Thank you for not being perfect and for instead being GOOD. GOD, good is so much better, isn’t it?

This is too long. So sorry. Having all the feelings.

Thank you.

And also, it’s so not over. We’ve only just begun.

Love,
G, Amy, Liz, Katherine, Allison, Sister, Nicol, Erin, and the Whole Wild World

Important Things:

  1. If you are a lister- please contact the people who have matched themselves with you. You need to do this publicly (on your the listing page) and privately (via email) You can’t receive your gifts until you do both of these things.
  2. If you are a giver and commented on a listing that has been marked as TAKEN, you are being depended on with great joy and anticipation to send your gift.  But please wait to hear from the receiver before sending on your items. Due to busy schedules it sometimes takes a day or two to connect with the giver.
  3. If you found this program late and have a need, please feel free to email us at [email protected]. We cannot endorse any matches made here or on our social media pages.
  4. If you came to give but were too late: IT IS NOT TOO LATE. Please consider donating to Together Rising by CLICKING HERE. Requests for holiday help are still pouring in. Families in need are helped EVERYDAY by Togerher Rising through the funds that you donate.  We are an all-volunteer board.  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. As a board, we request you donate directly to Together Rising instead of matching yourself with people here or on the Facebook page.
  5. We are leaving open all the listings in which people asked for letters. We just found them so beautiful. If you have some encouragement and friendship to offer, head over to the Love LetHER section.

I AM EXHAUSTED FROM GOODNESS. Isn’t that just the best thing to be????? Love wins.

hh-day-pic-550



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


Nov 122014
 

It's Match Day!

THIS IS THE DAY!!!!! THIS IS THE 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:  http://togetherrising.org/holidayhands/the-holiday-hands-project/show-listing/?id=3
  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.

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


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