If you happen to want to know more about the causes we're supporting this year with our concert, we're trying to:
- help provide food and care for destitute orphans in Bulgaria (click here to see the organization I work closely with in Bulgaria - all the money goes directly to helping these sweet kids that I've actually met),
- raise money to send my sister, Charity over to India to work with the children of lepers (click here to learn more about the organization she'll be helping and see the cute kids she'll work with - she leaves in January)
- help to build wells in villages in Mozambique in conjunction with work that my brother Talmadge and his wife Anita are doing there (click here to learn more about the organization and families they're working with).
It's great being able to give to worthy causes, but most of all, I guess I put myself through all this stress every year because there's nothing like the look on my kids' faces as we count up the money they've "earned" through this concert. They get so excited about giving to others who they feel they've come to know a little bit through photos and stories, kids just like them who have so much less than they do, kids whose lives they can actually help to change for the better. There's nothing like seeing their eyes go round and sparkly as we add up the loose change and dollar bills and occasional checks in the donation box and talk about all the warm blankets and good food and good times their "friends" in other countries will be able to have thanks to the money they hold in their hands. Caring and sharing - THIS is what Christmas is all about.
I think my favorite moment ever as a parent was as I was tucking Ashton in bed after the first Children for Children concert we did 3 years ago. We'd just counted all the money and talked about how we had earned enough to not only pay for new windows and blankets in a horribly dilapidated orphanage I'd visited the previous year, but we even had enough to buy the orphans some simple Christmas presents. Ashton gave me a big hug (he's not usually a hugger) and said, "Mommy, this is the best day of my whole life! I can't WAIT for the orphans to get our money!"
If anyone out there in the blog world wants to give to a good cause, the ones above are really good places to put your money. And if you want to donate as part of our group, the Eyrealm Foundation will match the money you donate and your money will be doubled which is always nice.
I'll let you know how tomorrow night goes. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers said that this thing will come together somehow and that it will be a really good experience for the kids (and maybe even for me too!).