Behind My Red Door

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Blogoversary Giveaway and a very special request

EDITED 4/18/09 11:00 EST - My giveaway is now closed! Come back tomorrow, Sunday, to see who won!!
One year ago, I was in the middle of the preparations for our son's two part wedding. Not only was I planning the wedding trip for seven of us, I was also making the invitations, response cards, centerpieces, courtesy basket and much more for the formal wedding reception back home a week later. I was doing 3 volunteer Administrative jobs for a cancer organization. DH was working in another state 4 days a week so I holding down the fort here at home. Needless to say, I was busy. But something in me said it was time to try my hand at blogging. Several weeks prior, my friend Kathy had introduced me to My Yellow Farmhouse, Karen's blog. It was the first blog I had seen that caught my attention. I stayed up late one night reading back in her blog and was just mesmerized. I loved what she wrote about - her family, friends, her home, decorating, crafting, cooking and life! I then found several other blogs of gals who loved decorating, shopping, cooking and entertaining for family and friends, traveling, arts and crafts. A whole new world was opened to me, and I thought, I love those things too. My home is not as large or grand as some of them but I thought I did OK in the decorating department. I know my gal pals enjoyed coming here for a meal. My friends at Webshots and the forums enjoyed my tweaking. I wondered if anyone else would even read about my adventures and prim finds and family and friends gatherings. My only real expectation was that I would posy some pictures of my decorating, and journal some of the important events in our lives and maybe a few of my friends would read a post occasionally. And that was enough for me so I took the plunge.

But so much more has happened. The nicest gals started leaving me the sweetest messages. That they took time from their daily lives to visit with me, made me feel so welcome in the world of blogging. I started to 'meet' and make connections with the most wonderful women of all ages, from all over the country, even a few abroad, from every walk of life. And many of them love primitive/colonial/country decorating too, but not all. Some love old homes, or shabby chic, or mid century vintage or modern. Some of their blogs were dedicated to cooking or travel or paper crafts more than decorating. But the one thing I find we all have in common is a zest for life and our family and friends, and the desire to reach out and connect with others. But so many of my blogging friends do much more than that. They champion for others who are down and out, suffering from cancer, recovering from an accident, facing the loss of a loved one or the loss of their home or livelihood. I see Random Acts of Kindness all the time in blog land. I see gals sharing their skills to help someone else. Sharing their ideas and creativity with others without asking a thing in return. So much kindness was spreading around blog land.

And somehow, along this journey, I have been blessed to have a large following of faithful readers and it still just amazes and humbles me. I never dreamed that so many people would find what I say interesting. My only writing experience was the monthly newsletters at the preschool. I guess a lot of people forgive me my grammatical mistakes and abbreviations like 'cuz'. I hope that as I enter my second year of blogging, I can continue to meet your high expectations and hold your interest as the ranks of great blogs continues to grow.

So as this anniversary approached, I knew I would have a giveaway. That part was easy and a given. And I knew it would be somethings I would display in my home. But something inside me said I needed to make it more than that. Admittedly my blog is about the good things in life - the fun, the shopping finds, my family and friends and travels, my cooking, crafts and the likes, because those are the things I am passionate about. But there is something else I have been passionate about for several years now. Something that I have needed to be a part of and to do something about. I have alluded to it a few times over the last year, so I am sure some of you are guessing about it right now. Yes, it's cancer. I shudder at that ugly word. Now I am going to say something very strong here. I am going to cuss. I am going to scream this at the top of my lungs, so if that bothers you, feel free to look away and cover your ears. Do it now cuz here goes-


And it affects TOO many people. If it affects just one, that is too many.

There, I said it. The horrible nasty truth. And I know you will forgive me for the S word but there is no other way to say it.

Several years ago, after my young friend lost her all too young husband to cancer and left her a young widow with a young son, I started volunteering for cancer organizations that bring cheer to children and adults suffering from cancer. In that capacity I would be assigned to someone - we called them our buddy. I made them cards and sent gifts once or twice every single week while they were on treatment. I also started sending cards to the monthly birthday list and to the special assignments for those having particularly rough times. I made and sent dozens and dozens of cards every month. I also volunteered to make Holiday boxes for entire families - because cancer affects the WHOLE family. I did this for more than one organization. And over time I progressed to doing volunteer online Administrative jobs. During my years as an "Angel" with the various organizations, I was assigned to several kiddo's and a few adults. Sometimes more than one buddy at a time. You get very close to many of your buddies - at least if you have a heart you do. Some of those buddies are now true Angels in heaven, some are survivors and some live with cancer still. Each of them touched me in a way I can't explain. They made me want to be a better person. Through that work, I happen to met some wonderful friends too. Jenn and I live close so we actually get to hang out - which is a blast. Caren and I are long distance friends, but friends just the same. I know they feel the same way I do about helping those with cancer. And they too have been profoundly affected by the loss of someone they Angeled as well. I did that work 'officially' until last fall, when I decided that after years of day in and day out cancer work, I just needed a break from that routine. I have continued to be involved in the cause, just in other ways. Now though, I am once again feeling it is time to do even more. To reach out even more.
And that brings me here. I decided that I would reach out to the blogging world and see if I could possibly help one special organization that puts smiles on the faces of children with cancer. I thought maybe I can inspire even just a few of my blogging friends and followers to get involved, even for just this one time. I thought that if I can inspire even a few people to do something for a child facing cancer and the harsh ugly, often toxic treatment needed to cure it, then my anniversary would mean so much more. I know I can't make the 3 day cancer walks. I can't do the research to cure it. But I am passionate about helping because I have seen the suffering cancer and those potentially life saving treatments cause. I know the financial drain the treatment and frequent hospital trips place on families - leaving nothing for the extras in life. I have heard the fear in the voices of parents as their child faces surgery or chemo or anesthesia or their last days on earth. Cancer sucks - period!
And so I choose to focus my help on bringing a smile, maybe some joy to those families, to those kids. And my hope and prayer is that many of my followers will help too. And I truly do realize it is a stretch to ask that of anyone when so many people, even some of our blogging friends, are facing the worst economic times of their lives. And I know that many of you have your own causes to support. But it can't hurt to ask, so I am going to do just that. Just this one time. I am going to ask that YOU consider helping a very special organization called Kids Cancer Crusade . Kids Cancer Crusade was founded by a delightful young woman named Jennifer Lehman of Fremont, OH. Jennifer started the organization in honor of a young girl name Christi who lost her battle with cancer. I learned about Jennifer and KCC because my very first buddy and his twin have been beneficiaries of this great cause. My buddy and his family have faced cancer for over 6 years. And they still deal with every day. To read an article written in 2007 about KCC and see Jennifer and my buddy and his brother, click here and scroll down to page 4. IN the time since that article was written, Jennifer and KCC has brought many smiles to the faces of children and their families. You see in addition to spreading awareness of pediatric cancers, her organization sends care packages to children (and siblings) who have this dreadful disease. She does all this while attending college to become a nurse. She is indeed a very remarkable young woman.

So I know by now you are asking - HOW can I help? It's easy! The best way to help is a monetary donation. That helps with both the care packages and with the mailing costs. We all know how expensive it is to mail packages. But there are other ways to help. On the home page of the website, there is also a wish list of specific items that they use in the care packages. You can purchase anything on the list and mail it directly to Kids Cancer Crusade - the address is on the website. And for even more information on ways to help without it costing you a penny, click here. I will be making my donation through The Network for Good which is a very safe way to make a charitable donation to a registered organization. And because my blog gets many visitors each day, if everyone who reads this donated just $1 today, think of how many more children Jennifer and KCC could reach. If everyone donated just $5 today, think of how many more smiles they can put on children's faces. If everyone donated just $10 today, think of how many sick children and their siblings will be able to forget, even if for just a few minutes, the horror they face each day. The thing is, you can really make a difference! While doing one of my administrative volunteer jobs, I saw and read the thank you words from parents to the person who brought a smile to their child through the care packages they sent. To the person who made a difference between a good day and a bad day to the family of a child with cancer. You too can make that kind of difference. So please consider helping KCC today. You will receive much more than you give, I promise.

Now on to my giveaway. I know I said I would be back on Saturday, but I just couldn't wait until then! So what does the winner of my Blogoversary Giveaway get? I have put together this awesome prim gathering!

One lucky winner will receive...
*8" wooden bowl in a warm colonial nutmeg color
*2 of my handmade pantry cakes
*bundle of cinnamon sticks tied with aged cheesecloth and sweet annie
*aged wooden soup spoon in a dark warm colonial clove color
*bundle of preserved sweet annie
* wooden colonial candlestick in a creamy antique finish with beeswax nub candle
*treenware butter mold
*apothecary jay filled with spicy dried rose hips
*hand dyed wool rag ball in soft beige
all set upon a homespun colonial blue and cream checked fabric remnant.
AND as an added bonus, 6 photo note cards depicting your gathering.

If this is something you would like to display in your home, just leave me one comment BEFORE my Blogoversary which is Saturday, April 18 th at 11:00 AM EST. All you need to say is that you would like to be entered, and you will get one entry. No need to leave more than one comment - it won't get you extra entries. Make sure I can link to your blog, or leave me your email address. If you would like to mention it on your blog so that more people become aware of Kids Cancer Crusade, and hopefully more donations pour in please fee free, but it won't get you any extra entries. It will make you feel good to spread awareness though. I promise. Thank you!
Because of the weight of this package and postage costs internationally, this giveaway is open to the residents of the USA and Canada only. I will draw a winner on Sunday, April 19th and post it that evening so make sure you check back then.
***All items in this giveaway are for decorative and display purposes only. They are not intended for use by children or for use with food.***
And just because I decided to bring my pewter back out and break up the gathering I had in it's place, I had to do some tweaking. And what would my blog be without some new pictures around the house. Besides, it's Whatcha Working On Wednesday over at Leslie's so I had to have something else to show.

so I added the cutting board...
changed the stitchery and changed the candles from red to cream...
changed the table runner and added candle to my tombstone cupboard...

brought my pewter set back out...
changed candle holder...
added butter mold...
That's all for today my friends. I hope you too are enjoying the glorious spring weather. Here in Central MA,my forsythia are set to bloom, the trees are budding and the grass is greening. We are supposed to have sun for the next few days and reach close to 70 in Friday. It is a splendid week Behind My Red Door!
EDITED 4/18/09 11:00 EST - My giveaway is now closed! Come back tomorrow, Sunday, to see who won!!
Until Next Time - Hugs, Linda