Monday, August 28, 2006

Shop For A Cause (Just one more...)

Just needed to put in one more post about the Shop For A Cause Mart. All sales were totaled and we raised $3045.60! Our goal was $3000 (enough to build homes for two Rwandan families) and even with the rain, we did it! Congratulations team! Here's the group picture of all the volunteers too (for the Where's Waldo fans - I'm actually in this one):

Shop For A Cause Mart Volunteers

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shop For A Cause (Part 1)

This morning I had the opportunity to be a part of a fun, unique and amazing service event. My friend Beth (the tall blonde in the black and white skirt) with an awesome team of volunteers - collectively known as Women Embracing the World - opened her lawn to friends, family and neighbors for a "Shop For A Cause Mart".

Beth greets everyone at the morning volunteer meeting

Now if you're asking yourself, "Self, what in the world is a 'Shop For A Cause Mart'?" You could get an answer from an article in the Lemont newspaper, but while you're here I'll give you the 411. It's pretty self explanatory in that it starts with a cause and shopping.

In this instance, the cause was Rwanda and an organization that you've heard me blog about before called Global Family Rescue. The next step is shopping. Beth's lawn was home to over a dozen vendors - all of whom donated profits to GFR. Here's just a few of the volunteers:

Heather (left) of Emmy & Me Interiors setting up her floral designs with Jeannene

Belinda (left) selling Avon with Lynne

Rachel talking to customers (Kandi, Heather & Lynne) about Cookie Lee jewelry

Mandy and her tent of Tastefully Simple

Janine selling fun scrapbooking materials

Julie showing off her Mary Kay products

Mary selling home-made jewelry

Doris with more Avon items

This wasn't even everything - but it's all that will fit in this post. Keep reading for Shop For A Cause (Part 2) and (Part 3)!

Shop For A Cause (Part 2)

There was certainly a lot of work to be done at the Shop For A Cause Mart but some vendors managed to mix business with plenty of fun. Gospel recording artist Renea Taylor was hanging out selling (and signing!) CD's for Global Family Rescue.

And when you just happen to have a talented singer on your front lawn...

Renea's rockin' sidewalk concert

In case all these great things weren't enough to entice wallets open shoppers also had the opportunity to test their luck with a raffle for several amazing gift baskets.

Sandy setting up the raffle table

And the backdrop in that picture also went home with one lucky ticket holder much to the chagrin of many of us who hoped to walk out with a gorgeous hand-made quilt generously provided by Shannon. (I asked and she said 28-30 hours of work went into it!)

Shannon with her beautiful reversible quilt

If the stress of selling or shopping got to be too much to handle for anyone, a solution was provided by the talented hands of Tyra with her chair-massage station.

Tyra waves hi from the massage tent

Now I'm sure you're wondering - what could be so stressful about a day of outdoor shopping and selling and raising money for charity??!? Well.... how about a rainstorm? Luckily Tony was on hand with tarps, table cloths, twine and duct tape and in just a few minutes everything was covered and water-proofed!

Tarp-master Tony to the rescue!

Rain, rain, go away!

Granted, we all would have preferred a sunny afternoon but the rainstorms provided a nice lunch break and once they blew through, Renea called her friends Karen, Susan and Zereta out to join in some gospel singing and dancing!

"Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance..."

"I just wanna praise You, I just wanna praise You!"

Pretty cool, right? Wanna know something even cooler? There's still more! Read on for Shop For A Cause (Part 3)!

Shop For A Cause (Part 3)

It was fun! I know that was the first sentence out of my mouth when people asked me "How did it go?" but it was also more than just 'fun'. It was, above everything, a chance to know that together we were doing something to make a difference in the world! Several of the volunteers and shoppers spent time throughout the day sharing stories about trips they took this summer to Rwanda to visit families they sponsored through Global Family Rescue. One very cool moment in the day was a reunion of sorts between Karen, Pam and Mary who had traveled with GFR together in June.
Rwandan travelers with a Cause Mart reunion

By sharing their stories and their great experiences with Global Family Rescue they convinced Zereta to take the plunge and sponsor a family of her own!

Karen, Pam, Mary and Zereta "meeting" her new family

If a picture is worth a proverbial one thousand words then I've told the story of the Shop For A Cause Mart in over twenty thousand words already and yet I've barely scratched the surface of what a great event this was. I will take advantage of the thousand words per picture though and fill the rest of this entry with more great shots of everything going on. Thanks again to all these fabulous volunteers and everyone who came out to shop! You made this day unforgettable and truly made a difference in the world!

Dave and Myra selling "Cooking for a Cause" Cookbooks and "Paws for a Cause" Journals, all home-made by Beth

"Paws for a Cause" Journals with cover model Daisy (Beth and Tony's dog)

Karen setting up sales for Yankee Candles and Baker's Square Pies

Annmarie(left) showing her jewelry table to Karen

Renea's concert drawing an audience

Dennis running Renea's sound board

Sandy and Shannon selling raffle tickets while Dave handles the popcorn and Bake Sale table

GFR's Melody Pahlow with Mary, Pam and Ruth

Shop For A Cause Mart up and running!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One Wants A Teller

Those that have been reading my ramblings for quite some time might pick up on the fact that in times of indecision and uncertainty I often quote a poem I read in high school with the opening phrase "One wants a teller in a time like this". Until recently I didn't realize that it's a Gwendolyn Brooks work but it seems I'm back in the state of my life of wanting "a teller". I know it's silly to want God to construct neon road signs of where to go and what to do, but I sometimes wish He'd put someone in my life that would approach me exuding infinite wisdom and guidance and tell me flat out "You know, lisa, here's what you should do with your life...." And then I could be presented with a year-by-year bulleted Power Point presentation of what to do and when. Okay, so that would make life really boring but still...

One wants a teller in a time like this
One's not a man, one's not a woman grown
To bear enormous business all alone.
One cannot walk this winding street with pride
Straight-shouldered, tranquil-eyed,
Knowing one knows for sure the way back home.
One wonders if one has a home.

I don't want to go into specifics about where my confusion and indecision are stemming from right now (most of you have heard the story and those that haven't can call or e-mail me and I'll tell you all about it) but needless to say, I have some choices to make and they're going to make for interesting directions of my future. No need to panic, if you haven't heard the plot yet, all roads are leading to good places it's just that sometimes that makes choices even more difficult. How does one choose the right path when all roads have advantages? I know how to choose a lesser of two proverbial evils, but how does one choose the greater of two goods?

One is not certain if or why or how.
One wants a Teller now:
Put on your rubbers and you won't catch a cold
Here's hell, there's heaven. Go to Sunday School
Be patient, time brings all good things--(and cool
Strong balm to calm the burning at the brain?) Behold,
Love's true, and triumphs; and God's actual.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

You be the Jury

Is there something wrong with me if I actually kind of want to go see Snakes on a Plane??? But secretly you know you're with me..... right?!?? I admit it - I need help.

In more ways than just that too because I also thought Dennis Leary's rant against Mel Gibson during the Red Sox game was pretty hilarious. (Upon learning that talented first baseman Kevin Youkilis is Jewish, Leary jibes Gibson with many taunts including "Did ya see that, Braveheart??" after an exceptional Youkilis catch.)

Any chance I'm still normal?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Step Away From Your Jimmy Choos...

I was reading an article in the newspaper yesterday about heightened airport security and it was making a big deal about the new rule that "All shoes must be removed and placed on an X-ray belt for screening". This is news??? I know there's been a lot of new restrictions about liquids put into place but I thought the whole "take off your shoes" rule was old hat. I was 21 years old before I ever took my first plane trip (not counting a family flight I can't remember when I was probably less than two) so I can't say I ever experienced airport security pre-9/11. For as long as I've been flying, I've had to walk through metal detectors in stockinged feet. I've wizened to the handy tip of wearing slip-on sneakers for quick removal and reshoeing. And yet five years later I'm still surprised that people don't know about this policy of footwear scanning. I remember one time I was in line behind a woman shod in flip flops. These weren't any Saks-special, high-heeled, glittery Manolo Blahnik thongs. They were flip-flops. Your plain old centimeter-thick, rubber-bottomed, Jimmy Buffet variety. The kind you should never ever wear to the White House. She was shocked and almost indignant when the guards informed her that she needed to pass through the scanner area barefoot while her miniscule sandals took a ride in the x-ray buckets. And, yeah, I understand not wanting to ruin your pedicure with whatever microorganisms take up residence on the floors of O'Hare (which raises a whole new question of wearing flip flops to an airport in the first place...) but there's something to be said for knowledge of the rules and willing compliance. I can sympathize with those that regretfully surrendered hundreds of dollars worth of cosmetics and perfumes when the new regulations against liquids in carry-on luggage went into effect, but as for the questions about footwear removal, it really is an old is-shoe.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Video Arrested, Charged With Murder One?

This week marked the 25th anniversary of MTV. Oddly enough, the network is now older than it's coveted 18-24 year old viewers. Some of us look back fondly on the era of the "vee-jay"; others love the irony of a Music Television channel that no longer plays music; while still more cling to their youth and boldly proclaim "I STILL want my MTV."

Many know that the very first video played (August 1, 1981) on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles - but what happened after that?? I don't mean that as a philosophical question as to how MTV went from a video music channel to an overly advertised reality TV fest of bleeping the Osbournes and the unbearable chicken-or-fish debate of the Newlyweds. Rather, what were the other videos played on that fateful August 1st that earned the channel it's rightful place in the pop-culture hall of fame? Was the #2 video by Styx? Pat Benatar? Phil Collins? Iron Maiden?

Take a guess for yourself and I'll post the answers in the comments.