Kevin Carroll is an amazing speaker. I was really touched by his personal story when he shared the opening keynote speech at Blissdom in February. His talk was an inspiring reminder to me: "Why do you do what you do?" He challenged all of the ladies (and men, ahem, BusyDadBlog) to live each day with passion, purpose, and intention. So I got to thinking, as I'm sure we all did, WHAT is my passion? WHAT is my purpose? And how can I be intentional about pursuing it?
After about a week of mulling and stewing, and feeling absolutely certain that I had no purpose in life, I figured that was probably wrong and thought harder. Then it came to me:
My passion is connecting with people, and helping them connect with others. My purpose is to, by connecting with people (or connecting them with others) help them feel better. And I NEED to be more intentional about it. I am an encourager; there are no two ways about it. As much as I try to escape it, I was put on this earth to encourage others.
I feel absolutely drawn, nay, CALLED to go with people into the darkest places in their lives, and help pull them out--sometimes by helping to carry them, and others by cheering them on as they claw and scratch their way free.
Much of my focus in the recent past has been on encouraging children. I volunteered for two years at a wonderful organization, New Hope for Kids, at their Center for Grieving Children. Having been a grieving child, I understood the need for a safe place for children to express their feelings or be silent. I was honored to serve alongside the mother of my friend who died tragically at the age of 16. Through our shared experience we were able to reconnect and help each other and the children we served at New Hope. Children are fragile, yet incredibly resilient beings. They face some of the most difficult problems of life: divorce, death, remarriage, school stress, grades, peer pressure, the sudden end of nap time in Kindergarten. They need us. They need cheerleaders.
So I bet you're wondering what my big announcement is, huh?
I was introduced to the Hallmark Kids Collection at Blissdom, where I also met the fabulous Sarah and Molly, who not only have my dream job (writing for Hallmark) but also are fantastic people. They let us bloggers look through the cards, pick a few we liked, and talk about them on camera. In case you missed my guest post on Blog Conference Newbie and want to see my video interview, click here.
The Kids Collection really, truly impressed me. I have long been a fan of the written word. There is just something special about receiving a real, handwritten, thoughtful card in the mail, no? You can connect with another person through a written piece of mail on a different level than you can through a quick email--am I right? I think many of you are nodding your heads right now. Well, at least I'm imagining that you are. Maybe I'm even getting an "Amen" at this point.
Well, Hallmark is helping me connect with some VERY important kids in my life--my niece, nephew, and their two step brothers. They have decided to help me out with a project called.......*drumroll*.....
And here's how it works:
Hallmark has already sent me some FABULOUS cards from the Kids Collection. I plan to use these cards to connect with and form deeper connections with, those special kids in my life--specifically my niece and nephew and their step brothers. Right now I have NINE cards total in my arsenal, and I plan to fire them out at my kin with ninja-like swiftness and precision. Operation KidConnect officially launches on Wednesday, April 7. I can't wait!! Each Wednesday I will review the card or cards I plan to send (or drop off at the front door in a very un-stalker-like fashion) to one (or two, or ALL-whatever I feel like, this is MY project!) of the kids. The following week, I'll provide a follow-up on the "results" of my mission to connect.
Y'all, I am SO excited about this. A HUGE "thank you" goes out to Hallmark and their PR people at Fleishman-Hillard. They have provided me with enough cards to get started, and because they rock, they may send me some more!
Will you join me on this journey?! On Tuesday I will share a little bit about the amazing kids I am going to connect with. I encourage you to pick a special kid (or several!) in your life that could use an extra boost. Is it your kid sister? Your niece or nephew? Your child or grandchild? I'll provide a MckLinky on Wednesday where you can post and link up to share your thoughts about connecting with kids. I want to hear your thoughts, and I want to encourage and help you be more intentional about your connections with the wee ones you love. Or tolerate, if you have teenagers...*ahem*, Vodkamom.
Can't wait to see you on Wednesday!