As I sat there amidst all those good people crammed into that room on Monday night, listening to beautiful (and some funny!) talents, I felt so overwhelmed with LOVE.

Maybe “gratitude” is a better word this time of year with Thanksgiving right around the corner, but don’t you think that love encompasses gratitude so beautifully?

As I sat there I felt love for this Children for Children tradition, love for my neighbors, for our friends, for our “village” here in the desert, for blog readers who were so kind to reach out and make donations (thank so much, guys!). I felt so much love for this girl of mine who did so much work to make this happen:

(Yep that one with the slightly pink hair up there, along with her counterpart Drew, of course, who was her co-master-of-ceremonies…we love our neighbors!)

Ok and for this one too, because she rocked the prelude music and her own “carol of the bells” song she shared:

I felt so much love for all those kids who braved performing and parents who have taught them so many good things.

But even more than that, I felt so much love for these children who we feel so grateful to have met last summer:

And that Grace whipped up this video for us to share that made me miss them all over again:

uganda from grace pothier on Vimeo.

Thank you Grace!

We got to share our love for them with this crowd:

Who listened to politely and intently to all the talents performed…and then proceeded to make donations filling up our donation box.

But let’s back up for just a minute to the prep. These girls did such a good job on Sunday for our final meeting with our neighbors (I didn’t get another picture with them as we went over the program and RSVP’s and follow-up assignments, but just imagine them sitting there with smiles and willing hearts.)

These girls were in charge of the desserts:

Lucy made cookies:

Claire baked her first-ever texas sheet cake:

And I helped with a bunch more since we were going to have quite a crowd.

Then it was time for the big night, checking av equipment, getting the pictures printed to display, setting up, the kids practicing what to say.

As people gathered we had a bunch of hearts they could write “love notes” on that we will be sending over to Uganda:

And then there we were, all listening and loving all these cute kids, some a little timid to get up there in front of everyone, but who did it anyway and glowed because of it:

In between some of the talents the founders of the organization we raised money for last year (Yapay Bolivia, talked about back HERE), came to report on the wonderful things the donations have helped with over in Bolivia this past year:

Jake, one of our neighbor’s kids, is actually back at OSSO, another organization we raised money for a couple years ago and actually went to visit (HERE). We FaceTimed with him so he could give a report of all that is happening over there.

And it was a good night, snuggling in beside that tall guy with the black shirt up there on the left…until I gave up my chair since more and more people kept arriving.

Claire and Drew talked about clean water and textbooks, things we often take so for granted here, and talked about how excited they will be for these kids to be able to utilize them from the donations coming in.

There was just something in that room that filled me up with so much calm. And so much love. These girls faces show some of the feeling that was there:

It was a good night.

As always, the kids loved counting up all the donations to be sent away:

We added the cash donations in with the other donations on the GoFundMe account:

And those along with $900 in checks have us SO CLOSE to our goal, with a few more promised donations coming in I think we will make it! (but of course it wouldn’t hurt to have more!) We’ll keep the GoFundMe account open until Friday for anyone who would still like to donate. It is HERE and remember all donations will be matched so that is pretty exciting, right?

Now it’s on to the post-party-wrap-up taking notes for next year, sending all the thank yous and determining how many textbooks, water filters and boreholes we’ll be able to provide (so exciting!). I’ll fill you in when we figure that out, but for now I just have to say THANK YOU for all the blog support. Sending out so much love and GRATITUDE for YOU for sending out so much love to help make a difference over in Uganda.

Love, Shawni (and Claire and Lucy…and all the other kids too!)

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  1. Just a quick suggestion in case you are interested… Giving Tuesday is next Tuesday – you should keep it up til then and remind people. Hopefully you can get a few more donations! xoxo

  2. This just made me cry! What a joy to see the wealth of work and happy hearts that this great event created! Little did we know when we did our first project about 40 years ago that the tradition would live on. Thanks to all who participated, contributed and made it happen! Great job Claire, Drew and Lucy! Love to all!

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