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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

October 19, 2008

Soles4Souls. . .

What an awe inspiring weekend.

Our local church youth spent the weekend collecting, sorting and packing donated shoes as part of a Soles4Souls weekend lock-in. The kids also participated in a wonderful outreach project at our local shelter (scraping, priming and painting the wrap around porches) and they visited yard sales to ask for additional donations. Thank you Angela for helping me to photograph the kids this weekend.

After dinner, we were treated to a wonderful concert by Christian musician Jonny Diaz. The kids watched a inspirational movie and finally let their chaperons get some sleep around 3 am this morning.

Although I could not spend the entire weekend with the kids, I had an amazing experience going out shoe shopping, as my husband called it, yesterday afternoon. We made the rounds of several local thrift stores and one local flea market. The store employees had no individual authority to lower their prices for our cause, but I was able to get several pairs of gently used children's shoes for very little money and a promise that the cashiers would give our flyer and other information to their managers to see if they can donate more shoes next week.

At the flea market, I met the most amazing woman. I have to admit that I have a great deal of trouble approaching people that I don't know and asking for anything, so I was very sceptical that I would be able to convince anyone to donate or even discount their shoes.

I approached a couple of people, who had brand new athletic shoes for sale, and got nowhere. Then, just as I was about to give up, I saw some baby and toddler shoes on a table and asked the seller if she would be willing to donate or discount them for our cause. I handed her the flyer and waited anxiously while she carefully read it. Then I watched in amazement when she stood up and started piling up the children's shoes for me. She also said she would keep the flyer and contact the church if she has more to donate. An inspiration and a blessing.

I also have to share another amazing moment for the weekend. I bought all three of Jonny's CDs and asked one of the adults to get them autographed for me, since I couldn't stay for the whole concert. Naturally, when they said my daughter could get them autographed, I said, "My daughter's autistic, there's no way she's going up to someone she doesn't know!"

As a special needs mother, I should be ashamed of myself for automatically underestimating my daughter's abilities. I was tired, but that's not an excuse.

As I sat there waiting for the concert to start, I rethought my response and realized that I could ask one of my daughter's youth friends to help her, so I did.

This morning, I was floored, when our youth director told me in church that Morgan went up to Jonny after the concert and got him to autograph the CDs all by herself. And the kids were whispering "Morgan's going up there!"

Faith and Understanding: This weekend gave me an abundance of both.

Nianya

P.S.: As a side note, I discovered the magic that can be found at thrift stores. While I was shoe shopping, my 6.5-year-old son scampered off to the toy section to see what treasures he could find. When he showed me a battered 3D castle puzzle, I looked at it sceptically and wondered if it could possibly have all the pieces. Then I thought, what the heck, even if it doesn't, he'll have fun with it. Sure enough, while I was back at the church with my daughter and the youth, he proceeded to build Camelot in record time, then dismantled it and started building his own castles straight from his imagination. Wonderful therapy for an extremely ADHD/SID child, who can't yet read. Of course he had to take his castle gate house to church this morning to show everyone. Apparently the castle distracted his class.

Faith and Understand: That's what it's all about.

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