Friday, December 31, 2010

What a happy 2010 we had!

I'm a big fan of hindsight. I advocate self-reflection and celebrate how all the pieces of life's great puzzle fit together. This is particularly true when it come to this work. We have all brought so many gifts into this medley of divine-directed goodness—goodness that would have gone undone had we all not stepped forward into this leap of faith.

Looking back over the landscape of 2011, I'm flabbergasted by all the we accomplished. This was truly a breakthrough year!

• We delivered our FIRST $50,000 research grant to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, which launched The Kyrie Foundation Tissue Bank Fund! This is precisely what we had set forth to do. Get more research going to cure cancer? Check!

• We welcomed Wendy Wilkinson to our hardworking board of directors! She has been a much appreciated addition to all of the fundraising that our merry band of do-gooders offers to the world.

• Our third annual scrapbooking krop was a sell-out and then some! We also presented our very first Kyrie Foundation awards to several special souls who have initiated even more cancer-curing fundraising and awareness on our behalf.

• We welcomed Amy Nelson to our hardworking board of directors! Amy has been such an enthusiastic inspiration and a well-spring of great ideas for the foundation's future success!

• Never before had I seen such a magnificent work of craftsmanship: The Kyrie Foundation wood-fired grill! Courtesy of Danny Schneider and Kruse Corporation, this thing is smokin'--literally. And now we have so many options for fundraising that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

• We added yet ANOTHER fundraiser to our repertoire: the Kyrie Klassic golf tournament! It was a great morning at Sierra Hills and a happy birthday for one of our most devoted volunteers, Andi.

• In addition to our beautiful bracelets, cookbooks and designer tees, we now have reusable totes, water bottles and hooded sweatshirts!

• Two of our youngest and most loyal supporters swept the Fundraising Challenge at this year's Twilight Walk! Sister-and-brother duo Madison and Mason showed us all how amazing it is when kids help other kids and ... this was our largest grossing Twilight Walk yet!

• We met, shared information and found solidarity with the founder of the new Texas-based Layla Grace Foundation.

• We made it into Pepsi's October Refresh Everything grant contest! A whirlwind of support—everything from school assemblies to new friends at St. Micheal's to a parade float!—catapulted us into the #4 spot! Stay tuned for more info on another chance in 2011!

• Our third-annual Metamorphosis art+gift auction proved to be our highest yielding fundraising EVER! And ... we auctioned off a trip to the 2011 Grammy's!!

• We were graciously chosen as the beneficiaries of the incredible Heart of America Men's Chorus Christmas concert! Which led to ...

• Frosty & Elf Rita had more toys than ever for their annual Christmas visit to Wesley hospital's pediatric floor! And more volunteers than ever, too!

WOW, right? I mean, isn't it amazing how much we can accomplish when we work together? Stunning, absolutely stunning. Another round of heartfelt thanks to all of you who support this endeavor, continue to read this blog, spread the word, boost enthusiasm, make the phone calls, send the e-mails and so much more.

And this being New Year's Eve, a toast to our supporters and especially to my fellow board members: I know this work isn't easy. It doesn't easily fit into schedules. Donations don't come easily. Volunteers are sometimes hard to find. It's isn't easy plowing ahead when none of us have done this before. We have great expectations from ourselves, an attribute born of integrity. We dare to do when the world barely cares. Yet we have all acknowledged at one time or another that those who step forward to care about this cause aren't chosen by us but rather called by Him.

Thank you for being part of the solution, part of the cure. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for caring about children you've never met. Thank you for showing how everyone that miracles are made of a million minutes of hard work. Thank you for bringing your best to the table.

Here's to 2011 with The Kyrie Foundation! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A message from Frosty!

Toys are sorted and bagged and ready for Frosty & Elf Rita to deliver to the 33 kiddos who are stuck in the hospital tonite! We had the most donation of toys that we have ever had...WOW! Thank YOU to all of our supporters and contributors!!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the eve of giving.

Packing our bags to jet to Wichita for the big give at Wesley Hospital with Frosty and Elf Rita. My Kyrie Foundation sweatshirt is packed to keep me warm as Jack Frost plans to hitch a ride with us. Another miraculous trip to bestow glad tidings and tokens of cheer to those children who are often forgotten amidst school concerts, family dinners, cookie parties, Toys R Us and pilgrimages to Mall Santa's lap.

The peds floor of a hospital is the place where time and normalcy hang suspended just out of reach, dangling over IV monitors and tension headaches. It is also the place where angels tread, both literally and figuratively. So many good-deed doers have signed on for Frosty's annual visits, visits born out of sheer generosity. Whether it's the time Frosty and Elf Rita spend acquiring and organizing or the time you spend selecting and delivering these surprises, it is generosity in its purest form ... which got me thinking.

As we approach the day when giving is prime, how do you give? What kind of giver are you? And not just on Christmas, but how do you give year-round?

• Do you give out of obligation? Do you give because everyone else at the office is? Are you expected to give a certain item, a certain amount? Obligatory giving takes all the fun out of generosity because it's not really giving at all. It's burdensome dispensation and there's not a lot of love, if any, in it.

• Do you give with consideration to how it will be received? Do you envision the recipient's reaction? And what if you don't get the reaction you imagined? Are you disappointed? Does the recipient's reaction change how you feel about your giving? As if they don't deserve your gift if they don't act the way you think they should?

• Do you give in hopes of reciprocation? Do you give to get? This is always a dangerous route to take especially with all those white elephant gift exchanges. ;) When you give, do you account? Do you judge the value of someone's gift compared to yours?

• Do you give self-righteously? Do you give to show others how you give? Do you give in hopes of praise or lauded thanks? Or even so He sees what you're giving? What if the recipient does not express the adequate amount of thanks? Does that change whether or not the gift should have been given? Does that change your call to give?

Must admit, there have been times when I've been guilty of all of these. The best, though, is when I give freely and full of joy, when I give simply to give, to help, to be the blessing to someone.

• Do you give altruistically? Do you give without expectation, without guilt, without recourse? Do you give joyfully? Cheerfully? Do you give simply to give, be it time, talent or treasure? Can you give even when they don't "deserve" it or when you're not "feeling it?" Are you able to give and let the gift go where it may? Do you give purely?

That's when giving boomerangs into that warm gushy gift that surges right back atcha. Here are a couple of good things to keep in mind this week:

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

... "abundance for every good deed." So true. A garden from every seed. And that is my Christmas wish for you, that every one of your good deeds blossom beyond your wildest dreams. I know your good deed with The Kyrie Foundation have certainly propelled this cause beyond mine. ;)

Much love and many blessings for a Merry Christmas and an abundant 2011!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And a big thank you

to our HOAMC volunteers!

Diane Smith, Courtnee Widler  and Steph Duemmel!

Thank you SO much for working to make this event so good—so good for so many children and their families who will never know all of your efforts. WE know and we're so blessed to have you in our corner. THANK YOU to all of the talented singers in Heart of America Men's Chorus, the director, choreographers, the stage crew, the staff and all of the guests. You all, Frosty & Elf Rita truly embody the Christmas spirit!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gifts, gifts, gifts!

Apologies for the absence! So much going on--as I'm sure you all can relate.

First off, we still want to share all the photos from the big art auction last month and are waiting on the photographer's schedule.

Secondly, a HUGE thank you to the Heart of America Men's Chorus! The vocal talent was tremendous and we feel incredibly honored to be the beneficiaries of your spirited generosity.

And look at all these FANTASTIC DONATIONS for Frosty and Elf Rita's trip to the hospital next week! Oh my! Can you believe it? Such joy at seeing this photo, such bubbly joy and gratitude to everyone who thought enough of a hospitalized child to share a toy. THANK YOU!

And we hope that you buy your gasoline at QuikTrip because ... they've donated 25 $25 giftcards for the Wesley visit too!! I just love QuikTrip for this and for their cappuccino. ;) 

If you would like to get in on all the good feelings of giving, Frosty says they could still use $10 McDonald's giftcards and plain, ol' cash. Frosty uses the cash to purchase items which may be short each year, like teen gifts and giftcards for parents. If you would like to donate these items please shoot an e-mail to Frosty (SusanEckel@shelleyelectric.comto let her know. She'd love to have these items before Friday this week in order to get organized for the big trip next week.

I may not have to type this but it's worth remembering that when a child is in the hospital for Christmas, that means that the parents are there, too. If you think about how busy you are preparing, shopping, wrapping, baking, celebrating, etc., think about if you had to be at the hospital with your child, too. And what about your other children? Or family? Or work? Or bills? Or just getting laundry done? I know, right?

Frosty and Elf Rita's trip is so special because they think about the whole family--everyone in that hospital room is included. Many of these families are so tapped out by bills and shock that this visit is the only bright spot in a long and scary journey. The adults are often left speechless at your generosity. Frosty and Elf Rita also leave gifts to give to children who they know will be admitted after their visit, trying to brighten a moment for absolutely everyone during this time of year. Hope you get a chance to be a part of this tremendous act of generosity!