The Love Jar Project

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They are complete! Although simple in their design, I hope that they will have a positive impact on the lives of those who take them.

Joe & I were not alone in this creation -they are made by Team Red Phoenix! The jars and fabric were both donated and my amazingly artistic friend painted the Red Phoenix symbol on them (which she created). She switched the ribbon out for other types of cancer too!  Even the stickers were bought with money donated just for these jars.

Each Love Jar is filled with sheets of folded paper.  Every piece of paper has a sentence or two that is meant to inspire positivity and hope.  Joe and I cut each saying, folded it and tucked it into the jar for someone to enjoy.

I am thrilled that one was taken almost immediately! I cannot wait to see how long it takes before I need to make more. I just love that they have the potential to brighten someone’s day, when they may need a smile.

If you are reading this and have one of the Love Jars – YAY!! Welcome!  Please share your thoughts on what it is like to have one. I would love to hear from you!

Spread the love, my friends!

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A compassionate Saturday…and a small world

When we attended the K92.3 Survivors Meet & Greet last month, we met a wonderful warrior named Dixie who is a 4 year survivor. In an interesting twist, her husband is currently employed where Joe used to work prior to his current position. We all became fast friends and exchanged contact information. Earlier this week, Dixie invited us to be guests at an outreach event for a local breast cancer organization – Compassionate Hands and Hearts.

Today we attended this wonderful event and met dozens of incredible women – survivors, supporters and their families and friends. Every month these women get together and open their homes, their hearts, their stories and their love for local women battling breast cancer. Each and every one of them is a story of strength, courage and hope – filling a room with that much love can easily bring a person to tears. We spent the morning making new friends, enjoying delicious food and sharing stories.

In an interesting twist of fate, we were even able to meet a supporter of ours in person for the first time! My baby sister’s soon-to-be aunt-in-law has a sister who lives about an hour from us. She sends us cards regularly and prays for us every morning. Today, after seeing little man in his Red Phoenix shirt, she realized that she knew us and introduced herself. I immediately started bawling and hugged her. How cool is that?! What a small world…

As if the tears weren’t flowing enough already after spending time with these amazing, inspiring women, we were we able to witness this organization provide 6 incredible women fighting the fight with goodies and a financial gift. And then we were surprised at the end with a financial gift as well. What an amazing day.

I’ve heard there is strength in numbers. Although each of us has fought or is fighting this battle, I find strength with them.

I’ll share pictures once they’re posted!

So. Much. Love.

When I was a little girl, I loved to write letters. In between visits, my cousins and I would write back and forth to each other. During summer breaks, my closest friends and I would write to each other every few days; often making our own envelopes out of another sheet of paper. Sometimes we would fill them with confetti, which would cause quite a mess when opened! We would even look up the address to hotels and send letters to each other during family vacations. I remember excitedly checking the mail each day in anticipation of the arrival of a new letter addressed to me. There is just something so wonderful about receiving mail.

Although Jacob doesn’t know it yet, I’ve started (try) to pass along this love of letter writing to him. Each holiday, and every vacation, we send him a letter or post card. The letters usually have $1 in it and we share with him a few thoughts, words of wisdom or an event that occurred. We address it to him and mail it out – many times from our own mailbox. They are sealed and stored in a memory box for him to open sometime. We even did this when I was pregnant – addressed to “Baby”.

Where we live now, there aren’t mailboxes (in the typical sense) at each house but instead a large, metal mail box at the end of each road for all of the houses on that street. Typically, it takes a few days for us to check it because it isn’t right in front of our house. Since beginning this journey though, it has become a nightly tradition for us – something that I look forward to doing together. Jacob is strapped into his Radio-Flyer tricycle and we take a family walk to the mailbox together. Most days, that metal box is filled with a letter or a card or a package. Someone reaching out to send their love, their thoughts, their prayers or a surprise gift to let us know that they are thinking of us and that we are not alone in this journey.

Twice this week my husband returned from picking up little man with a gift for me; the first a gift basket filled with goodies from coworkers to remind me how strong I am and today an embroidered tote from daycare filled with goodies to keep me comfortable during treatment. This week, which is the hardest one for us, we have also been given a meal each night so we don’t have to cook.

And the list doesn’t end there – the calls, the texts, the fundraiser, the visits to see us, the prayers. So. Much. Love.

Writing this out, I can’t help but cry. I like to think that words come easy for me when writing but I don’t think I can properly express how much all of your kindness means to us. This is, by far, the most challenging, life-altering journey that we have ever been on and you have all done so much to help us through this. Each and every one of you. We are so humbled and so incredibly blessed with all of your love. There are so many different ways that one can demonstrate kindness, love and support…and I feel like we have seen every single possible way.

A dear friend said to me, “Our prayer is that this helps you and your family, even if it’s just a little.” Oh, but a little it is not. It is so much bigger than that.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Giving back!

The Love Jar

Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’ve been thinking about this month for weeks now. I want to do something to give back but I couldn’t decide what I have the ability to do.

This morning, I woke up and dressed for work. While my husband and I were getting ready to walk out of the house, I realized it was October 1st. I also realized that I wasn’t wearing anything pink. I went back to change my clothes and decided that I would commit to wearing pink every day this month. It is the least that I can do, especially since I have not been able to come up with a way to give back. At least I can show my commitment to awareness through wearing pink.

On the way to work, I commented to my husband that I had posted 41 times on my blog. He responded that 41 blog posts means 41 pages in a book. I smiled at that!

Changing my clothes made us a few minutes late leaving the house – oops. My husband had an 8am meeting so I dropped him off and brought little man to daycare. After dropping little man off, I started thinking again about what I can do. I recalled my husband’s comment and thought to myself, Maybe one day I’ll be able to hand out my book to people undergoing cancer treatments! This made me smile again. I asked myself what my abilities are, thinking that I can utilize them in some way. Ok, I can write. How can I utilize that to help people? And then it hit me.

The Love Jar!

I wrote about The Love Jar that was created for me a few weeks back. This is the second one that I have received and I absolutely and completely LOVE IT. When I am having a bad day, I pull out a one or two (or five) of the strips of paper in there. They make me laugh or smile or cry or all of these at once. They make me feel so good inside. It helps alleviate the stresses of treatment and it reminds me of how loved I am. It gives me strength.

I want to create Love Jars for people undergoing treatment for cancer. I want to fill them with inspiration, positive thoughts and words of wisdom, strength and courage. All of the things that can help someone through the challenging treatment days. I want to bring them to my treatment center and leave them to be shared with the people who receive care there.

While this is a small gesture, it is something that can help make people smile and feel good, during a time they need it most. All of you make up the Red Phoenix community, which will be the heart and soul of these Love Jars. If you want to help by sharing your thoughts, kind words and encouragement, please please please do so! Leave a comment here, on the I am Red Phoenix Facebook page or send me an email at Red@IamRedPhoenix.com and I will gladly include it!

Here’s to giving back – and helping to make people smile!