Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gratitude Crafternoon

Being a work-at-home mom, my routine usually entails mommy duties in the morning until the kids leave for school then working on my pending projects from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. I would switch from local tv shows to CNN and BBC and Bio channel. After typhoon Haiyan swept Central Visayas, the Philippines became the center of news everywhere. Images and footages of the victims, survivors and devastated areas flash across tv channels. I began spending more hours tuned in to CNN instead of Lifestyle Network or HBO. I cannot help but cry seeing a lot of my countrymen died, children orphaned and families homeless, wet and hungry.
I've got to do something. I cannot just sit on my comfortable chair and just watch. But how? Usually, the first thing I reach for is my closet. Time to sort my wardrobe and give away clothes that I haven't worn for a year and some that I hope I would still fit in! Dream on! Next, my children's clothes. Next, my bed sheets. What else? Shoes, slippers, pillows. I felt it wasn't away something you don't really need anymore is so easy. I wanted to put more of "myself" into what I am giving.

November 12, 2013 - During dinner, I explained my children about what's happening. Yes, they are aware. They've seen the news but I wanted them to emphatize. I told them how blessed we are to be spared from the damage of Haiyan and how we should always be grateful for what we have. But, gratitude does not end there. We should look beyond the walls of our comfort zone and see if there's someone whom we can share our blessings. At some point in our conversation I cannot help but be emotional and I cannot explain why. At least, my kids didn't tease me!

November 14, Thursday - A few more days passed by, every channel I tune in is all about typhoon Haiyan and Central Visayas especially Tacloban City. I don't know if its a hormonal thing or i am just getting old but I essily get emotional lately and find myself crying many times during the day. It wasn't just tears of sadness because of the devastation Haiyan brought my country and its people, but I am just overwhelmed at how everyone in every corner of the world is doing to help in any way they can - US, Austalian, British troops began sailing in to help, food supply from United Nations down to two "kariton" boys donating their day's earning. Haiyan may be the worst typhoon in the history of the world but sure it brought out the best in humankind - COMPASSION. I've never seen help in this magnitude only now. And seeing that, I felt SO GRATEFUL to everyone, Filipino or not, Catholic or not, rich or poor. The feeling of gratitude as if literally fills my heart and I want to explode! I need to express it or I might have a heart attack!
I can't sleep...I can't get off the words GRATITUDE and HOPE on my mind. Gratitude for the donors and the volunteers, hope - i want us to spread hope to everyone affected...we should be a beacon of hope for them.

"Hope is a good thing...maybe the best of all things....- Shawshank Redemption"

And I thought what can I possibly do? I don't have lots of money to donate. I wanted to volunteer but who will take care of my children when I'm out there? (My nanny of 12 years recently retired) I want to involve my give something from our hearts...not just things we don't have but a part of us.
I have papers (did i say i love papers?!), embelishments for cardmaking and scrapbooking, color pens, washi tapes and cardmaking is what I do best (invitations, technically speaking). Okay, let's make cards - Gratitude cards and Hope Cards. Gratitude for volunteers because more often that not, our focus is always on the survivors. We forget to acknowledge the great help those volunteers do in times like this. For now, the momentum to volunteer is very high but eventually, it may go down as they are humans, too, they get tired and emotionally exhausted since they are on ground zero and they have families, too, back home. We need to keep the spirit burning. I want to let them (the volunteers) know that we appreciate their efforts and a simple, handwritten and handmade card is a tangible proof of our gratitude.

Hope cards for the survivors...we hope thru these cards, they will be reminded that we think of them and there is hope. But when I told this to one of my bestfriends, about the idea, she said it might not be the right time to give them the cards. They are hungry, wet, maybe injured, no know, they need the basic necessities in life right now-food, shelter and clothing. She has a point. Maybe not now. Maybe we can focus on the volunteers first.

I knew I just have to do this or else I would regret not doing it for the rest of my life. My husband asked me how can we possibly give the cards to the volunteers??! He has a point...I don't know! What I do know is that THERE IS A WAY, I may not know it right now but I BELIEVE By God's grace there will be a way even if it seems there is no way. I told him that question will not stop me from making this happen. I sounded a bit offensive/emotional but I apologized to him soon after.
I called up my 2 of my bff's and asked if they can come and bring their kids to join us on Sunday, 17th of November. I invited the "patintero" kids (not kids anymore!) in the neighborhood as well. I wanted to invite everyone in my friends list but I was a bit hesitant as I really don't have enough space in the house and no time for food preparation! I just knew we have to make this happen!


Novermber 17, Sunday - After hearing mass, we just ordered lunch since we have to prepare the tools and materials for cardmaking. I never thought I have so much stuff to last a lifetime until I started putting them out! LOL! At least now I will put them to good use. :) My kids prepared iced tea (that's the least we can give for the cardmakers!) and we have a jar of Sticko and some assorted nuts. By 2 pm, people started coming in and soon enough everyone is busy making their cards! I secretly shed a tear feeling overwhelmed with the kids' support and the time they are willing to give for this when they should be somewhere else probably malling with friends. I am just so GRATEFUL. I told myself, I can die now, but no, no Lord, not now. I still want to travel the world! :)
Here are some pics of our Gratitude Crafternoon. Special thanks to my new friend, David, whom I bugged last Friday night to come up with a nice wording for e-vite since I'm already a scatterbrain. He's also the one who coined Gratitude Crafternoon - thanks, David!

"God would never start something that He could not finish."

I believe that God has put this whole idea in my heart and He will arrange things in our favor. True enough, when I thought of asking Mayor Len Alonte-Naguiat, a friend of mine, to connect me to possible person/s to give the cards to the right people, I got an immediate reply- that she and her constituents will be going to Villamor Airbase the next day to bring in some doctors to check on the survivors flying in from the affected areas. She offered to bring the cards to personally hand over them to pilots and other volunteers who are in Tacloban and Cebu.

November 18, Monday - I met Len at her office and gave her the box of cards we made. Finally, I was able to give her my promised gift for her birthday last year!

November 19, Tuesday - woke up with an Instagram notification from her. Everyone who participated was excited to see that our cards have reached the right people. If only we could make more....
Nevertheless, I am more than grateful to everyone to participated and helped out in making this happen.

Maraming, maraming salamat!

No comments: