Three Pictures In Seven Days #Mondayblogs

The productive button has been pegged to the floor this week!  I have promised myself a sparkling clean house in a few hours and my dog a bird watching trip, so… you guys are going to get the short end of the stick so to speak.  Here it goes!

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On Sunday the 7th we completed our second Adopt-A-Highway pickup!  Not only did we get trashy with it, we had an Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition!  It was awesome!  Cleaning up and being tacky is the best combination ever!  We had more people, less trash and a great time.  There was a stroller found… how the hell do you lose a stroller?

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As of Friday, the completed Freedom Starter Kit count was up to 94!  There has also been a TON of monetary donations.  I had Friday afternoon off from work so I decided I’d go ahead and take a round of kits to the domestic violence office.  It turns out it’s a good thing I did.  I can only fit 50 in my car at a time!  The final donation day is the 15th.  I can’t wait to see how many kits I’m taking there this upcoming Friday.  Click here to learn more about Freedom Starter Kits.

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Saturday I went to go visit our very dear Stella.  She’s still at the Norfolk SPCA wanting nothing buy an adoption for Christmas!  She seems to love the staff and the feeling is definitely mutual!  It was so good to see her.  To learn more about Stella, read this blog post:  Meet Stella.

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Turkey High Leads To Big Decision #Mondayblogs

It was late Thanksgiving evening and I had just polished off my second serving of turkey.

Turkey and gravy.

Turkey and gravy and stuffing and mashed potatoes!

Did I mention there was gravy?

I was starting to experience that turkey stupor.  You know the one?  You are so full, so sleepy, and so happy.  It’s wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful.

I sat in front of my computer and pulled up the Facebook Freedom Starter Kit page.  I cruised through the post and comments to make sure I hadn’t missed anything in the last few days.  That’s when I came to the post about a goal.  I had asked earlier in the week about setting a goal for how many kits could be put together by the December 15th deadline.  The multiple choice answer bank consisted of 50, 75, and 100.  Eleven followers voted and seven of them picked 100.  When I started this two weeks ago, I thought it would be fantastic if I could get together 20 or 30 kits.  Never did I dream this project would come to life in such a way.  The morning before Thanksgiving, I had 48 completed kits and 7 partial kits.  We almost had 50 in less than two weeks.

Post from November 26:

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Are you folks sitting down? 

It’s early. Put that cup of coffee on the table for just a minute.
Are you ready?
48.
Yes, 48 COMPLETED KITS right here in my living room in less than two weeks. There is seriously a sea of kits in my living room floor!
Who rocks? This group of people. High five yourself. We absolutely rock!

You can pick your coffee back up. Here’s all the other details. We have 7 partial kits that just need shampoo. Our odds and ends items include: 7 toothbrushes, 1 package of maxi-pads, 25 tissues, 22 bars of soap, and 19 combs. We have $250 in cash donations!

Making your shopping list? I would concentrate right now on shampoo, toothbrushes, tampons/maxipads, toothpaste and deodorant.

THANK YOU GUYS SOOOO MUCH. I never imagined when I started this that there would be so much interest in this project. I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So back to Thanksgiving evening and the turkey high, I clicked on the box for a new post and typed:

It might be the turkey high I’m experiencing right now because I’m about to do something crazy!

Freedom Starter Kit Goal : 100 kits!

Let’s do this! Who is with me?!?!?!

We’ve broke our halfway point on Friday.  Currently there are 52 completed kits, 11 partial kits and $290 in cash donations.  I don’t know about you, but I can see 100 from where I’m sitting.

The support has been absolutely mind blowing.  Friends, family, strangers… lots of people.  People who don’t even live here on the Shore anymore.  People who have never been to the Shore.  A blogging buddy of mine named Jo donated!  I can’t explain how special that made my project feel.  She’s on the other side of the world and has never met me in person.

We’ve got two weeks.  We’ve got a great following and people who want to help.

We’ve got this.

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Click here to learn more about Freedom Starter Kits. 

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A Speechless #Mondayblogs

That’s right.
Speechless.
End of blog.
Just kidding.  I can at least get a few words out.

Last week, I posted about my holiday charity project, Freedom Starter Kits. Freedom Starter Kit MJM The Freedom Starter Kits contain toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, a comb, tampons and a pocket pack of tissues.  These kits will be donated to our local domestic violence shelter.

I started this project because a. I wanted to give to a local charity for the holidays and b. I’ve been in those shoes before.  If you haven’t been in an abusive relationship, then you may assume that a victim of domestic violence will automatically feel relieved and liberated when they get out.  Sadly, there are so many emotions that happen in these scenarios.  You are frightened.  Will he come for you?  Will he do harm to anyone who helps you?  You can’t stop crying even though everyone expects you to be ecstatic.  You are lost.  You are in someone else’s house.  You don’t have your clothes.  You might not have your car.  You probably don’t have any money.

That’s when you realize you don’t even have a toothbrush.

I don’t want anyone who has been brave enough to leave an abusive relationship to have to worry about the bare necessities.  I want them to focus on getting help, getting well and getting on with their life.  They have bigger fish to fry than worrying about these little things (that are really big things).

A little over a week later, I have had friends, family and strangers step up and join me on this project.  During the week the donations started to trickle in.  I started to receive questions about accepting cash donations.  Sure, I said!  I set up a GoFundMe campaign.  I asked what our kit goal should be.  Most people chose 100.  I shook that number off.  There’s no way.  Thirty, maybe.  Fifty, possibly if we are really lucky. Below is a picture my mom sent me via text with the following message: “40 bags. Now all you have to do is fill’em!” V__2800

Then the flood gates opened and I’m starting to realize that 100 may not be totally out of the question.

Friday Night Update On Freedom Starter Kits Event Page:

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I am absolutely speechless … and for those of you who know me… you know that never happens. What you see in the photo is all of the items I received today. Speechless.I’m going to put together some kits and give you guys an official update later. Thank you everyone! Keep up the awesomeness!

Saturday brought on a whole new flood of donations. WP_000974 Alright! Saturday’s donations brought us 11 shampoos, 7 deodorant, 14 kleenex packs, 4 boxes of tampons, 6 toothbrushes, 8 toothpaste, 6 combs/brushes, 20 bars of soap and $30 dollars. I am just constantly shocked at the amount of kindness that is happening here! You guys are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Right now we have 31 completed kits (in just a little over a week! Holy cow!). We have seven kits that are just waiting on shampoo. If you are planning on donating some items and are making your shopping list I would concentrate on shampoo, tampons/pads, deodorant, toothpaste and pocket kleenexes!

Did I mention the GoFundMe campaign is up to $230?

Pick me up off the floor.  Get the smelling salts.  This is worth fainting over.

I am just absolutely amazed by all the kindness and generosity that has been shown for this project.  I can’t believe nine days ago this was four kits sitting on my kitchen table and now it is 31 kits (and many, many partial kits) flooding my living room floor.

It’s incredible.

I’m speechless.

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Follow the project on the Facebook Events Page or the GoFundMe Campaign.  

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#WordlessWednesday

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Freedom Starter Kits #Mondayblogs

Back on November 5th, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a group that did a holiday soup kitchen.  I know we are rural and at times disorganized, but somewhere there had to be someone handing out hot turkey sandwiches with a side of cranberry sauce to those who are lonesome and less fortunate on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I had some really good suggestions.  Several people recommended contacting our local Salvation Army.  Turns out, we don’t really have a local chapter of the Salvation Army.  There are several locations in Hampton Roads which happens to be separated from us by a body of water.  I want to hand out those turkey sandwiches to my wayward neighbors.  Traveling to another area defeated the purpose.  There are local churches that have designated days of the week they provide meals for the hungry.  That didn’t quite fit what I was looking for either.

Friday afternoon a brilliant idea came to me.

Freedom Starter Kits.

Freedom Starter Kit MJM

Some of you may know that many moons ago I was in a horrible relationship. Like many women in bad situations, when you leave you often leave with just the clothes on your back. When I was finally brave enough to run, I can’t tell you how devastating it was to realize I didn’t even have a toothbrush.

I started putting together care kits for the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The care kits include 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner, a comb, tampons, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and body soap. I’m hoping these ‘Freedom Starter Kits’ will help victims of domestic violence though a very challenging time in their lives.  It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back… or the lack of a toothbrush.

At first, I posted a picture on my Facebook page asking my friends to help by donating or sharing the photo.  It wasn’t long after that I decided to up my game.  Facebook has become a popularity contest and it is hard to get your post seen by your friends.  I created an event and invited all of my friends.  The response was immediate.  People joined the event and invited their friends.  An official donation list was created.  Three drop off locations were established.  This was all done in less that twenty-four hours.

I currently have six completed Freedom Starter Kits in my possession. The interest in this project has absolutely exceeded my expectations – which is FANTASTIC! What is frightening is how many people have said, “I’ve been in that situation myself.” This tells me that I was not a minority all those years ago. Domestic violence is real and it is going on all the time right under our noses.

I know many of my followers are far and wide so donating to this particular cause is not reasonable.  I bet there is a similar group in your area that could use the same sort of project.  When it comes time for you to share your holiday cheer, branch out and think about those groups overlooked during Christmas.  Let’s give someone a fresh start on a brand new life.

For updates on how this project is going, please join the Facebook event : Freedom Starter Kits. 

How do you give back during the holiday season?

****UPDATE****** A GoFundMe campaign has been set up at gofund.me/freedomkit for anyone who would like to make a donation!

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A #WordlessWednesday For My Mama

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Soul Pancake…stress reduction the right way:)

Melanie Jo Moore:

Love this! How do you rent a box of kittens for thirty minutes?

Originally posted on Rethinking Life:

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