Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Its hard to think of where to start because so much has happened in the past few days. But of course our families are the most important thing and yesterday I heard Sarah booking Jodi to work with a new adult on Saturday, Aaron worked with another adult last week, Carolyn and Stephanie's photos of two new Soul children were being assembled into the gifts of Soul, Randell's latest shoot was being prepared for printing, Sarah will pick up the prints from my latest shoot at Children's and Michael Good was out on a shoot this weekend.

I want to salute our amazing intern, Brenna as she proudly completed her second grant application recently for Soulumination and we received word that we are the recepient of a $9K grant from the McMillian Foundation to further the work with our adult Legacy Project. We are thrilled and thankful to think of how we can move forward with this funding. Brenna and her entire family are such gifts to this foundation. They have actively been involved since the start of Soulumination and have woven us into their lives and we think the world of the 4 of them. I have been photographing Brenna since she was a little girl and now I have informed her that Sarah and I want to take her on a shopping expedition for her senior prom dress when the time comes. Looking to her future I see the world is wide open for someone with such heart and dedication. It will be both exciting and sad for us when she leaves for college next year.

A huge thank you to board member Kelly for her donation to Soul this weekend and for bringing her son and his best friend to act as greeters. These two charming teenagers really impressed my husband and we are all so excited that they are doing a project on Soulumination and will soon have a bake sale to benefit our mission. Of course I will share photos of that fundraiser when the time comes! Hugs to the members of my board who tirelessly worked at the sale. Deb not only worked the entire sale either as a greeter of cashier but she is the creator of the beautiful and popular yule logs. Matt and his parents were absolutely amazing and we thank them for their time and for the beautiful souluminarias. Lori, our board president was on hand of course and I want to mention that her most recent newsletter is bringing in funds daily. This grass roots support of Soul has been built around her thoughtful writing and editing. Brenda was on hand with numerous female family members and her efforts to move the Legacy project forward are seeing such positive results. We always love to see board member Mark and his wife Deb as both have been with us from day one. Mark leads us forward in everything financial and is the rock behind our efforts, we hope he will stay with us through his lifetime!

The Artist Sale was a grand success and I am so thankful to Kari for her efforts in making this event grow and become even more special. Truly this sale weaves together a community of artists, volunteers, Soul families, the neighborhood and so many friends that this fact alone makes it a success, but combining it with bigger sales and more enthusiasm is truly remarkable. I personally got to hold some special babies during this event, these children I call Soul sisters and brothers. Some of them are now to big to hold but they thrill me just the same. In my arms were: Brady's little sister, Sydney's little brother, Josiah's siblings, Trey's little sister, Lillian and Lauren's new sister as well as hugs to Blake's sister, Charlotte's big sister plus Emily and her sibs are always able to melt my heart. It was amazing to walk into the check out area and see some of the women I admire most in my life manning the station: Shirley, Jenni, Molly, Amber, Diane, Patrice, Deb, Lori, both of Sarah's sisters, Lily and I am sure I am forgetting others but it was so great. The raffle was hugely popular and the woman who won the quilt was just ecstatic when she picked up yesterday, we are so grateful to Jane and Betsy and are thrilled to think that they are willing to create for us again next year! We were able to offer 4 other lovely baskets with so many amazing items from the artists. Carla was new to Soul this sale and ran the coffee and cookie area and on Sunday I personally was thankful as one of our board member, Deb's cookies were all I had for both breakfast and lunch. Our greeters were just wonderful and compiled stats for us about how each shopper heard about the sale----so indeed word of mouth wins out so keep telling the story of Soulumination and encouraging others to participate! Our artists offered so many amazing items and were just a pleasure to have as part of our mission. We are so blessed by so many talented people.

Tonight is the office party for Soul and my business and I dedicate the Soul part of the evening to my mom. As the holidays are unfolding I miss her so much, but I know how proud she would be of all the efforts for the families of Soul. We are currently working with the NTSAD Foundation to make sure the trip to their conference in April is a huge success and I will be flying there using mom's frequent flyer miles as she wished. So even though I am sad, I know that mom's life was rich and full and who could ask for more than her love?

I close with a thanks to my family. Doug takes the disruption of the Artist Sale with true grace and was available each time we needed just one more thing, plus he is a great shopper for Soul and connects with so many of our supporters. Lew in her quiet and gentle way spreads the word for us and guides me through the weekend with her calm and steady manner. Mac checked in via email and her contribution to the creation of the wine bottles made a big difference in their appearance. Sally and Joan, my sisters and first moms of Soul were of course on hand with their enthusiastic presence. But it was a special thrill to see my nieces Kimme, Lauren, Audrey, and Betsy and nephew Ben act as greeters. I am one lucky aunt. In love and peace, Lynette