Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Truly Blessed Weekend

This was truly a blessed weekend. Friday the kids and I had such fun running a few last minute Easter errands which included going plant shopping. We got half the plants in the ground before the rain came. Weather had told us that it was going to thunderstorm and be quite nasty so we rushed to put everything away as soon as we felt the rain. I sprinkled for about 10 minutes, but never stormed. Guess that means I actually have to go water the plants. The good thing about not having a thunderstorm was that all of our fresh compost on the ground stayed in our yard instead of running down the hill into our neighbors yard. Me then went to meet Nate at the movies and really enjoyed watch How to Train Your Dragon. It was not the story line I expected, but it was great!

Saturday the kids had a crazy schedule of swim lessons and praise team practice. We were all supposed to meet up at my moms for Easter, but sometimes other things happen. I did eventually get to eat Easter dinner and it was just as good warmed up. I greatly appreciate my Mom's patience since I was extremely late for Easter dinner, but it was for a good cause. I had signed up to spend the day doing candids for a little local non-profit. No big deal. Go shoot a few girls in dresses help this organization get a few pics for their advertising.

When I got to My Party Palace in Round Rock I was met with a line of teen girls waiting on the porch. It's unusual to have a line of teen girls on the porch of this business because usually My Party Palace caters to little girls princess parties, diva parties, and tea parties. On this day they had cleared the calendar and opened their space for a non-profit Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation. Before I get going on how this beautiful soul makes magic happen for the girls that were there that day I need to tell you a bit more about My Party Palace. It turns out that Michelle, the owner of My Party Palace, opens her doors for another group of young ladies that need her. Michelle also hosts a princess day for AVID students. Michelle has coordinated to hold a special day for girls in AVID to help build their self confidence and show them that they can achieve their dreams. Such an amazing lady that I had to share how she is making an impact in our community.

I was introduced to Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation through my friend David. He saw that there was a request for female photographers for their event. I replied. Giving up a Saturday to make sure young ladies were outfitted for prom was no big deal. Well it is a big deal. Keri makes sure that each young lady not only has a dress for prom, but shoes, jewelry, make up, hair, and pictures. She does it all. This foundation runs only on donations. Donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry, stylists, photographers. It takes the village to make the day special for these beautiful young ladies. Talking about the village - you should have seen all the volunteers (and there were times we could have used more!). Local Mary Kay consultants provided free make-up packs. Local hair stylists and photographers donate their time on prom day so that the girls have everything done. There were sororities from UT represented, and Ms. Texas and Ms. Austin from Miss Plus America were on hand to help. All of the ladies volunteering were fantastic! I really appreciated how much they affirmed the girls and made them feel like the princesses they are. It was wonderful.

Some of the volunteers helped start the story of Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation. In a moment of quiet Ms. Texas asked Keri how the foundation got started. Keri explained that she was working as an accounting assistant for a large office and one of her co-workers daughters wanted to go to prom. There was a small problem with that request. Apparently the girls father had recently left the family and the mother could not afford for her daughter to go to prom. Even though Keri herself did not get to go to her prom she decided right then and there that this young lady had to go to prom. She put out requests for anyone to help this young lady with all the little parts that make prom so special. To Keri's surprise dresses, shoes, everything kept coming in. The young lady went to school and shared about the blessing she just received from Keri. Before Keri knew it other young ladies were calling her. Keri said in those early days she just gave everything to the girls because she had no idea the scope of need. As more calls came and the need grew she decided to provide the items for loan. Keri went from having a spare room at her house filed with about 70 dresses to having her guest house filled with everything a girl could want. She also started receiving wedding gowns. Guess what - there was a need there as well. As the need grew the donations grew. In 2007 Sharon Stone donated clothing and shoes from a benefit she held. Keri said that girls were calling or coming by to borrow items for all sorts of event all the time. There was a year round need for formals.

This year Keri moved into a new home. This home did not have a guest house out back. Keri was going to have to shut down the foundation and put everything in storage. This would be her last prom season unless a miracle happened. Again the village came to help. A company called U-Ship offered for free to move Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation into storage. U-ship is trying to help non-profits with their moving needs. While waiting on U-Ship to arrive the landlord came by with a surprise. While Keri was in negotiations with the landlord for a space at 208 Bagdad in Round Rock, the U-Ship truck arrived. Shortly after that K-Eye news arrived to do a story on the charity U-Ship was providing. While they were filming about U-ship's generosity to non-profits Keri emerged from the back storage room. An ordinary house key was dangling from a safety pin attached to her apron and a conract was in hand. Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation would not have to go into storage.

K-Eye put a mic on Keri to interview her where she announced with tears in her eyes and hope in her heart that the foundation would be able to service girls all year long from the space right next door. Keri, her sister-in-law Karen, the U-ship crew, many volunteers, Miss Texas Plus America, and K-Eye news watched as she anxiously put the key into the lock and opened the door to a dream, an answered prayer. Keri's Fairy Godmother Foundation was real. The passion to meet the needs for one girl going to prom blossomed into meeting the needs of hundreds of girls each year.

I certainly encourage you to look in your closets for dress shoes, dresses, jewelry, purses, scarves, anything that could be used for prom. When you find it you know it will have a great home with Keri and her foundation. If you get a moment to volunteer any of the many weekends Keri is holding a party I know your heart will be touched as much as mine was. With a lease to pay for each month money donations will never be turned down. Keri charges the girls $25 to borrow the items through prom. When the items are returned she dry cleans the dresses and puts them back on the rack for the next girl. She has every size, and is very talented in helping girls find the dress that transforms her into princess for the night. As I said, it was worth missing Easter dinner for.

Sunday proved to be just as busy for Nate and I. 2-D Photography provided family portraits at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. For a $10 sitting fee families could have their photos taken while they were dressed up and all together. They will be able to order prints off the 2-D Photo website. All profits go to the Early Childhood Center's Tuition Assistance Program. If you've never toured the Childhood Center or visited the church I encourage you to do so. This community is blooming into something wonderful. A community that was nurtured by a firm foundation of loving all of God's people. It's amazing what comes from those with passionate hearts. It was great the community that came together when our planned for sunny Sunday turned into a drizzly Sunday. A plan was quickly put into place for setting up backdrops and lights in classrooms. Volunteers helped get families signed in so that all we had to worry about was photography. It was truly a blessing. I loved the look on the mom's face when they would say, "We haven't had a family picture taken since he was 2" or other such things. I was looking at their adult children. Families, don't wait that long. Find opportunities to take your picture together. We all change and grow over time, and it's those moments we want to catch. It's that look when your teen is just a little to good to have a picture taken that makes for great family memories. Or as your daughter is away at college and dating a young man who will be art of her future. Just a snapshot brings back the moments.

Happy Easter! He has risen! Thank you for all the little blessings in our life this week.

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