On Saturday night, June 15, at a dinner sponsored by the Georgia Writers Association, I was named Georgia Author of the Year for COMMITTEE OF ONE. I am so thrilled that Leila’s story and the stories of the refugees whose lives she has changed are being recognized. It’s a gift beyond price. And to add more joy, I’ve connected the Director of the Alif Institute to the Deputy Director of the Georgia Council for International Visitors so they can partner for a lecture series by incoming experts and leaders from every part of the world. Take a look at both on the web.
I received an email that had this story and I thought it was inspiring and wanted to share it. You can make a difference, start today. The Daffodil Principle The story began with a woman whose daughter wanted her to come down to see daffodils. She did not wish to go and did not see the point in it, until she arrived. "It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swathes of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers." When she asked who made this beautiful landscape the answer surprises her. 'Just one woman,' Carolyn answered. 'She lives on the property. That's her home.' Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. 'Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking', was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. ' 50,000 bulbs,' it read. The second answer was, 'One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.' The third answer was, 'Began in 1958.' For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at a time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world 'It makes me sad in a way,' I admitted to Carolyn. 'What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!' My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. 'Start tomorrow,' she said May we all start making a difference today.
While in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday I followed the sounds of live music into a downtown park. The Farmers Market was in full swing, as were musicians and artists. People were buying produce, dog treats, arts and crafts, and enjoying the huge play area with the little ones. I came upon a tent run by young girls and a couple of moms who were selling colorful keys for $5. Not only were they lively and courteous sales people, they had the glow of giving about them. During our conversation I learned Keys for Hope was started by a group of kids in Mt. Pleasant who wanted to raise money and awareness for their local homeless shelter. They also want to empower kids around the world to raise money and awareness for causes they're most passionate about. So far they've donated $40,000.00. Yes, you read correctly. $40,000.00 for the homeless shelter. It takes dedication, determination and kind hearts to paint many keys and to put up a tent every Saturday, staff it, and tell the story again and again. One girl, all of 12, will be speaking to the congregation of a large local church about this project. The group is becoming so well known that they're invited to participate in arts and crafts festivals outside the city free of fees. That's commitment. That's passion. That's success. You Go Girls!
Do you need funds to support your organization’s refugee projects? Let us help. When you sell our items at your next fundraiser, we’ll contribute a percentage of sales to your vital work. By now you may have clicked on the Fine Crafts tab. As you know all of our work is handcrafted with low fire clay, sanded, fired in a kiln and painted in striking acrylic colors. They are then wired and beaded using commercial quality findings. Each piece is then signed. We offer affordable pieces appealing to every age. If you support an organization that needs funding to help those who have fled armed conflict, political oppression or displacement from their homeland, we'll supply our ornaments, magnets and/or pins for your fundraisers. To find out more please Contact Me.
Last evening I spoke with a dear friend in California. She’s 91, has severe emphysema and is on oxygen. Her outings are limited to attending church and playing bridge. Some time ago she lost a son. Recently she lost her only daughter. She described a young woman she’d met at church who seemed adrift. She’d lost her job, was short of funds, and had lost the will to continue looking for employment. My friend, whose no nonsense approach to life may be disconcerting to some, explained to the young woman that without education she was destined to continue the cycle of defeat. She must get a job, go to night school and change her life. Thanks to my friend’s generosity with gas money and heartfelt advice, the young woman has finished her internship in the health field. She was hired by that employer, who was impressed with her motivation and determination, and is looking forward to a rewarding career. What is my friend’s reward for making a difference? The young woman calls her Mom.