Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lesson 274: When We All Work As One

We've got snow at the Lamp Post,
and we're due for even more this weekend.

You have to be an absolute Grinch if you complain about snow in December.

It's fresh and exciting.
Clean and white.
Fluffy and fun.

Taken from some friends who have moved away from home,
they all could do without the snow, but they miss it at Christmastime.

I sent this photo to a high school classmate, now living in Texas.
Texans think they're tough, but they couldn't last a week here in the winter.

Sam and I got out for a mile together on the snowy roads.

Kenyan got out for 20.
(No typo--t-w-e-n-t-y).
Take that, Texas.

How do we do it? you ask.

Northerners survive because we do things in groups.
It's our pack-like mentality, just like the wolves and the huskies.
We work together for a common goal.
When you do that, miracles happen.

Take for example our neighbors to the north.

The Canadians gave us a great example this week of people working together to make miracles happen.

The story begins with an airline,

unsuspecting passengers,

and a brilliant idea to spread holiday cheer.

You simply must see the entire story unfold, 
while listening to the Seuss-style narration of the best Christmas surprise I've ever seen!

I don't know what's happening to me.  
I was moved to tears over this magic, and I have never been a crier.

There is just something about seeing total surprise on the faces of people,


that leaves me reaching for the Kleenex.
Eloise is getting soft!

There is a whole lot more awesome than awful in this world, 
and I feel it is my duty to share examples of this truth.

To the people of WestJet from Eloise:
Thank you for an important Christmastime lesson:
Miracles do happen when we all work as one.

My workout group and it's happy pack-like mentality,
worked as one to raise $350 to donate to a local charity last weekend.
Monies collected from our first annual Christmas Story Run were given to Grady's Decision,
a charity that helps families of babies born prematurely.

We all decked out in Christmas garb and ran or biked through our city dressed as
a leg lamp,
a Christmas tree,
and several in Ralphie's bunny suit.
We even had a Red Rider BB Gun and no one
shot their eye out

(Did you notice how I made the words in the shape of a Christmas tree?)

Another miracle is Sam's behavior.
We are all working together to help him keep his cool 
so that he doesn't receive a lump of coal on Christmas morning.

Sam's got to hold it together for eleven more days.  
That is a long time when you are six years old.
We all work together to keep him occupied in the evenings.

We play WWE Mad Libs--(very entertaining).

Sam's accompanied me on 1 mile runs.

He plays cards with his Daddy.

He's helped me with cards and wrapping.

....and one night, when he was quietly working, 
I assumed that he was writing another, "Hi, How are you?" letter to Santa.

Wrongly assumed.

Mother Eloise just added Excedrin to her Christmas List.

The girls and I went to see the Zac Brown Band.

They performed in Erie on December 13th.
The tickets were part of Ellen's 12 turning 13 birthday present.
How cool that the concert fell on the date 12-13!

I did issue a warning to my girls tonight:  NO CONCERT T-Shirts.  Although we love Zac Brown, we just saw him this summer and have one shirt and a ball cap.  It's too close to Christmas to shop at the concert t-shirt table!

Eloise, who is always careful with my money, did do a quick search of Zac Brown's website in search of "sale" t-shirts.  My frugality paid off big time when I found this:

It's a Zac Brown t-shirt that comes in a mason jar!

At only $20, and labeled a "donation", I was curious to see what the catch was.  What I found was far beyond what I imagined. The Zac Brown Band funds a camp in Georgia for special needs children!

Camp Southern Ground.

I fell in love with Zac Brown a little more, as soon as I read the camp's description.  Look out, Tim McGraw!  You got some competition.

Here is a little note from Zac Brown regarding the camp he supports:

A note from Zac Brown

Zac BrownTo me, there is nothing more worthwhile than helping kids. I grew up working with kids while on staff at summer camps and remember how they were impacted during their visits. Their time at camp helped to make a difference in their lives and will last them a lifetime. Camp Southern Ground will work with special needs children while providing them with lodging and facilities to most effectively contribute to their rehabilitation. The highly trained staff will offer a wide variety of therapeutic activities that are designed to help stimulate the mind and body and encourage development, all in a beautiful setting. This is the year to get it started! Welcome to Camp Southern Ground...
-Zac Brown

Here are a few more things the camp offers, taken directly from The Zac Brown Band website:

Camp Southern Ground will provide its high quality, fully-accessible recreational activities in a medically supportive environment. Camp programs are being customized for each group of campers. Programs are to include, but are not limited to:
  • Canoeing
  • Equestrian
  • Team Building
  • Swimming
  • Zip Lines
  • Organic Gardening
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Organized Games
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Ropes Course
  • Music


Nutritional health is important to Zac Brown and it is evident is his recipes and lifestyle. A unique component to Camp Southern Ground is nutritional education. Children will participate in cooking classes and planting sustainable gardens, and in conjunction with our partner, Barleans Organic Oils, they will learn the basics of eating right, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and the benefits of vital and essential Omega-3s and supplements.

Eloise fell in love with the description of this camp.  It is exactly the kind of program I want to develop for kids here in Erie.  I'm in the planning stages of it now, and I hope to have it up and running within the next ten years.  I'm getting canoes and rowboats just like this!

What impressed me so much was not only the group dynamics of inclusive activities, but also the healthy lifestyle modeling and counseling.  Kids with disabilities are the most in need of a clean, organic lifestyle in all areas of life.

I can't get my dream off the ground all by myself.  Alone, I don't have enough strengths to make it happen. I am going to have to rely on the skills of my pack in the areas I am weak.  I am going to call out some people, by name, in Blogworld, to let them know their skills are going to be needed for a good cause:

  • Kenyan--You are the Camp's Co-Founder and share in the decision making with me 

  • Christi Luden Rzodkiewicz--you are my accountant
  • Doc Krauza--you will oversee health and wellness
  • Leslie Cooksey--you get to make the organic foods taste good
  • Kristen Currier--you have to grow them
  • Kathy Nicalo--you are in charge of crafts
  • Keri Sul Alvear--start planning a flash mob---with wheelchairs
  • Tracy Southern--art and logos
  • Tracy Northern--recreation director
  • Sue Edmonds--music coordinator
  • Heather Cass--publicist
  • Bruce Decker---legal affairs
  • Ben Hurn--financial advisement
  • Robb Frost--camp's behavior specialist
  • Mary Beaumont--mental health coordinator
  • Jen Kelly--business manager/organizer
  • CJ Kelly--bus driver--seriously---don't laugh---you'd be the best driver for the special needs kids.  I want to buy you a van to take them around in, kind of like Cash Cab.  One with flashing lights, music, and tons of technology on the inside.
  • Matt Clicky Kleck--photographer/videographer
You will be called upon to advise in your area of expertise in the next ten years.  When we all work as one, miracles happen.  

Right now, Natalie and Erik are still in school.  We have a great public school system in Pennsylvania for the kids to be in.  Erik and Natalie will receive schooling until they are 21 years old.  After that, we'll be looking for something of quality for them to do.  After years of looking at post high school programs, I thought, "Heck, why not create the quality myself?  And that is why I am calling on all of you--my Miracle Makers.

You can purchase a Camp Southern Ground t-shirt (only available in kids sizes) to support Zac's cause.  As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, it is mailed directly to you inside of a Dream Jar.   In Georgia, Dream Jars are set out at business and other public places to collect change to support this special camp.

Look for my jar like this inside the Lamp Post in a couple of weeks.

I'll post when it arrives.
My family will contribute their change continually,
and I will ask that visitors to my home do the same.

It will go to support kids like this.

To the Zac Brown Band--if this post ever finds its way to you:

 Mother Eloise from Erie, truly appreciates your support of special needs children.  You've got this idea just right, and you've inspired me.  I'm treating Camp Southern Ground just like a do all of my Pinterest pins--- something I want to make, and I'll add my own twist.

Enjoy this week's pictures set to a very appropriate Zac Brown Band song--Colder Weather.

Make a miracle happen today, Readers!  Enjoy your weekend.

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