Why 365 Days of Thank You?

As a blogger, regularity has never been my strong point. Hence the six week gap between this post and the last. Alas, I’m not writing to gain fame or a book-deal (lucky that y- according to the pros, if you intend on becoming a proper blogger, you will post at least two or three times a day?)!

To say I am pleased with the outcome of the recent Sunflower Effect project is an understatement. $1343 for the beautiful women and children at Mercy House is a huge win! Not to mention discovering so many ways to raise money and awareness, on a budget. Thank you again to all of you for your support and help and generosity in helping reach – and zoom past – the $1000 goal.

It is time for a new project. This one is purely selfish… for my own sake… a form of therapy.

Dad & ITwo weeks ago today, my precious dad passed away after a brave, three year battle with pancreatic cancer. Sitting with him in hospital for a week, as he slowly slipped away was the hardest, most gruelling thing I’ve ever done. I will never be the person I was before November 2012 exploded into my life. Now, a fortnight later, the funeral is over and people have started getting back to normal life. All that remains is the journey of grief which, I’m learning, is long, frustrating and – flat out hard.

My relationship with my dad was not what I would’ve liked it to have been and I wasn’t able to share much of my life with him – just one of the many disappointments and losses I’m processing.

A friend gave me a map yesterday, outlining the grief process… it shows a path that winds around and around, through many different emotions – seeming to be getting nowhere – and honestly, during the last two weeks and especially these past few days, I’ve been fighting to keep myself from spiralling downward, hand in hand with those old bitter foes – disheartenment and depression.

To add to this, my youngest child, my precious little boy, is graduating from pre school today and will join his older sisters at ‘big school’ next year. While this is a happy and exciting day for him, I can’t help but feel sad and a little grieved… while having three young children at home and at different stages of early schooling has been hard work, after having little people with me everywhere I go for the past eight years, I will miss my little buddy. Along with this transition comes new questions – am I still needed? Will I have a place in the world next year? To some that may sound a little dramatic but bear with me, this is where I’m at right now.

So, in an effort to keep myself looking towards the future and at the blessings from God which can so easily escape my attention these days – I’ve decided to launch the “365 Days of Thank You” project.

They say it takes a year before you start to feel better after the loss of a loved one, which is why this project will go for a year. I feel daunted by the task – a year is a long time, 365 is a big number – but I need to keep myself looking at the good things, the blessings, the moments I can be grateful for.

I must warn you, this may not be the most exciting blogging project for readers. Some posts may be very short – even just a couple of words maybe – depending on where I am in myself and on this journey. I’m not aiming for literary or creative excellence – but I am blogging it specifically to try and keep myself accountable. Any encouraging comments, likes or shares posted on the blog, facebook, twitter or instagram (jonileimgruber) you can offer will be very much and humbly appreciated.

As we all know, the big black hole is way too easy to fall into and terribly difficult to climb out of so, if you’ll be patient with me, one day we will see the beauty God will bring from this time.

Thank you and I hope you’re doing okay, wherever you are on your own journey.

Joni xx

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

~Perfect (teleios) = that which has achieved or reached its goal, objective, purpose.*

*Beth Moore – James Mercy Triumphs

PREVIOUS PROJECT: THE SUNFLOWER EFFECT

There are many things I take for granted. The fact that I have food to feed my children – I take that for granted. When I am pregnant, I assume there will be quality health care available to me and my baby. If my children are sick, I know I can pop out to the doctor or chemist for advice and medicine. Without realizing it, our family is kept alive and well by the infrastructure of our country.

The thought that my children would miss out on food for hours, days, even weeks.. until their tiny bodies can no longer function – that’s a thought I’ve never had to ponder, let alone fear. Unfortunately, a large portion of the mothers in our world do have to think through this scenario, fear it and all too often – experience it.

I’m a busy mum. My husband has a business and we have three young children. Like everyone, life is full. But I can’t shake that small still voice inside me which whispers, “No mother should have to watch their child die from hunger..” When I’m going about my day, loving my kids, feeling frustrated by my kids, dropping into bed exhausted by the end of the day – every now and then the thought enters my mind, “Why do some mums miss out on the opportunity to care for their kids like I do?”

Amidst the busyness and fullness of life, I’ve decided to start a project which, I hope can help change and save lives. There’s no doubt about it – we’re all stirred when we hear of child and maternal mortality. The statistics are alarming (I’ll post about that tomorrow) and the stories tear our heart out.

The reality is, right now in the western world, as we raise our children and establish our lives, the large majority of us mums are unable to actually go overseas and help – in a hands on way. We can give though, and if we give together, we can make a real difference. It actually doesn’t cost as much as you’d think. Organisations like Mercy House Kenya do amazing things on a tiny budget. They have perfected the art of doing a lot of good, for a small amount of money. The money we give allows the people at The Mercy House Kenya to do what they do best – give life, hope and a future to mothers who are otherwise without all these.

Here’s my idea:

I want to raise money to support The Mercy House. I don’t want to (and can’t!) do it alone. I want to do it with you – the readers – if you’re keen and agree with me; that other mums deserve just as much opportunity as we do.

These precious ladies have just moved into The Mercy House Kenya (left to right, Violet, Elizabeth and Lucy)

What’s with the name?

The project is called The Sunflower Effect. The idea behind this is two-fold:

Sunflower: flower of the sun (latin translation)

The Butterfly Effect: where a small change at one place can result in large differences to a later state.

The idea behind The Sunflower Effect is that we can all do something to help – big things and small things. If we put all our actions together, we will cause a re-action or, a butterfly effect.

We all live under the same sun, the mums in Kenya struggling to survive and raise children, us over here in Australia.. we are all connected.

How’s it going to work?

Donations. No matter how small (or big!).. every donation will allow Mercy House Kenya to help women and their babies. If we all give the bit we can afford, together we can make a large donation to help the people at Mercy House Kenya do what we can’t do right now. The Sunflower Effect is signed up at Razoo (kinda like the EverydayHero site). You can donate at Razoo by clicking here and the money will go directly to Mercy House!

Sponsorship. Further down the track I am hoping to have sponsorship/advertising spaces available on the blog. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring The Sunflower Effect, please contact me for more information.

What is Mercy House Kenya?

Mercy House Kenya was started by Kristen Welch from We Are That Family (blog) last year as a safe haven for women who are pregnant and in danger. Annually, 21,000 women are hospitalized from having an illegal, unsafe abortion in Kenya (Center for Reproductive Rights). With rape being incredibly common and 1500 women dying in childbirth everyday in Africa (WHO), Kristen and her family decided to do what they knew God wanted them to do and opened a home in Kenya. The home is run by Maureen, a Compassion International Leadership Graduate and provides medical care, counselling, safety, bible teaching, education, opportunities for future self-employment and more.

Our residents are invited to stay in the program for a minimum of two to four years, but our desire is to support each mom and baby throughout their lives. Each girl earns money through our Sustainable Skills Program and it will be dispersed over a long-term period to continue their education and even start a business as a part of our Graduate Program. Since our residents are at-risk- abused and even orphaned, we will assist them for as long as needed. We want to be their forever family and will tailor our help to each girl’s situation. Our goal is quality, not quantity – and total discipleship.

It is the desire of The Mercy House team to fulfill Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy, to walk humbly with your God.”

There are three aims of The Sunflower Effect.

1. Support mums in developing countries by raising funds for The Mercy House Kenya.

2. Raise awareness of the fact that there is a huge difference between our lives and that of others, especially those in third world nations.

3. Encourage action. There are some massive social issues but the tide is turning. Our small, individual acts are compounding and (this is the butterfly effect in action!) together, we are making a difference.

So, are you with me on this? Will you work with me to raise some money? What we do together will make a massive difference to the mums and babies who are able to receive care because of it.

What can you do?

There are three things you can do right now which would really help kick start the project.

1. Tell your friends. Every (1) Matters is on facebook (Joni’s Jottings) and twitter (@jonisjottings). If you like what you have read, please share this post wherever you can. Feel free to use information on this blog to inform others. You could also email your friends and family about The Sunflower Effect!

2. Pray. I really believe that God is supporting this little project and that He will be right behind us as we raise these funds and talk about these issues. If you feel that way inclined, I’d love to have your support in prayer. Things always work better when God is on board 🙂

3. Donate. I know, everyone is after your money. If you don’t want to donate, that’s cool. If you do, thanks! Any amount, even $10 is wonderful! If we all gave at $10 we’d be there in no time.

I’m really excited about doing this – I hope you are too 🙂 Let’s do this thing together.

Bye for now!

Joni x

PS – The Mercy House also has a cool store. Check it out if you’re interested.. more info to come!

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23 thoughts on “Why 365 Days of Thank You?

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  2. Whilst people are often supportive of what you are doing…if you want something done you have to generally do it yourself. Have you thought of collecting people’s baby clothing etc and having a garage sale yourself? Great way to also meet people in your local area and talk to them about what you are doing. Often you will receive even more donations. Local business’ will often donate items and facebook auctions often work for fundraising. Often people are happy to give but life is busy and often committed to other causes themselves. Often people find it hard to take on more. Set a date for when you are going to have the money by, make a plan and go about it. It is hard work but rewarding. Even raising through your kids school with a cake day or mufti day perhaps.

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  10. Hi Joni,
    Thanks for liking my blog entry this morning. Very new at this.
    I will give a small donation today like I said I would.
    Can’t give much but I can give something.

    Appreciate your heart’s desire.

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  21. Is there any way I could come over to Kenya and help, What is necessary to help in this way. I do have a little nursing training.

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