Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
A letter from Steve Gross, the Executive Director of the LIG Children’s Foundation, on his recent trip to Haiti
I will provide updates in the weeks to come on our Foundation’s plans for helping the children of Haiti. Every one of our teams have helped with the success of the Haiti fundraising tee. I hope this Fuel helps them understand more vividly the fruits of their work.
I feel compelled to write. Although I can barely keep my eyes open, I'm afraid that if I don't write about today's experiences they will get lost. I know that I won't ever forget the "big picture" stuff, but I'm afraid I"ll lose the details. It's the little details that make life beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking.
I arrived at Amurt Haiti (the base camp for our operation) at 7:30am today and was asked to accompany the medical team to a small tent city in Port-au-Prince. The main medic and my buddy and colleague from Boston, Dr. Jose Hidalgo - along with an amazing team of Haitian nurses, translators and assistants - set up a make shift clinic to attend to the overwhelming medical needs of the hundreds of people who call this barren pile of broken glass, mud and rubble home. The reason that I was asked to accompany this team was that the day before had brought out lines of sick children who had to wait quietly for hours to be seen by the doctors. The team felt that a little "joy" might make the time go by easier for them. I brought along a parachute, two Life is good discs, a LIG paddle ball set, and a little red ball. I actually thought about leaving these toys behind as we obviously did not have enough to accommodate the masses of children.
I was not prepared to see how horribly these beautiful people were living. I'm not a good enough writer to adequately describe the squalor. While we set up shop, the children of the camp curiously peeked out of their "homes" to see what we were up to. We set up an examination table out of two old chairs and created a pharmacy and an intake room with some rope, a huge suitcase of medicines, and an old table. Slowly the line started to form. I noticed eight children sitting and waiting silently and decided to take out the parachute. Without words they walked over. I laid on my belly and invited them to join. They did. We looked at each other, smiled, waved and kept quietly singing "bonjour" to a universally familiar nursery rhyme tune. We drummed on the ground together, laughed and continued singing. Within minutes, twenty new children joined us. WIthin a few more minutes, twenty more. Before I knew it, well over seventy children, ages two to thirteen, had come to play.
Then we joined hands. We moved together as a group up a small hill of rubble (some of the children had no shoes so we had to walk really slowly) and began singing together, moving our arms together and making up little games that did not involve them having to run. One big hit was having the children sit in a circle and pass around the hat from my head until everyone touched it and it made its way back to me. Then, through our interpreter (a young Haitian boy from the village), I asked if they thought that my hat could beat me in a race? As they passed it around quickly, I ran around the circle trying to get back to my spot before the hat did. You should have heard the place erupt with laughter when I "accidentally fell" and the hat beat me home! By this time, parents, grandparents and others had gathered round to see what was happening. We played together for what seemed like hours (maybe I'm just getting old) taking make believe safaris in Africa, imagining stomping through the snow in Canada, building castles with little pieces of rubble, and just hanging out. David Elkind once said that the best toy a child could ever have is a loving, caring, attentive adult. Never have truer words been spoken.
After a while, some teens approached me. They wanted to know who I was, shake my hand, and thank me for "loving the childrens". I told them that I would be leaving tomorrow and asked them if they would "love the children" while I was gone. I explained to them that all they had to do was look at them, smile at them, ask them how they were doing, and hug them when they needed a hug. I also left them with the few toys we brought. (The rest of the toys we brought were being used in a different center in Port-au-Prince) and asked them to play with the children a little bit too when they had the energy. They promised that they would.
As I was getting ready to leave for the day, I needed to get something out of our truck. It was parked about half a mile from the site on a steep hill. As I walked up the hill, a 10 year old boy quietly grabbed my hand. We walked together in silence for five minutes and then another boy, probably around 7, grabbed my other hand. We walked up the hill silently - occasionally looking at each other and smiling. Once we made it to the truck, we shared a small bag of water (yes bag) and sat together silently just holding hands. I noticed that one of the boys had no shoe laces. I found a rope in the back of the truck, cut it with Ismael's knife and the three of us unwound the strands until we had a thin enough piece of string to use as a shoe lace. Together, silently, we laced up the little boy’s shoes. After we finished, he looked at his "new shoes", smiled and kept repeating "merci, merci, merci". He was so happy - like I had given him the world. I've never seen such appreciation in all my life - never. This is one detail that I never want to forget.
My heart aches for these children. They have been forgotten. But my spirit is lifted by them too. I did not know that it was possible to feel such intense joy and sorrow at the same time until today. It's one thing to see the glass as "half full" when it's indeed half full. It's another to see it as half full when it only has one drop inside. This is what the children of Haiti are all about. They are surviving, with unimaginable grace, love and joy, with only one drop in their cup. I can't imagine what they could grow to be if we filled their glass just a little bit more.
Anyway, we then went to a much larger tent city where I was asked to run a training for Haitian youth workers there. Again - once the parachute came out and we started playing, the whole camp gathered. Hungry, tired, sick and thirsty - nobody could resist the desire to play. I had to see it to believe it. I wish you were all here to see it with me.
We'll be back!
Love to you all...
Friday, March 12, 2010
A letter to Life is Good:
A Simple Gift for My Father
I just wanted to thank you for spreading positivity. Your T-Shirt was one of the last gifts I got to give my father. His birthday was last April, and I got him a shirt he loved. Simple. That big smile and the words "Life is good." And on the inside the logo "Do what you like, like what you do."
My dad had been sick most of last year, complaining of being in pain with his back and general old age. But this genuinely brought a smile to his face and was worth it. He really loved the shirt. He passed away in May, but giving him a gift that would make him smile on his last birthday was very, very worth it. And I think it made him know that despite the pain and the fact that he was in the last stretch of his life, there was still happiness to be found and that this world still had things worth caring about.
After my father passed I started wearing the shirt because it always reminds me of someone I love but also that while life has many hard moments it also has much to be thankful for and much to stay hopeful for.
Thank you for what you do for others, inspiring us to see the good in a life that isn't always fair, and bringing a smile to our faces. Thank you for being humanitarian and genuine. You don't know how refreshing it is to know I'm doing business with a company that genuinely loves people back. :)
Sunday, February 21, 2010
We had a great show and enjoyed meeting all the new brides!!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Dear Life is good,
Our family has suffered numerous tragedies in the relatively recent past, starting with the loss of an 18-year old son (Cliff) in February 2005 in an auto accident, the loss of both of my wife’s generous loving parents, her only sibling (her sister Janet), and several other family members within a very short period of time. Going to the hospital and funeral home became much too familiar and tiresome to us.
Coming to grips with all this grief has not been easy for my wife or for our family, and only through remaining family and extended family members, close friends, support groups, counseling, faith, our loving pets, and other such avenues, has my wife, myself, and the rest of our blended family been able to cope and go on with our lives.
We saw the Life is good logo one day some time ago and there was Rocket, the happy Life is good dog, on the items we were looking at – we have a Pug/Chihuahua mixed breed dog (Pasquale) that looks very much like Rocket, and Pasquale’s biggest gift to our family is that he makes my wife smile each and every day, which is something that the rest of us cannot accomplish as easily. Seeing Rocket made us think of Pasquale and the joy and love he brings us in his own special way. And it made us think harder about what we had been going through – the Life is good motto has become a way for us to reconnect with life and to enjoy things even though some of those we love are no longer with us.
We have purchased many items of clothing, stickers, and coffee mugs with the Life is good logo on them because they help us to remember that although life isn’t always easy, it IS good. We hope to never lose sight of that again, and we want others to know too.
It isn’t always easy, we still hurt, and life is still throwing us “curveballs” now and then, but with a more positive attitude and Life is good and Jake and Rocket (and Pasquale) to help us along, we feel we might just be okay after all. Every time we see a Life Is Good store in our travels, we have to go inside and look around and soak up the atmosphere. J
Thank you for helping to remind us that Life IS good!
Whether it's fashion or wedding invitations we are seeing Turquoise everywhere. According to the runways in Paris and all the Fashion magazines Turquoise is going to be the "Hot" color this year. We already are seeing this trend in the store. Vera Bradley has brought in this color in the new "Totally Turq" pattern. You will also see hints of it in their "Sittin in a Tree" pattern.
We are also seeing Turquoise trend coming into wedding invtiations as well. People are using the peacock feather theme in weddings as a way to bring in Turquoise. We've seen these used not only on invitations but in floral arrangements as well. How will you use Turquoise this year?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Something special from our friends at Byers Choice
A bowl of molasses, a dipper of milk, a dash of buter, and the flour like silk, ginger and the hen's fattest egg, vanilla extract, sprinkled nutmeg ...
6 cups all purpose flower
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp water
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well blended. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water until well combined.
3. Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. Knead (or use your mixer's dough hook) unitl well blended. If dough is too soft, add a little more flour.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight. You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time. Let sita at room temperature for a least 10 minutes before rolling out.
As far as decorations go, think creatively! In addition to candies, also consider using chewing gum, nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, chips and breakfast cereals.
Christmas Hard Candies
Tootsie Rolls - make a log pile
Chuckles Jelly Candies
Red and Green Gumdrops
Pretzels-make a good fence
Ice Cream Cones for Trees
Cereal for the Roof
Thanks Byers Choice for this great receipe and ides. Visit www.byerschoice.com