It’s my party so I’ll change things if I want to. Today’s post is not in the original order I had it scheduled for, details of why later.
I am a girly girl, so I read girly girl blogs. I have a total of three blogs that I visit that are written by men Brian Buriff (my pastor), 452 Days and The Mother Letter Project, all three of these men will be posting this month during my “Love Fest”.
Today’s post is from Seth, the creator of The Mother Letter Project who I will be nominating for Husband of The Year. I have said on numerous occasions The Mother Letter Project will forever be my favorite Christmas story. Read below and it’ll become one of your favorites also.
The Mother Letter Project–Celebrating The Kind Hands of Strangers
Some times, two hands are not enough. Sometimes, it takes one-thousand (or twelve-hundred as the case may be).
After my 2008 New Years visit to a small village in Mozambique, I found my self reexamining my family’s celebration of the holidays. After seeing a people of such great need, I wondered whether there might be a way to honor that village by spending less and giving more. Upon returning, my wife, Amber, and I decided to approach the 2008 Christmas season differently. Instead of getting lost in the gifting and gadgetry of Christmas in 2008, we decided to “create Christmas” and donate what we would have spent to the village in Mozambique.
My idea for creating Christmas for Amber was lofty. Perhaps a bit too lofty. I decided to compile a book of open letters from mothers, to mothers. My goal was to ask mothers to share their stories, and in so doing, share encouragement with Amber and others. I hoped to collect these letters and present them to Amber on Christmas day. The project became affectionately known as “The Mother Letter Project.”
From the outset, I knew that it would take more than my two hands to complete such a lofty task. I knew I would be relying on the generosity of others to show Amber how much she meant to me. I began requesting letters from Amber’s friends. On a whim, I also asked some of Amber’s favorite women writers to submit a letter. All three writers, Ann Kroeker, Ann Voskamp, and Shannon Lowe quickly agreed. What’s more, Shannon, from Rocks In My Dryer fame, asked if she could publicize the project, asking other mothers to contribute their own letters. What happened as a result was truly unbelievable.
Over the next month, I would receive approximately six-hundred letters from around the world. On Christmas day, I presented those letters to Amber. She laughed and cried as she poured through the stories submitted by complete strangers. She found encouragement in identifying with the struggles and joys of other mothers.
Through this compilation of letters, we have learned lesson after lesson. The cumulative years of experience that have been poured into our lives has been truly amazing. And the hands that wrote those letters have extended through their writings and have become hands of encouragement–hands cheering us on. The kind hands of strangers have changed us forever.
And now that we have been so profoundly affected, I am left with this question–how can my two hands be used in concert with those of others to affect greater change. How can I reach across the miles to change the lives of strangers that I will never meet? How can my two hands work in concert with hundreds more to bring hope to others?
I have an idea.
Seth Haines is an attorney who lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is the organizer of the Mother Letter Project, and is currently attempting to collect additional letters in an effort to raise funds for Compassion International’s Malaria Intervention Fund. Seth is married to his lovely wife Amber and they are raising three young boys.