Thankful for Long Johns at Civic Center Park – Thanksgiving 2015

I was asked to be a guest blogger for an organization that I’m a member of – Please take a minute and read about the love and joy AfterHours Denver was able to spread on Thanksgiving this year!

Gratitude & Grace

33453777-investing-in-ideas-business-concept-and-financial-backing-of-innovation-as-an-open-lightbulb-symbol-One of my personal goals is to be a better public speaker. I had the opportunity to speak at our Monday night church group, After Hours Denver this week. I spent a few days writing and re-writing a very long and detailed speech about what gratitude currently means to me.

When I got up in from the group of almost 40 people, I had my pre-written, very long speech in front of me and I was ready to get after it.  I didn’t want to stand there and read what I had written word for word though.  So, I started with the definition of gratitude according to

gratitude [grat-i-tood, -tyood]noun 1. the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Synonyms thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness.

Then instead of reading my very long, well written speech, I spoke from my heart. I told my story of my health challenges over the last six months and how I had to ask to ask for help. I needed help physically, emotionally and financially. People that I know stepped up more than I could ever have imagined. They took time out of their busy schedules to come over for in person visits, bring food to me and my fiance, give me rides to and from doctors appointments and donated to my Go Fund Me Account (a popular crowdfunding site – more on crowdfunding later) to help me pay my increasing medical bills.

I got hurt on January 31st and have been in 5 casts, had 1 pretty major surgery, used crutches at 3 different times over the last six months and am still in a walking boot; using a cane when walking outside for balance. My mobility has been very limited. Some days, my spirits have been extremely low and my bank account has definitely been stretched thin. With out the help of others at this time, things would have been so much more difficult for me.

I did have fear around asking for help. I’m not normally one to ask for help. I’m usually the one that is helping others. I was raised as a “doer” and I normally have a “I can do anything kind of attitude”.  Being the one who needed help was quite a switch for me. I especially had fear around asking for monetary help. Money is a tricky subject and especially exchanging money amongst family and friends. I was afraid I’d get some back lash for asking for money to help me pay my bills. Until now, I have been very self reliant, resourceful and a hard worker. Unfortunately, with my injury and loss of mobility, my ability to get out and do the work I normally do was next to impossible.

I was able to do some work from home and actually completed two large projects while I was in a cast with my leg propped up, working from my couch. When those two projects ended at the end of February and I wasn’t able to get out and network to get more work and meet new clients.  That’s when reality set in.I knew I had to ask for help.

Amazingly, my family and friends came to my rescue! I raised more than $10,000 (with crowdfunding) in less than 3 weeks. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be able to meet my goal that fast or even at all, truth be told. The amount of positive messages, visits, and calls I got more than out weighed the few negative comments and messages I did end up getting.  I didn’t focus on the negative though, instead I accepted the help I was given by the other very generous people in my life with a heart full of love and grace.  I don’t think I’ve experienced this much generosity ever before in my life.

I can’t repay every single person who has helped me over the last six months, but I can say this. “Your ability to help me physically and financially however small or large, has restored my faith in humanity and deepened my spiritual beliefs more than you will ever know. I saw first hand what helping someone can do. It lifted my spirits, kept me smiling and finding joy in the every day things that were actually really hard (and still are a bit hard some-days).” I am forever grateful and do plan on paying it forward as I heal and especially when I am 100% back to myself again.

*Crowdfunding according to Wikipeida is:

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet.[1] The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the “platform”) that brings the parties together to launch the idea.[2] In 2013, the crowdfunding industry grew to be over $5.1 billion worldwide.[3]