The Cost of Hope

“It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”  –L.R. Knost

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
–L.R. Knost

I was licking the envelope when my older daughter came into the kitchen. “Who’s the letter for?” she wondered.

I told her it was for Miss Amanda, her former preschool teacher who was also her babysitter six years ago.

My daughter didn’t remember Miss Amanda, but I did. In fact, I would never forget her. There I was in a new city with a new baby, a toddler, and a traveling husband. Amanda would come to our house a few hours a week and play with the children. I remember feeling quite homesick and alone, yet incredibly grateful for this young lady with gentle hands and a hearty laugh who was able to give me a reprieve.

“Amanda helped me through a very hard time when you and your sister were little,” I explained. “And now, I want to help her. She and her husband are trying to raise money to bring home their baby from Uganda.”

“Can anyone help—or is it just for adults?” my child asked.

When I told her anyone could donate, she literally ran to get her wallet. She returned looking very sad. Much to her dismay, all that was left of her recent birthday money was one single dollar bill.

My daughter didn’t hide her look of anguish. “A dollar isn’t much,” she concluded sadly.

I held my breath. This child is my giver—the one who thinks nothing of giving decorated rocks or pretty seashells as gifts or offering her own favorite trinkets to sick friends. I was going be heartbroken if she put the dollar back in her wallet, embarrassed to give such a small amount. I hoped societal influences hadn’t already altered her uninhibited way of giving that had greatly impacted my own offerings in years past.

“Do you think a dollar will make a difference?” she asked skeptically.

I knew my answer had to be convincing. Just having turned ten, my child was quite aware of what things cost—and I suspected she knew that adopting a baby was very costly.

“Imagine if everyone Amanda knew gave one dollar,” I proposed.

My child could do the math. Her eyebrows rose with interest.

“Plus, receiving a note of support from a child she used to babysit might mean even more to Amanda than money considering what she’s going through,” I added.

Apparently, my response was sufficient. My daughter grabbed a note card, jotted a message, inserted her dollar, and stuck the notecard in an envelope. After addressing it herself, she carried it out to the mailbox.

A few weeks passed before we heard anything about the dollar donation. Surprisingly, Amanda posted the following message and photo on a social media site:

“I received a sweet letter from a child I used to babysit. It said, ‘I hope this money will help to adopt the child,’ and there was $1 included. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about the compassion in sweet Natalie’s heart! If she only knew the difference she was making in people’s lives! Because of her sweet gift, I want to see how many people would participate in Natalie’s Dollar Challenge to ‘help adopt the child.’”

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Extremely touched by Amanda’s idea, I shared her photo with my friends and within just a few hours, Amanda wrote to inform me that $300 dollars had been raised. I immediately printed Amanda’s message and showed it to Natalie the next morning.

“Remember when you asked if a dollar could make a difference?” I asked. “Take a look,” I said handing her the note.

As my daughter read Amanda’s words, the most radiant smile appeared on her face. “Amanda is now three hundred steps closer to holding her baby in her arms,” she said excitedly.

As I looked at my grown girl happily imagining a mother being united with her child, I suddenly felt an overwhelming peace about a worry that had haunted me for almost ten years.

When my daughter was six-months-old, one of her favorite activities was to be danced around the room by her dad. We quickly learned by her enthusiastic hand gestures that “Calling All Angels” by Train was her preferred song.

When her dad would make angel wings actions with her little arms, she would laugh hysterically. This, in turn, would make my husband and I laugh.

But inside I was dying—dying because the lyrics of the song touched on every fear I was feeling as a new parent.

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup
 
When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said

And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels 

I won’t give up if you don’t give up

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels

I won’t give up if you don’t give up.”

-Train

After the birth of my daughter, it seemed like the evening news was more disturbing than ever before. It seemed like there were more child abductions, more bombings, more killings, more sadness, more despair.

This is no place to raise a child, I thought to myself several times a day—to the point I wondered what kind of world my husband and I had brought our child into. As I held my sleeping baby, I wondered if there would be any hope left in this world for her.

And now ten years later, I finally had my answer.

Standing in front of me was the hope I had been looking for—I had just been looking at it all wrong.

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Angels are not divinely perfect beings dressed in billowy white gowns spreading good will just above our heads.

Angels are imperfect human beings who lose their shoes several times a day, overindulge on chocolate milk, and tend to get cranky when they don’t get enough sleep.

Angels are freckle-faced darlings who dip their steak in ketchup and absentmindedly leave the car door wide open when they come home from practice.

And if societal influences don’t get to them first, these pint-sized angels give to others with no reservations and no inhibitions. If they see someone who needs help, they help. When they see someone facing a mountainous challenge, they don’t see the impossible; they see steps. And they are willing to take the first one—even if it seems small and insignificant.

These disheveled angels among us know hope doesn’t come in the form of six-figure checks or expensive packages with gold bows. They know hope comes in hand-written notes with misplaced commas and poor penmanship. They know hope comes in the form of small, loving gestures that inspire others to act in kind.

In one definitive moment, ten years worth of fear subsided and my hope for the future swelled. All at once, the world didn’t look so scary for my child who looks more and more each day like she needs me less and less.

As long as a child’s single dollar bill can bring a loving couple three hundred steps closer to bringing home their baby, there is hope.

So let us not get caught up in the dangers of the world that are beyond our control.

Let us refuse to believe there is nothing we can do to bring goodness into a troubled and complicated world.

Let us not allow societal influences to dictate how much we give, what we give, or who we give it to.

If in this sometimes dark and hurting world a ten-year-old child with skinned knees and overgrown toenails can be an angel, there is hope for us all.

Because it is our children, with their beautifully uninhibited hearts, that hold all the hope this world needs.

Let us not give up.

 

skinned knees #handsfreemama

 

*********************************

Natalie and I would be grateful if you (and any members of your family) could take 60 seconds and place a dollar in an envelope and address it to: Amanda Campbell 300 N. 38th Avenue, Apt. #13, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. (There is also additional information about the adoption on their site.) Thank you for taking time to read today’s post that can potentially help our friend Amanda and her husband get one step closer to the 15,000 steps needed. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested in helping.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. Each week, the comment section of this blog serves as a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles and triumphs to find meaningful human connection despite the challenges and distractions of life. I am grateful for each and every one of you, my friends of The Hands Free Revolution.

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    Barb Solano says

    You never fail to move me beyond words and I’ve grown to wait expectantly for your blog. You have stirred my soul in ways I never knew possible. I am a grandmother of four and wish there had been someone like you in my life long ago as I struggled to raise my three sons. However, I take your words and apply them to my daily life and with my grandchildren hoping beyond hope that I am making some small difference in their future…

    • 2

      says

      Oh my goodness, Barb, what an incredibly kind thing to say! It is so humbling to know that you find strength in my messages. I celebrate the fact that you recognize the gift of today—that despite what you wish you could have done differently in years past, today can be different. Most of all, that is what I want my readers to feel when they read my blog. There is hope in today. I am grateful for you.

    • 3

      Christine Thomas says

      You and your girls are a blessing I love reading your stories! I share with my girls and hope they see your influence and inspiration!

    • 4

      kathy says

      I am a mother of 4, grandmother of 7, and this was my exact thinking also. You bless all of us with your gift of words. Thank you so much.

  2. 6

    says

    How beautiful. Our children really are angels. Your eloquence had me in tears. There certainly is hope!

    And, might I add, as real as the imperfect angels that grace our presence every day, are the unseen angels that watch over us. We are certainly not alone. And there is always hope.

  3. 8

    says

    Hey Rachel,

    Yet another phenomenal story, impeccably written (as always)! Sharing all over SM channels and we are donating this afternoon. On our way to the post!

    Much love and thanks,
    Amy :)

  4. 10

    Jennifer says

    Consider it done! I really needed encouragement this morning. My 7 year old had her first day of 2nd grade yesterday. As excited and happy as she was she talked a lot about the lockdown drills and rules related to safety. So many times I have thought of how crazy my husband and I were for having kids. Hayley woke up in the night anxious and talked about “rules”. We prayed and I rubbed her back and she fell back to sleep. She was just baptized on Sunday which was a wonderful and special time for us. I know these precious kids are angels and they have angels protecting them….whew…perfect words for today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • 11

      says

      Thank you, for sharing your worries, Jennifer. I could relate so well to the fears you describe. I found it incredibly inspiring to read how you handle the fear, how you make your child feel safe, and that is LOVE. I truly believe a parent’s love is protection when our children walk out into the world without us. Thank you for sharing.

  5. 12

    Amanda Klepper says

    My daughter is ten. I remember going through the same thing in 2003 after having her…times changed that year.
    Your post made me cry and I can’t wait to bless Amanda with my Makayla. So beautiful!

    • 13

      says

      Thank you for letting me know that even when I thought I was alone in 2003, I wasn’t.

      I will tell Natalie about Makayla helping Miss Amanda get one step closer. We are so grateful for you both! Thank you, Amanda!

  6. 14

    Erica says

    Every one of your posts brings tears to my eyes and a soothing balm to my heart Rachel. This morning, my 6 yr. old and I watched an episode of Dinosaur Train on PBS that was all about adopted children fitting in with their families. We had a discussion about why people adopt, and how hard it is now for some families to afford it, which is sad because of all the babies that need loving homes. May this post reach like wildfire and bring Amanda and her husband all 15,000 steps to their own angel waiting for them. Peace and love,
    Erica

    • 15

      says

      I wish you could see the tears you have brought to my eyes, Erica—they are happy tears, of course. What a beautiful story to share and what an incredible hope for this message. I hope so too. Thank you, friend.

  7. 16

    danielle convery says

    rachel, i receive so much from your posts, and almost every one makes me cry. and this one was no different. especially on a week where i am having a hard time finding the patience i need to be the best mom i can be. please tell natalie her heart is huge and what a gift she is giving to amanda. we have sent $5 to her to help with her efforts and want natalie to know she is starting her own revolution, just like her mom. thank you for what you give to us rachel.

    • 17

      says

      Oh Danielle, you can be assured I will tell Natalie exactly what you said and she will probably ask, “Why are you crying, Mom?” when I say it. But she knows that happy, hopeful things make me cry. Thank you for bringing Amanda five steps closer. This is tremendous. I am so grateful.

  8. 18

    Donna says

    My son just started Kindergarten. My favorite part of my day is waiting at his school to see his smiling face come through those doors! Today when we get home we will also be sending $1 so that your friend is one step closer to the joy that only being a Mom can bring!

  9. 20

    says

    You truly have a gift in writing. It’s like you’re reading my mind as a parent. Everything in the world was so much scarier after I had my first child. It seemed to get worse with each child I had too. I’ve also often wondered, “what kind of world did I bring children into?” This post is a great reminder that the world we live in is fallen, but our God is greater!

    It’s amazing that your daughter’s giving heart and sweet note stirred others to give as well. Our society too often dismisses children, when they have more power to do good than we can ever imagine.

  10. 22

    Tami says

    I just wanted to let you know that today you made me cry. Your post reached deep inside me and grabbed my soul. I’m the glass is full type of girl but lately it feels like this world takes joy in running over and tipping my glass. It’s exhausting to be constantly refilling. Sometimes I just want to give up but don’t as I have my own sweet 10 yr old daughter. But TODAY you and your daughter brought hope back to me with a message I needed to hear. All is not lost, there are others out there who care, who love, who have compassion. And that will be enough to help me keep believing in a kind, loving, happy world. Thank you. p.s…tell your daughter her $1 did more than just ‘help to adopt the child’.

  11. 26

    says

    Every time I sit down to read your words, I am moved to tears. Your writing is so deep and true. Thank you for sharing all of your stories. They are treasures to read.

    In particular, these lines resonated with me:
    “They know hope comes in hand-written notes with misplaced commas and poor penmanship. They know hope comes in the form of small, loving gestures that inspire others to act in kind.”

    May God bless your friend and her desire to bring her adopted child home. As a mother of an adopted child (& 2 biological children), adoption is part of our lives and hearts. Thank you for giving my children another opportunity to give to those who need it most.

  12. 30

    Nikki says

    The timing of your post was most fitting. This morning, a sweet 2-year old angel named Damian Sutton died after being taken off life support from severe trauma caused by his mothers evil boyfriend. I did not know Damian or his family, but after praying for him all week as he fought for his life, I was sobbing for his loss and for his family who are going through the unimginable. I was angry, wishing society could bring back stoning just for child killers. Then I cried again, wondering the same thing you did 10 years ago – what kind of world did I bring my children into? So many evil men in this world, so many who don’t value the life of innocent children. But minutes later I see your post, and it lifted me back up as I see the kindness and pure love in your daughter’s heart. My daughter then came over and wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me, as if she knew exactly what I needed. Then she took her brothers toy and ran off, making him cry. I smiled. My angels. Thank you for your post and reminding me of the beauty and love in our world that can never be overshadowed by evil.

  13. 32

    Sarah says

    Beautiful. As I was cleaning my kitchen last night, I was brought back to a time 6 years ago. I had a new baby, and some wicked postpartum anxiety. The news was on, and a story about African women with infants came on. The story brought me to my knees, tears streaming down my face for these mothers who could barely feed their little ones. The evening news was sometimes my only connection to the outside world, as my husband traveled. Like you, I watched each night with dread. Why had I brought this child into the world? Would my husband lose his job like so many? Would I struggle like those African women to provide for my children. I finally turned off the television news. I haven’t watched since. I, too, have a house full of angels who remind me everyday that angels do exist. Thanks for sharing the story of your angels.

  14. 33

    Carolyn Kisloski says

    Oh, Rachel, again… SO BEAUTIFUL. You seem to somehow take thoughts that are in my mind and heart and eloquently turn them into the most beautiful, moving posts. I look forward to reading your posts every. single. day. Thank you.
    Carolyn

  15. 35

    Lynnette Johnson says

    Rachel, just recently I have become connected to you posts and today was the first day I actually took time to stop and read your blog in its entirety. WHAT A BLESSING! The interweaving of your words spoke comfort and hope to my spirit. I, too, wonder about the future of my grandies! We need so many more stories and examples of this sort to lift our spirits and to see that God is at work in the lives of our precious little ones. We must be encouraged in order to be an encouragement to them for they need it in order to carry on! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your inspiring words! Be blessed as you bless others! :)

  16. 37

    Meredith says

    I read your story as a share on facebook. Let your daughter know that her $1 donation is inspiring people all over the country! I’m putting my donation in the envelope now. I have two nephews that were adopted from Uganda almost 2 years ago so its very special to me. I have a 5 year old and a 20 month old and I hope to raise them to have a giving heart like your daughter. I’ll be praying for this couple and God bless Natalie!

  17. 39

    Julie Warwick says

    I was addressing my envelope and sharing on Facebook almost before I was done reading! I, too, an lucky to have a daughter that delights in generosity. Thanks for sharing this, it made my day.

  18. 41

    Patty says

    Rachel, What an amazing story with the special message. A lot of us want to help others but believe it has to be a grand gesture. Bravo to you for encouraging your daughter to write a heartfelt note and making her realize even a little is a lot. If we all gave a little, wrote a note, held a door open for someone, smiled at a complete stranger, the world as we know it will start to change, one random act of kindness at a time.

    I started following your posts a few months ago and eagerly anticipate each lovely story you share. Your gift of writing speaks to my soul and encourages me to be a better person every day. I, like many other of your followers, have grown children and wish I had this insight when my children were little. But its never too late to start. You have inspired me to step away from technology when I am with others and pay attention to the people I am with. I love each moment I am with those I love and treasure the new memories being created.

    Sending much love and gratitude for being the amazing woman you are. Thank you!!

  19. 43

    Jennifer says

    I literally just sobbed reading this – beautiful! Mailing our $3 today – one for each of our children

  20. 45

    Jennifer Miracle says

    Thank you for this post. I feel the exact same way about the world & what I am leaving for my son. Thank you for giving this small way to help make a big difference. Please let Natalie know how inspirational she is. I am donating $4, $1 for each of my children <3

  21. 47

    Venestina says

    Rachel,
    Tell Natalie that her dollar helped Amanda get 10 steps closer to her baby. Your posts are truly amazing and your words always bring hope to my life, this morning as I was getting my daughter ready for daycare I was becoming impatient with her, taking her time dancing at the commercials playing in the TV and after seeing her face getting so excited with so little as a TV commercial, your post : “Today I hope” and the whole hands free revolution, I took some time and stopped to dance with her for one minute. That was all she needed to get going, I got to work a little late today but my daughter was more than happy on our way to daycare; so 5 minutes late to work are worth it if it means my daughter and I started our day in a happy mood instead of fighting to rush her up.
    Thanks for sharing and letting us know we are not alone in this path

  22. 49

    Andrea Lane says

    I am sending my dollar today. My husband and I are also in the adoption process. Our daughter lives in Haiti and we’re hoping/praying she will be home by Christmas this year. We met her three years ago. She’s now 13. The foreign adoption process takes forever, or so it seems! You are blessed with such an amazing little girl. There will be no end to this, for she gave her ALL. It matters not that it was “only a dollar”. It was all she had. <3

    • 50

      says

      Oh Andrea, I hadn’t thought of it like that–that she gave her ALL. That gives me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that your daughter will be home by Christmas. Love to you, dear one.

    • 51

      Christine says

      I like many others was inspired by this post and was reading through the comments when I came across yours Andrea. It immediately made me think of a biblical verse which perfectly sums up Natalie’s action 41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

      43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

      I am also blessed to have a wonderful, generous angel, my loving son who is always giving gifts to everyone he knows as well as strangers. I sometimes find myself telling him not to bother people if they look busy or grumpy but I am starting to realise that I need to be more like him (and Natalie) and not worry about what society thinks, rather just do what I know is right.

  23. 52

    says

    This post made me cry this morning. I have been thinking a lot on this very topic lately – perhaps with the birth of my daughter, she’s so tiny, so helpless… and I fear I have not done her any great service bringing her into this depraved world. But as you said – maybe it is SHE who will bring new hope and a new future…. Now to keep her safe! :)

  24. 53

    Haley says

    Thank you for this post! I have a 3-year old daughter and I can definitely relate. I made a small donation to your friend Amanda (via paypal) today because of you.. thank you to you and your daughter!

  25. 54

    Kimberly says

    The divine has called me to exactly this page today. These themes have been running in my head for the past few days — crazy world, hopelessness, how to combat it, little things, random acts of kindness, setting examples for little ones through our actions, when it all feels overwhelming just doing the little bit you can do, get involved, community, avoid isolating yourself and your family because of fear.

    Thank you for your beautiful words, I feel like in stumbling upon this I’m on the right path at least for the here and now, it’s like I am somehow craving the ability to contribute and help. One person can’t solve all the world’s problems. But no matter how small the gift, you’ve helped me see that it DOES make a difference. Thank you a million times.

  26. 55

    Jennifer Wedemeyer says

    I have 2 children that we were blessed with through international adoption. I had tears streaming down my face as I read this. My kids and I will be addressing an envelope and sending it out today!

  27. 56

    Jill L says

    “Together we can do great things.” I was inspired by your daughter to send a check to Amanda. Thank you for sharing your words. xoxo

  28. 57

    Becky says

    Thank you SO much for this. The news always gets me down a little, but a lot lately. Everyday I hear of so much evil in the world, an. My husband and I just had the “what kind of world we brought our children in” conversation the other night. My daughter Grace will be 10 soon, and your story of your daughter could have easily been about her! She is so kind, caring and generous! I can’t wait to share this with my family (and anyone else who will listen)! My dollar is on its way!
    Thank you for reminding me that in fact, there is hope! :-)

  29. 58

    Jennifer Morris-Snook says

    This story touched my heart. God Bless them and I hope they get to have their child home soon. What a pay it forward for everyone! As a mother, we all have those times in need. Good luck to the family and all the best!

  30. 59

    Karie says

    What a touching story to read this morning….I look forward to your posts and really enjoy reading your blog page….I will tell you today as I was going through Facebook, I really did not have a lot of time so I was just scrolling, something caught my attention about your post and I knew I needed to read it…Children are amazing aren’t they? The thought that goes into what they say and how they say it is so heartwarming…I am a Yia Yia (grandma in Greek) of 6 with one more on the way…I can’t for a second think of my life without these precious angels and I want that for everyone….As I read your post today I think about Amanda and what joy a little one will bring to her life but also to the grandparents who will also enjoy the little one…I am going to put a dollar in an envelope right now, and honestly if I had more I would send more – times are tight….Your angel did a wonderful thing I truly believe in the power of paying it forward! Have a wonderful day…
    Karie
    Columbus, OH

  31. 60

    Ruth says

    Beautiful, beautiful…your daughter, your writing, you. Two things come to mind…how worrying for your kids knows no time limit…just sent my newly-declared transgendered (now) son off to live 1,000 miles away (a planned and desired move, but had the luxury of a summer together) and I pray that the world will welcome his gifts and worth no matter what. And secondly, more than 20 years ago I heard about a Bangladeshi man, an economist, who decided to see if a $20 loan to a desperately poor woman would be better than a handout…and now Muhammed Yunus has won the Nobel Prize for promoting microcredit…tiny loans, people supporting each other to pay it back, and lifting families out of poverty. One kind heart, one fresh idea can and DOES change the world. And you and your daughter have. Much love to you both!

  32. 62

    Mama R says

    Thank you. Reading your posts makes my heart smile and my eyes water. Words can’t express the impact this blog has had on me, we are so lucky to have you!

  33. 63

    says

    This touched my heart deeply. A friend shared one of your posts a while back, and I’ve been following since. It’s a joy to see how your words can spark a lasting impact. My daughters and I will be among the dollars in the mail. Blessings!

  34. 64

    Kelli says

    Thank you for what you write. I myself am not a writer, I am a reader and glad there are those of you who can get across what I want to say so gracefully. I adopted a beautiful little girl almost 7 years ago, she is my heart. I will be sharing this story and sending all the dollar bills I find around the house today! Thank you!

  35. 65

    says

    My seven year old son is one of those “angels”. His generosity and willingness to give to others humbles and encourages me. They are amazing, aren’t they?

  36. 66

    Ann says

    Rachel,
    Please tell Natalie, “one step closer” now from Vancouver, WA! Am praying this wonderful kind, unselfish act from Natalie continues to be contagious!
    As a grandma, I too so enjoy your thoughts. May God continue to bless us all.
    Ann

  37. 67

    Kelly says

    Thank you Rachel! On 9-11-01 I was nursing my 3 week old (first born) baby at 5 am and watching world news when they broke to a fire burning on the top floors of the the Twin Towers. I watched, confused, and woke my husband to tell him something strange was going on. I still remember the panic and horror I felt holding my son, thinking our world was ending. Those feelings have stayed with me. I am a positive, hopeful person but always worried about my boys and what may come. Today you helped release some of the anxiety. I am sending 10 steps to your friend Amanda, and I will tell my boys Natalie’s story. Love!

  38. 68

    says

    I’m crying into my chicken salad wrap because these words moved me so. I have a 2 year old and am pregnant with our second and I have such similar thoughts and fears while watching the news now with a mother’s eyes… thank you for offering some hope and the challenge to: “Let us refuse to believe there is nothing we can do to bring goodness into a troubled and complicated world.” Thank you.

  39. 69

    Lyndsey Herrand says

    Thank you. Thank you for this beautiful post. You and your daughter are beautiful people and Amanda is blessed to have you in her life. Thank you for sharing so that others may help bring her baby to her. I couldn’t get my $2 bill in the mail fast enough and hope that it finds its way quickly! God Bless you.

  40. 70

    Michelle says

    As a lover of Words! I absolutely loved your beautiful words and as a Train fan you also get even more respect for throwing in the music lyrics & reference. I am a newbie to your blog but really enjoy it! Many Blessings!

  41. 71

    shuree says

    My daughter is also a giver. She is always wanting to give away her toys and money, but often times I stop her for one reason or another. This post made me realize that I need to let her be the giver that she is and she will learn the things I want her to learn in time. Thank you.

  42. 72

    Tracie says

    I knew that lonely dollar bill in my wallet was there for a reason. It’s not enough for me to buy anything, so it’s been sitting there for weeks. Now I know it’s going to a great cause and helping to create a family! That little ol’ dollar bill had a much greater purpose! Thank you for your posts. You always touch my heart and cause tears to fall because you help me to look in the mirror and face my fears and downfalls. But then you help me to smile because I know I am not alone, and I am NOT a bad mother just because I get impatient and grumpy with my kids. This week I am struggling because my oldest is starting kindergarten and with that, I feel as if she is going to lose a lot of her innocence and sweetness. Thank you for this post today. I truly needed it.

  43. 73

    Jean V. Dubois says

    “For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

    This was my first thought when I read this blog entry Rachel. Natalie gave all she had and no one can give more and no one’s gift is more precious.

  44. 74

    says

    Ooooh this one brought tears to my eyes! You write so beautifully Rachel!

    P.S. About the “misplaced commas”, I didn’t even notice before you mentioned it! It was probably the teary eyes… ;)

  45. 75

    shelli b says

    This was absolutely perfect. All over the news in our town right now is a horrible story about a 9 year old girl. While it not only breaks my heart, it put a tremendous amount of fear in me for my daughter. My daughter who doesn’t understand that not everyone is safe. And it seems no amount of “talks” really change that. Your blog today reminded me that I need to stop looking at the world for my hope but instead at the miracle of hope that God placed in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  46. 77

    Randi says

    I read your post and, as always, was so deeply touched by it! When I shared with my 6 year old son that your friend was in need of help so that she could adopt her baby, he said, without hesitation, “Sure. Why not? Money’s not important to me. I’ll give her my whole treasure box full of money!” Thank you for always writing about things that help me to stop and see all of the best things in my children. Life often gets in my way but you are a lovely reminder to slow down and focus on what really matters. Thank you for the gift you are giving me and my family with each and every word you post.

  47. 79

    Katlyn says

    I can totally relate to this post. My daughter was born April 18th of this year. Do you remember what was going on in our nation at this time? The morning after I had her I laid in my hospital bed holding her watching the police hunt for the men responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. I laid there and looked at my 24 hour old baby girl and thought, “I’m so sorry I brought you into this horrid world.” As a child and young adult I too was a giver. I went on countless mission trips, did volunteer work on a regular basis, and anytime I see a homeless person I can’t pass up giving them something to eat, whether in be a granola bar or apple sitting in the bottom of my purse. My daughter is my hope in this world. I can only pray that she will not only love to be kind to others like I am, but do the things I did plus more. I just moved to a new city, I have no idea where the post office is. I have no stamps and no envelopes. But I plan on finding tr post office this afternoon and mailing your sweet babysitter money to get her baby. There are few things more rewarding in this world than loving and caring for your own baby and I think everyone woman should be able to feel that greatness.

  48. 81

    Carla says

    The power of $1. I love it. I myself was totally cut out of my rich fathers will. He left 25k to his dog, LARGE sums of money to his brothers and sisters and in his will only left me 1 dollar. After my dollar came in the mail ( yes his attorney actually sent it to me and I had to sign for it, lol ) I took it straight to the salvation army kettle and dropped it in. That one dollar bill that was used to purposely hurt my feelings and heart by someone that I loved more than anything, instantly became my power and strength by giving back. I tagged that dollar with a wheres George.com listing.. with a link to my story about it. Today I always leave my dollar in fundraiser buckets and an extra one in the offering plate. I refuse to let my heart be broken.. pay that dollar forward and bless someone else!

    • 82

      Kendall Kuhlmann says

      Carla,
      You have an amazing heart! What an inspiring example of turning something meant for evil into good and with a forgiving heart too. You are a modern day Joseph.

    • 83

      says

      You have a great attitude, Carla. Releasing that dollar, and your pain/anger was the best gift you could give yourself. Good for you!

  49. 85

    says

    I agree with what a few of your readers said, about – I look forward to reading your blog every week, because I know it will life my spirits and my soul. You are a beautiful person with a huge heart, and you deserve every ounce of goodness coming your way.
    xoxo

  50. 86

    Terese Tye says

    please tell your daughter she not only inspired us to send a note and $5 to Amanda but after talking more about Orphans, my son is sending his Beyblades and accessories to an Orphanage in Mexico “because those kids probably don’t have any toys” – love your blog and that consistent ways it helps me be a better mom!!!

  51. 87

    Stephanie says

    My son was just 1 and i was pregnant with my daughter when 9/11 happened. My husband had an office in Tower 2, but was not in NYC that day. I remember rocking my son to sleep, and a plane would fly overhead every night….i just held him tight and prayed that plane would get to it’s destination safely. I wondered too what i was thinking, bringing children into this world at such unsettling times. Almost every day, they answer that question.
    Thank you for all you do. Thank you for reminding me to cherish every minute with my (now 5) children. Thank you for reminding your audience that there is hope.

  52. 88

    Kelly says

    Your blog brought some tears to my eyes. I know exactly how you feel about the world today and your children. I worry about bringing up my kids in this type of society. But we need to remember that it’s what we teach our kids, by our actions and words, that makes them to what they are. Obviously your little girl has a huge heart and her mom is a very smart woman. Your blog speaks to me in many different ways. It gives me peace and comfort whenever the pressures of being a good mom, the most difficult job in this universe (as my mom says), takes a toll on me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  53. 89

    Maggie says

    Thank you! I have had the same constant fear of wondering what sort of world my two sons are growing up in. You and your daughter give me hope for their coming years!

  54. 91

    says

    Have you ever had that feeling when you’ve read something, and you can’t believe that someone else has so eloquently put into words the deepest worries and thoughts of your heart? You have done just that, and with impeccable timing. Lately I have had many sleepless nights about the future, and what the world will be like for our children. Too often the negative impact of the media drowns out the rest, the good, the hope. Because these stories aren’t “newsworthy” according to them. But why aren’t they is my question. Your little angel’s wings seem to be almost grown Mama, as she soon will be ready to fly away and do great things.

    Be well & thank you for the post.

  55. 92

    says

    Oh Rachel. You have given me hope. My 8 yo daughter and 6yo son are like this and I worry for them all the time when there is no need. Thank you for your wonderfully written words, as usual.

    Anne xx

  56. 93

    says

    You brought me to tears yet again. What a beautiful spirit Natalie has. I’ve sent my donation all the way from New Zealand to Amanda via paypal. Please tell Natalie she’s an inspiration (as are you!).

  57. 94

    Darlene says

    Reading your blog today not only reminded me of the widow giving her all, but also of Esther when she was there for such a time as this. We never know when or where we will have made significant difference in not just one but many lives. Thank you for fulfilling the duty to do what we can with your posting as your daughter did what she could with her gift and Amanda not only showing that she needed the help but the humbleness to graciously allow others the blessing of helping!! Can only send prayers at this time, but am grateful for the blessing I received with your post.

  58. 95

    says

    Beautiful. As a new mom to a beautiful 6 month old baby girl, I often worry about the world I have to raise her in and what the world will be like for her when she grows up. What an amazing reminder that it’s in her I can find all the hope we need in the little blessings that surround us.

  59. 96

    Amber says

    I have never been to your blog before, and as far as I can remember, I’ve never left a reply on a blog either…
    I felt compelled to say thanks for this timely post, though. I have a 2 year old son, and yes, the world is looking much scarier as a new parent than it ever did when I was just me. I worry too much about the future and enjoy the present too little. Thanks for the reminder of what matters.

  60. 98

    Kristin says

    Thank you for today’s post. Our three girls are blessed to be friends with two wonderful little girls who were adopted from Kazakhstan. I told our daughters (10, 8 and 3) about your post and the two oldest ran upstairs to their piggy banks. They asked their three year old sister if she wanted to give a dollar from her piggy bank to a woman who “wanted a baby”. The three year old said “yes” and when she was talking on the phone tonight to her dad, who is away on a business trip, she told him that she gave her money to a woman to “help her get a baby.” She was so proud. Thank you for sharing your mission with us! It is wonderful to read your posts and in turn become recharged by your inspiring words.

  61. 100

    Brittany Thompson says

    Thank you for this! I have felt the same way since my first child was born almost 12 years ago. When I was pregnant with him 9/11 happened and that was the start of the worrying=( I think with the state of the world and our country right now it is hard to get past that fear. My children and I are looking forward to putting our dollar in the mail!!=)

  62. 101

    Yolanda Riddell says

    Tonight, as I read this posting, I was reminded of my long journey through infertility, never knowing if I’d hold a baby in my arms. Today, through God’s beautiful gift to my husband and our lives, we have three beautiful babies. And, each of my children know their amazing story and what a gift they are to our hearts. And, our two oldest look at their baby sister (1) and tell her over and over how God gave her to us as a special “present” just so we could be happier than we already were.

    As I told them about Amanda tonight, my son (4) and my daughter (7) ran right to their piggy banks with their daddy behind them and tore into those banks to retrieve one of only a few dollar bills. They drew pictures for Amanda (showing them at the park with her) and my daughter even wrote her a letter. Their hearts are big and it swells for what is real to them and what is real to them is family, love, togetherness, and joy. Amanda will be two steps closer thanks to two wee ones that kept begging for envelopes and stamps tonight. Lots of love coming your way from one mommy to another, for reminding me what really matters through the chaos of messy dishes, clutter, to-do lists, and schedules.

    Thank you for posting this so I could share someone else’s journey with my family.

  63. 102

    Cathy says

    7-1/2 years ago I finally had the 45,000 steps I needed to bring my angel home from Russia. My prayers are with Amanda as she waits to hold her angel in her arms. Blessings to your daughter, who truly has the heart of an angel, and you, who raised her that way.

  64. 104

    deb says

    Praising God for supernaturally leading me to your blog… what a gift it has been and what an answer to prayer… thank you for helping me remember the real reasons for living! love and hugs… deb :)

  65. 105

    PatriciaM says

    Every day I begin my day by reading your posts. Your truth, joy, hope, goodness & pure love that bursts from the screen sets me positively for the day (sometimes, on extra difficult days, I need to read you more than once :-/ ) You help me find my heart spectacles and show me a new insight/appreciation for the little things that sometimes get lost in the shuffle or the doubts and worries that plague me.
    I agree with the sad state of the world & the decline of humanity & connection among human beings and what that will mean for my Angel. The sadness & panic I feel for my sweet, gentle girl…to guide, protect, enlighten, and to teach in a way that will feed her heart & mind & will allow her to always be open with me. I struggle & I love & I ask for forgiveness for my many mistakes. My husband works a great deal and I, too, am alone a lot…often, you help keep me glued together and connected. I have a 4.5yr old angel with a heart of gold that I will tell about this in the morning and I know that together we will look forward to sending our $3 (one for each family member). Thank you so much for speaking directly to my heart. Every morning you amaze and inspire me to be and do better as a human & as a Mommy. xo

  66. 106

    Tracey Hutchings says

    Simply beautiful!
    What beautiful children you have (inside and out) and oh, how much of this comes from watching their parents I’m sure. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s wonderful spirit and for the reminder that we can help our children make this world in to the better place we want for them.
    I hope that Amanda is able to bring her baby home soon.
    xo

  67. 107

    says

    One drop in the ocean can send a ripple across the world. Natalie your gift of giving from your heart has touched many people around the world, including me. I’m sending $4 dollars in the post today; $1 from each person in our family. Love and best wishes to Amanda.

    Rachel, “calling all angels” is a song that has special meaning to me, thank you for reminding me of this. I was thinking about the world today and feeling if everyone loved more the world would change and then I read your words, a sign to let us know – the more we share our love the more it will spread across the world. Love never gives up.

  68. 108

    Zoe says

    I followed the link to Amanda’s page and was so happy I could make a donation via paypal from here in Australia. I would love to hear an update when Amanda and her husband reach their total, and what portion of it was because of your little angel.

  69. 109

    Ellen Cassidy says

    Love, love the quote at the beginning of your post. It is now on my thought for the day chalkboard! As is $ for the adoption! Here’s hoping it is a successful one.

  70. 110

    says

    Rachel,
    Never has a blog post struck me so deeply. The impact of your little girl’s gigantic heart is astounding. I’ve shared Amanda’s story (and your post) on my blog, and many other social media sites as well. My little envelope is on its way to the Campbells as I type this.
    Please keep us posted on their journey to becoming a family. I can’t wait to hear that they have brought their little boy home.

    • 111

      says

      I just read your blog, Wesley. As a writer, I always have words, but right now, I am speechless. I found hope in my daughter’s little dollar donation and now the hope continues to grow to a point I didn’t think was possible.

      Saying ‘thank you’ seems inadequate for what you have written and shared, but from my heart, I thank you for sharing Amanda’s story, for spreading more hope, and for caring about someone you don’t know. The world is less scary today that it was yesterday. Thank you, friend. xo

  71. 112

    says

    Rachel,
    What a beautiful essay. You are such a gift, as is your daughter…Continued well wishes to your friend Amanda and her family. Much love.

  72. 113

    Jana Taylor says

    Once again, tears of joy & happiness have fallen as I read your post. =) Your daughters’ heart is so amazing in its generosity. And this particular post really speaks to me as I am adopted myself. I KNOW what it means to be wanted & raised in a loving home by someone who wants to be a parent. I was greatly blessed to have the parents I had & they helped me become who I am. I may not make a profound differene in the world but I do my best each day to help my part of the world be a better, more loving place.
    I will be sending your friend Amanda a donation. I hope & pray my small contribution can make a difference.

  73. 114

    Niecey says

    Thank you for taking action! Your sweet daughter was following YOUR example! She learned to be a giver because YOU show her how! We can ‘feel’ love as an emotion but when we DO things for others …. that is when we ARE loving to them. Love is an action.

    I want to tell you a story. My daughter, Victoria, was two years old. We went to a little neighbor’s birthday party. At the party was a woman with a little girl who appeared to be Chinese. Victoria asked me why the little girl didn’t ‘match’ her Mommy. I knelt down to talk to look into her eyes and talk with her. I said, ‘Some babies grow in mommies’ tummies but some babies grow in mommies’ hearts.’ She seemed more than satisfied with my answer. I stood to turn back to the festivities to find myself facing the little girl’s mother. I did not realize she would hear me. Her eyes were shining with unspent tears. She smiled and me and said, ‘I will always remember this.’

    One does not have to give birth to be a Mother.

  74. 115

    Krista says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can relate in so many ways. I work as a therapist with children, adolescents, and adults … and I see SO much sad and scary and sobering stuff … and I have an almost 2-year-old daughter … so I think about all of this often.
    Thank you again.

    • 116

      says

      My parents were therapists, my sister was a therapist, and my best friend is a therapist. From my heart, I thank you for helping people heal. I know the stories you hear cannot be forgotten. I believe that that the one who listens is a gift to this world. Thank you for what you do day in and day out. I am touched to know my story gave you something positive to focus on.

  75. 117

    Lloyd Neale says

    Thanks so much for this inspiring message. Remember, a bell is no bell until you ring it. The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away. One single dollar of love certainly can make a difference.

  76. 119

    Holly says

    As a mom who works full-time, I allow myself the luxury each week of taking a few minutes to read your blog and “swim” around in motherhood from my office chair. I’ve yet to make it through a post without tearing up. This time what got me was the “can anyone help?” How touching. My daughter is 11 months and every minute is precious, yet I read your posts and day dream about the days when my daughter and I will talk and hold hands as we walk. Thanks for giving me these minutes each week, while away from my daugther, to pause and reflect on my happy present and future.

  77. 120

    Kim says

    Thank you. This speaks to a fear I’ve been having off and on during my pregnancy with my first child. I’ve always felt guilty about not being more giving and selfless because I’ve always felt I don’t have enough to give. I only hope that I can raise my daughter to be compassionate and giving, regardless of the amount she has to offer.

  78. 121

    Michelle says

    This is inspiring. :) Thank you for being an angel, I’ve donated the dollar and knowing that there’s still hope in the world makes me smile.

  79. 122

    Virginia says

    I am not a mom.
    I am, however, guilty of being too stressed, too busy, too distracted with my to-do list.
    That all changed almost a year ago.
    Sometimes we need big tragedies to make a breakthrough. Fortunately it wasn’t my case.
    I am just grateful that I was able to turn my life around and that I have found so many people who have done the same.
    I have read pages worth of your blog entries in the last few days and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Through your posts I can understand a lot more of who I am and where I am going. I found comfort in knowing I am not alone and I have understood that it’s not about the past, but about the present and the future.
    Thank you for sharing your life, your stories, your experiences. We never know who we will touch along the way, do we?
    With love and gratitude,
    Virginia

    • 123

      says

      Wow. I am so touched, Virginia, by your heartfelt message. To know that my words have made someone else feel less alone and more hopeful is truly the greatest gift. I am grateful to walk this journey with you, friend.

  80. 125

    Brandi says

    Help is on the way, Amanda!!!! :))

    Your words. What a blessing to so many!

    “You will get into the car and sit for a few minutes and marvel about how God can use any idiot anywhere. About how whether we’re with our kids or without our kids or in an office or traffic or a makeup chair we are always RIGHT IN FRONT of somebody who needs love. And how we don’t have to be dramatic about it. Because while it’s a wonderful thing to do – we don’t have to go to a refugee camp to serve others. The whole damn world is a refugee camp. We are misplaced, certainly. Every person I’ve ever met is much too precious for this precarious place. And these “first world problems” that folks keep snarking about can still be really big freaking problems.” – Glennon Melton

    • 126

      says

      Love me some, Glennon! I remember this post. It brought me to tears and made me feel strong. Glennon is my rock star, my idol, my inspiration. This quote is frame-worthy. Thank you, friend, for helping Amanda. My daughter and I thank you.

  81. 127

    Alexis says

    Your posts never cease to amaze me! I am so happy that I ran across your site! What a touching story about your daughter and giving unconditionally! I have two daughters of my own and have wondered numerous times what kind of world I had brought them into. This story gives me hope that teaching my girls right from wrong and how to care and love others will hopefully override all the negative that they will be exposed to! We are heading to the mail today with our two dollar bills…I hope that your friend will be blessed with bringing their baby home!

  82. 128

    Toni says

    Thank you for sharing! Such a thought provoking post. I have looked up both LR Knost and Glennon Melton since reading this; Great resources! I will check out Amanda’s info today and send a donation too! God bless you and yours :)

  83. 129

    Brion says

    And that was beautiful. Sending one step in the mail now.
    And for the record, though many would see this as nit-picky, according to the Bible (the first book to talk about angels),the word you were looking for was not “angel” but “saint”. Yes. Your little one operates as a saint to a hopeless world – light in a valley of shadow.
    And your stories have been light for Katie and I more than a handful of times.
    May your little saint with her little ideas and little gifts continue to affect this huge world in monumental ways.
    “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
    Thank you hands free lady for doing your job well indeed.
    And thank “Natalie” for Brion and Katie in California.
    We are still praying to conceive and to have a dear one of our own.
    (But we also go to Uganda every three years or so and help wherever we can). Maybe there’s a little saint somewhere in your house that can pray for us?
    Until next time, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your courage, your tenacity, and your unrelenting pursuit of softness and care in a hurricane of hardness and frivolity.
    You. Are. Making. A. Difference.

  84. 130

    says

    This has been in my mailbox for a week and I just didn’t have time to open and read it. Something told me I needed to read this today. Thanks , so beautiful and encouraging. I am sending my dollar today.

  85. 131

    Carrie Benner says

    I enjoy reading your posts every day :) God has blessed with an amazing gift of writing. Thank you for inspiring me. I was so thrilled to also send $$ to help.
    Blessings to you <3

  86. 132

    says

    Beautiful!! My dollar is in the mail and each of my 4 children plan to send their own dollar as well. What a beautiful way to look at things :) I look forward to your words each week! Thank you for what you do!

  87. 133

    Jenni Saunders says

    As I’m in the UK I thought it would be easier to PayPal. I was able to send two dollars for just over a £ :)

  88. 134

    Mary says

    Thank you for another great post and a HUGE thank you to Natalie for being more inspiring to give than anyone ever has! She made me cry with her gigantic, loving heart. What a gift!

  89. 135

    Karie says

    I am just curious about this post….I sent my dollar and was so happy to do so….Do you know if your powerful post worked and how much they were able to collect?

  90. 139

    says

    I stumbled on your site (don’t know how!) and though I’m not a mama, I like the hands free life you’re advocating. Too often my husband says “Can you just put down your phone?” :( Not good… But not about me, this is about the $1 challenge. As I read, I wondered how I could possibly give, and sure enough at the end of the post I was happy to see that I could donate! We’ve just sent off $20 – please let your sweet Natalie know she’s doing good in the world and changing lives even $1 at a time. I’ll definitely be coming back to read more encouragement for a life well lived! Thanks for taking the time to feed into others’ lives with your revolution.

  91. 141

    Cameo says

    I have recently found you blog…I actually began by reading your post on The Important Thing About Yelling and I was hooked. Thank you so much for your honest perspective. You have mad me think and I am encouraged by your philosophy on parenting and living a whole life.

    We are a family that has been touched by adoption twice…once when we placed a child for adoption at 16 and another when we adopted our precious son, Gabriel who is 6. We are so excited to give our dollars to Amanda…what a great blessing and friend she had in you!

  92. 142

    Niece says

    I sent a dollar to Amanda today. Please share with your sweet Natalie that her gesture has inspired so many to join her in helping Amanda bring home her next child.

    I hope to find an update soon!

    Blessings!

  93. 143

    Niece says

    I sent a dollar to Amanda today. Please share with your sweet Natalie that her gesture has inspired so many to join her in helping Amanda bring home her next child.

    I hope to find an update soon!

    Blessings!

  94. 145

    says

    I absolutely love this. :) I’ll be sending my $1 and I’ve shared your post on my FB page hoping that some of my friends and family will too…
    - April W

  95. 147

    says

    It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts, so ponder your present cautiously.
    On the whole, present something you know that the someone will want, perhaps is something which has been brought
    up in talking or anything that you’ll have seen the individual
    spotting or checking out. There are lots of extra points to be received for entertainment and uniqueness.

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