Growing up, I had baby dolls that were my children. I held them, rocked them, sang lullabies to them dreaming of the day when I would get to hold my own child and do those very same things.
When my sister had her first child, I was excited to get to be an aunt. Being an aunt is an awesome experience-you get to cuddle them, rock them, sing to them, play with them, raise mischief, teach them things, and generally spoil them rotten. All of those things I thoroughly enjoyed. I was thrilled when they moved to Pennsylvania when Jared was around nine months old and I got to see him every day or nearly every day. I enjoyed holding him when he took a nap-it was a great time for a nap.
When he started talking, I was Ta. He would look for me when he came to our house. Sometimes, I would hide just to have him find me because the excitement of him finding me always ensured a Jared hug. Jared’s hugs are legendary. When Ethan was born, I got to see him more often since they were living in Pennsylvania. I enjoyed holding Ethan and spoiling him too. I enjoyed reading books to them and being part of their adventures. Swimming in the pool and catching them as they jumped in over and over are memories I treasure.
Being an aunt, was the minor league training for being a mom, I hoped. I found out I was pregnant on my parents’ anniversary-April 7, 2009. Hiding the excitement in my voice as I called to wish them a Happy Anniversary was difficult when all I wanted to do was blurt, “You are going to be grandparents!”
Thankfully, Easter Sunday was not far away. I remember giving my parents the large wedding picture that they had wanted. My dad went to put it up and I stopped him and said, “Just wait a minute. I have a question I need to ask.” I asked if my parents were ready to be grandparents again. The implications of that question and the joy that filled the reactions were great. I celebrated my 30th birthday two weeks later.
As my pregnancy progressed, hope built. We began making decisions about the nursery and its theme. We settled on Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As that would be useable no matter whether the baby was James Robert or Sarah Elisabeth.
July 30, 2009, I found out that I was having a girl. Oh the hair on her head then. The technician asked me if I got heartburn and I replied, “From water.” No matter what I ate or drank, I had heartburn.
Sarah Elisabeth came into the world screaming. Her head full of dark curly hair and her little body beat red as she screamed. She was a petite 6 pound 9 ½ ounces and 19 ¼ inches long. Her little butt which never would stay in the diaper fit in my hand. Her personality was HUGE!!!! She hated wearing her diaper and could wiggle out of it. Many times, I looked down to see her butt out of the diaper and would simply pull it back up. She HATED getting her picture taken. As evidenced by the grimace each time someone’s camera flashed. While I am sorry that she hated having her picture taken, I am so glad that everyone insisted on capturing her those first few days.
None of us expected the ending to be so soon. So many questions and so little answers exist to this day. While I could wallow in the pain of her death, I would miss out on the joy of living.
Sarah’s Butterflies began with an unfinished Christmas gift for a Christmas that never happened. Its completion meant finding a recipient or many recipients of the gift-a toy box full of hope. The ministry was Sarah’s Toybox for a few years. Then as we began the foundation Sarah’s Butterflies, we decided to rename the ministry to prevent confusion.
While it hurts that I never heard Sarah call me, “Mommy.” I will experience that in Heaven someday. Now, I have many children who are someone’s Sarah that God is entrusting me to bless the way I wanted to bless Sarah-hugs, telling her that she is loved, teaching her and just enjoying her company. Everyone needs those things and everyone is someone’s child.
This year, our goal is 2000 Blessing Bags. We want to send 500 of them to the homeless in New York City to tell them what we tell that they are loved. Please join in our vision and help us to make a difference in the world for Jesus, one Sarah at a time.
I had the privilege of delivering Easter Baskets to Joshua's Haven. My cousin Makayla and her friend Maya thought of this idea of doing Easter Baskets for Sarah's Butterflies at Christmastime. So today, we sorted items, packed and delivered 12 baskets. My cousin Lexi helped us pack the buckets.
Please pray for the recipients of our Love You Buckets. Remember, Jesus loves you buckets!!!!!
Jim and I talked and we have set the goal for 2019. Our goal is 2,000 Blessing Bags as we want to send 500 bags to bless New York City. Many of you might be wondering why we want to send bags to New York City and the answer to that question is that the homeless in New York City are someone's Sarah. They are much loved by God and by their families. Maybe those homeless are veterans and what better way to thank them for risking their lives than by giving them a Blessing Bag. God has laid this on our hearts and I know that God will make a way for it to happen. God never leads you to something that He does not also provide the way to make it happen.
I received the following Contact form from Erik K who is an employee of Montrose Nissan. I have included the graphic above. Please look at the file and know that your time as a volunteer for Sarah's Butterflies Foundation is greatly appreciated.
Hi Sarah's Butterflies Foundation,
My name is Erik and I work for Montrose Nissan dealership in Hermitage. I came across your blog and wanted to get in touch. Each month we create an info graphic for community outreach. We recently created a graphic which lists out some great health benefits of volunteering and giving back. I wanted to see if you'd have any interest in giving it a look and possibly share it via your blog (if you enjoy it).
Let me know what you think and I can send it over. Thanks for your time.
The delivery of Blessing Bags is over until December 26, 2019. So many emotions swirl around between November when we launch for the year and January when we are done with distribution. Leading up to the final delivery, I am often anxious hoping that we get enough supplies to meet the needs.
December 26th is a day that is abuzz with activity. The day begins before dawn and ends after the sun sets. This year Jim and I got up around 7:00 in the morning and begin loading and arranging stuff in the 20 foot U-Haul we had rented. We got to Love Christian Center around 8:30 and began unloading supplies from Center Presbyterian Church and school supplies that needed packed. We had taken 2 loads over in the days prior so the tables were arranged with goods to make sorting when the volunteers arrived more organized-okay that is the idea. December 26th once we get started is organized chaos.
As people arrive they need a job to do and I have to figure out where to tell them to go. I am not always confident so much of my confidence is faking it so that no one knows that I am hoping that I make the right decision with where to put someone. Can they sort school supplies? Are they better at helping pack? Do we need help in the kitchen? Where are the tags and scissors? Can you put a sign on the truck? These questions are ones that I have to ask myself repeatedly before I point them in a direction. Many times I feel like I am going to scream not because people are bothering me but because the task is bigger than me. WAY BIGGER!
This year we sorted donations, packed Blessing and School Supply bags and distributed 1,350-1,400 Blessing Bags and another 300-400 school supply bags. The task began on December 26th where we went to Market Street, Malleable, Mesabi, Willow Village and Orange Village. While we stopped at Shenango Park Apartments, we were unable to find anyone willing to open the door and let us bless them. We are praying that God will open doors for us for next year and make it safe to return.
December 27th, Jim and I went to Grove City. We went to trailer parks and apartment buildings in and around Grove City. On the 28th, we went to the northern part of Mercer before heading to Farrell to bless the children around Love Christian Center at Centennial Place. As Jim and I left Farrell, I put one backpack on the door of a young girl who is Sarah’s age.
On Saturday, we blessed West Middlesex, Sharpsville and Mercer. We took a few days off to recharge and on Thursday we went back at it by visiting Fredonia. With the kids in school, we were not able to find too many people home as well as the streets were quite slippery. We decided to wait until Saturday, January 5, 2019, to finish with the bulk of deliveries. We finished Fredonia and went to Transfer.
On January 7, 2019, I delivered the last 60 bags to Mercer Elementary for their Backpack Program. Sixty students in K-6 received a bag from Sarah’s Butterflies on January 11 in their backpack.
Why do we do this year after year? We do this in memory of Sarah. We do this because God has laid on our hearts to care for those in need. Many just need someone to remind them that they matter.
Sarah’s Butterflies packed 1350 to 1400 Blessing Bags on Wednesday, December 26, 2018. We had around 600 left at the end of the day. While not many doors were opened up, we delivered MANY blessings to those who needed it in Sharon, Farrell, and Hermitage. Thursday, Jim and I delivered bags to Grove City. Friday our itinerary was Mercer, and Farrell. Saturday, we delivered to Mercer and West Middlesex. We sent some bags to Youngstown on Wednesday. We have bags going to Stoneboro. We are looking at Fredonia and Transfer as the del
Today is Giving Tuesday. It is the day to donate to charitable organizations. If you are looking for a reliable organization to support please consider donating to Sarah's Butterflies Foundation. Donations can be sent to Community Foundation of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio; 7 West State Street Suite 301; Sharon, PA 16146.
We are a month from distributing Blessing Bags and school supplies. We are a mere 30 days from being vessels of God to the world. If you have ever wanted to be a missionary but the fear of Africa or jungles has kept you from going, I have good news. You can be a missionary in your county or even hometown. If you want the details, please contact me by filling out a contact form. I will get in touch with you.
In 2017, we sorted, packed and distributed over 1,000 Blessing Bags and another 300 school supply bags. The journey from start to finish took longer than it has in the past. The final delivery was made on January 11, 2018. Our journey to deliver blessings took us to Sharon, Farrell, Hermitage, Mercer, Grove City, Transfer, and West Middlesex.
December 26th, our family had 2 different ways we know that Sarah gave her approval. The morning of the 26th, I drove the U-Haul van. The windshield was a little icy and a butterfly shaped icy patch remained in the middle of windshield. Later that morning, my brother-in-law and nephews traveled from Sharpsville. They saw a rainbow that arced over Love Christian Center where we assemble the bags.
I spent much of the day in the back of the U-Haul van waiting to distribute school supply bags. It gave me a chance to talk to God. God's spirit descended upon the van and Malleable Heights was holy ground. I felt like Moses looking at the burning bush. There was no burning bush, just a sign that said, "Malleable Heights."
We went to new places where God led us. We blessed two communities' backpack programs. January 11th I went to West Middlesex and delivered the last 90 bags to my hometown.
Sunday, Jim and I went to Love Christian Center with pizza and pop for the Youth Appreciation. Attendance was lower than anticipated but that was fine because 5 homes were blessed with dinner. We shared why we do Sarah's Butterflies. We do this because each of those precious children are someone's Sarah. They are loved by God with never-ending love. By the way, so are you.