December 2012, A Note from Kamrie’s Mom…
“Operation Bookmark Happiness” started as a 5 day long project for Kamrie to try to get 5 teachers sponsored at $20 each to raise $100 for a local orphanage. By day 3, she had over 50 teachers sponsored. That is when I sat at the computer late that night and while crying, I wrote this. That night, as I was at the very beginning stages of being “overwhelmed”, I began realizing that God had had a plan for Kamrie’s ribbons the whole time, from July til now. I never really knew what the big picture was but I started seeing it unfold that night. Two days later when the 5 day long project was over, Kamrie had over 100 sponsors from four states. This was the day that I was neck deep in “overwhelmed” mode and we were in a frenzy to find volunteers to help us make over 2,500 bookmarkers. We ended up with 24 volunteers on day 6 and we made about 2,800 bookmarkers in 5 hours. Needless to say, our measly scraps of ribbon did not fill this need! We used between 100 – 125 spools of ribbon and 2,800 paper clips! Several had blisters on their fingers but not a single person quit early. It was a day that I will never forget and I’m sure that Kamrie won’t either.
The following is what poured out of me last Wednesday night which was day 3 of the project, it’s long, but please read and please share:
Three days ago, Kamrie and I started raising money for the Southern Christian Home orphanage in Morrilton. Since then, God has been revealing Himself to me and confirming to me that what we are doing is His Will. Honestly, I feel kinda silly most of the time posting all this stuff for Kamrie about her ribbons and all. When we got the invitations to let her set up her ribbons and sell them at a couple of Harley Davidson events, I didn’t know if I was crazy for taking her or not, but since I was off work those weekends and we had no ballgames etc, I figured “why not”! I’ve been thinking that this charity work of hers/ours will probably be short lived, so why not help her accomplish as much as she possibly can plus I know that it’s not hurting anyone and people can choose to ignore my posts and even defriend me if they wish.
So listen to this: The very first day back in July when I asked Kamrie what she would want to buy if she sold a couple of ribbons, she said that she would want to donate the money to an “orphanage”. I questoned her again and she repeated it and even elaborated on why she would want to. So knowing that there wasn’t an orphanage anywhere around here, we started selling the ribbons anyway and figured if she actually sold any, we would research a place for her to give the money to. Immediately we started hearing about Coach Heath’s 11 yr old daughter who had just recently been diagnosed with cancer. It didn’t take long for Kamrie to decide that she wanted to donate the money to the Heath Family. Little by little, Kamrie kept raising her monetary goal until she reached $1,000. She blew us all away when she had peddled $1,000 worth of $4 and $5 hair ribbons in only 6 weeks! I can’t even describe how Kamrie felt as we left their house that day after she gave them the money. She told me while we were still backing out of their driveway that she wanted to do it again. So there we started on her way to another thousand dollars, and honestly we almost gave up at about $500 but we didn’t. We talked about giving Korey the additional $500 that we had raised and just settling down a bit and taking a break. But then a $66 check came in the mail from Lavish, a business who let Kamrie put her ribbons in there for people to buy. Then a teacher at Kamrie’s school mailed her a $100 check to help pay for more ribbon, so it was kinda just happening without us pushing it. Before long, she was so close to the $2,000 mark that we just couldn’t give up.
Meanwhile, about a week or so after she first started making her hair ribbons and selling them, a dear dear friend of mine sent me a pic from pinterest of these bookmarks made out of ribbons and paper clips. She said that when she saw it, she immediately thought of Kamrie and thought that she could use the ribbon scraps to make bookmarks out of. She even said that she would buy them for her 4th grade class if Kamrie would make them. We loved the idea and started saving every ribbon scrap from then on, but for some reason, we never got around to making them really. We kept saving the scraps but hadn’t done anything with them yet.
Well a week ago, Kamrie finally reached her goal of $2,000 for Korey Heath and only 4 days later we started hearing at church about an orphanage in Morrilton. When the word orphanage came out of the preacher’s mouth, I got a lump in my throat and just kinda knew right then that Kamrie was not done. So after church last Sunday, I mentioned the orphanage to Kamrie and I could tell by the look on her face that she was not done either!
Within about 10 minutes, we came up with all the details for “Operation Bookmark Happiness” which she named in the first 2 seconds of our conversation (not kidding)! So I wrote it all up and posted it on facebook. IMMEDIATELY I got a private message from the same friend of mine who had initially told us about the bookmark idea, and she was asking me if the orphanage was “Southern Christian Home” in Morrilton. Honestly it scared me to get a message that quickly asking the name when I had never even heard of the orphanage before hearing about it at church the week before.
I was scared that she knew something negative about the orphanage and I was doubting whether or not Kamrie and I should even be doing this when we had not met anyone at the orphanage. We didn’t really know anything about the place. No doubt I was scared. I even thought about removing “Operation Bookmark Happiness” from facebook, but I waited… I responded asking her if she was familiar with the orphanage. I was glued to the computer waiting for her to tell me something horrible about the place. Finally she responded and said that her husband “grew up there. His mom dropped him off when he was little and never came back. We visited there a few years ago and were saddened by the condition of the main building. They need all the love they can get. He says he would not be the Christian man he is today if he had not been raised there.”
Knowing this man and knowing that he is a Godly husband and father and friend, sitting right there at the computer I started crying. I had no idea that this friend of mine had grown up in an orphanage, much less the same orphanage that is just 30 miles down the road from me and has been there for years and years and years and I had never even heard of it. When I told Kamrie, she couldn’t believe it either and she got a lump in her throat and a tear in her eye and just smiled a kind of sad smile. Then she said, “We need to help that orphanage, Momma.”
So in God’s perfect timing, 6 months after we initially started selling those simple little hair ribbons, here we are raising money for the “orphanage” that Kamrie had on her heart from the very first day. What is amazing is that God has brought us full circle. The very woman who told us about the bookmarks to begin with is the very woman who visited the same orphanage that we chose to help. She’s the same woman whose husband was raised in the same orphanage that we chose to help. She is the same woman whose Christian husband became a Christian because of the same orphanage that we chose to help. If Kamrie had not raised the $2,000 for 11 yr old Korey, we would never have had the scraps of ribbon to make the bookmarks. If we hadn’t raised the money for Korey, we probably would have missed out on whatever God has in store for us.
This entire journey has been such a blessing to my daughter, given her a sense of accomplishment, a heart of giving, following God’s plan. I can’t even tell you how much closer Kamrie and I are, just as mom and daughter. We have been so blessed.
I am so thankful for all of you who have supported her and not told us to quit or told us that we are stupid, because honestly at times, I have felt stupid doing some of this. I just remind myself that we aren’t hurting anyone and we are following God’s will.
The other thing that I would like to share is how many times Kamrie was peddling her hair ribbons at the ballgames and how several little girls would help her carry them and help her take care of the money. I can’t tell you how many times these little girls would look at me all excited to help her peddle those ribbons and say to me, “someday, when I get older, I’m wanna do something like this and help someone else.” Over and over, they would randomly say things like that to me. We all know that I have helped Kamrie a lot to accomplish what she has with these ribbons. I bought her the ribbon spools, set her up a table in my house just for this, spent a ton of time making that silly blog/website, marketing for her on facebook, driving her to Clarksville and Conway to those Harley Davidson events, etc etc. And I know that not every parent can do those things… honestly I don’t even know how I have managed to do it all… it’s been a God thing, I guess.
Anyway, it made me happy to know that Kamrie was inspiring these little kids, but it also broke my heart a little bit every time a child told me that they were gonna do something someday so they can help someone else. Not that they can’t help someone else, I know they can, but I also know that not every parent is gonna do all this silly stuff. So I have kept it in the back of my mind that I would love it if we had something that we could ask several other kids to help Kamrie with because I want to share the joy that Kamrie gets when she knows she’s working hard for someone else. All of us should get to feel that. So even though “Operation Bookmark Happiness” has SOARED… and has become a ton of work for me to manage… I am totally ecstatic about it because we finally get to ask other little kids for their help and now more than just my daughter will experience the joy that comes from knowing you are giving of yourself for others.
This entire “Operation Bookmark Happiness” is a blessing from God… no matter how much work it becomes! I just wanted to share that with you all and let you know a little bit about what God has been doing behind the scenes of Kamrie’s Colorful Creations.
I would like to again thank you all for supporting Kamrie. She has worked really hard and now gets to share this experience with others. I think it’s just awesome!