We had so much fun putting this all together. Seriously, it was a blast. We were able to meet some of the most selfless people in the process, and I will honestly never forget some of the stories I heard while we were there decorating.
Right when we got to the Expo Center, my grandma and I were waiting for my mom and Grandpa to park the cars so we could begin decorating. There was a woman across from us who literally had over 100 China dolls arranged around her tree. She also had a beautiful wedding dress displayed in the background.
Since we were just getting started, she came over and asked me what our theme was and why we were donating. I told her what we were doing and she threw her arms around me. I then asked her what the story behind her tree was.
She proceeded to tell me that the dolls she had there were ones she had collected since she was a little girl. She told me that her daughter loved those dolls. She also explained that the wedding dress next to the tree was the one she wore on her wedding day.
"You are donating your wedding dress?" I asked.
"Well, I don't have much use for the dolls or the dress anymore. My daughter passed away and she was the reason I kept it all. She was supposed to wear my dress when she got married, but that day will never come," she replied.
Devastating. I can't imagine losing someone (especially a child) that I cared for so much and then turning around and doing service for others.
There was another woman who had lost her son just two months prior there decorating a tree. Just down the aisle from us was a mom donating in honor of her daughter who had tragically been hit by a car at a birthday party. Several more trees were decorated in honor of fathers and mothers who had passed away, leaving children and spouses behind.
It was overwhelming seeing people who had experienced such great loss give back to those in need. I know there are a lot of bad things happening in the world, but for one day I got to see an outpouring of love and kindness...and it was beautiful.
Faith in humanity=restored.
Here is our how our tree decorating process went down:
We started out with a 9 foot beast of a tree. We had to reinforce the inside of it with rebar and PVC pipe. Good thing Mom is tall, because my 5'5'' stature wasn't going to cut it.
Mom is an excellent tree fluffer.
My Aunt Kim has mad ribbon decorating skills. She made our tree look like we had hired a professional.
Here is my hero, Grandpa Gale. He had only been home from his mission for two weeks and was out building a basketball standard for me. Love that man.
Paige sat in her stroller and didn't make a fuss the whole time. Best. Baby. Ever.
Porter ran the errands for us/did the grunt work no one wanted to do.
It all started to come together when we realized we needed more stuff...shopping break!
The decorating dream team in front of the finished product.
Shout out to my mom for spending her entire birthday helping us with this!
Included in our display: a 9 foot decorated tree complete with sports themed ornaments, a basketball standard, score keeper (with accurate blue/red score displayed), a couple of basketballs, a BYU lawn chair/blanket/football set, two footballs, baseballs, softballs, a baseball glove, a catcher's mitt, baseball bats, batting helmet and gloves, cones, office putting green, a golf club, rugby ball, volleyball, artificial turf (don't know why anyone would want it, but still), a soccer goal, soccer ball, baseball tee and bases, and of course, a Cougar pillow pet.
Oh, and the best part is...OUR TREE SOLD. Again, we are sincerely grateful for everyone's help. Another big shout out to all of those who donated:
Darryl and Kim Larson Family
Scott and Mickelle
Trudy and Lon
Lance and Karin
Mike Walker Family
James, Priscilla, and Marshall Gale
Doug and Bev Drury
Brent and Pat Griffin
John and Sally Wible
Mark and Christie Oldroyd
Tim and Jan Blackburn
Brian and Sheyda Golladay
Danielle Sozio Carrino
Craig and Jackie Dearden
Melinda Chappell Sharma
Ellett and McKeon Families
and all of the anonymous donors who also contributed.
It turns out some pretty important people (Jenna Morrison) liked our tree, so we landed a spot on Channel 2 news. Click here to see it, we start at about the 8:10 minute mark.
Thank you all and have a Merry Christmas!
P.S. - there will be a funny post again next week. We had an interesting experience when Porter tried to get a flu shot. Stay tuned...