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Thursday, December 11, 2014

MONKEYS IN BARBADOS!

Hi Marcia,

Mark, the kids, and I had a great time making our monkeys on a relaxing evening in our hotel room.  Two days later we took them to the children at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.  We were not able to meet the kids, but, left them with the receptionist who had trouble finding someone to give us permission to visit the ward after hours.  Luke especially was reluctant to give his up, but, did so knowing it would comfort and give joy to a sick child or out of obedience to his mother.  I hope more the former.





















We had a great time in Barbados.  The people there were so polite and friendly.  The streets were so clean, yards uncluttered and everyone seemed calm, pleasant and well dressed.  We really enjoyed the food, sunshine, and warm ocean waves.  Being together was, of course, the best part.

Hope you and your family has a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Love,

Linda and family










Linda and I met last month in the mountains.  She fell in love with the monkeys.  How hilarious is this.....  She had 2 days to pack, but made it her priority to get socks and supplies to pack for their family trip to Barbados. 

Wouldn't  it be great to have the story of the 5 kids who received one of the vacationing monkeys?  

Linda....your family are great monkeymakers!  BRAVO!


This is the coolest picture ever!  MonkeyLove! 








Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A BITTERSWEET FAREWELL TO CHILDREN'S MERCY

Kodak moments.  The brain seems to take a photo and we are able to recall exactly where we were and what we were doing...like the day President Kennedy got shot.   And the day Ian got diagnosed with leukemia.

March 2008.  I was driving to the gym. I got the call.  Three year old Ian had been sent from the doctor's office to the hospital.  His blood count was alarmingly low.  The doctor suspected leukemia.

Within a short time, the diagnosis was confirmed.
 If you've had a sick child, a very very sick child, you understand.  It's pretty much an ongoing nightmare.  But you don't wake up for awhile.  And you do keep on going.  And going..........





               A month before Ian was diagnosed




Ian's treatments for leukemia lasted for the next three years.   Ian and his mom, made many trips to Children's Mercy Hospital.


You get to know the staff pretty well under the circumstances.  Enough kind things cannot be said about them.  Lives depend on them and their knowledge and compassion are invaluable and leave us with a great sense of gratitude.

I say this from experience, because within the year, I received my own diagnosis:  Stage 2 Breast Cancer.

Will and I visiting Ian's family in October 2010 in Kansas City
I promise, I was not trying to steal the attention.  It just happened,  and then I had a lot of time on my hands.  I wanted to do SOMEthing worthwhile.








At some point, I found the video about Brittney, a teenage girl with a chronic condition.  She was a very sick girl, but she found ways to bring up her spirits while blessing the lives of others.   She created coloring books for kids in the hospital, and she made sock monkeys with love.  Here is the link for Brittney's Video:  God Will Lift Us Up:

https://www.lds.org/youth/video/lift-us-up?lang=eng



What an inspiration.

 I learned how to make Sock Monkeys.

Family helped, and after awhile, we finally had two bags of monkeys which Ian took to Children's Mercy.

  That is how this blog began.  Ian loved the experience.  I did too.  After all, its MonkeyLove.


Ian Age 5
Ian finished his treatments at age 6, and last March, was his final appointment at Children's Mercy Hospital.  Why?  They are moving.   Corie reported that it was kind of a sad day.....a lot of good relationships had been developed, and a lot of strong, and emotional attachments.  It's a close knit group  at Children's Mercy.

One of Ian's favorites at the hospital,  was his nurse practitoner, Christy Gordon.  After checking him out, and hugs, she said, "Ian, can I ask you for a request?"

 "Sure!"

"Right before Christmas, could you send us a bunch of SOCK MONKEYS?  That was the best gift we've ever gotten.  Of all the things we have received, the kids loved the monkeys more than anything!  And when you send them, could you write a letter telling what made you start making them?  Its really special that someone who was a patient here is doing something for everyone.  Could you tell them about how you used to be a patient here, and now your'e better?  It would bring a lot of hope to the kids who are going through the tough things now."

It's almost Christmas now.  30 monkeys are ready to go in a box.  Ian is writing his letter.

Merry Christmas to the kids who are at Children's Mercy, and kids everywhere who are going through challenges.  You are brave.  Your beautiful smiles brighten up the room.  You are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father.  He will lift you up.














JUSTSERVE.ORG

 JustServe.org.  Its a community website.  Here is a part of their official description:





What is JustServe?

JustServe matches churches, civic organizations, non-profits, and governmental agencies that need volunteers with volunteers willing to help. JustServe.org links you to service opportunities in your community so you can make a difference wherever you are and however you want to serve.
Once we know what the needs are, we tell you about them here on JustServe or through Facebook, and then you can go and help get the job done. We make it easy to sign up and show up, on your time and in your way.
JustServe.org is provided as a service by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following the Biblical admonition of the Savior to "love thy neighbor as thyself," JustServe provides opportunities to relieve suffering, care for the poor and needy, and enhance the quality of life in the community. JustServe is not for proselytizing or publicity for the Church—simply a service to match community volunteer needs with volunteers.

In our city, we're seeing that JustServe works!!!

Last month, for example,  the Methodist Food Bank (a local church that has been providing food for the needy in our city, for years)  posted their need for extra food for Thanksgiving on JustServe.   As a result, over 100 bags of food, in addition to turkeys and hams were delivered to their food bank.   One of the volunteers who worked the day the food was distributed, related that after the turkeys ran out,  there were a few more people standing in line to pick up their food.  The volunteers didn't know what to do.  "Have Faith!", one of them said.  "Something will turn up." Sure enough,  in a few minutes, someone drove up with just the right amount of turkeys.

 JustServe is making a difference.  One turkey at a time...one project at a time...one Monkey at at time.....

I found out about the website two months ago.  "What a great way to get the Monkeys out there!"  Indeed.... I have started to get a few calls and emails from people who are interested in helping:

A 7th grader named Emma contacted me yesterday.  She's a member of a Junior Scholastic program at her school AND she sews!  She is looking for volunteer hours.  What a better way to volunteer than to make monkeys!  I can't wait to meet you, Emma.

Another woman named Sue called. She's a recent empty nester and is looking for a good way to use some of her spare time.  She's been spreading the MonkeyWord to others that she knows.  Thanks Sue!

 Debra contacted me, anxious to learn the art of Monkeymaking. We're getting together soon.

I have always known that there are a lot of MonkeyLovers out there, but now with JustServe, we will be able to find each other.  My hope is that we can keep a steady stream of monkeys to the advocacy court and the Children's  Hospital.                                                                                                                                                                                                            
One out of the 30 monkeys going to
Children's Mercy Hospital for Christmas
"Every stitch stitched with love"
JustServe seems like its kind of a Craig's List for Community Service.

A monkey is a small thing.  A very small thing.

This Christmas video reminds me that it really is the small things that matter.  To the giver.  To the receiver.


 http://www.mormonchannel.org/christmas-videos?v=2919740155001#.VIW5-7gAZ_k.email

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

FROM ONE ANGEL TO ANOTHER



This is my special friend, Kaylee.  She loves Sock Monkeys and she loves Candy.  
Not necessarily in  that order.......  





SURPRISE!   There was a basket at my front door.  It was from Kaylee.  

To her very own Halloween Candy she had attached cards, to be given out with the Sock Monkeys.  

This was her message:  




Kaylee is a very special girl.  She knows about childhood pain and what it is like to be in the hospital.  Born to an alcoholic mother, Kaylee spent the first year of her life in a Russian hospital.  The second year of her life was spent in a Russian orphanage where she learned as a one year old that there was never enough food, and she'd better scramble to get what she could.  Always hungry, always cold, never loved.  Not a life for a baby.  Or anyone for that matter.    

Because of some powerful inner strength, and/or a miracle, Kaylee defied statistics.   She lived.

Meanwhile, far away in California,  two parents had three boys, and they decided a little girl would make their family complete.  Off to Russia they went.  And who did they find in the orphanage?  



Blond little Raimonda.......AKA.......Kaylee.

Kaylee's message to the children is the message we hope she feels.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered all pain, shares hers, and although life is sometimes very difficult and not fair,  He knows.  And there really are angels who watch over us.  




STUFFED WITH LOVE: FOLLOW UP



This morning there was a gift in my email.  It was a note from one of the attorneys who received the monkeys for STUFFED WITH LOVE:



Marcia:

I am writing to thank you for the adorable sock monkeys you donated for distribution to the foster children when they appear in court.  It’s difficult to look at these darling monkeys without smiling.  We gave one away today to a little boy who stared at it and touched it’s face as he was sitting in court – as he appeared so scared.  What a marvelous distraction.  And, thank you so much for how generous you were to donate so many. 

These are confidential proceedings during which children are removed from their parents or appear and haven’t seen their parents for sometime.  Occasionally the children will see their parents who are wearing handcuffs and ankle chains because they are in custody.  It is so hard to see the trauma these events inflict on children, and I know that many will remember these court hearings all of their life.  It is wonderful to interject a cute moment, a smile or a distraction that these little monkeys will bring.  I wish I could send you pictures, but the hearings are confidential.

My heartfelt thanks to you for your generous gifts to these children.  





My response:

Each little monkey was sent with love.  To know that a little boy was comforted for a few minutes is to know that every stitch is worth it.  



Thank you!  Debi and April............Friends who help with MonkeyMakingss.


Friday, September 26, 2014

MONKEYMAKING: The Beginning


When did all this MonkeyBusiness begin?  

2009.  I was going through chemo.....watching a lot of videos, and wanting to do something for others with my time.  

I found this video:  "God Will LIft Us Up."  It's about Brittney, a teeneager who makes Sock Monkeys among many other things.

Brittney is dealing with a rare and chronic condition where her intestines are paralyzed.  She cannot eat and must carry around a backpack at all times which carries her special food which goes directly into her systerm to keep her alive.  She spends months in the hospital.  She cannot live as ordinary teenagers do.  But Brittney is a girl of Faith, Hope and Charity.    And rather than wallow in her problems, she made the decision to look outward and use her talents to help others.

She is an artist and has designed coloring books with a message for children who have her disease.

And she makes sock monkeys.  Colorful, wild, crazy sock monkeys.

Here is the link to her video: 



I found myself thinking about Brittney, her Sock Monkeys, and children who are in hospitals.  

The first sock monkeys were created by my grandkids.  They loved making them.  As Bella was stitching, she said, "Every stitch is stitched with love."  How did a seven year old come up with the perfect theme?



SockMonkeys4Kids was born.  




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Needed: Stuffed Love

"STUFFED WITH LOVE:  New or gently used stuffed animals are being gathered for abused and neglected children and foster children of Riverside County.  They will be given as gifts of comfort and love to children while in court. "

      *******************************************************************
There are over 40 kids a week who go through the courts in our county.  That's 160 every month.  8,000 a year.

Did I do the math right????

Wow.  This is really heartbreaking.  

STUFFED WITH LOVE tries to give these kids a bit of comfort while they're going through yet another ordeal in their life:  Court.

The lawyers have noticed that the boys don't really like the stuffed animals.

Sock Monkeys to the rescue.

I'm scrambling to put together a basket of monkeys for this project.  One basket for this week.   It is sobering to think of how many little people need Monkey Love.  And sadly, that's not the only love they need.

It's a very small drop in a very huge bucket.

















NONPROFIT GENTLY HUGGED receives the most adorable monkeys EVER!

 MONKEYMAKERS are the best!  Nancy is a friend of a friend who was putting together a Super Saturday Service for the women at church.  They made blankets that day too.  Look at these darling little dudes..... She added hearts and eyebrows!!!  I  seriously want to hug each one.


Here is her follow up note. 

It makes me so incredibly happy to know there is so much MonkeyLovin going around!




Dear Marcia,

We did it!  Monkey making was a wonderful success.   I followed all of your prep instructions and had all of the monkeys machine sewed, eyes-on, ready to go in a ziplock bag.  Additionally, I basted around the mouths, and finished one ear in each bag.

We had Relief Society ladies and lots of young girls working on the monkeys.  Our youngest helper was eight years old.   I was delighted that everyone was so eager to work on this project.  We all crammed around two tables (we should have set up three), and just had a great time, stuffing and sewing.   We worked on 27 monkeys.  Right now, eleven are completely finished.  The rest just need some finishing work done.   A few of the women took theirs home to finish and will return them to me.  As for the rest, some of us ladies are getting together this Thursday,  to finish them off.  

Thank you, thank you so much for holding my hand and guiding me through this super-cool project.   Everyone in my ward was fascinated with the cute monkeys and all wanted to know how to make them.   It also felt really good to make something and to know it would be donated to kids who need their spirits lifted.  And who doesn't feel better with a sock monkey in their hand!

We plan on taking monkeys to Rady's Children's Hospital and also donate some to "Gently Hugged", an organization that provides a bag of essentials to needy mothers of newborns.   The lady from Gently Hugged gave a little presentation at the beginning of our Super Service Saturday, because all of the blankets we made went to them.  Anyway, the lady saw our monkeys and looooooovvvved them, so she wants to include them in/or hanging on the bag.

Love, Nancy

The big wicker basket in bag is full of monkeys too!

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

A couple of weeks later I received this follow up.  Check out the link to Gently Hugged.


Marcia,
Look closely at the Gently Hugged bag in the picture included in this article.  I spy a sock monkey!   This is where we donated our monkeys.
Love,
Nancy
Former nurses give a year's worth of baby clothing to new parents through nonprofit Gently Hugged

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MONKEYMAGIC

I received a message early in the morning cancelling my dental appointment.

I will be honest.  My initial reaction was….."COOL!"  I just gained a free morning.   Being crazy conscientious however,  I called back to reschedule.  The receptionist was happy that I did….only to inform me that my appointment was back on.....The hygenists's little girl was in the hospital,  she explained, however, she had decided to come to work for a few hours.

I hung up the phone with one thought:  MONKEYTIME!   Wasn't feeling it for my completed monkeys, and the pink and yellow socks caught my eye.

Zip, quick, sew her up, and I was off to my dental appointment,  pink Monkey in hand.

Here is Sheri holding the monkey.    Can you believe that at home in her sock drawer she has exactly the same socks! MONKEYMAGIC.



This is little Molly.   She is having trouble breathing because her asthma went into pneumonia.   It's easy to see that she's not feeling well.  What she really wants most of all is to go home.
Of course.

















Molly named her monkey, Carly.  She thinks its funny that her mommy has socks that match her monkey.    She likes  Carly a lot, and she won't  let her mom take the SOCKMONKEYS4KIDS card off. (See it around her neck?)






After a good day,  a not so good night, and a good day.....Molly was able to go home.  She still struggles with her lungs, asthma, pneumonia and breathing.  She is scheduled for surgery soon.  Carly will accompany her to the hospital.  MONKEYLOVE.











I have a great deal of compassion for those who can't breathe.  I've taken breathing for granted my whole life.  Until eight years ago when Jen came into our lives.  She married our son, Patrick.

Jen has Cystic Fibrosis.

At times in her life, she has described breathing to be like sucking air through a straw.  I can't imagine what that would be like.   When she was 16 years old, her lungs were so damaged she had only 8% of her lung capacity.  Jen no longer could attend high school or be involved in any activies.  She was at home on an oxygen tank, too weak to even stand in the shower.   Through a series of miracles including the love of two men who voluntarily donated a lobe each of their lungs and the skill of the doctors and medical team, Jen was able to receive a live donor, double lung transplant.  Doesn't that sound like a miracle?  It is.

I could write volumns about Jen.  She is full of gratitude and happiness.  Her loving spirit touches everyone she meets.   Jen is a bundle of energy, positive joy, endless talent and ability.  She has written her story:  My Heroes Ask Wallflowers to Dancethe story of her incredible family, their bond of love, faith  and prayer which has enabled them to overcome insurmountable health issues, including the loss of Jen's 19 year old brother Justin.

The link to her book is here:

http://www.amazon.com/My-Heroes-Ask-Wallflowers-Dance/dp/1466319739

Last February Jen was honored with others at the Michael Brennen Courage Award Ceremonies  in New York City.

In her interviewed video, she states,   "I am happy.  I am happy everyday because I'm grateful every day."   At the time this video was made,  Jen was in the final stages of kidney failure.  It was a good thing that I saw this video AFTER Jen's  kidney transplant.  Instead of quiet tears rolling down my cheeks, a bucket and a Costco supply of tissue would have been needed.

Here is the link to the video.  It includes the interviews with the other honorees.  They live amazing, wonderful lives, despite the daily challenges they deal with every day.  Just to breathe.

http://vimeo.com/64084730

Today, all of our love goes to Molly with prayers and wishes that she can breathe, live her life and be happy.  She has a loving family, and the love of a special monkey friend.

P.S.  December 2014.  Molly had her surgery, and she's doing GREAT!  And she still loves her monkey.  ahhhhh........























































Sunday, January 12, 2014

MONKEYMANIA



MonkeyMania:  It's contagious.  

I have a cool friend.  She lives in Florida,  She's gotten a group of women in Florida hooked on makin monkeys.  


What cute socks!  And the pom pom eyes are so cute!



Back in California, here we are:

Bringing smiles to the kids at Rady's Children's Hospital on Thanksgiving.

           

This monkey got away.  What a rascal!




Handing over our monkeys to the nurse in the children's ward.  She later reported that one monkey went to a little six year old who carried it with her everywhere, and one went to a little toddler girl.
The nurses love passing out monkeys.  Bella loves the monkeys too.  She hugs each one before we give them away.  "Every stitch is stitched with love", was her little observation as she stitched away.




A happy send off!  Saying goodbye to these monkeys going to a woman's shelter.  Lots of hugs coming their way for sure.


Monkeymania......it's just the best.

NOT ENOUGH MONKEYS.........

Monica, one of my darling daughter in laws, called me,  "Marcia, the girls at church want to make sock monkeys.  Can you help?"

SOCK MONKEYS.  Music to my ears.   

We got the socks ready to roll, and Monica reported back that the girls had a lot of fun making the monkeys.  



Naturally.    These are monkeys we're talkin about. 

Little did we know that these monkeys would find an unexpected home……..



Fast forward two  months.

Our little Gramma Dot…. age 88, in the later stages of dimentia. A very sweet and cute lady, but also, I'm sorry to say,  disobedient.  Yes.  Disobedient.  When you live in a dimentia center, you don't have many rules to follow or decisions to make.   You can decide if you want to attend the painting class, bingo or watch tv, but all of the important things are taken care of for you.  Except for one thing.  You can choose to walk with your walker or not.  Gramma Dot made a "bad choice" …...therefore on October 1, she fell and couldn't get up.  A broken hip.

Gramma found herself in a nursing home for rehabilitation.  This was a strange, new place, she couldn't get out of bed, she was in some pain.  Poor Gramma.



Monica to the rescue:  a visit and a monkey.

Gramma LOVED her little monkey.  It entertained her and kept her company.  She hugged it, kissed it  and tucked it under the covers.  If anyone turned on the music, her monkey danced!  That little nameless monkey was a very dear friend, and companion. 

The nurses began noticing that the other elderly patients would attempt to steal that monkey at meal time or when she wasn't looking.  The nursing staff, definitely on Gramma's side, remained on the lookout to make sure that she kept her monkey.  But it became crystal clear to everyone that a monkey was a popular item.  

When Monica learned of the Monkeymania that was occurring in the nursing home, she headed right over with her basket of monkeys.  The nurses took her around to the terminal patients who hugged each monkey close and smiled.  

Who knew?  Our hearts have been warmed and enlarged by monkey love, and once again we realize………..

 There just aren't enough monkeys to go around in this world…….