Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Momentum and a Matinee

There is a lot of momentum now as we implement Sam's expertly crafted project plan. We are almost press-ready for a little event I will announce shortly. And we are happy to reveal our lovely little logo.

We have sandwiched our trip to England with a fundraiser in Mystic, CT and several meet and greets in CT and Long Island. Our first event is a live production at Olde Mistick Village Art Cinemas on Saturday, July 24th at 11am. All the ticket proceeds go to the Trust. And if you buy your tickets early, a Ten Clams box lunch will be provided for free.

Our donors will get a chance to meet Esra and her Snappie at several post-trip events. Those are still in the works, but all of our donors will be getting invitations. {Imagine, we don't know half of our donors...I am excited to meet you all.} You don't have to donate to attend, but we hope you will. You will be joining an amazing group of people.
Please share the news of our progress. Tell someone about Esra today. Life is beautiful, my friends.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Leading the Way

Here is Sam's first go-around the blog block:

When Peggy first identified the SnapDragon for our daughter, I said "no way". I could not imagine that we could find a way to pay for an electric wheelchair that was as expensive as a car! The chair would not be covered by TRICARE, and I needed to change myself, lengthen my perspective... Really, I needed help!

While visiting with friends over Thanksgiving last year, I had one of those choice experiences that come to friends who seek to listen more than speak.  I confided in my friend Erin that I was getting a lot of pressure from Peggy to buy Esra the SnapDragon. He listened to my concerns about the price and many other things. As he let me talk, I realized that my project management skills could be applied to plan, advertise and raise sufficient funds to buy Esra's needed wheelchair.  He has continued to provide immense support during this project.  A true friend, indeed.

Along with Erin, I called together several friends whose experiences and skills complimented my own. One of our project members, Mark, works for a local newspaper. He listened to our story, and saw the butterfly pictures that are listed as the first blog on this site. He designed a stunning and yet simple logo to communicate Esra's journey.

Other team members and boosters have come through true serendipity.  Peggy frequently says, "Open your mouth, and talk about this project!" She tells anyone who will listen or even make eye contact about our task ahead and how far we have come.  We don't discriminate, and God has put some incredible and charitable people into our paths because of it. I have met complete strangers on airplane trips who have expressed real interest in Esra, and eventually donated toward her wheelchair. I'll reserve more discussion of these seemingly serendipitous events to a later blog.

Esra's trust in me, as her Dad, has drawn me to see beyond present obstacles to contemplate the life changing benefits which a special wheelchair will offer to my daughter. I am also touched to consider the trust which God and Esra put in us, her    parents, to help Esra develop her full potential.

Because of this   realization, I see that my true purpose is to enable my   daughter to share her "light" with the world. Now, I recognize that God and the Coast Guard have already given me all of the skills that I need to provide for my daughter. I don't take any of the credit for our progress. I'm just glad to be a part of this wonderful work!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Measure Twice...

In preparation for getting our customized SnapDragon, we must provide measurements of Esra for her new seating. And since the company is across a continent and an ocean, we must do the measuring ourselves. So, I gathered my measuring tape, camera and wits and set about to record Esra from top to bottom.

Not only did I need to get numbers, but I needed to document Esra sitting unsupported for several angles. So, I got the girls raising their arms together and giggling until they were on the floor. But I underestimated the interest of my two-year-old. So, we measured all extremities, worked on our numbers and counting, and then worked on learning body parts. Our session was part work, part school. The girls loved it, and I got to tell Esra all about our upcoming trip to England. Esra gave her trademark *gasp* that she then covers her mouth with her hands as if to hide her excitement. She is so excited to get her new chair. For Esra, words truly cannot express it. And it cannot be measured. You've just got to see it.

Coast Guard in Arizona? Yep.

Welcome to the Desert Edition of But Wherever I Go!

With our house sold in Connecticut, our family has settled safely in Arizona.

We house-hunted in stages; first Sam came out and then I came with the girls. After almost twenty houses, we actually chose the very first house Sam visited when he came out. But there was a sunken living room and Sam was crest-fallen. But when I saw the house, I just said, "no problem. we will put in a floor." End of discussion.

 Hey, it was me and my power of attorney making all the decisions, since he stayed and took care of things in Connecticut. (And there was word he might be providing support for an event in the Caribbean or with the Oil Spill.) A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do...

The boxes are unpacked and we are loving the gorgeous weather and friendly people. And, everyone, thank Sam for the GPS that he got me for our 10th anniversary. I would have kept driving to the border if I didn't have that. But I make it home after every outing thanks to that tiny, hunky Australian voice on my dash board giving directions.

Anyway, the house is darling. Estelle calls it "the orange house" because it is literally the color of orange sherbet on the exterior. We have an orange tree and a lime tree and a wall of oleander and towering palm trees backing the pool. The house is all one level, with a gorgeous pool, two yards, an amazing kitchen. Just perfect.

Sam is now in AZ full-time. He began his new assignment this week. It has been nice to have him home in-between jobs. After three weeks of unpacking, there are still a few boxes lingering, and a few broken items, but life is moving forward. So, we are happily nestled in and ready to do what the natives do. (Sam won't let me buy a solar oven yet, though.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Keeping Busy

So much has happened since Sam and I started raising money for Esra's wheelchair! I'm just catching up, and I'll break my thoughts into several blogs. And I have invited Sam to share his thoughts too.

First, let me tell you the SnapDragon arrived safely in Cambridge earlier this month. The crating and shipping was a big fiasco for Sam to figure out.  But he is now a authorized exporter/importer with FedEx.  So, if any of you enterprising folks want to go into business...

I've had a few consultations with the Dragon Mobility team this week, who will help us customize the Snappie and make it perfect for Esra.  Well, really there have been many phone calls and applications this week.  Department of Developmental Disabilities, Arizona Long-Term Care,  Social Security Disability {denial, by the way} plus setting up Esra's team here in the Valley.

Its too hot to go outside, so we are making the best of it as I press on with paperwork whilst Esra and Estelle keep busy with art projects, music making, playing in the water table and getting to know the inner workings of the Ingalls Family.  In fact, we are on our way to finish the second season of Little House in the Prairie.  If anyone wants to help preserve my sanity, please send the next four seasons!