Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cookbook Full Of Love


That is all that we have left until Kayleigh walks across the stage for graduation and ends her high school career. Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday that I was rocking her to sleep and spoiling her rotten (yeah, she's STILL spoiled!) I've been feeling REALLY sappy lately so I'm going to use this as an outlet and put it all out there. If you get tired of reading, just click the little red X and cut me off but if you're ready to jump on an emotional roller coaster...them come on!

Back in September, Kayleigh got her packet for SIRS (Senior Independant Research Study). She was told to choose a topic that would be interesting to her. Well for the last 3 years, she knew what she wanted to do but we didn't realize the twists and turns it would take our life on. She knew she wanted to put together a cookbook. She's wanted to do this for a long time but just never had the opportunity or funds to make it work. She chose the topic but was quickly shut down by her teacher. She was told she needed to give it more thought and research before she definately chose to do it. She came home feeling defeated and it wasn't even the first week into it. Being the Mom that I am, we always try and look at things from the other side. What exactly did Mrs. S want her to do? She wanted her to research the copyright laws and make sure that we could financially make this work. She came home and jumped right on the computer. To our surprise, there is NO copyright law for a recipe. One small ingredient change, and the recipe is YOURS! Kayleigh decided to take this a step further and with each recipe submission, she asked for a release form to be filled out giving permission to use the recipe and the person's name in the book. As her next deadline was approaching, she was also dealing with emotions from an accident. Last August, right before school was about to start, Hurricane Irene blessed us with her presence in Virginia. The hurricane was not due to reach our area til late night but the tides were already starting to come in and the weather was rearing it's ugly face. As mid-morning approached, Kayleigh's friend, Morganne and her family, were driving home in their van when a gust of wind ripped through and caused a tree to fall across the van, pinning Morganne in the back seat. Due to the winds, Nightinggale couldn't fly and it was an hour from MCV where Morganne needed to be rushed to. Our local hospital fought for Morganne and they finally got a team approved to travel from MCV to our local hospital. The team arrived at our hospital an hour later but there was still another hour drive back. By the time they arrived, Morganne was prepped for immediate life saving brain surgery. She had nearly 1000cc's of blood on her brain. The doctors prepared her family for the worst. IF Morganne made it, which the outlook was grim, then it would me weeks and even months before she walked, talked, or even did normal daily things. Being the strong Christians they are, her family stood on the prayers that Morganne would COMPLETELY recover and she would do it EXPEDIENTLY! Three days after brain surgery, Morganne woke up and SPOKE! She had memory of things before the accident and 13 days later, she walked out of that hospital. MIRACLES! Thats the only way to explain this. God layed his hand on this situation and everything happened the way it did because that was God's plan. Kayleigh got word of the accident that evening, just as the storm was about to really hit. We were stuck! Kayleigh sat there in tears and the only thing we could do was pray. Pray for Morganne, her family and that she would fully recover. As the days went by, Kayleigh wanted to drive to MCV to see her but we were told that it would probably be best if we waited since things were so bad. A few days after Morganne came home, we finally got the chance to visit. For 3 years, Morganne and Kayleigh had been friends but I'd never met her Mom. That day...two Christian moms were forever linked. We knew Morganne would have to undergo a 2nd brain surgery but the date would be announced later. Due to the swelling, they had to remove a bone flap in her skull and she had to wear a helmet on her head. We sat and listened to Morganne's mom tell us what happened with the accident....how they prayed consistantly....how she told Satan to "STAND BACK!" and then...THE LIGHTBULB!

As soon as Kayleigh got back in the van, she busted into tears. She'd held them in as we listened to Morganne and her Mom but the impact was made. In that moment, Kayleigh's life was forever changed. She turned to me and said, "Mom, I'm doing this cookbook WITH or WITHOUT Mrs. S's approval! I am making it a fundraiser and I'm standing on the faith that we can do it!" We both cried on the way home. We didn't know where the printing money was going to come from but I knew and firmly believed, "Ask and you shall receive."

The deadline for topic approval came and Kayleigh presented everything to Mrs. S. She told her she wanted to make it a fundraiser and give 100% of it to Morganne's family for medical bills. Mrs. S smiled and said "NOW THAT'S what I was hoping you'd do! I wanted you to put heart into this." Then the real work started! Or should I say...the roller coaster! Kayleigh chose her mentor for the project, her very first Culinary teacher, Dane. He taught her during her "Intro to Culinary" class and announced at the end of that year he would be taking another job due to the budget cuts the school was making. Kayleigh was devistated! She cried for days and he continued to encourage her to stick with Culinary. He became her rock when she had all the issues in the class and he continued to push her to stick with it, even though he knew how bad things had gotten. He also began to encourage her to grow spiritually....something she really hadn't done. As I watched her grow, I knew this was a good thing. So when it came time to choose her mentor, she knew who she was going to use!

Kayleigh texted Morganne to make plans to meet with her and her family so she could share the news about the approval and what her plans were but Morganne was so excited to hear the news that Kayleigh spilled the beans in a text message. She and her family were so shocked that Kayleigh would open her heart and do this for them. It was AWESOME! It was the "pick me up" that Morganne needed after a bad day of recovery and pain.

Kayleigh contacted a company online about printing the books. They were going to be 100 pages and this company allowed 5 pictures at no charge. They were going to charge her over $1000 for 200 books (which was a minimum order) I had to sign off on this since it was so expensive. Standing in faith, I signed the paper. Then we decided to try something else before we locked ourselves into the one online. How about helping the locals? We paid our local UPS a visit. We've had a great relationship with them, they knew Kayleigh from the Culinary competition and they also knew of Morganne since they had a flyer out for a donation jar. Kayleigh asked them about printing the books and they were thrilled about it! They took on the task with printing. This also posed a few new obstacles that we were not prepared for. When you use the online company, you email them the recipes and they put the book together for publishing. Since we were using UPS as the printer, this meant that we now had to type and publish it on our own. Ummm....Microsoft Publisher?!?! What is that?!?! Kevin, UPS owner, took the time to teach us how to use it. He set us up a template and all of the recipes that we had saved in Word could now be copied into the format. This made things a little easier but we still had the process of making all the recipes fit. Not to mention, we only had 54 recipes and we needed at least 200 to make it work. Just a few posts to Facebook and BOOM! My inbox exploded with recipes and book requests.

By now it was mid-December. Kayleigh was pushing for a deadline of Christmas but it didn't quite work out like that. She was so upset because she wanted things be done and ready for sale by Christmas and I had to keep reminding her, "In God's time, not ours!" My Mom and I helped her work around the clock getting the recipes typed and formatted. We had recipes showing up from all over the U.S. and the recipe total quickly boomed to 308 recipes. As we talked with Wendy (Morganne's mom), we found out 308 was significant. It was the number of hours that Morganne's family spent "Fighting the good fight of faith" and how cool would it be to divide those recipes into 13 chapters, one for each day Morganne was in the hospital. DONE! The book went from being 100 pages to 223 pages in  matter of hours. The love that was given to this book was AMAZING! Now we just needed a book name. We tossed around a few on paper and nothing really struck us. I'd suggested "Heavenly Dessert" but it just wasn't working for Kayleigh. So she texted her mentor and asked him what he thought? Within a few seconds, "Confections For A Cause" was birthed. She was so excited and it finally seemed there was a light at the end of tunnel.

By January, we were ready to take it to print. The UPS Store printed a rough draft for us and we found that the margins they set were not correct and so that threw the whole book off. We took it home and read through every single sentence in the book and made the corrections. It was a longggggg task but HAD to be done! We took back the edited copy and they printed us another rough draft. As we scrolled through that copy, we still found mistakes but not very many. One more draft was printed and we made a handful of corrections and we were ready to go! It was print time! We were not even thinking about the cost going up since the books went from 100 pages to 223 pages. They figured out the cost of the books and we were $250 short of what we needed. Since Kayleigh had asked businesses to help with printing costs, she would have to find a few more places to donate money to help. We came home and she sat in tears about how we were going to get money for printing. And I reminded her of the Bible verse in Matthew 21:22, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." What I didn't know was God was already working and it was in His plan. The following morning, my Mom was speaking with a coworker of hers and telling her about the cookbook and how it was coming along and the road block we had hit. She asked Mom how much more we needed? Mom told her that we were $250 short. Holly then took out her checkbook and wrote a check for $250. My Mom called me so excited that it brought me to tears! Kayleigh was in school so she had NO clue what had taken place. When I picked her up, I told her about the check and she immediately said, "Omgosh Mom! I prayed about it! I wrote it in my prayer journal! I will show you!" As we arrived home, she ran to her room and brought out her journal. There in black and white, she'd written before she went to bed the night before about how we were short and we needed to make this happen for Morganne's family. PRAYER ANSWERED!

We took the money back to the UPS Store and started the printing process! Within a week, we had 100 books in hand. Only 2 DAYS later, we were empty handed again! We sold 100 books in only 2 days. I knew Kayleigh had some pretty big events coming up so I wanted to make sure we had books for sale. I went back to UPS and in good faith I ordered 50 more books. As people heard about the book, they began to send money and place orders. It was a true outpour of love. I picked up the next 50 books just days later, only to sell those in 3 days! We couldn't print them fast enough. So I went back to UPS (I know they started to cringe when they saw me coming) and I was going to place an order for 50 more but decided to take another step of good faith and asked them to print 100.

By the end of January, we'd sold 150 books and Kayleigh decided to ask our local radio station for help. They were VERY willing to help and promote the book on the air. So she set up a radio interview and asked Morganne and her Mom to join us and tell their story on the air. The more people that heard her story, the more people we could reach with the books. They went live on 99.1FM at the end of January and it was a fantastic interview! They were able to reach out to the local community and tell about the book and how God is changing them.

There was a bigger plan in the works though! God has used this book in more ways than we could have ever imagined.

Kayleigh's mentor, Dane, is also a youth leader at a big local church and he decided to help promote this book even more. He had several youth that were planning a medical mission trip to Dominican Republic so he planned an event called "Confections For A Cause" and it featured 18 desserts from the book. Kayleigh would be allowed to sell her books. He wanted Morganne and Kayleigh to give their testimony about how this book has changed them and how God is working in their lives. He wanted Morganne to tell the story of the accident. It was $5 to get in the door and they had a silent auction and youth auction. A portion of what they would make that night would go to Morganne's family to help with medical bills too! What an amazing opportunity! Kayleigh planned another radio interview with 99.1FM and this time she invited her mentor to come and talk about the dessert event and promote it on live radio. The event was fabulous and had an amazing turn out. We are so thankful for the chance to be a part of this!

The night before that event, our church youth put on a Valentine Dinner night for adults. The youth would be serving dinner and hosting a fun game. Kayleigh also got it approved to talk about her cookbook and let Morganne tell her story publically for the first time. It was a very emotional night and they did a great job holding it together and speaking out about the miracles God has unfolded before them. This also led to a chance for Morganne to go speak publically at a Christian school and give her testimony there. Unfortunately we were not told since this was planned so fast and Kayleigh was not able to attend but we're happy that Morganne had the chance to possibly bless someone else that day.

And that brings me up to date. As of today we've sold over 200 books and it's been a wonderful ride! Sure there were bumps in the road but thats part of life, isn't it? If God made our daily journey easy then we wouldn't turn to Him. If He made our life easy, He wouldn't be reminding us that we need Him every hour, every minute, every second of every single day. He is always there, just a prayer away, waiting for us to run into His arms with prayer and praises. God doesn't only want us to come to Him with urgent prayer, He wants us to seek him and share our praises as well. uring this journey, I've watched Kayleigh go from a convenient prayer to a daily prayer. She dives into God's Word during the day, during the evening and whenever she feels she needs to. She's drawn closer to God and her eyes have been opened to the world around her. She learned that some of the friends that you thought were friends, were infact NOT friends. She wants to surround herself with friends that are doing what she is....following God with all her heart. As a parent, you have to let your children grow without hovering too much. For years, I've hovered. I've been the overprotective parent. Only because I felt that constant need to protect her since that nasty court battle years ago. BUT, during my hovering, I've always let her make decisions and let her take the fall for some of them so she could learn and grow in faith. It wasn't until this year that it finally clicked!

A few weeks ago, she decided to start something called "Pocket Prayers". (I soooooo wish I could get some help to patent this idea for her) Every day, she'd wake up and she'd turn to the back of her Bible where it listed "topics". She'd choose a topic and then turn to one of the verses for that topic. She did this without telling anyone, not even me. Whatever she felt the need to pray for that day, she'd pick a topic accordingly. Then when she got to the verse, she'd write it down on a little post it note and put it into her pocket. I saw her do it one day and asked her what she was doing? She explained about looking it up, writing it down, and putting it in her pocket. Yes, I understood thats what she was doing, but WHY? The answer that came from her mouth brought me to tears. She said, "Mom you never know when you will have the chance to talk with someone about Jesus and if I have the verse then I have a start to praying with them. Also, I might need the reminder during the day that Jesus is always with me." *sigh*  Just to think that my daughter could lead someone to know Jesus brings me to uncontrollable tears. She's such an amazing kid and I'm blessed to be her Momma!

The cookbook is now going to be featured in Hampton Roads Magazine (March 2012 issue) and we're thrilled to get a copy. Kayleigh has to present her final project in April so she will be more than ready for that! Thank you to everyone for the support you've shown her during this process. She made the comment not long ago that many seniors dread this project but this project has been much more for her...it's been a learning experience for her to grow and mature. (smiles)

So there ya have it....the reason I've been so busy the last few months! If you are interested in a copy of the cookbook, there are several ways to order. You can find us on Facebook, Confections For A Cause. You can find us by the website: Confections For A Cause. You can also email us at confectionsforacause@gmail.com. Lastly you can send us a check made out to Confections For A Cause with your name, address and phone number to 6699 Fox Centre Parkway, Box 212, Gloucester VA 23061. The books are $15 ($7 shipping & handling) and 100% of the book goes to Morganne's family for medical bills.

Thank you all for your suppport! Several of my D-Momma friends sent in recipes to make this possible and many of you have supported Kayleigh through the Facebook site. You all are amazing!

We love you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Too Sweet Mail

This post is a little overdue so PLEASE forgive me!

The past weeks have been such a blur and my next post will explain why but I wanted to share this one first!

THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH to Too Sweet Boutique. Words cannot begin to express how excited Kacey was when she got this package in the mail!

A while back, I won a contest on Hallie's blog for a pump pack created by Too Sweet Boutique. We've never bought any pump packs (with the exception of the ones Cara bought and sent her when she first started pumping) so this was our first experience with someone else making one for Kacey. Can I just tell you how impressed I was? AMAZING!!!! When I first contacted Amy, she was swamped with Christmas so we decided to wait until things calmed down and since Kacey had NO clue, it was a nice surprise after :)

Thant being said, I have to tell you all...if you're looking for pump packs that are PERSONAL...Too Sweet Boutique is your place! Amy designed Kacey's pack and minky belt and then she even made her a matching pack for her Dexcom. They say a smile is worth a thousand words, right? So here is the smile (after the tears of course!)....

She was so excited that she started to cry and when I asked her why she was crying she said, "Because Nae (my Mom) always makes my packs and I've never had a bought one before but this one is special because it has a blue circle with HOPE on it and I HOPE for a cure every day." Well that made me cry too!

Amy, I just can't begin to thank you enough for going above and beyond for this amazing giveaway! Kacey was thrilled...I was impressed...and everyone is happy!

For those looking for high quality pump packs for your child with GREAT customer service....PLEASE check out TOO SWEET BOUTIQUE!

Thank you again to Hallie for holding this wonderful contest on her blog: The Princess & The Pump