Saturday, July 12, 2008

hands to hearts international

i have been attending the netherlands unitarian universalist fellowship since i moved to holland a few years ago, and though i have not been able to visit as often as i would like (church is only one sunday a month, i live 2.5 hours away by train, and most recently i was obviously too pregnant or gracie was too small for me to make the trip that far...), i do feel very much a part of that community.

the last time i was at church at NUUF, i brought gracie and adam with me. at that service, gracie was honored with an impromptu blessing ceremony, and was offered a gift on behalf of NUUF: a donation made in her name to an organization that benefits children. how special!

at first, we weren't quite sure which organization to choose, as there are so many which are so very wonderful. i sent out an email to my friends asking for some suggestions, and took some time to think about what are the things that WE feel are important. the list: education, wellness, loving touch, direct contact with children (we didn't want to donate to a huge organization that would spend too much money on administrative duties, etc.).

i recall from many prior conversations with my best girl teresa that she was familiar with an organization called hands to hearts international. (please click on the link provided as their description of their services is much better than what i could summarize here.) HHI fulfills all of the important criteria that we set out in choosing which organization to donate to. and as it turns out, my friend teresa actually knows the founder (laura) of this non-profit because the two of them knew each other when teresa lived in portland, oregon.

well, i sent NUUF an email, telling them who gracie's donation would be given to, and i told them this with the hopes that the message would be shared with the rest of the group at the next church service (since we were in greece at the time and i couldn't tell them myself). as it turns out, there were visitors at NUUF that day from the uu church in portland, oregon -- the very same church that teresa attended for many years, before she moved away to japan! so someone at NUUF gets up and says to the group, "gracie briggle has decided to donate to hands to hearts international." and the visitors were all, "oh, we know of that organization! the woman who founded that organization is our friend and lives in portland!"

little did those visitors know that the whole reason gracie chose to donate to HHI was because of teresa, who is my best friend, is one of gracie's godmothers, and is a friend of the founder of HHI. AAAAND the visitors there are apparently really good friends of not only HHI's founder, but also teresa! but they didn't know that teresa was the one who was connecting us all together!


i can't remember how i found out this story, but out it came, and we all rejoiced in it. because here was a baby, donating to an organization that benefits babies, the child of a massage therapist donating to an organization that in part teaches infant massage, the godchild of the friend of the founder, the godchild of the friend of the visitors, and it was all one big wonderful happy-ning.

so laura has put on her HHI blog gracie's donation story, and it's just so wonderful. i hope you have an opportunity to read laura and teresa's version of all of this! it's just such a wonderful, small world!

a world of blessing! when all this happened,:
gracie was in greece
teresa was in japan
laura was in the united states
the portland visitors were in the netherlands
NUUF was also in the netherlands
the babies benefited by gracie's donation were in india


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