The Power Of Giving

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I'm in flight, on my way home from an action packed holiday weekend with David and our youngest kids. We all flew back to CT, my home town for my cousin’s wedding. Four minutes after I said goodnight on air during Dancing With The Stars, I was in a car, eyelash glitter and all, rushing to catch a red-eye flight with my family. Ambitious was an understatement, but we made it! It was a tough night especially the road trip from NY to get us to CT in the wee hours of the morning. I can't remember the last time I pulled an all nighter! It’s never easy, but the kids were amazing and the schlep was well worth it. I had the best time catching up with relatives, and I am always a sucker for a wedding.

Unfortunately I totally forgot about a previous commitment a made to flip the switch for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at California's Legoland. Trust me, I am thrilled and excited to go, I'm just dreading getting home tonight, unpacking and repacking for the trip tomorrow. The park is in another city. I have wanted to take the kids for years, and haven't made the time. I'm just exhausted and haven't stopped moving for 2 months. I’m hardly up for an amusement park!

But, the reasons to honor my commitment and go are far more important than a fun few days bringing a smile to Rain and Shaya's faces. There are actually 41 other children's whose lives will change after my trip to Legoland.

Several months ago, I had the privilege to begin working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides free surgeries around the world to children born with clef lips and other facial deformities. I have been part of a few charity events on a mission to raise money and help these children. It’s strange how things work in my industry, but every once in a while I am blessed to have the opportunity to participate in an event that will raise awareness and contribute to very important causes. Tomorrow night, Legoland will donate funds to Operation Smile and I will present a check to the organization for thousands of dollars. In fact, it's enough money to cover 41 surgeries. When I realized I practically doubled booked my family’s schedule, and realistically we should not be taking off on another trip after the crazy week we've had on the East Coast, I wondered if cancelling was the responsible thing to do for my tired children. But when I thought of what an impact being part of the ceremony will make on so many children's lives, there was nothing to consider. Those surgeries will change the way the kids maneuver through their lives, the way that people perceive them, and their self esteem. I am so fortunate for the opportunities that come along that allow me to make a difference, and I am very honored that my family can participate. It’s such an important cause. I am committed to raising what I can for Operation Smile. It’s really the little things we can do that make a big difference.

Never underestimate the small gestures that can impact someone’s entire world. Imagine if we all did something for someone else, what could happen. A dear friend sent me this story and it really made me consider how our day to day behaviors effect other people. I wanted to share this with you. Please share it with someone else.

"One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?
He must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.

They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him…

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him.. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.'

They really should get lives.

'He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!' There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude..

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before..

He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before..

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes…
We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!' He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.
I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never
be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation.
I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle..
He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.

Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!' He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.' Thanks,' he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began 'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach….but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.'

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

'Thankfully, I was saved..
My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. .'

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment did I realize it's depth…

Never underestimate the power of your actions..
With one small gesture you can change a person's life.
For better or for worse…..
God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way…
Look for God in others.
You now have two choices, you can :
1) Pass this on to your friends or
2) Act like it didn't touch your heart.
As you can see, I took choice number 1.
'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'
There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history..
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.

By the way, it's easy to share our MM info now, just use the share icons on the blogs and articles!

Please give to Operation Smile.

Xo Brooke

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