Where is your spark?
Does it come from reading a classic novel? Does it come from seeing a new movie or a unique piece of art? Does it come from an act of kindness that you see in your passing day? What is it that sets something off deep down inside you and makes your eyes widen with excitement?
You know what I’m talking about. That moment you feel a synergy in your gut that rushes up to your heart and your start to palpitate with a thrill of what could be. Your potential has just received a lightning bolt of ideas and you need to do something about it immediately.
That is what it was like for me about three years ago at this time. I had just recently had my twins and my mind was on tilt. Perhaps it was just my personality or perhaps it was the hormone imbalance from having my twins, either way, I had such ideas rushing through my mind; I had to direct them somewhere. So I started a blog (of course I did). With much trepidation, I might add. The whole freelance writing thing was easy peasy for me. I knew the steps, I knew what to do and who to send what to. But blogging? Not a clue. Who would read my blog? Would anyone connect with me and my thoughts? When you write for a magazine, a lot of people see your work before it is placed for publication, and ultimately an editor gives the piece the ok for print. But for blogging, you write and edit and distribute on your own. Yet, I knew I had something to share.
So in the midst of raising one beautiful two year old, nursing twins and living in an already busy time of my life, being a writer, I needed an outlet. But I needed the outlet to make sense. I needed the outlet to do good in some way. Through connecting with others online, I began to understand that blogging was a great community of people. I met writers, brands, and services…it was all very interesting to me.
With the connections I was making, I thought about putting together a networking event. ‘A few women at home to chat and network over coffee’ I thought. A few women quickly turned into 20 women. So I set a date before Mother’s Day, called a church for a hall rental, and coordinated my first event. But here is the key ingredient – I decided to give back through the event. I figured, we were enough fabulous women in a room to make a difference. So I called on local businesses, asked the women to offer up a raffle and in about three hours, we raised close to $1000 for three children’s hospitals. Shopping From The Heart was born.
Now in its third year, SFTH has doubled in size and this year it will be taking place at a local Holiday Inn. I have many more sponsors giving such wonderful prizes. There has also been an additional silent auction added.
So what inspired me to coordinate an annual charity event? My children. They are happy and healthy, and I thank God for them every day. I am a lucky mama, and I know it. I recently came across the photos of my twins when they were in the NICU just after their birth. They fought their way through respiratory issues and low birth weights. They taught themselves how to breath before they were ready…that is amazing to me.
Bottom line is this – I am one person. One busy mama. I’ve got family stuff, work stuff, and all kinds of stuff in between. I look around this crazy world and see children suffering. I can’t end every child’s suffering, and I can say I’m too busy, but now that I started this annual event, I can’t ignore what a difference we can make together. The women that come as entrepreneurs have serious passion and 85% of them are mamas too. Watching them in action is very inspiring! And the businesses that give freely of their time, their products and services, really make a difference in our community. It’s nice to see so many people coming together for such a great cause.
I have managed to gather amazing women together, convince fantastic sponsors to donate amazing gifts and have a great night planned for women before Mother’s Day. I don’t do it for money or praise, I do it…from the heart.
Won’t you join me? If you are in Montreal, the event is taking place tomorrow night, May 9th. Here is a link to all the details. If you are not in Montreal, you can still donate to the cause. Follow this link and click on the donate button. All the proceeds will be going to the three children’s hospitals. Thank you!