Water Party!

Before we moved to Michigan I called my sister (in-law) Leslie and said, “Ok, we have to decide if we’re doing Wine to Water right now. I have 15 tubs of stuff stored in my basement that if we decide to do it will heretofore reside in your basement. And when I say “we” need to decide it really is “you” need to decide because your work load will approximately double and you’ll have to do all of the physical tasks.”

It was really hard being so far away during the planning stages of the event. Arguably my favorite part of the whole thing is getting to spend so much time with Leslie and other party planners so perhaps it’s no surprise that I went over my anytime minutes on my phone plan the months of October and November. 😉

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Leslie very smartly gathered a group of dedicated women to brainstorm new and creative ways to mix it up without losing the integrity of the event (Leslie and I are very passionate about keeping it low key, gritty, east coast vibe. We never want it to look like every other silent auction for non profits that can be found throughout the world for all of the days.) I got to FaceTime in on that gathering and was humbled to hear so many great women excited about raising more money than last year (which was our highest amount raised in the 5 years the party had been happening.)

Leslie and I had known after last year that we had to cut back some on the art (oftentimes it was the same people bidding on art over and over and those people, we figured, had probably run out of space on their walls.), scrap the craft station and develop a variety of things at different price points so that more people could get involved in the actual fundraising piece of the event.

So this year we featured a few pieces of art, some rather amazing baskets, a wine pull and various raffles. The crew from Davenport went above and beyond in gathering the supplies/gift cards/items for the baskets so that each basket was worth well over $100-some even closer to $300.

As with last year, Becky Straw the Co-Founder of The Adventure Project, flew out to thank the great people of the QC for being such great supporters of the organization. I saw her all night answering questions and speaking with donors, just another sign that TAP cares about their individual donors. I love them.

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We also had more community businesses partner with us than ever before. It was so cool to see so many great companies rally around the common goal of providing jobs and clean water to the people of Uganda.

Leslie and I decided (admittedly on a whim) to fly Andy Landers out to be our musical guest. It was such a great decision in the end because his music is always great and fits so well with the event.

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My family once again put in hours of hard labor to set up the event. Thursday night my parents brought a trailer to load up all of the tables and chairs with my brother-in-law and dad doing most of it. My mom, having had total knee replacement surgery just 2 weeks before, decided she was feeling up to holding doors and pushing dollies. Because she’s a hard ass. And also kind of crazy. 🙂

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My other sister (in-law) Emily simply worked her ass off. In so many ways she took my place this year and I’m so grateful for it. If you ask her she’ll downplay her contribution but she sincerely worked so hard I want to acknowledge the fact that she hasn’t gotten nearly the credit she deserves. (Pictured here, far right, serving wine). I really love her.

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Close to 400 people came this year which made our huge event space feel cozy and intimate. I loved seeing so many people I’ve missed these last months while in Michigan as well as people who were new to hearing about The Adventure Project.

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I also loved seeing the committee of women who helped organize the event take full ownership-encouraging bidding, selling raffle tickets, passing out desserts. It was awesome. And to see those who helped set up (including our one lone non-Klipsch, though Jason is Klipsch in our hearts obviously, who helped with the heavy manual labor) let loose and admire their hard work.

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I also got to see a few junior high/high school friends who came for the first time. It had been too long since seeing them but it was so great to catch up. I’ve always been prone to nostalgia so seeing them just really made my heart happy.

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Of course as it always does, the night went too quickly and soon it was time for the real celebration. Love the last bit of the night when I can really celebrate with those that made it all possible. And dance. I freaking love dancing.

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Becky Straw had identified 20 villages in Uganda that were in desperate need of clean water and our goal was to fund 5 of those (about $6,000 more than we had ever made. What can I say-we are forever optimistic).

WE FUNDED 6!!!  We far surpassed our goal and on December 11 we got an email from Becky saying our totals had reached $24,000 with more coming in since then! (that’s $10,000 more than last year for those keeping track!)

(Pretty sure that’s what we in the biz call “burying the lead” but whatevs. I like pictures and words.)

If you’re friends with me on Facebook you already knew all of this because I’ve been posting about it ad nauseam for weeks, but I wanted to make sure I had it on record on my blog for days when I was feeling dumpy and needed a pick me up.

Perhaps my favorite story of this year’s event is one that happened just a few weeks ago actually. A donation of $700 was made towards the party and when asked why she was donating the woman said she had heard one of our committee people ask a local business for a donation for a basket. Our committee person was talking about The Adventure Project and how what they do matters and is important. The person who donated was just eating at that establishment, an innocent bystander. She didn’t say anything at the time but instead researched it a bit and then made her donation. She’s completely anonymous but so generous. Isn’t that amazing?

Hope you guys have a Merry Christmas. If you’re looking to unload some disposable income before year’s end make sure you check out The Adventure Project. I truly believe in the work they are doing. Here’s an awesome video to put you in the mood. 🙂

*I am not getting paid by The Adventure Project, I just happen to really believe creating jobs=creating sustainability=less dependency=world peace. 🙂

 

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Wine to Water 2013

On November 16th somewhere around 300 people gathered in an otherwise empty space to reveal clean water once again to the people of Uganda.

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It was such an amazing night. It went by too quickly, as is typically the case. We had fabulous music first by Lojo Russo and then by my talented husband and friends who ended the night with Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” and my personal favorite, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.

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The art was through and through my favorite of all time. And though I didn’t eat nearly as much dessert or consume nearly enough wine, whiskey or beer it was all so delicious and perfect.

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The crafts put together by some of my favorite people a few days prior looked better than ever too. (Sidenote: There are still 6 bean soups, 3 lentil soups and 6 soy candles left. Let me know if you’d like them, shipping is on me! 🙂 )

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The centerpieces. Oh the centerpieces! I met Marjie when she first walked into my yoga class a few years ago. Since that time she has designed flowers for my sister’s wedding, donated centerpieces for the last two Wine to Water events and painted two beautiful pieces for the event as well. She is one of those people you would absolutely despise for being so incomprehensibly beautiful, sweet, smart and creative if she weren’t so disarming because of all of those things as well. Lucille Marie Designs in the Quad Cities, she’s perfection.

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Becky Straw, Co-founder of The Adventure Project made it to the event as well. She had one of the most intense few weeks of her life prior to the event and yet she showed up. I have such a thing about showing up. I loved having her there and I loved introducing her to so many of the people I love. They had heard me go on and on about her since meeting her a year ago, it was easy for them to see all of the reasons I love her and TAP.

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But let’s just be honest here for a moment. One of my favorite parts of the whole thing is working with this little lady really closely for months at a time. I know I say it all of the time but I somehow managed to get best friends for my in-laws. My siblings have married the very best, as have Zach’s siblings. Does that happen in other families? I feel like it’s not possible everyone is as blessed as I am. But Leslie? Yeah, we would’ve found each other in this lifetime even if we didn’t marry a couple of really good looking brothers.

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I feel in a lot of ways this was our most successful year. There were considerably more people this year than any other year before. We ran out of all of the alcohol and had just a few bits of dessert left at the end of the night. There were people who had not ever been there before, even people who hadn’t heard about the water crisis as well.

I also think when it’s all said and done we’ll be really close to my personal goal of $15,000 heading straight to The Adventure Project, which is not only the most we’ve ever made but also a lot of money for this community of mine.

I don’t know what else I can say about the event that hasn’t been said in years past. Man, it’s such a great night, it really is. I love finding where my passion and God’s divine providence meet. I guess that’s why every year I feel like going barefoot-for me it’s all holy ground.

*If you missed it this year and would still like to donate there’s still time! Help us reach our goal by going here. Please and thank you! https://adventureproject.wufoo.com/forms/donate-wine-to-water-2013/

Online Art Auction!

For three of the last four Wine to Water events we have offered the art that is auctioned off at the event to the online community. We started this knowing that our online community is just as generous as our Quad City community and we wanted to give them the chance to buy art for a really good cause. Over the last three years, the online auction has brought in thousands of dollars, providing clean water to thousands of people.

So here’s your chance once again to be part of something bigger than “just” art. We all know really great art has the power to move people into feeling something they wouldn’t ordinarily feel or to look at something or someone in a whole new light. We believe offering this art to you—our online community—is a way of encouraging that. We believe every time you look at this painting or quilt or piece of pottery you will remember that a group of people acting together can make a real impact on changing our global community.

Here’s how it works: The online auction begins right now and will end Saturday, November 16th at 12pm CST. Send your highest bid to tesileagh@gmail.com. We will have someone bid on your behalf at Saturday night’s Wine to Water event. Remember, all bids (and subsequent donations) are 100% tax deductible. You will donate the cost of your purchase directly to The Adventure Project. Once we receive confirmation of your donation, we will ship your piece of art directly to you! (Thanks to generosity of our event hosts, the shipping costs are on us! ☺)

So bid away! And if you really love something, make sure you bid high!

Keep in mind this is just a portion of the art that will be available on Saturday night. If you’re in the Quad City area make sure you have plans to attend the actual event this Saturday night.

7–10pm

3rd floor of the Redstone Building

2nd and Main, Davenport.

At 8:30pm there will be a short presentation on The Adventure Project.

Also, you’ll see within the description below that certain pieces of art are only available to local residents. Those pieces are just too big or heavy to ship. If, however, you feel like you still really want it and you are not local, we would be willing to ship it to you as long as you will help with the shipping costs. (Keep in mind we’re just a few people passionate about fixing the water crisis—our budget is limited!)

Every year we are humbled by the outpouring of support this event brings. Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. We’re looking forward to another amazing night. Happy bidding!

1) This is a 4 piece canvas, each piece is 11×14.

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2) “Wine to Water” oil on 24×12 canvas.

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3) “Tree of Life” 18×24 acrylic on canvas.

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4) “The Gathering” 12×36 acrylic on canvas.

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5) “Africa: My home. My Heart. My Motherland.” 16×20 acrylic on canvas (This was done by an 8-year-old Ethiopian adoptee, y’all! She’s amazing!)

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6) “Symbol of Change” 18×24 mixed media acrylic painting.

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7) Acrylic 18×24

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8) “African Summer” quilt.

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9) “Waterfall” quilt.

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10) “Breath” *this is a local piece only* . Piece is 43″ in diameter and features 16 different light colors.

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11) “Spiral Paradise” *Local piece only* Pottery bowl.

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12) “Fish bowl” *local only piece* a 2 piece jar.

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13) “Baren to life” quilt.

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14) “From a well emerges life” a 12×12 acrylic multi media piece.

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15) “My Cup Runneth Over” 16×12 canvas.

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16) untitled abstract 8×10 canvas.

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17) Photo etching 11×14 framed.

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18) mixed media 5×7 frame.

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If I had a million dollars…

My kids often say things like, “If I had a million dollars I would…” and the things they say range from really sweet to totally ridiculous. But Tomas? Tomas always says, “If I had a million dollars I would give clean water to the whole world.”

I don’t have a million dollars and I’m guessing most of you don’t either, but that has never stopped me from believing that we as people can rise up and provide clean water to the whole world.

The further I’ve gone on my research into the clean water crisis the closer I’ve come to the realization that the solution is in the people. The people who are affected by dirty water are the ones who will have the most invested in keeping that water clean. I can ask you to donate $20 every day for the rest of my life and I still know you will never care as much as the person watching her child get sick from the water.

Which is why I believe The Adventure Project has the solution figured out. 1/3 of the wells built in the world are broken, what if instead of building more wells we create jobs that will fix them as they break down. Thus creating less need for wells (read: direct resources from outside the country) but continuing the source of income for that entrepreneur. You don’t believe this is a great solution? Watch what Diana from Uganda has to say about it.

The first $2500 raised will be matched by One Days Wages. I love knowing every dollar I donate is immediately doubled. Doubled dollars means doubled impact.

Go here and donate whatever you can. And go now, if you’re like me you’ll forget as soon as you go grab another cup of coffee.

I think sometimes we believe we could do so much more if we had more money, more time, more resources, a foot that’s not broken, etc and what we fail to notice is that we can already do so much with the (sometimes little) money we have and with the time we are given.

Whenever Tomas says he’d give the world clean water with a million dollars I tell him, “Don’t worry about waiting until you’re a millionaire, just set your sights on giving 1 person clean water and then work your way up.”

So that’s what I’m going to do. Join me.