“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Winner... I'm not sure that word has sunk in yet. I'm not sure anything has truly sunk in yet. I have such a "heady rush" leftover from the events of the last 24 hours that I have not landed squarely on my feet yet.
I am the State Bank Pay it Forward grand prize winner- because of all of you! All those votes, counted and added up and multiplied and were sewn into 5,000-dollars. But really? Its 5,000 hugs, and 10,000 prayers, and 15,000 well wishes and its love to infinity and beyond.
I simply can't wrap myself around the magnitude, the joy, the gratitude. I can't settle on one moment, one emotion, one word or any string of words.
I arrived at State Bank yesterday a few minutes before 11. The lobby was filled with people! Everywhere I turned were friends who were surprising me with their presence. And then the media started to stream in.
And then I thought, good thing Dr. Panwalkar isn't here to see my heart rate, cause its about to beat right out of my chest.
Then the ceremony started and I watched as one by one, each of the finalists stepped forward for their check. And my name hadn't been called. And my knees shook, as my heart raced and the reality of what that meant sunk in. I won... and part of me was still so caught up in the stories of the others... that I wasn't really sure it really was me.
Because the other finalists? Were all so deserving! How do you pick? One need isn't greater than another. I am no more worthy than they. They are no less worthy than me. They all deserve.
But then I feel the gentle hands around me usher me forward. Some sort of autopilot sets in. This is so much bigger than all of me. Okay God, I'm trusting you. I'm stepping forward in faith again.
On the left in the picture is Jeanine Larson who is in marketing and coordinated the contest on Facebook. Directly next to her behind the podium is the President of State Bank and Trust, Michael Solberg. The three beautiful women surrounding Rick and I are from my book club where all of this began- Pam, Amy and Heidi.
And then the next thing I knew, a reporter came and asked to talk with me. And when I said yes, the rest of the media came and set up around me. Thank goodness my book club girls, Heidi and Amy, were there with me. I have no idea what gushed out of my mouth or if it was even coherent.
Amy and I...
Heidi, Amy and I.
From left to right, Amy, Sue, Kim, Mike, me and Rick, Ben (Ben made the video!) just off of Rick's shoulder, Anne, and my sister-in-law- Missy.
How cute are these two women? Beyond sweet, and I was so happy to meet them yesterday! They made me blush with their high praise. Thank you Julie, thank you Amy! Truly, the pleasure is all mine.
Whew, you can see why I feel a little at a loss for words. I feel the bigness of the moment, while still feeling like a tiny speck on the radar. Because I am part of something so much bigger than me. And that is my takeaway right now.
This is about a group of people, who have embraced the mission of their bank, (State Bank and Trust) to "Pay if Forward." And in so doing, they have sent out compassion and concern and 10,000 dollars that have undoubtedly made a difference in 10,000 ways in 6 people lucky enough to be on the receiving end. And all of you dear readers? You embraced their mission and sent it out into the world with all of your votes, and your cheers and well wishes and prayers- and turned 10,000 into "MORE" than anyone could possibly conceive.
A few more places to read/ watch about our amazing event yesterday...
KVRR- really great write up by Kyle Johnson.
WDAY- video and write up.
valleynewslive- video here
Inforum- write up here
A million "thank you's" from a humbled soul, doesn't even come close to covering all the gratitude this girl feels.