15 Ways to Share a Smile

Share a Smile #closetomyheart #ctmh #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile #stamping #stamps #punnypals

Our Punny Pals are fun, spunky, and on a mission—to share as many smiles as possible! To help you continue spreading smiles this month, we came up with a list of small acts of kindness to keep you going. As you perform these, or any acts of service, consider leaving a card from the Share a Smile card kit behind. This small sentiment will be a reminder of the kindness you shared and will continue to bring joy (and smiles!) for days to come.

15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #leaves #fall #raking #family

  1. Rake a neighbor’s yard
  2. Mail a note to a long-distance family member
  3. Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru.
  4. Take flowers to the nurses’ station at your local hospital
  5. Leave a plate of cookies with a thank-you note for the cleaning staff at your office
  6. Put change in an expired parking meter15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #chrysanthemum #flowers #hospital
  7. Drop off cupcakes to your local fire or police department
  8. Tape cash or a gift card on a random gas pump
  9. Leave positive messages in public places
  10. Offer to return someone’s shopping cart to the store
  11. Hide a favorite book in a public place with a note that it’s free for the taking
  12. Hold the elevator for someone else15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #friends #group
  13. Invite an elderly neighbor to dinner
  14. Leave a generous tip at a restaurant
  15. Put a Share a Smile card in the mailbox for your mail carrier

Isn’t it amazing how little things can brighten our day? A compliment, a thank you, any small gesture of gratitude or compassion can spread joy. Sharing a smile with friends, neighbors, and even strangers is uplifting. Everyone feels good!

At Close To My Heart, we are celebrating Operation Smile™ and the non-profit work they do to help people everywhere have beautiful healthy smiles through safe cleft lip and palate surgeries. With every purchase of the Punny Pals stamp set, Close To My Heart donates $7 USD to this wonderful organization. You, too, can help change someone’s life and at the same time create cute and delightful cards to spread kindness to your family, friends, and community.

And don’t forget—the Share a Smile card kit and Punny Pals Thin Cuts are only available through the end of the month!

We’d love to hear how you are sharing smiles with our Punny Pals! Tell us what you’ve been up to in the comments below.

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Share a Smile

What would you do if you had the power to change someone’s life by simply sharing a smile?

Born with a cleft lip or palate, there are billions of people worldwide who suffer from the inability to simply smile due to a lack of access to any surgical care. Every three minutes another child is born with this condition, resulting in malnourishment, speech impediments, and social stigma.

For nearly a decade, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides safe surgeries repairing cleft lips and palates in children around the world. In an effort to collect funds for this charitable group, we annually dedicate the proceeds of one of our stamp sets to their efforts. This year is no different.

With the purchase of every Punny Pals stamp set, Close To My Heart is donating $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile. And, for this month only, you can get a coordinating set of Thin Cuts for the delightful animal shapes.

We’ve also put together the Share a Smile Card Kit, also available this month only, that includes the Thin Cuts along with card bases, envelopes, paper pieces, and instructions that you can use to create these endearing cards.

Operation Smile™ T-Shirts

In addition to the Punny Pals stamp set, coordinating thin cuts, and Share a Smile card kit, we have t-shirts available all year round whose proceeds also go toward Operation Smile.

And, if you place an order with us you have the option to round your order up to the nearest dollar, giving the extra as a donation to Operation Smile. During October, your round-up donation will go even further, because Close To My Heart will match all round-up donations, up to $10,000 USD!

We are so grateful to our generous Consultants for all of their efforts and continued support for this great cause. At this year’s convention alone, they pulled together over $50,000 in donations to make a difference in the lives of children they will never meet.

Share a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #smile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile

With your help, we can continue to remove financial, geographic, and cultural barriers that are impeding access to safe and well-timed surgeries. Purchase these items, encourage others to do so, or simply get on our site and make a straight donation to Operation Smile.

Share a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit

We are on a mission to change the lives of as many children as possible by restoring something that no child should be without—their smile.

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From Monica: Sharing Smiles

It’s been almost a year since I went to Chiapas, Mexico with Operation Smile™, but it has been on my mind a great deal this month. As you are most likely aware, this month we are promoting a special stamp set called My Acrylix® Share the Love that is only available during the month of February. For each Share the Love stamp set sold, we are donating $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile to help with their noble cause. Take a look at this adorable scrapbook page that our art studio made using the Share the Love stamp set along with a few photos from my mission trip and papers from our Charlotte paper packet:Monica shares her thoughts about her Operation Smile mission in Mexico. #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhcharlotte #sharethelove

Looking at those photos takes me right back to that little town, and to the precious children I got to see and spend time with there. I was only there for a few days, but my time in Chiapas really made a lasting impression on me, and this page is a beautiful way of preserving those memories.

I recently shared a little bit more about my experience on the Operation Smile mission in a video, which you can watch right here:

We have been talking a lot about the good that Operation Smile achieves in the world: A smile is a priceless gift, and yet for only $240 USD, Operation Smile can provide that gift for a child in need. I am so grateful that so many of you have joined us in playing a part in this awesome mission. Thank you!

To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

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Sharing the Love and Sharing Inspiration: Ideas for Helping Operation Smile

Today, we’ve got an extra special post. We’ve asked three Consultants who have been successful in raising money for Operation Smile™ to share a little bit about how they do it. We know that each of you can make a difference (you already do more than you think!), and we want these three incredible women to help you know that you can do it! Holly Veselenak, Kimberly Deines, and Kelly Hammonds have been kind enough to share these thoughts with us:

Holly Veselenak, Senior Director from Macomb, MichiganLearn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

At the 2008 Convention, I was one of a handful of Consultants that won a special luncheon with Dr. Magee and his wife, Kathy, the founders of Operation Smile.  That day I made a personal commitment to do whatever I could, locally, to help raise money and awareness for Operation Smile.

As a mom of four children, it’s heart-wrenching to imagine one of my children not being able to eat or drink due to a facial deformity and possibly even losing their life. My twin boys had TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome), so I know what it’s like to have a doctor look you in the eyes and tell you there’s no hope for your babies. Just thinking about this brings tears to my eyes. Knowing that it only costs $240 and takes 45 minutes to perform this life-changing surgery, how can you not want to help?

I’m blessed to know some of the most generous crafters in Macomb County and the surrounding counties of Michigan. It’s through their generosity that my Operation Smile crops have been able to raise over 125 smiles (as we call it). I’m merely the facilitator—they are the true heroes!Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

This will be my seventh year holding all-day crops to benefit Operation Smile. My best advice for where to start is this: Just do it, and they will come! My very first event I had two people show up. I’m not kidding! If I had let that discourage me, I would have never continued on. Tell everyone about your event even if they don’t craft, because chances are they know someone who does.

I keep my events very simple. A hall with great lighting and space for everyone to spread out is key. Plus, it’s all about the food. Trust me. 🙂 I have raffles and a grand prize showcasing the latest Close To My Heart products. I’m there to inspire, share tips on how to use Close To My Heart products, and foster a sense of community. Holding a fundraiser is great because everyone leaves filled with joy.

I wish everyone much success with their events. No matter what happens, whether you have two or two-hundred people show up, you are helping to make a difference in the life of a child!

Kimberly Deines, Director from Hudson, Colorado

Every time I watch a video about Operation Smile, it hits me way deep down inside. I’m always so taken aback, and I wish no child ever had to experience any facial deformities. But then again, it is uplifting to know that there is something that can be done to help!

I recently organized a weekend retreat at the Embassy Suites in town. I was also blessed to have seven wonderful Downline help organize the event and bring their friends. We had a total of 52 people for the weekend! Not only was this a great Team-building event, but we went to work and raised $1,408 for Operation Smile! That is almost six smiles!Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

My Team members and I each donated at least $50 of Close To My Heart product to give away throughout the weekend. We sold raffle tickets for $1 each to give away these goodies. Then we all created artwork masterpieces, too, donating 21 items between the seven of us to hold a silent auction. The last thing we did was to give away a $150 gift card for the next Embassy Suites retreat we will be having later this year in November. We sold tickets for this giveaway for $10 each.

I think one thing that had a huge impact on how much generosity we saw throughout the weekend was sharing an Operation Smile video near the beginning of the event. It is easy to share what Operation Smile is verbally, but actually seeing what a child goes through by watching one of these videos is powerful.operation-smile-scrapbooking-fundraiser-kimberly-deines

To help kick things off on a fun note, I also wrote my very own left right game and personalized it for our event (this game is very popular within Close To My Heart!). Everyone loved this, and it started our weekend off with laughs and high spirits. It all added up to a very successful event for me and my wonderful Team, Heart To Heart Memories!

Kelly Hammonds, Senior Executive Manager, Phoenix, Arizona

When I made it a goal to raise funds for Operation Smile four years ago, I was actively involved in Networking Groups to promote my Close To My Heart business. For three months, I changed my focus from my business to the mission of Operation Smile. I’ve found a lot of success getting donations by talking about Operation Smile in a way that reaches people’s hearts.

Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

I had the opportunity to go on an Operation Smile mission to the Philippines with Brian Holman. It was an incredible experience. This is me in the pre-operation play room.

First I talk about how a mother views their child as the most beautiful child in the world. I explain that mothers who have children with facial deformities still feel this way, but other people in their community may not: Children born with cleft lips and cleft palates in third world countries are typically shunned by their neighbors, their villages, and even by other children. Many do not go to school, cannot find work as an adult, and do not get married.

I point out that cleft lips and palates are not as prevalent in the US because our level of medical care addresses them almost immediately. I make it a point to mention famous people who had facial deformities as children—such as Stacy Keatch, Tom Brokaw, and Peyton Manning—who would not have been successful or maybe even alive if they hadn’t received medical care.

I have my guests visualize themselves as parents of an affected child, and ask how much they’d be willing to pay for their child to receive this life-saving surgery, before telling them that it only takes $240 USD to provide a surgery for a child in need. I explain that this money not only helps save their life but also helps them so they are no longer socially shunned.

Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

This little girl is Angelique. I was with her from when she was evaluated to when she was able to go home after surgery.

I always wrap up with this story: My husband and I worked very hard to have the two children we have. We are so blessed that they have beautiful smiles—I don’t always like what comes out of their mouths, but I LOVE their smiles! 🙂 Because we are so thankful for our two healthy children, we donate two smiles each year so that another parent can show off their most beautiful child in the world as much as we show off ours.

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From Jeanette: Share the Love through Operation Smile™

I consider my grandchildren to be among the greatest treasures in my life. I never could have imagined the joy that those precious smiles bring to me. I’m sure that those of you with children and grandchildren can relate! Even those without children of your own know just how priceless and special a child’s smile is. And that’s one of the reasons that Close To My Heart has been partnered with Operation Smile™ for so long.

Operation Smile is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cleft palate, cleft lip, and other facial deformities receive lifesaving and life-changing surgeries. They are truly a special organization. At our last Convention, we shared a video of an Operation Smile mission, and I want to give you all a chance to see it now:

Watching this video brings tears to my eyes every time. The work this organization does is absolutely incredible, and I am determined to do what I can to help this incredible organization succeed.

Since February is the month of love, we thought it would be a wonderful time to really focus our efforts on expressing our love for Operation Smile and the dear families they serve. For this purpose, we’ve created the My Acrylix® Share the Love stamp set, and for every stamp set sold, we will donate $7 USD to Operation Smile*.Help a child by purchasing the Share the Love stamp set benefiting Operation Smile! #ctmh #CloseToMyHeart #OperationSmile #operationsmile #sharethelove #donate

This stamp set is only available during February, so be sure to get yours while you can. There are also many other ways you can help Operation Smile throughout the year. You can purchase the My Acrylix® Animal Greetings stamp set, which you can use to create this adorable children’s book and many other wonderful works of art. This stamp set is sure to bring smiles to many children’s faces!

We also have a selection of t-shirts to help promote the Operation Smile mission. For every t-shirt you purchase, we will donate $10 USD*.

Another way to help is to round up your order totals. When you do this, we will donate the difference. Each surgery is only $240 USD, so small donations can really add up to make a big impact.

Finally, if you or someone you know would like to make an outright donation to Operation Smile, simply talk to a Close To My Heart Consultant, who can walk you step by step through that process.

We’ll be sharing some more stories this month to show what some of our awesome Consultants have done to support Operation Smile, as well, so be sure to check back with us throughout the month.

My friends, you already add so much goodness to this world. Donating to Operation Smile is simply a way to extend the reach of your goodness. With all my heart, I thank you for all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will do for people, both around the corner and around the globe. Your selflessness inspires me.

All my love,

Jeanette

*Products purchased in US states AL and MA excluded from donation due to state registration requirements. 

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Katie Colla: Some Thoughts on Giving

Katie Colla was the recipient of the Spirit of Close To My Heart award this year at Australasia Convention.
Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

I am humbled to have been asked to contribute to this month’s blog post, with a piece about the act of giving.

I have pondered over what to write for weeks, as I struggled to put into words what I’d like to think were acts of kindness that most people would undertake daily.

I really am no different from any other mum, wife, or daughter. I lead a busy life with three young children, I have my own Close To My Heart business, I work as the Community Liaison Officer at our school, and I’m employed casually as an Integration Aide. But all this doesn’t mean there isn’t time for giving back or helping others!

For me, helping others comes in many forms. It might be helping with major fundraisers for community groups, a special family friend, or Operation Smile. It might be dropping off a home-cooked meal for those who might need a break from hardship or just a busy time in their life. It might be a quick little card popped into a letterbox to brighten someone’s day or just a smile and friendly face as you go on your way.

We are all leading busy lives as we cram more and more into each day, but what I would really like to express is that helping others doesn’t have to take weeks to plan or cost you your life savings. Everyday kindness to all is so important. So hold that door open for the next person, smile at the people you pass in the shopping centre, practice patience and have grace in your everyday encounters. You’ll be as blessed by the feeling it leaves you as will the people you share these moments with.

When I joined Close To My Heart and learnt of the company’s connection with Operation Smile, I immediately felt eager to support the cause. Growing up, I had crooked teeth and a huge overbite and felt self-conscious about my smile. But unlike many, I was fortunate to have great dental care that Mum and Dad worked hard for, and I was grateful for it.

My experience was nothing in comparison to how the children and families that Operation Smile works with must feel after receiving their life-changing surgeries. These surgeries are not just cosmetic but are essential to the child’s survival and nutrition.

I am so proud that I have been able to convey this to my customers who purchase our exclusive stamps and regularly round up their orders so that they can contribute to Operation Smile and help make a difference.

In May this year, my team and I held a 12-hour “MAYKE-a-SMILE WORKSHOP” where we auctioned items we had crafted by hand and held a raffle. We also included a balloon pop activity in which someone could buy a numbered balloon for $15 and receive a prize corresponding to that number. We provided dinner, and everyone enjoyed a fabulous day, knowing that we were working towards something much more than just completing our pages and cards. Together we all made a difference, raising enough money for two life-changing operations that day alone.Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Sometimes we have a bigger cause, and we can’t muster up the time, energy, or ideas to do it alone. Don’t let that deter you. Gather some like-minded, passionate friends and make a difference together.

A great example of this was the time my beautiful mum rang me, distressed that her work colleague was suffering with terminal cancer while trying to raise three children on her own. Together with a small team of ladies, I helped Mum coordinate a wonderful Ladies Night, where we raised $8,000. This wonderful outcome would never have been possible without a group of empowered women working to change another’s circumstances.Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #serviceSo as we all enjoy what many see as the giving time of the year, Christmas, I ask you to consider how you can give something throughout the year. Give a smile, give a random card, give yourself to a cause and help move a mountain. Give thought and actions to those who need compassion and help bring light to the world.

Much love to all,

Katie

If you would like to know more about Operation Smile , Close To My Heart’s involvement with Operation Smile, or how to donate,  please contact your Close To My Heart Consultant today.

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Stamp a Smile on a Child’s Face

We’ve shown you how to preserve children’s artwork in your scrapbooking layouts, and we’ve shown you how to create cute Halloween packages for giving away goodies you make with your children and grandchildren. Well, today we’re going to show you how to create a simple children’s book using a very special stamp set and the Designer Creations short stack album!

We’ve personalized the cover of our album by printing the title on watercolor paper, adding stripes of color with our watercolor paints, and then backing it with a piece of Sangria paper. Thanks to the beautiful pattern printed directly on the cover, that’s all it takes for a fully-embellished look!

Create a children's picture book with stamps! #ctmh #closetomyheart #stamps #watercolors #diypicturebook #giftsforchildren

Adorable, right? Now take a peek inside!

Create a children's picture book with stamps! #ctmh #closetomyheart #stamps #watercolors #diypicturebook #giftsforchildren

This darling little gator shows you just how easy this project is. Using our My Acrylix® Animal Greetings stamp set, simply stamp an animal onto a circle of watercolor paper with the Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ stamp pad. Color your stamped image with watercolor paints, and attach the circle to the page of your album. Next, print the critter’s name on watercolor paper, add a splash of watercolor paint, and attach below the circle. Then add some patterned paper near the spine of the book if you’d like, and you’re done! It’s that simple!

We know you’re eager to look through the entire book, so go ahead! Peruse these adorable pages by looking at this gallery:

This picture book is designed for young children who tend to get a bad case of the wiggles when you try to read them stories, but you could use this same idea to create all sorts of books for children of all ages! For more elaborate plots, try combining multiple stamp sets to fashion entire scenes. Then use our watercolor paints to bring these stories to life!

If you choose to try your hand at making this picture book, you will not only make a child in your life smile, but you will also be doing the same for another child somewhere else in the world. How? Well, when you purchase the My Acrylix® Animal Greetings stamp set, we donate $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile™, an organization that repairs cleft lips and palates for children all around the world. What a great way to touch the lives of many children at once!

So go ahead! Try your hand at making this picture book today. Not only will you help Operation Smile touch the lives of children, but you will also touch the lives of those children who read your handmade book. And who knows? You might just discover your inner writer!

Recipe

Animal Picture Book
D1679 My Acrylix® Animal Greetings, X7199B Sangria Paper Packet, Z3146 Watercolor Paper, 44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad, Z2028 Designer Creations Short Stack Album, Z3171 Cricut® Art Philosophy Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
2″ <Circle1> (cut 15, p. 21)
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Thanks for the Memories, Anaheim Convention 2015!

Whew! Can you believe that it’s almost been a whole week since we said goodbye to each other at the end of Convention? We’re still trying to recover from the whirlwind of papercrafting bliss that was Convention. Some bags are still unpacked, some Consultants are still sleeping sound in their beds, and others have visions of Disneyland® churros dancing in their heads. Having fun is a lot of work! But it’s worth every minute. 🙂
For all of you that attended, we hope you had fun because we sure did! Before life gets too busy again, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of the highlights of our week spent next door to “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Shall we?

As usual, Sticky Boy was up to his usual shenanigans. This year Sticky Boy decided to be a little less sticky and a little more sweet by posting hints about his hiding places on his Facebook page. This sent more than one Consultant racing down the halls in hot pursuit of his latest revealed location. Some were victorious; others barely missed him. He frequented the nooks and crannies of the hotel, popping up on drinking fountains, flower vases, and elevator walls. It was quite the hunt! We can’t wait to see where Sticky Boy will travel this year with his newfound friends and his little heart balloon in tow.

We raised enough monetary wattage to light up a whole lot of smiles. Between the Base & Bling necklaces, the auction, and the 5K run, we raised over $40,000 for Operation Smile™! Thank you to everyone one who was generous enough to donate to this important cause. After listening to Monica share stories from her Operation Smile mission in Mexico and showing us a special video featuring celebrity Kate Walsh, who went on the same mission as Monica, each of our hearts beat a little faster for Operation Smile and its unique quest to change the lives of children by giving them back their smiles. And, as a special announcement, we unveiled the new Operation Smile™ t-shirts, which will be available for order July 23! We will donate $10 of every shirt purchase to Operation Smile.

Love was in the air. With the theme of “Make It from Your Heart” combined with motifs from the movie Up, we should’ve guessed that something truly magical was going to happen. During the dance on Saturday night, Monica’s husband Jody Wihongi took the stage and sang “Marry Me” by Train. That was our first clue. After he finished the song, Monica invited one lucky Consultant up to the stage who was then surprised by her boyfriend who came from behind the stage, got down on one knee, and proposed! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to play a part in this special moment.

We got to hang out with Jeanette Lynton. When Jeanette Lynton takes the stage, you know you’re in for a treat. It’s always inspiring to hear and simply be in the same room with the visionary who gave this company its wings. She chatted with us about future plans for the company, her favorite movie, and what her children and grandchildren have been up to lately. She also gave a bit of advice: “I wish you would stop saying ‘I can’t’,” she said. “Because you can!”

It was a paper feast for the eyes. In addition to unveiling loads of new products, we also hosted a number of artistic showcases where Convention attendees were able to feast their eyes on art made by fellow Consultants, as well as all the exclusive art from the new idea books. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, there was plenty more to be seen in business and Extravaganza classes.

Oh, yeah. We released new editions of these things called idea books. Ever heard of them? We’re sure this isn’t interesting to you, so that’s why we left it for last. Just kidding! The release of not one but TWO new idea books was met with quite the enthusiastic response at Convention. After we released the beautiful Annual Inspirations 2015–2016 idea book on the first day, there was one question left lingering in the air: What about Christmas? Well, the next day this question was answered in a magical way when, amongst flurries of snow and the jingle of bells in the ballroom, we unveiled the Holiday Expressions supplement!

*Both of these idea books will be available to all Consultants on August 1 and to customers on September 1.

Thank you for another wonderful Convention! All we have left to say is that we can’t wait until Convention next year at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. We’ll see you then!

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Mission to Mexico: Monica’s Journey with Operation Smile™

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A few weeks ago, I participated in a life-changing Operation Smile™ mission. The opportunity arose at the last second, and even though it meant some schedule swapping, Brian Holman suggested that I should be the one to go, and Jeanette agreed. A huge thanks to Jeanette for sending me and to Brian, who dropped everything on his full plate to take over the Making Connections events I had been scheduled to run. So, with that change to my travel plans, I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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This little girl, Daisy, was the recipient of a surgery during a 2010 medical mission.

daisy before 2010

This is Daisy before her surgery in 2010.

I had no idea just how uplifting this would be. There was so much joy and heartbreak. I was amazed by the love of these families, some of whom traveled as many as 100 miles to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery. Though at first I felt overwhelmed by the needs of those who came, I knew that my place was to be a comforting presence, reassuring the children and their families. I felt blessed that, thanks to my Mexican father, I was able to speak their language and understand their culture, which helped me to serve them more completely.

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It moved me to see volunteers from all over the world going to such lengths to help these special children. I love the quote from Operation Smile™ founder Dr. Bill Magee, “Love by definition is self-sacrifice. Love is a decision to make someone else’s problem your own.” And that is exactly what I saw these wonderful people doing.

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Among the volunteers on the trip were medical team members from Italy, Canada, Spain, Russia, Paraguay, the United States, and Mexico. These talented individuals took time away from their own practices and jobs to donate their skills to the mission. The gorgeous and talented Kate Walsh, who is now an official spokesperson for Operation Smile, was also in attendance. She was so loving and sweet with the babies and families, and when she dressed in her scrubs, I felt like I was in the operating room with Dr. Addison Montgomery from Private Practice. 🙂

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It was a privilege to be on the mission along with Kathy Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile. Kathy is truly an inspired person, and I can see God working through her. What she and Dr. Magee have created is truly life-changing, and I am so grateful that Close To My Heart is able to partner with her and her organization in making a difference.

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This trip was an amazing experience for me, but there is just too much to share in a single blog post. I will be sharing more details of my story at our 2015 Close To My Heart Convention in Anaheim, California, as well as at our Australasia Convention in Brisbane, Australia. I hope that by doing so, I can help our Consultants feel some part of the motivation and commitment I feel to this amazing organization.

Until then, keep on blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single surgery, and it will change the life of a child. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference. To quote Dr. Bill Magee again: “These children may never know your name, but they will never forget your kindness.”

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You can support the mission of Operation Smile by purchasing the Happy Everything stamp set pictured on the back of the Seasonal Expressions 2 idea book. For each set sold, we make a $3 donation to Operation Smile. You can also include a round-up donation each time you place an order with your Consultant. Thank you for helping us support Operation Smile’s life-changing mission.

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