Julia’s Journey – Birthday Gift

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I knew a girl when I was growing up who was kind to everyone. From my perspective, there was no friend group she couldn’t move in an around that didn’t love to have her around. She was and still is both popular and inclusive, which is a rare combination indeed. I have always admired her greatly.

Alas, I gave birth to such a girl. She loves everyone and is beloved. Usually I don’t post anything about her birthday parties so no one gets their feelings hurt. I sincerely hope this blog doesn’t hurt feelings. I have to cap the head count at her parties or she would invite 50 girls that she loves with her whole heart. It’s an agonizing process for her. You’re girl was agonized over.

However, as I chronicle Julia’s journey to Kenya, I don’t want to forget how she celebrated her 12th birthday this year. One of the first things she said when she found out she had raised all of her money for Kenya was, “Now I can ask for things for myself for my birthday!!” So I was very surprised when she told me to tell the girls’ moms that she only wanted gifts she could bring to the orphans.

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The suitcase full of gifts the girls brought to Julia’s birthday party for the kids in Kenya.

Then this week as I made final plans and shopping lists for the party, I asked her what kinds of pizza and beverages she wanted. “PIZZA! MOM, NO! This is a Kenya birthday! We need to have rice and beans and water like the orphans!”  Julia was fine with leaving it at that, but I did some research and found out that Kenyans love watermelon and popcorn as well. I was relieved to have something fun to offer that she was agreeable to.

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Rice, beans and water for her Kenyan birthday dinner. (Watermelon and popcorn seemed like an acceptable birthday splurge.)

We always do a practical craft that can be used again. Last year the girls made beach towels. This year she chose 20 pairs of flip flops that could be bedazzled: one for each girl who came to the party and one for an orphan.

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Their dazzling flip flop creation. You can’t tell from the picture, but they are also sparkly.

I have to say, to the credit of the amazing girls who came to the party, they looked confused when I told them the menu, but they all jumped on board and had great attitudes. The flip flops took two hours to complete, but they all worked hard and then helped the others as they got done. I thought for sure I would be scrambling to find something they would eat and be left completing a bunch of flip flops while they ran off to play. However, they hung in there like champs while we visited and sang all kinds of worship songs.  It was a delightful evening with a sincere and generous group of girls who loved an opportunity to serve kids they will probably never meet on the other side of the world.

The future looks so bright, I have to wear shades.

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Working away at their flip flop creations

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Julia’s invention: Unicorn Popcorn. Homemade popcorn coated in white chocolate and pink sprinkles. Surprisingly delicious.

 

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