Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Everyone Matters: A Tribute to a Lost Friend and Operation Christmas Child

Last year, the blogging community lost a wonderful writer and friend.  Her name was Melissa Matters, and she passed away suddenly at the age of 36, leaving behind two beautiful children, a husband and family.  I never met Melissa personally, but I considered her a colleague, a fellow writer, and an online friend.  I will truly miss her.  She kept a blog about being a mom, and wrote some beautiful posts about her family and children.  Her blog is called Wading Through Motherhood, and I hope you will check it out.

Melissa was an extremely supportive writer.  I met her during our time at Yahoo Contributor Network. She was always quick to comment and share the work and blog posts of others (which means a great deal to any writer).  So in Melissa's honor, I am starting a blogging movement called Everyone Matters.



What is Everyone Matters?

Everyone Matters is a campaign to spread something positive.  You are important.  Your words are important.  What you say and share with others matters.  We are all connected in this life, whether we realize it or not.  Melissa was a prime example of that, since so many bloggers (most she never met personally) have rallied together to share her story and her blog posts, and to support her family and children.

Photos property of WadingThroughMotherhood.com, MelissaMatters


How Do I Participate in Everyone Matters?

Make an effort to do something for someone else, anything positive to help others.  If you are a writer or blogger, share your story about what you are doing to spread kindness, and let them know you did it in Melissa's honor.  The idea is for this to spread, like a kindness wildfire!

Some ideas for giving back:

*donate to an animal shelter
*help out at a soup kitchen or church function
*donate toys or clothes to the needy
*spread some Random Acts of Kindness
*participate in an Operation Shoebox or Samaritan's Purse (see more info below)

I will promote Everyone Matters a few times a year, but particularly on Melissa's birthday, March 26th.

Everyone Matters Around the World: Samaritan's Purse

A friend of mine told me about a collection her church does for an organization called Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to those in need around the world.  In the month of November, they collect shoeboxes full of items for children as part of Operation Christmas Child. Having just heard about the loss of Melissa, I thought we could do this in her honor, too.  You can find out how to get your own box here.



They have a whole list of suggestions on what to put in the box (soap, a toothbrush, balls, a jump rope, etc.) but we also found this article extremely helpful when assembling our box.  Here's the general idea of what we put in our box (for a little boy).


It was nice to get The Jersey Momma's Boy involved in this project, too.  It helped him understand how much he truly has, and what it means to really be grateful for something.

Writing is Powerful

When I was a teacher I used to tell my students that writing was powerful.  When they would gripe about having to write sentences or papers, I would remind them that the written word had powers and that what they wrote meant something.  To emphasize this, we wrote letters to companies and received free samples and gifts.  We wrote compliments to authors and received drawings and books in return.  We sent friendly postcards to other students in distant countries and received photos of their classrooms and lives.  We even corresponded with an animal shelter and asked them what we could do to help.  So even if pencils become obsolete and technology completely takes over the world, we will still need great writers!  The stories you read, the video games people like, the plays people see- someone needs to write them.  Written words have power.  They can cause anger, elicit fear, or spread love and kindness - so choose your words wisely.  What you write can remain long after you are gone.

I hope Melissa Matters' family and children always feel her love in her writing.  I hope Wading Through Motherhood remains online for many years to come, so that others may benefit from what she had to say, even though she is no longer with us.  You see, words matter.  Your story matters.  Everyone matters.


Rest in peace, Melissa Matters. You made a difference here.  

12 comments:

  1. I love this and you inspired me to do more this christmas

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    1. Aw, thanks, Terri! That makes me happy and I'm sure Melissa would love it, too.

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  2. Such a wonderful idea. Your tribute to Melissa and helping keep her blog alive are beautiful.

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  3. Beautiful tribute, and lovely idea to honor such a giving soul. ����������������������

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  4. So beautiful and so kind. I will be committing RAKs everyday in Melissa's honor.

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    1. Awesome, Rebecca! You know, it's funny, I had a bunch of extra coupons to a store I was in the other day and I thought, why not give them away since I was just talking about showing the love? People were so happy- it made me feel good and I thought it was something Melissa would have even blogged about!

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  5. What! I had no idea she passed away. I read her posts occasionally since we were on similar blogging networks. Wow. Apparently the few days I took a break from blogging were important days. I think it is wonderful that you are spreading awareness that Everyone Matters. I will definitely try to help out in honor of Melissa.

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    1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. She was such a nice person. Thanks for offering to be a part of the mini movement!

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  6. This is beautiful. I have made a list of about 40 bloggers that I am going to consistently show love and support to. The way Melissa supported the work of her friends was extraordinary. I hope to do her justice in spreading just a little bit of that love. Everyone really does matter.

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    1. Great idea, Jules! I am trying to do the same thing but it's a challenge. Melissa really was wonderful. Thanks for reading my post and for spreading her kindness, too!

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