Day 24: Giving Thanks, Making Trades

Day 24: Giving Thanks, Making Trades!

For those of you that don’t know, Mandy and I were able to sponsor two families last year for Christmas and decided at that we would do something fun to raise money to help more families this year. Enter Chuck!

Chuck is a squirrel ornament with a great deal of sentimental value to me (given to me for Christmas of ‘06 by Mandy’s mom). We decided to trade Chuck for something of greater monetary value which would then be traded again and again with the final item being auctioned off. The final proceeds will sponsor as many needy families as possible!

We started a blog dedicated to Chuck’s trades, unfortunately with all the activities that transpired this past year we dropped the ball and only made a couple of trades. Mandy wrote some fun stories of the people we met and the trades that we have made so far. You can read all about Chuck, see him in his first film production (yes, Chuck the Squirrel is a movie star!) and see our trades here:

(We will update from this point forward on our main blog Please continue reading to hear of our first Tulsa trade!)

This will be our first trade since leaving over three weeks ago. Once in Apalachicola, we had a restaurateur offer up his old shrimping boat for trade! Unfortunately, we had absolutely no way of making that happen logistically L

So now that we are nestled in for a week here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I decided to try posting on craigslist to see if I could stir up any trades. Sure enough, I received an email from a kind lady who wanted to donate (not trade) two huge trash bags full of stuffed animals. As it turns out, Tammy and her mother have their own “Chuck Story”. Tammy’s mother mends, washes, dries and fluffs up delicately used (and sometimes new) stuffed animals and Tammy takes them to the local police departments for officers to keep in their squad cars and to local women’s shelters! How cool is that!

Unfortunately, I had to write Miss Tammy back and let her know that Magnolia (our rolling house) simply did not have the room to store the two large trash bags. Tammy and I later decided that she would post on craigslist near Christmas and give the animals to families for stocking stuffers and gifts.

Tammy understood our lack of space and emailed back that she was looking for something else to trade because she wanted to participate somehow! A few minutes later I had a new email from Tammy with an attachment. Tammy had decided to give us one of her prized dolls, an Ashton Drake Sweet Dreams Baby Doll which is still in the box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, information about the artist, a crib and baby blanket. The mold for this doll was destroyed on Dec. 31, 1995, so no more can ever be made.

This is a doll similar to the one given to us but it is not the actual one.

I’ll digress here for a moment to share a brief story. After mom passed away, Mandy was having great difficulty sleeping each night; waking from terrible dreams. A woman from her church stopped Mandy and said, “This is going to seem strange but I continue to have “Sweet Dreams Baby Girl” play through my mind over and over and thought that might mean something to you” Mandy’s mom had called her “baby girl”. When we saw that Tammy was trading us a Sweet Dreams Baby Doll we were taken back and excited about the trade!

I met Tammy and her husband, who I think was leery of what we were up to, and she was filled with the spirit of giving on the eve of the day so aptly named. She told me the story of the stuffed animals and of her good fortune having paid off their car before she became disabled and unable to work. She would not take our painting in trade but wanted to give her doll as a blessing to those it will eventually provide Christmas for. I asked her to sign the back of the painting which now reads, “God Bless. Tammy Tulsa, Okla”

Her husband was gracious enough to take this picture of us. Our visit wasn’t but ten minutes but as I drove away, I couldn’t help but smile and feel blessed to have been apart of such unselfish giving. What an incredible start to our Thanksgiving.

Thank you Tammy.

Mandy and I are thankful to get take this journey across the United States and for the friends and family that are sharing this time with us. I am very thankful to have a beautiful new fiancé and for all the emails, comments and phone calls of support! You all made this time extremely memorable; just perfect! Additionally, we are ever grateful to Liz & John for opening up their Tulsa home and making it feel so warm and comfortable. I’ve enjoyed the Jacuzzi tub so much that I’m on my third book in two days! I am thankful for the many skills and talents mum has gifted to Mandy and Fern for this day; good cooking/recipes, dinner planning/organization, table settings/decorating, etc… She is missed but her love of these things fills this place and for that we all are thankful.

We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment on what you are most thankful for on this day.

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