Later in this project we'll be asking for sponsorships through letters sent by ourselves and our volunteers.  100% of  those donations come to us in the form of an adoption grant - helping us fund the last portion of our adoption.  In return for the grant we'll be receiving, we pledge to spend an entire day (along with a large team of volunteers) making repairs to the home of a widow.

Helen Carroll has agreed to be our widow.  Many of you may know Helen from Linton schools and CVS.  Some of you may know one of her eight children.  Her daughter Tonia Johnson is my best friend in the entire world.  The best friend anyone could ever ask for.

In high school, the Carroll kids were constantly stereotyped.  The name Carroll brought to mind pictures of pretty girls with brown hair who get straight A's.  I know they hated to be lumped together... but when one sibling after another makes straight A's... people start to talk.  And the Carroll kids were all such GOOD people.  They never got into trouble and they were always so nice.  I've always thought of them, as a whole, as a kind of phenomenon...  How is it possible for eight children in one family to turn out so well? 

Since Tonia and I became friends, about twelve years ago, I have seen for myself exactly how all eight turned out so well.  It was fantastic parenting. 

Tim and Helen Carroll were the kind of parents that you see in a movie, but hardly exist in the real world.  They had high expectations for all of their children, but not unrealistically high.  Their children always respected them and wanted to make them happy.  I think every parent sets out to raise their family this way, but I've never seen one so successful.

Tim and Helen have worked hard.  Helen works two jobs right now. 

The Carroll's are a close and happy family.  There are seven grandchildren with an eighth on the way.  They are great people.  They are beautiful, wonderful people. 

They lost Tim, suddenly and unexpectedly, on March 4, 2010.  Tim was the center of the family, and losing him sent them reeling.  It's been a hard year for them.  My heart breaks for Tonia.  Tonia, who always knows the right thing to say to me... now I have no idea what to say to her. 

After all of the years of raising kids and working multiple jobs, the Carroll house needs some work.  Having this project come our way, is such a perfect fit, it seems like it must have been planned by God from the beginning.  Our need for help with our adoption and Tonia's mom's need for help with her home.  There must have been a bigger plan at work than we couldn't have seen ourselves.

Tony Kluesner has been so very kind and generous to lead our construction endeavors on this project.  Thank you so very much, Tony.  I hope that we are able to do something tremendous for Helen's house.  I hope that she is blessed by this experience more than we are. 

If you are reading this and you think that you would like to be involved in any way... please don't be shy.  We NEED help.  Lots and lots of help!  Right now, what we need most are people who are willing to be letter mailers for us.  We're going to have a 1/2 hour initial meeting at our house during the week of October 25th, and then we'll have an envelope stuffing party on the following Saturday. 

Now, I have to close this with a bit of a disclaimer: whenever I write something long and heartfelt, I send it to Tonia for editing.  So this time I was on my own, and I must apologize to Tonia for my creative use of the comma and I'm sure many other errors.  And I want to say thank you Tonia for everything... I can't imagine life without you.  I love you.

Stories from families who have already helped widows and orphans with the Both Hands project:  http://bothhandsfoundation.org/stories/

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