Sunday, July 15, 2012

On Nyla's Birthday

This weekend we celebrated Nyla's second birthday. For her first birthday party, we had a lot of people over with a lot of food, but for her second birthday we decided a while back that we wanted to keep it lower key and let Nyla have a little more breathing room. We kept the guest list to our parents, siblings, my two living grandparents, Nyla's church friends and Sunday school teachers. Unfortunately, 2 of her little friends were not in town, but Nyla and A still had a great time playing together.

Ginny and I, even before her first birthday, made the decision that we ask people NOT to give presents to Nyla. There were a few reasons why we did this.
  1. We did not want Nyla to associate her birthday with presents. Yes, I know this is typically what birthdays are supposed to be about, but we would rather Nyla remember the good times with friends and family rather than presents.
  2. We have blessed beyond measure by my mom and Ginny's parents with clothes and toys. Our family and friends have also passed down toys and books for the girls as well. Simply put, she doesn't need any more toys beyond what we've been given. Ginny has written before about wanting to be more minimal and living simplistically. That fits in here, too. Again, we would rather Nyla remember the experience of the party, not the toys.
  3. Rather than Nyla receive gifts, we want to teach her the value or helping others. That's why when she's older we will go through old (and new) clothes and toys and teach her about giving those away to people who need them. Life is not about taking whatever you can. It's about giving to others what you are able to give.
Last year, we asked that in lieu of gifts people donate money to our church's playground fun. The playground was built and now is home to many smiles and running children on Sundays and Wednesdays. This year, we wanted to do something similar. And that led us to Kiva. What is Kiva? Well, see the letter we included in the invitation. It will explain things well.... (more after the jump)

Dear Family and Friends,
    First of all, we want to thank you for your involvement in Nyla’s life. She has truly been a joy and blessing to our lives, and through your love and support you, too, have been a blessing to our lives. As we approach Nyla’s 2nd birthday, Ginny and I want to thank you for your donations last year in Nyla’s honor to our church’s playground fund. I am happy to report that Nyla and the other children enjoy the playground very much.
    For this 2nd birthday, we are again asking for no gifts for Nyla. We continue to be blessed by the generosity of our parents, family, and friends. Ginny and I want Nyla to learn about being a blessing to others. That is why we are asking for your donations to help Nyla “loan” money through Kiva ( to people across the world without access to traditional banking systems. Here is a quote from Kiva’s website: “We envision a world where all people - even in the most remote areas of the globe - hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.”
    As I am typing this, here are a few people requesting loans and what they will do with the money. Ateme in Kosovo needs $1875 to buy equipment for her sewing machine. Luis Gustavo in Ecuador needs a loan of $1300 to buy pigs. Carlos in Bolivia needs a loan of $1000 to buy equipment for his family’s mariachi band. Through loans as little as $25, people around the world help fund these loans and assist people in moving past poverty which surrounds them. Not only can just $25 help someone but each person or group who is given a loan pays back 100% of the money to the lender so the lender can re-invest in someone else’s life.     What we want to do with your donation is help fund people’s loans which align with Nyla’s interests – people looking to purchase farm animals or vegetables. If you are going to write a check, please make the check out to Ginny or myself. We will deposit the money ASAP and let Nyla help decide whom to help.     Thank you so much for your involvement in Nyla’s and our lives. We love each one of you and hope you will be able to attend our sweet girl’s celebration!
We cannot wait to invest the money we have received and begin helping people succeed in life, not just for this year, but for many years to come.

Thanks for reading! And have a great day!


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