Black Friday, Paris, and The Shelter


It was one week ago tonight that Team Williams sat around the table after dinner and contemplated what we could do for the people of Paris. It didn’t take long for seven-year old Lydia to say, “We could send them cards.” Then five-year old Abby said, “And how about some money to buy new clothes.” Araya Sunshine astutely asked the girls who they wanted to write to. Eight-year-old Gracelyn thought for a moment and said, “I want to write to the man whose wife died, and he has a little boy.” The man’s name is Antoine Leiris. He wrote an open letter on Facebook that has gone viral and inspired millions of people with hope, courage, and love. Antoine's Letter Araya and the girls got out crayons, pens and paper while I tried to find information for Antoine Leiris. This was Team Williams = Teamwork Time. In one hour the girls had each made a touching card, and I had contacted the embassy. I haven’t been able to get an address for Mr. Leiris yet, but I am extremely determined to get these gifts to him.

 I am confident that love finds a way to get where it needs to go.

Abby Paris card

The conversation at the table inspired even more generosity as Team Williams turned to chatting about Black Friday. Although Black Friday shopping has never been one of our traditions, I am certainly not against it. I have a lot of wonderful friends who love it. They stay up late, drink tons of hot chocolate and coffee, find great deals, and make a bunch of memories.

This year on Black Friday we decided to make some Team Williams memories by starting a tradition called “Giveaway Friday.”

We got our hot chocolate, we got our coffee, and we started going through all of our clothes to see what we might give away. Two hours and two boxes of clothing later we needed to figure out where to take our clothes. We had lots of ideas, but we wanted Love to show us who needed these clothes the most.

Love showed us who needed our clothes at a Thanksgiving dinner with our friend Danielle.

Lydia Paris card

Our friend Danielle had just discovered a domestic violence shelter right near her home. Many of the women and children in this shelter had left violent home situations with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Giving our clothes to the shelter was a no-brainer. I contacted the shelter and coordinated a drop-off time while the girls added a few toys and books to the boxes of clothes. We paused before giving the items to the shelter and prayed for the kids and moms who would receive them. Crystal, the shelter manager, was grateful and said these things would help a lot of women and children. We were thankful as we drove away and remembered that love finds a way to get where it needs to go.

So what about you? What if your family started a new tradition this holiday season?

Take some time on a car ride or after a meal and ask your kids what they want to do. Kids always have the best ideas. If you come up with a cool new tradition let us know because maybe we’ll borrow it from you. If you don’t have any kids, call us: you can borrow ours. They are really cool. And never forget that wherever you are at, or whatever you are doing, Love finds a way to get where it needs to go.

Gracelyn Paris copy