High heels, sore feet, and kids with books

On Friday, we had the opportunity to go to the “2014 SMART Gala: Dinner, Auction and ‘Make a Difference’ Paddle Raise.” There were a few reasons I was interested in going. One, we never dress up. Last October, Chris purchased his first suit ever in the decade + we have been married, and I purchased a sassy dress, and gulp: high heels. I am not a high heel kind of woman. I think there was a time in my life when I might have gone down that yellow brick road, but that time has long passed. I can manage in high heels for a few hours, but the end of that night means a foot massage is due. I seriously do not know how Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda did it for so many years, especially in New York City. My own experience concludes that a city block in New York is much longer than a city block in Portland.

I digress. The dressing-up part was fun, and I was hoping to end up with some glamorous photos of me and my better half, but the lighting sucked. So here is a so/so photo. So back to the Gala. The second reason I was interested in going is the charity event itself. SMART stands for Start Making A Reader Today, here is an excerpt from their website:

“One child at a time. One volunteer at a time. One book at a time. Since 1992, SMART has been pairing caring, adult volunteers with children in need of reading support and books to take home and keep. SMART volunteers read one-on-one with students weekly during the school year, modeling a love of reading and building children’s reading skills and self-confidence in a positive, child-driven environment.”

The event included a silent auction, raffle, and live auction, and at the end of the night they had estimated that we raised over $400,000! I was impressed with the span of ages, and the amount of money that was dropped in the name of literacy. One couple gave $25,000 and offered to match another $25,000 if enough folks contributed during that auction — and they did. Timber Joey (the Portland Timbers mascot) was in attendance, and was part of the live auction. The prize? Timber Joey and one of the players would come and read at the school of your choice.

Such fun. I am grateful for all the individuals that donated money to support children, books, and reading. A cause near and dear to my heart.

A life full of opportunities, building, and being smart

I want to talk about this. I want to talk about this poignant acceptance speech by Ashton Kutcher flying around the Internet and Facebook. You have probably already seen it. I want to say a few things about his speech. Ashton is twice as old as many of the teens watching the Teen Choice Awards. He is also a midwest boy (Iowa) and went through a lot as a kid with his sick twin brother, his parents divorce, and the trouble he got in as a teenager. He is not just Hollywood fluff. He has lived.

I loved what he told teens in 2013. Teens that might be obsessed with those that have money and power. He did not talk about that. Not about all the glam, money, and fame that he has had in his life, but about working hard. That life does not just come to us, that we have to work for it, show up, grow into our next phase. My favorite part is when he said the sexiest thing is being smart. I hope that those teenagers watching understand what he means. Here are a few excerpts, but be sure to also watch the video below:

Opportunities:

“And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.”

Being Sexy:

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you…it’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. So be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous.”

Build a life:

“Everything around us that we call life, was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life, don’t live one.”