Monday, October 28, 2013

The incredible journey with Uncle Bens, Bens Beginners, and Mars

It started as a small task....cook with your family and post a video.

But what it ended up being has rocked me to my core.

Let's start at the beginning:
Reese and I are avid cookers. I honestly need to start blogging more of our cooks since he loves to be in the kitchen. He loves it so much that I bought him a professional chef hat and coat last year for his birthday. He started to put it on while cooking. He refers to the cooking cartoon, Ratatouille. And we will say, "Your sleeves look like you threw up on them!" And we laugh since the mark of a good chef is messy apron, clean sleeves. (I do need to get him an apron!)

One day we were looking up recipes. It started in Pinterest and then we had some Uncle Bens Rice so we decided to look up on their website to see if they had any inspiring ideas for a quick dinner.

What we found was a contest. The rules seemed simple. Cook a meal with your family, film it, and then post it onto their website. 

That day we took to pinterest and found a recipe that included ribs. We had some amazing ribs in the freezer and we wanted to use them. They were from our own beef. It was important to show who we were in the video. We are ranchers! 

We filmed that Saturday and it took all day. These were some of the videos that didn't make the cut because we had a limit of 3 minutes. When we had the first video done it was 15 minutes! :) Editing was in order!

We had a blast! But then after reading the rules (I don't recommend starting something without reading the rules first!) we discovered we had portions of the video in vertical shooting. Back to the drawing board! We went and bought the ingredients again and then shot it again. It only took two hours of filming the second time. We had it down! 

I went to upload the video to Uncle Bens and our school in Boswell could not come up. We couldn't submit the video. But we stuck with it and I contacted Uncle Bens. They referred me to Bens Beginners and the conversation started to get us on there. The result was we were able to post our video under independent film. They were great in responding back to me! (Next year we will get it to where Boswell will be on there since there will be many more submissions from our tiny little town!)

I talked to our principal, Mr. Edge. He gave us the thumbs up. was all out marketing! Here is where my story gets interesting!

My strength: Connectedness. (Gallup Pole test) which means I find connections between people and try to bring them in. I do not like people being not included so I try to bring those people together with often odd connections. :) 

What does Reese's video have? We are ranchers, we support agriculture, Reese has a cleft lip and palate, he is a young chef, we live in Oklahoma. 

There were several things I could go on! I started on posting a blog to gain awareness. I used the PR Press release and added a little bit of my own twist. Then...I went nuts. 

I used the social sites: Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, Pinterest

I found a group of Cleft Lip and Palate kiddos. This was a closed group. I sent an invitation to join the group and several days later they accepted me. I posted Reese's story. 

That is where the things got interesting. We made friends. We made many friends. Friends that are going through the same things Reese and I went through years ago. I saw people's raw emotions about their children going through surgeries. 

On October 15, my daughters birthday, I saw a post about a little girl named Kamry, Supergirl. They were from Springfield, Missouri. She was just born. She was diagnosed in utero with Tristomy 13. It's a rare chromosome disorder. The result was she also had a cleft lip and palate. That is how one of the members posted about her story in the cleft lip and palate. You can see her story here:

I watched the supergirl's story unfold as I kept telling people to vote for Reese. We met a chef in Oklahoma City, a great group of Canadians from Crime Stoppers, and three ladies who diligently voted for my son on twitter. 

Many people posted about 'good job, voted, congrats'....we did receive one message from a child around Reese's age which cut like a knife. He had not read the message and reposted saying some ugly choice words about my son's looks. 

The dagger hit my heart. I posted to the cleft lip group and said, 'Should I intervene'? They all said yes so I found out the school where the child attended. (Once again why children should not be unmonitored on the computer--because with a little research, your child can be found). I told the counselor about the situation, asked her guidance on how she can handle it, and just said, "Please educate this child on what a cleft is..."

The response I received was they contacted the child and educated him about what a cleft was. He took down his hateful post and replaced it with "Poor kid, I hope he lives a long life." ...better and perhaps I stopped a future bully.

Keep voting...Keep voting...The days were long on the computer reaching out to strangers.

We had one TV Host retweet to his 32,000 followers, appeared in various publications on the net, and gained awareness about what a cleft truly was. A blogger wants to feature Reese on her blog by using him as a success story!

Kamry kept fighting her battle through our competition. 
I saw her little feet and they were her perfect little face. 

Prayers were said as I kept tweeting. I shared my advice to mothers going through surgery. How they could tell if there was infection. My advice was being heard through the group! All 12 surgeries that my son had endured allowed me to be an asset to the group. In addition, most were from the UK and Europe. I met also beautiful, young people who had clefts. One young lady befriended me on Facebook and she speaks Swedish, English, and Spanish. She is a true success story.  

I remember Reese's face when he was born. I remember all the scariness I faced when I was 20. I had only wished I had a resource like the cleft group I had just found.
(Reese, 4 months of age)

Then on October 25, I read a disbelief I re-read it from Kamry, the Supergirl. 

 I reread the words, "She passed away..."My heart remained heavy as I continued praying for them throughout the day. I prayed for peace....

I also thanked Kamry. I thanked her for coming to this earth for 9 short days. For allowing many people to be touched by her story. I looked at Reese playing with my three year old daughter. I felt blessed for all the trials and tribulations that we had gone through and survived. 

I hugged the kiddos closer that night. I kissed them and there was a peace as I shut down the computer. 

A friend told me at church, "There is a divine reason for everything."

If we are selected as finalists, voting will begin on November 18, 2013!
We will keep everyone posted!

The reason we joined the competition was just to show the world how amazing my son could cook. And it ended up being so much more. 

I was able to show the world my amazing, success story: my son, Reese. 
And I was able to meet extraordinary folks around the world. 
And one beautiful Super Angel, Kamry.