Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Wonders - Jenna and Yvette

On what turned out to be a windy, chilly, rainy, and evidently very busy evening, we celebrated Fort Worth Young Life with our Fund Raising Banquet last night. I've had the privilege of working alongside the Young Life committee with banquets off and on over the years, and it is such a thrill to see all of the efforts of this "club for grown ups" come together. And hopefully raise some money in the process.

My banquet day memories testify to arriving at Will Rogers right after school drop-off, decorating tables and arranging name tags all day with dear YL friends (you know who you are!), frantically arranging childcare for the afternoon because we didn't get it all finished, changing clothes and touching up makeup in the public restroom, and then hoping all of those name tags would indeed disappear as people arrived to claim them. Then a late-night drive home, bleary-eyed and a bit fatigued after visiting with friends from across the city, but with but a grateful heart and satisfied smile from seeing the event come together. And while the guests were asked to give tens of thousands of dollars, adults across our city were truly ministered to and encouraged.

Whew. And that's just the day-of. That's not counting the weeks and months prior of planning and phone calls and emails. It's something the organizers can do for a year or two, or maybe three, and then it's time to pass the baton.

Unless you're Jenna and Yvette.

For nearly a decade now, Jenna Lee and Yvette Livesay-Wright have spear-headed Fort Worth's Young Life fundraising events. From massive banquets to carnival rodeos to intimate concerts, this power duo has offered their over-the-top creative minds, powerful elbow grease, and seemingly endless energy for the cause of raising funds for Young Life.

All of this above and beyond their roles of "wife," "mommy," and industrious day jobs.

By day (and often by night, and weekend, and every minute in between), Jenna manages her design and event planning business, Splurge Events, which could not be more aptly named. A few weeks ago a friend shared the details of a birthday party Jenna had helped orchestrate (one I'd already heard buzzes about), and the rest of us sat wide-eyed with mouths agape, hearing descriptions and looking at pictures of the incredible, thoughtful, extravagant, and immensely detailed celebration. Honestly, when I experience or hear about Jenna's work, my primary thought is, "Who thinks of these things??!" And then, perhaps even more incredulous, "Who actually makes these things happen?!"
Truly, even walking through Jenna's home is an experience. A feast for the eyes and senses. As one of the men at the banquet last night described her, "Man - she's got an eye!"

I admire Yvette and her husband Michael for taking a big leap of faith several years ago in quitting their day jobs and starting their own graphic design business, Lora Lorena. Like Jenna, they are an example of a couple living out their giftedness - and even making a living at it. I asked Yvette recently if she and Michael were still enjoying their work, because even with the beauty and creativity their design offers, of course it couldn't possibly all be fun and games, right? She immediately responded that even in the crazy seasons and amidst the stresses of owning your own business, they are so grateful to be doing what they love. My desk drawer contains a prized stash of customized Lola Lorena stationary, we receive dozens of their designs in our mailbox each Christmas season via friends' family cards, and last winter Corbin surprised me with LL's birthday signs and stationary for my 40th party (thanks, love!)

I have seen Yvette and Jenna's creative touches at weddings, birthday bashes, fund raising events, small gatherings, city-wide Junior League events, and church events - but my very favorite thing about both women is that they are doing what they were created to do, which ultimately brings glory to their Creator.

So my hat goes off to a truly dynamic duo. Thank you for your time, your energy, your creativity and your steady, voluntary hours and hours (and hours!) dedicated to Young Life over the years. Our city is so fortunate to have you both.
Not taken last night, but a recent pic of me and Jenna
Yvette and Anna placing centerpieces
Yvette (and husband Michael's) invitation design. They also provided name tags, table numbers, and signage. Darling!

Setting up on a rainy morning... Somehow I got the half of the room not full of volunteers. Lots of hands there helping!
Daboo decorating day-of... for years now! Mom and Dad were on YL committee years before us. She's not helping me, she's helping Young Life.
Renee leading a dedicated prayer time
The train wreck that most of our guests ended up behind. Seriously. Everyone had to wind around the stockyards to get to River Ranch because this main road was shut down (thx for the photo, Lisa!)
Jonah Werner. Fabulous. Again, because he takes risks to live out what he was created to do - storytelling, singing, and playing his guitar. I'm convinced it's not a real guitar, but some extra-terrestrial instrument based on all the sounds Jonah makes from it. Regardless, his talent is tremendous. 
A few closing thoughts on last night:

- Happy Birthday TODAY to Young Life! According to Jace ~ October 16, 1941, is the signatory date on the incorporation papers of the Young Life Campaign in the great state of Texas, markings its legal beginnings.

- Grateful for encouraging emails and texts through the banquet process, particularly from our personal guests. NO ONE was sitting around with nothing to do last night. And in addition, it was a dreary night to get out. As my friend Krista says, the Stockyards can feel a "day trip" as it is. Meant so much to us that people showed up.

- If I had to miss Bran's football game, at least it was one they played in pouring rain. And one where they came home with a win - against a scary big team.

I have missed writing these "Wednesday Wonder" posts, because when I see amazing people doing extraordinary things, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from my little blog!  The people I highlight here are "Wonders" in my eyes because I see God's work in and through them - His work transforming the ordinary to extraordinary. But it typically takes a willing heart, some risk, and an offering of "yes" for Him to transform.