A few months ago I saw some posts on facebook from multiple friends about a couple trying to save their home from foreclosure by starting their own publishing company and children's series based on their now four year old daughter, Bella. I was touched by their story and their creativity in finding a way to supplement their income. I was drawn to the concept of Bella the Great - an imaginative and adventurous little girl, (much like my own) and her sidekick Iago, a stuffed bunny. As I navigated their website and saw the lovely illustrations created by Jonathan Ashley, I got excited about getting to not only share Bella the Great with Zoe and Finnegan, but with my friends and family as well. I had to resist the urge to purchase the coloring books and t-shirts I wanted because we're on a tight budget ourselves these days, but I quickly pre-ordered the first book:
Moments later, I was messaging Derek and telling him how inspired I was by his story. We quickly became facebook friends, exchanged messages and later connected with each other's spouses. I shared my interest in pursuing my photography and writing and he and his wife became my cheerleaders and gifted me with the services of a designer to build a merchant site for my photography. Since then, I have gotten to know them more through messages, posts and photos and I am so grateful to have connected with two people who are filled with so much "Love and Light". I do not doubt that I am a more optimistic person by having them in my life. It is amazing to me that despite Derek and I growing up in the same town, going to the same high school and sharing many friends past and present, we didn't know each other at all before all of this - I'm just happy I get to be friends with him and Gina now.
When I first read about Derek and Gina, Daniel and I were just starting the process of buying our first home. When we signed our loan documents and committed to 30 years of payments, I couldn't help but think of our friends and what they are going through. Now that we are homeowners, (as of April Fools, ha) I am even more sympathetic and invested in helping them get their story out there. I have so many dreams for our home, I can only imagine what a nightmare it would be to be faced with losing it. Not a day goes by without me thinking of my new friends and hoping people are as touched by their story as I am.
So, here's the deal: Derek and Gina have a Bella the Great website. It tells their story and has an online store for you to pre-order from the Bella line. Please, check it out. They're on Facebook - become a fan and help me spread the word! Help my friends and get a beautiful book, coloring book, poster, or t-shirt (or hey, the entire line!) in the process - everyone wins...