Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spread Your Wings and Fly To Tallahassee.

Ya know, being a freelance writer has its perks. You get to go to cool events for free. You get good food and all kinds of swag for free, but you also get to meet some of the most interesting people. Everyone you interview has a story to tell; obviously or you wouldn’t bother interviewing them.Sometime, people amaze you! That’s what happened to me when I met Aunt Donna the Butterfly Lady.

I was sent to cover an event for one of the papers where I freelance and that's when I saw Aunt Donna. She was standing by her cage of butterflies. So you say, “Ok, Libby what’s so amazing about that?” She had on these huge butterfly wings and purple butterfly sunglasses. I had to get a picture of her! She obliged me and let me take her picture. She handed me her business card that explained about her butterfly releases and ministry. I was intrigued. I thought this would be another great story for the papers. I thanked her and went about covering the event.

I told the paper about Aunt Donna and emailed them the photo I took of her. They loved it and gave me the go ahead to do a story on her. I contacted Aunt Donna to set up the interview. Can you guess what she wore to the interview? Yep, butterfly wings! I loved it. Here is this 71-years-young woman sitting in Barnes & Noble café, talking to me with butterfly wings on and tiny little butterflies in her hair. I found out she wears butterflies where ever she goes. I also found out the butterflies saved her life and how she wants to tell everyone that God loves them through her butterflies. I feel in love with her spirit and energy right there in the café.

Aunt Donna is on a mission to walk, bounce and Segway all the way to Tallahassee for The American Ideals Foundation. The foundation honors soldiers, fallen or alive, and their families. She is taking her cat, K.C., who will be in his pet taxi with his American flag flying proudly, along with her 84-year-old sister who rides in a scooter. Her sister is a Gold Star Wife and she will be carrying her husband’s metals. He was killed in WWII. This convoy will be hitting the road sometime in May. Can imagine this little group rolling down the interstate on your morning commute? Aunt Donna needs help with her mission. She needs gas and a motor home to haul all their stuff for the trip. She figures it will take her 14 or more days to complete her mission. I told her I would help her in any way I can. Yeah, you know I’m going to write another story about her and the mission!

I have to hand it to her, at 71-years-young, she has more energy and determination than I do at 37. I’ve been bugging everyone I know to help Aunt Donna get the missing pieces for her trip. Through a friend of a friend, I got the name of someone at an RV place to help her get the motor home. I got the news papers, where I freelance, to run her story in both papers. I did this in the hopes someone would see what I see and donate gas cards or supplies to her. I’ve been stalking my pastor at church to let Aunt Donna come and talk about her mission, as well as release her butterflies for the kids at church. I know my church will love her and give her a wonderful love offering. I can just see it now, Aunt Donna on the alter telling us her testimony, with her big glorious wings sticking out from behind her back! Butterflies flying all around the courtyard outside of our church! I even made my pastor a couple dozen blueberry muffins in exchange for letting her come and speak at our church. Ok, I’m sure somewhere in the Bible, bribery is a sin, but hey, it’s for a good cause! Aunt Donna! (Pastor if you read this, I really wanted to give you the muffins, but I figured it couldn’t hurt! Love you!)

Aunt Donna tells me I’m a mess but I’m a blessing in her life. A blessed mess? Is there such a thing? If there is, it’s most definitely me! A blessed hot mess! She asked me why I would want to help an old lady out. I told her, “You had me at the wings!” I fell in love with wings and the ball of fire known as Aunt Donna the Butterfly Lady. If you would like to donate to Aunt Donna’s mission please contact her at 813-659-1194.

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