28 December, 2013

Thank you Greensboro

For coming out on a cold and rainy night to care for the poor and hungry.  

Here are the totals for the year so far. 
     8091 pounds of food for the food banks, 
$  1,299 in contributions from the Lighted Ball workshop 
$32,500 from the Running of the Balls,
$     757 dropped off or mailed to us for the food drive.  

27 December, 2013

Bakersville, NC

Bakersville, NC, population 357, gets its very first Lighted Christmas Ball. (More to follow!)
Photo credit @wesley.m

17 December, 2013

Thank you Greensboro

For they shall be filled.
Thanks to the busy Sunset Hills Volunteers - 4 loads were taken to Greensboro Urban Ministry Thursday (12/19/13) weighing in at 2636 pounds adding to this year's total of 3464 pounds so far.  

Nick reported that the "Running of the Balls" 5K walk/run netted a check to Second Harvest Food Bank in the amount of $32,500.  And today we installed a sign with a QR code so that anyone driving by can instantly scan the code with their smart phone and direct a donation to Second Harvest on the spot.  

Keep those canned food donations coming in.  Shine the Light on Hunger.  

Winter Park Florida SHINING BRIGHT

Bookmark and ShareHere are some lovely photos from Winter Park Florida.

And a link to downtown Winter Park.  WOW.  We need to get the city of Greensboro to do this. 

07 December, 2013

AND This just in from Florida

Hi There,

 My husband and I moved from Greensboro, NC to Fort Lauderdale, Fl, in 2011. We weren't used to being so far away from family and friends, not to mention year round tropical weather. We bought a house the following year and really wanted to make Christmas feel more familiar. It was a such a different frame of mind to decorate our palm trees! We decided to make the lighted Christmas Balls. We went to Home Depot and bought all the materials, hung them on our trees, and stood back so proud and nostalgic. We are hoping they will catch on in our neighborhood.
 We just put them up for the second year, this afternoon. I just wanted to write you and tell you that we are inspired by the Sunset Hills neighborhood, and hope we create that same community of giving here! 

Take care and Merry Christmas!
Leilani and Shawn Whitmire

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The mailbag

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From Sherry:  This year's celebration of light in Sunset Hills will be so sad. Butch is not here to go for his "wild rides through psychedelic outer space." They were always the highlights of his holiday season.

We are happy that Butch had so many rides in our neighborhood and that he gave the LCBs yet another description.

02 December, 2013

From the Mailbag...

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We get to be the "keepers" of stories like this:

Hi Jonathan,

We lived in the Aycock Historic District with Justin. You might remember
us as the couple that make 10 red balls in one go!

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that the Christmas balls have crossed
the pond. They are now in England, about 30 miles from London
, which is
where we are currently living. And my brother has just added them in
Annapolis, Maryland
. Happy to send you photos if your daughter wants to
post on her blog.

Thank you for making the world a bit more magical! Please say hello to
Justin for me! And, Merry Christmas!!

Laura & Steven + 2 

30 November, 2013

The LCBs are moving west..

Bookmark and Share Lighted Christmas Balls in Pueblo, Colorado. These LCBs were  made by Marlene's high school physics teacher. He says they look so much better than the photo. He is quite thrilled to have joined the group of those displaying Lighted Christmas Balls.

25 November, 2013

1st Year Avery 7 Years old

Hi Avery, I found your name tag lying face up when I went out to hitch the food trailer to my suburban. With rain and freezing temperatures in the forecast, we thought it was time to take the first collection load to the food pantry.

So early this morning, I pulled into Urban Ministry and backed the trailer up to the loading dock. J.T and Marcus were smiling real big. I wish you could have been with me. We all pitched in and unloaded the trailer, in no time. Good nutritious foods like rice, cereal, beans, spaghetti, canned ham, every kind of soup, canned fruit, baked beans, and even baby food and baby formula. J.T. weighed it all on his scale smiled from ear to ear. "508 pounds," he said, "this is real good, just real good." You can see his picture below.

I just wanted you to know that you were part of something really, really big yesterday. More than making a lot of pretty lights, you became part of a community. Your family (and mine) has never, ever not had food for breakfast, lunch and supper. And we've never not had a safe, warm and happy home with a mom and a dad. And plenty of clean clothes and a beds. Not to mention toys and birthday cakes and fun family vacations.

Not everybody is so lucky: Did you know one out of every four children your age in North Carolina is food insecure? Food insecure is a fancy word for when you don't know where you next meal is coming from and neither does your brother and sister and mom and dad.

So yesterday when we were making Lighted Christmas Balls, meeting new friends and drinking warm apple cider and eating yummy snacks, what was really happening was bigger than making lots of pretty lighted balls. You and your mom and your sister and brother were becoming part of a community. And that's something good and kind and heroic, something precious to God. I would love it if you would take a picture of your lighted Christmas balls and send them to me. And I hope your dad gets all well and you can bring him to the workshop next year.

The community that you and me and 250 of friends get to be part of, we collected canned goods and all that food (and monetary donations) went to help feed a lot of hungry neighbors, some of them the same ages as you and your brother and sister. 

Being a 1st year Avery, 7 years old, is something really, really special. Keep it up, Avery, there's no telling how far you will go and how much good you will do. 

We'll post updates and stories and lots of pretty pictures, so stay tuned! Happy Thanksgiving!

Update from yesterday's party

Yesterday we "released" 240 lighted Christmas balls into Greensboro and the surrounding areas.  
The generous neighbors and friends donated 
$939 for Greensboro Urban Ministry, 
$360 for Second Harvest and 
508 pounds of food (and 6 bags of ice) to Greensboro Urban Ministry.  
Thanks to the many helpful hands from neighbors in Sunset Hills 
and some friends who just love the Lighted Christmas Balls enough to come across town to help.  
If you were there and took some photos.  
I would love to post them!  

23 November, 2013

First Fruits

First Canned Good showed up 5 minutes after the Food Trailer was on station. 
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Announcing the 2013 Lighted Christmas Ball Party and Workshop
If you have been wanting to make these crazy things - or to learn how to do it to take to your neighborhood, we have some spots open at the workshop.  

Sunday afternoon November 24th from 2-5 
Cost: canned food for the  The Shine the Light on Hunger Food Drive 
+ 1.25 for chicken wire for each ball you want to make.  
You also bring 200 mini lights any color for each ball.  
Optional: Bring a snack & adult or child's beverage to share....
+ a can of veggies for Stone Soup we will all enjoy
We will have LCB Demos - how to make, how to wire, how to launch. 

Questions - make a reservation email with your name and how many you want to make - 1-2 per person is average.  You can make more depending on how may people come & how much wire we have.  


Wonderful Note from California

I just love love love getting these letters(see below) from 'new friends' who have stumbled onto us via the internet.  It just makes my heart happy to see community time and know that they will bring much joy there.  I wish I could go see every Lighted Christmas Ball in the world.  At least I sure would like to have a push pin of all the places we know they exist.  
Thanks Denice, I can wait to see the Main Street photos.  
Anne & Jonathan 

My name is Denice Cull, I am a realtor in Sebastopol California. I came across your video of the lighted balls when searching prices on the store bought version. Our city needed help badly and I sent an e-mail to our mayor and within a week a small committee of people from our downtown association and chamber of commerce met to hear my idea. Three months and 108 balls later, we have just started hanging them on our Main St. and plan on making a bunch more in the next week. THANK YOU! I consider myself a highly experienced light ball assembly-person now, as well as having to figure out all the technical glitches of extension cords and connectors!
The pics below are my favorite color combinations which I have in my own trees at home, we chose multi-colored strands for the ones downtown and I haven't taken pics of those yet.
We also started late in the year and would like to eventually incorporate the hunger charity cause in the future.
Denice Cull
Realtor-Sales Associate
CPS Real Estate
5925 Fredricks Rd.
Sebastopol, CA  95472

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Kim and Gary have taken the pumpkins down and decked out for Christmas in PA. LOVELY.

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These are updated photos from Kim and Gary in Pennsylvania - wow those are gorgeous.  All sized lighted Christmas balls and snowflakes.  Beautiful - Thanks for sharing.  Merry Christmas

18 November, 2013

Lovely letter from West Virginia

A couple of weeks ago we received a lovely letter from Rebecca who lives in West Virginia.  Her husband is from Greensboro and introduced her to the beauty and the good of the lighted Christmas balls.  Her words let me know that she really 'got it' - that the lights are more than just a pretty magical thing. Her words were so sweet, sharing how she introduced them to friends, neighbors, family and church. She is inspired by the wide collection of colors and shapes and the possibilities to light up the cold cold dark dark nights of late fall and winter in the hills of WVA.  Here are a few of her fall balls.  She promises to send more along at Christmastime.

Please send me your photos and stories.  It is one of the best parts of this crazy tradition.

Thanks Rebecca.  Come to see us this year when you head south for the holidays.
Anne and Jonathan 

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29 October, 2013

Early Show in PA - read and see how Kim and Gary have transformed the Lighted Christmas Balls into Pumpkins

Hi There!!
I seen on your blog where you would like to see photos of houses where they have used your lighted ball idea, well here it is.  The Halloween photos with the pumpkins on the side of my house are in fact your ball idea only they are much larger, I used 60 inch and 48 inch chicken wire and doubled my length, THAT WAS A CHALLENGE, hehe!, and in case you are wondering the eyes are coffee cans with red Christmas lights stuffed in them, the neighbors like them, hehe!  our house sits on a hill 90 feet above the highway, kinda far off the road so I wanted them to be seen from the road, just cant sit a lighted deer up here, would just look like a blob, haha! I just make a little cylinder for the top and wrap with green lights for the stem and just pipe cleaner attach the to the balls.  Then at Christmas I put white lights on them for the regular balls, I do plan to make more this year and put them kinda rolling down the hill, this idea fits our house perfectly!! The snow flakes on the side of the deck are made from PVC pipe, I made a design and my dear hubby helped my with cutting everything and all the elbows, they are about 48” in diameter.  I get compliments all the time on the balls and pumpkins, thanks so much for the idea, nothing worked as well up here in the years past, but I think it works now!!
Thank You so much!!
Kim & Gary Marshall
239 DuBois Rockton Rd.
Rockton, PA  15856

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28 October, 2013

LIghted Christmas Ball Note Cards available now

Daughter Alison(original designer of the lighted Christmas balls) has been drawing and coloring and designing since her earliest days at the Infant Care Center at UNCG.  Every holiday occasion, her father and I have opened cards and projects she has crafted so it was no surprise last Christmas when I unwrapped kitchen towels with a drawing of a lighted Christmas balls.  I really loved it, so she submitted that image to the personalized stationary online business where she is a designer.  I really love how they turned out.  They are Crane quality note cards with envelopes and you can order yours by clicking the link below the card.  
They are lovely to do business with and have a terrific line of kids stationary and calling cards and tags.  There are plenty of other designs which I have given to friends and family.  She has just released one I really like with a bow tie for the guys.  Her designer name is Charlotte Vail so if you see that artist name when you open any of the other designs you will know it is her work. 
Lighted Christmas Ball Stationery
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For all our friends in Salisbury NC - an opportunity!

Lighted Christmas Ball Workshop at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, 1620 Brenner Ave. Salisbury NC 28146
10:00 AM Saturday December 7, 2013
The fourth annual Salisbury N.C. Christmas Ball Workshop will be held in the Fellowship Hall at John Calvin Presbyterian Church at 10:00 AM, Saturday, December 7, 2013.  The lighted Christmas balls are easily made and are designed to bring Christmas cheer to local neighborhoods.  Pictures of the balls illuminating neighborhoods in Salisbury, Greensboro and Charlotte can be seen at Lighted Christmas Ball Blog.
For each ball you wish to make, please bring 200 mini-lights.  All other materials will be supplied by JCPC.  Please also bring a donation of canned food to donate to Rowan Helping Ministries.  In 2012, over 10,000 pounds of food was collected in North Carolina to support area food banks.
Further information is also available from the Charlotte Observer story and the Salisbury Post’s coverage of the 2012 workshop.

15 March, 2013

Photo from Frederick Maryland

This from one of our dearest friends - Bill Humphrey.  He and his family made lighted Christmas balls for his daughter Ginger Humphrey Wiley and her family who just moved into a new home the week before Christmas (Oh my goodness)  We love to put up photos from other places in addition to Greensboro.  If you have some photos - send them to us - we will put them up.  
Happy New Year! 
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22 February, 2013

Surprise Joy

Triad Health Project's "pantry empty" status sent Anne into high gear, "Put the trailer back on the street and remember to put all the red and pink balls over the trailer," she said before adding, "and the big red heart goes above the front door, as high as it will go."

The cause of all his ruckus was that Triad Health Project hadn't received a shipment of food for five weeks, and their food cupboard was hours from being bare.

So Anne emailed Lighted Christmas Balls Ambassadors and posted on the Sunset Hills List serve about the food-deficit. A friend in Historic Aycock broadcast the need through her neighborhood's list serve.

Friends of Lighted Christmas Balls brought food. Five big boxes worth of canned/non-perishable food which Jonathan took it over to Triad Health Project. By 2/19, anne figured food donations were pretty much done for the year and it was time to retire the trailer again. And for three rainy days it remained empty.

But on the fourth night when Jonathan hitched up the dogs for their evening walk, he checked the trailer just to be sure food wasn't getting wet. That's when he discovered 12 big plastic bags full of food, each one double bagged to keep the contents dry. Just one more reason we love calling Greensboro home.

19 February, 2013

Ta Da! All the way from Oregon

I just received this email from people I do not know but some kindred spirits from across the country.  Anne 

We loved your idea for the Christmas Balls and made some each of the last 2 years.  I formed one into the cylinder shape hanging near the front door because we have to borrow the neighbors trees to hang the ones we’ve made so far.  Thanks for all you are doing for your community............  Jim & Carol,  Forest Grove, Oregon
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07 February, 2013

Donation Totals for the Shine the Light On Hunger Campaign for 2012

2007     $734.00     2,974  pounds
2008     $772.00     3,729  pounds
2009    $6,190.00    4,158  pounds
2010    $5,687.00    4,089  pounds
2011   $10,502.00   7,165  pounds
2012   $24,254.00  10,003  pounds
Total   $48,139.00  32,118  pounds

This year has been a great year.  The neighbors continue to store, retreive, repair and re-hang the lighted Christmas balls.  It brings a lot of joy to us and our friends from all over Greensboro and beyond.  It thrills us to see the buses of folks coming in from the local retirement communities and families with children - young and old - who delight in the beauty of the simple design.  

For the last 6 years we have added a food collection drive. Grateful persons from all over the county drop off small bags of food which add up to big pounds.  

Sadly, may of our food banks are already depleted from the overflowing donations from many organizations over Christmas.  Please keep the hungry in mind.  When you have a few extra dollars or if you can tighten up your own consumption, make sure to give donations all year long.  We will attempt to post places accepting donations year long.  

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2012 Year in Review!

I realized there were a lot of events we didn't ever get around to posting here on the blog.  This is my attempt to pull some photos from all of them and share them with you.

We kicked the year off with a workshop at the central library - it was a lot of fun and as always we met new friends and sent about 30 new lighted Christmas balls out into the city.  Beth Sheffield is our hostess for that event and it has always been a lot of fun. 

The next event was the Sunset Hills workshop held in our driveway and street on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Here a just a couple of shots from that time.


Next....Off to Morehead Hospital in Eden for a workshop there.  Here are some photos from that fun day!!

Ferrum College in Ferrum Virginia - some really nice action photos from that Sunday afternoon workshop with faculty and friends there........

Then - up from the basement storage come our personal Lighted Christmas Balls about 40 of them - who is counting?  

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all ready to be tested, repaired and hung - this is an annual event, everyone!!

Just to make the season a little more fun - News 2 features Jonathan and gives some great plugs for the Shine the Light on Hunger Food Drive and secures some Lighted Christmas Balls for the weather garden at News 2 

Fast forward a bit to the Running of the balls - a genius idea from our friend Nick Loflin.  I didn't really ever imagine it would be as huge as it was.  It was a huge success - even in less than ideal weather.  With bad weather comes muddy shoes - the photo of those was just TOO GOOD to pass up.  

Just some random shots from around the Sunset Hills neighborhood - some of our favorite things xoxoxo

The Primetimers group was so kind to ask Jonathan to come share the story with them at their annual Christmas party.  They did a very nice food drive there and sent us home with a nice cart of great things to add to the trailer.  Thanks Christ United Methodist - it was a fun time with you!

All the rest are just pretty lights  and evidence of a completely successful fund and funds for Shine the Light on Hunger - a project solely dedicated to feeding the hunger through our local food banks - 
Greensboro Urban Ministry and Second Harvest.  

We were lucky to have a good number of lighted Christmas balls still shining for our first and only(to date) snowstorm.