Pouring My Heart Out and Giving Back

This is going to be a pour my heart out post, so be prepared. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of Pretty Handy Girl that you don’t get to see. I’ve been blogging for over two years now and I feel the need to share with you what makes me tick and why I blog.

Pretty Handsome Guy (my husband) and I were out to dinner the other night and he asked me what truly makes me happy. I thought about it and the usual answers came up: doing fun things with the kids, being outdoors, crafting, woodworking and creating things. But, what really fuels my “joy tank” is helping others and giving back. This is so core to my personality that it eats away at me when I can’t help.

When I started this blog, it was truly to be able to give back to people. To help all my friends and family and acquaintances that wanted my time and my help to show them how to complete their own DIY project. I was originally going to hold classes in my garage (per my good friend Renee’s suggestion.) But, you can thank Pretty Handsome Guy for suggesting that I start a blog to empower others. And believe me, every time I see how many people are reading my tutorials, I am blown away and realize that the blog was a good decision.

Last week I had one of the most emotionally draining weeks since the birth of my first son. I was tasked with choosing 4 finalists from over 250 entries into the Boost Your Roost contest. The stories and pictures that were sent to me left me in tears and frustrated that I could only choose four. The night that I finally submitted the finalists (after agonizing over how to whittle down all the people who I felt truly “NEEDED” the prize) I didn’t sleep very well. I was up for several hours trying to figure out how to make it happen for those who had a need and I knew wouldn’t receive. (It is still so hard for me to write this because I want to jump in my car and go help each and everyone of them. But, I can’t. I have a duty to my children as a mother and as a wife to my husband.)

This sleepless night had me thinking about how I could give back and how I could help others. What I realized is that I can’t do it alone. I also need help to complete my goals.

Mimi Collins, one of my fans on Facebook, helped me more than she realizes when she replied to one of my posts: ‎

“Never worry about numbers.
Help one person at a time,
and always start with the person nearest you.”

– Mother Teresa

I kept coming back to this quote and I found some peace realizing that if I could help one person at a time, that help may spread. And then I could move on to the next person.

What I’m trying to say is that occasionally I will be deviating from DIY tutorials in an effort to give back where there is a need.

Will you stick with me?

Can I count on your help?

I’m not asking for your help every time, but just to take a few minutes to read about someone who has touched my heart and whose story might touch you as well.

With this in mind, you may know my friend and fellow blogger Colleen. She’s known as Mural Maker to the blog world.

Colleen with Centsational Girl (Kate)

Colleen is a caring person and is truly a giver by nature. She and her husband each took care of their aging mothers on a 24/7 basis. They were forced to live separately while they cared for the women who raised them. They did spend as much time together as their lives allowed, especially while caring for their 4 year old grandson.

She and her husband Marlon were struggling to make ends meet after the thoughtless and fraudulent actions of one person turned their lives upside down. Just when they thought they had hit rock bottom, a glimmer of hope arose and it looked like there might be a way to erase (if that’s even possible) 20 years of literally paying for an erroneous paper filed with a goverment agency. While in the process of filling out mountains of paperwork to undo this “wrong”, Marlon began to make the first steps out of an extremely fragile financial situation.

Three weeks after he was starting to get his life back, Marlon developed an aortic tear (if you remember John Ritter’s sudden death, he was struck by the same medical condition.) Most people die instantly from an aortic tear, but not Marlon. He fought for his life and so did the surgeons. After several surgeries, he was in recovery but the damage was done and he slipped away peacefully.

Colleen was devastated, her husband was her rock and her best friend to lean on. He was her ever positive outlook guy . As she dealt with the blow of his death, she didn’t realize that the worst was yet to come. Soon after the funeral, the bills started to flood in. Medical bills from the surgeries and all the emergency room and ICU fees. Bills for the funeral. And their normal bills.

Amidst all the hands outreached for money, Colleen has one that presents a more pressing need. She suffered a debilitating back injury years ago, which still requires medical treatments so she can endure the pain. At this point, I think you understand that her need for  funds to pay the bills and just simply survive (until she can get back on her feet) are unimaginable.

Colleen would never ask for money for herself, but she has agreed to let me post these details of her life and help her set up a fund raiser.

A Friends of Colleen Jorgensen Fundraising Page has been set up with Rally.org (a unique site for helping people fund raise for their causes.) All the money raised will go directly to Colleen. Payments can be made with credit card or eCheck. And all your information and the amount you donated is kept private.

Update: Rally.org doesn’t have a Paypal payment option, but payments can be made by sending money to Colleen’s paypal account email: MM14biz (at) gmail.com (remove the spaces and use “@” instead of “at”.

As a special thank you (this is NOT a raffle or traditional giveaway), I have decided to chose one donor at random to receive a Pretty Handy Girl Basket. I’ve been collecting tools and all things Pretty Handy Girl for this basket. Because your donations mean so much (no matter how big or small), this is just a little incentive and a way to say thank you.

So, who’s with me? Can you help give back with a small donation?

Or can you help spread the word? Simply paste this code onto your sidebar (or in a post) to help spread the word:

Friends of Colleen Jorgensen Fundraiser

Note: If the above code doesn’t work in your blogging software, try removing the <div align…> and </div> tags from the code.

Your kindness will be rewarded in good karma. I definitely believe in karma, do you?


  1. Brittany, this is a great idea. Colleen is blessed to have you as a friend. I’d love to help, and I’d be happy to spread the word. I’ll also place the button on my sidebar.

  2. Michelle R. says:

    Any chance they could add a Paypal method to the page?

  3. Awesome post. It is so hard to choose. Solomon with his wise advice, said to divide the babies. I can imagine how hard it was to choose.

    Please tell me what kinds of donations you’re looking for? Money? Items?

  4. I will be sharing all over the place! This is so distressing, but I know that every little bit helps and I will gladly add to the fund. I agree, a paypal option will make this even more successful :) I will wait to see if that is added and check back!

  5. Oh my gosh I had no idea. I love Colleen and will do whatever I can. Sharing now. Thank you Brittany for sharing this :)

  6. I don’t know your blog, but am so happy with how I found it! Your heart is wonderful and I will send as many as possible your way!

  7. Having trouble getting the button to load on my sidebar? Picture won’t show up? Am I the only one , not sure why?

  8. You are truly as giving as you are diy talented. I will certainly try to share the code and cause on my blog, though I haven’t been very successful at such attempts. My brain and WordPress don’t mesh well, slow learner apparently. I always use paypal online, if that’s added it would be great so I’ll hold off a bit for my donation.

  9. I can’t even imagine. Thanks for putting this together.

  10. I’m with you! Thanks for doing this! I’m sharing, giving and putting it on my sidebar!

  11. Of course! xoxo

  12. How wonderful! I was touched so much by her story too…..I will for sure make a donation and add her button to my blog…..

  13. April Price says:

    Posted it to my Facebook page. Sending thoughts & prayers to the family as well.

  14. I will certainly still read & stick around! Your post as struck a cord with me for sure. A year ago yesterday we lost our 8 week old son. It was a “surprise” adoption really, they were twins… the shock of then losing one of them is unreal. I’m just a little blog, but it was really starting to get some attention & traffic… after that, nothing. Certainly my blog suffered due to just trying to get through life with my 3 boys that still needed me, but it was a double blow that people just stopped reading once it was no longer about projects or making a space better/pretty/organized, etc…

    Anyway, point being, kudos on your idea and passing on my best to Colleen!

  15. what a great idea! I admire you for desiring to help others so strongly. I thrive on this as well!!! It’s hard, because many times (like this time) help comes in the form of financial aid, and that’s just something that we can’t afford right now. That’s so frustrating!! BUT it just forces me to get creative with how I can bless someone else without money :)

    Thanks for sharing your heart!!

  16. Wishing all the best for Colleen and her family. Her loss is great and support such as yours can be a comfort. The button was added to my sidebar. We meet amazing people throughout blogland, sometimes they help us and sometimes we can help them. Thanks to you and Colleen for sharing ♥


  1. […] Colleen of Mural Maker is in need of some help and encouragement.  Read the details over at Pretty Handy Girl and donate what you […]

  2. […] been reading and enjoying the DIY projects on the Pretty Handy Girl blog for some time.  Today she featured a post about her friend Colleen.  You can read […]

  3. […] I announce my finalist, I have to tell you that the last week of the Boost Your Roost contest was emotionally draining for me. I have never seen so many homes and families that truly needed this renovation. There were […]

  4. […] Wednesday! A while ago I told you about my friend Colleen who lost her husband and was trying to make ends meet. I really appreciate your outpouring of […]

  5. […] from Pretty Handy Girl has set up a fund raiser for a dear DIY Blogger friend of ours, Colleen Jorgensen,  who’s […]

  6. […] I introduced her to you last year when she herself was in need after losing her husband. The blogging community and their readers rallied together to help her. Now Colleen is ‘paying it forward’ by raising money for the Red Cross to help in the Oklahoma relief efforts. You can read the full details about the fundraiser on Colleen’s blog, along with the story behind her painting above (it’s a moving tale.) […]

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