The Greg Barness $2,000,000 Give Away Fund
"My Papa Was a Wild One" is a book dedicated to giving. If you've been following the book, you may already know the back story, but incase you don't, here it is -
I wrote "My Papa Was a Wild One" about my father, Greg Barness, who passed away on Father's Day of 2019. My Dad was barely 60 years-old, with a lot of life and wild dreams still in front of him. While we knew he was sick, his passing still came at a shocking and terrible surprise (I don't think anyone or anything can ever prepare you for such a tragic event). In the midst of the tragedy, I found myself not only processing my own grief, but processing the unbeknownst grief of my almost 1-year-old daughter. Of course my daughter could not understand the depths of what had been lost, but what she couldn't understand, I took on.
One day, while in an extreme state of grief, I couldn't help but wonder how I would ensure my daughter knew, felt, and understood the love and the spirit of her Papa. Memories flooded my brain of all the stories and advice I had to be sure to tell her. I quickly became overwhelmed. "How will I ever live up to this?"
After spending a lot of time in tears and in prayer, I text my family:
"I'm going to write a children's book about Dad"
Of course, when I wrote that text, I was thinking quite small - just a cute little book for the grandbabies, full of stories of their Papa. Everyone was excited at the idea. We shared memories and thoughts about stories to include, and just like that I had a task ahead of me.
A couple weeks went by and I made zero progress on the book. As a matter of fact, every time I thought about it, I became overwhelmed. It became a project of procrastination; everything is harder when you're grieving. Then, I was headed to Tri-Cities to visit my mom, and suddenly the words came to me... I mean, freakishly flooding my brain. I started saying "My Papa was a wild one..." over and over in a rhythmic manner. I knew what I would write!
So there I was, passing the city of Yakima, when I pulled out my phone and wrote the entire book in under 2-minutes. (I know, bizarre, right?) I immediately sent it to my family - we had a book!
Where I would go from here was completely unknown at the time (like I said, I was still thinking small) but as I set out to find an illustrator things somehow morphed and became more wild and crazy than I could ever imagine. We eventually had a fully written and illustrated children's book, properly published and printed, and ready for sale. What started as a small project for the grandkids quickly turned into one with the potential to touch millions of lives.
...but I had to do more...
My dad was the type of man who took full advantage of anything this crazy life could offer. He did everything big - if he was going to do it, he was going to go all in. I couldn't properly do his love and spirit justice without going big.
There was one dream my dad had that kept running through my mind; he always talked about giving away $2,000,000. My dad loved people, loved to give, and loved to bless; I believe it's what made him such a truly joyful man. I remember in the last months of his life, he struggled with feeling like he didn't live up to his potential - could he have given more, loved more, blessed more? What about the $2,000,000? Why did God let him have such a big dream if he wasn't going to allow him to fulfill it?
I still believe if my dad counted all he gave, he would have been pleasantly surprised to see he gave much more than just $2,000,000 - BUT- I couldn't help by humor his crazy, giving spirit. The more I thought about it, the more I felt something was telling me this book was meant to fill dreams. After the inability to ignore those loud thoughts, I made the crazy leap - book proceeds would be given away.
It is here that the 'Greg Barness $2,000,000 Giveaway Fund' was born. Any proceeds coming in from the book would go directly towards the fund. But how would we give the money away? That was a question I struggled with for months...
One day my partner made a suggestion. "Why don't you treasure hunt for the giveaway recipients?" This was a fascinating idea! My dad loved to treasure hunt. He had always begged me to go with him, and I regrettably never took the opportunity to go. Maybe it was fear, maybe it was lack of faith, maybe it was the idea of pushing my comfort zone limits; but for whatever reason, I always had an excuse.
Treasure hunting was something my dad LOVED. It was an exhilarating and miraculous way for him to live out his faith. He went often, and he always lit up with unexplainable joy when sharing stories of his past treasures.
You're probably wondering what treasure hunting is, or maybe you're confused by the term as the brain automatically goes to pirates and gold. Treasure hunting is a biblical based belief. It is taking prayer, worship and meditation, and asking God for clues. As you are in your state of prayer, you write down the first things that come to mind - it may be a location, a name, a description, an ailment - these things you write down become you clues. Then, you go out, using these clues, and you find God's treasure.
The idea of taking this practice and applying it to the giveaway felt perfect! My dad would have probably given away the money in the exact same way. So that's what we are doing - we are giving away $2,000,000 and trusting that God will lead up to the right people to bless; people who truly need the money, places the money will truly make a difference, and in ways that will spread like wildfire.
As we give away the money, we will be posting updates of where it went and who it blessed. You will know about every penny this book blesses.
A few things we won't be doing -
We won't be making a dime off this book until the full $2,000,000 is given away. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the giveaway fund.
We won't be giving to charities or corporations. Charities and corporations have taxes, employees, and other overhead expenses they must pay. This leaves only a small percentage of the money going to those in need. Instead, we will give directly. We want every penny to make as big of an impact as possible.
We won't be able to do this without you. It is important to note, everyone involved in this book has never worked or played in the children's book industry. We are "small players" trying to make a BIG impact. We need all of you. In order to reach $2,000,000 we need your help spreading the word, sharing the story, and getting this book out into the universe.
The more books we can circulate, the more people we can bless.
To see the latest on where we are giving - check back on this very blog, often.
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