Aroma or scents…


Recently I was told I need to meditate. That if I could clear my mind from all the clutter of my everyday stuff I would be able to connect with Drew more. I’m not a meditating kind of girl. I’ve tried before and I end up just think of several hundred more things that I should be doing. I don’t do well when I have to reflect too long. But….I do want to feel closer to Drew so I have been practicing.

I read an article that said that when you meditate you want to use the same scent every time or listen to the same music.  If you are trying to connect with someone, in particular, you will want to use a scent that reminds you of them or smells like them. That made me laugh trying to think of a scent that captures “Drew”.


What smells remind me of Drew?

  • There is a time in a boys life when they turn from “toddler” to “boy” and they have this sweet sweaty smell. You cuddle close to them and you can smell that soon they will no longer be “little” but will get bigger and stinkier.
  • Fried Chicken. It wouldn’t matter where he was, he would either walk in the door or call me when I was making fried chicken. I haven’t been able to make fried chicken since he died. It’s just too hard. Even just the smell of fried chicken brings tears to my eyes.
  • Axe body spray. I don’t think you can have a pre-teen boy and not be exposed to the dreaded Axe body spray. I do believe they think it is a suitable substitute for a shower.
  • After football funk….I have no other way to describe it. He would get in the car after playing hard at a game or practice and it would just darn near knock you over. I would roll down the windows and wish for that phase to be over. I wouldn’t even mind smelling that now.
  • Juicy Fruit Gum. He loved Juicy Fruit gum. When he got his braces he was most disappointed that he couldn’t have his gum any longer. He would get recurring ear infections so chewing gum helped with the pressure in his ears.
  • Little tree car freshener. When he started driving he loved to have one of those little tree car fresheners in his car. Now I know it’s because he wanted to mask the smell of things he shouldn’t have been doing but I can’t see or smell one without thinking of him.

Every time I pass a candle display I smell the candles and close my eyes and see if I can capture the essence of Drew. It hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t smelled one that is quite right. I may end up having to make my own candle. Who wouldn’t want a candle that smells like “Fried Chicken Boy Funk”.


Doubt and more doubt…..

think of you

There are so many times on this journey I second guess what I think I should be doing. Whether I should even go on with Smiles. Whether this is the path I am supposed to be taking or its just the path I want to force myself on. Is Smiles From Drew really helping anyone but me and is it really helping me?

It’s no joke when they say running a non-profit isn’t easy. All the fundraising and planning. There is just so much to do. It practically has to be a full time job. Then you throw in the process of grief and man, oh man is it hard.

The past few months have been particularly trying. My doubt is in full force. There are so many horrible things happening in the world and here I am asking people to buy coffee to help kids play sports. I get it. I get that there are so many more pressing matters happening that needs everyone’s attention right now. I get that to some kids playing sports isn’t something they feel is important.

That is the problem when you work with a cause that is so close to your heart. Smiles From Drew is so close to my heart. You can almost say it is part of my heart. I put all my pent up love for Drew in it. And boy do I have some love for that boy. Two years have passed but it feels like its been an eternity and then it feels like its just been a moment. My love for him did not just disappear like he did. My arms ache, my heart is shattered, and I don’t know what else to do. hurts arms

I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing but there are more times than not that I feel like this is what I am supposed to do. And I guess the only time that is getting wasted is mine.


11-29-2016 is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. I found the idea of Giving Tuesday on one of my sleepless nights researching things that could possibly help Smiles From Drew. I loved the idea of having a day that is devoted to giving to others and helping those organizations that do so much work throughout the year to help those that could use a hand up.

When I decided to start Smiles From Drew it was just a little niggle of an idea in the back of my mind. I wanted to do some “pay it forwards” to help keep Drew’s memory. I wanted the chance to be able to talk about Drew and not feel guilty for doing so. I wanted everyone to know about Drew and all the wonderful things he did when he was here. I paid for people’s coffee and lunches. I would make things and send them to people who weren’t expecting it. It was then that I found out that the more that I did for others the better it made me feel. The gut wrenching pain of losing Drew was just a dimmed a little by the acts that I was doing for others. I guess you can say the reason I do the things I do is pretty selfish. I help others because it make me feel better. Here is a link to print your own Pay it Forward For Drew Lighthall cards. Click here —-> pass-along-card-8up-drew-page

It wasn’t long after starting the pay it forward projects that I realized that I wanted more for what was soon to be Smiles From Drew. I also realized I was going broke trying to do all this on my own.  I was talking to a friend and we were talking about how much Drew loved football and wouldn’t it be great if we could help kids play football. I guess it’s like any other great adventure it all starts with a dream and then you start putting your feet to the pavement and try to make it happen. I had never worked with a non-profit much less start one, I had no idea what I was doing but I knew that this was really important. Smiles was not only important for the kids that wanted to play football but it was important for me. I needed to feel like I was still mothering Drew and this is the only way I know how to do it. Growing Smiles has given me the opportunity to think of Drew at moments that aren’t just sad.

I talked to other parent’s that have lost children that had started a non-profit or is in the process like I am. I even started a Facebook page for us to all support each other. Every single person was doing this for the same reason I was. We want our children remembered we NEED them to be remembered by more people than just us. If you are a parent of a child no longer here on earth just message me and I will add you to the group.  I researched and did more research. I wanted to make sure I did this whole non-profit thing right. I wanted to make sure that Smiles was official. I got a few of my friends that I could guilt into helping and found some fundraisers for us to do. We sold t-shirts, coffee, and candy bars. If I saw that a company did fundraisers I signed us up for it. I’m glad I did this so soon after Drew died cause I had the sympathy factor in the beginning. People were very giving and we were able to pay for us to become a 501 C 3 non-profit corporation. My goal was to be official before Drew’s birthday on May 1. We got our paperwork from the IRS on April 28!!! We did it.



It wasn’t long before I realized all that was the easy part. The hard part was getting people to keep supporting me. The hard part is keeping the momentum after almost 16 months after Drew’s death and making people realize why Smiles From Drew is important not only to me but the countless other people we could possibly help. We were lucky enough to help 12 kids play football this season. Me and a friend went to almost every game to help support the kids and to help keep our name out there. We sold t-shirts and personalized football. It was a lot of work but it was worth it. To see those boys out on the field and having a good time it was all worth it.



I can see Smiles doing so much more. I can see Smiles helping kids with karate lessons, swim lessons, piano. The ideas are endless. The only problem is money. It takes money for us to be able to do all this. Small non-profits like us are hindered by the lack of people knowing about us. If people don’t know about us they can’t help us. It’s hard to get our name out in the public when you don’t have that many people to help you do it. That is why I post on Facebook so much. It isn’t so much for the people who have helped me in the past but they may have friends that have friends that something about what we do touches them and they will give to us. Share my posts, tell people about us. Let people know what we want to do. If you got some extra time let me know and I have so much to do that I don’t have time for. Word of mouth is a life saver for small organizations like us. If you would like to help us you can visit our website and donate at  Click Here to visit the website. You can also visit our Facebook page and donate there or just to learn more about what we are doing  Click Here to visit our Facebook page.  Please like it and share it, you never know who will see it. It just takes one moment to make a difference.

Hard Work

Tomorrow will be the day that all this hard work will pay off for Smiles From Drew. Tomorrow will be opening ceremonies for the Santa Fe YAFL. All the planning and bugging people to buy things. People will finally be able to see what it has all gone to. They will be able to see the smiles on these boys faces and finally see what I have been trying to do.

What I have noticed though is that giving is addicting. Once you get that feeling of love coming from you to another person for no other reason than for them to be happy you get hooked. I want to do more. I don’t want to stop at football. I have always thought that if a child would like to do something you should foster that. The sad part is that for whatever reason that can be hard at times. Drew loved sports, I’m not entirely sure where he got that from bur if  a ball was involved he gravitated towards it. It would never fail just when I thought we would get a breather from games and practices he would come walking in with another permission slip that he wanted me to sign so he could play whatever was next.

The rules were simple if you wanted to play you had to keep your grades up and you had to finish what you started. If you chose something you did not like that’s ok, you know not to sign up for it the next time. You weren’t allowed to quit in the middle of a season just cause you thought it was hard. Life is hard and following through is a skill you will need when you are in the real world. Like I said before, Drew did about every sport there is. There were some sports that he did not care for at all and there were sports and activities he did to impress a girl. Football happened to be the one he liked the most. Drew was a big guy and had always been bigger than his class mates. When he was on the football field it didn’t matter. He wasn’t different. He was a part of a team and he loved it.

I asked him one time why he liked football so much, what was it about football he liked. He said “Mom, football is like chess. You got to know what your opponent is thinking before he does it.” Drew was really good at using his mind to solve puzzles and I could see him figuring things out while on the field. It was a good match for him. Just because football was his true love that didn’t stop him from doing other sports. He did basketball, he really liked playing it but he was slow. With the way his mind worked though he was a really good shooter. He could figure out all that angles and directions so he knew where he needed to get the ball into. He did basketball all through elementary and some middle school. Then there was baseball. I’m not sure he really liked baseball but he loved being out on the field. He loved being around his friends and he loved the sunflower seeds. He was just as content to be singing songs in the dug out as he was hitting the ball. I’m pretty sure he only played baseball so he could socialize more with his friends. And boy did he socialize.

I hope sometime soon his friends and team-mates will be able to tell some of the stories of Drew. I would love for all our Smiles supporters to get to know him. He was such a good kid. He was so funny and he loved to make people laugh. He was at his best when the people around him were happy. He would tell me all the time “Just Love Me…” in a voice only he could do. Drew, I will love you and I will always love you. I will work hard for people to know you even if it’s only from stories. You are worth people knowing.

If you would like to know about Smiles From Drew or would like to help you can visit our Facebook page Pay it Forward for Drew Lighthall/Smiles From Drew or visit our website at Thank you to everyone that has helped us get this far and thank to everyone that will help us get farther.