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Friday, January 22, 2010


Dear Mr. Mayer,

My family and I will be in the house at your February 20th DC show. We’ll actually be celebrating my daughter, Lauren’s, 7th birthday with you. She’s hoping you will sing ‘Superman’ (aka 83). Great song. But that’s not why I am writing.

This may be an unusual method of communicating. I’m sure the usual way is for my people to call your people…. I don’t have any people ~ at least not that particular kind. It’s just me. I could try emailing your people but would the information reach you? If it did, would something get lost in translation? That also seems impersonal. So I’ll try direct.

I am writing you to tell you a story about an amazing place. It’s a place where women and children can find a safe haven, a place where parents can learn nurturing skills, where moms and children can go to talk through very frightening issues, and seek legal council to protect herself in battle for her safety and that of her kids, where children can be interviewed only once to reveal to law enforcement agencies unthinkable things about someone who was supposed to love and care for them ~ it use to be they needed to be interviewed many times, reliving it over and over. I am only scratching the surface with this list. The haven I am referring to is the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS). A comprehensive not-for-profit agency that serves victims of domestic violence. I am on the Board. We have a problem.

Some may think that reaching out to you is a crazy thing to do, even silly. But I have a reason. I am committed to ending as many domestic violence situations as I humanly can. I feel quite passionate about it. Why? Our cousin. A beautiful, intelligent woman and loving mother. Her life was taken by her ex-husband while their young teenage son was in the home, terrified beyond belief. She died a tragic death and the world as we knew it changed. I think about all the ‘What ifs’ people that loved her must try to comprehend each day. Her son, ‘What if I tried to stop him….?’ Her parents, whom she and her son lived with, were away on a trip. ‘What if we didn’t go….?’ Her boyfriend that dropped her off at the house not knowing he was inside ‘What if I went in…?’ Every ones’ lives changed that day including mine. My heart sank to a new low. It was then that I committed myself to doing what I can to help end the abuse, the fear for as many as possible.

Our problem. We need a new shelter. The shelter is the actual place where moms with their kids can stay to escape a potential lethal situation. Our current shelter is ill equipped to handle the demand for its use. We have had to turn away women and children who need a safe place because there was no room. It was purchased many, many years ago. Our county has grown by leaps and bounds since then ~ so has the property value. The expense to purchase or build is out of reach for a not-for-profit like us without something perhaps just short of a miracle. The current shelter is positioned on land such that we cannot expand. There is no backyard for the children to play in. It met the needs of a time long ago ~ not now.

We do fundraising, of course. Yet, the fundraising supports the current programs. There is little, if any, left over. We scratch our heads wondering what can we do. I don’t do well with feeling helpless. I don’t want to throw my hands up in the air and say it can’t be done. I don’t want another ‘What if….?” I don’t want to read about a woman we had to turn away ending with the same fate as my cousin.

Our largest fund raiser is our Gala. A very well attended event. We have music, dancing, good food and drink, and a wonderful silent auction. People leave with a generous feeling in their heart. Even with this being our largest fundraiser, the funds attained would need to double to solve our problem. The down payment on a new shelter needs to be substantial in order for LAWS to be able to afford the monthly mortgage. It would take something larger than life to accomplish that. That’s where you come in, Dear John. A gifted artist with an allegiance of fans. When I think of a person who fits the ‘larger than life’ bill, I think of you.

Our Gala is planned for Friday, October 15th, 2010. I’d happily change the date if needed. Logistically, where we have it is a stone’s throw from Dulles International Airport. It is a rather intimate event ~ not overwhelming. An ideal setting for a meet and greet with a star. A draw that will allow us to command a fair amount for a seat. An amount that will afford us the down payment we need. Everyone will still leave with a generous heart and the thrill of a lifetime. So I am asking you, please, will you be our shining star?

Thank you very much for your time.

With love and respect,

Paula Grace

Domestic Violence Facts:

1) One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

2) An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

3) 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

4) Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

5) Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

6) Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

7) Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

8) Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

9) 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.

10) Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

11) In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

12) Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

13) Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.

Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (click to read full report)

Please help this information reach John Mayer ~ send him a tweet with this post attached. Thank you!

I’ll leave you with another great song. The one I play when I'm feeling a little down (like when I read the stats). It always makes me smile.

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes ~ it brought me back to life.....


  1. What a lovely letter to Mr. Mayer. I certainly do hope he reads it and accepts your offer to attend the gala.

    My employer allows us to select where our personal charitable contributions go to during the annual fundraising drive. The last 2 years I have selected a portion of my contribution to go to LAWS.

    I've been reading your design blog for sometime now, and realize just how small this world really is, thanks to technology.

    I will also continue to keep my fingers crossed that Mr. Mayer attends the gala.

  2. Hi, Paula...
    Sorry to post this here as it doesn't relate to Mr. Mayer, but I read your Monday's Method post tonight and since I am one frayed nerve away from a nervous breakdown, I was hoping you would be able to help. I am trying to find an off-white paint that has NO yellow in it but is creamy enough to be warm...I just can't seem to find the right one. I plan on using it in our entire house. Would you still mix 20 percent to the ceiling white in this case?

    Thank you...


  3. Hi Gilda,
    No worries. Here is what I would do. Get a Benjamin Moore Classic fan deck ~ not the Preview one, but Classics. The Classics fan deck has an off white on every swatch ~ the lightest tint is an off-white. Find a few that are not in the yellow arena. Look for one in the mid to other end of the spectrum. It may be hard to find one that is as 'warm' as you wish but you may find one or two that you like. Get two or three small samples ~ they sell tiny sample to try it at Ben Moore stores. Paint white boards with them ~ not your actually wall. Look at them one at a time over a few days in different lights and different rooms since you plan on using it all over the house. Do this for each sample. Hopefully you'll find one that you like. Good luck!

  4. Gilda,
    Yes, still mix 20% with ceiling white. Please sit and relax for a spell. I don't want you to have a nervous breakdown. And remember ~ its just paint.
    Paula Grace :)

  5. You are so kind; thank you. I will take a breather and revisit the paint store in a few days. ;)



  6. Wow, what a heart felt letter. I pray that it is received and accepted. I have a good friend who has been, and continues to be a victim of physical (younger) and emotional abuse (daily). It's one of those sad situations where at this point, she refuses to get the help she needs. It breaks my heart. Thanks for volunteering for such a fantastic cause... how inspiring! Dee Dee

  7. Thank you Paula for giving a voice to the women and families affected by domestic violence. So many people thing they have to donate money to help people in need. This letter reminds me that donating time and/or skills can be just as important. My prayers that God will meet the needs for LAWS. Thanks for sharing this and linking up to Aspire to Inspire.


    P.S. I'll see you on Timeless Tuesday. Thanks for adding me to your Blog Roll:)


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