There are many amazing aspects of Ruby Bucket Retreat. Walking into a beautifully decorated retreat is so fun and exciting. Receiving a lovely welcome gift and eating delicious treats is delightful. Shopping in the Ruby Bucket Boutique and finding just the perfect gift to buy is thrilling. All of these things are so fun, amazing and unique. But the most amazing part of our last retreat, for me, was our raffle. We had one of our sweet ladies contact us about donating a quilt and holding a raffle in honor of our dear friend, Heather.
Let me tell you about our dear Heather. First, Heather Clark is the sister of my Ruby Bucket co-host, Stephanie. Heather and Stephanie are Malad girls that I have known most of my life. I reconnected with Stephanie a few years ago and got to know Heather better too. Twice a year, Stephanie, Heather, and Jane Ann (their lovely mother) would attend Cindy’s conference that was held in Pocatello. These conferences became a fun bonding experience for them throughout the years. These three Ward girls are so amazing….and together they are hilarious and a joy to spend time with. I often thought that retreat could not begin until Jane Ann, Heather, and Stephanie entered the building. You could hear their beautiful laughter and giggles throughout the room.
Heather was totally a people person. She had such a fun, bright, bubbly personality that everyone was naturally drawn to. She was beautiful through and through. She worked very well with people and was a huge asset in her job. She traveled extensively for work, teaching and training others in the use of communication technology. She loved to make learning fun.
Heather loved serving those around her. She spent her time and money helping groups that touched her heart. One of her favorite organizations was Business and Professional Women (BPW). She served as Vice-President and President of the Salt Lake Chapter of BPW and as Utah State BPW Treasurer. She conducted leadership workshops and provided speaking engagements throughout the Intermountain West. Besides sharing her time with this organization, Heather often donated professional clothing to help women who were beginning a new career or starting over in their lives.
A favorite charity that was dear to Heather’s heart was The Christmas Box House. Named after his first novel, The Christmas Box, it was founded by her favorite author, Richard Paul Evans, as a safe place for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Heather loved children and was touched by the mission of The Christmas Box House.
Heather also has an amazing family. She married Matt Clark whom she loved dearly. She loved and treasured her four step-children and loved being a Grandma. I enjoyed seeing pictures of her grand babies and all the fun trips that she and Matt would take together.
The thing I loved so much about Heather as I reconnected with her was that she loved life. She was positive and bright wherever she went. She inspired people to be better and to seize life. Every time I think of her I just smile and laugh at so many great memories.
It was almost two years ago that Heather was rushed to the hospital where a mass was discovered on her brain. As the next few days went by, the situation became more and more serious. That week we lost our dear Heather. There are not enough words to explain our deep emptiness and pain.
Fast forward to a year ago…..When Stephanie and I started planning our first Ruby Bucket Retreat, we actually talked a lot about Heather. We wanted to create a place of happiness, laughter, and beauty—all vital parts of Heather. We wanted a place where dear friends, sisters, and mothers could create memories together. To us, Ruby Bucket Retreat is so much more than just fun prizes and crafting. It honestly is about those deep lasting friendships. I truly felt that during our first amazing conference Heather was carried in our hearts.
So for our second retreat when a fellow crafter and friend of Heather’s donated a quilt in her honor, we wanted to hold a raffle and give the money we raised to one of Heather’s favorite organizations. We chose the Christmas Box House.
We raised $350 in honor of Heather. It was so exciting to draw the names. The first winner, Karen, won a darling quilt runner. The grand prize winner of the quilt was Kathy. It was so fun and such an amazing and profound way to end our retreat! Shown are pictures of the winners with Jane Ann and Stephanie. I just love these pictures so much.
So you can see why this was my most favorite part of our Spring Ruby Bucket Retreat. I feel totally blessed that I knew Heather and that for a few weekends each year I got to laugh and spend time with her. I am grateful that her goodness and brightness touched my life. I am a better person because I knew her. I have had many people come into my life, but Heather left a giant heart print. I know so many felt this way about her. She inspired others to be more and to strive for happiness.
We are not sure if we will have a raffle every year in Heather’s honor. We only know that we will follow our hearts and strive to live a brighter life like our amazing Heather.