Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So I've had a couple emails

asking me what kind of service keeps me so busy. I don't have extraordinarily unusual ideas - most of it is ho-hum. But I feel honor bound to elucidate further.
  • We make a lot of meals. We make a LOT of meals. Also cookies and bread. I never make one loaf - I always make one (or three) extra, and we make a night of it, delivering freshly baked bread. My kids love it. And cookies. When I make a batch, I only keep a dozen or so - the rest is for giveaways.
  • I like asking pregnant women what they're craving lately - then pick it up for them at the grocery store. (One friend of mine is really into Pop-tarts. Another is diggin' Oreos and Granny Smith apples.) Such a simple way to make someone's day.
  • I watch kids a lot, too. I usually volunteer - before anyone asks, I mean. (i.e. "Hey, ladyfriend, can I take your kids on Thursday morning?") The answer is usually yes.
Service is so easy once you get into the habit. This past Saturday was Little Prince's "Spring Fling" at school. We came, we played, we left. And on the way out we noticed that the lady running the balloon stall was completely swamped and looking harried. So I offered to tie the strings while she blew them up. Took me a mere twenty minutes to ease someone's load.

Some things that other people have done for me - service that I loved!
  • Take someone your baby's hand-me downs.
  • Lend out your maternity clothes during a friend's last two months. By then she'll be sick of her own clothes and grateful for something new in her closet!
  • If you know that a friend's baby is colicky at a certain time, show up at the door and give her arms a break for an hour.
I think the key is that - most of the time - you really have to perceive somebody's need. Most of us (myself included) don't like asking for help. Rather than ask weakly, "is there anything I can do?" - DO IT!

Of all the (little) service projects I do, though, my favorite by far is sending thank-yous. At first it was hard. It was hard to look for people doing service that I was grateful for - and now I find it everywhere.

I have sent thank-yous to the chorister at church for crying during a song and making me better appreciate the words to a hymn. To an activity chairperson for being so dependable and creative. To our baby-sitter for taking care of our kids so well. To the mom of my son's friend for raising such a great kid. To my visiting teacher for visiting me three months in a row. To an elderly woman at church who paid me a wonderful compliment that made my day. To a woman who is so well thought of that whenever I have a conversation about compassion, her name comes up - I had to let her know.

You get the idea.

And I'll tell ya - I've learned something. I've learned that regardless of age, race, financial circumstances or number of children - we all need something.

A friend.


Kristina P. said...

If you want to send me a few extra meals, I will take them!

Rae said...

I so love where you say that instead of asking if there's anything we can do, to simply DO IT....that's key, to me at least. "Call me if you need anything" is a total cop-out, in my opinion...and I've said it way more than I'd like to admit!

Anne said...

Thanks for sharing! I know with myself, it's easier to accept help if they volunteer specific things ("When can I watch your kids this week?", rather than "let me know if you need anything".)
You are a wonderful example, thanks for not being too modest to share.

Nikki said...

As always, you are an inspiration. I think I'll make a few loaves of bread right now. :)

Wonder Woman said...

You. Are. Fantastic.

Thanks for being you.

DeNae said...

What a great example you are. If you were to ask my advice, it would be to pace yourself. You still want to have the energy and enthusiasm for this when you're forty, not the guilt that will come if you give up on all of this because you just got too pooped! Believe me, it happens. I never thought I'd be the woman in the ward thinking, "Geez, don't I do enough already?" I used to totally JUDGE that woman! Now her voice comes out of my mouth every time there's a ward activity!

Pacing. That's the key.

Just SO said...

You really are an inspiration.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

I like the way you think...I linked to you on my post today to give others ideas for serving others...BEWARE THOUGHT: there is a very yummy photo at the top!


Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

You rock. I know that's not why you wrote this, but still.

Vanessa said...

You make me want to be better.

Melanie J said...

I love these ideas. You're great. And I know that's not why you shared this, but I'm telling you anyway.

Charlotte said...

There is always room for the little things, even when I don't have time to do major volunteering. Great reminder, thanks.

Kristen said...

I loved the idea about pregnancy cravings... because, hello, we all know pregnant women! I'm totally going to do that one. Thanks so much for all these tips. A little act truly does go a long way. It has for me in the past when someone has done one of these things for me.

Lisha said...

Thanks for being a great example. You've got some great ideas and you know I've even done quite a few of them without realising. It's good to be reminded though.


LisAway said...

I hope I grow up one day, and if I do, I want to be like you.

Lara said...

First words I thought upon reading this was "You rock." But Steph beat me to them. They still apply.

Great ideas. I have totally learned the lesson of doing instead of asking. When I was the one being served. I don't do it nearly enough, though, and I'm loving all of your ideas.

Harmony said...

"Elucidate" is a really big word. If you weren't so great at writing I probably would never have come across it. You rock. But not just for that reason. I love the tank-you notes idea. What a great way to make someone's day. my GOSH! You are a true angel and everyone you know is so blessed. Dang girl. I totally miss you.