November 26, 2012

The Yellow Vests

I need to write about my weekend but I'm not sure where to start.  I guess it started when I saw this video posted on facebook by a friend in my ward.  Perhaps you've seen it.

When an opportunity arose to go with a large group of volunteers from our stake to be a part of this my heart was willing.  When I heard more details about the raw sewage in basements my flesh was weak, but I struggled on the fence wishing I were braver.  I encouraged my teenagers to get involved and at the same time I encouraged myself.  My husband was on board and I told myself that I'd stay home with the children while he represented us with my teenagers.  Then it became impossible for him to go due to a work conflict.  He is on call this month and would have to go in each morning over the Thanksgiving break.  We would need at least one of our teens to stay home with the younger girls while he went in, but the door was still open for me.  Then I saw an email asking for food helpers to volunteer.  All those volunteers would need to eat and they needed kitchen help.  I'm a kitchen helper! My youngest son has a willing heart and is a good worker.  I signed us both up.  I'm so glad I did.  Part of me did wish that I'd been a work crew person working directly with home owners.  Dealing directly with the storm victims was a humbling and wonderful part.  Another part of me was glad I hadn't signed up for that kind of duty when we showed up and smelled the sulphuric backed up sewage smell in the air.  I can't imagine what those poor people must feel like.  It could have been us unflooding our basement instead of them.  Mother nature makes that decision.

So we provided meals for the volunteers and for anyone else passing by who seemed to need food.  We talked to police officers and locals walking by, we walked down to the ocean to see the distruction, we looked into faces and tried to think of encouraging things to say.  One group of boys kept hanging around wanting food and they were told by the missionaries to put on yellow vests with us and collect trash in the streets for 30 minutes to earn a lunch.  We would have just given it to them, but perhaps the local missionaries knew them.  They were the cutest kids and were so proud of the 5 bags of trash they collected that they posed for photos.  Construction workers came by and took food, some polite, some not.  Overall it was a great experience that I would jump to do again.  My husband may go up next weekend if he can work out his work schedule.  I feel different upon my return.  More patient, more thankful, more loving.  However temporary this shot in the arm is I will take it.  I can't think of a better was to spend our Thanksgiving weekend than by showing thanks through giving.  The day after traditions will have to wait until next week.

These were the cute local trash collectors

My Little Boy and half a house

These dingy mini flags were in all the yards

A collection of shovels

Beach front property is no longer a priority for me

My boy and me

He was such a solid worker.  Never complained once.

November 14, 2012

Fun To Do To Do To Do

This morning there has been a malfunction with my Iphone. (the second self induced one this week!)  While updating the calendar I remembered something I wanted to be reminded of and went over to my list to add it.  I accidentally clicked on something new and must have done something wrong.  Suddenly all of the reminders I have ever put in there came back into the 'to do' section.  I figured that when I had checked that box on the left that they were forever gone.  Not so, and now I had retrieved them.  Now I had created a monster 'to do' list and a new 'to do'... delete all the old finished tasks from the past 367 days.  As I read over them memories of  cutting out snowflakes for a birthday party or getting ready for an anniversary vacation came flooding back.  One of my children is now away at school and I saw all the violin concerts and orthodontist appointments I had reminded myself to do on his behalf.  A tug on my heart strings.

Then another thought of how here was actual proof of all the things a mother does on a day to day basis for her loved ones.  I should read it to the next sassy teen who tells me I don't do anything around here.  Oh yeah?  I don't do anything?  Take a look at the long list on my iphone!  I bet you can't even sit still long enough to read them all! That doesn't even cover half of all the stuff I do for you kids!  Oh the stench of ingratitude.

Then another thought.  This is the stuff life is made up of.  Without it we would just be sitting there staring at walls all day.  It would be miserable right?  And some day when I have less kids to shuttle around, and feed, and throw parties for, I will miss this to do list.  Sometimes the things we think are bogging us down are what define us.  So we should really be filling it with good stuff.  Instead of resenting all the sign up sheets that go around we should be first in line to offer our time and talents.  I was glad to see that some of the things on my list were 'making dinner for Tiffany', 'volunteering at the school', 'muffins for the homeless shelter',  or 'bring strawberries to the RS meeting'.  Plenty were mundane like 'buy stamps' or 'pay speeding ticket'  but those things are part of what makes this family go right?  And without me who would buy the milk?  My wish is that I will be able to find reverence for those mundane activities as well, and that someday when my kids are in charge of their own to do lists that they will turn around and respectfully thank me for checking off that list when they were that person that needed that thing done for them.

PS lets blame that 'to do' list for my lack of blogging for the past month shall we?