I kind of knew when I started the 25 days of service that not every day would be blog worthy. What I’m trying to learn this year is to serve despite “ambition”. Serve even when it’s something small and also – recognize that small things are service.
On Mormon.org, one of the suggestions one day was to say nice things behind someone’s back…I would have never thought of that being an act of service. But it is nice that on the really busy days, I can still squeeze in a small act of service. I can donate, I can let someone know I’m thinking of them, I can smile at every person I pass in park (which I did, last Friday). I’m trying to break out of the mindset that service takes a lot of time or money. Although I’m still doing things that take time and money in addition, just not every day.
We’ve made and delivered Christmas cookies to a neighbor, we donated gift cards to our bishopric to give to members of our ward who may need them, bought Christmas stocking stuffers for the missionaries serving in our ward, made a donation to a children’s hospital, etc.
I’ve been trying to mix my service between community, ward, friends and family. I think the hardest to recognize and to do is with my immediate family, the ones I share a house with, the ones I’m always doing things for anyway so it feels like cheating if I use service to them one day.
Overall – it’s been a positive experience so far and I’ve been working on my list of service ideas to do throughout the year. I think I mentioned in the last post, I’m hoping to do one service project a month with Nicky. But hopefully I’ll also be able to teach him how to serve everyday by helping out the people closest to him.
On LDS.org they have an advent calendar. So I’ll just use those quotes as my titles for my service posts.
“Freely ye have received, freely give.”
Jesus made it clear that everything we have is a gift freely given from God. We should be grateful for all that we have and be willing to give just as freely to others. (From Mormon.org)
For day one, I decided to clean my mother’s oven. When I was over at their house on Thanksgiving I saw the dismal state of their oven and I knew then that I would clean it when Nicky had preschool again…which happened to coincide with December 1st.
So for my first day I gave my time and cleaning supplies to show my gratitude to my parents by cleaning their oven. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for my mom when she gets home and sees it.
Because I’m a nerd, I took before and after pictures.
This past Sunday I had the opportunity to lead a discussion/ramble about service. We discussed the “The Needs Before Us” from this previous General Conference.
I loved this talk when I first heard it and reading it over a million times in preparation for my lesson. Sister Oscarson talks about doing service for those closest to us. She says: “Sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities.”
I underlined the part that I’m guilty of. It’s like I want to change the world but don’t know how and don’t really have the opportunity (unless I leave my family…) and sometimes this ambition to do something great actually leaves me inactive and doing nothing at all. I want to serve more, but I think I’ve been looking “beyond the mark” so to speak.
I loved this quote as well:
“What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.”
Also – our church released its 2017 Christmas initiative “Light the World” – this is basically the same as last year for those familiar with it and there’s a “challenge” to do 25 days of service between December 1st through 25th. I decided I wanted to do it and incorporate it with the talk. So I want to do service, big or small, covering the four areas mentioned by Sister Oscarson:
I think the thing I need to remember is that service doesn’t have to be big and time consuming, there are a million little things we can do to serve. They seem little to us but big to those we do them to.
As much as possible, I’m going to involve Nicky. I don’t know if he’ll really understand what we are doing but I think it will be good for him and I’m hoping to find things to do with him each month to serve so that we are doing this all year round.
I’ll try to remember to post often about the things I’m doing and if anyone else decides to do this “challenge”, I’d love to hear what you are doing (plus it will give me ideas).