Light the World

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.

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25 Days of Service

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:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Ward
  • Community/neighbors

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).

Merry Christmas!!

I’ve enjoyed this Christmas season more than the last couple of years.  I think it’s because Stormy is getting older and I’m excited for him.  That being said, he still doesn’t really get it.  We’ve done Christmas family home evenings, decorated the tree, watched at least one Christmas movie together, but for now I’m the only really enjoying it.  The other night I made the family go out and deliver cookies.  I thought it would be fun, but almost immediately Stormy started to cry and I thought, “oh great, this is going to be terrible”.  I almost gave up and took Stormy and Chewy home but Chewy said everything would be fine so we went ahead.  We did doorbell ditching because neither of us wanted recognition for the cookies, we had just thought of people we felt needed a little extra Christmas cheer.  Since I’m 4.5 months pregnant, Chewy to the ringing and running.  Hearing his giggles as he ran back to the car and jumped in made it all worth it.  On the last house, he said I had to do it because the pressure was just too much.  I went to the front door, tried to position the container of cookies so it wouldn’t get overlooked when they answered the door (we worried that happened at the previous house).  I kept stopping because it sounded like someone was coming.  Then I finally rang the door bell and took off.  The porch light came on before I could even get in the car.  I slammed the door and closed my eyes hoping for the interior light to go off.  I’m not sure if they saw us (ok, I’m pretty sure they saw us but I’m not sure they realized who it was).  I was laughing because of the adrenaline and Chewy said, “that had to be the least stealthiest cookie drop ever.”  It’s true.  But what can you expect?  I’m pregnant, so on top of the normal worry I would trip and fall, I’m not as fast as normal at the moment.  But it was fun and I hope everyone got their cookies.

This morning I woke up early and couldn’t fall asleep, I was so excited for Stormy.  It’s not his first Christmas but last year was kind of boring, he didn’t really get it.  This year I started to show him how to unwrapped his present and he went crazy.  Even unwrapping presents still under the tree before we could hand them back.  It was a simple Christmas and I like it that way.  I felt Stormy got plenty of new toys and Chewy and I are happy with our gifts.  I keep wondering if Stormy just thinks this was a really cool day where he got to play with paper and got new toys.  Next year he should really get it…right?

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Merry Christmas!!

I thought I had posted this.  Well – now I can post more pictures.

I’ll have to post pictures later of baby’s first Christmas.  We are on the family circuit for the day though so here are my photos from this morning.

i got a puzzle! always makes for a good Christmas.

We were too lazy to wrap our presents to each other.

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He didn’t quite get it, he must have thought we were feeding him.  Maybe next year.

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He loves all his new toys though.

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After he opened his gifts and was playing with his toys, I opened all the clothes I bought for him and showed Daddy.

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All in all I think it was a good first Christmas for him.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time

I had my very first visit to Bass Pro Shop yesterday. As I don’t hunt, fish, shoot, or any other outdoor recreation the reason for my visit was purely motivated by the idea that I should attempt to have my child’s picture taken with Santa. My sister informed me about Santa at Bass Pro Shop because when family asked me if I was getting baby’s picture with Santa I said “no” and my mom responded that it wasn’t too late.  Being the impatient introvert I am I told her that it was too late. I had no intention of waiting hours in a line at a stinky mall to be overcharged for photos with a dude in a rental costume and an obviously fake beard. 

So my sister piped up with this Santa and told me the lines shouldn’t be too bad there and they give you a free print. So yesterday the hubs and I decided to check it out. We went as soon as our spawn woke up from his nap, which was only an hour after Santa would arrive at the store. 

It was packed. Hoards of children migrated from the parking lot to the store. Children and baby strollers darted in and out of aisles of fishing poles and toy crossbows. We found Santa’s Wonderland and the line and a booth, manned by an unenthusiastic employee. I don’t know why, but I approached and asked if that was the line (it was a here’s your sign moment) the woman said “yes” but I needed a Bass Pass to get in said line.  So I said I would take one and then she informed me that the next available pass was for 3…it was currently 11. Since life with the spawn is unpredictable I couldn’t say what we would be doing by 3, but mostly I couldn’t fathom mustering the energy to come back to the store four hours later. I had talked myself into going in the first place by the thought that one day, the spawn would be sad if we didn’t have a picture of him with Santa for his first Christmas. As I stood there contemplating coming back into the madness that is anywhere with a cash register the week of Christmas, I realized I don’t even remember if I have a picture with Santa from my own childhood and I think I turned out okay. There will be plenty of other failures on my part to lessen the blow of discovering there isn’t a picture of him with Santa.  So when Chewy looked at me for the final decision I shook my head. Baby don’t care and it’s not worth it. 

We did, however, take him to the in store aquarium where he watched fish for the first time in his life. He really seemed to enjoy it, probably more than he would have sitting in some old man’s lap for a picture. 

When we were walking up to the aquarium though some woman walked up to me, handed me a piece of paper saying, “this is for you, let’s get you signed up for our drawing.” She then tried to steer me away from my husband and baby to signup for something without telling me what that something was. My stranger danger instincts kicked in and I didn’t move at all. With my feet planted I read the paper. A cruise. I have never had a desire to go on a cruise (unless it’s in Alaska). I told her we don’t like cruises, which is true, Chewy hates cruises and I hate large bodies of water, sharks, whales, and pushy people who try to get me to sign up for free stuff because honestly I think I’m not a fan of free stuff either (at all costs I avoid the people giving samples at stores).  Once I’d rejected her, I rejoined Chewy, slightly annoyed that I was the one singled out and more annoyed at their tactics. 

It actually stayed on my mind for a while. I thought about how I don’t like being told what to do in any form and that includes waiting in line to see an old man claiming to be Santa because everyone else does it and our kids will get to the point where they want to do this. Then when they’ve told Santa what they want (because a letter doesn’t do it apparently) their picture is taken and someone tries to sell me a pricey package for keepsakes and grandparents. 

Anyway, I digress. We went to look at guns for Chewy and I found a warthog eating a Moon Pie. 

 
So I think I’d actually like BPS any other time of the year, but it, like every other store, is tainted by the holiday stress that detracts from what I love most about Christmas. 

From there we went to Home Depot to pick up a few things and there I saw Santa (real beard) wearing an orange Home Depot apron walking around. I have to admit, even after my bad experience and my cynical take on getting your kid’s picture taken with Santa, I got a little excited seeing him. So much So that when I whispered, “Santa!” to no one in particular I got embarrassed and looked away. Really  I should have grabbed my spawn and asked if Santa, the Home Depot employee, would take a picture with him because the sight of him filled me with more Christmas magic than the BPS Wonderland. 

12 Days of Christmas: Tradition 

I mentioned sugar cookies in the last post. My grandmother used to make sugar cookies and assorted homemade candy and send them to us in these Christmas tins. Of course, my dad was also making the cookies as they were a favorite Christmas tradition from his childhood so we got lots of sugar cookies at Christmas time. This is my first Christmas as a mother, but I’m looking forward to continuing this tradition. With my kids. My dad would make TONS of cookies, the dough has to be refrigerated for an hour so he usually made the dough the day before. OUR tradition as kids was to sneak cookie dough 🙂

He taught us all how to do it, how to roll out the dough and how to ice them without getting icing or sprinkles everywhere (he may have had OCD). My mom would make fudge and we’d put the sweets on a paper plate and take them to people. I still love doing this and have already been delivering them (except I’ve added gingersnaps and peppermint fudge to the mix).

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12 Days of Christmas: A Few Of My Favorite Things 

I was tagged by Tracie over at lifeoftracie.  You can find the rules here 

Day 1: my favorite things about Christmas

  • Putting up the Christmas tree 
  • The Christmas lights 
  • Sugar cookies (more on that in following posts)  
  • BAKING!
  • EATING!
  • Family crafts   
  • The music (my favorites are “O Holy Night” and “Carol of the Bells”)
  • The spirit of giving and goodwill. People just seem friendlier around this time of year

 I’m supposed to nominate three people to do this at the end of each post.  So the three for this post are:

Katelyn

Natalie

Lacee