My Family

My Family

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finding Joy in Serving Others

I found something out at Christmastime that is changing my life. My family picked a family from the Starlight Foundation and bought and delivered Christmas to them. It was a really young woman, with a 2-year old little boy. When we showed up laden with packages and groceries, she just started sobbing. I hugged her and asked her to do the same for someone else someday. She promised to do that. I felt so good - it's wonderful to help and serve those less fortunate. The kind of funny thing about this particular delivery, is that when we walked up to the front door, there was a sign that said something like: "Absolutely NO Mormon stuff!" Rick and I looked at each other and kind of laughed. (Actually, Rick said "Ok, well let's go then!" ;-) I thought she might have been really surprised that Mormons provided her Christmas and were so kind to her. Funny.

For the past several days, I've been working with Four of Hearts (the non-profit foundation I'm part of), to gather supplies for an orphanage in Haiti. A friend of one of the foundation founders did this for his Eagle Scout project and so we helped. We sent the word out and people started bringing things over. I'm sometimes stunned at the generosity of people - I shouldn't be, though. I know these people, and they are always wonderful. We filled about 20 boxes with clothing, blankets, cloth diapers, and sandals. Plus, we sent tents and lean-to's. My sister, Kris, and I went through all of the donated clothing and folded and separated the clothes into sizes 0 infants - size 6. Sometimes we would open a bag, and almost everything we pulled out was badly stained or ripped. Plus, we got a lot of adult clothing (we only asked for children's). We wondered why some people feel the need to clean out their junk and send it to us?! We threw away all damaged clothing, and sent the sizes we couldn't use to the D.I. We had so many items for 0-9 months, and 12-24 months, that we went through everything and kept anything that we thought we could sell in the JBF (Just Between Friends) sale in March. The proceeds from that sale will go toward the Guatemala trip. Any left over clothing will also go to the orphanage in Guatemala with us. Here are some pictures of the work we did for Haiti...

Spending all of this time on service is fun - it makes me feel lots of joy. But Monday night, when I told Rick that I was going out to Kris's house to deliver our collection of donations, and help sort through stuff, he very gently asked me if I have noticed things in our house. Weird question. He said that I've been spending most of my time either on the computer - working on blogs, with my Cherish Bound customers - making books for other people, or doing things with the foundation. Did I notice that the box the mixer came in at Christmastime was still sitting in the kitchen? Or that the crock pot that we borrowed from the Spears was still sitting there? Did I ever finish the task I started when I tore our bedroom apart several weeks ago? He then said, "You are spending time serving everyone else except your family."

Well, I probably don't have to tell you how bad I felt. I was mad at first - I said, "So, the people of Haiti have to wait for relief until I clean my bedroom?!" Of course not, Kara. I'm just sayin'.

Once I settled down, I started thinking about what Rick said. You know, Rick doesn't expect a lot from me. He helps a ton around the house - dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry. He spends 12 1/2 hours every day, Monday-Thursday, away from home, and then comes home and cleans and helps. I, on the other hand, am not working now, so I'm at home all day. I do have time to do the laundry, and clean the house, and STILL do everything else I want to do. But, because cleaning doesn't interest me or make me super happy, I've neglected it - partly, I think, because I'm so used to NOT doing it - I was sick for so long, and didn't do anything except be sick for so long - others cleaned and cooked. "You are spending time serving everyone else except your family." That really made me think. He's right. He really is right.

So, yesterday, I told my sister that I could only spend 1 day each week on the foundation. I really need to budget my time. She agreed that she should do that as well. (Because, really, it's something that could completely consume our lives if we let it.) Then, I went grocery shopping, came home, and filled two crock pots with beef tips. I worked a little bit on my business, then I spent some time at Matthew's school. Afterward, I made two Apple Crisps. And starting cleaning my bedroom. By the end of the day, I had made dinner for two families - mine and the Spears (I returned their crock pot FULL, since I had kept it so long). My room was spotless and beautiful (*sigh* - I love it when it's like that). And the kitchen was clean (and smelled really good - roast beast and apple crisp - mmmmmmm!) Everyone was happy. Here are the AFTER pictures of my room (I really should have taken BEFORE pics!)...

I spent the day serving my family and friends, instead of complete strangers. And no, they didn't break out in tears because I cleaned, and they didn't have a look of amazed thankfulness on their faces because dinner was ready. But, every one of them noticed how good the house smelled and thanked me for dinner.

My conclusion: This is a no brainer, I know. But, I've decided that I should find as much joy in serving my family as I find in serving other people. And if I budget my time wisely, I can do everything I want to do.

So, here are my goals (I'm telling you, because accountability is everything - if it's written down, I have to do it): My house isn't dirty, but it is cluttered in some areas. There is a pile of music and magazines on the side of my piano, my office is a cluttered mess, the laundry room needs to be cleaned and de-cluttered. And then, I have the basement to work on.

Mondays - After straightening up, and making my bed, I'll work on Foundation stuff with Kris.

Tuesdays - I promised my mom I'd spend one day each week with her. So, I'll go to her house and teach her piano, paint with her, teach her to use the computer, and have lunch.

Wednesdays and Thursdays - I'll spend half the day on my business, and the other half doing some deep cleaning. Any left over time will be spent downstairs.

Fridays - Rick is home, so maybe we can go to the temple, and then work on the basement (we are trying to finish the basement, so it's a big job).

Saturdays and Sundays - family time. I'll let Rick decide what we do.

Each day also will include some "me" time: exercise, eating right, scriptures, blogging, and learning something.

Today, I think after my doctor's appointment, I'll tackle the laundry room. I'm posting pictures of the BEFORE here, with a disclaimer - this is NOT my fault. It's my childrens' fault. This laundry room looks like this mostly because of them. I've decided that they are completely incapable of folding their clothes. I don't know why - I've taught them to... I keep reminding them and asking them to. FOLD is just not a word in their vocabulary. (I want to apologize, in advance, to their future wives - I DID teach them the right way to do laundry.) Each child does their own laundry (I know - cool, huh?!), and if they leave it in the drier, the next kid that comes along will throw those clothes on the floor and dry their own. Geez. I mean... really. Geez...

Wish me luck!

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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys