i think the homeless, destitude and needy call my name on a regular basis. when dane's school has it's "care and share" i make sure i take dane to target and he goes to school the next day with a big bag full of neccessities for the needy. today we will go to target to fill a shoebox for those who dont have much for the holidays...i think these kinds of activities have my name written all over them for some reason. i am a big sucker, for sure. however, i get a lot of personal satisfaction from doing these little acts of service. i wish i could do more. hopefully my kids remember all of this, and im not just spinning my wheels.
so when some dear friends started a charitable foundation, and a few years ago ventured to mississippi to help those who had lost everything in katrina, i was there. what a rewarding experience not only for me, but my two kids i had in tow. we worked very hard, and experienced first hand what true sacrifice is...what real need is. my most charitable friends donated more money and service than anyone can count...and i am positive the people who's lives they affected, thank them every day for their unmeasurable good works.
when you just get down to it, it feels good, and it's the right thing to do.
just like the time we visited a shelter in santa ana one winter with the young women and young men of our ward. we were led to a warehouse of a building where we helped lay out mats for them to come in and bed for the night, then helped serve a hot meal and distribute some used clothing. there they were lined up outside the building...hungry and cold. two things happened that night which changed me. one was the scene of a woman who may have been about my age, maybe a little younger, there with her about 6 year old son. she carefully spread out some tattered blankets, and brought out a book to read to him. she cradled him in her lap, and rubbed his little forehead, pretending for the both of them, that they were at home getting ready for bed, in a typical house in a typical little boys room. however, their bed for this night was a cavernous, drafty warehouse, with strangers looking on. a very pregnant woman in her 20's showed up too. my heart bled for her trying to get comfortable on that hard floor...and wondered what would happen to the child who would be born shortly. then, when a certain young men's leader was asked by a man in need if there were any shoes his size in the donated used clothing we had brought with us, he searched feverishly to not find a single pair in this man's size. this kind, Christian man, behind the pile of donated clothing, reached down and untied his own shoes and handed them over. he drove home in stocking feet.
now this affected me. this was real. this made me think....
about just how fortunate we all are. i swear i count my blessings daily, because it could all be gone in a flash.
and dane thanks his Heavenly Father at night for his "nice warm bed".
wholly appropriate, dont ya think?
so thats why when my fingers were drawn to send an email to the mercy house in santa ana (advocates for the homeless), i was compelled to offer to donate a bunch of christmas stockings for the homeless. at first i offered to donate 100...thinking that would not be a big deal. after much thinking and worrying about it all way too much, i had to call them back and reduce the number of stockings...i was basically in over my head...was having anxiety attacks and losing sleep over it all. i cant imagine my friends who helped with katrina, their anxiety when they had promised to build a house from the ground up to multiple families must have been overwhelming (well, i think they handled it better than me). its all relative, i guess.
so i am now engrossed in filling these stockings for these poor homeless people. my little contribution to the world. the mercy house puts them up in motels for the holidays...so this little project of mine IS their christmas. so for 50 people, i AM their christmas...i guess if you put it that way, it is overwhelming.
so, i am asking for your help.
i am planning a pot luck get together at my home, where we will make the little crafty
"doo dah" (we gotta make it cute, you know) which we will attach to the stocking (actually a santa hat turned upside down and tied with a ribbon)...filled with all the "ingredients" for my little service project, the beautiful little somethings which are brought will go inside the cap. a fun little service project and a valid excuse to get together and
feel the real spirit of what Christmas is all about.
i will even make craig play some Christmas carols on the piano.
as of right now, this little service holiday shin dig is planned for
monday, december 7 at 5pm.
and yes, this qualifies as an official family home evening.
your admission ticket...bring your 50 special little "ingredients" and a tasty dish to share. email me with what you are bringing, or what you are thinking about bringing so we dont have any duplicates. some items i have thought about are, socks, gloves, hand warmers, card games, toiletries, snacks and candy etc etc...and you may even have something better to throw in there. i have already purchased toothbrushes and some little checkers games...
so all you blog readers out there, i am calling your name (i seriously have no idea who even reads this...maybe i am talking to the wall). and we will have fun doing it together.
this is what Christmas is all about.
and thanks from the bottom of my anxiety ridden heart.