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Ten Things of Thankful: Service and Joy Edition

I've been thinking lately about service and joy.  As some of you know, I am in a position of leadership in my church stake (group of several congregations) women's organization.  We have been busy planning an upcoming women's conference.  Our theme is "Joy."  We're focusing not on the emotion, but rather on the doctrine, which has led me to deeper scripture study, pondering, and prayer.  We will be using the scripture in Romans 5:11:  ". . . we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."

Joy comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and this week I've thought a bit about his life.  I can't imagine him rushing through his day, trying to tackle a long to-do list.  If the Savior of the entire world could manage to devote attention to individuals, then perhaps I can quiet my mind of its "I need to"s and turn my attention toward helping others.  So, I prayed that I might be able to recognize opportunities for service.  As you know, "ask and ye shall receive!"

I'm thankful.

1. On several days this week, I got to provide transportation for a young woman as she filmed different women from our church.  She's making a video for our conference.  I listened as these women answered the question, "What brings you joy?"  Whether the answer was in English or Spanish, the words were heartfelt.  I can't wait to see how the finished project turns out; I imagine that it will be a great introduction to our conference.

2.  I was able to support a good cause and not gain any weight doing it. About a week ago, a local costume shop caught fire.  This was no ordinary costume shop, but an institution in the community--a local mom and pop type shop.  "Daisy's" had provided costumes for many theatrical performances and living art shows, as well as Halloween costumes.  The community has rallied around the owners.  Last week, a cupcake shop donated 100% of its sales to Daisy's.  Tempted though I was, I bought some cupcakes, then dropped them off at a friend's house.  I figured it would be a nice surprise for her and her family, I helped the cupcake shop make a bigger donation, and Daisy's will have more capital to open up again.

3.   It's May, and you know what they say about April showers and May flowers!  I'm in the process of making up little flower buckets for the women from church whom I visit monthly.  I was hoping to get all of the buckets delivered on May Day, but I'm going to be a bit late on some.  I am thankful, though, that I had supplies on hand to throw together a little bucket of cheer. 

4.  I had a great opportunity to sit with a group of developmentally disabled women for an afternoon while their caregiver took a break.  What a highlight of my week!  These women were friendly and welcoming.  We watched movies, colored in coloring books, ate snacks, and visited.  One woman was particularly chatty, and our repeated conversations reminded me of conversations with my grandma.  Actually, the inflection of her voice reminded me of my deceased grandma, and her repeated conversations reminded me of my living grandma, so it was easy to enjoy my time with her.  At one point, she stopped to ask me, "Am I talking your ears off?"  I put my hands on either side of my head, and said, "No, they are still attached."  She thought that was funny, and we laughed together.  

5.  A woman from church called and asked if I would help her plant a garden.  She is under the impression I am some sort of expert; I really just subscribe to the "try, try again" method.  I'll pray hard that her tomatoes do well!  Anyway, I enjoyed working with her and getting to know her better. 

6.  I had a chance to play the organ in the temple last night.  I frequently play in our local church building, but I don't often play in the temple.  I was a bit nervous about getting the stops set correctly, and was very thankful that someone had provided a written cheat-sheet for the organists.  Spelled out clearly was a list of stops that work well together to produce a pleasing, reverent sound--both for prelude and for congregational singing.  That paper calmed my nerves, and I was able to just concentrate on the music.

7.  Several congregations share our church building, and we take turns doing building cleaning.  May is our ward's month, so we had a chance to spend an hour this morning vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning.  I'm thankful for another opportunity to do service.

8.  I'm thankful for my family, who are my favorite people to serve, and who also understand the joy that comes from service.   

9.  I'm thankful that somehow we managed to keep on top of the daily brushing and vacuuming routine that returned with the homecoming of Drexel, the amazing fur-producing dog.  (He's worth it!)

10.  Sometimes shoes get worn out in service.  (OK, this is a bit of a stretch, but I'm trying to keep with the theme here.)  I'm unlike the stereotypical woman in that I don't really have a shoe "thing".  When I find a pair I like, I tend to literally wear them out.  I'm thankful for inserts, which allow me to extend the life of my favorite shoes!

Yes, I know I waited WAY too long to replace the inserts! My feet are really thankful today, though.

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I'm thankful for the many reminders this week that ". . .when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)  What a joyful week!

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Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. WOW... you are an active woman ... and apparently cupcake resistant! I am so with you on the shoes... I wear a pair to death and then reinvest! Brush Drexel for me... skip wont and never has let me brush him so when it comes to this time of the year and time for a hair cut I look like a bad pet owner because he is full of snarls...luckily poodles do not shed though!

    1. Well, cupcake resistant at the moment, but I must 'fess up and admit that I just finished eating cotton candy while reading your comment.

      You've taken enough stitches out of love for Skip; I completely understand letting him get his way regarding brushing!

    2. Cotton candy (or, candyfloss, as it is properly known) is the very delight of my heart in summertime, and I'm glad you had some :)

  2. "...perhaps I can quiet my mind of its "I need to"s and turn my attention toward helping others."
    very excellent advice… I find that how well I do, when 'there is too much work to do' has everything to do with my state of mind (and very little) to with how much 'effort' I put into it. To get out of the way, to avoid that contradictory consequence of trying harder and succeeding less, is very (for me) centered on where I am placing myself in the process.

    cool insoles


  3. Kristi, I need to hang out with you more! You uplift my soul and remind me of eternal things. Thank you.

    1. You're always welcome to hang out here!

  4. Bless your boots for praying for the lady's tomatoes!

    I had a rather more upsetting encounter with a mentally disabled lady this week, who had been set rather adrift by one hospital before being sent to us, and she really did NOT know how to get home except on the buses, and had no money for a taxi, and couldn't walk far, and was just SO upbeat and confident about being alright and being able to make it home. Fortunately two of my team members stepped in and wheeled her a longlonglongway to the bus stop in a wheelchair, then waited with her for a bus, and made sure she was okay.

    1. Practically any of my footwear could use prayers--as evidenced by the condition of my shoes! :-)

      I'm glad your team members were able to help that woman get to the bus stop.

  5. Kristi, totally sounds like you are doing so much good here with this conference you are planning and my hat is off to you. :)

    1. It's not being planned single-handedly, and other woman are working hard on the conference, too. I think it will come together nicely, though. It's scheduled for May 31st, so I'll write about it soon!

  6. I am seriously impressed with the wear on your shoes. You work HARD, woman!
    But I love, love, love the theme of joy and your musings on it and the video with the women on their experience with joy. And you play the organ?!?! WOW!!!!

    1. I can't even remember how many years old those shoes are. I really should have changed out the inserts a LONG time ago!

      Have you ever noticed that when you learn a new word, suddenly you hear it all the time? Similarly, studying about joy has caused me to find examples of it everywhere.

      I feel like I need to put a huge asterisk by "play the organ." I have had a couple of years of piano lessons. If someone tells me what stops to set on the organ, I can make music on it by playing it as a piano. I've learned a bit over the years about how to play the keys so the sound isn't so choppy (kind of like driving a stick shift, only with hands), but I still have not attempted playing with the foot pedals.

  7. I could not have given away all those cupcakes. Could. Not.
    Your flower buckets are so cute! Did you ring the doorbell and run, in true May Day tradition?
    I don't have a shoe "thing" either, mostly because I have big, hard to fit feet. Seriously, how cute can a shoe be in a size 11? I'll answer that - not a bit!

    1. I broke with tradition, and did not ding-dong-ditch. Maybe I'll have to do that next year!

  8. I love your list, Kristi. Service to others is hard work - but good work always.

    1. I always feel better after helping someone.

  9. Another fabulous post. I enjoy reading your Thankful Me posts!

  10. Kristi you made me chuckle for a second there...can you imagine Jesus with a to do list,.. not only are you wise but you are a very busy, joyful, selfless, new sole(s) lady. Your May flowers are beautiful - loved your list and some of it reflected personally - Thank you for sharing!

    1. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it? I use lists all the time, but I needed that "aha" moment to remember to keep my real priorities straight.

  11. That was a truly heartwarming TToT. It sounds like you do so much good for people. And your poor dear, you did wait too long. Time to get to Walgreen's and get some Dr. Scholl's. :D

    1. New inserts are in, and my feet are happy!

  12. Ooh, I love that bucket of cheer. How charming!

    1. Thanks. I had picked up the buckets on clearance a year or so ago for 50 cents apiece. I painted them with some free sample paint from Lowe's, then stuck in a 50 cent flower from Home Depot. A bow with some ribbon from a garage sale, and a tag made with paper scraps and a popsicle stick, and voila!

  13. A great list -- I knew you would work Drexel in! I was telling Amara about him just today! Hope you have a great week.

  14. You are a wonder! You work so hard and make such a difference in the lives of many. No wonder your shoes are worn! You're an inspiration, Kristi, and I'm so glad I got to know you here! Wonderful, uplifting post!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, but I'm not comfortable with the accolades. Service really does bring me joy.

  15. I love that you're so involved with your church and help people through it as well. That's the stuff that matters in life, so much. And here's to May flowers! It's about time!!!

  16. I think you already know how I feel about service to others. I am impressed ( but not surprised) by your dedication to it.
    Oh, those insoles! Made me smile that you included a photo of them .


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