Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Opportunities

In about the last ten minutes I came across two somethings amazing that I got so excited about I had to share. Plus, I have to tell you about something my very cool sister is doing. I'll explain. But you guys know I'm a bit long-winded, so bear with me. (If you started humming "What a Good Boy" by BNL, I love you.)

Sometimes I feel like, as a mostly stay-at-home mom, I don't get that many opportunities to serve. I was watching Deserving Design on Hulu the other day, and while it mostly inspired me, it also got me a little down on myself. I started to feel like I just wasn't doing enough, and then I went through the littany of reasons why I wasn't doing enough, which mostly read: baby, baby, baby, oh and husband a little bit too, but mostly baby. But the more I think about it, the more I think that I am using my inability to do anything huge as an excuse not to do anything at all. You know, you get that idea in your head - go big or go home. Or at least I do. And I think, well, if I can't spend every weekend building houses for Habitat for Humanity or if I can't move to Mexico and teach people to read, then what's the point? But that's ridiculous. I'm reminded of a motto I thought up for myself as a missionary: Look for opportunities, not excuses.

Sure, maybe I won't be as cool as the woman who moved to Laos to work as a nurse and adopted two daughters or the woman who overcame near blindness and cancer only to turn around and dedicate herself to becoming a medical researcher with a quest to eradicate AIDS, but the fact is I can serve in my sphere. And maybe it's not as grand, and maybe (ok, most likely) Vern Yip will never show up at my door with a team of designers and carpenters, but I can serve those around me and I can make a difference. 

Anyway, so here are those awesome things I was telling you about:

First, one of my favorite decor bloggers, Centsational Girl, decided to reach out to her community and found COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). She and her husband ended up working on Project Alma - they are helping three single mothers and their children fix up and beautify their home. You can read all about it here. The opportunity here is one to donate and help Kate and her husband help women and their families turn their lives around. They've already done some awesome things. Check out this beautiful and functional entryway makeover:


And the incredible media center they built using the original old TV stand that was in the house and two used bookshelves. 


And here's the best thing: you don't have to donate a lot. The girl doesn't call herself C.entsational Girl for nothing. She really knows how to stretch a buck. That media center cost a grand total of $60 to make. So a donation of $5 could go really far to helping these families. Just follow this link to get information on donating.

On to opportunity #2. 

Facebook is incredible for learning about new things. A friend posted a link recently to the Coupon Connections blog. Amber posted a really great idea for helping the homeless. If you don't want to hop over to that link, I'll explain it here. The idea is basically to use excess you have (for these people, it is excess of items acquired for cheap or free through couponing. Really gotta get into that.) to make gift bags for homeless people. You can gather items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, non-perishable food items, sanitary products, etc., place them in a gift bag and keep them in your car to give to people you see on the street. 

I know I hate it when I see someone and am not carrying any cash. That passage from Mosiah 4 in the Book of Mormon, where King Benjamin says that if we have tasted of the goodness of the love of Christ we will "succor those that stand in need": and "administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need" and "not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish." I hate feeling like I have let someone put up his petition to me in vain.

So what an awesome idea, huh? When you see a really incredible sale, but you think - "I'll never use 8 packages of bandaids" - grab a few extra for someone who could really use it. Keep 'em in your car and you'll never have to leave someone empty handed.

Last little cool thing I wanted to tell you about: my way amazing sister Adrienne is participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies this weekend. The March of Dimes is an organization dedicated to helping prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. I am so proud of my big sis. If you want to help her out with a donation, you can visit her site here

Ok, that's it for me. What about you guys? Any awesome opportunities to serve that you know of?

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