Thursday, May 5, 2016

go Jane, give and "turning OUT"

I sat in stake conference on Sunday, completely enveloped in the goodness filling my heart from the pulpit.  It was all about service.  One recently returned missionary talked about "turning out" as opposed to "turning in."

And I loved it.

She talked about how, really, "turning out" is the whole purpose of life.  When we turn in and worry about ourselves and how we look, what we wish we had, how we wish we could be, happiness is squelched.

But when we turn out and open our hearts to others that's what brings pure joy.  That's what God wants us to do, and in doing so not only are we strengthening our own "feeble knees" but we are lifting where we stand as well.

This sweet recently-returned missionary told a story about one of her companions that she didn't see eye-to-eye with very well.  One day when she was kind of frustrated with her they were about to knock on the door to speak with someone about our church.

Right at that moment she had this overwhelming feeling she should give that companion of hers a hug and tell her she loved her.

Her first instinct was, "NO WAY!"  which is pretty natural when you're mad at someone, right?  But then she felt that feeling once again, loud and clear.  She needed to show love to that companion of hers.  (side-note: I believe with all my heart that God speaks to us this way...promptings to do things that will help us and help others...in our church we believe those promptings come from the Holy Ghost).

So, against her natural tendency, she stopped in her tracks and gave that companion of hers a big hug and told her she loved her.

And do you know what?  As she said those three words she DID love that companion of hers.  She was flooded with love for her.  (I love how service brings with it love.)  And that companion she loved so much burst into tears because that's exactly what she needed right at that moment.  That hug and willingness to "turn out" made all the difference.

There are little things like this that we can do to "turn out," (which tend to be big things when you really think about it) and big more global things too.  I love the story someone told about traveling to a foreign country and giving out supplies and upon their return home felt happy she could serve, but realized in all that grandeur of big scale service she missed the fact that her own neighbor was in dire need of a different type of service.

That's just the thing.  There is so much service to give in this world of ours.  "Turning out" is on my mind daily.  There is so much I want to share and to give, and I know it is my responsibility as a mother to teach my children to have an urge to serve as well.  Sure, there are the little things like saying hi to someone at school who needs help and bringing dinner to a family who is struggling.  We have started asking at the dinner table, "who did you serve today?" to try to get the kids thinking more about how to reach out.  There are big things we have been involved in anonymously and large-scale service projects.  But I am ever looking for ways to weave service into a bigger part of our whole family culture.

And sometimes, between the carpools and the comforting of children (and husbands), and teaching and drying tears and meal prep and system-set-up, and fingernail clipping and making our eyes shine by "being there," getting out to serve gets pushed down on the laundry list of "need-to-dos."

General Conference in April put a lot of emphasis on service.  There were several talks about reaching out, and "turning out," and they were GOOD.

To listen to them or read them click HERE for the one called "He Asks Us to Be His Hands"

and HERE for the one called "What Shall We Do?"

They focused a lot on the world's refugees and how we can help them.

Click HERE for the one called "I Was A Stranger"

The one specifically about refugees is HERE.

Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about as a mother, because there are so many ways and forms to do it, and no matter how much we do there is more.  Do we work on serving our families the most?  Do we serve our families by serving others with them?  How do we make ourselves and our families more aware of the needs of the world as a whole and the world in our little bubbles?

Because these questions are on my mind a lot I am so intrigued by this pretty amazing organization my sister's friend has put together to help mothers in my same conundrum figure out how to give from their hearts.

And to "turn out."

Her name is Josie and she's quite amazing.

Her website is HERE, and it is chock-full of ideas to incorporate service into daily activities that we're doing anyway.

I LOVE her explanation of how this whole idea came about.  This is how she begins:

Have you ever watched a film or read a book about a social problem and felt a pit in your stomach and tears in your eyes? Have you ever been so moved by someone’s story of hope and change that you swear to yourself you’ll do something to support their cause? 
Me too. Then on the way to the fridge to refill my juice, tears still fresh on my cheeks, I step on a Lego.

Ouch! I thought I told Sydney to pick up the Lego before bed. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I need to order that new Heartlake Cafe set for her birthday. Better put it in my calendar. Oooh glad I checked the calendar: conference call at 9 am tomorrow. I need to look over those documents and find my phone charger. Where did I put my phone charger? Must be in the car. Car…that’s right. I need to get the brake pads replaced. Better put that in my calendar. Is tomorrow Friday already? Is this the week of the swim meet? Put the goggles in the bag. [Open the fridge door and stand in the cold glow.] Why did I come into the kitchen? [Long pause. Blank stare.] Oh look! Leftover cookie dough!

That’s it. The end. Game over. My heart-felt, tear-stained sense of purpose is lost forever on the way to the fridge. Well, most of it anyway. What’s left is drowned in a cookie dough-induced sense of powerlessness in the face of the world’s problems.

That is just a little introduction to get you excited.  You've GOT to read the whole thing because it is so well-written and it's empowering.  The whole article is HERE, right on the website.

What's so great about it is that it gives you ideas of ways you can incorporate service right into your family systems.


Whether it's little things like teaching a fitness class if you're into that kind of thing, hosting a talent show (like we did back HERE and HERE), baking up a storm, donating allowance, or making up your own idea, it all works.

And you can donate to a cause.  A great cause they have really researched out.
As a family, we are in the process of doing something to raise money for refugees but haven't quite ironed out the details yet.  My sister Saydi (who is on the Go Jane Give board), on the other hand, is already going strong with her fundraiser.  She's doing photography.  More on that HERE on her blog (I love how Saydi writes...love her thoughts she shares, and I say amen to everything in that beautifully written post).

We women can do things!  We can make a difference even if it just seems like a tiny drop in the bucket of "needs" in the world.  We are an important piece in the puzzle of reaching out, and "turning out."  And as we "turn out" we are turning out the hearts of our children.

I'm so grateful for people like Josie who make it that much easier to "turn."

Check out "how it works" over HERE and join in the cause.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Beehive camp

At the same time Grace and I were packing up for our 4th year adventure overnighter (back HERE), Claire was packing up for her first Beehive camp.
Ok, and for those readers not "in the "know" on the crazy Mormon lingo, the term "Beehives" is used for the group of girls ages 12 and 13.  I know, it's a weird name.  So is "Mia Maids" (ages 14 and 15). But there is historical significance you can look up if you would like.  Every now and again I wonder if they'll update those names at some point...

But I digress.  The Beehives were over-the-moon excited.

Usually we have a summer camp for all the young women together, but this year it's a little tricky because we are having Trek.  But only those young women ages fourteen and up are invited to go on Trek.

So, in our ward we decided not to do a traditional summer Young Women camp.  Instead, the younger girls who weren't going on Trek got to have their own little campout.
Man oh man, they could hardly wait.

They got together and made campfire tinfoil dinners before they took off.

Here's Lucy's send-off:
My friend sent me these pictures from up at the camp site:
(thanks Emily!!)




I don't think there was much sleep going on, but boy they sure had fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

a new JV cheerleader

Yep, she did it again.

This girl wrapped up tennis season, then went ahead and made the high school cheer team:
She was so scared for try-outs.

There are some pretty amazing tumblers and dancers who try out.

But that's what I love about Grace.  She doesn't let the scariness hinder her.  She practiced and practiced, and worked hard.  And smiled a lot :)

She fought the fear.

 And she made it.


Tryouts are always bitter sweet when people have to get cut.

Either it's you, or it's some of your best friends.  In this case it was some of her best friends so she was so sad about that.

But she just had her first practice yesterday and she came home glowing like a lightbulb.  She was so excited.

It's going to be a lot of work, there's a cheer camp this summer and practices start now into the summer.  They are getting their "moves" ready for football season which will be here before you know it.

But along with all that work they're sure going to have a good time.
Congrats Grace-Jam!  So excited for you!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

tennis season wrap-up (part 1)

Ok, so I'm going to have to do this whole tennis season wrap-up dealio in two sections because there are too many thoughts and heart-strings attached.  I can't possibly wrap up a whole four years of Elle playing high school tennis in one measly post.  So bear with me.  

Today I'm just going to wrap up the regular season and singles stuff.  I'll get to the state doubles tomorrow or next week.  

It's been a great season.

That's a large tennis team!  

It was so great to have Grace on the practice team this year.  LOVED seeing her there with these cute girls:

...and loved watching the matches she got to play.  

Since the "practice team" only went to practice a couple times a week and only got to play a handful of matches, I only have a couple pictures of her playing:
(she got to play against this cute girl we are family friends with)

Although she didn't get to play a ton, I think that little bit of exposure made her excited to get serious about taking lessons and get this tennis party going.  I hope it ignited a little fire for Claire with what she saw as well.  Tennis is just such a great sport!  

Here are the Varsity girls this year:

And Elle's trusty doubles partner we adore:
Man, we have watched SO many games with these girls together!
...and have watched some brilliant rallys and pretty amazing "miracle" shots.

Love that Elle's friends came to cheer her on a few times:
...and that she played half the season in these shoes:
I'm serious right now about that.  This happens to every pair of Elle's tennis shoes...don't even ask why either of us let those get that bad.  I don't even have vaguely reasonable answer.

We did super well at the beginning of the season, then got lined up with some pretty outstanding teams at the end so we ended up so-so as a team, but boy howdy, it was so fun to watch every second of everything we could get to.

One of my favorite parts of the tennis season is when the sun slants just so, the shadows stretch out, and most of the other matches are done and over.  Everyone gathers to watch Elle and Emma whacking away at the balls on the last doubles court of the night (they are the number one varsity team, and tend to have longer games) and they put on a good show (most of the time).
 We played some fun tournaments outside of regular matches.

And Dave and I have these dear friends we get to watch all the games with on the sidelines:
Those are the parents of Emma (Elle's double's partner), and they are just the best.  Emma is youngest of eleven children (yes, you read that right!), and her parents make us realize why that girl is so delightful.

They are too.

We are going to go through withdrawals from tennis, not only from watching our girls, but from sitting by these two.

Every so often we got an extra side-kick with us on the sidelines:
(She was obviously mesmerized by the match.  Ha!  I think when she realized she couldn't whoop and holler in her cheering like she can in volleyball games she gave up to read...and ask forty-five times when it would be time to leave.)

We sure love her anyway:)


Elle did really well in singles:
 She is so fun to watch, and I love when she plays at the net.
 I don't have a good picture, but just imagine those super-long arms reaching and being able to get a lot of shots you don't think would be possible.

This picture doesn't show it (I think at this moment they were too distracted by the other match), but I'm going to miss watching her shoot the breeze with her opponent during their breaks at the net.
I always wonder what in the world they talk and smile about in the middle of a heated match.

Singles are great, but her light really comes on after singles when she plays doubles.  

Doubles is what she played at state.

And we'll get to that soon.

For now, we'll wrap up with senior night and the last banquet.

We had an on-the-ball mom who whipped up a great senior night.  

In tennis it's not quite like the huge family banquet and slide show we had each year for volleyball.  But it's pretty great to get to honor those seniors that last night of the regular season.

These were the four seniors this year:

With their great coach and tootsie roll leis that great on-the-ball mother made for them.
(Wish I had a close-up, thew were really cool.)

...and she also had the girls sign these cute frames:

Varsity with JV:



A day after that last match, they had their end-of-season banquet (no parents allowed).

 Elle and Emma:
 Sweet friends:
 The team:
 Varsity:
They got awarded some funny certificates and reminisced about the season and it was a wrap for most of the girls.

Then it was on to state.

To be continued.
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