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.

15 comments:

  1. We were with Saydi the past few days and she has already made $1300 for refugees by offering photo shoots (she is a fabulous family photographer) for contributions. Hazel, Saydi's 11-year-old daughter jumped in with her own idea for helping refugees at her own link. For every $25 dollars that is contributed there, she will contribute one hour of silence (not counting sleeping). Her mother is delighted! LOL

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  2. We were with Saydi the past few days and she has already made $1300 for refugees by offering photo shoots (she is a fabulous family photographer) for contributions. Hazel, Saydi's 11-year-old daughter jumped in with her own idea for helping refugees at her own link. For every $25 dollars that is contributed there, she will contribute one hour of silence (not counting sleeping). Her mother is delighted! LOL

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  3. You must have been inspired to write this because my heart has been pondering how to help my children reach out beyond themselves! Thanks! --M

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  4. You must have been inspired to write this because my heart has been pondering how to help my children reach out beyond themselves! Thanks! --M

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  5. This post speaks to me so much! I am a HUGE proponent of service, but it is so easy to get lost in our daily lives of mothering that it really does go on the backburner. And, having recently moved to a rural area with very few volunteer opportunities, I am really excited to check out the website. Loved the missionary story, as well, since so often service in any form (true, sincere service) requires us to give something we normally wouldn't, whether sharing an emotion or time, talents, or resources.

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  6. One of my jobs is in a skilled nursing facility/nursing home. The talents you have as a family in music, poetry, baking goodies, rounding up needed clothing, personal toiletries, card games, etc would be such a benefit to those spending their last days in a nursing home.
    Their are people who have no family that ever visit. Blind people who would love Lucy to read to them. People that have had strokes that you don't think are cognitive, but they are! They love to be talked to! I bet Claire could talk to someone all about what she is involved in and still have more words to say! The residents absolutely love music.
    I hope and pray your family can give one or two hours every two weeks to spend with their elders and those that formed our families, our neighborhoods, and our nation!
    Blessings, Jamaille

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  7. One of my jobs is in a skilled nursing facility/nursing home. The talents you have as a family in music, poetry, baking goodies, rounding up needed clothing, personal toiletries, card games, etc would be such a benefit to those spending their last days in a nursing home.
    Their are people who have no family that ever visit. Blind people who would love Lucy to read to them. People that have had strokes that you don't think are cognitive, but they are! They love to be talked to! I bet Claire could talk to someone all about what she is involved in and still have more words to say! The residents absolutely love music.
    I hope and pray your family can give one or two hours every two weeks to spend with their elders and those that formed our families, our neighborhoods, and our nation!
    Blessings, Jamaille

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  8. Thank you for this WONDERFUL post!!!!!

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  9. i'm obsessed with go jane give. it's such a fantastic platform!! love you shawni!

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  10. This is an incredible website! Thank you for your post and article. I am blown away by the work the people of Go Jane Give did. What a remarkable service they gave to US to know how to serve the world a little better!

    Chaun from www.hiccupsandpastries.com

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  11. Thank you for this post! I have 4 littles 7 and under and have been looking for ways to serve more outside of my home, with my family, and ideas for my calling (2nd counselor in RS). This looks like a great starting point!

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  12. I'm grateful you shared this. The excerpt you included from Josie's website really resonated with me...when I feel like I'm struggling just to keep my head above water, turning outwards and proactively looking for ways to serve so easily gets relegated to the guilt-inducing "need to do" back-burner. But as you observed, that only exacerbates an inward focus that further overwhelms and squelches happiness. Thanks for the reminder and resources to help me know how to reach beyond my own micro-world and help my children turn outward as well!

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  13. I'm grateful you shared this. The excerpt you included from Josie's website really resonated with me...when I feel like I'm struggling just to keep my head above water, turning outwards and proactively looking for ways to serve so easily gets relegated to the guilt-inducing "need to do" back-burner. But as you observed, that only exacerbates an inward focus that further overwhelms and squelches happiness. Thanks for the reminder and resources to help me know how to reach beyond my own micro-world and help my children turn outward as well!

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  14. I love it!, thank you for this post!!

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  15. I love it!, thank you for this post!!

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