Friday, November 27, 2009

Five Hundred, Twenty Five Thousand, Six Hundred...

...Dinners. How do you measure...measure a year? This year, my season to measure dinners was the month of November. Autumn is my season to spend a few hours each Friday cooking and serving at our local soup kitchen. It's one of those things I look forward to. I like the feeling that I can give back to my community with just a small sacrifice of my time and a little bit of cooking creativity. Some of my menu items included soup and sandwiches, shepherd's pie, salmon croissants, and all-the-turkey-and-fixings-leftovers-you-can-eat! Over the past 4 weeks myself and approximately 40 volunteers served lunch each Friday to approximately 614 people. That's an average of 153 people per day. Multiply that by 7, and you get 1,074 for a weekly total. Multiply THAT by 52 weeks in a year, and we will have served approximately 55,874 people by years' end. I often wonder as I see the same patrons return, day after day, week after week, month after month, season after season, if there is any hope that someday their lives will improve for the better. I don't know the answer to that. I only know that my opportunity to serve at the soup kitchen puts my own life into a greater perspective.I'm grateful each day of every season for so many things that I can measure in my life. My family and friends, food a plenty, a comfortable home, health, and happiness. The knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father who blesses me beyond my deserving. I'm thankful for 'daylight and sunsets and midnights' and yes, even the opportunity to serve those 'cups of coffee.'Multiply the number of meals served by the number 2 and the minimum number of cups of coffee that we serve over the course of a year is 111,748. Next time you have a few extra of those five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you have. Then step outside of the box and find something to do for someone who may have less. You'll find the minutes you spend serving will fly by!

And always remember to 'Share love. Give love. Spread love. Measure the love. Measure your life in love.'

Saturday, November 14, 2009

They'll Bring the World His Truth

Teenage boys. They liven up our home whenever they visit. They put up with my quirkiness and tolerate Phillip's jokes. They have spent hour upon hour playing with Eli. They have been there to bring a sparkle to Cassidy's eyes, a smile to her lips, and even once in awhile, wipe away a tear or two. However, from the day the boys started walking through our front door, I knew it was inevitable. The time would come when their footsteps would no longer echo across the hardwood floor. Their laughter would be stilled and their smiles would become a mere memory in my minds' eye. The day would come when they would leave behind the world of friends and fun and girls and good times. White envelopes start arriving almost monthly, bearing the words, "You have been called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Every time an envelope is opened, we prepare for one more goodbye. These young men are ready to serve. They are willing to go where He wants them to go. They are the best of the best. With Honors. We have been privileged to have them in our home on more than one occassion and I am confident that each and every one of them will be 'the Lord's missionaries, bringing the world His truth." I am grateful each day for the friendship and respect they have shown Cassidy. Her heart breaks a little each time someone says 'farewell'. She knows they are making the right choice. The only choice. She supports them. She also knows she will miss them. We will miss them, too, but are so proud of the journey they are about to embark on. I thank them for the example they are to Eli. He watches every move they make. He wants to be like them. He, too, wants to be a missionary.
Those footsteps are now and soon will be echoing across sidewalks and pavements and dirt roads and hardwood floors in faraway countries and cities across the United States. Their laughter will be ringing in someone else's home and those winning smiles will be spreading the good word of God. They will be teaching in languages new and languages familiar, but they will be teaching with the Spirit and they will all rejoice as they 'bring save it be one soul' into the gospel of Jesus Christ.As two more of the 'best of the best' prepare to depart this week, I wanted to wish them one last 'good-bye and good-luck.' You will be in our prayers always. May God be with you as you go forth to harvest. The field is white and you are ready to serve!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oh, My Goodness! Oh,My Goodness!

It's time for Eli's Opening Night Review of Annie. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. He tells it like it is...that is, like it is through the eyes of an 8-year old boy. 1. I laughed when they ripped the head off of the doll. That is SO COOL!
2. When Grace ran into the wall I laughed hysterically. It probably gave her a headache!
3. Easy Street was funny, but dad told me when Rooster and Miss Hannigan looked down to the ground it meant their mother was in (eyes roll here)you-know-where (he points his finger down.) After I explained that it actually meant she was dead and they were referring to her being in 'the grave' he says to me, "Oh, I like it a lot better since it didn't mean she was in hell...oops...I mean you-know-where!"
4. I really got the part where Miss Hannigan is listening to Annie on the radio and says sarcastically, "One day they will make a whole musical about Annie." It's really funny right there because she is in a musical about Annie.
5. At the end when Molly chases Miss Hannigan off stage and comes back on the butler's shoulders that is a good 'special effect.'
6. Not a lot of kissing in this show. That's good. Especially since there's no lip kissing. Except for the butler and Lily at the end. That's okay, though, since they are married, right? They are married because they are Annie's real parents in real life. No one else should lip kiss.
7. The NYC projection scene was really cool. It was like being in a real theater. (I guess I will have to tell him that he was in a REAL theater.)
8. Mom, your name was at the top of the list in the program since you're the producer. Does that mean you are important? You should be, since you've been doing Annie for weeks now. I'm glad they put you at the top.
9. Annie is lucky she got to do such a big part in a big show for her first time ever. She is a good Annie. I hope she gets to do it again sometime.
10. This show was different from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. No women played men parts and no men played women parts. I liked that.
11. Cameron was funny. He has a good radio show voice.
12. The boy with the puppet and the APPLAUSE sign did a good job with his part. Whenever he held up the APPLAUSE sign the audience clapped. I think he is a good actor since people were following his instructions.
13. Was that real popcorn in the movie scene? If it was, why weren't they eating it? 'Cause I was hungry during that scene and I would've eaten that popcorn.
14. When Sandy was dragging the lady maid across the stage at the end, I was cracking up so hard I couldn't stop laughing. She is funny, and so is Sandy.
15. The best song for me was the first one with the orphans. I think it's called Hard Knock Life. It had a catchy beat and they could dance to it. (Shades of RATE A RECORD with Dick Clark here. Maybe Eli can work on American Bandstand if they ever bring it back!)
16. The orphan who kept saying "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!" had a good character voice.
17. Does Annie's mom, the one who played Lily, really talk like that in life?
18. It was a very funny show. The people next to us laughed at every funny line, even the ones I didn't get.
19. I'm giving this show 10 stars out of 10 stars. I hope I can go again, but only if there are enough tickets left.
20. Should I give it a thumbs' up, too? Okay. Two. Thumbs. Up. If everyone in the audience would hold up two thumbs that would be a lot of thumbs. Like maybe 1200 thumbs or something like that.
If you haven't seen Annie yet...see it's in The Colonial Theater near you. November 7, 9, and 10th. Be there...TOMORROW!