This weekend I have been busy living my large, blessed life. On Friday it was very busy and full of love:
---Feed My Starving Children is a great organization. I don't feel my family has volunteered our time nearly enough, but, thanks to a friend, our Mom's group has volunteered for this charity a couple times now. The work is simple - for kids - but the adults have the job of supervising those kids as they deposit spoonfuls and cupfuls of vitamins, veggies, soy and rice into plastic bags to be sealed. Over and over you find yourself saying with forced cheer and goodwill, "No - a full cup, sweetie; Get it full...to the top, to the top!" Kids get distracted singing and shimmying along to the pop song over the loudspeakers, and then they dump in half cups over and over and over. The bags of dehydrated food have to weigh at least 380-400g before being sealed. We had to repeatedly bring the weight up with added rice until, at last! One bag came through that was perfect, and I exclaimed:
"The angels are intervening! Even they can't bear to watch!"
Whenever a full cup came through, we praised exuberantly, "Good Job! That was a good, full cup!"
The time flies amid all the combining and weighing of ingredients, the sealing of bags and boxes. Before you know it, it's time to clean up, and you are truly astounded, if volunteering with children, at the mess about your hands and feet from food that failed to launch where it should have.
Of course, many people volunteer with church groups or businesses or sports clubs, and they pack four times as much food as we did with only a fifth of the mess. One young lady there had brought her gymnastics team to celebrate her birthday by packing food for starving kids - a beautiful girl, a beautiful thing to do.
But I am not faint of heart. I plan to take my kids again. They have a blast every time, and I am always eager to return with them. The feeling of joy we all get afterward as we pray for the boxes' safe arrival to orphanages, schools and missions around the world is an antidote to the hairy task of packing with little ones.
I can't wait for our next adventure in loving others.
Please consider giving your time to this brilliant organization.
---My man and I had a date with two other couples from his work. I came home, showered, applied my evening face and fixed my hair. Egads! I fixed my hair! Normally I just let it hang stick straight as it is or I fold it up in an elastic, but this night I put it in a loose side ponytail and wound it up into a bun that I fixed with bobby pins. It looked elegant but carefree.
It is a very rare treat for Matthew and I to go out, and the conversation on Friday with our friends was lively. One gentleman in the hotel business told horror stories about guests and the atrocious things they do and attempt to do in "guest accommodations". I wondered how he kept his faith in humanity, but he pointed out that it's only about one percent of guests who are sadly memorable.
One of the ladies, a good friend, said to me, "I have something for you. I heard you've been hit by the house bug." So she drew out an ad that showed extravagant estates for sale, all in excess of 400,000 sq. feet.
"You'd have to invite all your relatives to live with you in a place like that," I said. Still, I confided that I do wish I had a larger, nicer home like any little person, how I felt a failure when I stepped into other people's grand manors. I confided that I felt my oldest should have his own room as a bona-fide teenager.
Then they all made me feel better, and humbled, by sharing about the homes in which they grew up. My husband didn't get his own room until he was in high school when older brothers moved out. His co-worker from out of town spoke about her sister's family of nine living in a three bedroom, two bath house. His friend told us that he didn't get his own room until college, and that the room he shared with siblings when younger was, as his wife described it, a "shoebox". He had to stand to the side when he opened his dresser, because the bunk beds were right there. And his parents took in dozens of foster kids over many years in their small home!
This gentleman even spoke about how he was the first in his family to graduate high school.
"And what's more, you went to college, too," I said with admiration.
All this wonderful conversation, and the beer sampler, had loosened my tongue and made me bold in the company of accomplished, educated friends. I spoke of my regret that I had not gone to college, how though I am technically "published" on humor sites, I don't see how I will ever earn money at writing, and how I wish for just $50 a year!
Then they began to rain encouragement on my head, lifted me up, and my cup ran over. They pointed out how, unlike many eighteen-year-olds, I know what I love and wish to pursue; how there are so many options nowadays; How I could likely pass competency testing for certain classes and forgo them; and that I don't need to sacrifice my dreams in order for my kids to follow theirs.
"I think I'll do it," I said, the rumbling of a resolution, a buoy in the not-too-distant future.
"Well, you better after this conversation," said the gentleman with the childhood room like a shoebox.
"I really think I will....I will."
And then my husband saw it was 11:45 on his watch, and we panicked about leaving the new babysitter much longer than anticipated with the kids. We all wished each other good night in the rain-drenched parking lot with hopes of getting together again soon.