Work with Benefits

After a move, we had no room for diary animals, and the nearest place to purchase raw milk was 75 miles away. Since I do not digest processed commercial milk, we kind of needed the raw milk. One of our neighbors learned of this need, and immediately offered to let us milk their goats.

The goats had kidded a few months before, and the kids were still on the does. The family had been too busy to milk twice a day, so they had not even begun to milk them at all. They suggested that we might milk them in the morning – they’d shut the kids up apart from the does at night. And they told us to keep the milk.

So we started milking in the morning. A week later, they separated the kids permanently, and started milking at night.

My mother made us two crocheted bags – one was the right size to hold two quart mason jars. The other was the right size to hold a stainless steel container that we used for milking, and a washcloth and jar with soapy water in it.

So every morning, we set out for the neighbor’s, with those two bags. We milked the goats, and then carried the milk and the dirty rag and bowl home.

It proved to be a blessing in many ways, far beyond the milk. But the milk also helped to continue the healing process in my body, and to reduce the number of trips, and the amount of milk we had to purchase.

A Person’s a Person

When our last daughter was born, she had a genetic disorder which we knew would most likely result in her death at birth. Hospital after hospital denied us life-saving care for her. We were told repeatedly that we needed to deliver in a tertiary care facility (with a NICU), but the more we searched, the more it became clear, that any hospital with a NICU would not be willing to use any of their additional capabilities for OUR daughter. Hospitals that COULD save her life, would not. We determined that if they would not use what they had, there was no reason to not deliver her closer to home, in the small hospital where I’d delivered my previous child. I called and spoke with the nurse manager on the Peds/OB floor. She was the first person who said, “What do you and your daughter need?”. The first person who acknowledged that my daughter was a person, and not a disposable thing to be gotten over with as soon as possible. She then removed herself from the management schedule on the day we delivered our daughter, and scheduled herself as my nurse, for the whole day, to take care of me and my daughter. It was she that washed her, and dressed her in the little white dress that my sister had knit for her, to prepare her for burial. She attended the graveside service as well. Her actions were so caring and meaningful to us, and to our little girl.

A Long Time Ago

First off, I have a lot of sisters. So when I talk about one of them, it isn’t always the same one. We had a lot of miracles when our son was diagnosed with leukemia. It is one of those mile markers in our life, and one around which many great things happened.

One night, I lay down to go to bed, and I felt a thought run through my head. “If you do not take Alex to Primary Children’s Hospital within two weeks, he will die.” Alex had been losing weight. His muscles had been shrinking and losing strength. I’d been watching him, and in the last week he’d lost several pounds and lost his appetite. But this thought was pretty alarming. Not the kind of thing you expect!

It was strong enough that it brought tears to my eyes. I said a prayer. “Heavenly Father, if this is real, then I need to know how to do it. I need You to provide the means for us to get there.” Our family had one car, Kevin had just started a new job after several months of unemployment (caused by closure of the mill he was working for). Things were hard. I did not have funds for a trip 300 miles away.

The next morning I got up and called my mom. She offered to drive us there (we only had one car, Kevin needed it for work). I then went to the post office. There was a package from my sister, including a computer part she said I could sell, and a wall hanging she’d made for us. She had also tucked in a zip bag with Oxyclean in it – said the wall hanging had a stain (I looked, and it had a small blue stain on it), she felt bad about it but felt an urgent need to just send it off and not wait until she could clean it. She had tucked a $100 bill in with the note. It was enough to pay the gas both ways.

As we left town, a friend directed us to stop so he could fill up our tank – and he handed my mother another $20. Before we had left, I had emailed a Yahoo group of homeschooling large families, and mentioned my need for a place to stay. I had three offers within 15 minutes. So we headed off to Salt Lake.

When we arrived at the home of our hostess, she showed us to our rooms, and then left the room. She came back and handed me $200. Said one of the ladies on the group had wanted me to have it, anonymously.

Through those kind acts of people from whom we did NOT ask for anything (except for the place to stay), our needs for the two weeks we were in Salt Lake were entirely met. I lived in the hospital for almost a week (fairly expensive), and we had sufficient to get us home as well.

There is no question in my mind as to the hand of the Lord, working through those people, in that circumstance in our lives. My sister always says that she is uncertain of her ability to hear inspiration. I have no doubt of her ability to hear, and her willingness to act upon it.

An interesting footnote. The wall hanging with the stain on it stayed in the box for about six months, before I remembered to remove it and hang it on the wall. When we did, we could no longer find the stain.

Sometimes We Should NOT

“Remember, we honor the Good Samaritan for what he did NOT do, as much as for what he DID do. He did NOT pass by on the other side.” – Henry B. Eyring

Unexpected Blessings of Service

Interesting thing has happened the last two weeks. I have been recruited to elder-sit twice. A lady with Alzheimer’s and a broken hip. She is not supposed to get out of bed without help, and must have someone with her to ensure that she does not.

The interesting thing has been that both days that I went to help her, were our biggest sale days of that entire week. It was a day of the week that is NOT generally our highest sales, and no previous pattern has shown a similar effect. The orders came in while I was there with her.

I sincerely believe that when we give of ourselves to help other people, that the Lord blesses us more BECAUSE we helped. Our needs are then met with the help we need.

That the Works of God May Be Made Manifest in Him

In the New Testament, there is a story about a man born blind from birth. Someone asks Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus replied, “Neither, but that the works of God may be made manifest in him”. Then Jesus heals the man.

Now, we often think that the “works of God” are the healing. I submit that it is not. That Jesus replied in regards to this matter before He spoke of healing or indicated that he would heal the man, and the healing was IRRELEVANT to the statement. That those with afflictions are born so, “that the works of God may be made manifest in them”. Through their lives, through their need for service, through OUR service to them.

The lives of those with special needs, certainly apply to this lesson. But so do the needs of anybody who is afflicted in any way. The “works of God” are shown in their lives. But WE have to BE the “hands of God” to bring it to pass. Most often, when God blesses a life, He does it through a mortal being, who simply feels the impulse to help, or the inspiration to check up on someone, or the pull of a call to serve people more fully.

Custodians of Blessings

Sometimes, when we are given a blessing, it is not OUR blessing. It is merely handed to us, in trust, for us to deliver to the intended recipient. We are the hands of God here on earth – helping, giving, listening, loving. And sometimes we are the checkbook of God here on earth too – sometimes He uses our bank account to route funds to someone else.

Nothing we have is truly ours. It is all given to us by God. Our health, our strength, our time, our home, our vehicle, our money, our belongings.

There have been times in my life when I was given a blessing, and I absolutely KNEW that it was not intended for me. Someone else needed that very thing, and I knew the Lord gave it to me so I could pass it on to them. Often it is not that clear though.

I do know, with absolute conviction, that when we are willing to give generously to others, the Lord is more likely to bless us with an abundance. And consider it from His point of view… You have ALL these people to take care of. Where are you going to involve yourself in sending an abundance? To the person who hoards it for themselves, or to someone who shares and helps you take care of the needs of others?

This does not mean that all rich people have deserved their wealth because of generosity. Many ARE greedy, and usually they HAVE earned it (honestly, or dishonestly, there are both kinds). Many poor people are greedy too.

It only means that if WE hope and pray that the Lord will bless us with an abundance, then WE need to be sure that we are good stewards, and that we are using it in a way that He wants us to use it. By doing so, we increase the chances that the Lord will desire to bless us more abundantl

Do it Alone

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” Mother Teresa

If there are no leaders, BECOME the leader.

It Comes Right Back Sometimes

Went to help someone unpack. She had all this blank newsprint used for packing – I use that for packaging products to ship, and I’m always running out (don’t want to have to buy it if I can avoid it). She let me take all of it – I now have a large box (which I have no place to put!) which is full of clean recyclable packing paper. Got six large boxes also – large enough for a troublesome product that I’d have to purchase a box to ship, at $6 apiece, otherwise (big sturdy boxes are hard to find, and costly). Just so happens, just got in an order for one of those big items, which I have to ship out – nice how I went to help someone, and she handed me the solution to my shipping needs. I did not go looking for anything, just to be kind, and the Lord used that to meet MY need in a way I could not have seen.

A Christmas or Two Ago

Trotted off to the Post Office today to mail a package. A business package that needed to go out today. Got to the desk, and my card was declined. The money WAS in the bank, our account has overdraft protection, and we have sufficient in our savings to cover an overdraft. No reason in the world for that card to be declined. But it was. It was the only card I had on me. I had walked about four blocks to the Post Office with that package, and the thought of walking back with it, just to have to turn around and bring it back again was discouraging. A fairly large chunk out of the day, and the box was just big enough to be awkward to carry.

Someone behind me stepped up and said, “I’ll get that. Merry Christmas.”. I almost burst out bawling right there. It wasn’t the $11. It wasn’t even avoiding that extra walk with the package. What touched me so much was the MESSAGE I got from it. A simple quiet message from the Lord, “You see, you are not alone in your difficulties.”.

In this year of so much difficulty and grief, our problems have not been taken away. We’ve had to endure them even when they seemed unendurable. But we are blessed with just enough to keep going forward, to make very slow progress. And when things seem impossible, some little thing, some tiny kindness that in itself is not enough to fix anything significant in our life, comes along to encourage us just enough to keep trying.

What you DO, and what it MEANS to someone else may be very different things. One small thing may mean a great deal, for reasons you have no idea of.

So whomever you were, who paid the postage on my package today at the Post Office, thank you so much for being willing to deliver that message for the Lord. And God Bless you.

Charity in Action

Change the World... Personally!

No one can fix all the problems of the world. But each person can do one small thing, and change their own world a little at a time.

Government programs are not the answer. Personal charity is the only way that the needs of the world will ever be met.

Things you can do for others:

  • Create a food basket for someone who is unemployed.
  • Get a gas card for someone who is stranded.
  • Give a meal card away.
  • Gift card for department or grocery store for a poor family.
  • Pay something on a medical bill for someone who is ill.
  • Pay something on a utility bill for a family that is hurting financially.
  • Arrange with a mechanic for auto repairs.
  • Open a door for someone.
  • Help someone get their groceries to their car.
  • Entertain the fussy toddler in the checkout line.
  • Forgive a debt if you own a business.
  • Offer a free service to someone in need.
  • Provide a product discount to someone in need.
  • Hand down good clothes.
  • Pay for a haircut.
  • Bake bread or cookies for someone who needs a lift.
  • Take a meal in to someone who is not feeling well, or who is overwhelmed.
  • Write a letter to someone who is lonely.
  • Give rides to someone without a car.
  • Babysit for someone who cannot afford a sitter.
  • Listen to someone who needs to talk.
  • Share a joke with someone who is discouraged.
  • Give away surplus garden produce.
  • Get something for the beggar on the corner.
  • Make gift bags with food for 1 day for two people, hand out to homeless.
  • Hire someone who is unemployed to mow your lawn.
  • Buy something extra every time you go grocery shopping, to give away.
  • Donate Generously to Scouting for Food, Food Banks, and other programs.
  • Mow a lawn for someone who can't do it themselves.
  • Clean a kitchen for someone who is struggling.
  • Donate labor to help someone repair their home.
  • Help someone move in, or out.
  • Watch your neighbors (kindly!), and see what they might need.
  • Elder sit for someone who needs a break in caring for an aging parent.
  • Offer to pay a shut-in for hand craft work or mending (my mother loves this).
  • Simple herb tea or hot chocolate and cookies basket with a keepsake cup (need not be expensive, Dollar store will do) for someone who is grieving.
  • Fruit basket for a new mom - helps keep the digestive system healthy so that recovery is easier and less painful.
  • Share plant starts. Pot them in surplus or Dollar Store containers.
  • Donate blood or plasma.
  • Volunteer time for Food Banks, Meal Services, Habitat for Humanities, or other Charities that rely heavily on volunteer labor.
  • Call someone who is struggling, and just listen.
  • Pay the postage for someone at the Post Office.
  • Complement the behavior of kids in public whenever you see them doing well - it means the world to the parents.
  • Smile at everyone you pass (when appropriate).
  • Give a Christmas to someone - make sure your kids help give and wrap items.
  • Give someone a vegetable garden - 10 cent and 25 cent seed packets are great for assembling a garden for someone in need.