Saturday, December 20, 2014

Give them the best gift: YOU!

We get so focused on making sure our kids have a magical Christmas that we can forget what it is that makes it so magical! It's not the toys, sugar, or Christmas Jammie's, but our LOVE! Save the hustling for the season for after bedtime and spend time reading stories, playing games, and just giving your kids yourself. It is the best we can give them! Merry Christmas, we have loved serving with you this year!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Family Service: Filling the Manger with Love

 This Christmas Season I was excited to share with my kids, the tradition of placing straw in a manger for each act of service or kindness shown in our home. When I think back to Christmas as a child, the memories of doing secret service for my family is very vivid, more so than what I received from Santa even! We often give service challenges to complete with your family for others, but this week it is all about serving your family. This is such a simple thing to do, and it really keeps the focus of the Christmas season on Christ, His birth, and loving each other. If you don't have a manger and straw, a basket/small box and strips of paper would work just fine! We have found our children very eager to serve each other with the added motivation of filling the manger with straw, making it soft for baby Jesus. Our hope this season is that we can share the gift, that is Christ, with all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spending Time with Grandparents


Have you ever put "enjoy the true meaning of the season", "serve" or "spend more time with family" on your mental to do list? Right under buy Christmas gifts, make neighbor gifts, plan classroom party, go to kids holiday performances, pick out a tree, put lights on the house.....you get the point. 

Well, today, I had the opportunity of having my grandma at my house for the morning. I had a lot to do, but felt like I needed to  have her come spend time with my before she went home from her visit here at my parents.  I told her I wanted her to come over, but that I had a lot to do, so maybe she could help me? Well, we did some dishes together, straighten up the downstairs, and then we sat down on the couch and had a little tutoring session for her new iphone. After that we made lunch for the kids together and laughed about silly little things like the fact that I had just served her a hot dog and tater tots. 

I am so glad I decided to forget all those busy things I was going to do today, and instead spend several hours giving her the one on one time that she really needed. My grandfather passed away 10  years ago, and she is very lonely, starving for attention and love actually.

My  challenge this week is to reach out to your grandparents or an elderly neighbor. The holiday season is often extra lonely for them as they are missing their family and loved ones.A suggestion would be a phone call, a nice Christmas gift, or if you will be with them for the holidays, spent 10 or 15 deliberate minutes with them, asking all about their life. I have noticed that when I hold my grandmas hand or give her a back rub, she just melts. She has even told me that it feels so good because she never gets touched anymore.

I've been trying to put those important things on my mental "To Do List" in the right order lately, and when I do, I really feel so much closer to the Lord as I know it makes Him happy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Angel of Hope Clean Up

Each year, on December 6th, parents and families of angel children, gather at beautiful Angel of Hope monuments around the country.  It is a beautiful service, to honor and remember children that have passed on.

Each year, on the morning of the December 6th, The Ruby Jane Foundation meets at El Toro Memorial park to clean and polish the children’s markers in preparation for the service that night. Some parents are unable to visit their child’s resting place often, and are very comforted to find it looking beautiful and well kept when they come to the service that evening. We leave a flower on each marker, as a symbol of love and remembrance for each angel that rest there.

This is a great opportunity to service during the Christmas season. It is the perfect chance to serve with your children while teaching them about Heaven.

Where: El Toro Memorial Park
25751 Trabuco Road 
 Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 951-8244

When: December 6th @ 10am-11:30

Please Bring: A watering can, baby wipes, granite cleaner, rags, paper towels, potting shovel, scissors, scrubbing brush, grocery bag. 

If you live in an area that there is an Angel of Hope, this would be a great project to do with your families on Saturday, December 6th, as well.  Families often visit loved ones at the cemetery during this time of year, so a clean up of the markers anytime during the holidays would be greatly appreciated, I know!






Monday, December 1, 2014

Cards for Addie



This is 6 year old Addie. 
Once a bubbly and energetic girl, she now only weights 23 pound and her doctors have said this is likely her last Christmas, due to her undiagnosed illness. 

Getting the mail from Box 162 is something that little Addie Fausett literally lives for. This Christmas she wants to fill her walls with Christmas cards from YOU! She has been counting the cards already sent. Let's fulfill her Christmas wish by sending her a lifetime of Christmas cards.  

If you are addressing your cards today, stick one in the mail for Addie! 
Tag your friends that send out cards as well!

Addie Fausett
Box 162
Fountain Green, UT 84632

More about Addie and her story: Click Here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pillowcase Drive for Team Bubba


Bereaved mother's share a sad but strong bond that is like no other. Julie is one of those mother's that I have never even met in person, but I feel like she is my sister. Like our family the Presley family has found comfort and purpose in serving others.  

Our Serve Together Project this week will be supporting their Team Bubba Pillow Case Drive, in honor of their sweet son and hero, Collin, aka "Bubba"! Sew a pillowcase and help brighten the day of a sick child.

Ashley, from Make It and Love It, is participating in Project Serve Together this week and has posted a great pillow case tutorial to make this project a breeze! Thank you so much Ashley!

Pillowcases, fabric or gift cards should be sent to:
Team Bubba 
C/O RJF
PO BOX 505
Trabuco Canyon, Ca 92678

Here are some words from Julie about why this project is so close to their hearts. I hope that you will participate in some way. 
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I remember countless nights and days spent in a sterile white hospital room with my sweet little boy. Imagine how scary and overwhelming it was to him… to me (and his father)… and to his little sister when she would visit. One day Bubba received a birthday present from Child Life wrapped in a pillowcase and that simple gesture has forever changed my heart. That fun pillowcase brightened and changed a scary hospital room. That little toy piano brought laughter and smiles to our faces. Such a simple act of kindness changed our world. After fighting a long and hard battle our sweet little boy Collin “Bubba” Presley returned home to Heaven in the arms of loving angels just after his 12th birthday.


My grief was overwhelming and it was only fitting that I found the best outlet for my grief in the form of service. I decided to turn my pain into purpose. We started Team Bubba shortly after his passing on August 9, 2012.

Team Bubba has managed to sew and donate over 2,000 pillowcases to local children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald houses, orphanages, and special home deliveries over the past two years. Would you consider helping Team Bubba change a child’s little world with one small act of kindness? What we are asking from you is simple.
 

We need you to put your talents to use and sew standard size (20x26 inches) pillowcases with new child friendly fabric (please no weapons or aggressive prints) unwashed and donate them to Team Bubba.
 

You can’t sew?? No problem!!! Put your great shopping skills to use and purchase a new child friendly pillowcase from a local store and donate it to Team Bubba. You could also donate fabric, or a gift card so we can make more pillowcases!


Thank you so much and remember that by doing small acts of kindness we can do great things!!!

Julie Presley

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To read more about Bubba and the Presley Family, visit their blog: http://presleyfam.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 10, 2014

Everyone loves PB & J sandwiches!


A very humble and sweet man at church, who has very little money, shared how he often makes an extra PB & J sandwich to give to a homeless woman he passes often. This really touched me. It is such a simple thing to do, but so thoughtful. It really touched me to think of this man, planning ahead and wanting to help this woman. 
We decided to follow his example. We have fed the hungry in our community several times, and know where they hang out in a big group. We bought 4 loaves of bread, 1 big tub of peanut butter, and 3 jars of jam. My daughter and her 5 cousins made and bagged the sandwiches all on their own. They worked so hard, and while they did they were so sweet to eachother and really worked as a team. It was very inspiring to see. When we are doing service it really puts us in a great mood. 
The children were so excited to hand out the sandwiches, and were surpisingly not shy. I think they were very proud of their work and happy to show their love to others. 
This is so easy to do with children and it did not cost very much. I hope you will join our project this week! It was a really fun one.

 
video

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Homemade Bread




It's hard to top the smell of fresh baked bread!
 My friend, Jenny Evans, from Jenny Evan's Gatherings has a special treat for us today, her highly coveted homemade bread recipe. 

I love seeing someone serving and sharing their talents and interests with others. We are all given different gifts in life, and it is a blessing to share those with others.

Head on over to Jenny's blog for the recipe and some words from Jenny about service, and how her love of cooking has let her serve many people!

This week's challenge is to bake this delicious bread and share it with someone!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Forgive.


Forgiveness is hard. It is hard to forgive after being wounded by someone, especially someone you love. I have been hurt very deeply a couple of times in my life, and it was one of the biggest learning opportunities I have ever had. It took a long time, several years actually, to feel like my heart and mind had truly forgiven the person who had wronged me. I prayed, and prayed and prayed for months and months and months, and slowly I started to feel that my heart was softening. Forgiveness does not come easy most of the time, but I can testify that the pain, work, time and prayer is worth the end result of truly forgiving someone.
This week, begin the process of forgiving someone who has wounded you. Love is so much more important that the hurt. Take the first step. You will be glad you did.

(This is a great time to teach kids about forgiveness!)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lucky Dollar


This week we kept it really simple, but it was one of the most fun projects we have done yet. We rolled up a few dollar bills, tied them with ribbon with a note that said, "It's your lucky day!" 
My daughter would pick a spot  and "drop" the dollar and then we would hide to watch someone find it. It was so much fun to do with my kids! 

One dollar is such a small amount, but this is just the thought that counts! I know finding a little luck like that would make my day!



video

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cookies for Fire Fighters


This week's project was inspired by my friend, who took cookies to the Fire Fighters who have been fighting a large fire in our area. She took her kids, and went to the place they have been camping out. We made some cookies to send along with them, and then took a plate to our city's firestation to thank them for protecting our city. 

I think a small gestures like is a great way to remind someone that their job is appreciated. We are especially thankful for the lifegaurds, police and highway patrol, and fire fighters who keep us safe on a daily basis. It also gave me a great opportunity to explain their jobs, why they do it, and I think my daughter was really amazed that they chose to do this as their job, even though it is dangerous.

Make a treat, and take them to the fire station, police station, or wherever you think they would be appreciated! (And you might just get a tour of the firehouse, and engines like us!)


These cookies are called Monster Cookies, and I got the recipe from  Jenny's Gatherings
They were SO yummy and made a ton!

Smile at a Stranger

 
This week's service challenge is to make a stranger smile.
 We took a morning walk and smiled and said, "Good Morning" to the 29 people we passed. We passed happy, busy, grumpy and distracted people but we smiled at each one regardless. All 29 people smiled back and it sure made us happy! You never know when someone could use a little happy. 
 ------------------

I remember being at Target, 4 months after losing our daughter. It was Christmastime, and I made my way over to the Christmas isle.  I looked up at a wall full of stalkings, and felt like someone punched me in the stomach. The year before, I had stood in this very spot, 9 months pregnant, and wondering if I should buy the new baby a stalking. I talked myself out of it, saying, "She won't come until after Christmas, I'll just buy her one next year." Now, it was the next year, and there I stood, no baby in my cart. My eyes began to sting as I tried to keep the tears in. A very nice lady passed me, and gave me the warmest smile, and it was just what I needed at that moment. I was feeling so alone in such a busy place, but her smile was just enough 'happy' to give me the push to keep going that day. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beautify your town!

While walking into our local market, my 6 year old said, "Mom! There is so much trash out here! Our next Serve Together Project should be to clean this up!" 
My favorite thing about this is that she is now looking for the opportunities to do good around her.  My goal in starting this project was exactly this. I want my family to be constantly thinking about others, and the world around them, and looking for the chance to make a difference. 
So, this week, we are picking up trash around our town! 
We hope you will join us and look for the chance to make your town a little more beautiful. 
This can be done at the park or school playground, the beach, or on a walking trail! 
(Wear gloves, or use plastic baggies as make-shift gloves!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Give Them Your Time


Our world moves fast. We are use to filling each moment with something productive or entertaining. It is not often that I let myself be fully present in the moment that I am in. My mind is always racing, thinking of what I should be doing, what I need to be doing, or what I rather be doing. 

I have noticed this is true, even when I am playing with my kids. After begging me while doing dishes if I can play Barbies, I will "give in" and sit on the floor for a few minutes before making an excuse that I need to put the laundry in the dryer, finish dinner prep, or something else that far less important than my kids. 

This needs to change. I am going to ask my child if she wants to play with me! I want to spend a deliberate hour with each child during the day. I am going to give my FULL and undivided attention to them. I want them to know how important they are. I want them to feel the love that I have for them. I want them to know that all the other "things" in life are just not as important. I have learned the hard way that there are never enough moments to spend with my kids. I wish more than anything that I could have just one hour to spend with my Ruby.

This weeks service challenge is to give of your time. Spent a deliberate hour with each person in your family this week (and maybe in all the weeks to come as well!)



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Balloon Service Challenge

We bought a bunch of balloons at the grocery store and handed them out along the beach! We gave them to young kids, old couples, a janitor, a teenager, the man working at the front desk of the hotel, and tourist from China! I can't believe the instant smile from every single person we handed a balloon to! As when we handed them the balloon we said , "We hope you have a happy day!" 

Grab a balloon (or a few) at the grocery story and give it to someone! 
Cant wait to see these pictures pop up! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

An Ultimate Act of Service

Our daughter passed away while waiting for a liver transplant at UCLA. A few days after Ruby passed away, a little friend we met in the hospital received her gift of life, a new heart.  I have been blessed by getting to know our friend's donor's grandmother. While his story is horrible and tragic, it also has taught me so much, but especially, love and service.
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An Ultimate Act of Service, By Rachel Rodriguez

In August 2011 I received a phone call that would ultimately change my life. My grandson Malaikye Payne who was a mere 16 months old was taken to the hospital and was now in a coma from a reported fall. Days would pass and we fervently stayed in prayer begging God for a Miracle. Sadly, that miracle was not to belong to our family, but to strangers. My son Daniel, who is Malaikye’s father, was told by doctors that his baby boy was brain dead and that there was no hope of ever regaining life. Immediately, Malaikye’s death was listed as a homicide. In the rawness of my son’s mixed emotions of rage and grief, he made a decision that would pave the way for our healing. Although, we didn’t realize it at the time because our grief was fresh & overwhelming, God was faithful to reveal to us His ultimate plan. You see, Daniel chose to donate Malaikye’s organs so that others may have a chance at the life his baby was never to live. This is an ultimate form of service. Service is defined as “an act of helpful activity”, a “favor, kindness and a helping hand”.  When my son came to me and told me about donating Malaikye’s organs I was so proud of my son. His heart was so shattered as he fell to the floor weeping, yet he was thinking of others. Malaikye went on to save the lives of four precious people. They can now live with a renewed sense of life and a future many were uncertain about. The Bible tells us in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  Although we did not know the recipients identity, we knew their ages and sex. Malaikye went on to give life to a 9 month old, 2 year old, 21 year old and a 65 year old. Our family took the ultimate sacrifice but we also gained an abundance of blessings for this act of service.

Today, the judicial part of the journey is over and the murderer; Malaikye’s mothers boyfriend sits in prison serving 25 years to Life. Justice has been served. For many, this would leave someone numb and filled with rage over this loss. I chose to persevere and find some positivity. I have chosen to honor my grandson’s memory through acts of service. In his memory I became a Donate Life Ambassador. I am grateful to embrace the platform this gives me to not only share Malaikye’s story but to bring awareness to the beauty of organ donation. Yes, my grandson is the face of child abuse; an epidemic plaguing our country, but also on a positive note, he is the face of Hope through organ donation. Today, we live life knowing Justice was served for Malaikye. Our court journey may be over, however, I continue to come alongside other families as they await their turn for justice to let them know they are not alone.  I serve as secretary for my support group Survivor’s of Murdered Children based out of SGV with leaders Tina and Joe Yamashiro. My leaders served me through my journey as they sat in the courtroom everyday with me.

In honor of my grandson, I have taken a hobby of mine and am using it to bring joy to others. I make memorial pieces such as bracelets, key chains and necklaces for those who have lost loved ones. Being of service and learning how one of these handmade pieces brings a smile to a loved one’s family is a form of healing through my own loss. Spreading the Love of Christ as it was so freely given to me at my time of tragedy, now it’s my turn at paying it forward to help another family just beginning to walk their painful journey. In all things I do, I do to honor Christ first and foremost. I pray my actions always reflect what I so believe in. I know I will see my grandson one sweet day…for Eternity. 



To register as an organ donor please visit:  donatelife.net

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1st Service Challenge

Today it has been 1095 days since I have seen my Ruby girl. It has been the longest 3 years of my life. I would not be where I am today, without the love shown to me by others. 
After Ruby passed away, we received texts, emails, messages, comments, and cards. The cards were such a welcome little distraction during the day. We loved going to get the mail, and opening up little bits of love from friends, family, and even strangers. 
I have a basket that I have kept all my cards sent to us. I have gone through that basket from time to time, when I am feeling a little down, and need to be reminded of the good that there is out there. Some of the cards are from people I have never met, but took the time to pick out a card, write a message to our family from their heart, and send it to us. It really meant the world to us during that time, and even know. 
This week, the first week of Serve Together, we will be writing a heartfelt note to someone that could use some love and light in their life. Drop a note in the mail, leave it on a doorstep, whatever works for you. 
I know from experience, that getting a little note can brighten someone's day by reminding them that they are thought about, and that they are loved.
Here we go!
Let's serve together!



Friday, August 8, 2014

Why Service?

It had been a couple of days since our 7 month old daughter passed away. We left to go pick out her final resting spot. It was awful. We drove in silence, well, silence except the tears. When we rounded the corner,  returning home, there was a sign on our garage that read, "We love you Taylor Family".
It was just what I needed to read, in the exact moment. And to be honest, we didn't take that sign down for a very long time. It was a perfect greeting for us each time we returned to our home, that seemed too quiet. Because it was too quiet.

This was the not the first act of service that we had been shown. It was one of thousands. It has been a long 7 months with a sick child, but it was also 7 months of love, and learning and growing. There were meals, notes, drawings, babysitting. There were prayers, oh how there were prayers. There were gifts, and texts, and phone calls. There were blood donations, money sent, and living donors signed up. There were smiles, flowers, hugs, tears and a shoulder to cry on. And after she passed, we experienced more love and service than I knew was possible.

It wasn't too long after she passed that I realized I was the one who needed to serve. I needed it. I need to forget myself, my pain, and my grief. I needed to lose myself, because being myself was painful. It started out somewhat selfish, but I realized that so much healing was taking place, and joy and happiness were increasing in our home as well. 

Service is powerful. It has the power to change lives. I can testify to that. Without the service shown to our family, we would not be where we are today. 


“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. …" 

Those small acts of kindness and love shown to us, have brought happiness and joy, when we thought those things were impossible.

Service has changed our life.

Unexpected Service

This is Mikey. He is one of the nicest people I have met. He is a veteran, and he is also homeless. When I first met him, he served ME. Sometimes service comes from very unexpected places. I have learned that service coming from those who have very little of worldly processions give with all they have, their heart. Mikey taught me a lot about serving from my heart, and that it doesn't take much to make someone's day. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"It makes you happy"

Meet Kate Taylor!
Our first kid interview is with Kate Taylor, our oldest of 3 daughters. She just turned 6, and as you can see, has a lot of missing teeth! She likes to boogie board, swim, play with American Girl Dolls, and surf!


  Kate, what is service?
"Helping people. Do I get a treat for answering these questions?"

What is a service that you have done for someone?
"I have given homeless people food. I learned that service is the best thing to do. I'm hungry!"

"How did it make you feel?
"It makes you happy! I don't know why, but it does!"

What is something you wish someone would do for you?
"Well, it happened today, at Pump It Up. I didn't get to go in the windy thingie with my friends and I started to cry. They came out and got me, and I got to go in with them. It made me feel happy because they helped me!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our "Serve Together" Project

From:http://www.linesacross.com/2013/05/free-printable-albert-einstein-quotes.html




We have found a lot of happiness by serving others as a family. 


Serving together has amazing power to strength relationships and heal broken hearts. 

We want to see love and service spread. 
Each week, we will be suggesting an act of service, and challenging everyone to participate.

We want to SEE the service happening!  We want to see pictures, videos, and stories! It is inspiring to see other serve around us, and far from us. We are all able to serve in someway. Let's share our experinces, and learn from eachother.

 Love and kindness and joy will increase in our homes and in our families.
Most of the acts of service are things you will be able to do with children. Each week will be a new idea. It would be fun to see these acts of service being performed all over. 

Follow @servetogether on Instagram, and use the hashtag #projectservetogether

We will be going through the pictures and would love to share a service experience each week.
As we share our experiences with friends and families, we will help spread the spirit of service!