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.

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:

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!"