Iphones, GoldenDoodles and Toaster Strudels. / by Shannon Heick

Last Friday was quite a day! I love Fridays! And I just love days, in general. So, I was pretty happy to be sitting peacefully on my recliner with my cup of coffee while Beckett ate his Toaster Strudel and Chase walked around the kitchen grumbling that he didn't know what to eat. It was nice. Occasionally, Beckett is a chatterbox while he eats. Occasionally. :) And he sometimes holds his toaster strudel flat on his palm while he moves it about and chatters. And you know what is coming, right? Do you see the photo below? That dirty, food-crusted beard attached to that whack-a-doo laying there on my area rug? The rug that this beast thinks is his napkin. Well, you guessed it. Maverick snatched himself yet another Toaster Strudel from Beckett. And doesn't he just look guilty? I swear he has a little grin, "like, yeaaaa, i did it".

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And after he smirks at me...he proceeds to lick his chops and wipe his gross beard all over my rug. So.....he was not on my "let mama give you a rub-down" list for that day.

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So, there I was.....sitting on my recliner that thankfully no one had peed on that day. Yet.  I was taking a few deep breaths over the Toaster Strudle-Doodle incident and attempting to read my She Reads Truth bible app. And then it happened. A flying 40 lb someone (who will remain unnamed) came barreling off of the ottoman onto my lap. I had this crazy delusion that I could sit down peacefully, drink a cup of coffee and  feed my soul with a little word of God while two little boys played near me.

What was I thinking? And then boom!  A flying 40lb sack of personality, cuteness and spunkiness came like a flying squirrel onto my body. With no notice. No forwarning. No, "mom.....are you ready? i'm going to jump with all my might straight at your face....is that ok, mom?" Nope, none of that. Just me being hit by a 40lb sack of  human. And there went my brand new iphone 5s into my cup of coffee!

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And this is the face, that I text my husband. The one, who when I got it said brand new iphone last week,  was completely obsessed that I get a massive, waterproof, shatterproof, everything proof  case. IMMEDIATELY!  And I said....."oh honey, TRUST ME....i will get one......but in the meantime, I will do some research on the best case...and just TRUST ME...nothing will happen in the meantime." And so....I ate my words, Maverick ate the Toaster Strudel and my  brand spanking new iphone 5s (almost) bit the dust.

Into a bag of rice and silica packets it went for the rest of the day. And I hoped and prayed for the best.

Now let's move on for a moment to a GREAT idea I have for your family!!!!! So, I know many of you are like us. We want to teach our kids about many things, but we want to emphasize community and  serving others. We have struggled with this in the past. It's hard! It's hard with little kids. As tired parents, we are serving three little kids, 24/7 the way it is. How doe we find time and energy to drag them out and teach them to serve?

Well, maybe if we knew some of the benefits to us and our children, we would be more motivated. Here are just a few of the benefits of serving or giving, according to a lot of scientific research.

1. Studies have shown that people who practice kindness and help others see an increase in their own happiness. One of the reasons for this is feeling more connected to other people, which science shows is key to feeling good about your life.

2. Research has shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves and doing small acts of kindness increases life satisfaction.

3. How volunteering can lessen your depression and extend your life.

4. And for our family, our main driving force for serving, is following after Jesus. Jesus gave us the ultimate display of putting others first. He told us to do the same. We can't teach the gospel to our boys without the action that brings the gospel to life.

These are just a FEW of the reasons to consider. There are more.

What I do know, is when we have done service work in the past, we reap rewards individually and as a family that I could go on for days about! Our hearts burst open with joy and pride and so much more when we give and serve. It's probably one of the best life-skills you can impart onto your children. That being said, I have found that it's hard to find a place to serve with kids.  Especially little kids. They tend to make it complicated. But they also make it cute! And the smiles we get from the people who are on the receiving end, when our kids are involved....it's something that can't be described, other than by the heart. You know when your heart knows.

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 So, here they are, helping Derrick and I with our new favorite community service. Meals on Wheels!  We started to learn more about Meals on Wheels when our wonderful friend Laura started coordinating the volunteers for this great program. Laura had mentioned it many times to us, but we were worried about how to do it "with kids". Finally, we were urged enough by the spirit to take the leap and sign up! And we are just loving our route! It's such an easy way to serve you guys. Even with kids! It only takes about 45 minutes and you can do it once a month, twice a month, once a week....whatever works! No pressure! Anything you do helps. We do it every other week and  it has turned out to be such a blessing to US!
Here is how it works in case you are interested:
(First you sign up with my lovely friend, Laura, and that is super easy) This is Laura! ↓ She is super awesome!
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 Then on the day you are volunteering, between 11 and 11:30, you run up to the site in WF to pick up your cooler and box of meals. You get your route and go drop your meals off to a few really happy faces. Once you learn your route, it's super easy! It's so fun to spend the time together as a family, between the drop sites. And it's just so fun to have the kids help out. Watching the people receiving the meal, while the boys are holding it out to them. It's priceless.  Some times the kids may help more than others and we don't push it. Whatever they want to do is fine with us.
Of course, you can probably think of 47 reasons why this won't work for you and your family. But, I bet almost every one of them can be overcome with a little flexibility and creativity. For instance, I have to feed my kids around this time. So that makes it a "challenge". But not really. Last week, I was super behind when it was time to go so I threw in a pizza and let them eat their pizza in the car. I brought water along and when I backed up, the water spilled all over part of the pizza sitting on the seat. But it was only a few pieces. And they were fine. Everyone lived  through eating pizza in the car. Its was actually a fun memory!
If you want to sign up, call Laura! Click HERE for the number, ask for Laura and tell her I sent you!
In the end, Maverick got out of the dog-house and my iphone fully recovered. Usually things all work themselves out, don't they? We get to choose how to respond. I always find when I get all worked up and start furrowing my eyebrows, it never really helps. Just smile, go along with it and things will be just fine! Have a great day!
One last question! Do you guys volunteer? Where?  Feel free to share some ideas in the blog comments below! That would be fun and could give all of us some great ideas! Share away and have a great day!