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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

To Mitzi from your other child who moved to NC

Merry Christmas to Mitzi

I want to start by saying I was the crazy person on the airplane bawling as writitng this.
She helped me find joy and make every moment magical.

Now to start. Most of you know my year has been a little well, hectic. By the time I got thr name in which I was to do service for I cried. The email simply read Mitzi. I had no idea how I was going to do this. She saw me at my worst. She provided everything for me when I couldn't do anything for my self. I was so floored because even though out the year as I struggled I called her. I almost felt like she had my name.

She helped me look up when I felt down.

 Well, for one thing I called her super stressed about a ward acticity one time. I didnt know how I was to pull it off. I didnt have great people on my committee and I called her for ideas. After she talked for about 45 min with me as I shopped in Wal-Mart I said "Man ,why cant there be a Mitzi McBride in my ward that I could put on the committee" we laughed but she quick said,  "they do have a Mitzi McBride in the ward...shes the head of the committee". She was talking about me. And as much as I may have been sassy and said okay no really i need help. I knew that I could do it. I worked my butt off for some activities and I even have one more in the works. But one other thing I did was I watched MeiLanis kids so she could go be "the Mitzi McBride " of her work. MeiLani threw a big Christmas  party for her work and she needed a babysitter pretty last minute so I ditched my plans and went and babysat her 5 kids for free. 

Lastly. I know some of you know my friend Clancey. He is serving his mission in Arizona. Well, just like Mitzi was there when I needed her I was there when Clancey needed me and after he left when his family needed me. Clancey was worried about his family. He felt hesitant to leave them behind, I assured him as much as I could that God had a plan. And that he would make sure his family was okay. Mitzi often reminded me of Gods plan for me. Sje never claimed to understand what it was but told me that she knew God would answer my prayers. I often shared my experiences with Clancey and assured him that Gods plan will go through. And if necessary he will intervene in our lives. Clancey and I would discuss that if his family needed someone God would put them in thier path. Even if it was as simple as Gatlin, Clancey's brother, having a new friend like Brighton to hang with. Now Gatlin was missing the snow and his brother this Christmas season. And for complicated reasons they couldnt decorate thier tree. So I went to the dollar store and bought a ton of cheap plastic decorations and Gatlin and I decorated the house. I also got gifts for everyone in the family. Some were coloring books for thier airplane ride the next day and then favorite candy and for Gatlin a frozen cup, to represent his white Christmas. My favorite was to see Mama Blacks face when she saw I got jer a kids coloring book. "Not one of the crapy adult ones" as she said. I wish I jad a video when she sawit had dot to dots. It was priceless. I also bought Mama Black some new gloves because her hands get cold. It reminded me of Mitzi and all the cold stuff shegot for Christmas this year.

Lastly I just wanted to thank Mitzi for all she did for me this year. I think about how she picked me up on one of the hardest days of life a year ago today. And I really cant thank her enough. Thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I love you Mitzi!

P.S. we can be buddies because apparently I'm dead to the North Carolinaians 

Monday, December 25, 2017


Dearest Charise -

I have loved watching you (really through Facebook) over the last year. Your hashtag that you often use has been a reminder of how to focus on the positive people and opportunities in my life. I have seen your business grow, your confidence grow, and your wardrobe grow (haha). 
You are an amazing mother and wife with an excitement for life that is infectious. Your caring and generous spirit is always appreciated by those closest to you and also strangers.

This year my service was more personal in nature and Charise will receive an email with a detail of how I tried to serve in her honor this Christmas season.


Water, Water Everywhere, But Not A Drop to Drink!

By serving in Africa as a missionary it's not very hard to find a way to do a service project!😳🤔The real challenge is putting that serving to the particular person who you will be serving for?

I really thought about who I was to serve, early in the year. 

You have heard about the orphanage, we have kind of adopted.   On our last mission we built a wall to stop the flooding creek.  In early November there was a terrible storm and the creek overflowed and rushed through the area.  Our wall held up, but not the neighbors on two sides.  The pictures will show what we found when we arrived, better than me trying to explain it to you.  

My service was for my favorite daughter in law Ashley!  The challenge was that I had to connect my getting the water 💦 out and doing it for Ashley who is the Relief society president.
The water originally was up above the top of the door and windows.  However, much of that dissipated when the 2nd neighbors wall collapsed.  The bedrooms are about 2 feet lower than the ground, so when we arrived, there was over 2 feet of water in the house and a good foot throughout the yard. We tried to pump the water out of the house, but the pump didn't work.  After hours of trying, we finally gave up and bucketed the water out of the house.

There was much clean up, and many dishes to be done, once we got the water out.  I said to Kristine that we needed help from the local relief society but they never came.  I spent most of two days getting the water out and she kept busy cleaning dishes and working on getting clothes dry and helping get clean food for them.

I know that if this was in Ashley's ward, she would have made sure that there were some sisters there helping get the clean up done!😍

I am proud of you Ashley for the way you serve as president of your Relief Society.  There were many many times throughout this year that my thoughts were of you and of how I could do a service for you.  .🙄

To end this report, I need to say how difficult it was,not physically,but mentally.  It was extremely difficult not get depressed,because of how blessed I am,and how blessed all of us are.  I do know that as you have served in this  calling, there have been some of those same feelings.  Both of us have been able to grow from the service we have been blessed to give.

I love you Ashley.

Making Magical Moments for Tiffany

My original plan for doing a gift of service for Tiffany was to take a baking class at Pinners and then teach a couple of classes back in North Carolina for my ward YW and Savvy's classmates. I took the class and loved it!! I got all the supplies, I was ready to rock and roll! But I didn't realize that what I didn't have was talent. I tried repeatedly to recreate what I learned in the class, and it was a dismal failure every time. It made me appreciate Tiffany even more!!!

I did have a really special experience with the teacher of the class. Tiffany is a huge fan girl of this instructor, and I was able to share with her how much baking means to Tiffany in a time where she misses that part of Ryan, and how much she has inspired Tiffany. The sweet instructor cried and said she was so thankful that she had been able to help, and that in a small way she might help Tiffany find joy in dark moments.

 While we were at Pinners, we took Lisa Funk's class, and it was soooo great to see her!!

I realized that I would not being doing anyone a service trying to teach them to bake anything!!
So now I needed a fresh idea. HEEELLLPPPP!!!

What else does Tiffany love???? 
Disney? How on Earth can I tie in this idea with service?
Well... I have really cute Disney clothes... and I could give them away and make a game out of it.... Tiffany would think that was cool! And so the idea of scavenger hunts for free Disney clothes was formed!! It was really special to me because it made me keep Tiffany in my heart and thoughts all day for the two days I was at Disney. I really missed her, and it was fun to keep thinking of her as I saw all of the attractions. I teared up when we went on Expedition Everest... I missed Ryan so much it made my heart ache. My favorite thing to do at Disney is to sit and watch  the shows... and over the summer, when we were in New York City, the Disney Store had a darling Patriotic Disney Quillow!!! It immediately felt like the perfect gift to unite both of us together. 
Disney+Patriotic+Quillow=YES PLEASE! So Tiffany, that I why I sent you the random Christmas present. It loved thinking of you and hope that every time you use it you will know how amazing I think you are and how very proud of you I am!


The Happiest Place On Earth.....

I have a confession to make: I am part of a family of Disney FANatics. The first step to recovery is admitting that one struggles with certain issues or vices.  My vice: I'm married to a Disney FANatic, who has turned me into a Disney FANatic.  Unfortunately, we enable each other! That's right, we're enablers! We do the Disney runs. We go to Disneyland for weekly date nights and family time. I even use Disney for daddy-daughter dates. As you enter Disneyland, there is a plaque overhead that says the following:

Disneyland is known as "the happiest place on earth."  It truly is a magical and marvelous place where children feel the magic of princesses, heroes, a talking toy cowboy and toy spaceman, pirates and ghosts, and a famous race car! Disneyland is where adults feel like children all over again. Everyone knows who Mickey Mouse is. Everyone is familiar with Disney and Disneyland (due to Disney's incredible and pervasive marketing!)

Cast members are incredible people! A HUGE part of their job is to be NICE and POSITIVE to EVERYONE! Albeit Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, the magic does not magically transform ALL people who go to the parks!  There are still a few people you may encounter (park patrons) who do not exhibit the most positive of attitudes or are the best examples that humanity has to offer. Yet, despite these park-goers' less than stellar manners, cast members are required to treat them with respect and greet them with the most positive of attitudes, always with a smile on their face. Dixie definitely personified the Disney Cast Member: always smiling, happy, and positive, despite her long works hours and attending online school courses at the same time.  My family and I loved seeing her and having her here in Orange County, CA.

Albeit Disneyland is considered by many as the happiest place on earth and a magical world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy, few people are aware of its close proximity to a not-so happy place on earth.  Only a few blocks away, there is a large congregation of homeless who have taken up residence along the Santa Ana riverbed.  This community of homeless is known as Anaheim tent city and is literally under the shadow of the Big A next to Angels Stadium.

The City of Anaheim has declared Tent City to be a health hazard and a state of emergency for the city. Living conditions are abjectly poor: sanitation is a major concern; drug use is rampant; crime is high. Many of the Tent City residents have their own struggles, vices, and addictions, including drug abuse, alcoholism, and mental health disabilities.

In honor of Dixie the Cast Member, who is always smiling, helpful, happy, and cheerful, I looked for an opportunity to offer Christ-like service in her name for others who are living in less-than "happiest place on earth" circumstances.

I armed myself with socks, gloves, and beanies I had acquired at a local thrift store, and several boxes of granola bars, bottles of water, energy bars, apple sauce squeeze packets, and other individually-wrapped snacks that were donated by a generous client, and I went to Tent City early one Friday morning before heading to work to hand out items that would possibly provide a little warmth and food for several less-than-fortunate individuals.

It did not take long to hand out the food and clothing items. It is hard to describe the look expressed by an individual's eyes when you hand them a pair of gloves, socks, and a beanie in the cold hours of the morning before the sun has risen above the Santa Ana mountains, accompanied with items of food and water.  A beanie and a granola bar can warm the coldest spirit that has very little, if any, hope for the day to come. It was an honor to make some people's day a little warmer and brighter in Dixie's name and place this year.

Merry Christmas, Dixie!  Love you!