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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Feeding of the 100... well... kind of

Do you have any idea how hard it is to do this kind of service when you live right next to the person and speak daily and know 99.99% of what is going on in their life? Let me tell you... it is no walk in the park! My favorite are the Mitzi quotes over the last 6 months...
"So you don't HAVE to tell me but if you want to, we could help each other with our service gifts!"
"So you don't have to tell me, but do you have one of the Dittbrenners, Gates', or Conleys?"
"I'm wondering what to do for my person... do you know what you are doing yet?" 
argh! But... I was determined to come up with SOMEthing and try my best to keep it a secret.

One thing that is not a secret is that out of the many heroes in my life, one of the greatest is my older Sister Mitzi. From a young age she took me under her wing and let me be her shadow. I wanted to do every thing with her, like her, and because of her.

I remember as Mitzi got older and realized there were other friends out there, I starting to miss hanging out with her. Mom took me to the store to get her a birthday gift. I had a certain amount of money and knew immediately what i wanted to get upon walking down the aisle... A BARBIE BATH! Of course Mitzi was getting too old to play Barbie's, but I thought if I gave her such a COOL Barbie accessory... who could pass that up! She would have to come back to the good ol' days with her and I in Barbie land!

Well, the birthday cake was cut and Mitzi opened presents. When she finally opened mine, I was very excited! But to a "too mature" Mitzi, she was not nearly as excited. I'm not sure if she rolled her eyes, or maybe I even heard mom whisper to Mit that she would take it back the next day, but I remember thinking my plan did not work! I quickly decided if Mitzi was too mature for Barbies... I WAS too mature for Barbie's too! It didn't matter how much I liked them, I wanted to be like Mitzi more!

Mitzi eventually moved out and started a life in the real world. My mom often says that is when I blossomed which makes me laugh because I just think, "the house was so quiet once Mit left, I had to do SOMEthing." :)

We have both grown up and gone our separate ways, but this year we were able to find our paths back to each other again. It made me very nervous and worried not knowing how my inner-little-Lani would handle being known as Mitzi's little sister again. I spent years trying to find my own self instead of hiding behind her that I just didn't know how it would work.

Let me be clear that being Mitzi's sister is a wonderful gift, it is just too easy to hide behind Mitzi because she is so amazing. I was worried that I would become lax, I guess, and not feel that I had to "fill the quiet in the house" anymore since Mitzi would be around. Sorry if this doesn't make sense... one of these years I'll get this written before 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve.  :)

Our first week in NC, while looking for a place of our own, Mitzi and Mike offered to have us stay with them. The first few days were a blur. I felt like there was a constant flow of children of all ages, genders, and colors and occasionally a parent or two.

As children would cycle through the McBride house, somehow food just kept appearing on little plates with names on it. I wish I would have counted the Mac & Cheese, Juice Boxes, chicken nuggets, pizza slices or something in the first few days. At some point Mitzi tried to explain that it was not always like that, but it was due to Spring Break so all the kids were out of school. But that still didn't explain the strangers and lack of other parents!

A piece of me kept thinking, "Hey people! I just want my sister all to myself for one HOUR so we can have one decent quiet meal!" But then I would quickly remember that is not Mitzi's way. I could tell that Mitzi probably just wanted to sit down, relax and have a nice meal with us too, but that is not Mitz. If there are people that want friends and food, then her house is the place to be.

Soon after we moved out on our own, I was trying to think what I could do for a service for Mitzi for Christmas. I had recently reviewed the story of the feeding of the 5,000. I kept seeing parallels in my lifestyle and Mitzi's in this story. Here is the Lani version of Mark 6.

Mark 6:30-32 talks about the apostles having an intense time preaching the Gospel along side of Christ. They are exhausted and Christ says they can go rest and finally get some food because they have been so busy preaching they haven't eaten. Verse 33 as they are headed their separate ways to rest and eat, people recognize Christ and follow him. Although not as close to Christ as the Apostles, the multitudes of people feel like they are because they have been so welcomed by Christ.

In verses 35-36 it seemed to me the apostles said "It is getting late, we are hungry, when can we send all these other random people home?" But that was not the Lord's way. Instead he said, "How many loaves have we?" and began feeding the food for the apostles to the multitudes. I do not mean to make light of this special story, but simply to apply it to my life.

Although sometimes I just want to relax with my own sweet sister, and sometimes we are about to do just that, if some random stranger comes along, no matter how tired she is, SHE WILL WELCOME them... AND FEED THEM and hang out with them and put our plans on hold! It is a special gift and I love her for it.

I decided as my service, I was going to try to have a Mitzi-esque outlook on feeding others. My goal was the feeding of the 100. Any time I knew someone in the ward that was struggling or having a bad week I would make them dinner, and usually not just any dinner... but a MITZI recipe! You know... a FAAAAANNNNNCCCCYYYY one! We are not just talking my usuals! Even if that meant doing things with raw chicken that I usually like to avoid!
I think I perfected her chicken pasta recipe through this service! Note: There were some nights I was in a hurry and went to my go to meals. (Yes Amy... your taco stew is pictured below in that big pot!)
I enjoyed the time that I had to cook and think of my big sister and her many hours in the kitchen serving others. My feet would be tired, my back would ache, and then I would still have to go deliver. But somehow all those things left my mind as soon as I saw the faces of the extremely grateful mothers and families of our ward. I received a few thank you cards that really should go to you as well as the many verbal thanks of many including the Hopkinsons, the Hubbards, the Wallaces, the Abhaus, the Gatlins, and a few others here and there.

In addition for signing up every chance I got through the Relief Society, for many weeks when it was my night for dinner swap, I would find at least one other family in need. It became this wonderful challenge to think of someone in the ward that could maybe just use a break. This weekly reminder to serve was wonderful for me!

The 100 was getting hard to meet by the deadline, so although I would have done these things anyways, maybe we can count hosting your Surprise Farewell party (really surprise since you thought we were celebrating a MISSION FAREWELL when you saw the sign!) and White Elephant Party.
I had planned to go finish the 100 with Mike at the Food Bank since I knew he was a "foodie service" too but a last minute trip to UT changed our plans. Maybe we can all go for a date night now! But in so doing I'm afraid I ruined the surprise! Because the Canadian throughout a "Hey Lan, help Mitzi with the groceries... it can be your food service!" DOH!

Note to self: Specifically clarify with Mike when things are secrets from his wife! Well, she played along and did not act like she knew anything.

And of course it was always fun when I would be in the middle of kitchen disaster feeding 60 people (including our families though) and I see that silver van pull up in my drive way!
And then... because it is Mitzi... she can't NOT help! So above is Mitzi doing her OWN Christmas Service one night with me because how could she NOT chop peppers when she saw what I was doing. The picture with us two is really me saying, "No, I'm REALLY ok! You can leave now so I can get back to serving you!"

Big sister, I love you SO MUCH! I am SO GLAD Heavenly Father blessed me to be your little sister. I would not be the woman, mother, or sister I am today without you as a constant example. I am SO grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful example of charity and love. I often wonder how did I get so lucky to be blessed with such a great big sister that is not only a best friend, but an amazing example of who I want to be when I grow up... and always has. I love you and am SO GLAD I live so close to you! I can't wait for many more memories in the future!

Love, Lan-Bon

1 comment:

  1. Getting a meal from someone during a particular rough time, is one of the greatest blessings. I know those meals were greatly appreciated.

    The Hocks did awesome with their pictures!