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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How do I love thee...To Billy- Love Lani

To my Big Brother Billy...  Love, Lani

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Many time throughout this year since receiving our assignments I've tried to really think about Bill; to ponder on what types of things matter to him, to think about things he enjoys (I even watched like 30 minutes of a Nascar race to channel my inner-Bill!), to think about my first impressions of Billy over a decade ago, and of course, to try to be a little more like him by doing service that he would do.

Here are some of the highlights of my year O' Bill.

I have been so impressed with Bill and his willingness to give up Saturdays to join the Elder's Quorum to drive 2 hours to help do Hurricane Clean up relief all day- then drive 2 hours back home. I think they need like 4 guys to go each time and are supposed to rotate but I feel like Bill has gone almost every time. When Sandy hit, I was inspired by Bill to try to help. I didn't feel right about going to do manual labor all day on a Saturday when very pregnant or with a newborn- so service #1- I made a small donation in Bill's name to New York Cares', to their Hurricane Sandy assistance program.

Next, I enjoy getting to see Bill's smiling face on most mutual nights while he is Cub Master. I reached out to the parents of Bill's cub scouts to find out why they like Master Bill or Cub Scouts since Master Bill has been in charge. Here are the responses I received:
  • "He's great! He puts all his work and effort in putting on these fun things in scouts."
  • Ethan really enjoyed discovering how to create and write secret codes. He really enjoys scouts because he likes playing with his friends, learning new things and working on new projects. His favorite part of scouts was getting new badges. 
  • Jonathan said,"I loved the pack meeting with the campfire. That was my favorite! I liked the pinewood derby too, but roasting marshmallows was much cooler!"
  • Brother Bill has always been very kind and loving to John.  One thing in particular this year, he took John to cub scout camp every day.  John says he is willing to do anything with the scouts and is always fun, happy, and patient.  As John's mom, I really appreciate everything that Bill has done for him, not only through Cub Scouts but also through Kids Are Music.  Bill would give you the shirt off his back if you asked!  We love him and are so grateful that he is in our lives!
These are fine and dandy... but I still could not think of the perfect service for Bill. So... I had to take it old school and try to remember the Billy of old- I had to get my head back to 1997 when I first met Bill.

I was a young 15 year old when my big sister Charise invited me to come with her post-college friends to a Halloween party. While at the party- Charise pointed out her roommate at the time- Bill. Although we didn't talk long- we hit it off right away. :)

Looking back at that night, 2 things stand out at my first encounter with Bill. His big endearing smile... and of course... the mustache. Ahhhh- now we are talking... INSPIRATION! The perfect place to tap into service.

I researched Mustache charities (I know- I was surprised that there were so many- mostly dedicated to men's skin issues- but that didn't feel like something I wanted to really participate in). Then I found the perfect place- I made a small donation to "Mustache for Memory"- a charity that uses facial hair to raise awareness about Alzheimer's. The guy who runs it, started it in honor of his father, Richard, who he describes as someone who "may hesitate to ask for help but was the first in line to offer it" which I think explains Billy as well. I thought this was also a good chance to donate to a cause that had so much meaning to our family this year with Grandma's passing due to Alzheimers.

As a thank you for the donation made in Billy's name- they sent me a thank you card with this.
..a little creepy, I know but so stinkin' cute!

I traveled once again back to my memories of Bill in 1997. The next thing I remembered learning about Bill was that he was a new member that loved Missionaries. He was grateful to have found the Gospel but sad that he "missed the cut off" for going to serve a mission. Often while out on my mission I would think of Billy, and think, "Take advantage of this time- Billy would love to be in my shoes- so make him proud!" To be honest, I have lost a lot of that since returning home from my mission. It has been harder to be a member missionary. This year I was better. I tried to make more non-member friends so that I even have people to talk about the Gospel with. I reached out harder and more confident to my less active Young Women including surprise visits even if it meant getting nasty looks of "stop bugging me" or being attacked by dogs. I've already started to see the success from 2 of my YW.

Another thing I remember learning about Billy in the early days was how much he LOVED our family. There were times growing up that I felt like people thought our family was a little cheesy, and didn't really "GET" us. Well, right off I felt like Bill not only "got" us- but wanted to be one of us- and I am so glad he is. In fact, I think he "gets" it better than me sometimes. I don't think there is anything that Bill wouldn't do for one of us. His "sure thing" attitude when asked for help is something I wanted to try to emulate. Bill never makes me feel like he is too busy to help. Whether I need a last minute babysitter or my car is dead and I need a jump- Bill is often my first call.

I wanted to adopt his "sure thing" attitude instead of my regular disposition of "let me check my schedule" or worry of what that might impose on me or my family. This year I tried to be better that when someone asked for a favor- I followed my gut and said yes if there was any way for it to work... I adopted Bill's open door policy for kids at my house. Whenever someone- a sister, a friend, or new person in the ward would be looking for someone to watch their kids for a couple hours- I tried to have an immediate "sure thing" response. This one has helped me be not only a better aunt and sister I feel, but a better person that is responsibly willing to help instead of stressing and worrying- if it is within my power. Seriously- life changing to have this new attitude in life. Thank you Billy.

I felt like there was one more thing that I was missing and at least needed to try to tap into... his performance background in Roller Skating. :)

I called the local Roller Skating Rink to ask if I could come volunteer and I explained our Christmas tradition. The owner called me back a few days later and explained how touched their staff was by this wonderful Christmas tradition and he was so sad to tell me that as much as he wished I could- his lawyers wouldn't let him even though he begged them. So no roller skating service... bummer... I would just have to dream about my Billy Roller skating service...
I agree with the Cub Scouts- Bill rocks and I am so grateful for him and that I get to be one of his sisters! I'd like to hope/think that I would have done these things without doing them "as a service for Bill" but I know I wouldn't have done them with as great as an attitude.I know it sounds simple, but as I have done this throughout the year, it has honestly changed my life. It has helped me be better at doing things I knew I wanted to be doing but for some reason just wasn't. Thank you Bill for your "sure thing" attitude, love for missionary work and the Gospel, love for others, and love for me and my little family. We love you! Merry Christmas. Love, Lani


  1. Bill does have an awesome attitude towards serving others. Seriously though, the roller skating picture...is that really Bill? Why have we not gone roller skating together more as a family?

  2. Bill's mustache, Hootie's mustache, Bill in sequins with a photoshopped Lani? That is a definite winner of 2012's Most Hilarious Award!

  3. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com

  4. This was a fun service and post to do. Just to clarify a couple things... Yes I photoshopped both pictures of Bill and I but only by heading my head. Those were both really Bill...mustache, roller skates, awesome smile and all :). Oh... And Chuck... that was Hootie JR Chuck.... aka AJ. They look a lot alike huh? I love you Bill!