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Thursday, December 25, 2014

O ye that embark in the service of God (D&C 4:2)

O ye that embark in the service of God (D&C 4:2)

This is a lot harder than I anticipated.  I apologize that it has taken me quite some time to organize my thoughts and feelings about this awesome family tradition.  Tiffany introduced me to the family service tradition last year.  I’ve read several past-year posts and have been amazed at the creativity, effort, and love that is poured into these experiences.  I’ll admit that I am a little nervous for my first time participating and feel somewhat at a loss for words to relate my experience.  I hope that my efforts are worthy of the recipient I have this year.  So with that, here we go…..

The recipient of my meager service efforts this year is Bill.

Last year at this time Tiffany and I were dating.  Tiffany, Brooklyn and Zelda flew out to North Carolina to spend Christmas and New Years.  Mike and Mitzi and family were so gracious to let me come stay at their home and visit for a few days following Christmas and into the New Year.  What an incredible time I had with Tiffany and her siblings!  From the first moment I met Michael and Lani, Mike and Mitzi, and Bill and Charise I felt that I was in the company of dear friends and I was made to feel warmly welcomed in their family.  I first met Bill at the McBride New Years Eve party.  I found it very easy to talk and laugh with Bill. 

I don’t know Bill very well.  I have been able to get to know him a little more each family gathering I have attended (McBride New Years Eve party; Williamsburg, VA; Bodell reunion in Utah; Disney World; and a brief visit here in OC where we had a BBQ at the beach).  Tiffany has helped me to get to know Bill a little better.  Tiffany has explained to me that Bill exemplifies the words serve and service.  As she explained, Bill would be the first to help a family move in or out of the ward.  Tiffany said he is mindful of the single mothers and widows in the ward.  He is ready and available to help anyone in need.

When Tiffany explained this to me, I began to actively seek out service opportunities that Bill would engage in without second thought or hesitation.

The first opportunity I had was to assist a friend of Tiffany’s in our ward.  She is a single mother and has 4 children.  She called Tiffany and mentioned that she had bought a bunk bed for two of her children but was struggling to assemble the beds.  Without hesitation I took Brooklyn with me and we headed over to assemble a bunk bed.  It didn’t take long.  It was not complicated to assemble the bed.  It was just awkward and definitely a juggling act for a single individual.  With an extra set of hands the assembly was completed in short order.  She was very appreciative for the help and her kids were excited for the bed. 

The second opportunity I had to serve on behalf of Bill was to help a family in our ward move out of their home.  This family was moving out of a two-story house with a narrow spiral staircase and a very old upright piano!  Does it make sense that the piano is upstairs?  Needless to say, Elders Quorum Inc. moved the piano from the second to the first floor and into the U-Haul truck.  Luckily I was positioned uphill and not downhill while moving this stringed behemoth.  Several other furnishings that were awkward were moved down from the second floor (hide-a-bed couch, antique executive desk, billiard table, ping pong table).  While we were all sweating and grunting and grumbling under the strain of moving these large awkward items, I was able to realize how grateful I was to serve.  I was grateful to be able to help this brother and sister who could not have moved these items on their own.  They were an older couple.  It took 6 strapping Elders to move the piano, and even then we were lucky that we didn’t kill someone!  I am grateful to be able to help someone when they are not physically able to do something by themselves.  We are all in the same situation.  We cannot [physically] by ourselves overcome the Law of Justice and return to our heavenly home and family.  It is the atonement of the Savior and resurrection that enables us to come home.  Only because of Him the Law of Mercy fulfills the Law of Justice.  What a great opportunity this was for me to serve on behalf of Bill and help someone else in their time of need.

The third opportunity that I had to serve was during our stake’s production of Follow the Star, the annual live nativity put on every Christmas season.  I did not participate in the live presentation, but had an opportunity to help set up the many decorations in the building foyers.  This was my first time to experience Follow the Star.  Tiffany had explained it to me but I did not understand the full magnitude of the production.  It was almost overwhelming at first to see how much time, energy, decorations, sets, and materials that are involved.  My task was to set up all of the Christmas trees in the foyer and to light them up!  This included untangling the many strands of lights that had been haphazardly thrown in totes the year before.  I believe I counted over 20 trees.  It was amazing! 

The Christmas tree is a special symbol to me.  Not only is the harvesting of the Christmas tree a special family tradition that I grew up with (in Idaho you can buy a $5 permit from the Forest Service and head up into the mountains and harvest your own tree.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving we would load up the suburban and head to the mountains and the snow and hunt for the tree.  My family has kept this tradition for many many years) but I have also spent countless nights in the mountains backpacking and camping with my father and brothers and as a scout and a scouter developing a love of pine trees.  To me they represent simplicity, loneliness, solidarity, and humility.  The savior was born in simple and humble circumstances.  At Christmas time they help me to remember the humility and loneliness of the Savior’s birth.  All of these thoughts and feelings came to me as I was setting up these trees and putting up lights in the foyers.  I hoped that my efforts to serve on behalf of Bill setting up these decorations would invoke thoughts and feelings of the Savior in someone else who would be coming through the building during the presentation of Follow the Star.  I know Bill has a big heart and a strong testimony of the Gospel and the Savior.  He has shared them with me.  I hope that the lights and trees inspired others, even those not of our faith who visited during the Follow the Star presentation this season to feel of the Spirit and be reminded of the Savior.  He is the gift.   

A few months ago I was called to be the secretary in our ward’s YM organization.  Last month I was promoted to 2nd counselor and called to be Scoutmaster.  Two Sundays ago I attended our annual YM/YW training and planning meeting where the 2015 YM/YW theme was introduced.  I was asked to give the introduction to the coming year’s theme.  The 2015 YM/YW theme for the Church is “embark in the service of God” and is found in Doctrine and Covenants 4:2.  I was first introduced to this scripture in the MTC and for the following 2 years I recited it everyday in Portuguese.  It still rolls off my tongue.  This is my favorite scripture regarding service and the work of the Lord.  I asked our Priest Quorum First Assistant to recite the first 2 verses of the section.  I then commented how many times the words “serve” and “service” are referenced in the scriptures: New Testament – 49 times; the Book of Mormon – 32 times; the Doctrine and Covenants – 30 times; and the Old Testament – 181 times.  I pointed out that the cannon of scripture that would have been available to the Savior during his lifetime and ministry were the books and writings contained in the Old Testament and that the Old Testament has more references to the words “serve” and “service” than all of the other standard works combined!

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.  (Mosiah 2:17)  The Lord knows this better than any of us.  He is the perfect example to all of us.  I am grateful for these opportunities I had this year to serve others on behalf of Bill.  It has helped me to focus more on others and draw closer to my Savior.  I am grateful that seeking for these opportunities also focused my thoughts on Bill and what he would do to serve others.  By doing so I have been able to learn a little more about him.  I am excited to get to know him even better in the years to come.  Merry Christmas, brother!


To my awesome, should be PTA president brother....

My sweet, brother, Chuck. You are truly an amazing man, and a wonderful father. If you didn't know, Chuck advocates that a parent should definitely be a part of their child's PTA at their school, and how important it is to be involved with the school and everything. I quote my brother Chuck, "EVERYONE should be involved with their PTA!"

This year, I gained 2 new wonderful daughters, who are in 6th and 3rd grade.  And my 1st daughter of my own, entered kindergarten. This 2014-2015 school year, I decided that in honor of chuck, I was going to help out every opportunity I could get. At Madison and Reagan's back to school night, on the first week of school, I signed up to be assistant Room Mom's, and got on the parent volunteer email list. Now, I haven't been asked to do anything for the 6th grade class yet, probably because they are 6th graders. :) But when they need someone, I'll be there! :)

Brooklyn's kindergarten class looks for a parent volunteer every day. I figured that a "good" amount of family parenting volunteering would be about 1-2 times a month. So I thought, "Great! For my service to my brother, I am going to try and do something at least once a week for daughters' schools." So since the beginning of this school year, every week I have either volunteered in Brooklyn's class or I have watched the 2 younger children of another lady in my ward, so she could go and volunteer in her daughters kindergarten class.

I also signed up and have done every class party for Brooklyn's class so far. We had a great time at the Halloween party, Thanksgiving party, and the Christmas Party, on December 19th. And when I volunteer for the parties, I'm not just a mom who stays in the back, doing quiet things. I have come up to the main room mom, and I ask her personally what she wants me to do. I usually am in charge of the craft station, and read a few holiday books as well. The kids in Brooklyn's class have gotten to know me very well, and most of them remember me. Brooklyn gets so excited and giddy when I come, and I love her excitement in class, and I love seeing what she does in school.


On December 19th, I had quite the day. I started off the day with driving by myself down to Placentia to Reagan's class for her class party. I was there from 8:00-9:30 while they had their party. (3rd graders only have a half day party). Reagan loved having me in her class, and just beamed the whole time I was there. She was so grateful to me, and I could tell how much it meant to her that I was there.  I then jumped in the car, and raced back to Foothill Ranch, and went to Brooklyn's Kindergarten party from 9:40-1:00.  Back to December 19th- Then I went straight from Brooklyn's school back to Placentia and picked up Madison and Reagan from their school at 2:00, and dropped off Christmas presents for their teachers.

I have really enjoyed this year so far of seeing my girls at their school, and helping out in classes. It has been a great service that every week I think of my sweet brother and his zest for being a part of his children's life and school. I smile every time and week that I walk up to Brooklyn's school.

Thank you big brother for being such a wonderful example of what a great parent is. You are amazing, and your girls love you so much. And I hope my girls love me as much as your girls love you. Big brother, YOU and this service, is what has gotten me out there to be with my girls and with them every week at school. Because I could otherwise say "I don't need to do that. I'm going through too much in my life right now." But I'm so grateful that I didn't waste that time away, and I have put my first thoughts away, and have been there for my sweet girls. Love you Chuck, and thank you for being a wonderful example.

And you better believe it... but I'm going to be at Foothill Ranch Elementary's PTA meeting on January 20th!!!!! Look at me! I'm a PTA/room mom! :)






To my sweet AJ, and his sweet mommy and daddy...

A couple of weeks after AJ was diagnosed with his brain tumor, Mitzi called me and told me that if I wanted to switch my service recipient to do something else in honor of AJ, we could. Garrett and I had already started doing our service for our actual recipients, but we still wanted to do something in honor of AJ.

When my sweet Ryan passed away, you all flew to my side immediately, and it meant so much to me. Now I know that ryan had died, and so it is a little different, since our sweet AJ is still here with us, but I have missed being next to you all through all of this. I ache to be there to help out with the babysitting, the meals, the AJ time, cleaning the house, anything. I wish I had all the money in the world, to fly out every other week to come and help you out Lani.

I was so happy and excited to do something in honor of AJ and the Hock Family.
 Garrett had called the Ronald McDonald house in San Diego early in the morning to see if there was anything we could do that day. They said they didn't need any help, but that if we wanted to drop off anything, they always take donations.

While in San Diego, on Christmas eve, my little family of 6 went shopping at target. I gave each of the 4 girls a spending limit, and they each choose a gift that they wanted to donate. They loved picking out gifts to give to the kids "who are sick and staying at a place just like baby AJ stayed at!" Zelda just loved saying "this for baby AJ!"

We were shopping, and realized that we only had 15 minutes to get to the Ronald McDonald house before they closed, and we wanted to make sure they had these toys for today (Christmas)! So we RAN to the check out at target, and then Garrett hurried across town, and we pulled up to the Ronald McDonald house, with 4 minutes to spare! Phew! We made it! We hopped out of the car, and ran to the desk. We came in with our bags of toys, and said we had some donations for the children. They were so thrilled and thankful toward us. This month, Garrett and I have tried to express to our 4 daughters how important it is during this season to GIVE and not to RECEIVE, and not how many gifts you get. It was wonderful to see how happy and excited they were to give these gifts to kids just like our AJ, who they still pray for every night.

Thank you Lani and Michael, and the hock family, for showing us and teaching us so much this holiday season. We love you so much! Our sweet AJ, cheeks, we love you, for time and throughout all eternity.


The Use of our Talents


Written by Dad (Ed)

I want to start this with a little bit of background so as not to offend my recipient.

The scriptures tell us something about the talents or gifts that we may be given. I learned early in my life that I was not given any sort of talent to play an instrument. As a young boy we were given the chance to play the accordion and I soon found out that was not one of the gifts or talent that I was to have.

While in the mission field my companion and I were asked to take the sacrament to an old Maori man who lived quite a ways out of town and could not make it to the church. We sang a song as we prepared the sacrament  When we were finished with every thing and were ready to leave, the old man thanked us and was so glad to be able to get the sacrament, but he said to us that the song we sang was the worst that he had ever heard. So I definitely was not give the gift of a singing voice!
 
 Now we fast forward a few years. I always thought that men, all men could fix most  things or build things for their own home. It wasn’t till I was asked by a lot different members of the different wards that we lived in, that would pay me to come in do some of these tasks. I have come to realize that some just really don't have in them to be able to do this sort of thing. While teaching  construction I often said to my classes that not all of them were cut out to be in construction.
Sister Gates has told me many times that this is a gift that I was given.
  
Now!! to my service that I was to do in behalf of the person who's name I have this year!
Serving in Africa was not really a hard task of doing service so ,
The real challenge that I have each year as we do this, is to really adapt it for the person we have been given.?
 
Last year we had a post about our Christmas Day at the orphanage and what we saw when we arrived.    This is what we saw!

 

 
After that day all the couples talked about how we could correct the problem. Each one had a different opinion and, all were concerned about the coast. We all felt that to stop the water from coming in was not going to be real easy, was the #1thing had to be done.
I had the idea that I could hire some of the former students that had gone through the school, that were not working and we might be able to build a block wall along the side of the creek that would stop the water! And put in a few shelf’s and do a little painting.
Notice the water line on the building, the sand bags did not do the job. 
The only problem was that I was still teaching and would not be able to work much on the project, so the project was put on the wish and hope to get to it some time

A few months later I was to be done with teaching and was going to be given back to the Mission president for him to put Sister gates and I to work doing whatever he needed us to do.
 We were asked to go to another country to get things in order for a new couple that was to be coming. After 6 weeks we returned to Kinshasa.

 This was about the time that we were given our names for the service we were to do. Now,! My chance to do what I wanted to do to fix the water problem at the orphanage and at same do it for and behalf of my person this year
 This is also where I thought that I could use “my gift or talent to fix the water problem and fix a lot of things that needed to be done to make things a little better for them. You know  the Honey due list thing. I just needed to be given the time I would do this for my project of service. 
 
What started out as a simple project became a real remodel of a long list of things:



 
River wall 
 
Plumbing -General
Replace water spigot for drinking water
Add 2 more water spigots
Bring water line from source to shower
Septic Tank refurbished
 
Shower and Toilet
Tear down existing and rebuild in back
New floor hole "toilet" installed
Dig hole for drainage by shower
1000 L Water tank on top of shower
 
Electric
Wiring & light bulb fixtures in each room
 
New tin on kitchen roof
 
Replace concrete floors/ Fill big hole
Tear out old concrete-put into big hole
Replace concrete floors kitchen
Replace concrete floors bedrooms
 
 
1  more big bed & 1 more small bed
 
Children's Bedrooms
Paint primer & topcoat - Oil Base
Shelves
Hooks
Foam slabs & covers for beds
Baskets for clothes & personal items
 
Tree/Growth removal & cleanup
 
Clothesline
 
Tables:  4 for  kitchen/dining/prep area
 
 
Paint school rooms
Power to school rooms
Paint blackboards
 
 



 

I was still a missionary, but because our Mission president wanted Sister Gates to work in the office and he really did not have much for me in the office I asked if I could work at orphanage and if he needed me at any time, I would be there to help when I was needed.
 



So the work began...
 

When I first got started I thought that I would just supervise these former students.



I knew that the person I was given would love to be involved with something like this, but I would have to really jump into it and get down and dirty! And use my "talent/ gift".

The students I was able to get were the ones that did not get picked up by the contractor. This meant that sometimes things did not go as I had planned.

There were times when I thought I was working with my recipient.

I had the opportunity of thinking about this project for 3 months with my recipient in mind. I really think we bonded!  

The toilet and shower before we started!
 






















Some time along the line of construction we decided that we should put in a new roof


The before in side of the bed rooms, notice the water line




Now that the project was well out of hand coast wise and time wise I knew that help was needed.

There was a contractor that came over from USA that was building one of the church buildings. They said they would let us have all the blocks that we needed. They also gave us the concrete and  of their workers from their  job site for two weeks. This helped us out so much and saved us a lot of money.
We also asked the church humanitarian missionaries if they could get help from the church, which they did and they came through with financial help.
We were also give money from one of the Mission couple’s family’s that had come over for a visit and had visited the orphanage.   
When we talked to one of our families Mike and Mitzi they told some of their neighbors who also wanted help. When we told them that decided to do a new roof. they wanted to have something specific so the roof was a great fit for them. Thank you Mike and Mitzi. and the Bethers for providing a new roof.
 It’s not too often that you not are not only the recipient of a service project.  but you also helped pay for a portion of it.
 This was so heartwarming in many ways and the most well received I have been able to do. The Sister who runes this orphanage wept many times. Every time we said we were adding something she would break into tears.

So now I will let the pictures speak for themselves, as they say a Picture is worth a thousand Words .
both before and after.












In conclusion I want to thank Mike McBride for the opportunity to serve for him. That may not mean much to many of you but in Africa this is one thing they do all the time.
I was able to use the gift that may have been given to me, But don't ask me to sell Ice to the Eskimos, but I have no doubt that Mike McBride could!!!!I will still have the chance to serve Mike because I keep getting not a little but a hole lot of hints to get some kind of platform built so some of his BYU fans up higher at the rear of the theater?? just to see BYU Lose??
Mike thank you for providing so well for your family this alone gives me so much comfort.
Kia KA HA Kita Rongo Pi
Much Love, your favorite father in law

 

 

Comfort and Gratitude

I remember the moment in September when I received the phone call from Charise letting me know of AJ's brain tumor diagnosis. A few hours later it dawned on me that I had Lani as my Christmas service recipient. I remember feeling overwhelmed with wanting to do something meaningful for her, just as I felt in September 2013 in the weeks after Ryan passed away when I realized that I had him as my Christmas service recipient. In both of those traumatic events for our family, I wanted to just reach out and hug those that were hurting. I wanted to help comfort them even when far away.

COMFORT

One thing that can bring comfort is being able to wrap up in a nice cozy blanket. Soon after AJ's diagnosis, our Relief Society announced that we were doing service project combined with another ward and the local quilter's guild to make blankets or "comfort quilts" for a local organization called ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation. ASK (Assistance, Support, Kindness) strives to make life better for children with cancer by providing supportive services for families with a child diagnosed with cancer. We would be making blankets that ASK would be able to give to children that come into receive treatments at our local hospital for cancer treatments. The child would be able to choose a blanket to keep with them and help bring them comfort in hospitals.

I knew that I wanted to help with this service project in honor of Lani (and AJ). I called the woman with the quilter's guild who is also in our ward to ask how I could help, more than just attending the main day of the service project when blankets would be made. She said the main need was supplies. The number of blankets that would be able to be made purely depended on the amount of fabric that was donated. I knew that it was not in my budget to just go buy a lot of fabric, so I decided to solicit donations from stores that sold fabric for the event.

I wrote a letter about the service project and the need for supplies along with information about the ASK organization and took it to 4 different Wal-Marts in the area. Now I procrastinated this step a little bit and took all the needed materials just a few days before the big blanket making service project night, so I wasn't sure anyone would respond with a donation. Well just a few hours later after dropping them off, I had one Wal-Mart worker call me and say that she wanted to donated a $50 gift card in order for me to get supplies. Awesome!! I was so excited. That was enough to make two big nice quilts.

I took Eddie with me to help pick out a fabric that a little boy just like our little AJ would love to cuddle under. I was a little overwhelmed with the rows of fabric choices, but we found the perfect Lightning McQueen material.


At the blanket making service project night, lots of sisters gathered with sewing machines and material to make quilts. It was such a fun night with friends. I loved one good friend's of mine material choice of Star Wars and thought of a little boy and a big boy that would hopefully love these blankets.

A few weeks after the blanket making, at the quilter's guild's December meeting, they would "present" ASK with the donation of blankets. The day before this night, I received a phone call from another Wal-Mart saying that she knew the event was the next day, but she really wanted to give a donation if there was still a need. I said YES, of course! So the next morning I picked up another $50 gift card and went to buy more material. I was planning to finish off a blanket that morning with a friend, and in addition we now were able to make a total of three blankets.

When the blankets were presented to ASK, a total of 84 blankets were given. What a wonderful blessing of comfort those blankets will bring to parents like Lani as they try to comfort their children going through treatment for their cancer.


As I worked on this project and getting donations and learning more about ASK, I realized that I really would like to work with a non-profit organization such as ASK in the future on a permanent basis one day. They can do so much good for so many families.

GRATITUDE

Another project that I worked on for Lani is one of showing gratitude. When the family received AJs diagnosis, so many friends came running offering help of dinners and helping with the other children while Lani and Michael cared for AJ. Lani is always so grateful for all that she receives. I remember once receiving a custom made thank you note with family pictures from Lani. It was years ago and I had it hung on my fridge for weeks.  I decided to write thank you notes to as many as I could that offered service to the Hock family. I could not be there in person to help with meals or kids, and I am so grateful for those that did reach out to help.

While in NC, Chuck connected with a member of Lani's ward and acquired a list of those that signed up to help and the mailing addresses for as many as we could.

Chuck also helped create an awesome card reminding us of the importance of looking for opportunities to serve others in need every single day.

I included these cards in each thank you note that I mailed.

I wrote one of my favorite quotes in each card. "God watches over us and hears our prayers, but it is sometimes through someone else He meets our needs." - Spencer W Kimball


I sent about 30 thank you notes in honor of Lani to her friends that served her in her time of need. In addition, I gave notes to the ladies at Wal-Mart that helped give the $50 gift cards for the blanket making which also included #HeIstheGift pass along cards.

Thank you Lani for your example of comfort and gratitude. I loved the opportunity to serve in honor of you this year.

PS - Everytime I see one of these at McDonad's, I now drop in my change.


I was also supposed to go make treats at our local Ronald McDonald House, but I got sick and wasn't able to reschedule since I am still sick.

Make This House a Home

When I received my recipient earlier this year, I was pretty excited. This person has no hesitation in offering what they can do for other people. So I was on the prowl to find something that I could do extra special. From my perspective, this person always seems very calm and collected. No matter how bad their life is, they carry a smile and with the faith in Heavenly Father, proceed in life to take care of their family.
Well......this families life fell apart in September. I found this a great opportunity to give as much as I could to Michael. Whenever I saw a chance or was asked to help, I jumped on it. When Michael was having battery problems with his vehicles, I gave them my battery starter to carry around. I also offered my muscles to help him move his belongings out of Ed and Kris' house and into a storage unit. When I would visit them at home, I would clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes. There was a time that Michael called me to help him move a mountain. Well, it was really just a tv, but it FELT like a mountain. I felt bad that I couldn't do it at that time, but it worked out the next day that I helped him take it to the curb. We actually needed Mitzi's and papa's help as well.Then when the Hocks started doing the treatments for Andrew, Charise and I watched their kids every now and then.

For those of you that do not know, when you are admitted to a hospital more than fifty miles away from your home, you are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). When Cole was born, we stayed in a RMH. It is basically a B&B for families with relatives in the hospital for a long term stay. The RMH gives you a great place to relax and get away from the hospital for a while without the burden of a high cost hotel. They charge a very small fee, but take further donations if you choose. All the RMH operate on volunteers except for a few core staff. This is a great organization for anyone with a family medical condition far from home. My family is so grateful that we were able to stay in a RMH with Cole. I am comforted that my brother and sister had the same opportunity during their out of state treatments with Andrew.

So what I wanted to do is give something back to the RMH since they have taken care of two of our families. Andrew had his initial surgery at the Duke Hospital in Durham. So I contacted the RMH of Durham to see what I could do for them. Without revealing the blue eye shadow, I told them some of my talents and ideas through email. We scheduled an appointment that I could come on property and meet with Holly, my contact. She was so excited when we met, that she went and got another lady, Jessica, to come meet me and tell me what they needed.  They mentioned some shelves in the housekeeping closet, which is really a small room. Then some desks up in the volunteers office, as well as some other shelving for their retail stock. I wanted to look at these projects and see what I could do to benefit the grieving guests at this property.

After a short tour, I picked the shelves in the housekeeping room. This is where they store all the blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, mattress pads, etc. for all the rooms on that floor. What they were using was metro shelving that really wasn't efficient and more in the way. I told her I was going to look at my schedule to get a day when I could come out and build them some shelves. In the meantime, Jessica was going to get some ideas directly from the housekeeping crew on what they wanted. After touching base about a week later, we had a date, material, and time. I went out and started my quest.
The front wall that the shelves are going on

During my project, everyone I came in contact with, knew about me and what I was doing. I felt like a rock star being so popular. The guests would exhaustively say "Hello" as I passed them in the halls. I knew a little of the pain and frustration in their hearts which made me move forward even more in my construction. At one point I didn't have the right trim so I had to run to Home Depot to do a materials run. I wanted these shelves to be efficient. I wanted the housekeepers job to be as easy as possible.  I wanted to give everything I had to a house that took care of my brothers family. I wanted them to look perfect!

After a late start, arriving about noon, I finished building the shelves at seven thirty that night. I did not have time to prime and paint them, but the maintenance guy, Mauro, already told me if I didn't have enough time to paint them, he would do it for me. I looked at the shelves. I looked at the guests in the dining room getting dinner as I was cleaning up. I looked at the volunteers serving them with smiles on their faces. In the lobby, the tweens  were playing board games. I went to tell Jessica and Holly that I was done. The door to the back offices was locked. I was the only one there besides the kitchen staff and reception attendant.
Front Shelves

Back Shelves















My job here is complete. The excitement they had in me to complete this project was impeccable. The families I saw bonding together after a day of trials and dead ends....its not easy. Michael, your Andrews rock star. You have a great love for your family and an everlasting desire to protect and take care of them. I was honored to do this in your name.