Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let me be your neighbor...

I am humbled and amazed. God does amazing things through amazing people. I have gone back and forth on if I should post this or not for a few reasons. One: privacy. So I decided to keep the details less detailed. Two: if I share this with blog land, will people think I want credit and pats on my back? Sure I do, but not for this. I really can take very little credit. I feel a deep desire to share, but probably, more than anything, so I can look back at this and see all the good in the world and how lucky I am to take part. Even if it's because of cancer.

So the details without detail: A friend has had a sick hubby for a few months. They just recently found that it is cancer and have started treating it. The short of it. This wonderful woman does not open her mouth to complain, but carries a burden alone, often. She works a full week and comes home to run a household with her hubby and five kids. This is a full plate without a sick husband. He has been throwing up for weeks and weeks and lost so much weight (that he didn't really have to loose in the first place). This friend, let's just call her Wonder Woman, looks at this as a blessing because it moved them to get the help and find the cancer.

So they are dealing with daily life and then sickness and now cancer. Funds are tight and work is being missed by both parents and then you add a stressful diagnosis and trips to Utah on top of that all. I am a little sad that it took so long for any of us to really start helping. But I hope we made up for it by jumping in later.

First, Facebook informed me that he was really sick - thanks Facebook, the best gossip mill ever! So I call Super Woman and you guessed it, "Oh, I will let you know if I think of anything. I think we are fine. I can't think of anything that you can do." I have heard talks lately in church conferences and meetings about not just offering to help, but going and doing. It struck me that night on the phone. Was I going to hang up and just feel good enough about myself for giving her the ole' christian offer? No, shame on me.  I hopped on Facebook and sent a message out to some neighbors to go clean her house the next day while she was at work.  The house was in much better order than I expected.  A bit neater than mine was, dishes put away and a most things orderly, but we were still able to swoop in and do some good. I was so impressed with the ladies that came. A woman with a tiny baby in arms pushed a vacuum, ladies dived into deep cleaning, clearing out every shelf on the fridge, deep cleaned bathrooms, organized toys and clothes and took loads of laundry home to wash and fold. I was thinking I might get a little help but was amazed at the ladies that showed up. It still makes me tear up to think of these great women.  I am sure it lifted the spirits of this Wonder Woman a bit but I am not sure it was as much for her or me.  I felt a great power in the women who came to serve. They were so giving and willing to do. They were so quick and efficient. It was an honor to watch.

This was a few weeks ago. Great feeling. Now what? I had things going on so I was again, not really tuned in, when a neighbor came to me. I have dubbed her Service Ninja because this great lady is often apart of something good, serving others in quiet ways. She asked me for ideas, maybe a raffle to raise funds. The next morning I went to worship in the Rexburg temple and the thought came to me: Garage Sale. I got giddy! I felt this idea was not my own and as it unfolded, I could see how amazing it all was and so much more was done than raising funds. I would have never guessed. A quick overview:

Monday: Service Ninja asked for ideas.
Tuesday: Idea - Garage sale. It went up on Facebook - again, a great tool for all of this.
Thru the week sale items were donated and I was a little doubtful that there would be much but at least this neighbor would see we loved her and people that were short on funds themselves could participate and help out.
Friday and Saturday: A wonderful sale. A huge lawn full of donated items and lots of shoppers. By Saturday night we handed a wad of cash (too big for any envelopes) and a jar of change over to Wonder Woman.

Side stories:
Service ninja hosted the sale, gave up her garage space and put her hubby to work all week on moving, setting up and herding their kids while she worked. A huge family effort on her part.

A lady put together an elegant bake sale. Arranging donations of goods, a lovely display and putting in much time to help with sales, set up and clean up.

People emailed, posted to Facebook and garage sale sites and let their friends know. Much came from this. Of course, people came by to shop. But strangers and friends of friends donated money and items to the sale. Someone donated their Christmas Jar - a great read if you haven't yet.

One friend of a friend handed over an envelope after donating some items and shopping our sale a little. She cautioned not to loose it as it was a lot of money. This neighbor put it in a safe spot until we were cleaning up Friday afternoon. There was a quiet hush as five hundred dollars were pulled from the envelope. This donation was not from a woman of great wealth. There were chills and tears as we all witnessed this act of love from a stranger. It was humbling.

Someone dropped of a lovely quilt made of the softest minky material.  It was auctioned off for two days and brought in a chunk of change.

When I went to deliver funds with the Service Ninja, Wonder Woman was hit-by-a-truck amazed. She was hoping for $300 or so, thinking that would just be wonderful. People gave over $2000. It was thrilling to be a part of this all. Much better than any birthday party I have ever thrown for my kids, present I have received for Christmas. I know posting this won't change many out there, but it changed me a bit and I don't want to forget it. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that could see, more than money, we needed to pull together. We needed to serve this family and show them support. I am so thankful for amazing neighbors and friends and this amazing experience to share.


  1. Someday WW needs to write her feelings about the service ninja and all her minions. How she loves all those little minions. :)

  2. This was an amazing post. Thanks so much for sharing. Inspiring. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing that. Amazing!!! (Now I need to find someone to help!)

  4. Very inspiring! I felt the spirit while I read it! My prayers go out to this family as well!

  5. What a wonderful story! Happy you could be a part of it Emily!

  6. Sounds like my Emilee...way to go! We will be praying for them...

  7. I love all you Rexburg Ladies!!! I miss "Zion". I had no idea WW was going through so much! Much love to all of you. I wish I was there with all you angels! LOVES!

  8. So thrilled to read about your little heart felt community there. It melts the snow right off the roof tops! You all are an inspiration...keep telling the world. It isn't is good encouragement for us all! Love you my deary... Mom

  9. Yes, I want to be your neighbor. As I have caught up on your blog this morning it has been fun to see where you guys are at, I am not sure that I have SEEN you since your wedding with cotton candy in my hair. You are still the sweet, fun loving, cheering others kinda gal that you have always been!

  10. Confession: 18 months later this still gives me chills. I was just reading through my blog about this experience and came back to read this again. Words will never be enough to thank all of you for what was done.