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February 8, 2012 - Betsy Bethel
While my New Year's resolution should perhaps involve more punctuality and less procrastination, I am nonetheless now ready, on Feb. 8, to declare my 2012 intentions.
My New Year's resolutions this year involve 1) adopting a healthier lifestyle — especially getting sufficient sleep and oiling my rusty joints and bones (I feel like the Tin Man) — and 2) nurturing more kindness in my household. January was a wash in the healthy lifestyle department, so I started this past weekend stretching every morning. I am so stiff that it hurts just to sit straddle-legged on the floor, let alone try to bend forward! I've stretched every day for the past four days, though, and even though I am not even slightly loosening up, I am trying to be patient. Once I get some flexibility back and rediscover that I do have muscles, I am hoping I will remember how to use them again.
As for the kindness part, it's a family endeavor. My daughter told her class in January that her resolution was to "be a better friend." So we are not only working on that at home but also at school. I would like to get us involved in some community service work, too. And while I haven't done much so far toward that end, I have the church we attend, Covenant Community Church in Wheeling, for really getting that ball rolling.
I'm not sure what her Cov Kids group talked about this past Sunday, but on the way home from church, Emma told me she would really like go to Toys R Us and buy presents for "children in need." She reminded me of the times we have put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, which we neglected to do this past year. I already felt guilty about not participating, so I was more than willing to try and make up for it. I told her we had a set amount of money and asked if she wanted to buy many gifts or just a few. She said many, so we bypassed Toys R Us and went to Deals in St. Clairsville, which is going out of business.
Now we had to figure out who to buy for, and what to buy. We decided to serve the children who live in an orphanage in Monterrey, Mexico, where my sister and her family serve every summer through Back2Back ministries. A quick call to my sister helped us narrow down what to purchase. We bought flip flops, toy cars, dolls, a beach ball and a few other items for eight to 10 little boys and girls. It was fun loading up the cart and thinking about how the recipients might react to their gifts.
Satisfied with our excursion, on the way home, Emma said: "I bet God is very proud of me." My heart melted. "I bet He is, and so am I," I said. "And how do you feel?" I asked. "Happy," she replied, and we both smiled the whole rest of the way home.
I am mindful that it doesn't have to be orphans in Mexico but could be the family next door with a newborn or an ailing parent, the woman at work who is starting out on her own and needs household supplies, the family member who is looking for love and acceptance. ... There are many ways we can serve each other in our daily lives, and I am looking forward to involving our entire family in these worthwhile endeavors.
And maybe, like she did Sunday, it will be Emma who involves us!
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