Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taking a Load off – 20 Loads of Laundry, To Be Exact

Last weekend my sister Denise and cousin Lusina came to help me paint my playroom. Only I had a nervous breakdown and they ended up doing my laundry instead. And I promise—I didn’t pull a bait and switch. For weeks I had been looking forward to a DIY girls weekend. But it had been a tough week and on the day they were scheduled to arrive I called my sister blathering on like a nutcase (I’m not sure she could even understand me—I couldn’t even understand me). And you know what? They came anyway. They came, they saw, they kicked my laundry room’s butt.

I once overheard someone say that one person could never make a difference in the world. All I can say is that although my sister and cousin didn’t establish world peace last weekend, spending 48 hours worth of their time and energy on my laundry changed my perspective and changed my life when I most needed it (thus positively impacting the lives of three wonderful children). And I am proud to announce that for nearly 11 days I have kept up on my laundry. (I now LOVE going into my basement where I can see the floor and make my way to the washing machine without taking out my repelling gear).

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference we can make in another’s life. Here are a few more thoughtful gestures that have eased my burdens:

My bishop (the ecclesiastical leader of our local church) gets out his snow-blower every time we get more than a couple inches of snow. He clears the sidewalk on his entire block, the block across the street from his house, and then the sidewalk in front of my house and my neighbor’s (on yet another block).

My sisters and mother got me a very generous gift certificate to ShopCo Optical so that I could get the new glasses and contacts I’ve needed for more than three years.

Realizing that today’s “snow” day (really more of a COLD
day—25-degrees-below-zero COLD) had left me with little freelance time, a friend
of mine came and took Kaleb and Zack to her house so I could write sans children.

A week before Christmas we opened our front door to discover that an anonymous Secret Santa had gotten all of us gifts (including a $50 giftcard to WalMart).

My ex husband’s great uncle has gotten us firewood twice this winter (without being asked or taking one penny in return).

I could go on and on. And I’m not trying to brag about how attentive people have been to my needs. I’m just grateful to all those individuals who recognized that I was going through a tough time and needed a little help. It also excites me that one person, in doing just one little deed, can make a world of difference in another’s life. I love the idea of Paying It Forward. Consider the impact those six great deeds have had on me and my ever watchful children? And if I can respond by reaching out to others, and they can respond by doing the same, imagine the ripple effect.

And I’ve yet to encounter a more supportive and generous environment than the blogosphere. So for those of you curious as to the nature of my next contest, it will have something to do with this post. Give me just a little bit more time to orchestrate a fabulous prize.

Until then, sweet dreams!


PinksandBluesGirls said...

How wonderful of your sister and cousin to help you out like that over the weekend. And wow, the other nice things people have been doing for you... it really inspires you to get out there and do some good for others!!

Glad you're feeling less overwhelmed. I have a pile of laundry that has your sister's and cousin's names on it!! ;)

Jane, Pinks & Blues

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

That is so cool - you have great relatives. It is amazing how little someone has to do to brighten another's day!

Anonymous said...

What a great post. You've inspired me. My 85 year old neighbor passed away the other day. She would stop and visit with my husband regularly about gardening and the like. The kids and I took her cookies a couple of times and went to see her in the hospital once, but those last two months she lingered at her little house across the street, I kept thinking I should go over there and visit, but I didn't, and now I can't. You've inspired me to start acting on those feelings and reaching out to others even if it's just in small ways.


Liza's Eyeview said...

Yes...little acts of kindness goes a long long way :) I am glad to hear you're getting help and being supported by loved ones around you.

I'm looking forward to your post on "Paying It Forward"...

RachelT said...

What an uplifting post. Laundry is my arch enemy.. it seems that we can never call a truce and be all square (i just have one boy too...). My husband recently started doing his own and that has taken some of the pressure off, but I laundry is thw worst!! I love reading about all the small acts of kindness. Those little things make such an impact, don't they?
We love you, Shauna!

Karen (Pediascribe) said...

Because of a crazy energy monitor on our house, I can ONLY do laundry after 9pm or on weekends. So weekends it usually is. Makes me not look forward to them as much as I could.

I love how people have responded to your unspoken needs. You are lucky to have such great people looking out for you. Sometimes it's hard to know that people have specific needs though, because not many wants to let on that they are struggling.

Gustogirl said...

You are wise to count the kindnesses done to you. I too often forget, and focus on my problems. I think every mother out there can relate to you on the laundry thing. It is virtually impossible to keep up on it. Every time I do every last piece and the hampers are empty, I cringe when my husband throws his underwear in the hamper the next morning on his way to the shower.
I need to look for more ways to extend kindness, I think it would drastically change my outlook!

Janice said...

Wow you have an amazing support group. I love the movie Pay it forward, I cry at the end every single time. It has a message we should all learn from, what a better world we would be if we all Paid it forward. I have been reading your blog for a couple weeks, and I have to say you amaze me. I have a wild immagination and I picture you at my Stake Young Womens Girls camp speaking for all my girls to hear, (again its a crazy immagination) Thanks for the laughs and tears, I look forward to more inspiring posts.

shauna said...

Janice, thanks so much for the comment. You name the time and place--I'll be there (I'm a sucker for speaking--crazy, I know).

Jane & Erin, I told Denise and Lusina they could make a business out of what they did for me. They were amazingly focused and effecient (AND we got to enjoy girl time at night--all-and-all it was one of the best weekends. EVER!).

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented here! It's just another way I've benefitted from people Paying it Forward. :)

Anonymous said...

I totally understand and really do get it. When my sister-in-law was visiting at Christmas, she did all my laundry and rearranged my whole Laundry room. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me in the longest time and I cried. I was so happy. My laundry was so out of control, and if you asked me what I wanted the most for Christmas, I would have said, "all my laundry done." I never said this, she just did it on her own. So I know how much it means, and i think it is wonderful. These acts of kindness mean so much. I love playing or paying it forward. I try to do it as much as I can. It it a no loose situation. It makes me feel so good, like I am giving something back, and I hope it makes the receiver feel just as good. I love KINDNESS. I even have a t-shirt that says just that. It is underestimated in our world, and can do so much.

I love your sister and cousin, and it was all done out of pure love. Plain and simple.

I hope you have a great week Shawna! I hope you are feeling less stress and are even finding some time just for you.

Candygirlflies said...

I, too, am SO glad to hear you've got such a wonderful support group around you. As well as remembering to help others, I think it's important to also mention that you give OTHER people a gift, when you accept their offers of help. There is grace in the gift, but also in the way you receive such a gift.

I think you're a lovely woman, Shauna. And a wonderful mother. I'm really glad-- and not at all surprised-- that lots of other people think so, too.

xoxo CGF

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Great post, great energy created and spread!

Janice said...

Heber Valley Camp in Heber Utah, June 19th. I know you are like a million miles away, I was just having wild imaginations, but maybe someday I can get you. I am the 2nd coun in the Stake YW but I am thinking we wont be in for much longer. BOO HOO... I love it.... plus I teach RS once a month...love it and never thought I would.

Kristi O said...

I love how God takes care of us, I love how He knows what we need even when we don't. Yes the playroom painting was what you wanted but instead He chose to give you what you needed. That is precious to me.

With all that said I love to do for others and have a hard time having people do for me.

Janice said...

You have made my day.. Let me chat with the President and see if she has anything lined up yet, if not I think we will steal you for the night. Our theme is 'No one is an Island' OR 'no ward is an Island' Not sure what we have decided, then of course we do the whole Hawaiian theme all week and get cheesy and go all out, YES, I love girls camp its the best week of the year.

I grew up in Orem, my entire family is out that way, P.G, Lehi, Provo, mom and dad are now in Eagle Mountain, what fun..

Janice said...

Never lose faith in your opportunity to lift those who are in need, to give strength to those who are weak, to give encouragement to those who falter by the way."

--Gordon B. Hinckley"

Thought I would share, fit well with your post

Becky said...

What a wonderful gift your family has given to you...