Sunday, November 12, 2017

So Many Opportunities to Serve

Today during church the head of the Good Samaritan House texted me that tonight's shift workers cancelled. I told her we would go.

First though, we had a few things to do in our own family. Nick is working on his Family Life merit badge which requires him to supervise our family in a project that we all work together on and will benefit the whole family.

For Marty's project we sanded, restained and repaired an outdoor table that had become very weathered. We were able to make the table look like new and enjoy it for several more years. For Chris' project we all planted ground cover between the back pergola and the sport court which created a greenspace instead of muddy area that was also walkable. We also worked together to reinstall doorknobs that had been removed during our remodel and never replaced.

For Nick's we all worked together to install the holds for our climbing wall! Nick and a friend had worked hard the first week we received them. But there are a lot, and he had gotten burned out. It went a lot quicker when we all worked together! And it was pretty fun. (Except I kept dropping my allen wrench and almost hitting Chris below so he didn't like that very well.)

Also, our gas grill was finally installed and hooked up this week! We've been so missing Dan's amazing grilled foods -- generally steak or salmon! So we had a delicious steak dinner and then Dan, Marge and I all headed to the Good Samaritan House. The boys didn't want to go again today since they went yesterday and we committed to going again on a Friday in December. That's ok, they only need 2 or 3 at night anyway.

Tonight was much different than Saturday morning. The sandwiches and lunch sacks were already made (from the morning shift). So they were loaded in a refrigerator ready for us to hand out. It was just the 3 of us and it was a pretty steady stream of customers. Marge sat on a chair and portioned cookies (opening a package and putting a serving into a sandwich bag. Then adding a bag of chips and bag of cookies to a lunch sack. These were then set aside ready to receive fresh sandwiches in the morning.)

Many people came by and it was a delight to be able to give them food and some of the necessities they asked for. They were all very grateful. We also had toiletries and clothes from donations. Many people were hoping for hats, sweatshirts or shoes. Also razors -- which we didn't have any! We had a few pairs of socks and those were readily taken as well. Kimmy, the co-organizer said what they need most are warm socks. We are going to organize a warm sock drive along with the food drive that Cottonwood Res already does. I think I'll carry socks in my car to help people in need on the streets. Diane said that was something she and my Dad did and I think it's a good idea.

It was non-stop people coming by, but interestingly we had a lull for about 20 min. at 7:00 -- just enough time for Dan and I to write letters to Marty. And then the people started up again!

After we dropped Marge off and got home, the boys speedily watched the Cowboys football game. They got creamed. But Nick's popcorn tasted delicious! And then we read scriptures and everyone went to bed.

Tomorrow for FHE we are going to use the Take-A-Name app to find family members for baptisms that we are doing after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


After last year's FHE where we delivered sandwiches to the homeless, I wanted to do it again this year. But I wanted to build on it as well. We do so many fun activities, I thought it would make this holiday season more meaningful it we did more service projects.

Coincidentally, we had a Sunday School a few weeks ago describing the Just Serve app and website created by the Church. The Church used their resources to create it, but it's non-denominational and open to any charitable organizations to add descriptions and links for service opportunities. The Church has also called couples in each area to oversee the submissions, make sure they fit criteria (501-c, charitable. They don't have to adhere to LDS standards) and add them to the website. It creates an easy way for anyone looking for ways to serve to find opportunities. And it's open to everyone.

The app looks like Pinterest highlighting and as you scroll through, you can "heart" the opportunities that appeal to you for easy finding later. You can choose to register, but you don't have to. Opportunities range from food, clothing and toy donations; assisting the elderly or veterans; making blankets for babies, hospice patients or refugees; working at food pantries; playing music at rest homes or hospitals; handyman services etc. So there's something for everyone to share their talents in ways that help those in need.

Monday night Chris, Nick, Dan and I all got on the app on our own phones and scrolled through to find things we would enjoy doing. We wanted activities that required our help, not just donations. We chose helping at a Food Pantry, making sandwiches at The Good Samaritan House and choosing a family for Sub-for-Santa.

The sites gave e-mails or phones to text and immediately I got responses from The Good Samaritan House and Sub-for-Santa. We were going to help on Mondays, but The Good Samaritan House took newcomers on Saturdays. We recruited Diane, Luke, Sam and Max to help as well -- because family always makes everything more fun!

The Good Samaritan House gives over 600 lunches a day to anyone who comes and asks. They are a Catholic Charity but receive donations from the LDS Church, the SL Food Pantry, Even Stevens sandwich shop among others.

Saturday morning we worked from 10-11:30. We made 500 sandwiches in that time! They have an amazingly organized system. We ripped open bags of bread and lined up 242 (we counted) slices on a large table. Then each of us squirted the mayo/mustard combo from squeeze bottles on each slice. Next added a slice of cheese -- dealt on like a deck of cards -- and then 3 pieces of meat, which someone had previously stacked in large containers. Then another squeeze of mayo/mustard and then topped with another piece of bread. We then stacked the sandwiches in the middle of the table and followed the very strict procedure wrap them in saran wrap. (When I say strict, it was all in the name of SPEED!) We wrapped the sandwiches up, loaded them on trays and then carried the large trays to the other room where other volunteers were placing them in bags with portioned chips and cookies and then refrigerated. (Another family with young children were portioning the large bags of chips into sandwich bags.) Finally, a couple people were working at the front door as door hosts handing out lunches and water, coffee or hot chocolate to those who asked.

When we finished the first batch of sandwiches, we did the whole thing over again! About 500 sandwiches in 1 1/2 hours! It was incredible. We had a good time working together and the time flew by. Afterwards we went to lunch all together. There was such a happy spirit working at the Good Samaritan House and it felt so good all being together spending a couple of hours doing something meaningful for people who needed it. #JustServe

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Here it Comes!

The skies looked blue, but it was definitely snowing! 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Grandma Regan 1909 - 2000

Today in Relief Society we sang "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today." I whispered to Marge that this was the song we sang at Grandma Regan's funeral. Marge whispered back that today is her death day.

How perfect. When we chose songs for her funeral, my mom and I went through the Hymnal and looked for songs that described Grandma. We chose "There is Sunshine..." and "Have I Done Any Good." What a wonderful legacy to leave!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

World Series Game 7

Game 6 was super exciting and when it started feeling like Dodgers were going to Game 7, 
Dan bought tickets. Here's the cool thing: If you buy tickets to Game 7 but it doesn't 
go to Game 7, you get a refund. 
It felt like he had nothing to lose...

Wednesday morning Dan and I flew to LA. 
We had a THE BEST lunch at "2 cents" in Fairfax--
authentic, healthy southern food. It was SO GOOD!

We made a stop at The Grove Barnes & Noble to get a book for Dan so we could get to the parking lot early to avoid traffic and just read in the car.

We avoided traffic, but were only an hour early, so we just went into the park.

Within the first 2 innings, the Astros got 5 runs. The Dodgers fans turned on Darvish real quick.
He got pulled and Kershaw pitched a few great innings as did Jansen. But the Dodgers were out of luck. They kept stranding runners each inning. Lots of chances to make plays, but couldn't pull it off. 

By the 6th inning, it was clear we were barreling toward the end of the game with no great offense.
In a blink, the game was over and Dodgers had lost the World Series. What a bummer. 
There were lots of ticked fans but a few guys were shouting, "we had a great season! Dodgers are still awesome!" I appreciated those guys. 

Early the next morning on the shuttle to the airport, the driver saw my Dodger shirt and said, 
"It's ok girl, we'll get 'em next year!" Loved her too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Everyone is growing up and Halloween is different. 
It's kind of sad to not walk around the neighborhood on beautiful fall evenings 
with everyone out and about -- socializing and seeing the kids costumes. I miss it! 
Wearing something easy to make and easy to move around in!

But I love being home to answer the door and pass out candy! We were unsure how many trick-or-treaters we would get in our new neighborhood as the houses are farther apart and there are fewer children. But word got out pretty quickly about the King Size candy bars and we had 110 trick-or-treaters!

(One 2-year-old came to the door chanting, "King Size Kit Kat! King Size Kit Kat!" Her dad apologized, "Sorry! Her cousin told her there are King Sized candy bars here!")

This year we watched the Dodgers play in Game 6 of the World Series in between answering the door. And as a bonus, the doorbell rang so much we were able to train Kershaw to sit and stay seated until we said "free" so he won't jump on people who come to the door.
Supporting the team with our mascot, Kershaw. "Jansen Saves"

Kershaw's new dog bed. 

Meanwhile, Chris was out getting a perm. He's wanted one a long time, but I was pretty skeptical of spending so much money and having the results not what he wanted. BUT, his hair was so long, he wanted the chance to see it with a perm. And it's not very likely that it will ever be this long again. So, a week earlier I remembered about Paul Mitchell hair school. A perm there was a third the cost. 5 hours later Chris was finally done. He actually loved chatting with his stylist (a black guy -- his skin color gave him street cred with the teenager and being a guy stylist made him "cool" and easy to talk to). Also, one of Chris' gifts is he can talk to anyone about anything, so he had fun meeting someone new.

AND, his perm turned out really cool! It looks great and he loves it!

Successful night!
Happy Halloween 2017!