Finding Joy in Service

December 1, 2011
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with catcher’s mitts on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
~Maya Angelou~

December is a favorite month of mine.
I love Christmas.
Knipplinger lace made my my talented mother, Lynn Montgomery

I’ve learned to ignore and mostly throw out the things that stress or bother me about the commercialization of the season and pare it down to the things I love.

I love the music
My daughter and I are playing in an orchestra for the Apex Christmas Nativity Celebration’s Messiah Sing-In Saturday Dec. 10th at 7pm.
photo by kohunt on flickr
My Christmas playlist is the longest of any on my ipod. If I haven’t played my dulcimer in six months I know at least I’ll get it down to play Christmas music. I don’t mind running out every other night to hear my kids school band concerts.

I love being with my family and friends
I love the neighborhood and church and family brunches and dinners and parties.
I’m surrounded by wonderful people and feel blessed to be in their presence.
And the food – yes. The food.

I love helping, in whatever small way, to make the world a better place
My kids get totally excited to leave presents on doorsteps. I’ve already had to take my oldest daughter to the store twice to fill stockings for service projects she’s doing at school. 
Photo by weddingmusings at flickr
join me
You and I together have power to make the world a better place. Help me think of things do to, and you can do them too. I was cleaning out a few piles in the studio and realized I have a huge stack of duplicate Quilting Arts magazines. And stuff. Too much wonderful stuff. I want to share it.

So every day – tell me one thing you did to love and help and serve.
(and leave me a way to contact you.) I’ll send you a magazine and maybe a goodie along with it.

Yesterday I took dinner to a dear friend who is sick. I called another friend I haven’t heard from for a while. Just to say how much I miss and love her.

big or small it doesn’t matter.
(and tell me about it.)


  • Reply
    December 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Open Hearts lead to more open hearts! Thanks for your inspiration. Today I pulled winter jackets out of the closet that no longer fit my son. They will go to the local KOATS for Kids project. On a personal note, I spent more time today looking for and seeing the positives, rather than getting bogged down by all the distractions that come with parenting my ADHD son.

    Blessings, C

  • Reply
    December 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    What an amazing post. Today we took toys, clothes and gifts to our local women's refuge in the hope that they will help make someone's christmas just a little brighter.

  • Reply
    December 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Finally everyone is believing in Christmas the way it should be. I donated toys, coloring books & crayons to a Children's clinic, majority of the kids have to sit hours for blood transfusions and other treatments. My son's tutor is down with the flu, so I sent a basket with a variety of items to brighten her day.

  • Reply
    December 2, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I've always believed that we give back more than we get, but where I live, people tend to take all and give nothing in return and think its their right to take if they need it. This post is beautiful; not just the words you wrote yourself, but the comments too! The gift of giving to others is still practiced all year round, Christmas is the time that brings it to our notice, and in a world where materialism is all powerful, reading your blog this afternoon was just what I needed to refresh my belief that there are still people around who do give. Thank you everyone for the gift of your words; it is most precious and a timely reminder that we should all look out for one another and pay it forward,not just at Christmas, but all year round.

  • Reply
    cat in tassie
    December 2, 2011 at 5:36 am

    This morning we gave a bowl full of freshly picked raspberries, some rocket (arigula?) and fresh coriander to our neighbour. He has been unwell for quite a while so we hoped to cheer him up a little.

  • Reply
    Carol Kunnerup
    December 2, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I am a Head Start preschool teacher. In this week's parent letter I wrote that we have an anonymous donor wishing to help children with winter outerwear. items will be available next week….I am the donor. So many kids are just not prepared with appropriate winter clothing.
    I, too, have all the each one, so please, if my post is randomly selected, pass it on. 😀

  • Reply
    December 2, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Great post! It truly made me rethink how I plan on spending this month. I, too, have dreaded the holidays for years because of one family member who ruined them for everyone. But, she's no longer a problem, and yet I couldn't seem to figure out how to change things.

    But, helping others would be a terrific way. So, tonight after calling a repair person who is going to install a new furnace for my mother-in-law, I decided to drive to her house tomorrow to help oversee the job! And, then I emailed my aunt who lives across the country to wish her a belated Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thanks for reminding me that helping others makes me feel good!

    Susan Bernard

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I spent the day hemming choir dresses with a friend. My daughter's school choir concert is in a week and a half and we still have about 40 dresses that need hemming. As one of the few mom's who know how to sew I donate my time every year to hem dresses so the choir doesn't have to pay people to do this. As annoying as hemming black dresses is, I still like to give back to the community in this way.

  • Reply
    Quilt Trail
    December 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Today we ran an errand for a friend so she didn't have to!

  • Reply
    Merrie Jo
    December 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks, Lyric, for reminding me that we can make a difference. I posted your quote "You and I together have power to make the world a better place" to my Facebook page. Hopefully, this will inspire my friends as well.

  • Reply
    Linda A. Miller
    December 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you, Lyric, for writing about giving back…it is the way to find joy in our lives. I began the season making a quilt for the House Quilt Project ( Just want to say thanks… no need to send a gift to me please!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    It's a philosophy that I share–give something back. I'm constantly reminded that you get what you give.

    I used to tutor staff on the campus where I worked, in English and in using computer software. I always learned more than I taught.

    For the past 6 months I cooked 4-5 meals a week for a friend who has cancer and some food allergies. I would deliver them in containers that were microwave safe so that she could easily and quickly heat up a three course meal.

    I'm a quilter and try to make 3-4 quilts a year that are donated to be delivered to children in the foster care system, or who have lost their home to fire, or some other unfortunate circumstance.

    Please share the magazines with someone else as I have them myself.

    Thanks for your challenge.

  • Reply
    Rose Legge
    December 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Lyric! I think you're adding to the joy of helping the world by stimulating people to think about it this month.

    I saw a feature in the Sunday paper about the Oregon food banks, and gave $10 (which buys 30 meals for a little one who is falling through the cracks). I found happiness in picturing the bowls of soup, etc. feeding children.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Hi, Lyric. I don't want to win anything. Just wanted to say what a lovely post and that I just listened to your April interview with Rebecca Parsons, which was really interesting–I feel like we've met!
    best, nadia

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Gallaher
    December 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I called a friend whose husband just lost his job. Either he finds a new job within the next few weeks or they are going to pack up and move across the country.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    What a wonderful post! I love stopping by here – I feel like it's an oasis amidst my frantic rushing world.

    I gave the clerk at my Starbucks $5 to put toward the next person's cuppa joe. Sort of a secret Santa sort of thing – I do it sporadically throughout the year, but I make a special effort during Christmas since everyone seems so frazzled.

    Best wishes and thank you!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    On Monday I donated 4 -5 bags of clothing, shoes, pillows and some miscellaneous items to our local Goodwill. I've been cleaning out my closets. I also donated 4 bags of clothing a month or so ago.

    p.s. You don't have to send me anything!

    Merry Christmas, Lyric!

  • Reply
    donna a
    December 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Lyric! Okay, I am going to challenge myself conciously to do something good each day of Advent. Today I decided that I am going to have an energy assessment done at our rental home so we can change the light bulbs, get insulation, etc. done to save our renters money and make a contribution to saving our planet. Can't wait for tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Linda Moran
    December 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration! I am learning to love the holidays again after some traumatic years. Your whole post made me really stop and think about just what I have done….I think a lot of us feel we do things, but then upon reflection, realize maybe we really don't….So yesterday I greeted a couple of elderly women in our apartment complex – most times I just walk by without saying anything. Thanks for this.

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