Learning to be Available

February 26, 2017

When Bailey asked me what would be a good word for February I said Love.  I mean, what else is there for the month of Valentines Day?  But then I thought, well, that's too cheesy, predictable, cliche, so I said how about Be Available.  Pretty profound, right?

Want to know how I came up with that word?  Hold on, this may get a little wordy.  I get to serve with the young women at church, ages 12 to 18.  They have a personal progress program where they work on experiences in different categories, such as faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue.  In each one of those values they have to do six experiences and then one big project that takes at least 10 hours.  
I was a young woman myself, about 100 years ago.  I had a blue felt sash, kind of like Miss America. As I accomplished whatever my goals were I would get a badge to sew on my sash - kind of like the Boy Scouts' badges.  I have no idea where that sash is now - probably disintegrated because it was so old. 

P.S.  I still have my "bandelos".  ~ Bailey

Well, about 10 years ago I was asked to serve with this same age group and discovered that they no longer had the beautiful blue sash.  But, after they completed all the requirements in the program they received a beautiful young women medallion.  It's a sweet little necklace and I wanted one.

So 10 years ago I started doing all the experiences and did my projects.  Then I proudly accepted my necklace.  I wore it with pride.  Fast forward to 2016 and I am back with the young women.  Let me just take a minute to say that they keep me young and I love them.  Especially love the other leaders, who could be my children.  Anyway, now they don't have to wait to complete everything to get some recognition.  As they finish each value, including six experiences and a 10 hour project, they get a neat little bookmark and a colored ribbon for their scriptures.  So, yes, you guessed it, I wanted that bookmark and those ribbons.  I am doing it all over again - and I must say I learn something new about myself each time.

In February I was working on an experience in divine nature.  Each experience usually requires some scripture reading and always you have to write in your journal.  This particular experience required that I learn the definition of a peacemaker, read scriptures about peacemakers and then be an example of a peacemaker in my home for two weeks.  Wouldn't you love it if your daughter were working on that and you saw her being a peacemaker with her siblings?  Well, 10 years ago it was pretty easy to try to be the peacemaker, as I had two young adults in my home and there was lots of opportunities to practice speaking kindly and to refrain from criticizing, etc.  Today it's just My Mr. B and me.  We're pretty peaceful around here.  But I was thinking about how I could make my home a happier place.  My Mr. B loves it when I just hang out with him.  He has a big shop and is always working on some project.  He has always wanted me to just stay in the shop with him, but I use the excuse, "Who will do the laundry and the cooking and the cleaning."  Well, I decided that I would just make myself - wait for it - yes, you guessed it, available for him.  
A reminder here that this experience requires that I do this for two weeks and then write in my journal about how it went.  First of all, after nearly 37 years of marriage, I am flattered that my husband still likes to spend time with me.  I started just being there, or being available.  It was little things. holding a tool or just sitting there while he was working.  Then it was big things, like driving the tractor while he was laying some pipe, then we were building a fence together.  He always asks if I want to go to Lowe's with him and more times than not, I am in the middle of something.  But now I just was saying yes all the time.  He was surprised a bit, but enjoyed it so much.  So finally one night I told him about the experience I was working on.  He asked how long I had to do it.  I told him two weeks. And guess what, that night was the end of my two weeks.  

Some things I learned:  My Mr. B still loves me, whether I'm being available or not;  we like spending time together; we work well together; and it's great to look at the things we accomplished in two weeks - fences, water lines in the yard, and stronger bond with each other.  We have discovered I have mad skills with a drill and screw gun.  My Mr. B will now ask me, "Are you available?"  And the answer is usually, "Yes, I am."

And I now have two beautiful ribbons attached to my bookmark.  It's a win/win anyway you look at it.

Thanks for listening!  I enjoy good company.


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