“Let us know if you need anything”

Occasionally people say this…and usually I just respond with something to the effect of “Thanks for thinking of us; we’re doing okay.”

That’s mostly true.  Comparatively, we’re doing great.

There are people starving in Haiti, children with special needs in institutions in the former Soviet bloc, and victims of trafficking around the world, all of whom face a reality I can’t begin to imagine.

My life is a cake walk.

In big ways and small, we have been blessed by our friends and relatives during the past few weeks.  I’m equal parts overwhelmed and uncomfortable by the generosity of the people we know.  I’m overwhelmed because I don’t know any of the super-rich.  These people are making a sincere sacrifice on our behalf. I’m uncomfortable because I am not worthy of any of these gifts.

Anytime someone does something kind for us, I argue with myself.

Me:  We don’t need this help, God will provide.
Also Me:  Ummm…yes.  Could this be the way that God is providing?
Me:  Touche.  But shouldn’t these resources be funneled toward someone more deserving?
Also Me:  Accepting these raspberries isn’t going to make anyone in Haiti starve.  Probably people aren’t substituting their generosity, they’re adding to it.
Me:  Okay.  Raspberries allowed.

Cee is happy.  She has figured out how to function without too much pain.  She is actually the happiest we’ve seen her in a long time.

I don’t know what to attribute that to.  My best guess is books.  Lots and lots of books.

Armed with her books, Cee has learned to be content with all the unknowing.  With the pain.

I’m amazed by this.  How she is content to sit on the sidelines when her friends play at the playground.  When her siblings go outside.  When waiting for one of her bazillion appointments.  As long as she has a book, it’s all cool.

While we are anxious about what the future holds, we trust that somehow it will all work out.   We are mostly okay.

But right now…to be honest it’s really hard to just get through the day.  Now that we’re trying to make plans (Round trip or one way tickets?  Rent a car or try to use random contacts?  Go to the zoo and have fun or avoid it so the other kids don’t feel bad for being left behind?) it’s hard to be focused on regular stuff.   After reading through Jenny’s post “Drowning in Plain Sight,” I feel like maybe it’s acceptable to share how we need help.  To be open about drowning.  So here goes.

A list of how people– near or far, with a little effort or a lot– can help us today.

 

Prayer

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Any prayer, any time is awesome.  And best-est.

 

Books

Usborne    When we first started monthly infusions a couple years ago, we hosted an Usborne Book party to increase our supply of fun activities due to the dramatic increase in waiting room time Cee was facing.  The turnout was awesome!  Friends and family bought items off our wishlist or bought items for themselves.  Either way, then we got credit to pick out more free books. We didn’t give Cee everything at once but put all the items in a tub to draw from as appointments came up.  Between long car rides back and forth to Mayo to re-occurring labwork, swim therapy, and infusions, items like the Sticker Dolly Dressing books have been lifesavers.  Having a fresh stack of chapter books we own (so if they get left behind we don’t accrue library fines), makes those otherwise unpleasant appointments something to look forward to for Cee.  We’re getting to the bottom of that tub and are starting another Usborne Book & More party.

So…

 

If you’d like to purchase books for yourself (and we get a credit for any purchases made using the link), here’s the link.
If you’d like to purchase something off our wishlist:
Follow this link.
– Click “Shop” (in the upper left of the screen).
– Select “Click here to find wishlists connected to your event” (in the upper left of the screen).
– Click on “Select” in front of our wishlist (in the middle of the screen).

 

Amazon   This blog is set up to be an Amazon affiliate.  That means we receive a small credit for any purchases made after clicking through our Amazon link.  (You don’t have to order the specific item linked to…you can buy anything after clicking the link.)  There’s no extra cost to the user, so it’s a pretty painless way to support our book addiction.  This fall several people made purchases through Amazon after using our link, and as a result we were able to get some new books for frizzle!  If you are going to order things from Amazon anyway, consider coming here and clicking through our Amazon side advertisement first.  It’s an extra step, but costs nothing to you!

 

De-clutter   If you’ve got chapter books you’re not using, we’ll take them.  Just so long as you don’t need them back and are okay if we donate anything we already have.  If you’re getting rid of books anyway, we are happy to sort through and give away anything we don’t keep.

Recommendations    We check out stacks of books from the library.  If you have any age-appropriate books to add to our holds list, we appreciate any recommendations.

 

Fruit

We go through fruit and books like cah-razy.

If you live nearby you could drop off some fruit and pretend it’s brownies.  Since we limit Cee’s processed sugar intake, strawberries are our cookies, blueberries are our cake.  Normal kids might be disappointed by bananas appearing at the doorstep, but not our weird kiddos.

Yeah…this lasted all of 5 minutes after I took the picture.

Monet, Monet

Get it? Monet?  Moe-Nay?  Money?  Okay, so the jokes get worse the more awkward I’m feeling.

We have a paypal account connected to a special medical expense fund for Cee.  Here’s the link if you’d like to contribute.  (It just shows David’s email and the start of Cee’s name…not sure how to make it prettier, but it works for now.)

But!!!  You have to pinkie promise you’re not diverting any dollars from other much more worthy causes.  That way I can still sleep at night.  And!!!  There’s no pressure.  No obligation.  Just since people asked how they could help.  I couldn’t leave out Monet, because gift cards and money really do make a difference.

 

 

I’ve typed and deleted this last one about ten times.  Expressing it is even harder than talking about Monet.

Time

If you’ve got time or talent to share, probably we’re interested.  I keep deleting this one because I don’t work outside the home.  What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks am I doing asking people, potentially who work full-time jobs, for time?!?!  I don’t know.  That’s why I’ve kept deleting “time.”

Here’s why it made the cut:  if we’re a community, we need to be open to both giving and receiving help.  I love being able to drop of a meal to a family with a new baby.  Or watch someone’s kids if they are in a pickle.  But it’s been like pulling my own teeth to type out this list.  Accepting help is the worstest.  But if we’re earnestly living in community, we do need to be open in this time of suffering.

If you’d like to volunteer (to take kids to the park, read books, mow the lawn, whatever), just let me know how many minutes, what day you’re available, and what sort of mad skilz you’ve got to share.

 

 

So.  There it is.  All out there.  The next time someone says, “Let us know if you need anything,” I’m going to be all, “I’ve got a post for that.”  🙂

Thank you for the ways you are helping us get through this messy time.  We appreciate having a community to pray with us when we don’t have the words, to send books and fruit when we’re feeling lonely, and to scoop our driveway anonymously when we’re out.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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19 Comments


  1. // Reply

    This is fabulous! I always find myself stumbling when people tell me just to “call if we need anything”. I finally had a social worker tell me before a major surgery to make a detailed list to have on hand of things people can do to help. Specific food needs, specific days we need more help than others, etc. It was awesome! If anything the list made me more aware of my own needs.


  2. // Reply

    I don’t know how old your daughter is, but on a 1st to 3rd grade reading level, my daughter likes the Kylie Jean books (a polite 2nd grade girl who aspires to be a beauty queen), Bernadette books (1st grade in Catholic school with 2 younger brothers), the Boxcar Children, A to Z mysteries, Cobble Street Cousins by Cynthia Rylant. American Girl Kit took place in Cincinnati. Nothing you probably haven’t heard of before. What books does Cee like? I’m always looking for recommendations as well. Also, across the river in Newport, KY is a nice aquarium aptly called Newport Aquarium. I am praying for you and if you lived close by, I’d love to bring you food. It’s one of my favorite things to do.


    1. // Reply

      Thanks for the recommendations! There are some fresh titles in there I’ll add to our holds list. 🙂

      She really enjoyed the Growly series, The Green Ember, The Boxcar Children (so glad there are a million of them in the series!), All-of-a-Kind Family, the Mary Poppins series, The Littles series, the Poppy series, the Half Magic series, The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, and the Little House on the Prairie series.


      1. // Reply

        I forgot to mention Nancy Clancy mysteries. It’s older Fancy Nancy. I haven’t read them myself, but my daughter likes them. Also the B is for Betsy series is nice and someone recommended Sister Philomena series. I just ordered the first one, so we haven’t read them yet, but hey, Catholic kids mysteries sounds like a win to me.


        1. // Reply

          Thanks for the suggestions; I’m adding them to our list. 🙂 As far as Catholic series, she has liked the Chime Travelers.


  3. // Reply

    My kids love all things Narnia right now and weirdly enough, if I read to them random selections from the Book of Virtues. They also like this series that is like “Jedi Academy” or something like that – it’s about a middle school aged kid in Jedi training. So far nothing has been too bratty or snotty and my boys love it. Just in case you have a Star Wars nerd on your hands. I’ll second the Box Car Children series, and when I was growing up, I loooooved this series of books called “Trixie Belden” she was like a tomboyish 70s version of Nancy Drew, I think. I want to find those books and order them for my daughter some day.

    You are in my prayers!


  4. // Reply

    Kudos to you for being brave enough to tell people what you actually need. Thanks for sharing your family with us. All the parts of it!


  5. // Reply

    What a wonderful thing to do; I am super impressed. It’s so hard to put this kind of stuff out there, and yet it’s so important. And I’m so bad at it.

    My kids liked the Warriors books. I have not read them myself, but I must have vetted them before letting the giant series in the house. I assume. I don’t remember.

    Our whole family loves Harry Potter. I know that one can be a little controversial, but I think that they hold immense value (not to mention the ability to glue you to the page). Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas wrote a post about why Harry is a great choice to read: http://www.carrotsformichaelmas.com/2012/06/11/why-your-kids-need-to-read-harry-potter/.

    I liked Trixie Belden too. If she likes mysteries, those are fun.

    Blessings.


    1. // Reply

      She does like mysteries! I never did, so I always gravitate toward giving her historical, pioneer-y stuff. I just checked, and our library does have Trixie Belden. Adding to our holds list now. Thanks. 🙂


  6. // Reply

    Praying for you! Thanks for letting us know how we can support you. Know that we all are thinking of you and lifting you up in prayer!
    Russ and Holly


  7. // Reply

    Once upon a time, a wise woman encouraged me to never turn down an offer of a meal – she said (I’m paraphrasing), “We all try to be Christ to others, and we forget about sometimes needing to give them the turn to be Christ toward someone. And, maybe we are that someone for them.” That has stuck with me for years now, and is always a humbling reminder. I dislike having to tell people how I could best use help, so I can only imagine your struggle with this post.

    That said, as someone who is wanting to do something for your family, and living a little too far away to feel as though I can do much, I appreciate these suggestions and tangible ways to help. Thank you for that!


  8. // Reply

    Love this – thanks for sharing! I know it’s hard because every time someone tells me “let me know if I can do anything”, all I can think is “um, I have no idea what I need and if I did, I would feel bad asking!”

    I’ve been praying for you and now I’m all, yay, I can do something else from way down south. 🙂 (Seriously thanks for the Amazon reminder because I always, always forget to go through someone’s link!) How long will the Usborne party be open?


    1. // Reply

      Thanks, Jen. The Usborne party is set to be open until April 25th.


  9. // Reply

    So much love to you Alicia! Will be a clickin’ and a prayin’ here shortly.


  10. // Reply

    I KNOW how hard this is. When our house burned down five years ago we had NO CHOICE but to accept help because we had nothing. It is a humbling position to be in. It has taught me to accept help graciously. And remember, your humility in asking for and accepting help is a blessing to those who are then able to help and to give, as we are all called to do.

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