Okay… so, for those of you just joining the MOAT adventure, the Wyma family has been traveling our way through life tasks over the last 10 months. Many of these things, you might find common in your own home; but for this recovering enabler, we had to start at the beginning with making our beds (Operation Clutter Control), moved to cooking and cleaning, and have landed this month right smack dab in the incredible task of putting others ahead of ourselves. A perfect task for the season celebrating One who did just that in the grandest way imaginable.

Dec 1, Wednesday: 

We had our Family Meeting (a la the MOAT’s very first Table Talk by Dottie Jones) to talk about what our month might look like. We came up with a few categories including home-made gifts that we can give neighbors and people that are important in our lives (like the staff at Schlotzkie’s and Tom Thumb), ways we can serve others and ways we can serve each other.

The key is … It doesn’t have to be big or grand to qualify as putting others first. Sometimes I think we get discouraged by the amount of options, or thinking we don’t have enough time or money, or wandering if it’s big enough.  We’ve decided that since we’re doing something every day, sometimes it will be small…. as long as it’s not about us!

(Of course, I’ve lost the list, but I’m sure it’s in the “sign-of-a-creative-person” pile on my desk. After I find it, we’ll reveal it as we go.”
Dec 2, Thursday:

We wrote a couple cards, this one to my dad from Speed Police, in an effort to offer condolences for the unexpected death of his best friend and business partner for over 30 years that happened last week. This was a great opportunity for me to talk about things you can do to let someone know you’re thinking about them during a difficult time. No need to try to explain away the difficulty (which we all sometimes try to do in an effort to ease the pain)… we just wanted them to know we are sad for their loss or hardship.

I have a friend that battled breast cancer. The fact that someone (she never knew who) put a single rose on her front porch every Friday made the load a bit lighter. … My incredibly thoughtful sister-in-law in Dallas brightened a leukemia-battling little boy’s difficult day every week he had to go to chemo by placing a filled back-pack on his front porch. Inside? Little games, activities, stuffed animals … anything to make a less than fun experience a bit lighter. Little things mean so much.

On Sunday, I found out from my dad how special it was for him to get this card. I knew he would be soothed by her sweet words… I had no idea how much it would mean to him.

This has spurred our thinking to others we might need to write. … Such a small effort. Such a meaningful result.

Dec 3, Friday:
We went to the Dollar Store to stock up on things for our activity next Saturday. A local ministry transforms their food pantry into the North Pole, sharing gifts with all their patrons and families. A few weeks before the festivities, though, groups bring the gifts, then little elves wrap them. We’re feeling a bit elfish :)  But first the gifts … So, today we were on the hunt for coloring books. Hello Dollar Tree.

As always, the Tree never disappoints…

I might knock everything off the shelves,

but my benevolent-feeling crowd jumps right in to pick it all up.

Hmmm…. Nice sword. I can see his mind swiftly racing back a month or two…


What goes around comes around Caped-Pirate Boy now disguised as my brother.
Dec 4, Saturday:
“Remember, December is our month to put others first.  What do y’all feel like doing?” I ask.
The kids look at each other blindly.
Then the girls start to smile.
“It doesn’t have to be huge, right?” one of them asks.
“No … as long as your serving someone…. I think its really great if you serve each other.”
“Yea!” the other one chirps. “I’m going to make your bed.” she yells at the other while racing up the stairs.
“I’m going to make your’s, too.”
clomp, clomp, clomp…
Then I hear the first one, “Please make my bed nice.”
Needless to say, they have different “styles” of bed-making.
Both beds looked neat.
A major gift from my slightly sloppy laid-back chick to the slightly OCD, if-you’re-going-to-do-a-job-do-it-well girl.

Dec 5 Sunday:

Wagon Round-Up

The other day as we were driving in the car (surprise, surprise – we’re in the car!), we heard on the news that unemployment benefits were not extended to those who have been on it for a significant period (I think they said 2 years). My kids were quick to respond.

“What’s unemployment?” they ask in almost unison.
… I explain.
Next – they respond:
“That’s terrible.”
“Yeah … so sad.”
“It’s been two years. Why don’t they get a job?” (That’s classic from the mouth of one who is struggling to pay attention in classes where the water is barely being tread!)

Then, the newscaster comments that The North Texas Food Bank is concerned for a rise in need and their current lack of inventory. They’re behind where they normally are at this time of year – and with the potential influx, they’re not sure what to do.

“Hey guys, ” I offer up, “Let’s take the wagon today to our neighbors and pick up some cans of food. We can take them to NorthPark (our local mall) and drop them off at that big red box by the Valet Parking.”
Pause … (they’ve stopped pushing back at this point because they’ve learned that if the idea’s there… they’re implementing)
“Okay.  … Can I call Claire.” says Speed Police.
“Sure.” Always good to bring a friend.

Off they go… to get Claire. Little do they know Slow Walker is close on their heals, not wanting to miss what has now become fun.

After stopping at house number 1, the trip is already worth the effort.

Uhhh… Where’d they go? Must be chillin’ with a neighbor and a cup of hot chocolate.

Back on their way.

 A wagon-full of loot after only 30 minutes of chugging along.
They head back home.

“Mom!! That was GREAT.

“I can’t believe how good I feel.”

“Think of all the people who will have something to eat!!”

Yeah. That’s what they said when bounding through the door. Hmmmm… I’d say it was worth it – having a goofy idea and following through. I’ve got as much to learn from all this as they do.

We grab a quick drink then head over to the mall (very uncharacteristic of this recovering procrastinator to actually do, rather than wait for a more opportune time… maybe even I’m making progress.)

Dad helps us load up the loot.

The big red box is located on the north side of the mall where people valet park their cars.

We know because we saw it yesterday when we went to the movie.

This is what it looked like when we opened the box.

But then they start filling

and leave it better than we found it,

 all while drawing attention from ladies standing close by.

After I responded to their questions about what they were doing, one of them actually said to her friend, “Hey… we should do that.”

It was easy. It was free. It got our eyes off ourselves.

What resulted? What always results… warm, great feelings. Keep walking with us this month and we’ll see if this is always the result. I love the idea of serving others this time of year, but I have to say that there’s nothing better for kids in the teen/tween age. Anything that gets their eyes off themselves really brings home the benenfits.

If you’ve ever felt like sharing the MOAT with friends, this month would be a great time to do it. We have some powerhouse authors (including Ron Hall, Same Kind of Different as Me) and terrific service organization leaders/volunteers who’ve agreed to share and help us grasp the benefits, opportunities, importance of putting others first.

PLEASE share what ways you serve with your family. We’d all benefit from knowing different ways to get involved. I’ll try to highlight some folks I know who have done just that. Sorry for this super long post.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


And what might Future Hoarder of America be up to while all this is going on?

Gathering and hiding stuff under the dining room table, of course.

You talkin’ about me??!!

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