Sunday, March 11, 2012


Yesterday morning I was startled to find that a large flock of bright pink flamingos had landed on the front lawn during the night. One of them wore a tag identifying the effort as part of a fundraiser for the local "Destination ImagiNation" group at the local charter school that serves homeschool families in the community. We called the phone number on the tag, made a donation, and sent the flock off to another home. When we woke up this morning, the lawn was bare.

Awww...that was fun. Sure brightened up the yard on a gloomy March day!

Shifting gears a bit...something new in my life...

I've been meaning to write about my new assignment as the young women's president at church for some time, but I've been too busy with...young women's presidential duties. Hang in here with me--there is a thin connection between this and the flamingos, and I'll get to it in a minute. But first, my new calling. Young women's president. I'm still working on getting my head around this.

Thursday, December 8, coming home from night class at PSU. The last class of my last class. I still have to finish the thesis for my MFA (master of fine arts) in nonfiction writing, but after five years of taking night classes, I was finally finished with the drive-into-Portland-every-Thursday-and-sit-through-a-four-hour-class-plus-do-a-lot-of-homework part of the effort. I stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home to pick up sundaes to celebrate at home.

When I walked into the house, I was surprised to see the bishop there. It turned out that he had stopped by to ask me to serve in a new calling at church. Whoa, that was a surprise. I had been serving in the church nursery for only six months, and the nursery is a notoriously difficult place to keep good leaders. I'm not saying I was the best nursery leader in the world, but I was doing pretty well, and loving it. No, the bishop assured me, now the Lord wanted me to teach some older "little ones" - the teenage girls at church.

Ironic? In so many ways. For one thing, the bishop didn't even know I had been taking night classes. Had he come to me at an earlier season in my life, I could not have accepted this calling and still continued taking the coursework at PSU. No, the bishop didn't know, but obviously God did. So the bishop showed up on the night of the last class of my last class.

For another thing, I had been expecting this calling for nearly 40 years. Actually, I had given up on it. I had received a special blessing at age 19 that said, among many other things, that I would be a leader of the young women, and that many young women would look to my example. Huh. Beyond having four daughters, I sure didn't see that one coming to pass. I've been a leader many times over with cub scouts and boy scouts, have been a Primary president twice, have taught gospel doctrine class in Sunday school a couple of times, have led children's music and sung in the church choir and served in Relief Society with the older gals. But except for a couple of short stints serving in the young women's organization, and four or five years helping out at the week-long girls camp in the summer, I have never served in young women's in a significant way prior to this. I assumed the blessing was referring to me being blessed with daughters and daughters-in-law and granddaughters. I had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing, but again, apparently God hadn't.

So here I am now as the young women's president, serving 20 or so girls between the ages of 12-18 with an adult staff of seven. May I just say that it has been a steep learning curve. May I say that it was a whole lot simpler to build God's kingdom here on earth with the 18-month-olds than with the 18-year-olds.

But kind of like flamingos landing in the lawn in the night, callings come unbidden and generally unexpected. Even if I don't feel entirely ready for the challenge, God has something in mind, and I don't want to miss the party. God promises that He has set a feast out for us, and I don't want to be just nibbling on the edges. Serving in young women's is a lot of work, but it is already both fun and deeply spiritual. I'm feasting even while I'm running along a full speed ahead.

So here I am, feeling flamingoed and doing my best to take it in stride. If you've been a regular reader, you have probably noticed that I don't post here as often as I used to. I also read fewer magazine articles, take fewer long walks, and almost never sleep in any more. I thought I had a big family with nine children, but now with another 20 girls to worry over--well, let me just say that my heart is stretching in new ways. I'm not sure where this is taking me, but I'm willing to walk the path.


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

I'm sure you're doing and will continue to do a great job in your new calling, Mom! Love you!

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

And...what a fun surprise to find all those flamingos on your lawn. Any idea where the flock landed after your house?

Dorothy said...

I saw the same flock in the OC Mayor's yard a few days ago! :)

Having done the YW thing (though as Cousenor, not President) I have some understanding of the enormity of the calling. Those YW will never forget you...and you won't forget them either.

With the help of the Lord (and other dedicated servants), this will be a time of your life that you cherish forever. But will be busy.

kati said...

I too work with the Laurels and it really does make your heart grow in so many ways. You will do wonderful and they are lucky to have you!

csanders said...

The girls are so lucky to have your testimony to guide them and your love to watch over them. They will remember you their entire lives, because of your willingness to serve them.