Another November, Another Opportunity – The Dallin Difference Part III

Homeless 2

When Dallin was in his teenage years, he began to complain about his hands and feet hurting whenever the temperatures dropped. His fingers and toes would go numb and swell up, making it difficult to do many of the things he loved . . . hunting playing hockey, snowboarding or working outside. We finally took him to the doctor and found out he had a mild case of Raynaud’s Syndrome. (Nothing serious, just bothersome.) After learning about his condition we made sure he had adequate cold weather gear, especially a good pair of gloves. A warm pair of gloves made all the difference for Dallin.

With November knocking on our door and winter just around the corner, memories of Dallin and his cold hands, make me smile and make me cry. November holds within its 30 days, many hallowed and heavy milestones. November 3, the day he was born. November 8, the day of his accident, November 21, the day Heavenly Father called him home. And of course Thanksgiving, a day to show our gratitude for all that God has blessed us with, even the things we don’t recognize, quite yet, as blessings. November with all of its beautiful fall leaves, pumpkin patches, apple cider and wonderful family traditions . . . is still a difficult month for all of us, who know, love and miss Dallin. So each November we intensify our efforts, to honor his memory and remember the difference he made in countless lives. We turn to acts of service to transform our grief into something positive.


            Last year, around Christmastime, I had an eye-opening, heart-changing experience; I saw homeless people of all ages trying to stay warm in the bitter cold. The majority of them did not have gloves. Since then, a little idea has been poking and prodding me into some kind of action and I think this is the perfect time of year to set it free! This is the time of year we start preparing for the winter, right? What if we go through our winter clothing bins and closets and donate one or two or more pairs of gloves? -OR -What if, when we are at the store buying a new pair of gloves, we buy two and donate the second pair? -OR- Heck! What if we went and bought a pair of gloves, not because we needed them but just because we can . . . and donated them? It’s such a simple thing! Yet it would mean so much to a pair of freezing, sometimes forgotten hands!! If each of us donated even one pair of gloves, think about how many people we could help! This is just one of a million ways to make a Dallin Difference.


CHECK BACK HERE or on FaceBook @ prayersforcarissaanddallin/thedallindifference.


#thedallindifference #dallinshands #generoushands #togetherwecanmakeadifference #hope4hunt #warmhandsforall #fightlikeadragon




Do As I Have Done To You


It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly insignificant moments turn into profound moments of insight and inspiration. One such moment happened last week when I was visiting my parents. Prior to my visit I had been thinking about ways I could serve them that would express how much they mean to me. They are both nearing their 80th year and I realize each remaining day I have with them here on earth is a gift. We have always been a close family but since moving away, I have felt an unfamiliar and unwelcome distance. Our relationship has been reduced to phone calls, Facebook posts and the brief visits I can squeeze into my busy life, when I am in town. It’s true you don’t fully understand or appreciate what you have, until you no longer have it. I genuinely miss spending time with my children, grandchildren, my sisters and brothers, my nieces and nephews and especially . . . my mom and dad. As I pondered over my silent list of service ideas, a simple thought came to me, “Tammy, you should could give them a foot massage.” At first I giggled and dismissed it. I even wondered where such a silly thought would come from. Then I remembered when I was a child, both of them loved having their feet rubbed. So I grabbed my foot lotion and headed over to their house. On the way there my idea took on a life of its own and I decided I would give them the “full treatment” soaking, washing, drying AND a deep foot massage. After visiting with them for a while, I waited for the right moment and boldly announced, “I’m here to give you both a foot massage!” The look on their faces made it clear, my words took them by surprise. They both immediately declined my offer but I ignored them and told them, “This is going to happen! I’m doing mom’s feet first and then yours dad!” I still smile to myself picturing my mother’s continued vocal objections, while she “willingly” helped me find a basin, soap and dry towels. I filled the basin with warm water and then positioned myself at my mother’s feet. As I eased her feet into the basin of water and slowly took one foot at a time and gently washed it with soap, it was as if I was being transported back through time and space. Here cradled in my hands were the feet of the woman who gave me life. These feet had paced countless nights, rocking back and forth to the rhythm of soothing lullabies. These feet had walked tireless miles while steadying the feet of her children, as we took our first steps and learned to walk in the truthfulness of her heart. Her feet had carried her through endless trials and unconditional love. These feet had trod hallowed ground when they brought her all puffy and broken, after suffering an unknown heart attack, to the bedside of my dying son, because without any words spoken between us, she somehow knew, I needed my mother, to comfort and shelter me in my darkest hour of need. As I dried her feet and began to rub lotion on them, I noticed how tired and worn they looked. These aged feet bore the marks of years and immeasurable miles of service and love. I realized I had just washed the feet of an angel. Humbly I began the process again, now with my father. Again I thought back on all of the years of selfless labor his feet had endured to provide for his family. His feet were also worn with the cares of life yet I do not ever remember him complaining about his responsibilities of being a husband and father. He woke up each day and his feet carried him to his first job, then his second and sometimes even his third and then carried him home to do the same thing again, over and over and over again. His feet worked to the point of exhaustion so my feet could run, jump and climb to the top of physical and metaphorical mountains! His feet have always been hard working and dedicated feet but also happy feet! As I worked the lotion in I remembered all of the times my father’s feet have danced enthusiastically while marching to the beat of his own personal and unique drummer. I felt honored to hold and care for these feet. After hugging and kissing my mom and dad goodbye, another thought crossed my mind. If something happened to either them or me I would want the last memory we have between us, to be that of a grateful and devoted daughter, who used a basin of water, a bar of soap, a dry towel and some lotion to express her love for them, because sometimes words are not enough. I believe in some small way, this was what it might have been like when the Savior, in His final hours here on earth, took the time to gently, lovingly, symbolically wash the feet of His disciples. I believe this was one of the ways He expressed His love for them. I also believe He wanted to set an example for each of us to follow. I invite you to do just that. Think of someone who has made a difference in your life. It could be a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a sibling, a relative, a neighbor, a friend, a teacher; it could be someone who you haven’t been in contact with for a while, someone who may be hurting, grieving or even dying, maybe even a stranger. Go to them. Spend time with them. Love them. Serve them and then . . . wash their feet. I promise it will change your life.

“So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” – John 13: 12-17

He Gave Sight Unto the Blind


Tonight I had the opportunity of bringing some food items to the local homeless shelter. It was a last minute thing prompted by my desire to follow one of today’s suggested daily acts of service, outlined on the #lighttheworld calendar. When I arrived at the shelter, in my toasty warm car, listening to my favorite radio station playing cheery holiday music, I was surprised to see how many people were huddled together outside, waiting to get inside for a warm meal. I found a parking spot and left my box of food in the car, until I knew where to take it. Having never been there before I spotted a man on a cell phone walking toward the front of the line. I followed him without looking at anyone in the line, mostly because I did not want anyone to think I was staring. The door was locked so the man on the cell phone, made his way to the back entrance. I silently followed with my head down. I heard muffled voices saying they wished the doors would open soon; they were hungry. I heard a child’s voice among them. I found myself wishing I had brought my box. I would have gladly given the whole box to that child. The man and I waited at the back entrance. When the door finally opened, a lady in a hair net and gloves asked if we were there to serve in the kitchen. The man answered yes; I told her I had some food to donate. She quickly directed the man to enter and asked me to please pull my car around and wait, until she had a chance to open the front doors and let the people in. I walked past the line of people again. Again I kept my gaze downward. Again I heard the voices of men, women and children. I drove around to the rear entrance, opened the trunk and organized the contents. The December night air cut through my coat and for the first time I realized how cold it was. I remembered the weather reports saying the temperatures were going to plunge well below freezing. I felt guilty for wanting to get back in my warm car to wait, while people were standing just a few feet away waiting . . . hungry, cold and homeless. I decided to wait outside my car. I was grateful for my knitted beanie and was putting on my gloves, when I noticed how many people in the line did not have beanies or gloves and for the first time I found myself staring. The gravity of the scene before me opened my eyes and pierced my heart. My thoughts raced . . . I’ve often wished my house were bigger to accommodate all of my “family” when we gather. These people, my brothers and sisters, didn’t have a house of any kind to gather in, let alone to protect them from the elements. On my way to the shelter I had grumbled about the heavy holiday traffic I had to navigate and was looking forward to some solitude. These souls had walked, who knows how far, to find temporary warmth, sustenance and a sense of belonging. I had been worrying about getting home in time for dinner and wondering if I would like what was being prepared. They were gratefully waiting in the bitter cold for, what was for some, their only meal of the day. I’ve been complaining all week about the poor timing of a cold I have been trying to get over. I heard several elderly people congested with deep, rattily coughs and wondered how they would ever survive the night. I have heard about the homeless population in our communities. As a family we have even prepared baggies of personal items, like soap, toothbrushes, shavers, band-aids, treats etc . . . and shared them with the homeless. I have driven by the hand-lettered pleas on street corners and sometimes even handed out a dollar or two. I thought I understood. I thought I was doing my part. I thought I was following the Savior, but tonight I realized there is so much more that needs to be done. I have been blind. Tonight . . . He gave sight unto the blind.