52 Weeks of Giving | 12

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It's a joke between Jeff and I whenever we go shopping together. He'll put a jar of peanut butter, at least one, sometimes two depending on the price, in the shopping cart. It began with "we're out of peanut butter." Well, of course, we need to add a jar to the buggy. But, then the next week - another jar into the cart.

"Are we already out of peanut butter?"

"No, I'm stocking up."

Simply stated. No big deal.

No problem. Works for me.

Then, the next week...another jar into the cart.

And, another.

And, another.

Pretty soon, I'd roll my eyes as we (I'd) pass by the peanut butter because Jeff would stop and grab a jar.

I turn and look at him.

"Stocking up."

We were filling the cabinet up with jars of peanut butter.

But, the story didn't really start there.

It started in 1991.

I told my mom and dad I had an assignment to Korea. I asked them if they would take care of my girls for the year I would be serving overseas. "Of course," they said, without hesitation.

Dad began buying peanut butter. For the girls, he said. For peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he said.

And, he bought peanut butter.

And, more peanut butter.

Sure. He bought jelly too. But, it was peanut butter that filled the cabinet stock full.

When I dropped them off on my way out of town, out of the country, Dad showed me the cabinets of food he'd been stocking up on for the girls.

It's a story shared often.

Always brings back memories.

Always makes me smile.

The other day at church a lady stopped at the children's ministry administration desk where I serve each week and somehow the conversation was centered around the Lighthouse ministry where she serves every week. I asked her, point blank, "what do you need most?"

Without hesitation, "Peanut butter and jelly."

I had to smile.

The next time I was at the commissary doing my own grocery shopping I did a bit of peanut butter shopping for the Lighthouse. Sure, I bought jelly too.


52 Weeks of Giving | 11

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A friend of mine is a Thirty One representative and she is putting together these bins, stuffing them with women/mother stuff to give them to the refugee ladies in our city. There are a bountiful of refugee families who have connected with one of the local ministries our church supports, so people who support them in some way also want to support who they are reaching. It's all about showing love, showing Jesus, being a light.

Can I say? I am loving this project.


52 Weeks of Giving | 10

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I don't have to look very far to find a place to serve, a gift I can make and bless someone with. While not an audible voice, my spirit is hearing loud and clear - serve here, give that, make this, bless them. This week I made a meal for the Adkinsons - again. The really cool part: Reid is gone on a business trip and Maggie didn't have any idea what she was going to make for dinner. Then, she got my text that morning and her heart leaped for joy. Dinner. Done!

I also made Birth statistic subway art for her second set of twins, Asher and Ridge. They have Tucker, Silas, Asher and Ridge. They're awesome boys!


52 Weeks of Giving | 9

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A simple, yet full filling blessing as I went through the drive-thru at Zaxby's one day this week I paid for the car behind me. I have no idea what they've ordered and I don't ask the salesperson how much their order is I just let the them know I want to pay for the person behind me.

I've had the same salesperson the past couple times I've done this and I think she has recognized me. I hope she sees compassion and a heart for giving in me. Maybe, one day she'll ask why I do what I do. Then, I can share Jesus with her. I hope she sees Jesus in me in the meantime.


52 Weeks of Giving | 8

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In pursuit of nourishing a heart of giving [nourish is my One Little Word for 2017], I have been deliberately, purposefully, searching for ways to give more. Give of my time, give of my resources, give from my heart.  This is about giving generously, not reluctantly, but out of the full measure of giving from the gifts God has given to me. 

This week, I put together two blessing bags. I contacted Morgan, the director of The Dream Campaign, a non-profit organization here in the area who are coaching, speaking into the lives, changing underprivileged kids' dreams for the better. A 'side' ministry are blessing bags for teen girls who have nothing, who can barely afford to eat let alone purchase feminine type products (which we all know are not cheap!).

Putting these bags together did my heart so good! Thank you Lord for the opportunity and the gifts You give first!

 


52 Weeks of Giving | 7

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While I was at the commissary recently - we have a commissary on Hunter Army Airfield; in fact, they just renovated the commissary with gorgeous stained cement flooring, a new produce section and all new free-standing freezers (like normal grocery stores). It certainly makes for a more pleasurable shopping experience. Some of the cashiers have been there as long as we have - we arrived to Hunter '92-'94. 

Anyways, while shopping I picked up a stack of boxes of spaghetti and as many cans of spaghetti sauce. It's actually the same kind of spaghetti sauce we use, because even though I love to cook, I haven't made my own spaghetti sauce. Not sure why, really.

So, my plan was to drop off the filled bags of groceries to The Lighthouse, a food pantry at Compassion Christian. But, our church had a Bumper Bag weekend; whomever wants to participate puts bags of non-perishable groceries on their bumpers (at their bumper) and the traffic team from our church would pick up the bags of food for you. It's a pretty neat set up. I think The Lighthouse distributes many, hundreds and hundreds of bags of groceries every month to the needy.


52 Weeks of Giving | 6

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This sweet family, you know them mostly by all the 8 x 8 pages I have been making of Tucker and Silas - their almost-2-year old twins. Well, now they have another set of twins, Ridge and Asher. Great names. Love this family. We've known Maggie for many years now. She loves our boys and well - we love hers, too.

So, Maggie has 4 little ones in tow. The babies were born preemie's but they are home now and thriving. But, 4 little ones in tow. Of course, someone prepped the Take Them A Meal website for people to sign up and bring food. Hello. No brainer.

Except, pain levels almost everyday have been rough. But, it's this family. I've taken them two meals already and signed up for a third. I just took them one of the two the other day and Maggie whispered to me that the meal I made was the best they've had. Well, maybe! It is delicious I don't mind saying. Roasted Chicken, roasted red pepper, pesto fettuccini. Yum, and yum!

The sacrifice was cooking through the pain. And, the 40 minute drive one way in Savannah traffic close to rush hour. Otherwise, just a joy. Joy in the giving.

 


52 Weeks of Giving | 5

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I realized some might wonder why I'm recording 52 Weeks of Giving because when acts of service are done in secret, then my Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:4).

I guess I'm not looking for a reward. Do I want the blessing of the Lord? Yes.

But, I believe the Lord placed my One Little Word on my heart - NOURISH - for 2017. I also believe His Spirit spoke into me that I needed to nourish a heart of giving. That's what I'm doing.

I'm nourishing a heart of giving.

I'm recording it because I'm also a storyteller.

Simple as that.

And, having a record of my giving will even more be a record of God's blessings! Because "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). My gifts, my year of giving is first His gifts to me.

I'm recording His blessings on my life.

It is so good!

This week of giving is all about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We received our packet for Karellys, who is from Ecuador. She's three right now, and beautiful. I can't wait to GIVE her more!

I needed to do something outside of the box. This could change someone's life. I can be apart of that change - for the good.

I chose a child from Ecuador because of our sons really. A few years ago, John and Jarrod, chose to spend a week on a short term mission trip to Ecuador, serving the people there, working for the Lord. So, Ecuador has a place in my heart. 


52 Weeks of Giving | 4

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The Trumps and the Adkinsons' in their own way captured something wonderful inside of me. As a thank you for sharing their life with me I've been creating scrapbook pages of their little (big) families. This also gives me a rush of joy in the making, joy in the giving. It's truly amazing how God does that! Giving, the sacrificial kind, whether physically or financially, is always the best kind of giving. Others are blessed, yes, but the neatest thing - I AM BLESSED!

I think if everyone could, first hand, experience blessing from giving, that rush, that overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy just because one gives, there would be more of it happening in our world.


52 Weeks of Giving | 3

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Using my mom's homemade cinnamon roll recipe, Jeff and I got up early on Christmas morning and made lots of pans of cinnamon rolls. We used foil pans, wrapped up the rolls in more foil and stacked them in our pie safes to keep them toasty warm. Then we drove on to Hunter Army Airfield. When we stopped at the main gate to show our ID cards we told the military police who were working the gate we had something for them and gave them the just-out-of-the-oven homemade cinnamon rolls. We hope they enjoyed the blessing.

We enjoyed the giving.

We also drove into Jeff's old unit who keeps a staff duty non-commissioned officer on duty and gave he and his runner another pan of the delectable cinnamon rolls. Driving off post the back way and through the back gate we stopped there also and gave them a pan of cinnamon rolls, too.

So as not to think it was just all about others and giving, we'd also made several pans for us to enjoy Christmas morning too:)