Home 52 Gratitudes 2017 Stories 2017 100 New Books in 2017 2017 Reading Challenge 52 Weeks of Giving
Such a good year this is shaping up in changing my heart. I'm always searching out ways to give back, give more, serve. This week I spotted a request on Facebook and without hesitation...ok, maybe a 10 second delay...I responded to the need. A simple act. Big rewards.
This weeks giving I went grocery shopping again to give to The Lighthouse ministry, a food pantry our church runs and who feed thousands of people each month. Rather than just peanut butter and jelly, this week I picked up spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, too. I figured the more meals I can provide, the more mouths I can help feed, even if it is just one family, then that is one family not going hungry.
This project. It's changing my heart from the inside out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.