Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!
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Serve Sunday – Helping Hands across the Community
This is a project that I just coordinated for our church. I'm sharing it here, in case you can use the model in your community. It's a great way to get people of all ages involved in service.
24 Church is partnering with the
community in a new tradition called “Serve Sunday”.Each quarter 24 Church will abandon the traditional practice
of worshiping in church pews in order to spend the day serving others in
schools, homes, community parks, and nonprofit agencies.
Jessica Cron describes the day, “Our
church went into the community in teams with 18 different service projects.
Which included building fences at baseball parks, cleaned and painted schools,
repair projects at homes, helped the nursing home. Our family went to the
library to clean
and organize books. All of us went with the love of Jesus to serve anyone in
need and serve them with that love. It was amazing!Who knows how many lives were touched by us
doing these little things today!”
Stories from the volunteers and from those
Vice Principal at Sycamore Middle School, said, “They came to school and
painted a classroom that was in desperate need of a makeover. It is so
refreshing to see people so freely giving of their time and talents. Whole
families working together. What great examples. We so appreciate their help
One of the teen
girls being helped said, “It was really cool to have so many nice people come
to help our family.They helped us clean our rooms, paint three rooms and put together
furniture for us.”
As the church family worked in neighbor’s homes to cut down
trees, spread gravel, paint rooms, clean and organize; you could see hope light
up on their faces.A little bit of
kindness was a powerful antidote to feeling overwhelmed and alone. Serve Sunday
Director Ann Saylor said “It felt great to give people hope – the hope of
people loving them, and the hope of a God who really cares about us.” She
added, “It was also powerful to listen to how much people learned by serving.”
Harris, a volunteer, said, “I had an amazing day today.I went to serve the homeless & THEY
served me.I saw genuine smiles and
heard laughter from people who have every reason to be miserable. I was
reminded that God is everywhere & longs to comfort those who are hurting.
I'm dumbfounded with gratitude & joy & never once thought about the 35
degree weather or the rain. My heart was warm & my eyes & ears were
open to God at work among the lowliest of places!!”
Coordinator Jessica Sills said, “This morning, my eyes were opened to see just
how many opportunities there are to serve others around me. I followed God's
lead out of my comfort zone and got to visit with and pray for complete
strangers who now remain on my heart. If we pray for opportunities, God will reveal
them all around us.”
Coordinator Lisa McNeese summed up the hope for Serve Sunday perfectly, “I just
pray that lives were touched today and that people were drawn closer to God
through the simple acts of service and kindness.”
Serve Sunday relates directly to 24 Church’s mission to Love
God, Love People, Live Gospel and Make Disciples.“They say you win people TO what you win them
WITH”, says Pastor Chris Royalty, “and the American church has won people to a Sunday
morning church event.Weekly worship is
important - but there's more to being the church than this. We have chosen to
try to do some things we see the church called to do in ways contrary to normal
gatherings but living out these things are as much worship as gathering at a
building. We don't want to just go to church, we want to be the church and
living out the gospel is an important key to do this. Serve Sunday is a way for
us to practice together what God is calling us to do every moment of our lives.”
The Armistead family taught our children a lovely blessing to sing at the dinner table. It is sung to the tune of the children's classic song, Are You Sleeping?
God our Father God our Father Once Again Once Again We bow our heads to thank you Bow our heads to thank you Amen Amen
We love this blessing, and we've recently adapted it to involve younger children and guests. Instead of everyone singing each phrase twice, we sing it as an 'echo prayer'. One child leads the song, starting with the first phrase, "God our Father". The rest of the table echoes. Then the leader leads the second phrase , "once again", before waiting for the table to echo. And so forth, until the whole blessing is sung.
It's an easy way to remind our children (and ourselves) to give thanks to our Provider and Sustainer throughout the day.
Reader Question: I am in charge of creating 74 goody bags for an upcoming marriage retreat for my church, and I am in desperate need for some frugal, creative ideas on what I could put in these bags. In the past I know people have put little candy bars, a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple of packs of hot chocolate, tea bags etc so I was looking for ideas that might be something similar, but maybe a little different too. Would you have any fun thoughts on this?
A Few Ideas: Visit www.likemerchantships.blogspot.com - Meredith does a fantastic time being incredibly hospitable on a budget.Our women's retreat coordinators wrapped the following things in a cellophanebag: a mininotebook, a pen, a candle, peppermints, chocolate kisses,and a colored paper quote/scripture. A friend just suggested packing candies that correspond to questions: an almond joy - share a joyful moment in your marriage, a hershey kiss - something about your first kiss, snickers - laughs, lifesavers - when your…
My two boys LOVE legos, so they naturally end up scattering lego creations and random lego pieces throughout the house. Last weekend, we converted their closet to be a LEGO WORLD. Now they can store lego (and knex) pieces in their lego world, they have instructions for all of their kits in a ziplock bag, and they have a place to display their favorite ships. And I have a mostly lego-free kitchen and living room!!