Super heroes don’t necessarily need to wear masks, capes, and tights. Sometimes, small gestures and actions can make you someone’s hero, even though other people may never know about what you’ve done. Others WILL know you by the way you treat the people around you, though. That’s an important lesson we’ve tried to teach our kids and […]
Super heroes don’t necessarily need to wear masks, capes, and tights. Sometimes, small gestures and actions can make you someone’s hero, even though other people may never know about what you’ve done. Others WILL know you by the way you treat the people around you, though. That’s an important lesson we’ve tried to teach our kids and I was so excited to help my granddaughters learn a little something about it, while being Hunger Heroes, this weekend.
Damage and destruction have been common sights, in southeast Nebraska, the last several weeks. Tornadoes and flooding have left whole communities of Nebraskans without homes or even a town. Farms have been leveled and businesses destroyed. Rebuilding will take a LOT of time and money. At times like these, local food pantries can be overwhelmed with more need than they can fill, so I want to encourage you to give some thought to how you might be able to lessen that burden, fight hunger and help serve those in need in your own hometown, with even a small donation of necessities.
It has always been particularly important to me, to instill the values of compassion and generosity in my children. Even though we may not have a lot by the world’s standards, we ALWAYS have something we can share. The words of Matthew 25: 35-40 are powerful in their instruction and I wanted our kids to understand, even at an early age, the importance of their meaning. I believe, it’s “the point of us” – why we’re here. To love people the way Christ loves us, and by doing so, to help others see Him more clearly.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Recognizing the needs of others and having a sincere desire to help alleviate that need are signs of open and loving hearts in young children and skills that are developed over time, by practice, and by following the example of the adults who love them. It’s so important to model those behaviors and work together with our kids to help them develop those character qualities. I am truly blessed to be able to watch our oldest daughter and son-in-law work to develop giving hearts in our grandchildren and to get in on some of that “training”, myself.
The legacy of memories and skills that is passed from generation to generation, in the kitchen, is something about which I am extraordinarily passionate. Spending time with my kids and grandkids baking, cooking and preparing family recipes creates unforgettable moments of laughter, learning and family-connectedness. The memories you make when you cook and eat meals with your children will still be with them, as adults, and they will carry the tradition to their own children. How can I be so sure of this? Because many of the recipes and memories I share with my kids and grandkids, today, were learned in my grandma’s kitchen. When you take the fun times spent together, the homey smells and tastes of family meals that come when you’re creating great recipes, together, and tie all those in with a life lesson, that lesson will be part of a child’s memory forever. They will recall it again and again as they experience those same smells, tastes or feelings, as they reach into their recipe box and pull out that recipe or sit down to share that dish with the ones they love. Even as adults, those memories of you taking the time to teach and spend time with them will be powerful. That’s a legacy of love I am so excited to pass on.
And, how lucky am I that I have an opportunity, this week, to help others create their own wonderful memories and legacy, even in the midst of a difficult time after these awful storms? I was able to share with my granddaughters the importance of giving, and helping those in need, while we visited and enjoyed a special meal, together; and then I spent some time cooking and creating a gift, with them, for someone to receive through our local food pantry. It was truly a double blessing, thanks to the #HungerHeroes campaign I am working on with #CollectiveBias. Not only do the girls learn about cooking and make some fun memories in Grandma’s kitchen, but they also get an opportunity to practice compassion and generosity. A triple blessing, really, if you consider that our food purchases will also be able to trigger yet another donation. Beginning in August, Tyson and Kraft will donate 4oz. of protein, 6 oz. of CAPRI SUN, and/or 2.5 oz. of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinners, to help alleviate childhood hunger, for every item purchased each time a Tyson® Fully-Cooked Chicken Nuggets 5 lb. bag, along with a KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (7.25 oz.) 12-pack, and/or a Capri-Sun (6 oz.) 40-pack are purchased at Sam’s Club during the month of August. How cool is that? The food for my own family, contributes a meal to someone else’s family whenever I make that purchase!
Armed with all this information about how we could be Hunger Heroes and help people who are struggling, right now, the girls and I devised a plan over a tasty meal of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and Capri Sun juice! Since we have made donations to our food pantry before and have had some time to visit with the director, I have a little insight that may help you when you make your own donations. One of the difficult things for those “getting groceries” for their family at food pantries, especially in small towns, is that there may not be items that really “go together”. It can be a challenge to find enough complimentary ingredients to create a meal. And often, there are ingredients that someone is not sure how to use. When I asked if it would help to have a specific recipe in a bag that is filled with all the ingredients to make it, I was told that would be an amazing and welcome treat for someone “shopping” at the food pantry. So, that is how we always deliver groceries, there, now. This week, we want to include recipes for several meals and also some recipes that are fun and easy for kids to make. We’re hoping that the food will be a blessing to a family in need, but also create some opportunities to spend time together having fun, cooking and eating together, and to give them a break from all the stress and worry created by the damaging weather.
The girls created four different recipes on their own, and Grandma snapped pictures, so they could make a cookbook to include in our bag. That way the kids who receive it will be able to recreate the dishes and enjoy the yummy snacks, as well as some fun, kid-safe time in the kitchen. My granddaughters made Taco Dip, Peanut Butter Apple Rings with Raisins, Pretzel Fruit Kabobs and Homemade Taco Chips. They did a fabulous job and the cookbook is a treasure! I had to make a copy for each of them to have, too! I hope to share a couple of the recipes with you, on the blog, but here are a few pictures to whet your appetites and to inspire you to create some family memories while teaching kids to be generous and compassionate. And if you really can’t wait, or are curious about how to put something like this together with your own kids, you can flip through the girls’ cook book at the bottom of this post. It’s simple for all of us to be Hunger Heroes and I’ll be sure to share links and more information, in August, so you can share meals with kids, by making purchases of Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Capri Sun Fruit Drinks, at Sam’s Club. In the meantime, grab your kids and grandkids and get creative with some ideas for your local food pantry. Even something small can make a HUGE impact for a family in need and in the hearts of young kids learning to be generous, compassionate givers.
We included the recipes and ingredients for multiple meals of several simple, economical and delicious casseroles, Tuna Casserole, Lentils and Rice, Chicken and Rice, in our donation bags, fresh produce and cheeses and some canned veggies for side dishes, along with the kid’s recipes and ingredients, too. We are so fortunate that our food pantry has a way to accept and store fresh produce, as well as refrigerated and frozen food items. Be sure to check ahead of time, and see if your local food pantry can accept them. Even if they don’t, there are some great alternatives like canned Tyson Chicken, instead of fresh or frozen, canned fruit and vegetables, shelf stable milk, etc. We also added some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Capri Sun Juice Boxes for extra meal and snacking opportunities. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to provide complete nutritious meals, but you do want to be 100% certain your specific food pantry is set up to receive all the ingredients you contribute. No one is served by food that will spoil.
I’ll bet there are Hunger Heroes in your family! Do you have some other great ideas to help with ridding the United States of childhood hunger? Large numbers of people taking small, manageable actions can have a huge impact over time. I want our children and grandchildren to understand the important “pieces” they are in the “puzzle” that makes a long-term difference for good. It’s not about doing something big and splashy or “making the news”. It’s about making a difference, sharing the love of Christ, helping and alleviating need wherever we can, even if it’s only one family at a time. My greatest hope is that sincere compassionate giving will become as second-nature to our children as breathing, and that generations of great, great-great, great-great-great, etc. grandchildren that will never know me, will have the legacy of generosity and compassion instilled in them, as well.
I hope you’re inspired to become a Hunger Hero! I’d love to hear the actions you and your own family will take!
How do you teach your children and grandchildren to desire to be compassionate and generous?
Do you believe, like we do, that modeling compassion and generosity is a critical part of teaching those characteristics? Teaching them to be Hunger Heroes is where we started. Could that work for your own family?
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Hand-Carved Salad Servers? A goat and 2 chickens? A dairy cow? A flock of chickens? Do the emotions of love and hope spring up in you, when you think of them? Maybe not yet, but I hope by the end of this post your view of farm animals and hand-crafted gifts will be a little […]
Hand-Carved Salad Servers? A goat and 2 chickens? A dairy cow? A flock of chickens? Do the emotions of love and hope spring up in you, when you think of them? Maybe not yet, but I hope by the end of this post your view of farm animals and hand-crafted gifts will be a little different; and that your idea of a “gift” is elevated to convey more than momentary happiness or enthusiasm in the recipient. I hope that you will see how a gift that meets a critical need can send hope, love and a future to a place you’ve never even been, to someone you may never meet, but whose life can be changed by your actions and your unique gift choice.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that works with children, families and communities in almost 100 different countries, around the world, to help put an end to poverty and injustice. They provide emergency service to families and children who have been impacted by natural disasters or civil conflict. They also work with entire communities to develop long-term solutions for poverty and advocate for justice for the poor, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender. In short they bring hope and love into villages and homes where it may not have been experienced in some time. World Vision is financially transparent and accountable about how the funds they receive are used. I find that they work with great integrity to share the unconditional love of Christ through generosity and acts of service to those whose needs often go unseen by the rest of us. I’m so excited to let you know about them and about their Christmas Gift Catalog!
One way we experience the joy of giving is to share a Christmas gift, through World Vision, with a family we will likely never meet, but with whom we can share a small part of all the blessings we’ve been given. This year we’re so excited to be able to give the gift of a goat and two chickens! The catalog describes the gift like this:
“Goats nourish hungry children and families with healthy milk, cheese, and yogurt. Chickens provide fresh eggs that are rich in protein and nutrients, and extra eggs and chicks can be sold to pay for basics.
A dairy goat can give up to 16 cups of milk a day. Goat milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk and is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients that growing children need. Goats are practical animals — flourishing in harsh climates while producing valuable manure to fertilize crops and vegetable gardens.
Chickens are equally easy to raise, and will naturally multiply to impact generations of children. Each family that receives chickens is asked to give back hatched chicks to help another family in need. Chicks require little money, space, or food to thrive and grow — making them an ideal business venture for a single mom or vulnerable family. “
There are dozens of possible livestock gifts, but you can also provide a gift that helps drill wells to bring fresh water to a village or one that provides clothing, education, shelter or medicine. The options are so plentiful and so worthwhile. World Vision also provides some gorgeous gifts that you can receive when you donate to their Maximum Impact Fund. Not only will your gift help others in need, but you can receive a beautiful handcrafted gift to share with someone else.
World Vision is generously sponsoring a giveaway of a set of hand-carved serving spoons, like the ones pictured above. To enter, simply visit the World Vision website and browse through the online gift catalog. Leave a comment on this post, telling me which gift you would be most excited to give. Use the Rafflecopter form, below, to register your entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a set of hand-carved serving spoons in order to review them and test them in my own kitchen. A positive review was not required and no monetary compensation was received. I was not compelled to make a donation as a part of this post. It was something we were excited to do, as a family. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product and organization.
Hearts4Hearts Girls is a charitable doll line and fashion collection from Playmates Toys. They sell eight authentically dressed, and very life-like, dolls that represent eight different countries. Each doll has her own “story” which highlights some of the challenges of girls in her own culture and how she is working to overcome them. These dolls […]
Hearts4Hearts Girls is a charitable doll line and fashion collection from Playmates Toys. They sell eight authentically dressed, and very life-like, dolls that represent eight different countries. Each doll has her own “story” which highlights some of the challenges of girls in her own culture and how she is working to overcome them. These dolls are absolutely beautiful, well-made and the girls in our house have fallen in love with them! When other little girls are here to play and the dolls are pulled out, the oooohs and aaaaahs begin, even before their outstretched hands have touched them. I am so impressed with the attention to detail in the outfits. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a more well-done line of dolls and we’ll be adding to our personal collection for Christmas.
Besides just being beautiful and high-quality, the dolls serve a purpose, above and beyond just playing. For each of these reasonably priced dolls that is sold, Playmates Toys makes a donation to their partner, World Vision, to help children’s causes around the world. They’re priced at only around $27 or $28 dollars, depending on where you shop, and that’s an unbelievable deal when compared to the popular (over $100 each) book series brand of dolls. I also have a $5 off coupon code for you, that is good for the rest of October! Enter CODE H4HAUG12 in the promo code box, when you place your order. (I placed my own order with it and received $5 off each doll I ordered!)
World Vision is a 60-year-old humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision assists roughly 100 million people in nearly 100 countries throughout all of the regions represented by Hearts for Hearts Girls — Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. The organization provides emergency relief, humanitarian aid, food, clean water, HIV and AIDS prevention education, child sponsorship, and assists in the development of new businesses and communities through their microfinance program. I’m incredibly excited to be able to give a gift that can help in these worthwhile causes! Your birthday or Christmas gifts can do the same! How cool is that?!!!
I’m also enthusiastic about the educational potential of these strikingly beautiful dolls. Each comes with her own story about the country she represents, and as a homeschooling mom, the potential for use in geography studies is apparent. How much more motivating to learn about the customs, climate, occupations, schools and recipes of the country your doll is from, than to memorize dull, rote facts from a textbook. It would be easy to build a unit study around the dolls and really make the country “come alive” through hands-on experiences your child will always remember. Hearts4Hearts Dolls are a great “jumping off point” and visual aid for these studies and having all eight would be a positive investment for any educator.
I knew my granddaughters, ages 4 and 6, would love these dolls; but I did not anticipate the reaction of my nearly eleven-year-old and her friends. These older girls, who have really moved past the playing with dolls stage, have been enthralled with the Hearts4Hearts girls. I think the realistic, life-like look of the dolls, the age of girl they portray and their deeply personal stories have been the impetus to thrust them back into the world of dolls. And as I mentioned, this is a great bonus for me, as a homeschooling mom, because it’s opened the door to some fun geographical studies.
I am so excited to be sponsoring a Hearts4Hearts Girls Doll giveaway to celebrate Busy-at-Home’s 3rd birthday! Go check out the website, read about the “girls” and in a comment below, tell me which doll you would choose if you win. Use the Rafflecopter form to register your entries.
I received Hearts4Hearts dolls to test in my own home and to gather data for this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.
I’m talking about something much more powerful than a New Year’s Resolution. I’m talking about the kind of resolve that doesn’t fade away after the middle of January. I don’t have any. In my own power and on my own steam, I can’t accomplish anything worthwhile for very long. The power of Christ in a […]
I’m talking about something much more powerful than a New Year’s Resolution. I’m talking about the kind of resolve that doesn’t fade away after the middle of January. I don’t have any.
In my own power and on my own steam, I can’t accomplish anything worthwhile for very long. The power of Christ in a human life is an awesome force and it occurs to me that all those failed New Year’s resolutions have more to do with not having Him in the planning and implementation, than not having a good resolution. And, while there will inevitably be “human failure”, to highly resolve means that I don’t have to count on my own power to “make it right” and start again. “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” — Proverbs 3:5-8
Now, to what I resolve, through the grace of God and no power of my own. I resolve to see the person, before I see the perceived offense — to consider what their circumstance might be, before I let them know how I perceive that they have messed up. Lord, when I get chicken nuggets instead of a cheeseburger, give me the calm spirit and words to correct the situation, not belittle the person. When the order that was supposed to arrive by Christmas, guaranteed, shows up on January 4th instead, remind me that the gift is still special and realistically, no one was harmed by the wait. When my order is slow getting to the table, or not exactly as I have ordered it, Lord, I pray that you will cause me to pause for one moment and become acutely aware of the “mere human” before me. Help me to remember the mercy and grace I hope to receive when I have been “only human”.
I have recently been made aware that it is impossible to know the circumstance that may have led to the minor infraction of another person — the one I have chosen to become so annoyed at and about. There are a myriad of examples. Our recent blizzards and snowstorms have rendered many people housebound and their positions at work unfilled. The duties of a six-person office have often been juggled by three or four people. Most people won’t see or ever know about the hardship of those dedicated workers, but will focus instead on the inconvenience of the extra time their appointment is taking.
Would you be as upset about a mishandled restaurant order if you knew that your waiter had suffered the loss of a child, recently; or the only car he depended on to get to work and support his family had been totaled in a collision that morning? How can you know what might be pressing so hard on his heart, that even though he is trying his best, he can’t focus on your order? And if we did know, wouldn’t you or I respond with compassion and patience? Unless we are actually foolish enough to believe that a waiter/ service technician/ office manager/ spouse/ child, etc., set out to intentionally target us for irritation, we will move into 2010 with new eyes. Like the song, Lord, “Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see, Everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted, Ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see.”
There are multitudes of people who will be willing to berate, belittle, and humiliate those around them. As Christians, it is critically important that we allow Christ to lead us to do the opposite of what our human nature beckons us to. More important even than the positive effect we may have on someone who is hurting, is the picture we paint of the One we represent. Many in this world will only know Christ and Christians by the way we portray them with our words and actions. Has the world been seeing Christ, lately, when they are seeing you and me? Lord, please lead me to let my words and actions shine a light on You and Your love and Your mercy. Let them represent the truth about You and You living in me. Please give me a soft and compassionate heart. Let me pause long enough to see a person, someone You created and love, with circumstances I can’t begin to understand. When I am in a hurry or in a tizzy, wanting my “pound of flesh”, please stop me in my tracks and extend your mercy and grace to the person I am so tempted not to see.
“1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:1-4
“23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:23 & 24
Lord, make my words like honeycomb. Let them heal the soul and bring health to the bones. Please put a soft answer in my heart and on my tongue, so those I meet will see You and Your love when they hear me speak. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.