Peace In Trying Times

As I have browsed online articles, and scrolled through my Facebook news-feed over the past few days, I couldn’t help but notice an overwhelming sense of fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and in some cases, hopelessness, reflected back at me.  Tensions are high right now.

Transitions are hard.  It’s especially hard, if you aren’t a fan of the changes unfolding around you.

As I was thinking about this, a scripture popped into my mind.  John 14:27 says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Continue reading

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Hope For The Hungry

Today is a special day!  It’s the first time I’ve ever hosted a guest writer on my personal blog.  I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, and fellow blogger, Karah Hawkinson. 

Hi!  I’m Karah from Food Shelf Friday.  Christy invited me to come here today and tell you a bit about the cause I’m passionate about, global hunger relief. Don’t tune me out yet!  I promise you the same thing I promise my readers – no guilt, no sad pictures, just hope and opportunity.

Here are some facts about hunger in the world today.  Nearly 10% of people don’t get enough to eat. 1 in 4 children is stunted physically or mentally by malnutrition.  21,000 people die each day from hunger and hunger-related illness, many of them children. A child dies from hunger or hunger-related illness every 10 seconds.  But I promised you hope, didn’t I?

There’s no denying that hunger is a big issue in the US and around the world, but there are also many wonderful organizations distributing food and clothing, digging wells, and providing employment and educational opportunities that will change the future of these families.  And you and your family can be part of that solution, even if you don’t have a lot of disposable income to give!

One thing my family practices is the Food Shelf Friday dinner . On Friday nights, we exchange our usual dinner for the kind of thing families get when they go to the food shelf for help.  We have pancakes and canned fruit, meatless spaghetti and canned vegetables, boxed dinners, canned soups, or rice and beans, and with the money we save, we give an identical meal to our local food shelf.

But if you’re going to start having Food Shelf Friday dinners, or if you’re contributing to one of the many holiday food drives this season, how do you know what your local food bank REALLY needs?  Generally speaking, the most useful item you can give a food bank is money.  They have buying power that the average grocery shopper can only dream of, so a financial donation goes a lot further than a food donation.  If you are going to donate food, the basic food bank needs are:

  • Canned fruits and/or veggies
  • Dry or canned beans
  • Rice and/or pasta
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Canned meats like tuna
  • Canned soup and/or chili
  • Pasta sauce in a plastic or aluminum containers
  • Dry dinner mixes (Hamburger Helper mac & cheese, etc.)

Keep in mind that food shelf users get a lot of sodium and preservatives in their diets, and they struggle to get adequate fiber and quality protein.  Low sodium foods, beans, brown rice and whole grains help fill these gaps.

Do NOT donate:

  • home canned foods
  • foods that need refrigeration
  • anything past its expiration date

In addition to Food Shelf Friday dinners, there are a lot of activities you can do to involve your whole family in helping the hungry.  I’ve posted about a number of ideas on my blog; here are some links:

Birthday Bags to provide birthday basics for a kid who can’t afford to celebrate

Blessings Bags so you always have something on hand when you encounter someone in need

Food Shelf Scavenger Hunt – a fun way to get kids involved in shopping for food bank basics

Thank you for helping the Hungry!

Karah

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It Starts With Me: A Mother’s Honest Confession

It’s July in Minnesota.  We are not quite half-way through our summer break, and if I’m completely honest… I have been STRUGGLING!  I’ve been struggling with my patience, struggling with my temper, and struggling with this whole parenting thing.

I have three kiddos and I love them to pieces.  They are truly a blessing in my life.  You know that saying, “children are a gift from above?”  It’s true!

But let’s be real.  My kids don’t always behave in a manner that conjures up warm, fuzzy, “I’m feeling so blessed right now” emotions.  Continue reading

You Are Not Alone

I could hear the baby wailing from across the department store. My first reaction was to breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t one of my kids.  I was enjoying a quiet shopping trip all alone, a scenario that rarely happens, especially on a Friday afternoon.

My husband had the day off and had graciously offered me a chance to sneak away so I could buy some much-needed items for myself. We both knew what a nightmare it could be to try to corral our kiddos in a dressing room while we frantically tried on clothes.  I was definitely relishing in this unexpected moment of retail solitude. Continue reading

I Won’t Stay Silent!

Two weeks ago, I heard the heart-wrenching news that one of my former high school classmates had been shot and killed inside her Colorado home. Molly Nickal was just 35 years old. She left behind three beautiful children, the youngest a 3-month-old baby boy. Her husband, Gary Nickal, has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.

As I read the news articles chronicling her tragic demise, it was very clear that this beautiful woman was a victim of domestic violence. According to an article in the Mankato Free Press, Molly’s family had been afraid for her because her husband was controlling, violent, and had isolated her from the rest of the family. Molly had even told one of her sisters that she felt like a prisoner in her own home. Continue reading

God Sees You

Have you ever wondered if God really sees you or cares about your circumstances?

There’s a beautiful story found in the gospel of Mark about a woman who suffered with an unfortunate medical condition. The condition caused her to bleed continually and she lived with this burden for twelve long years.  During this time, she spent all the money that she had visiting multiple doctors and undergoing numerous medical treatments.  However, instead of finding relief, her condition got worse.  Continue reading

The Gift Card

Last November, I was blessed with an unexpected gift card to one of my favorite restaurants.  I ALWAYS love an excuse to go out to eat.  If I don’t have to pay to go out?  Well, that’s even better.

So this was a very good surprise!

I couldn’t wait for the chance to use my new little plastic friend.

The more I thought about putting the card to use, the more enthused I got. Continue reading