Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I have kept in touch with a dear lady from church for many years. She was my Sunday school teacher when I was 8 years old. Even though we moved, years later we found ourselves attending the same church again. This time I was in high school. Her husband had always been good friends with my dad so I knew them pretty well too. They attended my wedding and my baby showers. Over the years though my husband and I moved away we kept in touch over email. It has been very heart warming for me to correspond with this dear lady and to continue to receive letters and encouragement from her even though we are miles apart.
This past year her husband passed away. She knew he was in a better place but was still heartbroken. Two weeks after he passed was their 60th anniversary. Her daughter came down to spend the day with her, take her out to lunch and celebrate their memories. During the day she asked her daughter to help her learn how to retrieve messages on her cell phone. You can imagine her surprise when she heard a message from her husband, who weeks ago had left a message on her phone while he was in the hospital. He told her how much he loved her and missed her. Imagine technology can sometimes lose important things, delete photos, or crash and make us restart all over, but in this one time it held on to something more important then one can imagine and gave it back just when it was needed.
We are blessed to live next to some elderly neighbors. I say blessed because it gives my children and I many opportunities throughout the year to show kindness and to give of ourselves. We have enjoyed taking meals to our elderly neighbors, giving Christmas home baked goodies, running errands, picking up garbage, trimming bushes and shoveling side walks.
I'm am always thinking of ways to get involved with the community and give my children the opportunity to serve. However, it is not always easy to find a good fit in the sense of time commitment, or abilities. It didn't take long for us to realize we could make a difference on our own street and bring joy into someones life. Having my children work right along with me, or even offering of themselves has taught them many lessons in humility. Not only have we been so blessed to serve our neighbors, but it always catches on and soon you see other neighbors going above and beyond for each other. It's not a competition, but I believe a good way to live. We look out for each other, we help each other, and sometimes we meet in the middle to do a good deed.
This year, look around your neighborhood and see what you can do to make a difference.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
"The mission of Packages From Home is to send care and comfort packages to deployed American military heroes who are stationed in active duty theaters around the world, as well as to facilitate activities that elevate morale of all veterans."
There are so many stories from our service men and women about how they celebrate Christmas overseas. They do not get caught up in the commercialism of the day. There are few if any Christmas trees and the decorations are usually pictures of their families at home. Presents are usually given by a lottery to the younger and lower class soldiers. No one gets caught up in the fairness of it all but try to enjoy the giving spirit. Church services are arranged and no solider is turned away. The greatest difficulty during this time is missing their families. Even though they are happy to serve our country and fight for our continued freedoms, some of them give up years with their wives and children that they won't be able to get back. This group was formed to give back to our servicemen while they are away from their loved ones. They send packages filled with comfort items like socks, books, movies and food items. There are many way to volunteer your time to help gather items to send and even host parties to collect money or items to be packaged for our soldiers.
During this time, if you know a soldiers family let them know you are thinking of them and thank them for giving up their spouse. They are sacrificing just as much as our servicemen.