Well, we missed about two months. To say a lot has changed is putting it mildly. Two months ago, we lost our fourth baby at 38 weeks. Chase is a beautiful angel and rest in the arms of Jesus. For that, we are so happy. But we miss him, and we’ve spent the past couple of months making sense of everything and finding our new “normal”. The kids stopped asking about service projects, and I stopped feeling the motivation to serve. But several weeks ago I heard about the death of a young man who went to meet Jesus at the age of 21. And suddenly I wanted to serve everyone. I wanted to calm the fears of anyone who was scared, feed anyone who was hungry, love on anyone who felt alone…I once again felt the call of Jesus. And it suddenly became even more important to me that I instill certain values in my children. No matter how many medals they win, how many A’s they make on tests, or how many trophies line their walls, if they seek first the Kingdom of God, I have done my job. And to me, a large part of His kingdom is serving others.
So we started with something small – a donation to Goodwill of yet more stuff that we did not need. We have far too much stuff (don’t we all). And if we’re not using it, we should give it to someone who can. Here are the boys dropping off the “stuff”.
The boys were really excited when I told them we were going to do a service project – until I told them I had to take a photo of it. But they got back into the groove, and I explained what “goodwill” was. It was a nice welcome back into our mission, and it is my prayer that these projects instill in my children a love for serving others as if serving the Lord himself.
I admit, having three kids, working full time, and entering the last couple of months of pregnancy has made me one tired momma. But our church has made it a priority to start giving back more to our community, and I am going to take advantage of those opportunities! In January, the church held a clothing drive for a local group called Society of Samaritans. What a GREAT opportunity to clean out the closets. So the boys went through their old clothes, and so did my husband and I. The boys were excited to give the clothes to the people who needed them. Here they are picking out clothes to donate…
And here they are dropping them off at the church collection spot…
This was actually last week’s project. Time constraints have made me slow to post it, but when Cole asked me yesterday, “Mom, what is our next service project? We’ve done so many, what’s left to do?” I knew I needed to keep this going. It was an amazing feeling for him to be so interested in the projects and what we’d do next. It was also a great opportunity to tell him that there was so much more good we could do in this world…
A rough start to the new year, and we missed a week!! I was so sad when I realized we hadn’t done a service project last week. But we’re off and running again with another project. This week, we collected shoes and socks for the Montgomery County Good Soles Donation Center. They accept donations of gently used and new socks and shoes for infants, children, adults, and seniors. I bought some new socks, then the boys had a blast going through the shoes we collected for donation. As always, I asked them if they understood why we were giving away our shoes. Tyler promptly answered, because there are people who don’t have any shoes, and they need something on their feet. Voila – mission accomplished!
With two boys who can make just about anything into a gun (sticks, pens, I’ve even seen one do it with the little cross he made in Sunday School), helping out our troops was a blast. I found an organization online called Soldier’s Angels, and you can send in care package items that will be sent overseas to soldiers. To personalize the activity, I printed some coloring pages and let the kids go to town on them. My hope is that Soldier’s Angels will include them in their packages to let the troops know they are thought of in The Woodlands, Texas. All three of the kids loved coloring the pictures, Tyler especially liked the ones with the “tank” on it. One of the pages had the U.S. seal on it, and Cole asked why the president’s seal was on it. Great question – and I mixed in a little government education with our service project. The boys asked what the soldiers would do with the pictures, and I explained that hopefully it would make them smile. They liked that answer.
While Madison was still in pre-school, I took the boys to the store to buy the care package items. They got a little shy and decided to hide behind the crossword puzzles they picked out. And though it did not take long at all to get the items we sent (and not much money either), they acted exhausted riding in the back of the cart. But aren’t they cute, even when they are acting like shopping is such an exhausting chore (men in the making, for sure).
We got home, and I joined us up with Soldier’s Angels. A few days later, after I’d found an empty box, we packed our items in a box. I explained to the kids how we’d mail them to the troops. They were really excited, and I was amazed at how Tyler placed everything in the package so neatly. He seemed to enjoy this project the most. Until next time!
Saturday morning came, and I was pumped to do our first service project. I gave the boys three options, and they picked the one most obvious to them–donating food. So I looked up the Montgomery County Food Pantry, showed the boys their website, and we were ready to get started.
My original plan was to take everyone to the grocery store to buy the food we’d donate, then head to the food pantry. But these little monkeys, especially my two year old were so wild that morning, that I thought we’d go shopping in the pantry instead. They don’t really understand the concept of money as well as we do, but they definitely get “mine” and “yours”. Taking food from our own pantry actually made them feel as if they were giving more of their own stuff. A bonus to my decision to protect other shoppers from my monkeys. Madi helped load up the bag.
It was a thirty minute drive, but the kids all did really well [thank you Taylor Swift and LeapFrog]. The food pantry was in a part of town very unlike one where we live. I admit that my heart sank a little to see the amazing difference in how my children live and those who are less fortunate than them do. The food pantry was just over a set of railroad tracks where some parked trains sat, and my two year old screamed “Choo, choo!” Glad to see she had fun on our trip too. 🙂
We pulled up to donate our bag, and I saw tons of other kids and parents. I was actually a little bit shocked. Then immediately, I thought…wow. Children and parents spending a Saturday doing exactly what we were doing. Who knew? I was so filled with joy at the idea of how many other parents are doing exactly what I am doing. Hope…for the future.
Until next time!