mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Doodle. — Treasures Found.

I used to get so anxious when people messed with my lists and To Do notebooks.

I needed them to be pretty close to uncluttery.

But as usual, having kiddos has made me let that little obsession for perfection go.

(Just like Felix had to let go of the whole “no spots on the faucet’ thing he used to fuss about several years ago.)

Now,  every so often, I will flip through my To Do list notebook and find little treasures.

Little treasures left as doodles by the boy child.

Now, I’m so glad when I find these.

They are like snapshots of  his five year old thinking. Right now.

smart

Yes. Yes, you are smart. Always believe this. But never ever begin to think that you are too smart to learn.

penguin named bacon

You have an awesome imagination. I hope you will always make time for play. And dream up penguins named “Bacon”. (Actually, the teacher in me thinks you are spelling “Penguin” there at the top…But as your Momma, I just think it is pretty ironic that it also looks a lot like “Bacon”.)

tgiving meal      santa

Holidays are magical. And I get the message, you are not a fan of turkey or … mashed potatoes, maybe? At least right now. I am betting that will change as you get older. But I think we both agree that Santa is awesome and should always be in color!

portraits

Always know this. You will always be in my heart, too, Buddy. (That is X and Me! Just in case you couldn’t tell!)

You. You are a treasure.

And so are your random doodles.

4 Comments »

Gasp. — Then Get Up and Try It Again.

I remember when my kiddos were just learning to walk.

For a short time, they both did the Frankenstein walk, taking a few unsteady steps with both hands either out in front of them or above their heads for balance.

And inevitably, they would stumble and fall.  Y was always pretty good about getting her hands down in front of her to cushion the landing. But the boy child. Oy. The boy child was always a little top heavy it seems and while he got his hands down, he still ended up falling forward until his little forehead touched the ground. I swear in slow motion sometimes.

Fortunately, we haven’t had any super major injuries (KNOCK ON WOOD!) except for that one unfortunate collision that X had with the corner of the kitchen counter a few years ago that left his father and I making that decision about heading to the Emergency Room. Felix googled and made some phone calls, while I stood there looking at the hole in his little forehead, saying, “Yeah, that is not going to close up on its own.” while realizing that the loudest cries where coming not from the injured boy but from the hysterical girl child, sobbing on the couch a few feet away. But I digress…

Being a connoisseur of all things parenting magazines and books back then, I recall articles from random people who are experts on … well, themselves … about how I should react when my kiddos fall down. I remember reading about how I shouldn’t OVERreact, how I shouldn’t run over to them and make a big deal about things, but instead I should encourage them to get back up and do it again.

Easier said that done when it is your kid hitting the pavement.

But I have to say that I have developed my own personal response style when it comes to my kiddos falling down and/or getting hurt.

I gasp.

I don’t mean to, but I have come to realize that when they are doing those things that could cause major injuries and more trips to the Emergency Room…like jumping off of high things or swerving on bikes and doing tricks off of the diving board or throwing balls at each other’s heads or … you know, the stuff of being kids… I gasp.

I suck in air and make a noise like the world is ending in front of my eyes. Probably in reaction to my heart skipping a beat and my mind’s eye seeing all the ways that this could go terribly wrong, terribly quickly.

But then I will say that I do recover quickly and tend to respond in a fairly calm manner to each of these scenarios:

*** If it was a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing to do but no one is hurt: “GASP!!!!! OMG, Do NOT do that again!”

OR

***If it was a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing to do but there is a minor injury: “GASP!!!!! Are you ok? OMG, Do NOT do that again!”

OR

***If it wasn’t a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing, but was a true accident with a minor injury: “GASP!!!!! Are you ok? Let me see it. Let’s get you fixed up. Ok. Get up and and try it again!”

Depending on the situation, there might be a kiss and a cuddle or an extended time spent just holding in my lap, but then it is usually, “Get up and try it again.”

It is just hard to watch them fall down. It is. There is nothing easy about seeing your child get hurt or seeing the potential for injury which abounds in kidland. Mommas are masters at the silent prayer, “Please don’t let them get hurt. Please don’t let them get hurt.”

But isn’t it true … that making mistakes and getting hurt sometimes is part of the learning process. A part of the process where we learn how to make better choices. And we learn how to do things better. Because if we don’t fall down. If we don’t mess up. If we don’t get messy. If we don’t try. If we don’t take a risk sometimes. We never learn what we can do. We live in fear and miss some of the magic that comes from these experiences.

And as parents, as hard as it is, we have to let them try. We have to let them know that …

We fall down. We get back up. And we learn.

We learn to keep our balance better.

We learn to land with both feet.

We learn to protect ourselves.

We learn to think ahead and have a plan.

We learn not to make too-sharp turns.

We learn to watch where we are going.

We learn how to try something new. And then try again.

We learn that it is not the end of the world if we do fall down.

And we learn that someone we love will be there to pick us up when we do.

Even if your Momma does make that horrible GASPing noise in the process.

We still learn how to get back up, dust ourselves off …

and try it again.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Just for fun, here are a few video examples of my kiddos falling down. 

While ice skating. 

My GASPS are not audible, (however my southern drawl seems to be working overtime) but trust me, there were LOTS of GASPS!  Lots of them! And for the entire three hours that we were all on the ice, my silent prayer was: “Please don’t break anything. Please don’t break anything.” 

This is my hockey player, for sure. Look at that style of run, glide, run, crash. At least he followed my directions when I said, “Don’t hit your head!”

Yeah. I know. Ouch. This is when I remembered how serious I was about NOT falling down myself! I don’t bounce like that anymore.

Y’s my cautious glider. She got the hang of it so fast and I think she is really good considering this is her second time on ice in three years. (Third if you count that weird outside plastic ice rink we went to that time. But that was just weird, skating on white plastic and made me paranoid about the plastic shavings all over us…and even though it was on ice skates, I don’t think it should count.)

And then the race. Figure skater vs. hockey player. Y would like it duly noted that X crashed immediately after he passed by the camera. That’s true.

And the sibling love continues on.

2 Comments »

Nourish. — Green Smoothies and Big Dreams

This morning, I opened the fridge and pulled out the spinach, an avocado, a lime and a banana to make my favorite green smoothie.

It is the prettiest of greens and although it might not sound good to you, it really does taste great.

I love to pour it into X’s Avenger tumbler and head off to work with it in hand. It is like my very own Incredible Hulk smoothie and I like to think I look cooler carrying this young, hip cup into the office.

cup

But more than the perceived hip factor, I also love what this green drink  does for me.

It provides nourishment.

This is good for me. This greenness in a superhero cup feeds me well. It gives my body energy…good, whole foods energy. There is nothing fake. Nothing processed. Nothing phony baloney in it. Just a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables that I can enjoy before 9 a.m.

In a superhero cup no less.

And this is what I want 2014 to be about. This is the verb.

Nourish. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth.

As Mommas, we work hard everyday to make sure we are providing our families with the “food and other substances necessary for life and growth.”  We stock the fridge and pantry with good foods.  We make sure people are fed and clothed and as clean as humanly possible in kidland. We take note that the jackets are zipped up and the shoe strings are tied before they head out the door. We’ve read with them and checked their homework. We’ve tucked them in and sang the 17 required songs and supplied the hugs and kisses needed for sweet dreams. We plan for their events and schedule the games and practices into our lives. We encourage their BIG dreams and applaud their triumphs and confidence. We cuddle them through disappointments that teach life lessons along the way. We say prayers at night for their health and safety.

We remind. We teach. We fuss. We laugh. We cry. We play. We feed. We zip and tie. We love.

All in the name of providing them with the nourishment that they need to grow and live life.

And we get up the next day and do it all over again.

In 2014, I want us Mommas to remember that we also need to make sure we are just as focused on nourishing ourselves just as much as we think about how we provide nourishment to our families.

Sometimes I think that it is selfish of me to still have BIG dreams. To still want to do ‘other’ things with my life. Sometimes I think, I had my chance. I should have done it then. I should have traveled there before. I should have pursued this goal a long time ago. Sometimes I think that my time has passed. That this should be their time. That my focus should be on them now.

But I always think of a few years ago, when the girl child was just one and I had a chance to go to NYC on a business trip. Travel is a rarity in my work world and I took the opportunity to go and be a part of this conference. While I was there, I started feeling those twangs of Mommy Guilt. Oh, my poor baby, at home with her very capable, very caring father. What have I done? Why did I think I could come to the Big Apple and be among esteemed colleagues and learn more about my profession? Why did I think I could travel and sleep, uninterrupted, in a soft bed with clean sheets and a venture down to a continental breakfast prepared for me? (And on and on and … on…)

Until my friend traveling with me, stopped me from my own self-imposed downward spiral of guilt and regret by saying this:

“By being away on this trip, you are teaching Y a powerful lesson. You are showing her that she can do it all. She can have a family when she grows up. She can have a career. She can always continue to learn, no matter her age. What a gift to show her the power that comes from pursuing a dream.”

Nourishment.

We can still be the Mommas. We can provide and love and care and comfort. And we can also learn and grow and dream and try.

And we should. We should make sure that our bodies, minds and souls are nourished. Everyday.

Eat the food. Get the rest. Write in the journal. Read the books. Listen to the music. Take the class. Be with friends. Be still sometimes.

And go after those BIG dreams, whatever they are, while you encourage your kiddos to pursue their own.

That is how a good teacher teachers. By modeling. By showing. By engaging each day with action words.

We should practice what we preach. We should walk our talk.

Eat well. Play more. Choose happy.

Dream Bigger. Make it happen.

Create the time to really nourish your body, mind and soul in 2014.

(And drink a few green smoothies, too. They are good for you. Trust me.) 

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

10 Comments »

Review. — 2013 Report Prepared By Those Lil’ Monkeys Again.

Many thanks to the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys who put this 2013 annual report together for MommyVerbs.

They are the best lil’ flying monkeys around. Not at all scary like in the Wizard of Oz. Because they add fireworks. I do love me some fireworks.

MommyVerbs has really begun to grow into its own this year. What started out as a little therapy on the cheap, a few fun stories and a couple of reflections, has now turned into a good friend. A place to come and be. A place to question. A place to share. MommyVerbs has a few official fans now. Beyond my Mom and my Nonnie, even.  MommyVerbs is getting a reputation, and I’ve even heard from a few folks that I didn’t know were connected to it, share that they enjoy reading it. That always makes me smile.  I hope those who like it will continue to share it with others who may enjoy it, too.

And for me,  MommyVerbs continues to make me be intentional … to be real about engaging each day with action words.

2013 also included a few MommyVerbs pieces showing up on The Huffington Post. A highlight for sure. AND MommyVerbs was also Freshly Pressed this year, a goal since this blog began in 2012. I’ve met a lot of good bloggy friends and I appreciate what they add to the conversation, how their writing challenges me, how they help me with my bloggy questions and beyond.

MommyVerbs has much in store for 2014. Maybe a few guest posts. Maybe a new format or design. Maybe even a MommyVerbs t-shirt … or two. You’ll have to stick around to see what happens.

mommyverbs tshirt1

Which is exactly why New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. It is a new calendar. A blank page. A fresh start.

And to quote my high school graduation speech (which was really quoting “Remington Steele” and “Say Anything”:

“Just think of the possibilities. And…Get ready for greatness, Lloyd.”

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014! 

If you are interested, here is a full report of MommyVerb actions this year.  It’s kind of fun and worth the tiny effort of the click. Besides, those ‘lil monkeys worked hard on this. 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

1 Comment »

Pace. — Yourself. You Have 365 of These Days.

The 2013 calendar on the wall knows its days are numbered. For real.

The 2014 calendar is sitting right there below it; staring, just waiting to take its rightful place under the pushpin on the kitchen wall.

I can’t say that this has been my best wrap up to a year though.

The last few days have been filled with a little random illness that kept me sidelined or at least subdued just a little.

I muscled on and faked the smiles and made sure the familial obligatory activities and traditions were all taken care of. But I didn’t have much else to give. I was done. I was exhausted.

All of the ‘getting ready for the holidays’ activities wore me out for the actual holiday activities.

We do that sometimes, us Mommas.

Sometimes we push too hard.

Our lists are long and we busy ourselves taking care of everyone and everything.

The MommyVerbs of our days are many:

Plan. Shop. Wrap. Bake. Create. Paint. Mail. Write. Thank. Invite. Pack. Travel. Clean.

And sometimes we just get tired and our bodies say…Enough.

Our bodies say…Time to take a break.

And we get stubborn and argue and say things like…Not now. There is still so much to do.

Our bodies respond with a sarcastic…No time to slow down, huh? Here. Enjoy this fever. That should do it.

Trumped again. Fever wins.

So. We slow down. We sleep in. We take naps.

Until we start feeling better.

Until we start making those lists again.

Until we start the fevered pace all over again.

Forgetting where this got us in the first place.

And even now, feeling better, I just created a vision board of my 2014 intentions.

It is beautiful, full of to do and to go and to learn and to make happen.

And as I was admiring it, trying to decide where I should start first, what I should do right now…

that overwhelming, exhausting feeling started to creep back in.

Until, I realized and said this out loud:

I don’t have to do it all in one day.

These are intentions for an entire year.

Enough to fill three hundred sixty-five of these days. One day at a time.

So, let’s all slow down a little.

Sleep in a little more sometimes.

Take a nap here and there.

Repeat after me.

I don’t have to do it all in one day.

Pace yourself, Tired Working Mommas, Everywhere.

You have 365 days to get it done in 2014.

Pace yourself.

Let’s All, Go. Do that.

intentions

2 Comments »

Continue. — Random Holiday Traditions NOT To Be Monkeyed With.

I believe in tradition.

Growing up with some family traditions gives you a strong foundation. Because you know what to expect. You get excited about little things. You look forward to these little things happening. And as you grow up, you share these traditions, these ways of doing things with others.

Sure, you adjust. You are flexible as you need to be based on events and people and time.

Traditions are a guide. Traditions give you a place to start.

And I believe with all of my heart…that you don’t … “monkey with tradition.”

A line I stole from the movie, ‘Mystic Pizza’, and made it one of my life’s ambitions.

I am the glue. I am the memory. I am the keeper of the tradition.

I feel a responsibility to keep them going. To keep them alive. Even if no one notices or is even paying attention, it is important to me that we keep doing these things.

So here is a list of our random family holiday traditions.

That should never ever be monkeyed with.

Ever.

Christmas:

1. We open all of the family presents on Christmas Eve.

2. Santa brings unwrapped presents on Christmas morning.

3. Our elf on the shelf is named, Holly. I know, he has a girl name, but he’s a boy. Elf’s do that sometimes. Apparently. Especially when they are named by 5 year old girls.

4. Holly shows up on the first night that the Christmas tree lights go on. That’s how he knows to come.

5. The tree always goes up after Thanksgiving and usually comes down after New Year’s Day.

6. On Christmas Eve, the kiddos get to hug and kiss Holly goodbye. But he must be on the tree before bedtime so Santa can find him and take him home.

7. You may not go downstairs on Christmas morning before Momma. She must get the picture of the kiddos at the top of the stairs in full excitement mode.  It’s a Momma Rule. And Momma Rules can’t be broken.

8. We will have Monkey Bread for breakfast on Christmas morning. And we eat our Monkey Bread off of little blue Snowman plates. That is the only action those plates see all year.

monkeybread plate

9. We drive about 45 minutes to see Santa each year. We meet family friends for lunch and listen to THE Santa sing songs, play guitar and tell stories. It is pure Christmas magic. We believe.

10. We will always give our friends an ornament of some sort as a Christmas present.

11. We will always give a photo calendar to our Nanas, Maws and PawPaws.

12. There will always be 3 new ornaments added to the tree each year: one with a picture of X, one with a picture of Y and one with a picture of me and Felix together. Each with the current year engraved on it.

13. At Maw Betty’s house, we will always hang the “Horton Balls”, handmade ornaments with each person’s name on one.  New additions of babies or unions are added each year.

IMG_4966

14. We open presents one at a time. Sometimes we clap for each present. But not always.

15. We watch the TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story for … well, almost 24 hours. I’m actually sad when it is over.

New Year’s Eve (My favorite holiday):

16. We bring the neighbors some oranges.

17. We eat 12 grapes at midnight.

18. We make our Family Mind Map of Goals for the new year.

Valentine’s Day:

19. Is always Family Fondue Night! A night for us to stay in and enjoy each our family, while dipping random food into chocolate.

Christmas 2010 - Feb 18 2011 387

Fourth of July aka Y’s Birthday:

20. Fireworks. No matter where we are. Fireworks.

Halloween:

21. We use the classic plastic pumpkins to go trick or treating. No bags or pillow cases for us.

Halloween 2010 031

Thanksgiving;

22. We go to an indoor water park on or around this holiday.

Birthdays:

23. You can have Monkey Bread for Breakfast if you would like. You always get to choose the food for the day.

24. There will be a sunrise walk and photo shoot on the beach and I will make you hold up your fingers to show your age. Guaranteed.

25. There will be number candles on your cakes. Not just the number of individual candles, but candles (and sometimes even the cakes) in the shape of numbers. Because they are cool.

July 4th weekend 130

And because it is … tradition.

And…say it with me“You don’t monkey with tradition.” 

You just keep making new ones.

Merry Christmas, Action Worders!

3 Comments »

Focus. — On One.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One.

presents

Tonight, we will distribute these 250 presents.

They are all lined up.

Organized by number.

Wrapped. Bagged. Tissue papered.

With brightly colored bows and ribbons.

Sitting pretty.

Waiting.

I’m overwhelmed by this image and the need it represents.

I’m overwhelmed by the number of people who made this happen and the joyful giving of a community.

I’m overwhelmed by the hours of shopping, wrapping, organizing and honestly, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of presents and the process we will use to give these out tonight.

So, I’m trying to focus.

Focus on one.

Focus on one present at a time.

Focus on one smile. One excited giggle. One “Thank you.”

Because out of so many,

that one present,

in the red bag, with the cheerful snowman in his crooked black top hat and green scarf,

is for one child.

One child who might not be surrounded by the comforts of … a lot.

One child who might not know safety and security, not to mention, stockings full of stuff.

One child who might squeal with delight upon opening it up.

One child who might still believe in the magic of Christmas.

So I’m going to try to focus on each one. 

Because…

Thanks to so many, Christmas might be just a little better for

this…one.

17 Comments »

Collect. — Calling All Signature ‘TagLines’

Last year,  I decided to change my personal signature line.  You know what I’m talking about. The way we sign our letters, notes, emails. I have been a closet collector of others’ ‘tag lines’ over the past year or so.

“Peace and Cheers”
“Love and Light”

I adopted the phrase, “Enjoy the Day” and tried to make it mine. Take care and Enjoy the day. Thanks and Enjoy the day. The idea was to bring focus to really enjoying each and every day. There’s nothing wrong wth that. Let’s really be intentional about finding times in our days to enjoy. Have fun with. Notice. Pay attention.

But then I discovered that it wasn’t enough.

In my professional life, I am constantly talking to folks about actively engaging students in their learning. Whoever does the most work, learns the most. Students have to be actively engaged in their own learning in order to get the most out of it. I swear I say that every day.

And I decided that was what I want to do each day. I don’t want to just enjoy the day. I want to engage it. I want to engage with it. I want to get dirty and make a mess with it. I want to mess up and make it right. I want to pay attention, but actively give attention to it. I want to be an active participant with each day. I want to notice it, but also make a note of it.

I’m here to do the work. I want to learn the most. So for the past year,  I have been using the line:

Engage the Day.

But again…it is time for a change. 

With a new year comes a new tagline. A new focus. A few new goals.

My experiences recently trying to help organize The Giving Tree Food Pantry Angel Tree have taught me some very important lessons.

Lessons about faith.

Lessons about hope.

Lessons about believing.

Lessons about doubt.

Lessons about needs and wants.

Lessons about enough.

Lessons about action.

Lessons about being still.

Lessons about what is important.

Lessons about what is not.

So, I’m playing around with finding a new personal signature line for 2014:

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.

What do you think?

I know. I know. They are not verbs. But they might as well be.

I figure it might raise a few eyebrows, maybe a few questions. Either way, should be a fun conversation starter of sorts.

So. Now I’m coming out of the collecting closet and I want to know…

What is your signature tag line and why did you choose that? What does it mean to you? What’s the story behind it?

Send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll put together a post, tagging you of course, to share and inspire others!

Happy Taglining!

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.

MommyVerbs

tagline

12 Comments »

Believe. — It will be enough.

Here’s how I remember this story from Sunday School many years ago.  I can’t guarantee its correctness.

But I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, so here is the MommyVerbs version, complete with some pop culture references and my recent lesson learned. 

So.

Jesus headed out into the woods to be by himself for a little while.

I mean, come on. He deserves a little down time. Right? Here he is,  doing the work of being Jesus and that can’t be easy. So he’s definitely earned some quiet. Just saying.

But he can’t catch a break. Because everybody followed him. They just can’t help themselves. They want and need to be with him. Even if they can’t be close. Even just around him.

And I don’t think Jesus really minded. He seemed to get it, you know.

But the disciples around Jesus started  flipping out because the crowd seemed to be getting hungry and it was getting late.

In their defense,  there were more than 5,000 people hanging around that were starting to get grumblies in their tummies.

And we all know that hungry people can quickly turn into cranky people.

And a cranky crowd could turn bad … in a heartbeat.

So, the disciples started telling people to leave, to head out…move along. Nothing to see here.

And of course, Jesus said, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Hold on now. If they are hungry. Let’s feed them.”

I love that.

Jesus does logic well, right?

There’s a need. Meet the need. Done.

So, Jesus basically says, “Go. Do that.” Feed them.

But it seems hard. Feed them? But there are so many of them!

So the disciples start with the whining…but we don’t have eeeeeeeeEEEEEENNnnnnnoooooouuuGGGGGGHHHHHH!”

(Imagine a three year old who is really, really good at being three, who has mastered the fine art of whining.)

And they started to worry. And fret. And look to each other for the “what to dos”. 

I think Jesus had to have sighed here. Like a tired parent after bedtime sighs.

(I like to think that Jesus, who was the epitome of patient with all things … us, …still sighed.)

And he must have looked at them and said, “Well, what do you have?” (See, this is a total Parenting with Love and Logic move here.)

The whining continued, “We only have five loaves of bread and two fish. It won’t be enough.”

So Jesus does what he does.

A miracle. And he tells them to bring what they have. He blesses it. He breaks it and starts passing it around to people.

And here’s where I am going to seem a little bit irreverent. Trust me, I’m not.

But this makes me think of the cake scene in the movie, Office Space.

Poor Milton. He just wants a piece of cake. And he passes it like he’s told, the whole time, worried that he won’t get a piece. That there won’t be enough.

And there’s not. There’s not enough and he doesn’t get any cake. 

But this is not what happens in this story.

Because in this story, I imagine this little boy in the very back of the crowd. He’s hungry. He can’t see what is happening. But he is hearing the rumors that there is food coming his way. And he hears all of the doubters saying things like, “Will there be enough? Will the food run out before it gets to everyone?  What if someone takes more than they need?”

But he waits. He sits. He is still.

And he believes.

Because he has no other choice,but to believe.

Because to doubt and to worry, won’t make it come true.

And he’s hungry. And everyone around him is hungry. So, food must be coming. It just must be.

Soon, it does and he is eating until he is full.

There are even leftovers.

This is what this Giving Tree Angel Tree experience has been for me.

Being worried. Choosing to believe. Waiting. Being still.

And then watching it be …. enough.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Choose to believe. Be Still.

Believe it will be…enough.

The Giving Tree Angel Tree

4 Comments »

Need. — Who Am I To Decide?

At this time of year, we are often compelled to give.

Give to others.

Others in need.

We give canned goods for the local food pantry.

We buy presents for children on Angel trees.

We tip better and make lists of gifts to buy for others.

We put together baskets of holiday meals for local families.

I have participated in these collections, in these canned food drives, in these angel trees, in these many acts of gift giving.

And every now and then, I have discovered that someone, some family, some child seems to be found on more than one list for giving.

I discover that they are receiving a basket of food from the school and a bag of gifts from the local church.

They are getting to go to the community center party and getting new clothes and shoes from the local Rotary club.

And I’m a little ashamed to think that I have probably thought  at some point or another, and maybe I’ve even said things out loud like, “See, that is what really bothers me … when people take advantage.”

But here’s the thing I have learned recently.

Who am I to judge?

Who am I to decide?

Who am I to have anything at all to say about who is really in need and who is only kind of in need?

Statistics show that the majority of us are really only six months away from poverty at any given moment …  if a tragic, devastating event were to occur in our lives. (Many of these start with the letter ‘D’.)

Death. Divorce. Disease. Deployment. Destruction. Disaster. Debt. Deceit.

We are all just a few bad choices or one act of very bad luck away from being …there.

And if we ever find ourselves…there…in need. In need of help. In need of the local food pantry. In need of help at Christmas.

If we ever find that we have to show up and get in line and look at others and ask for help. If we ever find that we have to put ourselves and our families on any and every list for help that is available. Then…

We wouldn’t want others judging us; deciding if we are really in need or only kind of in need?

Would we?

No.

Because if we are … there; if we’ve made the decision to ask, to seek out help … then we are indeed in need.

Need is relative. And it is also personal.

So when people seek out help for their needs, it is not up to me whether or not to provide help. It is not up to me to judge whether the need is really needed.

It is up to me to give with a joyful heart.

And do what I can to meet needs and fill wants.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

P.S. I continue to be overwhelmed by the amount of generosity of people everywhere. We are still collecting donations for the families of the local food pantry to provide a present for each child and grandchild. If you would like to help, we are getting closer to meeting needs and filling wants…only need about $1100 more dollars to make it happen. If you are able to help, you can make a donation online: https://secure.easychurchtools.com/fieldstoneumc/

The Giving Tree Angel Tree

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