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23 Jul

Hi friends. Yesterday was a rough day for us, as we said our goodbyes to a good friend of my husband’s at his funeral. He was 33 years old, married to  a wonderful woman, and has 5 beautiful children. It was sudden, unexpected, and just so very sad. He lived a full, yet very short life. He brought life to all who knew him, and he was so good at bringing others together into community. He was a beautiful person, and he really did make an impact in the lives of those around him.

The loss of a loved one is such a hard thing. My sadness has been for my friend (his wife), and their kids. I’m just overwhelmed with so much love for them, and want to show that in a meaningful way to them. I keep thinking that right now she’s surrounded by family and friends who love her and loved her husband very much, and they’re all supporting her and holding them up. But in a few months, there won’t be as many rallying around her because life keeps on going even when these kinds of tragic things happen. That is when I want to be there for her.

When the flowers stop coming, the meals stop coming, and reality sets in that he is gone… that’s the desire of my heart is to be a blessing and a true friend to her then. Many tears of sadness have been shed today by my husband and I as well as many many others, and our friend will be missed.

She shared with me that the first few days after his passing, people just showed up with food. She was grateful for it, but felt so guilty because she knew that her family wouldn’t be able to eat it all before it went bad. And lots of it in the beginning was fresh fruit, meat trays, etc, and she couldn’t freeze some of it.

It got me thinking. Food is a universal sign of comfort and love, it’s something that brings all kinds of people together, and it is a way that we show our support during a time like this. We don’t want to go to someone’s house who just lost a loved one empty handed, so we bring a meal or a tray of some kind of food. It’s great, and she was very thankful.

I’m wondering if the next time you are faced with a situation like this one (I hope that you aren’t, but if you are…), consider bringing a gift card to the family. That way, after all the meals, flowers, cards, and other gestures stop coming, and the frozen meals are eaten… they can then have something to draw on. Consider it a delayed gift of love. Something they can use on an evening where they just don’t have it in them to cook, and they are really missing their loved one. They can go out to eat or even order in.

Or a few months after the meals have stopped, you can always go back in to their Food Tidings schedule that you were invited to, and order them a meal that will be delivered to them. Just because the schedule is done doesn’t mean you can’t still order them a meal. So that’s always a good option as well. 🙂

The other thing I am thinking is just to be there for them even a few months after the loss… consistently. Set up a weekly park day, a weekly or bimonthly dinner date where you invite them over to your house, or a game night monthly… just something that they can count on happening as part of their routine. And if they’re not up for it… ask them how you can help.

Just a few thoughts in the midst of this journey. Most of all, just love them!!

-Lisa 🙂


Thank you, Military Spouses!

10 May

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day… we honor you! There is MUCH sacrifice for both being the spouse of someone in the military as well as being the person in the military. Thank you for your service and dedication to our country.

Here is an article I wrote a while back for an online magazine for military spouses called Wives In Bloom:

It was August 2011 when I got an email from a woman named Stephanie.  She let me know that she was about to coordinate seventeen meal schedules for seventeen different families who lost loved ones in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.  It was the same crash I had heard about on the news that day.  This was very real. These men were husbands, daddies, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and friends.  Seventeen families who were grieving the loss of their loved one and wondering how they were going to move forward.

Meet Stephanie.  She is an amazing woman, wife to her Navy husband, mom to 4 children, and she has a servant’s heart. Stephanie told me she had used Food Tidings many times before to create meal schedules for friends who had babies or lost loved ones, but never this many schedules at once.  She was willing, and she desired to bring the community on her base together to show love, care and concern to those seventeen families.

She did just that. “After an unfortunate event at our command, we contacted Lisa to brainstorm with her the best way to go about setting up multiple food tidings.  We set up a link for each family, which included the amount of people we were feeding, broken down by adults and children.  The link was also useful for setting up meals for the immediate family that came into town and for the members of the command (50 people) that were working around the clock to take care of the affected families.  We used to both organize home cooked meals and meals donated by restaurants, “ said Stephanie.

Fellow military wives and friends from their command signed up to bring meals on different days, and as a result those precious families had nourishment during their darkest hours.  Those meals served as a beacon of light from the people who brought them.  They weren’t just meals, they were love shown, hope offered, an empathetic look, compassionate hugs, tears shared, and to me they were the definition of what it means to band together as a community.

This is why we created Food Tidings, and why we’re excited to share it with you.  When we hear of someone who is going through a transitional time in their life (like having a baby, having surgery and recovering, going through cancer treatment, grieving the loss of a loved one, etc), we want to “do something” to help lighten their load.

It’s hard to know what “something” we should do, and a meal is one of the best ways I know of that we can show we care.  We can thoughtfully pick a recipe we feel they’d enjoy (based on their likes and dislikes on their Food Tidings schedule that’s been created), lovingly purchase the ingredients needed, make the meal, and even pray for the person you’re bringing it to while you do so, and then warmly bring the meal to their doorstep.  It’s truly a beautiful picture of service to others. It’s a tangible way for us to be Jesus’ hands and feet, just as He’s called us to be. (Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 25:35-40.)

I know that as Military wives, you are amazing at coming together as a community and supporting one another.  It’s what you do. You unite together and lift one another up in good times and difficult times. Food Tidings is a very efficient way to spend less time organizing the meals, and more time personally with one another. Stephanie added that this is a great tool for Ombudsmen as well as FRGs.  When you are ready to create a meal schedule, here are the 6 easy steps to follow:

1. Who? Assign who the meals will be for and their contact info

2. Where? Address, phone number, time to bring meals.

3. What? Enter important information such as how many are in the family, food likes and dislikes, any food allergies, and any other information necessary to know

4. When? Choose the dates meals are needed.

5. Invite others to sign up and cook. They will be able to enter what they plan to bring to avoid getting 5 lasagna dishes in one week. They will also get a reminder from us 2 days in advance for when and what they’re bringing.

6. Watch the recipient of the meals receive both love and food!


BIO: Lisa Shepherd has been married to her husband Zach for 9 years, and they have 4 beautiful children: ages 6, 5, 3, and 1.  She is a stay at home mommy and works from home part time as the Co-Founder of Food Tidings.  Most importantly, Jesus Christ is her whole reason for being, and she’s eternally grateful for His grace and His unconditional love.

Best Day Ever

3 May

Each week, I visit my grandparents who live not too far from me. And because we homeschool, my kids get to spend time with them as well.

This is a cherished and treasured time that I find absolutely invaluable on so many levels. My kids get to know their great grandparents, and have meaningful conversations with them, laugh with them, and create beautiful memories that I believe will last a lifetime for them. They love to swim, watch movies, have snacks, and play while we are there. Oh, and eat jelly beans. There are ALWAYS jelly beans there. 🙂

I absolutely adore my grandparents, and always have. I get to see, hug, laugh with, walk with them down memory lane (they just celebrated 57 years of marriage, have 6 kids, 17 grandkids, and great grandchild #17 is on the way!), we talk about food and recipes that we’d like to try (we love watching the Food Network together), and have very meaningful talks with my them. They have so much wisdom and insight, so much love, a great faith in Jesus, and I just feel like a sponge while I’m there- soaking it all in. When I’m at my grandparents’ house, all is right in the world. It’s hard to explain, but I just feel such peace when I’m there.

My grandma told me this week that she’s been waking up every day telling herself that today is her best day ever. She was inspired by a song that she heard on the radio about this being the best day, and so that’s what she’s been telling herself all day long. She said it has been exciting to see what God has in store for her when she thinks of each day as her best day. She also told me that she is validated in believing today is her best day because God tells us in the Bible that “this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us REJOICE and be GLAD in it!” (Psalm 118:24)

So moral of the story? Today is your best day EVER! Rejoice in this day and be glad, because this is the day the Lord has made! And the other moral of the story- spend time with those you love…only God knows the number of our days, so we can enjoy each one with gladness.

Thank you, Grandma. You are the most beautiful woman I know, and I love you!!


New Feature! Schedule Link…

30 Apr

Hi all! I have great news… our awesome IT team has finished up another feature that many of you have been anxiously awaiting. We now have a schedule link available at the bottom of the invite page for you to copy and paste into a personal invitation through your own email! You can also use this link to invite friends via Facebook.

This will make things even easier as the organizer, which is what we here at Food Tidings are going for. Our goal is to make this process of organizing and signing up to bring a meal schedule as simple as possible, so that you’re not bogged down with details and you are free to continue to serve others.

We know you’re making a huge difference in others’ lives…. by creating meal schedules and singing up to bring meals for those you love, you’re creating and utilizing opportunities for others to bring joy, love, compassion, support, and care to people. Food is just the vehicle that those wonderful things are brought to that person!!

-The Food Tidings Team 🙂


A Beautiful Connection

22 Mar

I spoke with a woman on the phone today named Ange who had a few questions about how to invite others to sign up for her meal schedule. It was a very impactful conversation, and I’m so thankful that we got a chance to connect today.

I would love to share with you why I was so impacted

Ange has three daughters: 19, 16, and 13. Her precious 13 year old daughter, Alysha, is battling cancer for the second time. It’s osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and she has a second big surgery coming up next week.

She was sharing with me that the last time her and her husband took their sweet daughter in for her first surgery, they didn’t step foot out of the hospital for 7 days. So that’s 7 days, 2 meals a day (because she said when you’re under this kind of stress, you’re lucky to even get 2 meals a day), and that equals quite a bit of money spent on food, and it’s not even the greatest food around.

Ange is hoping that this time around, she can get a schedule going for their friends and family to bring her and her husband dinner each night that they’re there at the hospital with Alysha, to help offset the cost of eating out.

I think that’s an amazing idea. Not only will it offset the cost, but it will give them a familiar and loving face to see each night, support, encouragement, and food that’s not from a hospital cafeteria.

By the end of our conversation, we found out that we have much in common. They attend the church that we used to attend for years, and they know many of the people we know and love as well. We even live right down the street from each other, which to me is a total God thing… let me explain.

Food Tidings is used all over the US, in Australia, in the UK, and in other countries as well. Of all the emails I receive, I get to call on this one- and they just live miles from us. It’s just such a beautiful connection.

I believe that call was God reminding this family that He is there, He loves and cares for them, and he hears their prayers… and it showed me the same thing.

This is a huge reason my husband and I love being a part of Food Tidings. It brings people together. We have such an incredible opportunity by getting to be a part of things around here. We get to connect with others who are going through very difficult times and joyous times too, and we get to come alongside them and support them. Even if it’s just a listening ear, helping them by being a tool they can use (the site), to invite friends and family to love on them and bring them meals, an encouraging word in an email, etc. And if, like in this case, they live near us, we even get the honor of bringing them a meal and meeting face to face!

Would you say a prayer for my new friend Ange, her family, and her sweet daughter Alysha who is battling cancer? The surgery is next week on the 27th, and it’s going to be 10 hours long. Pray for strength, peace, and comfort for their whole family, as they walk this very tough journey. I know He will hear you, and I know that this wonderful family will very much appreciate it. Here’s her carepages site as well, in case you’d like to stay updated on how Alysha is doing. Also, here’s a link to hear more about Alysha’s journey.

I’m encouraged, amazed, and inspired by this beautiful family.

This quote is beautiful, and so true… reminded me of my new friends…