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The Funky Freezer Girls Are Making A Difference

23 Aug

The original Funky Freezer Girls group... they started out with 7, and now there are 13!

Heidi, who is a part of our Food Tidings community, recently shared with me about a group she is a part of called Funky Freezer Girls. The founder of the group, Jackie, was tired of not having time to make great meals from scratch, so she decided to do something about it. And not only that, but her and her girlfriends who are in this group are really making a difference in their community.. using food.

Each month they get together and bring 14 meals that they’ve made in 8×8 pans (all the same meal), and they distribute them to the 13 ladies in their group. What about the 14th meal everyone made? Those get passed out amongst the group as well, and they call them “ministry meals”. So each person goes home with 13 different meals for their families to be used for the month, as well as one ministry meal. They decide together as a group which family they will bless that month with all 13 of the ministry meals. How amazing is that?

I LOVE this idea! I would imagine this would help them to be thinking about those around them all the more, which is a beautiful thing because when we’re thinking about others, it takes the focus off ourselves. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I could stand to think less of me, and more of others.

Heidi said she has been using Food Tidings for about 2 years now through another MOM’s group she’s a part of at her church. She said, “In fact, the family who we’re going to be blessing with our September ministry meal had a baby at the end of July and we’re just now blessing them because they had so many friends sign up on their Food Tidings site that we’ve been waiting for the “excitement” to die down.  Most of the people we’ve blessed have not been part of our MOMS group, but the couple of times they have, we’ve come in after the Food Tidings meals have stopped.” Isn’t that cool? It’s thinking outside the “box”, and I just love it!

She also added, “ONE of the amazing things about our ministry meals is how often they are for a “friend of  a friend” so most of the time we’re making these meals for a complete stranger.  In May, 2011 the recipient of our meals was a college friend of mine I’d reconnected with on Facebook.  I hadn’t seen her in almost 15 years but when I found out she and her husband both lost their jobs at the same time I knew there was something we could do.  I asked the other girls and they all agreed this would be a great family to minister to.  The first time I saw this woman in 15 years was when I showed up on her doorstep with a stack of homemade meals made by my friends!  Heather’s reaction was priceless and I remember thinking “THIS is why we do what we do . . . “

If anyone is interested in making a group like this, contact Heidi or Jackie from the Funky Freezer Girls through their facebook page, and they can answer any questions you may have. If we band together, we can truly make a HUGE difference in the lives of others. Let’s get out there and do it!

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Hope4Kids International

20 Apr

It was a bumpy bus ride. I remember thinking that the driver didn’t know where he was going and must be lost. But he kept driving, deeper and deeper into the forest. After what seemed like forever, we pulled up to an old building. It was another orphanage. But why was this one so far away from the others we’d been to in the last week?

It was an orphanage for special needs kids. In Russia, they send these kids away. Far away. To places like these, so that it’s easier to forget about them. Pretend like they don’t even exist. How can that be? I was sad. So very sad. We played ball with the kids, we blew bubbles, and we were just smiling happy faces giving out big hugs to all. I was a bit nervous for some reason, but those kids eased my mind with their sweet smiles and cheerful dispositions. I have to say that these kids were some of the happiest kids that I’ve ever seen. How could someone want to forget about them or want to pretend like they don’t exist?

What a tug of war there was going on in my soul. Why is this happening, God? Why can’t we take these orphans we’re meeting from the orphanages we’ve been to and falling in love with home with us? Why didn’t their parents want them? It was mind bending. Heart breaking. And I know this breaks God’s heart too.

I have never felt such a myriad of emotions during the two weeks I was in Russia with Hope4Kids International. I would take that trip again in a heartbeat. I will never forget that trip, and look forward to the next trip I can take to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To give hope to kids, even if it’s just a smile and a hug.

This was back in July of 2000, and I hope I get to take another life changing trip again soon. If this strikes a chord with anyone, I would highly encourage you to check out the Hope4Kids site. They offer trips all year long, and they’re incredible to work with. We even got to do some sight seeing, and a little shopping. I have to say that helped when I felt like I was about to burst from being so drained, it was helpful to see some sights and take a breather. We brought a LOT of medicine, had a medical and dental team there, went to a hospital to help clean it up, went to 3 different orphanages, and did some service project type work too.

Not only does Hope4Kids offer mission trips, they also have several other amazing programs going on. They have Education4Kids, Water4Kids, Adopt A Villiage, Sponsor A Child, and Dress A Girl. Hope4Kids is making a difference, all over the world.

Have any of you been on a life changing trip like the one I described? If so, what organization did you go with? I’d love to hear from you.

Cleaning For A Reason

2 Feb

Here’s an AMAZING resource for people with cancer. Cleaning For A Reason is a non profit organization that has teamed up with professional cleaning business in all 50 states in the US, as well as Canada. They have offered to help out and clean their houses once a month for four months. How awesome is that?! There is an application process, so go to the website and it will explain it all there.

And you know, you don’t have to wait for Cleaning For A Reason to come through. If you know someone who has just had a baby, is recovering from surgery, is on bed rest, is sick, or any other reason; you can help! You can team up with several friends, and all pitch in to have their house professionally cleaned.

I don’t know about you, but there isn’t much else like a freshly cleaned house that I didn’t have to clean. When I had our fourth baby in July, my friends did just what I’m talking about. They all pitched in, and had someone come and clean my house. Let me tell you- it was AWESOME.

Tix 4 Cause

12 Jan

Picture this- you’re a season ticket holder for the New England Patriots, and there are 6 games you know you can’t go to. What to do… do you try and sell them? Give them away? Well, here’s a fantastic idea- use Tix 4 Cause. Here’s how it works, according to the site:

tix4cause.com provides a low cost solution to increasing charitable donations by targeting the numerous event tickets across the nation that remain unused and go to waste. tix4cause.com is a ticket exchange website that allows ticket holders to sell their event tickets (sports, music, theater, golf, dining, etc.) and donate 100% of the ticket sale proceeds to the participating Cause of their choice.  The Cause receives a charitable donation, the ticket donor receives a receipt to make a tax deduction and the ticket buyer receives reasonably priced tickets to great events.  It is a Win-Win-Win!

So the next time you have extra tickets that will go unused, check this site out and consider donating your tickets and their proceeds to the cause of your choice!

And likewise, the next time you’re looking for tickets to an event, check Tix4cause first!

Advent Conspiracy

23 Dec

I was recently introduced to something called Advent Conspiracy. Taken from their website, here’s the idea behind it:

*Worship Fully

*Spend Less

*Give More

*Love All

Doesn’t that just sum up what life is all about? I totally think it does. I love it.

Advent Conspiracy has a Christmas album out called Drop ’10, and our friend Andrea from Inspired2Cook has a song that is featured in the album. It’s called “Don’t Need” if you’d like to listen to it. I think she has a beautiful voice (it’s her and her husband who have a band called The Easterlings– by the way, how cool is that to have a husband and wife band?) The album is being used to raise money for an organization called Living Water. Living Water builds water wells in developing countries. So go here to download and listen to a few songs, and while you’re at it, donate a few dollars or whatever you can to help bring clean water to those who need it!

Sometimes to me it feels like, how can just one person make a difference? But the truth is, organizations like these are making it very easy for us collectively to make a huge difference! Just like you as one person take a meal to a friend or family member in need- that makes all the difference in that person’s life. Keep it up!!!

It’s Better To Give Than To Receive…

7 Dec

I have to be honest. This is a tough time of year for my husband and I. We struggle with how much to give our kids for Christmas. We don’t want to “spoil” them with so many gifts that they lose the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. We know they will get many gifts from family members, and that is wonderful. We want to make sure that we as a family remember that Christmas is more about giving than it is receiving. Here are a few things we’ve started doing together…

*We go out and do angel tree together. We’ll go to somewhere like Wal-mart, and pick an angel off the tree at the front of the store. Then we shop to find a gift that fits that description. It’s fun for the kids, and they know they’re helping a child get a gift that would not have otherwise gotten one.

*We send money to our Compassion Child- we sponsor a little boy through Compassion International who lives in the Dominican Republic. It’s been three years now, and we get letters from him from time to time. We also write letters to him. It’s neat to see him grow too- Compassion sends updated pictures of him. The money we send goes for the organization to purchase something for him that he needs. If you have ever considered sponsoring a child, I would highly encourage you to do so! It’s only $38/month, and it provides food, clothing, and school for a child. It’s awesome.

I’m sure as the years go on, we will add to and/or change the things we do for Christmas. Here are some other ideas that help us to remember it’s about giving more than receiving….
*World Vision– this one is way cool. You can actually purchase things like goats, chickens, trees, mosquito nets and even water wells for people across the world. How cool is that to know you could provide food and shelter for the needy! You can also sponsor children through this organization.
*Angel Tree
*Operation Ensuring Christmas – this is really neat too. Here is this organization’s mission statement:  “Operation Ensuring Christmas provides financial, moral and rehabilitative support to the Children of Fallen American Troops by providing them Christmas Gift Cards at Christmas and a ‘Christmas in July’, VIP theme park trip to Orlando Florida. This support is to help them recover from the grief and trauma caused by the ultimate sacrifice a child can make for their country… the loss of a parent in war.”
*Toys For Tots-  this is similar to Angel Tree- they collect new, unwrapped toys for needy children in the community
*There are many homeless shelters that are always in need of things. Contact your local homeless shelter and see how you can help.
*Have your little ones make some Christmas cards, and go as a family to a local nursing home. I’ll bet you would really make their Christmas special this year by showing you care.
*Oxfam America Unwrapped– this is similar to World Vision. Here’s what the website says: “Looking for unique holiday gift ideas? Consider the unusual: plant a vegetable garden for a friend or a set of building tools for dad. Browse our charitable gifts and select a unique gift for your friend or loved ones. Your friends get a card, and the money goes to those who need it most.”
“We are an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. We are part of Oxfam International, a confederation of 14 Oxfams working in more than 90 countries. Together with individuals and local groups in these countries, we save lives, help people overcome poverty, and fight for social justice.
*Feed My Starving Children– this organization is awesome. We’ve had the privelage of helping pack meals with our church for them, as well as raise money for the meals. Did you know that one meal for a starving child costs only 19 cents? You can feed 6 children for a month for only $35.00. Wow.
*Volunteer at your local food bank.
*Network For Good– this is a way you can donate online to many many different charities.

These are just some of the ways you can give of your time and resources this Christmas. We’d love to hear if anyone has any other ideas!

How to Help Single Moms with Cancer?

26 Mar

Wow,
I just got off the phone with a woman named Jody Berens…and I need to compose myself. Jody and her dear friend Andy are the founders of an organization called Singleton Moms that exists to help provide care for single moms who have cancer. The story of where their inspiration and passion came from (and believe me there’s passion) is heartbreaking and unfortunately a more common story than you might know, however, it’s remarkable. Their friend Michelle Singleton was a single mother of four with a generous and caring spirit, who did a lot to help others. She was diagnosed with cancer at 31 years old. Michelle’s life ended after 15 months of treatment to battle it. During the course of Michelle’s treatment she was unable to work and really needed support for the day-to-day things and Jody and Andy were there to help as much as they could. When Michelle passed, they wanted to honor her memory and reach out to those whose situation was like Michelle’s…Singleton Moms is the result…

Simply put, Singleton Moms started as a group of Michelle’s family and friends who wished to honor a brave woman and carry on in her giving footsteps. By allowing single mothers with cancer the time to focus more on their family and recovery rather than their normal daily responsibilities, we feel we are fulfilling a legacy Michelle would be very proud to have been responsible for. Michelle was very blessed to have a lot of friends and family, she knew this. Singleton Moms looks forward to continuing to pay tribute to her memory while helping other strong mothers charge into a healthy and bright future.

As I asked Jody more about how they help these moms, I heard about the journey so far and where they are currently at with needs. This undertaking has required incredible faith and the resources of time, energy and finances. The more word gets out about SM’s, the more need has surfaced. If you want to be involved and do something, you can contribute in two main ways:
1) Financially – Sign up for “Gimme Five” on the site.
2) Volunteer – Help a single mom with cancer by being a “Care Coordinator.”

Visit Singleton Moms and witness how something wonderful has been birthed from something tragic and how you can be a part of it. Thanks to you Jody and Amy (and your families) for giving of yourselves.
God bless you.