Month: March 2015

Kindness Matters Monday – Miep Gies

This afternoon, as I was wondering what to share for our Kindness Matters Monday post, I stumbled across this picture on Facebook and it caught my eye. Although I have read Anne Frank’s story several times, I hadn’t ever looked up the story of Miep, the incredible secretary who risked her life in a heroic attempt to save others. She sacrificed much to provide for the needs – and even the wants – of the inhabitants of The Secret Annex. And after the capture of the refugees, she snuck back into the ransacked annex (at enormous risk to herself) and retrieved Anne’s precious notebook. She kept Anne’s diary safe and returned it to Mr. Frank when he was released from Auschwitz. Because of her, we have the story of Anne Frank,

Although the Holocaust is full of stories of horror and terror, it is also full of heroes. Let’s remember the heroes.

Check out this post from “A Mighty Girl” to learn more about this remarkable woman, or read this Wikipedia article or this lovely tribute. And remember.

Kindness Matters Monday – “She’s Got It Maid!”

For this week’s Kindness Matters Monday post, I have a video to share with you. With all of the negative stories in the news and on the internet, sometimes, it’s just good to see someone being overwhelmed by kindness. 🙂 I love “Prank It Forward”!

You’ve Been Egged! – An Easter Service Challenge

I’m looking out my window right now, and the sights I see fill my heart with joy. The trees are tentatively releasing leaves. Curious young plants are poking out of the ground. Daffodills – which, just two days ago, were just green stalks and leaves – have bloomed, giving my backward a glorious splash of yellow. Life, which looked much more bleak and dismal a week ago, is full of promise and potential.

(Can you tell what my favorite season is?)

Y’all, I love spring. It’s good for my soul. And I love that Easter happens in the spring. It’s a time of hope and rejuvenation and new life. The winter is ending, the days are getting longer … I am just thrilled. And in honor of my favorite season, we’re beginning a new service project. Like many of our other projects, this is a “pay it forward” idea. Basically, you do our service challenge this week, and hopefully the recipient of your service will pass it on before Easter!

You've Been Egged!

This week, we’re going “egging”. Not the mean kind of egging where you toss raw eggs at someone’s home. But … service egging, I suppose. 🙂

To participate in this week’s challenge, you just need a few things:

* Plastic Easter eggs and something to fill them with

This printable tag (Note – this will open as a Word document and print two tags per page. If you’d like a larger or smaller image, please let me know! I’d be happy to send it to you.)

You've Been Egged printable

The idea is simple – go spread some Easter sunshine! You can leave a stocked Easter basket on a doorstep. You can hide the eggs on someone’s lawn, leave an empty basket on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run. You can even make an Easter craft (like this cute one here) if you’re artsy!

Here are a few ideas for egg fillers:

* Individually wrapped candies

* Small toys or stickers (for children)

* Little notes (love notes, encouraging notes, favorite scriptures, etc.)

* If your budget allows, you might even consider adding money to the eggs if you know someone who is struggling financially. Or even just adding a few coins to your eggs will delight small children!

I’ve created these printable tags for use to use. Why? To encourage people to pass on the fun! The nice thing about plastic eggs is that they’re reusable. The person you “egg” can enjoy the treats in their eggs, fill them up again, and pass on the fun to someone else. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone in your neighborhood was “egging” each other?

Update: My kids and I “egged” their teachers this week, and the printables were too big for us to use. So I re-formatted the printable – if you’d like a smaller image, you can print off this one – You’ve been egged printable – 8 per page. These are small enough to print, cut out, and tuck inside a plastic Easter egg with a few pieces of candy. 🙂

Here’s an alternate idea for you: If your budget is tight, there’s no need to buy anything this week. Just cut some eggs out of construction paper, write fun notes on them, and leave them on someone’s door. You can even do that in public places for strangers to find – stuck on windshields, taped on bathroom mirrors … be creative!

So go out and spread some Easter sunshine this week! I’d love to hear what fantastic ideas you come up with.

Kindness Matters Monday – A Simple Text

It’s Kindness Matters Monday again! If you have a story of your own to submit, I’d love to hear it! Please e-mail me at [email protected].

This story was recently shared on Let’s Do Some Good Today’s Facebook page. I loved it, and thought it would be a perfect fit for Kindness Matters Monday. Thanks so much for sharing, Bill Eitelgeorge!

Kindness Matters Monday

“When I was serving as a Bishop (an unpaid position, similar to a minister) in church, there are so many demands on your time and multi-tasking has never really been my strength because I am more of a simple person. I had access to all phone numbers for which most of my congregation had cell phones. When somebody came to my mind that I was concerned about or just if they came to my mind, I would text them a small message that I was just thinking of them. Texting seems to me a little impersonal but with my time restrictions at least it was another way to reach out to people. I am no longer serving in that calling but people often will tell me how my message meant a lot to them when they needed a pick me up. I have more time now so I try to keep doing it and like you said, the little things are what really makes a difference in our lives. Plus, it is fun!!”

I love this story because it reminds me that right now, in less than a minute, I have the power to change someone’s day. And so do you! Who do you know that might need a little bit of encouragement? Is there someone who has been on your mind a lot recently? Take a moment right now to send a text, write an e-mail, make a phone call … make a difference just by letting someone know you care today.

We Are Abolitionists (part 2)

This week’s service challenge is the conclusion of a previous challenge. As our community project draws to a close, I wanted to sincerely thank those of you who have joined in with me! I can’t tell you how much your support means.

A few years ago, I sat in a movie theater, frozen in my chair.

I am very familiar with the story of Les Miserables. I read the book in high school – the abridged version, and then the unabridged. (And let me tell you what – that thing is HUGE!) I have seen the play several times. I know most of the music. So when I went to see it in the movie theater, I wasn’t expecting to be surprised.

But I was.

Although I typically enjoy books and plays more than movies, this one … it got me. One scene in particular.

To be honest … it was a scene that has always made me feel uncomfortable. The “lovely ladies” lewdly sing about their customers, and Fantine’s face shows her disgust, her horror, and finally her fearful resignation as she spirals into her desperate new life. Prostitution is always a subject that had made me uncomfortable, as it probably does you. And I used to skim over that part of the story.

But as I watched this movie, my eyes were opened. Perhaps it was seeing it on the big screen, and perhaps it was seeing it as an adult and as a mother. But as I watched sweet Fantine look around her and realize that she could only see one option to earn the money to feed her child, my heart shattered. Not just because of the story.

But it hit me that this. Is. Real.

That there are women all around the world who are so desperate to feed their children that they have no option but to sell themselves at whatever price they can get.

And that, even worse, there are CHILDREN in this same condition.

Friends, this is hard to read. This is hard for me to type. I’d rather not think about it. But I ask you to. Not because I want to make you sad or fearful or helpless. Just the opposite.

I want you to think about it because there is something we can do.

We are Abolitionists

You and I, in the safety of our homes. We can give to a cause that rescues children from a life of sex slavery.

Although we’re not on the airplane to rescue these children, we can pay for the flights. We can fund the sting operations. We can finance the undercover missions. We can rescue children from hell on earth.

This is the last week of our fundraiser for Operation Underground Railroad. And together, we have donated $368 as a group. I am so thrilled and grateful to see that! And this week, as our fundraiser ends, I’d love to see that grow even more.

So this week, for our service challenge, I ask you to look into your heart, open your wallet, and see if you have a dollar or two to donate to this cause. Is there a purchase you were considering that you could skip? A lunch out that you can brown bag instead? A few chores your children can do so they can add their dollar to this cause?

If you haven’t read our first post, I’d love to have you check it out here. If you’d like to know what your money is going to, check out their website or Facebook page. In just the last few weeks, they have had four successful missions, freeing dozens of slaves and sending many traffickers to jail. This group is getting out there and changing the world. And I feel privileged to be able to help.

I truly believe that every dollar that we can give to this wonderful group will be greatly appreciated. And remember, the money does NOT come to me (or through me). You donate directly onto the website, meaning any donations are tax-deductible. I am not sponsored or affiliated in any way with Operation Underground Railroad. I just love the work they do, and I wanted to join in on this with my people.

(That’s you.)

Thank you for joining me, friends. I believe, with all of my heart, that together, we can make a difference in this world.

To view our fundraiser, just click here: Let’s Do Some Good Today’s fundraiser page

“The Hiding Place” Book Review

Today is Kindness Matters Monday! And today, I’m doing another book review. I want to share with you the true story of one of the kindest, most inspirational families I have had the privilege to read about.

(I’m going to warn you about this book. IT IS SAD. It’s a true story of the Holocaust. If you’re looking for a sweet, pleasant story, this is not a book for you to read right now. But if you’re looking for a story of exceptional courage, bravery, and compassion, it’s time to read The Hiding Place.)

Father's Secret

In the very first chapter of the book, as Corrie ten Boon is describing a family party, come these chilling words:

“It was a day for memories. A day for calling up the past. How could we have guessed as we sat there – two middle-aged spinsters and an old man – that in place of memories we were about to be given adventures such as we had never dreamed of? Adventure and anguish, horror and heaven were just around the corner, and we did not know. Oh Father! Betsie! If I had known would I have gone ahead? Could I have done the things I did?

“But how could I know? How could I imagine this white-haired man, called Opa – Grandfather – by all the children of Haarlem, how could I imagine this man thrown by strangers into a grave without a name?

“And Betsie, with her high lace collar and gift for making beauty all around her, how could I picture this dearest person on earth to me standing naked before a roomful of men? In that room on that day, such thoughts were not even thinkable.”

(Um, Kimber … It’s Kindness Matters Monday. What the heck??)

I know. This book seems like the very farthest thing from a Kindness Matters post.

But it’s not.

And this is why.

“Suddenly the chief interrogator’s eye fell on Father. ‘That old man! he cried. ‘Did he have to be arrested?  You, old man!’

“Willem led Father up to the desk. The Gestapo chief leaned forward. ‘I’d like to send you home, old fellow,’ he said. ‘I’ll take your word that you won’t cause any more trouble.’

“I could not see Father’s face, only the erect carriage of his shoulders and the halo of white hair above them. But I heard his answer.

“‘If I go home today,’ he said evenly and clearly, ‘tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks.'”

For that answer, he was sent to a concentration camp.

Ten days later, he was dead.

This man – a Christian – was arrested for harboring Jews. And he gave his life before he gave up his humanity.

Could the same be said of me?

Of you?

This strength – this courage – haunts me, and it inspires me. This was just one ordinary old man. But his quiet fortitude reaches out to me, decades later, and it makes me stronger. His story, his name – they deserve to be remembered.

Casper ten Boom, I remember you.

This man’s story is just one example of the faith and courage you will find in this book. I’d love for you to read it, and to let me know what you think. What character resonates with you? Casper, with his gentle mightiness? Betsie, with her ability to make anywhere – even a concentration camp – a little bit more beautiful? Or Corrie herself, with her extraordinary story of faith, hope, and ultimately, forgiveness?

Come discover The Hiding Place.

And remember.

In this house

This post is not sponsored, but does contain an Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support of this website, and thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts on this story, I’d love to hear them.

Kindness Matters Monday – Running For a Priceless Treasure

Welcome to Kindness Matters Monday! If you have a story of your own to submit, I’d love to hear it! Please e-mail me at [email protected]

Kindness Matters Monday

Once upon a time (last week), my husband and I surprised our kids with a trip to Disneyland.

It was magical.

Not only was the trip a surprise, but they didn’t know that they’d get to see all four of their grandparents, two aunts, two uncles, and even several cousins. It was awesome!

So the week was wonderful. And on the last day, we decided to end it with a bang – we stayed at the park until midnight. We got in a couple of last rides and created a few more memories. And a few minutes after midnight, exhausted children in tow, we went to get the stroller to head back to the hotel.

One problem.

It was gone.

We looked all over. We talked to the cleaning crew and to security guards. No luck. It was just gone.

Our four-year-old son was tired and a bit confused. My husband and I were upset. This double-stroller wasn’t cheap, and we couldn’t believe it was missing. Who steals a stroller at Disneyland, for crying out loud? But our frustration was nothing next to our six-year-old daughter’s. She had realized that her souvenirs that Grandpa had bought her that day were in the bottom of the stroller.

Remember, this was our last day at the park – and it was closed. We had no way to replace them.

She cried and cried and cried. A part of me knew that, in the grand scheme of things, a few little lost souvenirs weren’t a big deal. But looking into my daughter’s eyes, seeing her hurt and betrayal and shock, it became a very big deal. She had wanted these few small treasures all week. They were a gift from her Grandpa. And someone had stolen them.

I kicked into Defensive Mom mode. While my husband filled out some forms, I spoke to a security guard, and he sent me over to the one store that was still open. I knew they didn’t sell what I was looking for (they were from the Pirates of the Caribbean store in the back of the park), but I asked to speak to a manager and told him our story.

(Here’s where the kindness part begins, in case you were wondering.)

He looked through his shelves and found one of the three souvenirs that we had purchased. Then he explained the situation to one of his cashiers. Instantly she was on the phone with someone from the Pirates store, and then she took off running – running. An employee from that store came running to meet her. And within minutes, she was back. She handed me a bag containing the replacement treasures. For no charge, Mickey Mouse had “found” them.

Y’all, it was around $20 of “treasures”. In the grand scheme of things, was it important? Absolutely not.

But to a crying little girl, it meant everything.

And to a mom who had just seen her children’s eyes opened to one of the uglier aspects of life, to see a cashier running to save my daughter a few minutes of sadness … it was priceless.

Today, you might not be able to do anything huge. You probably won’t be solving world hunger or global poverty. You probably won’t cure cancer or AIDS. You might feel like there’s nothing significant you can do.

But you might be able to run to someone’s aid.

And that can make all the difference.

Today … let’s be runners.