As we gather to read the Christmas story this season, remember that Jesus was a refugee. Consider changing the conversation at Blessing Not Burden. If you are in the Holland area attend our playgroup coming this January (facebook event page). For older kids download the app My Life As A Refugee to open up the conversation.
Holiday Kindness Toolkit
A mega list of holiday kindness ideas from Pennies of Time. Including, our kindness options for Elf on a Shelf.
Our monthly #TalkJustice as a family usually shares ten ideas. This month we will stick with five, so you can spend lots of time doing our last idea…
The perfect way to make a difference this season is to just simply slow down with your family.
If all we are is noise and busy, we leave no space to notice, where we might love.
What will you be taking notice of this holiday season?
I love #talkjustice playgroups. I love the proximity, the kids, the families, the organizations and everyone working as a community! Want to partner on a playgroup? Contact us at email@example.com
Our next playgroup is Monday evening, December 14, 6:30-7:30. The wise and talented Rev. Jodi Baron and Grace Episcopal Church will be hosting.
We will be reading the book Maddie’s Fridge. A wonderful story about childhood hunger.
At Kids’ Food Basket sack suppers are delivered to students throughout the school year to bridge the gap so school lunch is not the last meal of the day. In the summer sack suppers are delivered through local park programs. They serve nearly 7,000 kids in the West Michigan area.
Kids’ Food Basket is unique in its Kids Helping Kids initiative that allows children to serve at their on-site locations, something that is not always possible in nonprofits.
49,560 children living in Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties are food insecure. There are many schools on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket. When most of us have more than enough, these statistics are heartbreaking. We need not travel far to know hunger.
I hope many families will come out this busy holiday season to serve together! Join our Facebook Event Page to ask questions and get updates.
What does hunger look like where you live? What organizations meet the needs of food insecurity well? How could your family contribute?
In partnership with Pennies of Time Holiday Kindness Camp, I shared this past week about incorporating acts of kindness with Elf of the Shelf. Even if you don’t get into the elves, these ideas would work anytime during the holiday season.
Here are 25 Acts of Kindness for your Advent Season:
Read a book together from We Give Books that donates another to a child without access.
Donate socks and underwear to your local homeless or women’s shelter, this is common need.
Donate laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or personal care items to your local food bank- these are often high-need items.
Make a special call to a Great Grandpa or Grandma or special friend that lives far away. Share what you love to do!
Cook a meal together and make extra. Deliver the extra meal to someone in need of a pick me up.
Deliver a special cocoa, coffee, or tea to a hard-worker teacher, coach, or leader who blesses your family
Make treats together and deliver to neighbors.
Fill out coupons for jobs you can do for Grandpas and Grandmas throughout the year
Make teacher Christmas thank-you’s.
Take a photo and upload to the app Donate a Photo, choose the cause you would like to support.
Serve your kids with a special surprise.
What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving Weekend? What giving traditions do you practice with your family?
We loved my Mom’s pie, cousins, deal-shopping with my Dad, and a sweet visit from my in-laws all the way from Iowa. My favorite tradition- trying hard to slow down and a remember why we celebrate Christmas.
#TalkJustice Playgroups! Are you in the Holland Area?
Come out this Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00-8:30 at the Herrick District Library Auditorium for the Give Back to Veterans Playgroup. We will be reading a story, making cards through A Million Thanks, creating a poppy craft and seeing the things soldiers carried. We are partnering with the Holland Area Big Read.
In the midst of tragedy residents of Paris practiced #PorteOuverte offering an open door to those stranded or in need of safe shelter. A beautiful act of light where darkness tried to prevail. And a needful prayer from Ann Voskamp.
National Family Literacy Month
November is National Family Literacy Month. Log in some time at We Give Books and help provide books for kids that need access.
Encourage your creative kids to use their gifts. Watch the video of E-tracers ballet slippers that trace dancers movement.
The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. – Henri J.M. Nouwen.
I have spent the last few weeks moving About Proximity to this new space! Every is the same, just a new address and a host that can do some bigger things. There were times when I felt like my head was going to explode trying to navigate all this technology. Pretty much nothing went right the first time, or second, or third… not everything is perfect yet, but I promise to get it right eventually (like the vertical social media icons). I had a pretty theme, that would not cooperate, therefore we are going minimalist. It’s about what’s one the inside, right?
Here, we have successfully transitioned back to school. There is now a middle schooler with a locker in our house, and a third grader. How this happens, I’m still not sure. This year I am working in fourth grade, sixth grade, and eighth grade.
I want to share a few things with you today Fall #TalkJustice Play Groups and encouragement.
We have two fall playgroups scheduled in Holland with more being planned for the spring. Would you like to partner with us? Let me know! We would love it! Or can I help you with your own? firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first is a partnership is with The Big Read in Holland. We will work with Herrick Public Library and Hope College who are reading the book, The Things They Carried. Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00 we will gather for a story and support A Million Thanks and our local VFW to align with the theme of The Big Read.
In December, we will partner with a local organization Kid’s Food Basket. Kid’s Food Basket helps childhood hunger by providing sack suppers to children after school. We will be hosted at Grace Episcopal Church on Monday evening, December 14, from 6:30-7:30 for a story, play, and three service projects for the Kid’s Food Basket new Holland location. We will be decorating lunch sacks, repackaging snacks and supporting expansion with $1.00 donations.
If you are like me you need a little encouragement coming out of summer!
Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has a beautiful response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Read that here.
Our dear Amy Sullivan has a new book coming out this month. I’ll share more in the coming weeks, but here is a little preview!
I know this is a great sin… but I had never read the Harry Potter Series. I am now on book six and have lost a great deal of sleep. Oh the sweet and loyal friendships. (and you know I love a good love story… Ron and Hermione.)
And finally Socality Barbie on Instagram is a parody account of our “authentic” social media lives. It’s funny… really, really funny.
Following that account makes me feel better. #Iamauthenticallyamess and maybe that’s OK.
Like the quote above, it takes great strength to remain where we are sometimes. We can be assured that God has us, there is something greater being manifested in, around, and through our faithfulness. Be encouraged.
How can I pray for you as we head into the season of fall?
Service Play Groups, a long held dream, became a reality this summer!
Let me be honest, I struggled. We had over three hundred families express interest on our facebook page, and I fielded email questions in abundance. Our first week we had a large group, but every week after the group was small. My first thought was that people attended the first week, hated it and didn’t come back. This is what my mind does. It was the depth of summer, and people are so busy. The timing was to open the door for whole families to come, but probably would have been better started a little later and not so close to dinner time. I was worried the families that attended would be disappointed with the small groups. I went home every night and worried instead of feeling joy.
I share this because whenever you put yourself out there you face vulnerability.
The enemy really loves for us to get into our heads and tell ourselves we are not good enough. It’s my life-long fight.
He wants us to fixate on things like numbers that are completely irrelevant to the kingdom of God. Want to know why?
because then we don’t look at all the small, hidden beauty he offers us.
Many wonderful partnership were grown and will be forever friendships. There are many like-minded people in our communities and world, we need to fight to bring them together. We will be continuing into the forever future. Connect with our facebook page, or talk to myself or Jodi Baron! We would LOVE to partner with you. We have some exciting ideas taking shape for this coming year.
All the sweet families who took the time to attend and give. I appreciate you all so much. And so many young people were able to be leaders and guide stations for younger kids! It was so great to watch. All the kids were so wise and insightful during the stories. Kids understand justice so beautifully. We can make such a difference when we come together.
We needed a significant amount of supplies to launch service play groups. My parents invested in this dream by purchasing all the supplies. They helped me load them up and clean up every single week. All while my Mom is going through a tedious time of treatment for cancer. I am thankful and humbled by the fact that they still support my dreams.
Every week children would drift into our play group area. They were alone, no families, sometimes siblings. They came from the community, some from the park and others from our neighborhood church. They added a great deal to our time together. There was one little boy, who asked to take some sidewalk chalk home because he didn’t have any. My friend Jen tied some up in a plastic bag for him and he happily went on his way that evening.
As I watched him walk into the distance, after a thirty-six year battle with not feeling good enough, I let it go with that one bag of sidewalk chalk.
The world tells us:
perfection, the bigger the better, stronger. you need to be popular, dynamic, numbers are everything.
But not feeling good enough makes it about me, and its not. It just really is not. God is going to use your dreams, and absolutely everything you do for his good, regardless of your weaknesses and perceived failures.
When you are not feeling good enough…
look for what is there, like a little bag of sidewalk chalk.
Our last summer service play group took place this past Tuesday! We had such a great time for all five weeks. I’m so thankful.
We read the story Planet Ark about how we can all be modern-day Noah’s through caring for our environment.
We were able to support seven families in Bangladesh in receiving a fruit tree seedling that will provide food and income through World Renew.
The kids made leaf creatures and were awesome at the nature scavenger hunt!
Next week I would like share about the groups more personally, but for today I’m so thankful they became a reality, for all the participants, support, and amazing difference makers! And… there will be more. Hopefully forever and forever.
About Proximity formed some wonderful partnerships and we will be moving to hold more events throughout the year with Jodi Baron of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.
We’d love your ideas and to partner with you. I really mean that! Partnerships are what make a difference in our world. Every story and everything we did was better because we worked together as a community! email@example.com
Last week we read Mimi’s Village and talked about clean water, vaccinations, and global health care. We supported Shot@Life, a movement to protect children worldwide, by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. We were able to support two children with a full vaccination set against polio, measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The kids were able to lift a jerry can partially full of water to get an idea of how heavy it is transport your own water.
We also had a stuffed animal vaccination clinic! Thank you Nurse Mackenzie, Nurse Ellie, Dr. Julie, and Dr. Rebecca for immunizing our favorite lovies!
Our last summer play group is this Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00pm at Kollen Park in Holland!
Bring along $1.00 if you are able for fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. Your purchase of a fruit tree seedling helps a subsistence farm family improve their land and grow fruit to feed their family and to sell for income.
We will have a nature scavenger hunt, leaf creatures craft, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, and egg and spoon relays.We have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community! I’d love to partner with you, contact me with ideas 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week we had a little group, but that didn’t stop us from making a big difference!
In a world were numbers are a big deal, we can be reminded that what you do does matter so very much.
We were able to read the story The Red Bicycle. The red bicycle began with a boy named Leo in the United States, then journeyed to Burkina Faso to Alisetta, who grew her family’s sorghum crop with its help. Later, a young woman named Haridata, used the bicycle as a clinic ambulance! We had our own bike parade to celebrate the power of one bike!
We will be reading Mimi’s Village and talking about clean water and immunizations.
Remember to bring along a stuffed animal for our ‘immunization clinic’! We will also be participating in a water carrying relay, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, soccer, and a coloring page.
If you are able please bring along $1.00 to support Shot@Life. $20.00 protects a child in the developing world from pneumonia, polio, measles, and diarrhea. We also have five adult and 5 children’s t-shirts from Shot@Life to give away!
We have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community!
We had a great time last week at our second play group One Hen! We read the true story of Kojo and how a microloan led to a hen that changed the lives of a family, community, and country. We were able to take a trunkful of high-need supplies to Community Action House. I’m so thankful for all the families that have taken the time to come out to the park this summer. Above you can see a talented group of egg balancers!
So many sweet world changers.
We really hope to see you this coming Tuesday evening, June 30 at 6:00 pm. (Kollen Park, on the east side of the public bathrooms.)