Serve together by using our voices in a photo booth to share how immigrants have blessed you.
Read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi about new Korean immigrant Unhei. As she decides on a new name, she finds her classmates eager to help her transition to America. Friendship opens the door for her to embrace her Korean identity.
Participate in play stations-
crafting- with stencils and passport stickers and world coloring pages
an old-fashioned Ellis Island simulation
immigration timeline walk from The Church Between Borders
take a citizenship quiz
world landmark sensory tub
play doh with letters to make your name
who is my neighbor Instagram interactive art.
what would you pack? station
Immigration Family History Handout
Ways to get involved in the Blessing Not Burden Campaign
All Ages Welcome! Zeeland Christian School is located at 334 W. Central Ave. Zeeland, MI.
Keep updated at the Facebook Event Page. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive email updates about what is new with #TalkJustice playgroups. Exciting things are happening this coming year! And I would love you, your families, and your wise voices to be a part of it.
A few weeks ago, I stood outside waiting to direct participants to our playgroup. The evening was dark and cold. I took a picture of the street lamp piercing the dark. I wanted to remember the prayer I prayed that night, to not give up if God had something to do through me.
Over break I read Brene Brown, a New York Time Bestselling author. She is a researcher and spot on about messy things of the heart and how to meet them head on. In Rising Strong she says this about the messy middle:
You’re too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light.”
God, don’t let me give up. Let me hit my fears, insecurities, and rejections head on.
If you have something to do through me, I want to show up. Very much.
There is a plaque on my fireplace mantle that reads: Its hard to stumble when you’re on your knees. Ever since I read about adopting one word for each new year, mine has been the same. I wonder when I will let it go… or if it will always be a part of me. Kneel. It has to be for me, I know no other way. It all has to come from that place kneeling before God, or I am not me. I would not have the strength to show up. I would run far, far away.
My prayer for you this new year:
To not give up. You are enough. He has something beautiful to do in you and through you.
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.
Happy Thanksgiving Week! I’m so very thankful for all of you.
This past week we participated in The Big Read, Holland Area in partnership with Herrick District Library and Hope College for a Give Back to Veterans Playgroup. We made cards for A Million Thanks and saw some things soldiers carried. The artwork of West Ottawa students blew me away.
Once again the playgroup surprised me. Our night ended up being cold and rainy and the turn out was not what had been expected. I was sharing that disappointment with my dear friend. Later that night I had to text her, you wouldn’t believe the artwork on these cards I told her. The messages inside were even more stunningly beautiful. It’s not about the numbers, it is about the heart that goes into it. You won’t see this girl giving up anytime soon.
I know everything around us is disappointing, disheartening, and even scary right now. We don’t all agree.
But, we can still love each other. That’s really all that matters. Let’s not give up on each other. Don’t for a minute give up on yourself either.
Someday, I’m going to have a story about setting up these playgroups with my Mom, and watching a handful trickle in, and sharing my insecurities with Julie… feeling not good enough. Maybe if the person leading them were a better version of me… God saying no, it is you I need. I’m just going to use them my way, not yours.
And I am thankful, because I know he redeems. He uses us, even when we feel un-usable.
I am thankful for you. You are all brave.
You are strong at the things that only you and you alone can do for God. That is beautiful.
#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.
I’ve been struggling to stay at peace this past week.
Being a Mom, working full time, writing at night… I just can’t find a balance that I can tie up in a neat bow and declare that I can have it all together. This is my third year navigating, and I think I finally realized the perfect balance will never come.
I think I have known all along, it was just the act of accepting it.
I don’t know what it is that makes us feel like perfection is so needful in our lives. Jesus was perfect, but no one else was or is or ever will be.
Ellie had a fluke fall on Sunday morning and fractured her wrist. As we passed hours in the emergency room, getting her fixed up, I realized why I could accept imperfection.
If what I am doing is caring for the people God has put in my life, it is enough.
And no where in the Bible did God tell us to do it perfectly.
The special needs students I work with at school, don’t need a perfect helper. They need one that loves them unconditionally, and is there when they need encouragement and love to keep growing.
My kids don’t need a perfect Mom, they need one who is present. Sometimes, that might mean moving my computer to the table and working together there. That might mean I leave the writing for that night and play soccer outside instead. Sometimes, it means saying no to a game and finishing something instead. They need independence and to see me doing things I love, so they can do the same.
Anyone who reads my writing, already knows I’m terribly imperfect. But if I am using it to care for God’s people, I can be assured that God will do what he wants with it, even if it does not always align with my ambitions.
If what I am doing is caring for God’s people, I’m going to be OK.
I can trust God with my life. I can be at peace that he will use what I give him in a way only he can.
We have arrived at November and enter into a glossy holiday season.
If you have one minute this week, I encourage you to watch this clip fromA Path Appears, featuring Jennifer Gardner and Nicholas Kristof talking about the cycle of poverty through Save the Children in West Virginia.
The stress of extreme poverty changes the way your brain develops and grows.
Words we throw around like dependency, handouts, poverty, and inequality do not fit into little boxes. There is so much more going on.
I pray this holiday season we remember that we belong to each other in Christ~