Ronald McDonald House

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If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll know one of the first things we did was make a wish list of all the places that we would like to volunteer. On that list was the Ronald McDonald House.

I liked the idea because Carter could relate to the sick children and I could relate to their parents. Thankfully, I’ve not had to have an ill child, but I know the love a parent experiences. So, we chose to prepare a meal for our local house. Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://www.rmhccolumbia.org/

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We prepared a meal for 8 to 10 people and brought a box of cereal for the morning.  We opted to make vegetable soup, salad and bread. I figured a 7-year-old could make a salad, dump veggies into soup and with supervision could cut the bread with a sharp knife.

If you aren’t familiar with the RMH, it’s a home away from home for families with children who are very sick and in the hospital. While they are there, they can sleep in a warm bed and have meals and snacks. Volunteers donate money or food, some cook meals, and some clean rooms.

It was a very worthwhile experience for my son and I. It was like cooking in our own home, all of the supplies were provided. All we had to do was supply the food and cook it. My son and I had a great time laughing and talking about the people who stay at the house. The workers were friendly and checked in on us, and a lady who was staying at the home thanked us for giving. I have to admit, I was the one thankful for being able to give. My God has blessed me with loving people in my life, a warm home to call mine and a healthy child. And as a recipient of such blessings, I want to pass them on to others so that they may see Him through me.

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Picking up trash for a good cause

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Carter and I enjoy attending services at our church, but don’t always get there each week. Our intentions are good but sometimes we let life get in the way–we are tired, have events scheduled or are just lazy. Sad, yes, but true.

Our Sunday school class is great, our pastor delivers meaningful sermons and our fellow parishioners are loving and kind. So, Carter and I have made a better effort here recently to reconnect with this important part of our life.

This morning when we sat down for the sermon, I flipped through the program. There were the usual songs, offering and communion parts of service. The back page listed upcoming events. Now, I admit that because of this project I’ve been looking at things differently. These events nolonger seem like nice things to do, but rather opportunities.

Today our congregation had planned to participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program. It’s cold out, in the 30s. I wasn’t sure this would be the ideal time for us to join in. I realized in talking to my son that there’s really no ideal time.

We bundled up and joined six others to pick up trash. Carter complained a little into the project. I snapped at him a few times to get more in the grass rather than near the road with speeding traffic. We shared a few laughs–each of us got into the thorns and I even ended up with crunchy leaves in my hair from getting in the bushes for litter.

Carter learned a few lessons.
1) When you throw trash out the car window, someone has to pick it up.
“And that’s just gross!”

2) The environment is something God created and we should take care of it.
“It feels like this stuff is destroying the trees and grass and stuff, and that doesn’t feel good.”

3) And lastly, listening to Mom is a good idea.
“It’s not a good combination when she tells you something more than once and you don’t hear her.”

In the end it was an hour well worth our time and the next time we drive across that stretch of highway, I’m sure we will look at it differently. Perhaps with a little more pride. And perhaps with a smile knowing our brothers and sisters in Christ are part of improving our community.

Remember my earlier post saying giving is contagious? Well, my 7-year-old son is the prime example.

“Mom, is this our volunteering for the month?”

“Yes, son. It completes our hour.”

“Ah, man. I thought we could do more stuff. I like it.”

Well, guess that says it all. Looks like we might be doing more this month. Tell us what you’ve been doing, we are eager to hear it!

Melissa & Carter

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Giving the gift of health

Apple and Oranges

A large portion of what I do for a living is health promotion. I moved to a new office in 2012 and wanted to bring wellness to my workplace, but was unsure how to do that without my new coworkers feeling I was pressuring them. So, that desire combined with this project with my son evolved the community fruit bowl.

No, it’s nothing earth-shattering, but it works. I stopped at the grocery store this morning and spent $10 on oranges, apples, pears and bananas. I sent out a quick email to my ~40 colleagues that simply said I wanted to promote a culture of health. In addition, I hoped they would take from and add to the bowl as they wished. It was meant to be a healthy alternative to our unhealthy vending machine. In addition, healthy snacks don’t make you feel sluggish in the afternoon.

By mid-morning, fewer than 10 pieces were left in the bowl and my peers thanked me for bringing fruit. Apparently several people wanted to do something healthy but no one had ideas, felt motivated or were just apprehensive to do anything. So…in an attitude of giving, I am giving inspiration for a healthy lifestyle that allows the people I care about to live longer and richer lives. Yes, it’s just a piece of fruit. But, it’s a start. And it’s one healthy decision in the day that will lead to the next healthy choice, and the next, and the next.

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Paying it forward

Today has been a tiring day at our house. We packed up the Christmas decorations, put away our gifts and cleaned our house. When my son realized the batteries in his video game had died, we realized we needed to actually get dressed and go out.

Thankful we can just pick up and go, we decided to just make it a mom and son date night. We opted to have dinner out and pick up a movie to watch at home.

Here’s where paying it forward came in. The restaurant was very busy. We had a 30-minute wait prior to being seated. It didn’t bother us. We laughed and decided on our order during that time. After being seated, our pretty young server came to our table with a smile. She was polite and attentive. More than I expected on a Friday night.

Given our inexpensive order and larger parties she was juggling, she still made a point to check on us frequently and bring drinks before asked. It was a positive experience.

So when it came time to pay the bill, I asked my son if he wanted to start our project before the official start of the year. I explained that in general we tip 15-20%, depending in the level if service we receive. I told him she was likely in college and working to advance herself.

“This is kind of like karma, Mom,” Carter said. “When we do something nice, nice things come back to us.”

We decided it didn’t matter if good things came back to us. We gave her a 50% tip with this note. Carter told me how good he felt by doing such a nice thing, then he proceeded to open the doors for me. See, doing good for others is contagious.

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We challenge you!

Greetings!

We are happy you’re checking out our blog. We hope through our journey this year, you’ll be inspired to volunteer, lend a hand or just share a smile with a stranger. We believe that by our giving selflessly, we will be better people and the type of Christians that God wants us to be. Despite being a busy family, we can all squeeze in an hour a month to do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be through an official organization, it can be as simple as helping a neighbor carry in groceries or visiting a local nursing home.

From our family to yours, we hope you’ll take our challenge!

Melissa & Carter

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