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Sharing the Giving Spirit with our Children

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My mom would never send flowers when someone she and my dad knew passed away.  She would give money to the food bank or the homeless shelter.  “You do for the living”, she always said.  I have always tried to honor her in that way…to “do” for the living.   My parents were kind and generous.  I sure would like to pass those qualities on to my kids and grandkids. 

Each year as Thanksgiving and Advent approach, I look for ways to serve God’s people, especially those less fortunate.   It is important to me to find opportunities to give that I can share with my grandkids. 

I enjoy taking my grandkids with me to buy the grocerys for the Thanksgiving food baskets.  One of them takes the list while the others grab the items from the shelves.  I always push the cart.   I love seeing them decide what “extras” they’ll choose for the kids.  I go for Pop Tarts and cereal with marshmallows.  They tend to go for the candy and Dorito aisles!  These baskets of food for Thanksgiving dinner are taken by members of the church to one of the local missions with whom we work closely.  I hope that one year, the grocery deliver falls on a non-school day so the grandkids can help with this as well.

Last year I signed my grand-daughter and myself up to ring the Salvation Army bell outside a local store.  She was so excited.  We had the first ringing slot in the morning, so we dressed warmly and arrived early.  Unfortunately, someone forgot to bring us our red kettle.   We made some frantic phone calls, but by the time the kettle did arrive, our time slot was over. We were terribly disappointed but we will give it another try this year! 

We also shop together for the Christmas Child boxes.  The kids always want to purchase too many items or items that are way too large to fit in the box. They get really creative with their selections and we have so much fun. We discuss the "why" on the way to the store and again on the way home.  It is important for them to learn that there are many, many children less fortunately than they.   And that God’s wish for them – for all of us- is to love and serve Him by loving and serving His people.

There are many ways to serve others over the holidays.  I hope you will start some new traditions by entering into some of these activities with your family.    Children who learn the joy of giving to others at a young age, grow up with a servant’s heart. They will continue these traditions of giving with their kids and grandkids.    I hope that giving and serving God’s people brings you and your family great joy this holiday season.


 Peace, Blessings and the Light of Christ be Yours 


Posted by Annette Blair with

I can do all things through Christ

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On Sunday, I ran a marathon.  My friends and I started in Buffalo, NY, and we ran across the bridge into Ontario, Canada, finishing at the Niagara Falls.  The trees were beautiful with their fine array of golden and red leaves.  Unfortunately, it started to rain at about mile 10 and didn’t relent.  It was cold!  But I was glad that I did it; it was a challenge and I felt good about achieving my goal.

This was my second marathon.  I ran my first in 2007.  After the conclusion of that race, I determined that, for the next one, I would like to have a time goal:  under 4 hours.  Nevertheless, nine years have passed, and last month, as I was talking to my friend, Allie, I told her that I had modified my goal.  “I have gotten soft in my old age,” I said.  “My only goal is to finish it.”  Allie rightly teased me, “Oh yeah, you’re such an underachiever.  Your only goal is to run 26.2 miles.”  I appreciated how she encouraged me to affirm that simply running the race was laudable and this achievement wasn’t contingent on my running it in a particular time. 

My primary goal was to finish the race, but I also had a secondary goal:  to have more positive self-talk than negative self-talk while I ran.  I have the tendency to belittle my effort and my athleticism while I’m participating in a competition.  My mind is usually filled with thoughts like, “You’re so much worse than everyone else.  You didn’t train enough.  You’re not fast enough.  You’re not good enough.”  So, it was a fascinating shift for me to mentally make corrections during the marathon.  I tried to discipline myself to think, “You’re going to make this.”  “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”  “Comparisons are odious.”  “You can do this.”

At about mile 3, I was reminded of the Scriptural truth that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Near the finish line, around mile 26.1, I was amazed and heartened to see that someone had brought a homemade sign that had Philippians 4:13 all written out with purple and green markers.  “Thank you, God.  Wow.”  I prayed, and I ran to the end.  What a beautiful sign! 

God does not forsake us.  All things are possible with God (Luke 18:27).  Christ is giving us the strength to persevere.  In this world we will have troubles, but take heart:  Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

Love first,


Posted by Emily Mitchell with

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