- Babysit for a single mom
- Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
- Write a Family Mission Statement
- Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
- Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip
- Create snack packs for Ronald McDonald residents
- Welcome a new family to the neighborhood with a dessert and introduction
- Pray for the poor of the world
- Color a Smile-print coloring page to be given to lift someone in need up
- Make a baby care kit for a baby in need
- Take time each week to unplug as a family
- Donate your time or treasure to the Make a Wish Foundation
- Appreciate your church staff in some small, tangible way
- Do yard work for an elderly neighbor
- Make a Life Book for a child in Foster Care
- Read You Were Made to Make A Difference as a family
- Volunteer to cuddle babies at the hospital (older kids/teens are often allowed also)
- Read Christmas Jars as family
- Save loose change in a jar and give to a needy family at Christmas
- Take a family volunteering vacation
- Stop and say thank you to grocery clerks, waitresses. Ask them how they are doing.
- Become a monthly sponsor to help pregnant girls in Kenya
- Make a birthday cake for an underpriviledged child
- Serve at home: make each other’s beds, clean up someone else’s mess
- Write thank you notes to people who serve you: postman, yard guy, doctor, etc
- Sponsor a child monthly (cannot recommend enough)
- Make relief kits for disaster relief victims
- Sew a sleeping bag for someone in need (easy pattern)
- Volunteer at a non-profit
- Make up some Hygiene Bags to pass out to local homeless people
- Take your family on a tour of Red Cross
- Put a monthly date on the calendar for a Family Service Night
- Take a meal to a new family
- Create a card for Habitat for Humanity new home owner
- Encourage your older children to be a Mother’s Helper to a mom with young kids
- Fill a backpack to help give a homeless person a lift up
- Make birthday cards and deliver them to a local nursing home monthly
- Donate books to Africa
- Take your kids to a local Food Pantry with canned goods to donate
- Deliver food for Meals on Wheels
- Pray as a family on a regular basis for the people in your life.
- Donate your hair to Locks of Love.
- Give blood. (Take your kids with you and explain the importance).
- Donate nice toys to cancer ward at a Children’s Hospital
- Buy a mosquito net and help prevent malaria
- Randomly celebrate each other with a special treat, meal, time
- Donate school supplies to a classroom in need
- Compliment and thank the teachers in your life
- Buy a soccer ball for a child in poverty
- Give a used bike to a homeless person
- Donate coloring books/crayons to hospital emergency rooms
- Host a 40 hour famine in your home (fast something!)
- Give clothes to a family in need (call your church/school to find one)
- Read to a special needs child
- Only drink water for 2 weeks, give proceeds for clean water
- Buy a goat for a family in extreme poverty
- Give a donation in someone’s name to an organization you believe in
- Send your used shoes to Reuse-a-Shoe
- Become Certified Respite Caregivers to give Foster Family’s a babysitting
- Decorate a Christmas tree at an elderly person’s house
- Hold a collection drive: makeup, lotions, etc for women at a shelter
- Find a Food Bank near you to volunteer
- Deliver fresh fruit/veggies to children at a homeless shelter
- Offer your pet for therapy to the elderly
- Decorate nursing home rooms of residents with homemade art
- Have regular “family nights” with games, ice cream, time together
- Visit the NICU with treats for the doctors and anxious parents
- Write to unsponsored children
- Read to patients at a local hospital
- Plan a family missions trip
- Bake cookies, host a bake sale and donate money to the poor or a cause
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter
- Plant a garden and share the produce
- Hold a drive for lightly-used stuffed animals for police stations SAFE program
- Write letters to servicemen
- Give a micro loan and change a family in a third world country
- Smile. At everyone.
- Make care packages for children in the hospital
- Instead of a birthday gifts, ask for donations for a charity or food for a food pantry
- Shop fair trade
- Offer to decorate hospital hallways during the holidays
- Ask your city about volunteering to remove graffiti
- Host a Lemon-AID stand and donate proceeds Blood Water
- Make no-sew fleece blankets for Hospice
- Collect pencils for African children
- Send a care package to our military
- Read the Bible together as a family every day
- Collect shoes for Shoes for Kids (started by an 11 year old girl)
- Let kids choose a charity to donate to for one of their Christmas gifts
- Become a foster family
- Pay for someone’s drink in Starbuck’s drive-thru. Make sure your kids enjoy the act of kindness.
- Help your kids starts a neighborhood or school Bible Study with their peers
- Volunteer to plant flowers for your school/church flowerbeds
- Make a Care Bag for a child in need
- Welcome home a hero at the airport
- Complain less
- Start a Kindness Club with your family
- Let your light shine!
- Look for opportunities to be the difference in someone’s life
- Host a virtual food drive
- Start a KidzRap on your street!
- Purchase gifts through families fundraising for adoption.
- Make a quilt for NICU familes
- Pay the toll for the car behind you
- Invite friends to Vacation Bible School
- Help keep families together
- Take someone flowers from your garden
- Participate in Operation Christmas Child
- Make Valentine’s Gifts for the elderly at our local care center.
- Send a care package to our military.
- Buy restaurant gift cards and distribute to the homeless on street corners.
- Collect items for restoration bags for girls coming out of trafficking.
- Prepare New Mommy Blessings bags for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (newborn baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, toy, gender neutral outfit, burp cloth), new mom care items (nipple cream, lotions, etc), wrapped in a cute baby blanket or receiving blanket)
- Bake cookies for our local Fire Department.
- Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip.
- Fill Action Packs for the persecuted church (via Voice of the Martyrs).
- Adopt an foster child for Christmas through Angel Tree.
Category Archives: Spiritual Development
Here are some of the organizations I would heavily support
Friends of Family Farmers – Promoting and Protecting Responsible Farming in Oregon
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon – a statewide association of Christian denominations —including Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies—congregations, ecumenical organizations and interfaith partners working together to improve the lives of Oregonians through community ministry pograms, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, environmental ministry and public policy advocacy.
Adelante Mujeres – working to educate and empower low-income Latina women and families. We provide low-income Latina women and families the tools to achieve self-determination in the areas of education, empowerment and enterprise.
Elders in Action – To assure a vibrant community through the active involvement of older adults
TRUCE – Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) is a national group of educators who work to counteract the harmful impact of media and marketing on children.
I’d like to say that I am a hugely devoted follower of Christ and that I set aside time daily to make sure that my spiritual needs are met and that I am growing closer to God, but….well….at least I am not a liar. I wasn’t raised going to church, which puts me at a huge disadvantage as far as developing routines that are centered around God and His Word. My faith is coming to me slowly. I have a suspicion that if I devoted more time to reading the Bible and praying then I would become more pious and less prone to stereotypical Christianity that only seeks God when times are tough.
I like reading the Bible. I enjoy praying. I feel good when I move towards God.
My oldest daughter is preparing for her first communion right now and I am having a hard time with it. My husband was raised Catholic, but I wonder sometimes if he is more Catholic by culture than by religion. I’m not sure that I am comfortable with all of the teachings of the Catholic church and I have a nagging feeling that my faith would flourish among a slightly different group of people. It’s not something that I have explored in too much depth yet, but the feeling is there and it’s not going away any time soon.
This is currently one of favorite songs for prayer and meditation…
“Your Words Are Spirit And Life” by Bernadette Farrell
This is the story of a girl, the youngest of 4 born in Oregon in 1976. The little girl was born to a German immigrant mother and a father from a Oklahoma farming family. The little girl spent summers on her grandmother’s hazelnut orchard (filberts, to us locals) in the fertile Willamette Valley helping tend the massive garden, can and process food and the most dreadful chore of all-collecting the fruit and nuts from the trees. It was a family affair and nobody could escape, no matter how creative the children got with their arguments. During the school year they were expected to maintain good grades and help with their fathers business (tax accounting) by cleaning, stuffing envelopes and door-to-door flier drops and later filing and office duties. Now, don’t think that the little girl spent her whole youth working. She lived in a wonderful neighborhood full of young families and had many friends to play with when she was done with her chores.
The little girl had a bit of a problem. She was born with this condition – maybe you’ve heard of it – called strong will. She got it from her father. It’s effects are intense throughout the lifespan, but can be particularly dangerous during the adolescent years. Yes, she went through some trying times, as did her parents, during those years. The little girl managed to pass, unharmed for the most part, through those years. Much to her dismay, her condition has been passed to her first born daughter, a fact that is frequently discussed at family gatherings.
She became a young adult, publicly educated and ready to enter the world. Unfortunately, she had spent little time preparing for this transition and didn’t quite know what to do. So she did what many young adults do in similar situations-she got a job, some roommates and PARTIED!! Yes, those were fun times for the girl. Sadly, her job couldn’t accommodate her life style so it had to go. Two years later (and about $20,000 in credit card debt) the girl decided it was time for a change. She downsized her extravagant lifestyle, took two jobs and worked very hard. After about a year and a half she managed to pay off the debt and save enough for a congratulatory backpacking trip to Europe.
During that year and a half the young lady spent much of her time at her mother’s house (free food!). It was a newly built house, in a recently cleared area and there was a great deal of construction activity going on in the area. One day the young lady decided to see how much Spanish she could remember from her high school years. She started a conversation with the construction workers next door. Among them was one, a very persistent fellow from the central highlands of Mexico. This man was new to the country, he had been here for only a few months and didn’t yet speak the language very well at all. He did, however, play the guitar. Now, the girl hadn’t noticed this particular fellow yet. You see, her Spanish was not very good and she spent most of the “conversations” talking with the fellows who already spoke English asking them how to say this and that. One afternoon, during his lunch break, the persistent young man came to the mothers front porch and started to play a song for the girl. It was a song that the girl happened to be quite fond of. After that, he told her that she had “eyes beauty” and asked for her phone number.
The girl and the fellow quickly became inseparable. She taught him American customs and language, he gave her music, dancing and a love for Mexican food and cooking. A few years later the couple married. The girl decided that being a lover of culture and adventure, she had better learn his language to be able to communicate with his family. The girl, now a woman, went to the university and learned to read and write Spanish. She learned to speak it and truly understand it from the young man and from many trips to his mother’s house in his hometown.
A few months after graduation, the woman had a baby, a little girl Dolores. She was (and continues to be) a spirited little girl. Fifteen months later, little Junior was born. A quiet baby, Junior has always been a lover and still refuses to get out of his mama’s bed. Eighteen months later little Maria came and along with her was born a strong faith in God. The young woman still struggles to identify herself with a particular religious sect, but her faith was cemented by the miraculous birth of Maria. The family was completed with the birth of Moises.
The woman now spends much time in contemplation. There are still many adventures to come. She is humbled by the awesome opportunity and responsibility of cultivating her own (albeit small) legacy. She looks forward to each day that her children are still young and innocent, for those times pass quickly and are never relived.