Saturday, November 29, 2014


I bet a lot of you have been hearing about essential oils lately. I've had the pleasure of going to a few very informative parties and trying some oils out myself.  I'm researching (recipes and safety) and testing... and learning chemistry.   I'm finding great success using oils on myself and my family for all sorts of ailments.  Even my more pessimistic children are asking to use oils when they don't feel well.  It is true that I've always liked having a little "medical" bag with my herbs and now the oils make it possible for me to have a more complete, accessible and compact kit.  I'm like a kid in a candy store!

Wednesday my middle son fell.  He had tied an old martial arts belt around the zip line in the front yard and it broke as he flew across the lawn.  My oldest son came running to alert me.  Now when I was a newer mother I would have dropped everything and rushed to the scene of the accident.  I could see him from where I was and he was not crying out, he'd just had the wind knocked out of him.  I walked over to assess the damage, still aware of how different my reactions as a 41 year old mother were from the 21 year old mother I was when I began my mama-ing. 

My poor guy.  All his parts were still in order, but he was going to be sore.  You know how we look for certain things when our children are injured or sick?  My oldest son wants to stay home sick often so when he tells me he's sick I look for certain signs that tell me he really is sick.  With him it's more than just telling me he doesn't feel good, his body language says a lot about whether it is an emotional "illness" or physical.  When injury is being considered I look for how my child moves and interacts after the injury.  In this case my son was willing to get up on his own, though he was careful not to put too much weight on his left leg.  I noted that he did not cry out when he put pressure on his leg even though it was clearly uncomfortable.  He was also willing to try and climb on his big brother's back for a piggy back ride to the car.  He thought better of it, but those actions told me we probably weren't going to be waiting around in an ER that day.

When we got home from our outing I sat my sore guy on the couch and put essential oil on his wounds.   The aroma was just as important to the "patient" as the healing properties.  The aroma let him know that help was on the way.  Now this post isn't about which brand I use and why.  This isn't about what blends or "recipes" I have for cuts, bruises and crazy little boys.  This is more about what I want my children to understand about God and His love for us as I tend their owies.  When I applied the oils I prayed for my son.  I reminded him that we thank God for His mercy and acknowledge that He is the great physician and without Him we would not have herbs or essential oils. 

I love trying to help my family.  I love being able to participate in bringing comfort and relief when there are emotional or physical injuries.  I love offering aid when my littles (and bigs) are sick.  And it is quite satisfying when a remedy works. I do admit that as soon as one of my children complains of an ailment I reach for my essential oils or herbal reference books with my hands, but I try and remember to always have a prayer in my heart.

For the record, my son is healing nicely.  He is very proud of the six inch bruise he has on his upper thigh.  He came up tonight requesting oils for his bruise because it was causing him some pain.  He liked that we prayed first, giving glory to God for all things.  Yes, a lot of times I miss the moments to point my young ones heavenward.  I'm not always calm.  I often think of what I should have done after the fact, but I hope the moments I do remember will have a great impact. 

*If you want to know more about essential oils I am certainly willing to talk about them, why I like them, which ones I use, etc. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Not Noah

Okay, I was curious.  I mean it was supposed to be a Bible movie, right?  The trailer showed Noah, his wife, his sons, a corrupt civilization and an ark.  So far so good.  Not so much.  Aside from the names being correct and the boat and a was a fictional story not even really loosely based on the Bible.  We're not talking about creative license, we're talking about a complete disregard for what many hold to be sacred.  I remember watching Prince of Egypt when it was first in theaters and while they didn't follow the story verse by verse they did keep the heart of the story.  There was no heart in the story of Noah. 

Not only that, but God was presented as an angry God who simply wanted to wipe out mankind, including Noah and his family, and return to Eden.  He just wanted His animals and the world would be at peace, all green and zen. 

BUT, all was not lost.  I watched this with my two oldest sons and listened to their comments as the movie played.  It was a blessing to hear them say things like, "wait, that wasn't in the Bible." or "I thought Noah's son's had wives with them." or "That's just not what happened."  They are learning God's Word and they are learning WHY it is so important for them to be able to discern what is truth and what is so NOT Noah! 

It was fantastic to be able to discuss the scriptures afterward and help them learn some new things about the animals (7 of each "clean" animal and 2 of every "unclean")...and the rest of the story. Following the story as far as the movie, and a little beyond, we read that the Lord made a covenant with not only Noah and his family, but with the animals as well! (did you know that about the animals?!  Look at Genesis 9:8-17!) Who needs to make up a new story?  The original is pretty amazing.

This movie made it pretty darn easy to go through and look at all the discrepancies , but what about all the things my kids see and hear that aren't as easy to discern.  They are children from this present generation.  This generation believes many things that would have been completely foreign in my generation, or my mother's.  Not to say the generations before this were right, or that this generation hasn't contributed anything positive.  What I am saying is that as time goes on the lines seem to get blurred.  There is less black and white and much more grey.  It is hard to contend with grey because it can shift and change so easily. 

In the Akathist to the Mother of God Nurturer of Children we pray:
"Raise my children to strongly oppose atheists.
Raise my children to reject the deceitful teachings of the teachers of unbelief.
Raise my children to not accept the spirit of the sons of the adversary.
Raise my children to run from the world and the delusion of the world.
Raise my children to turn away from evil and do good.
Raise my children to love their enemies and to pray for them."

We want our children to be discerning and loving and compassionate and strong.  Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Let us pray that our children will be able to weed through all that life throws at them and yet find and embrace Christ our Lord.  The Way is not so overgrown that it can not be found. God will reveal the path as each step is taken. 

Glory to God for all things!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Miracle of Saint John

Summer before last we had the opportunity to travel as a family to California for a two week vacation.  It was a blast!  We stayed with friends along the way, friends who, incidentally, had many children like we do which made the adventure seem even more lively.  It was one of those trips where we didn't plan too many things.  We had a few "must do's" but it was so refreshing not to feel like our days were dictated by a schedule. 

One of our "must do's" was to go to San Francisco to hang out with my brother, Uncle Aaron (or Uncle Fun if you're one of his nieces or nephews).  It was a blast!  We went to Fisherman's Wharf and had clam chowder in sour dough bowls.  We watched a magician on the wharf and saw the Silver Man perform, smelled the Ghirardelli chocolate, played on stairs that looked and made sounds like a piano and saw a trolley.  It was such fun! 

We were preparing to take my brother back to his place but, since it was on the way, decided to stop briefly by the Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of All Who Sorrow.  We had been to this Church before, when we were preparing to move to Colorado.  We had walked into what looked like heaven! 


We were prayed over by the priest near the relics of Saint John Maximovich and were presented with several vials of oil from his vigil lamp. We had the opportunity to visit the orphanage he had set up. We saw the cell he used with no bed, only a recliner, for he rarely slept and we said the Our Father.  We visited the original wooden church where Saint John's vestments are kept and the priest covered us with the vestments and prayed over us!  We were blessed to have gone.  So this time, while we weren't able to stay for a whole service, I wanted to get a few vials of oil to give godparents and our priest back in Colorado.  I went into the great Cathedral, said some prayers and received five vials of oil.  I quickly put them into my purse because my husband was circling the block in our big van and I wanted to return before the children started a rebellion.   
A day or two went by and as we were packing up to leave I realized one of the bottles of oil had completely spilled into my purse! There were receipts, money, gum and all sorts of other things in my purse.  There were also two prayer ropes I was working on.  I reached in my purse to assess the damage and determine how to properly clean everything up when I realized the oil had been fully absorbed by the prayer ropes!  There was no oil on my purse, on the papers or anything else.  How could that be?! They were saturated with this holy oil.  I wasn't the only one this happened to. Just two weeks ago I heard from a young man in Sunday school who had a similar experience.  He had a vial of oil spill in his bag and all the oil was absorbed by his prayer rope when it should have gotten all over the clothes in his sack. 
Miracles are wonderful things! They are placed there for our edification and remind us how truly awesome God is.  His ways are not our ways.  Some think these kinds of miracles make us want to recognize a particular saint or relic, but everything about a Saint, any wonderworking that comes about from their relics or through their prayers, are not so the Saint will receive praise, but these blessed events all point to the One Who is the salvation of us all. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Shirt Off His Back

For those of you who are married, do you remember the moment, that one particular moment, when you decided in your heart that this was the person you were going to marry?  For me it was watching the movie Hook with my honey and some friends at the theater.  I remember turning to look at him and thinking, right in the middle of Dustin Hoffman's meanness as Captain Hook, "this is the man I'm going to marry!" Just over one year after our first meeting we married and are preparing to celebrate 22 years together!

A number of years ago I had the honor of being involved in the wonderful courtship and wedding of two people I had known separately for years.  I had met the bride when she was six years old and I was 17 helping out at the day camp portion of the conference center I waitressed for.  This sweet curly headed little brown girl was full of spunk!  It was my job to get her over to the next activity.  She looked at me defiantly and shouted, "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!", then proceeded to stomp on my foot.  She never stomped on my foot again, but she did gain a sweet place in my heart as I had the opportunity to watch her grow over the years.

The groom is the son of our very first priest.  The picture I keep in my mind of him is from when he was about 12 year old riding his skateboard down the street, tall and lanky.  Little did we know then that he'd fill out into a giant!  He was drafted to play for a professional football team and told his mother he thought he was about ready for a bride, but the women he was meeting were not the kind he wanted to serve the Lord with. 

The grooms mother and I had an opportunity one year to lead a workshop for homeschool family camp.  In the back of the room a lovely young woman asked some very good questions and made very thoughtful contributions to the discussion.  After class as we headed to pick up our little ones from childcare, the grooms mother sighed and said, "that girl seems like she'd be a great match for my son.  Too bad she's so young."  Thankfully I was able to shed some light on the age and character of this young woman.  The groom's mother contacted her son and told him about this young woman.  He was intrigued and asked permission to contact this charming her. 

The groom was living in another state so most of the correspondence was through letters, email or phone.  He had the opportunity to come home for Thanksgiving and enjoyed spending time with this young woman and her family.  One of the outings they arranged was to go to Downtown Santa Cruz and hand out sandwiches to the homeless.  As they were doing this, a homeless man came up to them.  They offered him a sandwich.  He told them, "I'm not hungry right now, but I am cold.  Could I have your sweatshirt?"  Without a second thought this young man took off the only sweatshirt he had brought with him and gave it to the homeless man.  The man was so surprised that he started to cry.  "I've seen a lot of people come down here handing out food and I've asked many of them to give me their jacket and you are the first one to ever actually do it." 

That was the moment.  That was the moment this future bride knew this selfless young man was going to be her husband.  She got a glimpse of his true character, one that desired the Lord, one that treated his neighbor as himself. 

Right here is usually when stories say, "And they lived happily ever after."  In marriage there is not happily ever after.  There are great times, good times and less good times.  There are some downright awful times.  There are many many opportunities to learn to die to self.  When children come along, there is the balancing act between lover, friend and mother.  Marriage can be a great challenge, but that doesn't mean we are failing or that it's all hopeless.  It is part of growing up and learning to trust Christ in every aspect of our lives.  This young couple is a beautiful example of Christ and the Church.  They love and live and keep striving for Christ.  Let us also embrace the struggle along with the blessing and trust our marriages to Christ. 

Icon of Ss. Joachim and Anna, Parents of Mary mother of Jesus

Traditional prayer for a married couple
O Merciful God, we beseech Thee ever to remind us that the married state is holy, and that we must keep it so; Grant us Thy grace, that we may continue in faithfulness and love; Increase in us the spirit of mutual understanding and trust, that no quarrel or strife may come between us; Grant us Thy blessings, that we may stand before our fellows and in Thy sight as an ideal family; And finally, by Thy mercy, account us worthy of everlasting life: For Thou art our sanctification, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer by Archimandrite Nicodim (Mandita)

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, our Sweet Savior, Who taught us to pray always for each other, so that by thus fulfilling the holy law we will be made worthy of Thy mercy: look down with compassion on our married life and keep from all perilous falls, from enemies both visible and invisible, my husband/wife whom Thou hast granted me, that we may pass our time together until the end with oneness of mind. Grant him/her health, strength, and fullness of wisdom enlightened from above, so that he/she may be able to fulfill his/her duties all the days of this life according to Thy will and commandments. Protect and keep him/her from temptations, and may he/she be able to bear and conquer those temptations that come upon him/her. Strengthen him/her in right faith, strong hope, and perfect love, so that together we may do good deeds and that we may order all our life according to Thy divine ordinances and commandments.

O Greatly-Merciful Lord, hear us who humbly pray to Thee, and send Thy divine blessing in truth on our married life and on all our good deeds, for it is Thine to hear and have mercy on us, O our God, and to Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Blessed Memories...The Final Entry

Dear Terry,

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
~ Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis

Do you find yourself in this space? C.S. Lewis was contemplating this idea when he was an able bodied man. But what of the man (or woman) for whom the veil is thinning and a breath separates one life from the next. And if we are in fact made for another world I wonder what that homecoming will be like? Perhaps it is like a bird living its whole life under water using some sort of breathing apparatus. If the bird was young enough it would know no difference. But what a glorious moment if it were to break the surface, dry its wings and find it could fly?! It could fill its lungs with pure air! All the things it saw as it came near the surface would be clear and crisp, not a blur of colors, but each one distinct. What would it experience when it, for the first time, ate the food it was intended to eat?

You will be seeing things clearly for the very first time! Even those glimpses of His glory you've gotten throughout your life will seem as shadows when you are finally on His side. You will truly be able to taste and see that the Lord is good in a way we can't even comprehend! And you, my dear friend, will fly.

I love you!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blessed Memories 4

Dear Terry,

We prayed for you today, not just once, all day really, but Schey and I did special prayers on your behalf. I called too just because I desperately wanted to hear your voice once more. It actually makes me smile thinking about it. It's funny. It's not a "soft gentle" kind of voice it's a very no nonsense kind with the soft and gentle implied :) And the laugh, very contageous and real.

I called today but the morphine was winning at the time. I wasn't able to call back because it was Micah's 8th birthday and he was having an extra hard time due to the very early rising of our other brown boy (2:45 am!) But I thought of you and prayed for you throughout the day, thinking of what your body and mind must be going through right now as you "prepare your garments". There were moments I had to fight back the tears and other moments I just smiled a stupid smile as I recalled moments with you.

That just reminded me of the story of Jordan, I think it was Jordan, who would jump into the deep end at the pool before he could swim and you would fish him out and paddle his bottom. But he kept jumping in, not minding the discipline he would receive as a result of his actions. That is one place you certainly can NOT allow for natural consequences :) Finally you asked him why he kept jumping in and he replied "because I know you'll jump in and get me".

Right now the water must feel like it is closing in around you as you have jumped (or rather been pushed) into these deep waters. But not only is the Lord jumping in to save you, He is in the process of teaching you to breathe under water! He will hold your hand as you learn to breathe in His country. His perfect country.

John 14: 1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

I hope we can speak one more time. But even if we can't speak this side of heaven, I will for my whole life, praise my God every time I think of you. And please, once you are with the Church Triumphant remember and pray for this struggling Church Militant.

I love you SO much my dear friend!!! May the Lord's peace rest upon you!!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blessed Memories 3

Dear Terry,
It's exciting that it is week 15! I pray there will be many more weeks and months! But I hear something in your post, or I imagine I do. It sounded hopeful, but not as hopeful as when the chemo was first helping. You sound thankful not only for each friend who visits or event that you can be part of but also for each moment spent with that friend and each second you are able to soak in any given event. It's kind of like scrapbooking. You are carefully pasting your experiences into your heart. Some you'll share with others and some you will keep to laugh over (or cry over) by yourself. What a collection you must have by now. I've read and heard of SO many people eager to come to your side. Some of the people who come may be challenging, but your scrapbook wouldn't be the same without them:) Others come and provide some comic relief and some are better than medicine with the emotional or spiritual comfort they provide.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

Did you see that? Did you see what God did right there? He spoke to you. He is telling YOU that the weaker you feel the stronger you are becoming in Him! When I was little and coming to Mount Hermon, when those little houses were where the climbing wall now lives, I remember dressing up one day during the week for a themed BBQ. There was one relay I remember so clearly because the children had so much fun. Each team was supposed to pass a certain number of people over their heads to the front of the line. I remember being lifted and jostled as over the heads of strangers. It was fun and terrifying at the same time. Now, it wasn't one person handing me over to the next but several all at once supporting my head, body and legs. That is what your friends are doing for you! You are finding it hard to walk that narrow path yourself and we are here to support your head and body and legs. Some poke and some are so gentle but all have one extremely painful hope...and that is for you to pass from our "hands" into the gentle perfect hands of Christ renewed and ready. And do you know what? You are learning to let go and keep your hands open to your savior.  It's the same for us.  We can only pass you along the line if we keep our hands open as well.

Do not lose heart my friend!

I love you SO much!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blessed Memories 2

Dear Terry,

"What rain is for seeds tears are for those who are afflicted" -St. John Chrysostom

Oh how hard and wonderful it was to cry with you. Letting go of you at church on Sunday was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.

It is hard to plan out "memories" to make for the future. I remember hearing about Scott Halverson having to make his own recordings for his children. I remember him saying how sad he was not to be the one giving Becky away at her wedding or escorting Daniel into manhood. I think of your own fears regarding this and all I have are two verses that give me great hope.

1. Isaiah 55: 8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

It may not make sense to us why He allows what He allows, but it makes sense to Him. He is not surprised by your diagnosis or that the future you had planned for you family is going to be different than you intended.

2. Philippians 5:6
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

This verse is not only true for you, but for each person you love...each person you hate the thought of letting go of. When you let go they will not fall, they are (and always were) in the hands of Christ. You are opening your hands so they can fit more securely in His. He's not surprised by who is going to be taking care of your little boys. He already knows who He will call to help bring them up in His ways until that "good work" is completed in them as well..

His ways are higher than our ways and He will see you safely to the end...and the beginning.

I love you,

Blessed Memoies 1

I hope you don't mind, but over the next few days I'm going to share some notes a sent to my dear friend and godmother when she was dying. She went to be with our Lord October 5, 2012.  Since we are approaching Thanksgiving I thought I would let you listen in on some of the last "conversations" with someone I am truly blessed to have known

It's a Corrie Ten Boom kind of day.

I say it's a Corrie Ten Boom kind of day because you have been called to do something very special and difficult and terrifying. Your story is in the public's eye as well. I love her story because she was honest and never knew how she was going to respond to each situation, but she, like you, was willing. Willing to take each step. Willing to crawl through despair. Willing to admit that you are, and always have been, powerless and the Lord really does hold the whole world (YOUR WHOLE WORLD) in His hands. I remember that Corrie and her sister Betsy found things to be thankful for...even the fleas in the barracks because the fleas kept the soldiers out so they could have at least a little peace.

It sounds like the Lord is giving you little bits of peace. It is amazing to read what you are accomplishing for one so sick! Today someone said something about your struggle being an amazing gift to all of us (here I go with another "Ihope this doesn't hurt your feelings or make you depressed" thing). We are all walking to the arms of Jesus we just don't know when we will meet Him. Your journey, now more than ever, is showing us all how to walk that walk. Of course with all that is in me I want you to be well and I don't want you to have to carry this cross. I wish I could help relieve the weight of it! But what I see is you hefting that cross up on your back and taking each step. I see you perfecting your "technique" through the strength of Christ. Sometimes you have to rest, but you never put it down.

‎"Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie Ten Boom

Thank you for blessing us all with the example of strength for today and "bright hope for tomorrow". Thank you for accepting the Lord's faithfulness no matter what it may look like.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blessings in a Mason Jar

ALMS: "Any thing given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity."

My children are privileged.  They live in a house.  They have food to eat EVERY SINGLE DAY!  They not only get one meal, they get snacks!  They have clean water on a consistent basis.  They overeat at times and feel sick because of it.  Many of our "poor" still have computers and cell phones in this country.

This is the time of year when we receive requests to make an end of the year donation to one charity or another.  Some requests are from foundations trying to stamp out hunger, others want to provide school supplies for needy children here or abroad.  Animal focused charities want help so they can provide food and the necessary care for abused or neglected cats and dogs.  Local organizations are trying to raise awareness about the homeless dilemma and the need for warm clothing on these bitingly cold pre-winter nights.  From now through Christmas we remember the poor, the sick and the suffering. But almsgiving isn't just for the holidays.

How can we participate in the commandment from Christ to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves?  How can we help our children to become doers and not only hearers of the Word by giving to those in need? 

This week I took a canning jar from my cupboard, made a slot in the lid and duct taped around the rim so as to discourage any of my boys from being tempted to pocket the cash.  I then made a list of 12 charities.  Our jar if for spare change or any money they may want to contribute and at the end of each month we will count up the "willing donations" and give them to a charity. 

Here is our list:

IOCC: IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.

HOGAR RAFAEL ORPHANAGE GUATEMALA: Orthodox nuns caring for over 100 orphaned, neglected, extremely poor children.

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY: Food for the Hungry (FH) is a Christian organization serving the poor globally since 1971. We reflect the love of Christ in short-term emergency relief  and long-term work  to end world hunger.

COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL: Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

VOICE OF THE MARTYRS: The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit Christian organization dedicated to assisting our persecuted family worldwide.

WORLD VISION: World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES: "As the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver, and inspired by God’s love and compassion, Catholic Charities extends the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to the poor and those in need."

ALPHA CENTER: is a local Christian medical clinic that serves our community by providing free services and education related to sexual health. We have served the Larimer County area since 1985, so we are uniquely qualified and experienced to understand what you are going through. All of our services are free thanks to the generous support of many individuals, businesses and churches in our community who recognize the need for a safe support system for individuals making important decisions related to their sexual health and unplanned pregnancies.

SAINT INNOCENT’S ACADEMY: St. Innocent’s Academy is an alternative educational program for young men of high school age and older.  It encompasses both those considered “at-risk” and stable young men alike. The purpose of the Academy is to help them know themselves and to act as men created in the image and likeness of God, to foster their sense of human dignity and worth, and to help them develop life skills which will prepare them to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities as adults.  

ST. PAISIUS MONASTERY: To support themselves, the sisters make prayer ropes and maintain a well-stocked bookstore, and in the future will sell olive oil and pomegranates from their orchards. From its inception, the sisters have maintained numerous publishing efforts, concentrating primarily on themes chosen to support the Christian home and the struggles of Christians living in the world. With this aim, over 50,000 copies of akathists have been printed.

GLEANINGS FOR THE HUNGRY: Gleanings for the Hungry is a Christian, non-profit organization. It operates as a mercy ministry arm of Youth With A Mission. Our mission is to help feed the hungry of the world both spiritually and physically. In the summer, we sun dry peaches and nectarines. We also produce a dried soup mix from bulk dehydrated vegetables. We have provided much needed food to approximately 100 countries around the world.
FOCUS North America: National movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America.   

These are just our ideas.  There are SO many opportunities to give year round.  It may be the gift of time at a retirement home sitting and listening to stories our elderly friends want to share.  Perhaps you have older children and can "go" and "do" unlike those of us with little ones.  Making homeless bags to pass out or making cookies for someone in the neighborhood who is having a difficult time are wonderful ways to give.  Whatever the act of kindness, or whichever charities you choose to participate in, know that you and your children have the opportunity to be the very hands of Christ as you serve others. 

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,  and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;  for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

Let us give without reservation.  Let us give much if we have great abundance.  And let us give joyfully if we have only a little for the God of the universe can multiply even a small offering as a great blessing to His people.

To God be the Glory.  Amen!