28 Days of Kindness

When showering life-giving words on another human, don’t just pick the people you know well. Notice the one who least expects to be noticed.” (Karen Ehman)

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are’ and those who say, ‘Here I am’.”

Would you consider joining me this February for a Kindness Challenge? Pick a few ideas off the list and plan them into your calendar next month!

28 Ways to Spread Some Kindness

1. Write a note or card of encouragement to someone battling depression, anxiety, or loss.
2. Drop off fresh flowers to a single friend.
3. Offer to babysit for a young mom for a few hours so she can have some alone time.
4. Take someone a meal this month.
5. Buy an extra coffee drink and share it with someone.
6. Invite someone over into your home.
7. Send a gift card to a family who could use some extra support.
8. Contact your local food pantry or pregnancy center and see what the needs are.
9. Send a long distance friend a care package.
10. Buy two books, one for you and one for a friend.
11. Schedule a zoom or facetime lunch with a friend.
12. Check in with your neighbor and see if you can run any errands for them.
13. Make a craft bag for the neighbor kids.
14. Make your husband’s favorite dinner.
15. Pray for your husband, family, and neighbors every day this month.
16. Pack your husband’s lunch, make his coffee, and start his vehicle before he leaves for work.
17. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway.
18. Pray for persecuted believers around the world.
19. Give your child’s teacher a gift card this month (and some extra Clorox wipes and Kleenex boxes.) 
20. Reach out to a friend who suffered a miscarriage last year and ask them how they are doing.
21. Connect with someone you know who is in the process of adopting. Ask how you can pray for them. 
22. Drop off some breakfast items to that mom who chose to homeschool this year or who is at home doing e-learning with her kids.
23. Call your grandparents or send them a card (or do both!)
24. Send a coffee or meal gift card (with a thank you note!) to those you know in the medical profession.
25. Speak words of encouragement and blessing over your children every day this month.
26. Before your friend leaves your home from the morning’s playdate, pray over her.
27. Do you know anyone who will be entering this Valentine’s Day alone for the first time? Call them or better yet show up with flowers or a small gift thats says you intentionally thought about them.
28. Drop off a bag of groceries on the doorstep of that family who just said yes to a foster care placement.

Holidays & Hospitality

“If the precious, limited hours of my day are used bit by bit in scanning information, I will have less and less time for the attentive, slow, good work of creativity, conversation, and connection that real people and real homes require.” ~Sally Clarkson (The Lifegiving Home)

I’ve been thinking on this quote by Sally Clarkson, especially as we enter such a strange holiday season. “Real people, real homes.” That’s where the real, meaningful work actually happens. It’s a reminder to look around today. Put your phone in a different room, delete your social media apps, and spend time purposefully seeing all the good gifts God has given you; the people that surround you and the home you are privileged to call yours.

Holiday Hospitality

“God calls us to practice hospitality as a daily way of life, not as an occasional activity when time and finance allow. Radically ordinary hospitality means this: God promises to put the lonely in families (Ps. 68:6), and he intends to use your house as living proof.” ~Rosaria Butterfield (The Gospel Comes with a House Key)

Christmas is often the one (and maybe only!) time of the year it’s not awkward to knock on your neighbor’s door. Even if you’ve lived in your home six years and still don’t know the names of the family living across the street, it’s never too late to start. Here’s some tips I’ve tried along the way.

-Take a small notebook or sticky note with you when you visit your neighbors. Make sure you introduce yourself and your family members by name. After you leave, write down the names of your neighbors and their family members in your notebook. In the past I’ve left these on the side of our fridge for a few months so I could work on names and remember! Names do matter.

-If you mail out Christmas cards, this can be an easy connection point. If possible, hand deliver the card in person instead of mailing them.

-If you gift any kind of food, send a recipe card with the item. We often don’t know the food restrictions of our neighbors and this is an easy way to make sure that’s covered. It’s also helpful if they love your recipe and want to make it themselves!

-Invite one person (or couple) to join your family this Christmas season for dinner. Maybe it’s the neighbors who won’t be able to travel to see their kids due to Covid this year. Maybe it’s the coworker who doesn’t have any family in the area. Maybe it’s a friend who recently went through a divorce or the single friend who might not be as busy as you think. Even if they say no, never underestimate the power of an invitation to join a family for dinner.

Neighbor Gift Ideas

This doesn’t have to be anything expensive or fancy, but it’s simply another way to initiate conversation and relationship. Here’s some fun ideas I found!

Gingerbread Man Cookie Set

We were actually gifted this from a friend this year! This is a fantastic idea for families with young kids, single moms, the working moms, or even the neighbor running the daycare across the street. Consider throwing in a few extra cookie cutter shapes for larger families.

Root Deer Float Kit

Who wouldn’t love this cute gift set? Perfect for neighbors, a family from church, teachers, or your grandkids.

Stove Top Potpourri

If you’re looking for something a little unique and different, this stove top potpourri is perfect.

Gift Card to a local business

Never underestimate shopping small. Here you can be a blessing to both a local business and your neighbor. Buy a few gift cards to the local coffee shop or cafe, a small boutique, or anywhere else that could use the extra support this holiday season.

“Advent is like an alarm going off on our calendar, reminding us to zoom out and consider what really matters in our lives. Advent is a season to stop, take stock, and remember the main thing- to sit at the feet of Jesus and fall so in love again that you feel a burning urgency to give Him everything.” -The Austin Stone

Happy Advent Season, friend!