Super Bowl Service Project

I am not a sports enthusiast. In general, the only sports I enjoy enough to sit through fall in this order: any sport my kids play (especially rugby), the Olympics (mostly for the personal interest stories), World Cup soccer (when we spent a summer in Costa Rica), and figure skating (because grace). Football died for me when my son suffered a severe concussion in high school, and again when the varsity coach shamed him – and asked his players to carry on the shaming – when his doctor advised that he could no longer play. No youth sport is worth damage to a young person’s brain, and no coach ought to shame a player for prioritizing his health.

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and I won’t be watching, though it will be on in my house. Instead I will cook fun snacks, like buffalo cauliflower wings and deviled potatoes. I will pop in for commercials and the halftime show.

I have an idea for you, though. As you’re shopping for your own Super Bowl munchies, how about throwing some extra items in the cart? You could add some cans of soup (soup-er bowl?) or other nonperishable foods. And then donate those items to organizations that meet the needs of our more vulnerable neighbors.

Or you could add some toiletries. During the pandemic, our local Rescue Mission has doubled the number of clients it serves. In response, our church invited the entire community to create hygiene kits for the rescue mission’s clients.

We got the whole family involved. My husband shopped, and the kids and I created Valentine’s cards, made an assembly line, and filled gallon-sized Ziploc bags with items such as: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, Band-Aids, face mask, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, comb, socks, a note of encouragement, and love.

Most of our items came from Dollar Tree with the addition of socks and a box of face masks (five wrapped packages of ten masks) purchased at Costco. Not including the shopping, we were all done in less than 20 minutes. We estimate the total cost to create four hygiene kits at about $50. Less than half the cost to order a take-out dinner for our family, that’s $50 and 20 minutes well spent to provide new and necessary supplies for people who likely have been doing without.

Whether you’re watching the game or the commercials, by yourself, with your family, or with your pod, you could use the time to assemble hygiene kits for your local charity. The pandemic has increased needs around the world, so wherever you are, some organization would be glad to receive your efforts.

Thankful Thursday – Life is More than Worry

As Church Communication Director, this week before Thanksgiving is always one of the busiest work weeks of the year as we rush to get Christmas PR printed, in the mail, up around town, in the newspaper, you name it. The creative work, writing and designing, is mostly done, so this week is all about details – proofing and making sure each design in all its necessary formats gets to the right place and people at the right time. The devil is in the details and I am no devil.

I can’t get stressed, though. The irony? This year’s theme is PEACE. No sense at all worrying about peace.

Today I got a kick in the tail in the best way. One of my favorite weekly activities, I have the privilege of leading a small group of delightful women in our moms’ group at church. I love these women. They are light and bright and smart and deep. Our speakers today talked about change and taking intentional steps toward positive change in our lives. Several of my gals are engaged in total life upheaval, not entirely by choice. And yet even in difficult situations, our response is our responsibility. We can still choose to make changes that make us better.moms 15

The gal seated next to me almost died from a fluke illness this fall. I kept rubbing her back, teary eyed, so grateful for her life. And to hear her talk about the peace that sustained her during her illness, the overwhelming sense of angels watching over her, the comfort that whatever happened God held her in His hands… Me, choking back tears because she couldn’t have said those words when we met a couple years ago. I am grateful for her life and for the joy of watching her grow in faith.

Listening to my gals encourage one another in situations I haven’t had to endure encouraged my heart. As I looked on, the words of Matthew 6 rolled around in my head:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

A few of the staff studied this passage earlier this week. We noticed that most people we see daily aren’t worried about food; even when kids complain that “There is NO FOOD in this house!” there truly is, and no one will starve this week, or month, even if we stopped grocery shopping altogether. So I replaced “food” with “worry” in v. 25:

Is not life more than worry…?

Life is so much more than worry!

I am thankful for my friendships with these precious women who encourage one another and me. They add so much joy and love to my life.

I am thankful for a day off with my love after a season of working too hard and missing one another along the way. We walked the beach with our happy dog on a perfect San Francisco day, followed by a spontaneous splurge lunch at a marina-view restaurant.SF dog

I am thankful for an opportunity to serve with one of our church’s mission partners, Harbor House Ministries. All three of my guys have been there more than once, but today was my first time. Our middle school group plus a few parent chaperones served a Thanksgiving meal prepared by church folks; we also built relationships, did a craft, packed up leftovers for people to take home, and cleaned up. I talked with a mom of two darling girls; I don’t easily talk with people I don’t know, but we so easily connected over kids and this blessed place where her older daughter is safely cared for. Tween enthused about the “amazing” place called Harbor House and can’t wait to go back. I got to tag along while my kid’s heart changed. So good!

HH Thanksgiving

Life is so much more than worry. Life is love, encouragement, connection, work and rest in balance, service, and community. Life is our creative response to life’s own twists. Life is our responsibility to create, and life is our creative God’s good gift. He already said, “It is good.” Now it’s our turn.