Just ONE thing this holiday season

On November 17, we were at a Sunday brunch in a nice restaurant when the lights went out. A big storm was passing through. The electricity still flickered back on, but the computers started beeping and the once busy restaurant emptied quickly after that. As we drove home, listening to the radio, I was worried about what we would find. We were an hour away and have had bad experiences with flooding after crazy rainstorms. Fortunately, since we had our willow tree cut down this fall, I didn’t need to worry about a large tree falling down on our house!

What we did hear on the radio was even more worrisome, however. Tornadoes had been forming all over the state of Illinois, Soldier Field was evacuated during the Bears game,  and a tornado had touched down near Peoria, where my sister lives.

One of the first things I did was call my sister to make sure she and her husband were okay. They were fine, but a tornado had destroyed a large portion of Washington, Illinois, just ten miles away from where they live.

The next Monday, I received an email from Lily’s 3rd grade teacher. She is from Washington, and while her friends and family were safe, some were affected by the tornado. One family she knows had to relocate to a hotel because their home was unsafe. And they were lucky; many people’s homes simply didn’t exist anymore. I showed Lily and Emmy some photos in the newspaper, but I had a feeling they just couldn’t comprehend what had happened. It’s difficult for Ed and me as adults to imagine what it’s like to lose everything.

Our teacher’s friend’s little girl needed a backpack. Lily, Emmy and I went to the store right after school. They carefully considered which backpack and lunch box the little girl would like the most. (She is in first grade, Emmy’s age.) Then we chose school supplies that she would need to have at home to do homework or to use just for fun; crayons, scissors, markers, paper, etc. Lily and Emmy also made a special card for the little girl.

Parent/Teacher conferences were the following week, and Lily’s teacher showed us a picture of the little girl reading Lily and Emmy’s card. Seeing that little girl smiling and holding her new backpack and the card really made a connection for Lily and Emmy…and for me!

Lisa over at The Golden Spoons has challenged us to do just ONE thing this holiday season. This story  just happens to be one thing that we did to help our Illinois neighbors this year. I know that if we were ever in a difficult situation, our neighbors would lend us a helping hand. Whether it’s giving your time to someone, making a stranger smile, or donating to a good cause, together we can spread a little hope, peace, joy and love to others this year!
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19 Replies to “Just ONE thing this holiday season”

  1. I was totally just picturing that little girl. She is just two years older then my oldest, but still could picture it and what a lovely thing you all did for this little one. Truly what this time of the year and all year actually should be about (giving back to those in need). Thanks for sharing this today!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…What’s on A Mom’s Holiday Wish List?My Profile

  2. What a great story! It’s so wonderful to have those opportunities to help others and show our kids how simple it can be. We don’t have to go half way around the globe to help those in need. Sometimes they are right in our own backyard. Great teaching moment.
    Jenny recently posted…Simple ThingsMy Profile

  3. What a beautiful story, and you got to see a photo. Which is amazing. I haven’t had the financial means to do what my heart tells me to do, in the last year or so, but that’s changing the more I work. And I can’t wait to include my children in all that I have planned.
    tamaralikecamera recently posted…It Got Weird, Didn’t It?My Profile

  4. What an awesome story. I think getting kids involved in giving back at an early age is so important. Letting them see how their acts can help someone their age is so empowering. My son, G, went with me to stuff backpacks with food for kids in his school and others in the area. He asks to go back every week. He feels so proud that he can help. I’m sure Lily and Emmy feel the same way!
    another jennifer recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Winter WonderlandMy Profile

    1. That is so cool! I want my girls to do something similar at our food bank, but they have to be 8 years old before they can volunteer so my youngest still can’t go. Soon I’ll be able to take both of them!

  5. Precious story! And I love that you are showing your daughters how to give and serve when there is a need. I think that is the ONLY way kids will truly understand this way of living- I love this. You are such a kind-hearted soul. What a beautiful lesson you are teaching them.
    Chris Carter recently posted…Pause and Pray…My Profile

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