Does the Village Still Exist? {The Answer Is Yes!}

I wrote this article for Queen Latifah’s website a year ago, and wanted to share it with you. It’s rather long, so I’m dividing it into two parts. Read Part 1 here.

Karen H. lives in Chicago, Illinois. She describes her Edgewater neighborhood as the “Mayberry” of Chicago. Right before the birth of her oldest child, Karen’s husband had an aneurysm and was in the hospital for five weeks. “I did not have to cook for about 2 months, since all the neighbors brought food, including stuff to go into the freezer,” she told me. Now she is part of a neighborhood  group which provides a “meal train” for anyone who has just had a baby. “That list has grown to over 700 families in the surrounding area. We have done several fundraisers to benefit local charities. The most popular was a cook book which grew out of all the great meal train meals.”

Sharing food with each other in times of stress is international. Sarah, an Executive Coach in Oxford, UK, says, “My friends supported me by inviting into their homes when the children were with their dad. [There was] nothing worse than having to face an empty house when my marriage fell apart. Sometimes it would be dinner parties–elaborate affairs that made me take a shower & smile & see the world. One of my favorite memories is laughing at Ruth and Ian’s house. [We had] a meal of gazpacho & Middle Eastern salads & lamb (her family is from Israel). We sat on stools around the island in her kitchen, inhaling ice cream from pints and talking about the challenges of in-laws. I knew then, that life would be better.”

Even people you don’t even know will step in to lend a helping hand. Karen O. had just moved to a new town in Tennessee. “I had a herniated disk within 2 months of living here and was confined to my living room floor! Before my injury I joined the local MOMS club. They set up a week of dinners for us the week of my surgery. More important than the food was the complete strangers that I could meet every day!”

Giving meals also teaches our children how to be kind and to help others in need. Karen C. lives in suburban Kansas City and is a blogger at Adventures of Cancer Girl. She writes, “From the time my daughter was a few months old until she started kindergarten, I belonged to a local moms group. There were about 50 moms in the group. One member was in charge of organizing meal delivery every time one of our members had a baby. …We could sign up for a specific day on our Meetup site and deliver our meal on the day we picked. Most were home-cooked meals (lasagna, casseroles, etc.), but I became known for always delivering a rotisserie chicken meal (with sides and dessert) from the grocery store deli. When I’d deliver the meal, I’d get to meet the new baby and chat with the mom for a while. I would usually take my daughter with me so she could feel like she was also helping out, and she always loved meeting the babies.”

Holly Spangler, an agriculture journalist at, says it wells when she writes, “Food is powerful, is it not? Not just for sustenance, though it handles that well, too. But for comfort for a grieving family, for a sick family, for a family that’s just had a baby. Our church, like a lot of others, specializes in delivering meals – a ministry, all in its own. Food as help and comfort is universal, so say my new Chicago mom friends, who report that their temples and suburbs do the same. Whether in the shadow of a high rise or down the dusty gravel roads of southern Illinois, food helps make it better.”

While providing a meal doesn’t take away the grief, doesn’t help the baby sleep through the night or provide an instant cure, a meal is a great comfort when a family is going through a stressful time. It’s not only the food that is comforting, it’s the knowledge that someone else cares and understands what you’re going through. That is comfort indeed.




Live, Laugh, BLOG! A Google+ Community

(To my readers who are not bloggers or who are not on Google+, I’ll be back with a regular post tomorrow!)

There are a lot of members of the old BlogFrog Communities that miss the conversations on BlogFrog. For those of you who were never a part of BlogFrog, the focus was on discussions and community. Sharing blog links and supporting each others’ posts was important, but the discussions with each other trumped the blog promotions. To see what I mean, take a look at my BlogFrog Community, which will disappear on May 31st.

I think that’s what I miss most about BlogFrog–that sense of community. In an effort to keep that sense of community alive, I’ve started a new community on Google+ called Live, Laugh, BLOG!

live laugh blog

My hope is to make this new community very interactive; a place not only to support each other with our blogs and social media sites, but a place to connect with each other as real people, too. Even though “blog” is in the name, you don’t have to have a blog to join! All you need is a Google+ profile.

To help this process along and to keep our community from just being a dumping ground for links, I’m going to start featuring a member of Live, Laugh, BLOG! every day. I’ll start with the moderators of our community, so you can get to know them.

Would you like to be a featured member? As a featured member, your blog will be promoted on Google+, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #livelaughblog. If you are on Pinterest and have a Pinnable post, your blog will be featured there as well.

Only active members will be considered! What does being an “active member” mean?

As an active member, you

  1. Take part in the discussions.
  2. Start a discussion of your own.
  3. Give blog posts you like a +1. Please visit the link and actually read the post; do not randomly click the +1 button.
  4. You are welcome to leave links to your blog posts. However, return visits to community members who support you and visit your blog are also important!
  5. Active members do not necessarily have to be involved in Live, Laugh, BLOG every day. I know that you all have real lives, and can’t be online 24/7! It’s the quality of your participation that counts!

Please note that “spammy” links may be deleted by the moderators. Self-promotion is great, and your blog post might be the best out there. However, if you consistently add links to Live, Laugh, BLOG without supporting other members, your links may be considered spam.

Let’s work together to make Live, Laugh, BLOG a great place to be!

Do you have any questions about being a featured member? Please leave a comment below!






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