Monday, January 8

10 Ways to Be Kind to Your Neighbor

It’s the time of year that people make resolutions–things they hope to achieve in the coming year. I don’t like the word “resolutions” because I can never seem to keep them, but I do like the word “goals.”

One of my goals for 2018 is to live a life of kindness and generosity and teach my children to do the same. With that in mind, we've come up with a list of 10 Ways to Be Kind to Your Neighbor as a starting point to kick off the new year.

If you’d like to print it instead, here’s a handy link to a PDF file, courtesy of our amazing publisher Tyndale House.

Friday, January 5

25 Days of Kindness Complete!

Another year of Advent Acts of Kindness is complete! Below is a list of all the kind acts we did this past month!

Day 1: A small gift to celebrate a friend pursuing God-sized dreams. Let us be women who cheerlead and encourage one another, who celebrate, who whisper “do it” when she wonders whether she can. 

Day 2: This week we gave away our dining room table to a young single mom who was moving into a new home with her two littles. 

While we were cleaning the table to get it ready, Kyle decided we should also recover the seats. As we worked to do so, one of our kids asked why we would take the time to recover the seats if we were just giving it away. Kyle responded, “we wantto give away things in the best condition we can. We want to give people our best.” It’s a good reminder as we start this Advent season, let’s give people our best.

Friday, November 24

25 Days of Kindness {Advent Acts}

It's our 6th year of Advent Acts of Kindness: Six years of doing one kind act each day from December 1-25. Six years of brainstorming ideas and asking others for theirs; six years of planning and plotting that culminates in December. Six years of feeling the joy of helping another; six years of failing miserably, too. Six years of trying to change our children's hearts from focusing on "me, me, me"--only to realize that we ourselves are just as much in need of a heart change. Six years of realizing our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, the issues or people we might shy from; six years of finding the courage to overcome those challenges. Six years of praying for strangers and crying over random parking-lot encounters; six years of children tugging at our hands to ask questions about love and kindness that tug at our hearts and leave us forever changed.

Wednesday, October 25

Will You Leave a Legacy of Kindness?

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today we're over at The Arc: Stories to Inspire Faith-Filled Living, writing about our book on kindness and why it's become a big part of who we are as moms. Here's a brief preview of the post:
As mothers, the three of us are fully aware of our world’s need for kindness. We see the need in our communities, at our schools, echoing through the halls of power, and whispering in our churches. As parents, intentional kindness has become a concrete, tangible way for us to weave Micah 6:8 into the fabric of our families. In fact, this verse has become our heartbeat, the measuring stick against which we strive to align our lives: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)

Kindness is a legacy rooted in the traditions of our own parents, who quietly and intentionally blessed those who crossed their paths. In doing this, they laid a foundation for us.

One of our favorite fall acts of kindness is a tradition begun by Julie’s mother-in-law. Every fall, she sends each of her grandchildren to school with an envelope addressed to their teacher. Inside the envelope is an encouraging handwritten note and a check to be used on whatever the teacher needs for his or her classroom. Two years ago, one kindergarten teacher used this money to buy a graduation cake, fully decorated with a graduation cap and school colors. Doting parents and grandparents joined the kindergartners in their happy celebration.

You can read the rest of the post here. Also, if you haven't entered Tyndale's amazing giveaway for an Uplift a Box, there's only two days left! Find the details on the easy-peasy entry here.


Tuesday, October 17

It's Release Day!

Heart pounding, I checked my teeth and smiled nervously one more time in the hotel room mirror.

"Ready?" Kendra asked, her face appearing behind my reflection. Nodding, I grabbed the handles of the baby stroller that held my 6-month-old daughter and exited the hotel room. Walking into the glass elevator and zooming downstairs had never felt more like a plunge into the unknown.

Steadying my nerves, I dropped off Ashlyn with a friend and clutched the book proposal we'd spent hours perfecting as we walked into the Starbucks located on the second level of the hotel.

"Hi, I'm Kara," a woman said, standing up. Smiling, she shook our hands, then we sat down to talk about writing, kindness, and the possibility of reimagining our proposed book as a 365-day devotional.

Wednesday, October 4

The Significance of Small Acts

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of sharing a few words of encouragement to a local moms group that I am a part of. I planned a little something over the weekend, but then I woke up Monday morning to the news of all that had happened the previous night in Las Vegas. Listening all day to updates, I felt a heaviness I just couldn't quite shake.

Thinking again about the morning's conversation with the women and what I would share, I realized that, to me, love and kindness and acts of kindness sometimes feel weak or insignificant in the face of such blatant violence and anger. And it makes me wonder, Does what I do really make a difference?

This past Sunday, our faith community was having a conversation about times in our lives where we had a moment with God that changed us. And as I sat and listened to others share around the circle, I found myself thinking, When has God shown up in my life? 

The memory that came to me actually happened several years ago at a time when we were challenged to start building relationships with people outside of our church walls by showing kindness and hospitality to neighbors, co-workers—anyone we came into contact with on a regular basis. 

My husband and I decided we were going to get to know our neighbors, which was slightly awkward since we'd lived in our home for many years with little more than a wave to those who lived closest to us. But we decided to walk across the street to talk with an elderly man who lived alone.