What I'm Doing on My Summer Vacation: Christmas in July

July 22, 2013

Over the past several weeks, we've been highlighting some of the amazing things people are doing for others over the summer months: missions trips, initiatives within their communities, hikes and runs that raise money to support charities.

And all of those things are wonderful. And yet, they cause me to wonder - what am I doing? I'm not going on a missions trip. I'm not running across the state. And my neighbors - although we truly appreciate them - are not always uppermost in my mind. 

On Friday night, we had a group of church folks over to our house for the DVD series, "Love & Respect." And as we talked about what we'd like to do to give back or help others in the community as a group, one gentleman matter-of-factly mentioned how low food shelves' supplies can get in the summer. And I thought -- oh, yes. Of course.

You see, it's easy to think about giving during a season of giving. This past winter, Kendra, Julie and I committed to Advent Acts of Kindness in the weeks leading up to Christmas, each day consciously choosing to help someone else.

But it's easy to forget about Christmas in July. 

 And in the midst of barbeques and trips to the lake and time spent at cabins, it's easy to forget that there are still very real needs in our communities. People are still homeless and hungry. People still need hope and the prospect of a better day.

Too often, I focus on the Big Things people are doing for God. And I forget about how we're called to be faithful in the Small Things, too.

That's why I'm going to celebrate Christmas in July. What am doing on my summer vacation? Trying to think up things to do for others, big and small. You're welcome to join me. :)

For some inspiration, here's a look back at some of our Advent Acts of Kindness, as well as some new ones I've thought of doing:

Meal served at Place of Hope
- Leaving quarters on laundry machines at a local laundromat.

- Feeding the homeless. (Seen in the picture is a group Tim helped organize to do a meal at Place of Hope in St. Cloud. More information on this great ministry is found here.)

- Supporting those who make sacrifices for our communities and our country like emergency personnel and military service people. You can also send care packages to military personnel stationed abroad too - the stories on this page totally made me cry.
Making a card for a little girl with health issues

- Making donations to do work around the world, year-round, like World Vision (clean water, food, education, healthcare for kids around the world) and International Justice Mission (fights against human trafficking).

- Baking cookies or treats for someone. A neighbor. The mailperson. Your child's teacher or daycare provider. The librarian who reads at story time. The list is endless! :)

- Delivering a meal to someone who recently had a baby, surgery or other health concerns, or just seems stressed out by life. I have a bunch in my freezer that I keep on hand.

- Mowing the lawn or doing other yard work for a single mom, an elderly person, or someone else who would appreciate the help.
Diapers and wipes on a changing station

- Sending cards and stickers to children who have medical issues with the help of websites like Post Pals. Elise was in the NICU for a few weeks as a preemie, so I sympathize with any parent who has to walk with their child through medical challenges. 

- Paying for someone else's tab in a drive thru. Maybe then I can justify all of my Caribou trips to Timmy, right?! ;)

- Donating items to the local animal shelter. Although my kids would probably want to take an animal home with us, too...

- Leaving diapers and wipes on a changing table at a local store. This is one way our 18-month-old Noelle can "help" by donating items of her own.

- Helping out a child in the foster care system through organizations like Project Night Light -- which provides children entering the foster care system with basic supplies, including jammies. I've also heard good things about the Forgotten Initiative.

I'm so excited to get started! What other acts of kindness can you think of?

"No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God." (NLT)


  1. Oh just love this! You ladies are beautiful with the light of Christ shining through you! Thanks for sharing your light with all of us : )