Pay It Forward

Recently my children and I attended a fun filled afternoon of food, go carts and fun to celebrate a good friends birthday.   This friend treated my boys and I to his birthday festivities, that’s right I said ‘his birthday!’  When I offered to pay him back monies spent, he refused and instead advised me to ‘pay it forward (if/when the opportunity presents itself).’.

 I began to ponder on this and thought, what if many in the world did this consistently, using just what they currently had?  The world would definitely be a much better place than when we arrived on it.

 You may say, ‘I don’t have monies, or anything to give.’  To that I say ‘Give your time, a listening ear, a smile, or a hug.’

 You may say, ‘I don’t know anyone who needs a blessing.’ To that I say ‘ Go ask around and find someone.’

 You may say, ‘ I have my own issues to deal with.’  To that I say ‘Trust and believe there is someone going through much more than you can ever even imagine.’

 Little do we realize that when we connect and share with others we are offered a chance to help lessen someone else’s’ burden, therefore lessening our own in the process.  This can also give us a very deep sense of gratitude for what we currently have or are going thru as we often have no idea of what loads others are carrying.

 The next time this opportunity presents itself, remember that you have something to offer others and are here on this planet for something more than just the pleasure to please yourself. ~ Stacy McClendon

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive”. ACTS 20:35

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Farmers Market Savings Waiting for You!

Have you ever wanted to get farm fresh produce for you and your family, but thought it would be too expensive?  Well that is an afterthought thanks toMarket Match.   Market Match is a program provided by Hunger Action Los Angeles in collaboration with various agencies.  This program helps extend your dollars while allowing you to purchase fresh and healthy produce at a discount.  Program participants are able to receive an extra $10 from Market Matchwhen they spend $10 with CalFresh/EBT at participating farmers markets.  This benefit is available per family, per market day at participating farmers markets in Los Angeles County.

To find out more info regarding Market Match visit:

www.hungeractionla.org

To find a farmers market near you visit:

www.FMFinder.org

Don’t forget to take your children with you on your farmers market visits, as the farmers market showcases current produce in season and even allows you to taste samples before purchasing.  This allows both you and your child to expand your palate, by trying something that you might normally pass up at the grocery store.  You also don’t have to waste monies purchasing something that looks good from the outside, but might not taste so well.  In addition, it teaches your children that it’s important to feed your body fresh fruits and vegetables.  Something that they’ll pass on to future generations.

Who knows, you might even get to hear some Beautiful musical selections, as many farmers markets now offer this as well.

So, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to plan that next family outing!

Enjoy and spread the word!~ Stacy McClendon

Do It Differently

Christmas is an opportunity to overload our families with Christ… However; instead of really tapping into the beauty of the season, we tend to overload our homes with unrealistic expectations, frustration and disappointment. A few years ago I had to write a paper for school on Consumerism as an Ideology vs. Christianity… The discoveries I made while gathering information for my paper changed something inside of me. I have always had a desire to live on less in order to give more, but, this was not a concept I instilled in my children. Like many other parents, I wanted them to “have more” than I did growing up. After I finished this course, I decided to change the definition of “have more” in my household. Instead of having more STUFF, we would have more honesty, more memory building, more trust and more quality time spent. I began teaching my children that this life is not about them, but about what they can do for others.

We began serving as a family and looking for ways to put others above ourselves. The first Christmas with this new found freedom of not living up to the worlds standards of success was delightful. We were presented with an opportunity to sponsor a young man growing up in foster care and we made Christmas a special time for him. My children and I sat down and agreed that they would receive one “big ticket” item and a smaller item that lined up with their interest. The rest of our holiday budget would go towards another person. We have since carried on that tradition and that is truly the highlight of our Christmas season.

Jesus has asked us to serve others, regardless of the time of year… Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love… There is a great opportunity to not only bless another person, but to literally show our family and friends what it means to be a follower of Christ… God tells us to train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it… How amazing would it be if we all trained our children up to be selfless, compassionate people who sought out ways to improve the lives of those around them… Can we say a world changed?

I encourage you to find a way to get your family involved in giving back this holiday season… We all know a struggling single parent who could use a little extra help this holiday season or a homeless individual who could use a hot meal and a warm coat… Or maybe it’s a sick friend who would love some homemade cards from your amazing little artists… It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something a little different this Christmas and watch the frustrations fade and hope come alive. ~DeShawne Coleman

Merry Christmas!!