10 Summer Serve and Learn Activities

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10 Summer Serve and Learn

Summer is the BEST time of the year, but sometimes it can be a challenge IF:

You are a parent

You are a caregiver

You are the older sibling babysitting younger brothers or sisters

I’m kidding…well kind of….

See, it’s about that time of the summer when ‘what are we going to do’? is heard about every 5 or 10 minutes.

And the ‘screen-time’ arguments have begun, such as: how long they get/want/deserve/need.

Have you gotten to the point yet when you think you will scream, or run far away, when you hear the words “I’m bored” one more time….

Guess what?  I have THE perfect solution!

It’s more than just keeping busy, though that is a good thing.

THIS teaches important life skills in such a fun and engaging way, they won’t even realize that they are learning and doing things that are useful and helpful!

WHAT is the key and answer here?  

It is my 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities!


TELL me more!

My 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn is more than just keeping the kids out of trouble, busy and time fillers.  

These are activities that will teach them:

  • They will Learn and Practice life skills that will last their whole life.
  • How to be kind and compassionate to others.
  • Many of the activities are educational in a very entertaining way, and enjoyed so much, they will not guess at all of the lessons they are learning.
  • They will learn to interact with others, a HUGE skill that is needed today.
  • All of these activities are free or very inexpensive.
  • Provide great lasting memories of a wonderful and unique summer.
  • Help them become better for what they will accomplish as they do any or all of these Serve and Learn Activities.


HOW do you go about implementing this extraordinary much-more-than-a-boredom-buster-list-of-activities? 

1- If your children are young, you could take one activity a week, say on a given night as a planned family time, and do one idea in each of the 10 activities.

2- If your kids are older and you are trying to keep them busy so you can get some things done.  Or another concern of busy and working parents, is to find worthwhile activities that keep the older kids from so much screen time and video games.  This is a fantastic way to accomplish that purpose also.  You could have the kid(s) do everything listed in the 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn.

3- Here is where you have to decide how important this is to you, as a family and for your children/kids/teens.  I personally like a reward system that is modest and small.  We all work for something.  A paycheck, a thank you, something, until we reach the point of real charity.  But the kids are usually still growing into that.  So, may I suggest that either a vote is taken, or you give the value you are willing to pay when the designated number of Serve and Learn Activities are done. 

For example:  If you must leave older kids at home during the day, it could be very useful to consider that each day or every few days, one of the activities would be done.  Again, for example, on Tuesday, they made the Cherrio Bird Feeder together, cleaned it all up and had a good time as a family without arguments; maybe  donuts would be the reward.  

You could tell them that when all 10 Serve and Learn Activities were done, again without contention, having fun and leaving it clean, the reward could be a night of family bowling, swimming at the local pool (watch for coupons) or hiking with a picnic.  

Let us know how you chose to implement these 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities by yourself, or as a family in the comments, in the Instagram feed or FB posts.  Pictures would be awesome!

I created an terrific checklist that you can download for free so you can easily keep track of each 10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activity as it’s completed, click HERE



            10 Summer Time Serve and Learn Activities

1- It all about the BIRDS

Kids Can Serve & Care:


Kids Can Learn: We live in a beautiful and special world.  By keeping it clean we can appreciate miracles all around us even more. By feeding the birds, we can watch them close up and enjoy their amazing colors and how they fly.



2- Invite someone, or a family, over for a game night

  • Try choosing from the old fashioned games like these: 

Old Time Game of Kick The Can

How To Play Old Fashioned Hop Scotch

Make up a batch of THE BEST Homemade Bubbles

This game of 100 is AWESOME for ALL ages


Learn: Playing is important at any age and we need to make sure we take time to have some fun!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw



3- Plant a garden or flowers 

  • With your family, or yourself, plant some vegetables or herbs to use in preparing your own food this summer.  See my post HERE for some ideas on gardening
  • Plant flowers to make your home look more attractive to you and others.  A planter or window box will make a big difference if you are limited in space or resources.

Learn:  It is incredibly empowering and therapeutic to actually plant, raise and harvest your own food and blooms.    The effort and energy put forth to teach your family this skill is some of the most well-spent and important you can do.  Again, see my post HERE




4- Visit or help someone

  • Weed the garden or flower beds, or do other yard work for someone who is unable.
  • If someone has recently had surgery, ask what you can do to help them.
  • Make posters for your local care center or facility to cheer them up. See this post HERE for ideas
  • Someone who might be overwhelmed with family or their life’s situation could use a hand. 
  • One of my amazing readers makes the baby bibs from my post to give to the new moms in her church.  You can see the easy to make tutorial HERE

Learn:  By visiting those who are elderly, have a young family, or unable to get out on their own, we are showing compassion and kindness.  Looking outside of our self to other’s needs and doing something to ease their burden are some of the most important skills we can learn, practice often to become a better person.




5- Welcome Someone To The Neighborhood, or Take A Treat to Those You Already Know

  • You will find lots of ideas of how to Welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood in THIS post.
  • THIS treat is always popular to take to anyone of any age:)
  • OR take a treat to a neighbor you want to get to know better.  This SWEET Tag HERE is one you might want to use. 


Learn: It’s hard to move to a new place and then meet people sometimes.  When we reach out to others we are making new friends as well as helping them feel comfortable in their new neighborhood.

By taking a treat to those you already know, but haven’t talked to in a while, makes your neighborhood and community stronger, you feel more included surprisingly and the friendships develop.



6- Serve At Home

  • Eat dinner together and have a conversation without technology. You’ll find the post HERE about dinner conversations, how to do them easily and with some FUN! 

Learn: Technology is a great thing, but too often it gets in the way and we don’t take the time to talk to each other, even in our own family.  This is a perfect way to learn new things about each other in a natural and creative approach.



7- Learn About Your Family 

  • I have a post on how how and why to do a Family Tree HERE
  • Get to know a family member better by visiting in person, or skype.

Learn: With your child learn who their family tree members are as they fill out one, or both of the styles of Family Tree’s in THIS POST. Fill one out yourself if you haven’t before and ask living family members in your Family Tree to share an inspiring experience they had, or one they learned a valuable lesson from that you may not have known. 

Knowing our family and their life is so important because it connects us to our past and helps us understand our self also.




8- Love the Animals

  • Shelters are in need of many supplies all the time, and have lots of animals to care for.  Did you know that some shelters have other animals besides just dogs and cats they need items for too?  See my post on Service to our local Animal Shelter HERE

Learn:  Compassion and kindness for all of God’s creatures




9- There Are Those In Need ALL year long

  • Have you ever thought of helping your local MEALS ON WHEELS?  In my area they are in need of general greeting cards all year long.  You can find our more HERE
  • Donate to a local food bank. It’s natural to think of those less fortunate at Christmas and other holidays, but the need is there all year long.  

Learn:  Serving others is how we learn about ourselves. 




10- Say Thank you!

  • We appreciate a ‘thank you’ and should express gratitude often.  But when do we actually sit down and write a note of thanks to someone?  
  • It also teaches our family members volumes we cannot speak as we act by doing.
  • See my post HERE for all the how’s, why’s, when’s and what to write in a thank you card.

Learn:  It only takes a couple of minutes to do this simple task, but the effects on us as the sender, and those who receive it are priceless.



I can’t wait to hear what you and your family are LEARNING, PRACTICING and BECOMING this summer!

Please share in the comments on in this post, on my FaceBook comments and Instagram feed, so we can learn from each other, be encouraged and get awesome ideas. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2019

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak

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ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

What do I say, or do when I want to help and give service?

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak

Have you ever been sick, or caring for someone and needed some some extra help? 

Or had someone close to you, who you knew could use a lending hand in some way, but you wondered what to do that would be comforting and useful?

Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak is one of the most thoughtful and rewarding things we can do. 

However, too often we shy away and not do anything, because we may not know what to say, or what to do, or how to best give service.

So that we can bring relief to the weary who are physically drained from caring for their family and loved ones; and comfort those who’s heart is breaking from any type of tragic and adverse situation, I have put together some resources to guide us in being a true comfort, such as:

  • How can you help a friend who is overcoming a loss from suicide, infant death, pet loss, or any other situation of deep mourning. 
  • What do we say, or not say?
  • How can we actually help without saying the cliche: “Let me know what I can do”?  and then do nothing….
  • What can we do to show we care that is meaningful and helpful? 

As you read on, you will find there are several excellent ideas here; however, the secret is to act and reach out.  They will greatly appreciate your kindness and show of support, in often unspoken words. Just do the best you can and serve.


Mourn with those that mourn

Have you ever experienced a trial or hardship that was extremely difficult, though maybe not as recognized as a disease or accident?  I think we all have, and during those times, we still need an encouraging word of reassurance and friendship.

During a particularly difficult time, Natalie delivered this card to me shown just below, and it filled the heart with joy.   

To find beautiful cards like this, Natalie’s link is HERE 

You can also download a free THINKING OF YOU CARD  here

Being there to lift another’s burden by simply saying you are there as a friend is priceless. Remember, a ‘real’ card is never out of style. 


You will find many more ideas of how you can help in useful and creative ways, including a SUNSHINE GIFT for all ages at the end of this post.

Ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

What do I say, or do when I want to help and give service?


In distressing circumstances what do you say– or not say?  

There are numerous conditions under which a person or a family could use help.

  • Severe handicap
  • Mental Illness
  • A loved one chose suicide
  • A death, whether old, young or newborn
  • Terminal illness
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • New baby (adopted and foster are just as much of an adjustment)
  • Job loss – long term, or repeated can be very disheartening


1- Now that we identified WHEN to help –

2- WHAT can we do if it’s not obvious?

3- Look hard and pray about HOW to help.  Here’s an example from my own experience.

Some years back, a family in our neighborhood had a very young son who was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, it was a scary and trying time for also their extended family and those of us in the neighborhood who knew and cared about them.

I wanted to somehow be a benefit, but I wasn’t sure what to do, so I included it in my prayers that I’d know how to help.

After prying a little one day, I found out that the mom did not have the extra means to buy food from the cafeteria while she was at hospital; which was daily while her young son had treatments.

That was my answer!

I packed a sturdy durable bag that closed tight with food that could be warmed in the microwave, or eaten as it was, but none that required refrigeration.

Mainly high protein foods and a few treats.   

Another time this same mom asked me to watch her other children because she had to take her son to his doctors appointment. While she was gone, I arranged with other women in our church to come in for a cleaning blitz who had wanted to help, but didn’t know what they could do.

While we cleaned, older kids of the women who had come to help clean, did crafts with the kids I was in charge of for the mom at the hospital, making them feel special and keeping them entertained.  This was a great gift and service to them, as their life now had to often revolve around all the hospital visits and that very sensitive situation of their brother being ill.

It’s a cherished memory of how to involve others.

What if I SAY or DO the wrong thing? 

How do I know THE BEST way to serve them?

It’s unfortunate, but a part of life that illness, tragedy or hardship will come to one of our loved ones,  a friend, or a neighbor at some time. 

And then –

  • What do we say?
  • What do we do?
  • How can we help?
  • What’s the best approach?
  • What about when the person or family has lost a loved one to suicide?

I have some tips and suggestions so that you will ALWAYS know how, when and the best ways to be of service and comfort.  Remember!  Just Do SOMETHING with the best intention of loving them and it will be alright.




This was a situation for one of my dear neighbors and I didn’t know what to say, or what to do myself as I hadn’t encountered this situation before. So I researched a bit and I’m sharing with you the information I found.

Heartbreaking position for those grieving with the loss of a loved one to suicide

To read the helpful tips and ideas of what to do, click GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE TO SUICIDE





This is another delicate issue and so tender for everyone involved.  

I have tried to gather information for us so we can be the most helpful in this situation. 

Click here on  What Do You Say When A Friend Or Family Member Loses A Baby?




Losing A Pet can be as devastating as losing a family member to those who love and care for their pets.

I have a tips and ideas you will find helpful here in How To Comfort When There Is A Pet-loss





Treat them the same

It’s important to remember and treat the person, or the family as you always did.  This new diagnosis, or difficulty they are having isn’t ‘them’.  It isn’t a way to identify them, or take over their personality, it’s just the new situation or ‘normal’ for the time being.  Remembering that will help you treat them the same as you always did, and it won’t be as awkward with the new circumstances because it helps them feel ‘in control’ and somewhat their usual self.


Try to do something ‘normal’, out of the ordinary and FUN

For example

The picture of the baby at the top of the post is one of my grand daughters.  Right after being born, she was in the NICU also known as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Her brother had been in the hospital for several days which was terrifying.

Stan, my husband, spent much of his time after work at the hospital with the sick grandchildren.

But when he was home, he took the other kids to Sam’s Club (their favorite) for lunch, then to the store to let them pick out their own match-box car.

When they came back to the house,  I gave each of them a few washable markers and their own empty toilet paper roll to make a car ‘power station’. They had a blast and it filled the time with creativity and imagination.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, just out of the ordinary and something THEY will enjoy.


Another day does begin

I had some of the grand kids at my house, giving their mom a chance to recuperate with the sick baby.

I put on the musical ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, the one with Ann Margaret. They had the best time watching something they had never seen, and dancing with Birdie as the whole town swooned and fainted – they thought that was pretty funny; acting right along and falling to the ground with the character’s in the movie, as Birdie played his guitar.

Get them up and MOVING

Laughter is a wonderful release from the stress for ALL ages.
kids 1
Try to provide as much normality as possible in their day by keeping them busy, as appropriate of course.

This provides a way for even little ones to feel somewhat in control, despite the drastic changed schedules and even living circumstances. 

‘Helping’ Uncle Dallin 2


Here is my son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter getting ready to come home from the hospital.

Our little NICU grandbaby was finally allowed to come home!baby 8After taking baby CPR classes at the hospital, learning how to run the oxygen machine, classes on how to use monitoring and other devices to help our little grand daughter stay alive, our son Derek remarked:

“Who said kids don’t come with instructions.”

Always try to keep a sense of humor, it goes a LONG way in putting these stressful situations in perspective and dealing with them in a healthy manner.

photo 6

It seems if we live long enough we will have family and friends who will face challenges of some sort that will require help.

I have complied a little list of ideas that might be useful if you are ever in the situation of wondering how to help and be most useful:

  • Keep in mind that when a person, or family are in a crisis, they may have much different priorities then before. Be sensitive to their ‘new situation’ and that ‘normal’ things may not be a current concern.  Just understand and be supportive.
  • LISTEN, do not judge or give unwanted advice. Sometimes the other person simply wants to talk and get it out in the open.  Realize it may not be how they really feel; actually, it probably isn’t. Be kind about not repeating or passing on anything that is best kept between trusted friends. Venting is part of grieving.
  • Offer to clean the house or gift a professional house cleaning service.  Do not just offer, be proactive and DO something. 
  • Sometimes when asking what you can do to help is almost more stressful because the person/family may not be able to process everything that does need to be done, such as  the real necessities. You could ask about arranging to pick up other children for school, sports, scouts, etc. That would be a great relief to the parents and family.
  •  It is critical that the family members have a way to recharge and have the energy to face the ordeal at hand. By arranging for the parents/care giver to have the opportunity to exercise, get sleep, have meals brought in and babysitting the other children would be such a relief.
  • Offering to stay with a child or family member for a few hours at the hospital to give the adult(s) time to leave for a bit, would allow them to take a moment for them self, while knowing that someone was there and their loved one wasn’t alone.  
  • A SunShine Gift or Basket would be perfect, click HERE

SunShine Gifts and Baskets













More Suggestions on how to give comfort and relief:

  • A gift certificate for a massage, a facial, a haircut, a manicure, a pedicure, a movie, favorite meal, etc., would be so appreciated for them to use while a trusted friend or family member sat with the sick/hospitalized patient.
  • Provide rides to and from school,  or activities for other family members. Also, rides to the hospital so the children can visit the parent(s).
  • A personal planner to keep track of all the details if this is an extended situation.  THIS ONE would be a great one. 
  • Take, or send, a care package to the sick patient. Part of this could also be gift cards to local restaurants or even a way to purchase food at the hospital for the parents/adults.
  • If it is holiday time, offer to shop for them, or even arrange a ‘Secret Santa’ for the family to take the pressure off them financially, as well as the overwhelming time it can be.
  • A journal is incredibly healing.  HERE is a terrific choice. 
  • And ONE for kids
  • If it is another child’s birthday time, offering to hold the party would be a tremendous burden eased for the parent(s) so the child does not feel left out or ‘on-the-back-burner’ so to speak.
  • Grocery shop for family. If the funds are tight for them, you might want to purchase the necessities or even see if neighbors want to go in with you.
  •  Do, or arrange for, housecleaning or yard work to be done.  That’s a HUGE help.
  • If they have pets, help or provide a source to feed and walk them.
  • Take siblings out for a fun activity or babysit them.
  • If you know them well, books and CD’s that will inspire and make them laugh would be a great choice.
  • Provide THANK YOU cards and stamps for them to send out. THESE would be a fabulous choice.
  • If it is overwhelming to keep family and friends up to date of the patients treatment and circumstance. You could offer to keep up a blog or even Facebook page for them; with their approval of EVERY SINGLE post/entry
  • Help the other family members feel useful. It empowers them and takes their mind off the situation at hand.
  • A small decorated vase with a narrow opening is a great idea to take to your friends or neighbors if you are on a budget. If taking flowers, ask to be sure if they are allergic to any one type of flower.
  • Balloons are always fun.  
  • ***If you are taking flowers or balloons into a hospital check with the staff first o make sure it’s alright with the hospital policy and into the area you want to take them.

If you are looking for ideas on taking in a meal, I have GREAT information, lots of useful tips and recipes at: 

What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

I hope this post has given you tools and resources to empower you, so that you feel comfortable reaching out to anyone in need; whether you barely know them, or they are close family or a dear friend. 

We all have ordeals to go through some time in life – that’s just the way it is. 

Having a person, an angel, who cares enough about us, our comfort, our family, to ACT and DO something selfless, means more than words can express.

Copyright A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

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What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

Do you ever feel empty? 

Do you long for true joy and happiness?

Do you feel like you are sitting on a shelf and not as ‘full’ as you could be?

Do you want to know how to love and appreciate others more deeply?

Then come read about my Grandma’s jars and the difference they made.


FILLING The Empty Jars

My wonderful Grandma collected little jars, small bottles, glass containers and cute bowls that sauces, jellies, condiments and the like they came in.  She was very frugal and did not want to waste them, so they were washed, dried and put in the basement on a shelf – to sit, and wait.

After she and grandpa passed away, as a family we were getting the house ready to sell.  I saw the rows of bottles, containers and bowls, and asked if I may have them.  My mom and aunt were very generous and let me take all I wanted.

Now on my shelf they sat. However, they seemed to call out, almost shouting to be filled, to be used, to be a part of something larger than them-self, useful and beneficial.

So what could I do? It was then I decided to give away the precious and long kept pieces. 

I would pray every day to receive inspiration of who needed needed a little pick-me-up, treat or gift, whether I knew them well or not.  Sometimes a name came quickly, other times I had to listen very intently and the name would come later in the day, or days later, of who needed the very special present from me, and Grandma.  I would then fill one of the jars, bowls or bottles with a homemade treat, or something purchased and leave it on the doorstep along a little note that I was thinking of them.  It took over a  year to pass out all those containers .

Some might ask: what was the point of all that extra work and the resources to leave something for someone who might not even care, or appreciate the gesture?  I cannot give hard facts, or even life-changing experiences stemming from the  filled jars to support why it was worthwhile.

Nor can I produce evidence of why it was better than throwing them away, giving them to a charity or even leaving them on the shelf ‘for someday’.  Yet I can attest to what it did to me.

Every time I prayed to know who needed something; whether a treat, a call, a note, I looked beyond myself. Blessing ONE

Something extraordinary happened inside of me as I passed out the jars, bottles and dishes:  The containers were all unique, none the same, each exceptional in its own way; whether ornamental or simple in design, the beauty was undeniable in every single piece.  It became quite evident and obvious, that when choosing the piece to give, as I looked to appreciate the exquisiteness the containers, I also saw in each person I was looking to serve a bit of glory. I was able to see the magnificence that is in every person, as we are a child of God – distinctive, remarkable and magnificent. I could see a sign of Him, of unparalleled greatness not even found in the most glorious beauty of nature. I could love people that I knew, and those I did not more fully just because of who they were, a part of heaven! Blessing TWO

We are all so very busy, with heavy demands and pressures from so many angles coming at us.  So for me to sincerely want to know who I could reach out to and serve by giving of my time, takes the focus off of myself and my own family for a bit, and is a way for me to be more like Christ.  He always looked to do what His Father wanted, and was consequently perfect. I will never be completely ‘perfect’, but I can try my very best to be better. I will certainly fall short, but can keep trying, and that’s what counts. Blessing THREE

When we put our self ‘on a shelf’, though attractive, we are empty. There is nothing of worth or value to offer out of an empty container. Conversely, when we search, ask and quickly respond to an impression, a thought, to do good to help someone else even when it is awkward or tiresome, we are filled.  These acts of selfless service and generosity, combine to make us much more valuable to our family, others and God.  Blessing FOUR

Serving is never, ever convenient or easy.  It does not need to be something spectacular such as traveling to a foreign country to give aid – though that is very commendable, but not available to most of us.  However, a note, a smile, a kindness is always doable and works miracles in our own life. 

  • Interestingly, as we serve, we become filled with goodness and true joy which cannot be bought, nor obtained in any other way. 
  • As we relieve another persons burdens, our own trials and cares are eased. 
  • As we reach out, our level of happiness is deepened and our souls are much more content. 
  • Pain, suffering and loss we often feel, are lessened, making way for an exhilaration for living, regardless of our circumstances. 

I know from personal experience, this is factual, and will be true for you also.

As we are looking to the Thanksgiving holiday, and the miracles and blessings surrounding the events that give us cause to celebrate, let us look for ways to reach out; which in actually demonstrates our gratitude to God for all we have.

  • Do you have ‘jars’ to fill? They may not be actual jars, but a note to send, a smile to share, an apology to give, anything to relieve anothers burdens
  • Could your attitude and outlook benefit from a surge of gladness and appreciation for what you have? 

I challenge you to reach out and serve someone who is not expecting it.  When you hear the quiet whispering of who needs you, do not ignore it.  As you act on this feeling or thought, your life will be even more blessed than the person you are serving – this I know.  Blessings imagined and IMMEASURABLE

Recognize a blessing and Be a Blessing today 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, revised 2015

More Posts On This Topic

Gratitude Tree

DSC_2003 - gratitude tree







Gratitude Journal






A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman

AMS Cover Small

Reaching out to help Parents & Grandparents

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Helping Mom and Dad

Helping Mom and Dad

Aaahhhhh, it’s so nice to have it done!

From the time we had kids,  Stan and I would corral the kids to help family members with  yard work, minor repairs or whatever the needs were, from the time our family was young.Helping Mom and Dad 1
Now, we still do all we can to get everyone to help out once a year or so.  Helping Mom and Dad 2
 This time, extended family caravan by vehicles for about 2 1/2 hours to help  mom and dad to get things done in the yard that needed attending to. Helping Mom and Dad 3

It’s work, effort, time and use of resources, that’s true; however, doing these projects as a family is more fun than alone.Helping Mom and Dad 4Even the little ones get involved.  I had them drag small branches to the pile for burning at a later time. Helping Mom and Dad 5
It’s never too early to teach them to help and work at appropriate levels.Helping Mom and Dad 6

Maybe you/your family will take the opportunity to find out who might need a bit of help. Gather them up, plan a potluck and make wonderful memories while accomplishing some good!Helping Mom and Dad 7Helping Mom and Dad 8Working together to help others,  strengthens bonds, create memories, teaches many values, And helps to instill a strong work ethic,Helping Mom and Dad 9

Don’t forget to have a day of FUN too!
Helping Mom and Dad 10
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

A New Life After Baby

New Life With Baby

A New Life After Baby

A New Life After Baby

How does a baby change your life? Ahhh, the list of positives will tens of times over out weigh the list of negatives.    However parenthood does bring a few changes…..


I will confess my naiveté when starting our family.  Stan and I went to the doctor who pronounced that yes indeed we were going to have a baby. We were ecstatic, a bit afraid and totally unprepared, as any honest parent will tell you – they do not come with instructions and even when you figure out one, the others did not read the same play book.

Anyway, the next day I went back to work and asked a coworker, whose wife was due with their first baby any minute, how she was doing. He replied that she had started to dilate so it would be very soon. I thought about that all day. Stan and I worked in offices that were close to each other so it was great that we could carpool to and from work. On the way home I asked him, “So, how do they tell by looking at your eyes that you are ready to have a baby?” He almost ran us off the road he was laughing so hard!

Ok, I have learned a little more since then. Babies are such a wonderful blessing from God, and they bring us closer to our Creator than any other job, service or assignment ever could. Parenthood is a blessing and a huge adjustment. I mean seriously, how can one little body create a dozen loads of laundry a week? Their clothing is so little! Did you realize you would ‘smell funny’ for the next several years, a mixture of …..well… we won’t go into that. Oh, and that your clothing would have always have foreign matter on it, that you cannot even/want to identify? And what is with the elevation in 2 feet? How come a baby is content IF you are standing versus sitting? How can they even tell when they do not seem to understand the difference in day and night, and yet they know when you are resting by sitting for a minute! And the sleep, oh the sleep, a deep long, uninterrupted sleep….was now only a day dream.

Food, at the designated appropriate temperature the food is supposed to be when eaten, does not matter anymore. If it is intended to be served hot it will be cold when mom gets to it. If it is meant to be eaten cold, it will be warmish when she eats. (My mother has not had a hot meal in ?? years – A Christmas Story) Besides the culture shock and huge learning curve, it was frustrating to me after I had my first baby to not have anything ever ‘done’. Then, it dawned on me, I may never have a project finished. Laundry multiplied in the basket giving birth to more clothing. Dishes seem to breed in the sink, piling continually, and the list went on.

Please do not misunderstand, I LOVE being a mom but there was a reality to motherhood also.

After contemplating, and asking God for help with my predicament, I came to the idea that I would get a project that I could work on, no matter how small, that would stay done.  This would release a bit of my tension while nourishing my inner creativity (it sounds good right?!).

Stan and I packed up our firstborn one Saturday and headed down town. I found an embroidery kit on clearance that fit within our little budget and it was a done deal. The picture at the top of this post is that embroidery kit. Some days I would literally only get one stitch done. But that was my lofty goal, at least one stitch a day. When it was ready to frame I did not want it cleaned; the stains are still there to remind me of dragging it around for 2+ years – that’s right it took me TWO years to finish it. But it really fulfilled my need to ‘have something done that stayed done’ and my impatience of adjusting to my new life was so much easier because of that little project.

My picture was, and is, a testament that God does hear and listen to any who will just ask Him in a little faith for help with righteous desires. I had a need, insignificant in the grand scheme of life, yet He knows me so well, that when I could not quite understand and grasp what would help me adjust to my new life, He gave me the answer so I could feel more joy. There is nothing more precious than children coming into our life and our home. It can be, actually I can guarantee that it will a challenge and a drastic change in life; however, there is nothing of higher importance or  has deeper impact for joy and happiness than having a family.

When you have challenges of any sort, get on your knees and pray about it. Your answer may be as simple as mine was. It may be that a person comes to your mind who can give you trusted direction and support. Possibly it is you who will be the answer to give comfort, relief and moral guidance. All the inconveniences, trials, tears and experiences are worth it, because family is love and that is of the most worth.

We delight in, and savor happiness because we  know sorrow.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.