Tag Archives: serving others

Figuring Out Ways to Show and Tell

At Do Not Depart this month, we’re talking about being “missionally-minded” in whatever we do, whether it’s at home, in our community, or on an overseas mission trip.5 ways to support missions

We’re all called to show, go, and tell about Christ’s love.

Sometimes, though, it can feel like a struggle to figure out how to help. I’m at Do Not Depart today sharing 5 ways to support missions from wherever you are. Come share your ideas and experiences!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode {Book Review}

I have some Type-A, perfectionist tendencies (I’ve seen more severe, so I can’t fully claim the label), and I definitely place way too much pressure on myself, including unrealistic expectations sometimes.

And I have young children (one of whom has multiple special needs), a part-time business, a husband who works more than full-time (also a blessing as he’s a hard worker who provides), a tight budget, and other challenges. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine was written for me. And a whole lot of others.Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

Crystal offers very understandable questions in the introduction as to whether or not you could benefit from this book. Some of the questions were a little too relatable for me. And, I just came off of being sick for a few days due to a hefty dose of sleep-deprivation over the past two weeks (due to both family needs and work needs).

Again, I needed to read this book.

I love Crystal’s honesty of her own struggles in reducing “schedule clutter” and the financial challenges she and her husband overcame early in their marriage. She offers simple, clear writing, but with enough detail to relate to and help readers.

“But I remember how empty and exhausted it felt to try to do it all, I realize it’s okay never to wear the [Superwoman] cape again.” – Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, p. 9

Crystal offers both practical tips (tips for setting up a sound budget, for managing time, for serving others as a family) along with a realistic and encouraging perspective. She includes tips from her own experience, research, reader tips, and reader questions.

“Excuses never get you anywhere. Instead of sitting and making excuses, invest the time and effort it takes to make excuses to consider how you can set yourself up for success in achieving your goals.” – Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, p. 101

I love how Crystal considers many kinds of families (single moms, working parents, stay-at-homes, families with special needs) and offers encouragement to all of us. She also addresses the root of why we should steward our time, health, and resources well:

“Live simply so others can simple live. Because truly, there is nothing more fulfilling than living a life with out-stretched arms.” – Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, p. 128

Some of the information Crystal shares may not be new to you if you already know about S.M.A.R.T. goals, sound financial planning, and basic health recommendations. But, as a single book to help inspire you to take action to better serve others and thrive (not just survive) in life, this book is a great resource.

Chapter 8 (“Yes, You Can Make a Difference”) might be my favorite chapter. It has inspired me to follow through on an idea I had before – monthly service projects as a family. I want serving others to be a daily habit in our family (and my kids inspire me constantly to do this more with their loving hearts!), but I also want to remain intentional about creating opportunities to bless our community or others internationally through activities the whole family can contribute to. Crystal gives practical suggestions in this chapter (and look for more posts from me on this blog on ideas we want to try and what we attempt).

quote from Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

If you haven’t visited Crystal’s site before (MoneySavingMom.com), it’s full of daily money-saving tips and encouraging articles, plus free printables for home management.

If you’d like to read more or purchase Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, click here.

How have you gone through the survival mode and into a thriving mode?

Disclosure: I received a free advance reading copy of this book as a part of Crystal’s launch team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

When Nothing on Your Birthday List Seems Important {charity: water} - an opportunity to donate to bring clean water to those in need!

When Nothing on Your Birthday List Seems Important

Each year of my childhood, my parents asked each of us for a “want list” for our birthdays. A few items we’d especially like to have that year. We’d make lists, excited about the possibilities.

Coming from teaching backgrounds, our family didn’t have a lot of extra money during my childhood, but we were never lacking essentials, either.

Honestly, how privileged were we just to be in a place where our parents could ask us for a “want list” each birthday?

My “want list” has definitely shrank since my childhood and the items changed drastically. What used to be CDs (yep), games, and books (oh, wait, books are still on the list), has changed to money for car insurance, organizational or family items, and fixing a broken car window.

Those new items are important, but this year my attention was drawn to something much more important.

Accessories Versus Survival

You and I are (likely) blessed to be able to just turn on a faucet and expect and receive clean, safe drinking water. And we may use it like we have an endless supply. It’s a gift, and sometimes I forget to think of it as such.

This year, I’ve pledged my birthday to charity: water.

charity: water works in numerous countries around the world to bring safe water to villages in need.

Some information from my campaign page:

Did you know that almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water? Every day, 5,000 kids die from water-related illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday. Fifth birthday. Too short of lives for such beautiful gifts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple solutions like drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help provide clean water to communities around the world.

Women and children around the world walk hours every day to collect water for their families. And the worst part? The water they collect can make them really sick. Terrible, right? Well, we can actually do something about it. Just $20 can give a person clean water to drink.

The best part is that 100% of the money we raise together will directly fund water projects around the world, and when those projects are complete, charity: water will send us photos and GPS coordinates so we can see the impact we made. (How cool is that?!) charity: water funds their operating costs separately through a group of private donors, so 100% of all public donations will go directly to people in need. This is one of the best charity business practices I’ve read about and seen yet.

If you’re able and you so desire, please click here to donate to my campaign. Any amount – $1 to $100 – helps. Because we’re doing this together.

I’ve emailed my family and shared my pledge, and I’ve even kicked off the campaign with the first donation. Because I believe in what charity: water does. And I’ve learned that just one person can make a difference. A team of us can change a village.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

If you’re interested in learning more about charity: water and how they operate, read here. If you’d like to pledge your own birthday, find out how here.

What’s your favorite charity? If you donate, a BIG thank you

As Rain Falls {Five Minute Friday}

 As Rain Falls {Five Minute Friday} via Under God's Mighty Hand

You’ve heard it said that “one drop in the pond doesn’t make much difference,” but another perspective is if those individual drops didn’t show up, there wouldn’t be a pond.

I’m listening to the rain fall; it sounds a vigorous as a mountain waterfall this morning.

The plants soak up the wet goodness, the leaves and grass turn greener already, and the ground gulps the water like a kid after racing his hardest outside with friends on a sweltering summer day.

As Rain Falls {Five Minute Friday} via Under God's Mighty Hand

One drop of rain might not make a huge different to that tomato plant in the ground desperate for moisture, but it helps.

And a pure, soaking rain takes many drops working together.

And, I think: we each have our choices to make on what we do with what we have available to give.

Mother Theresa says, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

What would happen if so many more of us did our part and choose goodness and kindness and love over all else?

As Rain Falls {Five Minute Friday} via Under God's Mighty Hand

What kind of effect could we have if we poured His love down on thirsty souls, and we did it together?

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” Mother Teresa 

The rain strengthens now, but this morning what I hear falling is peaceful, soak-you-through-to-the-heart love.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16


Today, I’ve joined Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday. Five minutes where we “just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.” No editing or backtracking! Join in on the Five Minute fun, won’t you?

Five Minute Friday

What kindness and goodness can you pour out today, or what kindness has fallen on you?

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand - A huge list of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for several "community helper" occupations. Plus, a free printable of a "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template!

Community Helpers Unit for Preschool {Huge List of Resources and Activities!}

My preschooler recently became fascinated with police officers, firefighters, and sirens (partially thanks to this episode of Signing Time).

While he’s interested seems like the perfect time to work in a “community helpers” unit!

Because we love book-based activities around here, we checked out a LOAD of “community helpers” books from the library to accompany our activities.

As I found more great activities, this unit grew, so we’re stretching this unit out over almost 3 weeks. (He’s loving it so far, so I’m going with it!)

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand - A huge list of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for several "community helper" occupations. Plus, a free printable of a "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template!

Occupations we covered:

-general “community helpers” activities
-garbage/recycling collectors
-police officers
-mail carriers
-emergency medical technicians (EMT/paramedic)

Our general plan: Spend 1-3 days on each occupation, reading one book and completing one activity (possibly two) each day. (Around 30 minutes total each day, not including any location visits.)

Read below for quick recaps of the activities we’re doing, plus two product reviews. These activities are geared toward preschool age, and you’ll notice a few modifications I used for my son’s special needs. Be sure to check out the awesome links throughout and take a look at the end of the post for a free printable!

General Community Helper Activities

Check out the books we gathered for this unit:

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

My son especially liked the “A Day in a Life” series. He kept picking up those books in particular and flipping through them on his own.

We completed two days of general activities about community helpers. (Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the following two products from Stone’s Education in exchange for my honest review. See full disclosure at the end of this post.) These “Community Helpers: Fun-to-Know Puzzles” cards made by Trends Enterprises were a great introduction to various helper occupations. As we flipped through a general community helpers book, we paired up a community helper with his or her work tool. This puzzle set comes with twenty person-tool pairs, allowing for a good variety of occupations. Each puzzle pairs up in a unique way, so if kids try to pair up the doctor’s prescription pad with the teacher, the puzzle pieces won’t fit.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Another day, we tried out this Listening Lotto: Community Helpers game (manufactured by Carson-Dellosa). I was extremely interested in trying this activity out, especially with my son being such a visual learner. The game comes with a CD of audio clues, 12 game boards (enough for a co-op or small class), and 120 small paper markers. The audio CD calls out descriptions of community helpers, and the child marks the appropriate person on his or her card. Though you could choose to have a “winner,” we typically choose to play until each person’s card is filled.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

The phrases the audio tracks used are very age appropriate for preschool and early elementary (“find the person on your game card who cooks at a restaurant” or “find the person on your game card who helps us when we are hurt or sick”). The tracks themselves are only 10-15 seconds long, so I did have to pause the tracks to allow time for my visual learner to think and look for the answer. (Older kids would be able to move quicker.) Perhaps due to my son’s special needs, he needed help occasionally with a few extra keywords or signs, but I helped less than I thought I would! He caught on to how to play the game quickly. A few of the pictures could be a little confusing for younger ages, but practice quickly increases familiarity. This game is especially good for review, but could also be used as an introduction to the unit to gauge what kids know. It’s a great activity for transferring audio clues to visual representation.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

We also used some location photos and these community helper cards to match the person with the location. (I got these from Stone’s Education a good while ago. They seriously have a rockin’ catalog.) I set 4 photos out at a time, gave him one helper card, and asked him where that person worked. A very simple, but effective activity.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Specific Community Helper Books and Activities


Book: A Day in the Life of a Librarian
Activity: Go to story time! Make “thank you” cards for two librarians.

Doctors and Nurses

Books: A Day in the Life of a Doctor and A Day in the Life of a Nurse
Activity: Travel to medical appointment. Take “thank you” cards for a doctor and a nurse!

Books: Doctors in Our Community and Community Helpers: Doctors
Activity: Pretend play with bear! We took Bear’s temperature and tried to do a mini check-up on Bear. Pretend play challenges my boy, so this activity only lasted a few minutes.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand


Books: A Day in the Life of a Farmer and Community Helpers: Farmers
Activity: Go strawberry picking! Take “thank you” card to farmer.

Garbage and Recycling Collectors

Book: A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector
Activity: Recycling Center sorting – A simple sorting activity with some recycling materials. I placed out two bowls and several pieces each of paper and cans.

Recycling Center Sorting as part of a Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

The first round, I put one can in one bowl and one piece of paper in the other bowl. I asked my son to finish sorting. He did with lightning speed! The second round, I left both bowls empty and asked my son (with much fewer directions) to put the cans in one bowl and the paper in the other bowl. He completed this task, too. Categorizing can be tough for kids with special needs. I was pretty excited about his performance.

Recycling Center Sorting activity as part of a Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Book: Community Helpers: Garbage Collectors
Activity: Shapes Garbage Truck craft from No Time for Flash Cards
We followed this activity fairly closely to how she describes it. Modification: I created a “model” of the craft first. Then I had my son follow the steps as described in Allison’s post. My fella needed a little guidance at the beginning, but then finished the craft much more independently!

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Police Officers

Books: A Day in the Life of a Police Officer and Community Helpers: Police Officers
Activity: We completed portions of Homeschool Creation’s police officer PreK pack, including the tracing, clip ‘n learn, counting and fingerprint book activities.

Book: What Does a Police Officer Do?
Activity: Stoplight Craft from Homeschool Creation’s Kindergarten police officer pack. Visit police station and take “thank you” note!

Mail Carriers

Book: Community Helpers: Mail Carriers
Activity: “Write” (or scribble or color) letters to family members and really mail them! Let child put stamps on and place letters in the mailbox. (Coming soon: a post on our new “writing center” for preschoolers! Stay tuned!) Also, give “thank you” to mail carrier (or go to post office).


Book: Community Helpers: Firefighters
Activity: Portions of Homeschool Creation’s Preschool Firemen Printable Pack, including matching cards, tracing sheets, and size sorting activities.

Book: A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
Activity: Shapes Fire Truck craft from Teach Preschool. We’ll modify this activity similar to how we modified the garbage truck craft earlier.

Bonus activity: Fire station tour! Many town fire stations allow tours for families or small groups if you call ahead to schedule one. After our tour, we’ll pretend play with our diaper box fire truck, modeled after this one from No Time for Flash Cards.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

Books: A Day in the Life of an EMT and Community Helpers: EMTs
Activity: Visit EMT station and take “thank you” card. We wrapped up reading this “Community Helpers” emergent reader, too.

We tried to visit a local example of each location throughout this unit. At each stop, we took a “thank you” card with colorful scribbles from the kids and a small plate of fruit and candy as a small gift of gratitude for their service. (I kept trying to think of something kind and useful to give that would stay in our budget, too, and couldn’t think of much else. Any ideas? Please let me know in the comments!)

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

A Personalized Community Helper Book

Also at each location, I tried to take a picture of the building/location itself and a photo of my son with one of the community helpers. At the end of the unit, we’re making a simple “My Town’s Community Helpers” book to read and love! And, if it blesses you, you can download a copy of the template I made for free!

A FREE "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template plus lots of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for a preschool community helpers unit at Under God's Mighty Hand

Each “helper” has two pages. One page has a sentence about that community helper and a place for a photo. The other page has a sentence about where that community helper works and a place for a location photo. You can paste 3″ x 5″ photos on each page or insert the photos digitally with PDF-editing software (or even draw pictures if you’d prefer not to use photos). After printing, you can bind the pages one right after another, or flip the pages so that you have a two-page spread each time you turn a page. We usually hole punch the “spine” and tie the book together with yarn. I might laminate these after we attach our photos, too!

Click this link to download the My Towns Community Helpers Photo Book Template PDF! (Thanks for downloading, and I hope it’s useful! Please share this blog post rather than the direct link to the document itself.)

For more resources, check out my “community helpers” Pinterest board for more ideas and activities!

Love resources lists like this post? You might find my free quarterly newsletter helpful! Click the image below to find out more and subscribe. (Subscribers receive more free printables, too!)

The Family Notepad - a free quarterly newsletter filled with resources for family, homeschool, and faith!

What activities have your children loved to learn about community helpers? I always love gathering resources, so please share in the comments!


Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of the “Community Helpers: Fun-to-Know Puzzles” and “Listening Lotto: Community Helpers” from Stone’s Education in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I only share what I believe to be helpful or useful.
I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, In Lieu of Preschool’s Tuesday Tots, UpsideDown Homeschooling’s Hearts for Home linkup, and the Weekly Kids Co-op.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op


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