Archive for the ‘Serving Others’ Category.

Remembering 9-11 by thanking those who serve now

We can thank our the firemen who protect our own cities as a way to remember those who served so bravely on 9-11.  Last year, we baked cookies and the kids made this card.  The firemen who greeted us at the door, looked surprised and touched when we explained why we were bringing them. 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

This verse, along with my top 15 favorite verses for teachable moments,
can be found in Parenting with Scripture on pages 234-235…Or, as a free printable on my website at this link-


 9-11 2

 9-11 1




3   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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Good Deeds Day – 2013

After the blessings of trying out this idea for the first time last year, we were all excited to get going on our second annual Good Deeds Day!  Here’s the list we planned in case it helps jumpstart ideas for your family.  After, I’ll share a couple of opportunities that God presented along the way. 

*Had my son’s friend along for the fun to help out his mom who had somewhere she needed to be that day. 
*Baked cookies and took them with a thank you card the kids made to our fire station.
*Made and mailed cards for an uncle who just had lung cancer surgery. 
*Dropped off some old towels at our city animal shelter.
*Loaded coins in the vending machines at Wal-Mart.
*Stocked up on items appropriate for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes while school supplies were on sale (pencils, sharpeners, markers, small spirals, scissors, calculators).
*Bought the magnets for our back-to-school prayer encouragements for the teachers.  We buy them at Mardel, but you can also order them on Amazon.  Search “people magnet clips.”
*Paid for the order of the people behind us in the Chick-fil-a drive-through.
*While driving home, prayed specifically over all the people that would be touched through our Good Deeds Day. 

This year, God added a different component that we will be sure to be prayerful about ahead of time in future years.  He opened our eyes to a couple of unplanned good deeds along the way.  As we were pulling out of our neighborhood, we saw a lady sitting in a broken down car.  Since it’s August in Texas, that’s not pleasant or safe.  We circled back around and asked if she needed help, use of our cell phone, or a ride.  She was appreciative we stopped to ask, but her ride pulled up just behind us.  

The other addition to our day was that God put us in the path of one of our school teachers at the stores we were stopping by!  By the third time, it got to be a bit comical and the kids and I decided we would surprise her with a small gift card.  While I finished checking out at Mardel, the children excitedly went to find her and thank her for being a great teacher at our school. 

And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  
Hebrews 13:16





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Summer Fun Series – Good Deeds Day!

This awesome idea is from my sweet church friend, Mary Andrews…

Hello!  Kara has asked me to share with you a fun activity that I did last week with my three kids, ages 10, 9 and 6.  First, let me preface this with saying that I have “normal” kids.  Each summer for the last 5 years, we have put together a simple list on poster-board of summer goals that we have for the few months home from school.  Each child had several fun suggestions, and I interjected with the idea of a “Good Deeds Day” and got…silence.  We put it on the list and decided to cross that activity off our list last Thursday.

I first had to encourage them that this was actually going to be a fun activity as they weren’t too sure.  We set out to our local grocery store, and parked our car.  From there, we looked for stray grocery carts that we then gathered together and delivered into the store.  At first, especially my youngest, was crying about how ‘hard’ this was, but the manager actually came out to thank them and told them they were “hired”, which made for smiles all around.

While at the grocery store, we purchased a small bouquet of flowers and told the kids that I had someone in mind to give it to…our church secretary.  Once in the car, I took a moment to talk to them about how our pastors are so visible and yet they would agree with me that without our hard-working secretary, Carol, so much of what they do would not get done.  This was really eye-opening to them, and I could tell they were excited to give the flowers to such a deserving person.  I had my oldest son take the flowers and hand them to her, and each child said, “thank you” and told her about the Good Deeds day we were a part of.  I could tell my idea was catching on!

Some of the other activities we did were leaving a dollar bill on an ATM machine, finding a random mailbox in a struggling neighborhood and putting $5 in it (that was my 9 year old’s idea: he was most excited), and the highlight was going to the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A to pay anonymously for the car behind us.  What was especially nice about this was that there was a time when we were the only ones in line so we were able to pray together that the right person who needed a blessing would come.  My son prayed that it wouldn’t be a school bus of hungry kids, too!  Turns out, we paid only $2.66 for a young woman’s beverage and waited to see her reaction and she simply drove away without any acknowledgment or smile!  That, too, became a lesson in gratitude and we had good conversations all the way home about how they would have reacted differently.

All in all, this was only an hour and a half activity, yet I felt like it really made an impact on them.  It was humbling when, only a few hours later, they told their dad at dinner only a little bit of our day together!  Again, normal kids, but I’m hoping a little seed was planted and that they will one day think of others in special, anonymous ways.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:24


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Cooking with Kids for Others- 4 Recipes Included!

Whether your children are itty bitty, or teens, serving others by preparing and delivering meals can be blessing to your family as well as the recipient family.  We take meals for friends and family who have had surgery, babies, lost a loved one, or other situations where a meal would help bring relief.  I know first hand the huge help of receiving meals from church friends after we had both of our babies as well as from when my mom was on hospice and right after she went to be with the Lord.  And, while growing up I was blessed to have the example of a mother who made almost as much food for others in need as she did for us!

When my children were little, I set out to find the perfect recipe combination for our family’s meal ministry.
It’s requirements were that it be:
*child friendly to make
*not too eccentric so even young and picky eaters would enjoy it
*easily duplicable so we could prepare batches for our own family at the same time
*made from a number of pantry or freezer items that we could keep on hand.
*made from only a short list perishable ingredients so I could run to the grocery store and remember the items by memory and not have to pick up too many things.

Here’s what I came up with – Hawaiian Ham, Seasoned Green Beans, and Pumpkin or Strawberry Bread (sometimes I’ll throw in some packaged Hawaiin rolls, too!)

Hawaiian Ham

Fully cooked ham (about 2 lbs)  (Can be already sliced in pkg)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

6 or more pineapple slices

Arrange ham in one layer or a little overlapping in an ungreased large rectangular casserole dish.  Combine brown sugar and mustard; spread over ham.  Top with pineapple slices.  Pour excess pineapple juice into bottom of the dish.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Tip:  I usually just take this unheated and give heating instructions.  Whenever I find foil casserole pans on sale for 10 for $10 at our local grocery store I stock up for this purpose!  Be aware that the liquid can sometimes slosh out in transit.  To prevernt a messy car clean up, I usually set the pan on a towel in my floorboard.   Much easier to throw the towel in the wash than clean the car floorboard!  Can you tell I’ve learned from experience?!

Seasoned Green Beans

1 16 oz pkg frozen cut green beans

3 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp butter

7 tsp brown sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp chicken bouillon granules

In microwave-safe bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
Cover and microwave on high 3 minutes, stir, and then 3 minutes more.

Tip:  I put all the ingredients in a gallon ziplock (without cooking it) to make it easy to deliver.  That’s cheaper than trying to buy disposable tupperware.  The recipient can just dump the bag contents into a microwavable bowl and be ready to zap and eat!

Pumpkin Spice Cake (Our fall bread recipe.)

Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix (This brand is a must.  For some reason, the other brands don’t turn out as well for this recipe.)

1 can pumpkin ( about 15 oz.)

1/2 cup water

Optional:  Add Chocolate chips and/or nuts. (We love dark chocolate chips mixed in!)
Optional:  Sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar before baking.  (We usually skip this.  It’s yummy enough without it!)

Beat the cake mix, pumpkin, and water for two minutes in a large bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips or nuts if desired.  Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.  You can tell when the cake is firm.  This bread may also be frozen (but it never lasts that long here!)

Tip:  This recipe smells and tastes like the fall season!  Because of that, we only make it mid-Sept through December.  That helps it keep it’s special seasonal charm!  We are so in love with this recipe, that we literrally make a batch of this at least once a week throughout that time!

Strawberry Bread(This is our go-to bread recipe any other time than fall.)

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen strawberries, thawed

4 eggs, well beaten (these can be beaten in the well of the big bowl)

1 cup salad oil

Combine and mix thoroughly all dry ingredients.  Make a well in center of mixture and add in liquid ingredients.  Mix by hand and add strawberries.  Pour mixture into 2 greased, floured (just spraying PAM works, too) 4×8 inch loaf pans.  Bake 1 hour at 350 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  After cooling, refrigerate.   This bread may also be frozen.


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