8 Ways to Raise a Cheerful Giver

8 ways to raise a cheerful giver

My children approach money in very different ways.  To one, money is a means of getting more toys.  This child is driven to earn more and get more, all for the purpose of accumulating a new and tangible item.

To my other child, money is an opportunity.  This child is a natural giver.  After walking into my office and handing me two dollar bills, this child told me to send it to the kids in Africa.  On another occasion, this one has looked in a wallet and said it has too much money.  A comment only to be followed by giving me a dollar with instructions to spend it on something for myself.  Yes, for real.

Every kid is different.  And while one of my kids is more focused on toys than Africa, there are still ways to guide that young heart and raise a cheerful giver.  But it starts with persistence, teaching and opportunity, and the belief that even an unnatural giver can grow to be generous and others-focused.


8 Ways to Raise a Cheerful Giver


1.  Start Young.  

The younger you start teaching your children about giving, the easier it will be for them as they age.  Think about tithing.  How much harder is it to start tithing as an adult than if one had been raised with the concept and been doing it all along?

2.  Start Small.

Don’t ask your children to give everything right off the bat.  Set little goals.  Give a portion of an earning.  Work towards small and attainable gifts and donations.   

3.  Give your children something to relate to with a story, movie or photos.

We recently bought 3 bed nets for a family in Africa to help with protection from malaria.  Had I asked the kids out of the blue to start saving money toward bed nets, they may have been somewhat disinterested in this particular item.  After all, my kids sleep in the air-conditioning, free from any concern of malaria.

But we had just watched the movie, Born Free.  It is the true story of a couple that after rescuing and raising a lioness cub set her free into the wild with success. (Moms, you will probably cry, but your kids will like it.  Did I mention that the cub’s name is Elsa?)

In the movie, George becomes ill with malaria.  My kids saw the scenes of him tossing in bed in pain and his wife’s concern for his life.  That was the point of reference.  When I asked the kids if they wanted to save up and buy the bed nets to protect a family from malaria, they immediately remembered George.  They understood malaria and were eager to help.

4.  Learn Bible verses together on giving.

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.”  Deuteronomy 16:17

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”  Proverbs 3:27

“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:6-7

5.  Let your children be involved in the decision of what cause to support or what item to buy.  

If you are buying for a family in need or a drive like Operation Shoebox, let your children help pick out items in the store.  Perhaps you have several local opportunities you can share with your children and they can be involved in the decision process.  Last year, we looked through a gift catalog from World Vision and my children decided to save for ducks.  The “life-changing animal” section can be particular interesting to young children.

6.  Consider matching or contributing to their goal.  

If my children are working on saving or earning money towards a particular and worthy cause, I am more than happy to help them and give to or match their earnings.  Not only does it get help to the recipient faster, but I can (within reason) keep up the kids’ motivation as we make headway in their goal.

7.  Help them explore ways to earn money.

In what ways can your kids earn money?  Give suggestions and ideas.  Sell lemonade.  Do chores for Grandma and Grandpa.  If they learn extra Bible verses, can they earn coins? Give your kids extra chores at home.

Many of our household chores like laundry, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning their room and bathroom are not paid, but we do pay for extra chores like filing, weeding or cleaning my bathroom.  Scour the house for the things you have been putting off and hire them to do the chore.

8.  Teach by Example.  

Not that we’re bragging here, but when you give, take the appropriate opportunity to make it known to your children.  Let them see you giving.  Involve them in giving as a family.  Be the example you desire them to be.

* * If your family is interested in supporting a child in poverty, contact World Vision or Compassion International.  We support a little boy in Peru who is the same age as my son.  It is an amazing opportunity to help a child and teach your children to bless others.

7 Valentines You Don’t Want to Forget

7 Valentines You Don't Want to Forget


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (as if you didn’t already know from your Pinterest feed!).  It is easy to buy little Valentine’s for the school chums or neighborhood kids, but are you inadvertently missing out on blessing others who would enjoy the encouragement of a homemade valentine?

As my children and I talk about helping, serving and blessing others, we decided to make Valentines for some of the special people in our lives.  Now, you don’t have to tackle all seven, just pick a few and intentionally show love.  Let them know they are cared about by your family.

>> Read more at Motherhood On A Dime, where I am guest posting today.

How to Host the Perfect Soup Party

how to host the perfect soup party

Well friends, I have found another kind of party that I LOVE.  A couple Sunday’s ago, I hosted a Soup Party for Dan’s family of 20.  It was the perfect theme for a cold, winter day.

Have you been experiencing freezing or colder than usual temperatures?  We have had our own little arctic freeze in Ohio, even cancelling school here and there (which I love too).

Soup is such a great winter remedy.  The hot, soothing, “comfort food” . . . and did I mention, a big pot can last several days?  So why not turn a great soup (or soups) into a little party.  Invite your friends, your family or your neighbors and serve up a delicious soup.  Add the great conversation, an atmosphere demonstrating the love of Christ and you are set.

Tips to Host the Perfect Soup Party:

1.  Start your soups a couple days prior.  Not only do you not want to be going crazy at the last minute, but soups always seem to taste better on Day 2.

2.  Offer a couple options for soup.  Ok, I went a little overboard on this.  I had trouble picking which soups, so I offered four:  Chicken Tortilla, Split Pea, 4 Cheese Minestrone and Ground Turkey and Vegetable.  (See below for where the recipes came from.)

3.  Choose soups that freeze well.  I planned on making more than I needed and froze a decent amount of soup.  And guess what?  I just pulled soup out last night and have a couple dinners of soup all ready to go.  Love the convenience of freezer cooking!

soup party labels

4.  Label your soups so your guests know which each soup is.

5.  Have a fabulous assortment of toppings.

6.  Get a little creative.  Which toppings will go best with which soup?  Tell your guests.

suggested toppings for soup party

As you probably know by now, the creativity and design of a party are my favorite parts.  Yes, if I could cater every single party I host, I most definitely would!  Leave the cooking up to someone else and the decorating and little touches up to me.

7.  Sour cream makes any soup creamy.  Be sure to include it among your toppings.

Soup Party Sides

8.  Keep the sides simple.  Serve with salad and a delicious assortment of breads.  My family brought the sides and desserts, which allowed me to focus on the soups.

9.  Think about how your guests will manage everything.  I decided to use a chinet plate as a sort of tray.  With my Cameo, I cut a piece of scrapbook paper and added “Soup’s On.”  The soup bowl, the salad bowl and bread just fit, making it easy to carry.

I also ALWAYS like to put the silverware and napkin at the end of the buffet line.  Why carry silverware through the line when your hands are needed most?

soup party plate

 10.  When it is all done,  be a blessing.  Package up a bowl or two of soup (ziploc freezer bags work great), grab bread and deliver to a sick friend, a family with a new baby or someone going through a rough time.  It is a thoughtful and easy way to serve others.

Where My Soup Recipes Came From:

Chicken Tortilla –

Don’t Panic–Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead

Split Pea Soup & 4 Cheese Minestrone –

Don’t Panic–More Dinner’s in the Freezer: A Second Helping of Tasty Meals You Can Make Ahead

Ground Turkey –

Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly Revised & Updated: 600 Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow Cooker

These three cookbooks stand out as among my favorites!  I can recommend all of them.

What is your favorite soup for a cold day?


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10 Simple Ways for You and Your Child to Serve this Winter

10 Simple Ways for You and Your Child to Serve This Winter

Even though it is winter and many of us are bundled up to stay warm inside, there are still plenty of ways to serve and help others.

Serving needs to be a mindset until it becomes a way of life.  I know from experience that the idea of helping others must be in the forefront of my mind if I am to teach my children about serving others.  It requires practice . . . and lots of it.

So with that, here are 10 simple ways for you and your child to serve this winter.

1.  Help shovel a neighbor’s walk or driveway.

2.  Make soup together and bless someone (or a family) with it.

3.  Send a homemade Valentine to a person who may be feeling lonely.  Let them know they are loved.  Share a Bible verse.

4.  Put together a Hot Chocolate Basket for a friend.  Include mix, fun marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, flavorings, etc.

5.  Draw pictures and make snowflakes for a nursing home.

6.  Take a shopping cart back for a shopper on a chilly day.

7.  Reach out and invite neighbors over for hot chocolate, tea or coffee.

8.  Donate toys and clothes your kids have outgrown.

9.  Donate food to your local food pantry.

10.  Make a fleece “knot” blanket and take to a shelter.

Looking for more ideas?  Check out my ebook, Teach Me To Serve:  99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others.  Use code winter and you can get the pdf copy for half off through the end of January!

What is a “winter” service idea that your family has done?  

1st Time Offer: Teach Me To Serve ebook PDF version 50% Off!

teach me to serve 50 off

Over one year ago, I launched my ebook, Teach Me To Serve.  I have been so blessed and thankful for the wonderful response.  And it is time to celebrate!

For the first time, I am offering a 50% off discount code for pdf copies.

Teaching your kids to serve can seem to be two steps forward, one step back.  It requires persistence and practice.  There will be days when you shake your head at their behavior and then those blessed moments when they ask you if they can pick up that loaf of bread a woman dropped at Aldi and hand it to her.

There will be days when your son offers to carry the girl’s heavy backpack as you walk the friend to your car.  Sure, there are days of “what were you thinking?”  But then there are the days of sweet victory when you see the growth in their little hearts and minds.

What does it take?  Teaching and practicing.  I will be honest with you:  I have on more than one occasion gone back through my own ebook, trying to refresh my perspective and remind myself of all the easy ways young children can serve others.  It is a lifestyle and most definitely, one I want to pass on to my children.

So if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Teach Me To Serve, here is your chance to get it for 50% off (which means only $1.99!!) for pdf copies.  Just use the code THANKFUL when checking out here.  This discount code is valid Monday, November 11th – Sunday, November 17th.

Go here to buy your PDF copy.  If you prefer a Nook or Kindle copy, you can find them here on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $3.99.

Thank you so much for all your support.  I’d love to hear how you are teaching your kids to serve.

Struggling to Teach Your Child to Serve?


One day your child is being super friendly to the new kid, picking flowers for his sister and helping set the table.  You’re feeling pretty good about this parenting thing.  Your child is thinking of others and being helpful.

Then the next day, you glance over and he is the mean one in the group.  Your daughter is not willing to help with clean up or your son just pushed some other kid.  Is this becoming a pattern?  What just happened?  We’ve worked on this service thing.  Why aren’t my kids being more considerate of others?

> > Read more at Hive Resources where I am guest posting today.


Raising Kids with Hearts to Serve

Raising Kids with a Heart to Serve


Today, I am over at Tricia Goyer’s site, Not Quite Amish talking about raising kids with a heart to serve.  The Amish community is known for it service and kindness to others.  Our current culture tends more to the “all about me” mentality.  I even fight the tide of selfishness in my own heart.

But I desire to have a heart for people.  I desire to make a difference in lives, to bless others with kindness and most of all to point towards Jesus.  And taking that into my parenting, I want to raise children who find joy, purpose and satisfaction in helping others.

>>Go to Not Quite Amish to read more.

Mini Trifles: Fun to Make, Made To Share

Mini Trifles to Share
I am always on the look out for ways to involve my kids in giving to or blessing another person.  This particular idea not only makes it easy to do just that, but it is fun to make and quite delicious.

For Our Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle, You’ll Need:

* Angel Food Cake
* Chocolate Pudding
* Chocolate Chips
* Strawberries, chopped
* Cool Whip
* Plastic Punch Cups


Layer the first round of ingredients:  angel food cake, chocolate pudding, strawberries, chocolate chips and cool whip.  There is no right or wrong which makes it perfect for a kids’ activity.  Layer the second round:  angel food cake and chocolate pudding.  If you are using punch cups, your cup is now full.  Top it off with cool whip, strawberries and chocolate chips.




We put a sandwich baggie over the top (nothing fancy that night!) and delivered it to a neighbor.  I love that my kids are learning about sharing and blessing others.  Just the other night, we were making another treat and Sweet Boy mentioned that we should take it over to the neighbor.


Practice Serving . . . Practice Giving . . . Repeat and Repeat . . . Heart to Serve!


Have you checked out my ebook, Teach Me To Serve:  99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others.  It isn’t a curriculum, nor a book of crafty ideas.  Just a book filled with practical ideas that will help you develop a heart to serve in your child.  Click here for more information.