Welcome back! You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been. And if you haven’t, please don’t tell me; allow me to have my little fantasy that you’re out there eagerly awaiting my latest dose of wisdom from on high. Between trying to maintain order in a class of wee-ones desperately ready for spring break, unpacking the last (never-ending) boxes from moving, cleaning the house for eagerly anticipated visitors, and spending quality time with said visitors, I have neglected my poor little blog world. Fear not, though, for I have returned! And with me, I bring flowers and very cute little smiles.
It all started with a book. Two books, really. The first was Ron Hall’s and Denver Moore’s heart-wrenching, uplifting book, Same Kind of Different as Me. It completely opened my heart and my eyes to the real world of the destitute and homeless. I hope to go into how that has affected me more in a later post, because it is quite significant. The second book was the follow up to Same Kind, a fascinating and inspiring collection of real-life stories of people who have put their faith and compassion into action: What Difference Do It Make? You can find out more about both books here.
After I read of a little girl who made a tremendous impact on her community in What Difference Do It Make? I felt that I needed to light a fire under my students to bring love and hope to their world. We brainstormed about a variety of ways that we could help the people around us and bring them hope, and one of my little girls struck on something that seemed just right. She thought we should make flowers and give them to people to bring them hope and joy. We decided to name the project Hope Blossoms.
I researched all manner of paper flower crafts (you wouldn’t believe how many there are out there!) and settled on one I thought would be the easiest for my army of little hands to manufacture. I found these gems:
on the Intimate Weddings website. So I headed out to the store and grabbed several packages of cupcake liners and pipe cleaners. The kids really got behind the project, industriously making flowers in their spare time at school.
Once all the flowers were assembled, I chose several verses of scripture that spoke of hope, cut and pasted them into leaf shapes on my computer, and printed them out on green paper. I had the class cut out the leaves and glue them to the stems. The result was quite satisfactory, if I do say so myself.
One beautiful morning, we set out for our local nursing home, where I had arranged with the coordinator for us to hand out our Hope Blossoms to the residents. Because we live in a small town, and because we have a gorgeous bike trail that leads most of the way from school to the nursing home, we decided to take a nice, long walk.
The kids were a little shy and nervous at first, but when they saw how happy the residents were to have visitors, and to have something special to keep for themselves, they really got into it. I hope that in some way we blessed the people we met that day. Even more than that, though, I hope that my sweet students’ hearts and minds were opened to something new, to the knowledge and understanding that they can be God’s tools, no matter how small or insignificant they may feel.
How about you? Do you sometimes feel that you are completely unqualified and inadequate when it comes to meeting the physical and emotional needs of the hurting people around you? I know that I have often felt that way. I still do. Because, in fact, I am unqualified and inadequate. But when I open myself up to God working through me, I can do anything He calls me to do. If He has called you to bring hope and love to someone, He will work through you as long as you are willing. Ask Him today to show you where He would have you carry your blossoms of hope.
May your heart be glad!