Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Practical ways to serve others in the new year January 3, 2020

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Several years ago, family friends planted shamrocks in our yard on St. Patrick’s Day. What a joyful gift. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO that will bring joy to others? How can you help others? How can you make a difference in your family, your neighborhood, your community?

Those are all questions I expect many of you contemplate, especially at the beginning of a new year. I brainstormed the topic for a post that published earlier this week on the Warner Press blog. I work as the blog coordinator for this Indiana-based Christian publisher and lead a team of three other writers.

In crafting this piece, I created a month-by-month list of specific ways to serve others. I used examples from my own life. I have been blessed by so much kindness and by many opportunities to serve.

Just yesterday, for example, a small package arrived from a friend. Inside I found a lovely gratitude journal that encourages me to make note of daily gratitudes. I’m not surprised Beth Ann (also a blogger) gifted me with this. She is one of the most positive people I know and has always encouraged and supported me.

And last week a blogger from Pittsburgh sent me an Instant Pot after reading an earlier blog post that included my crossed-out Christmas wish list. I’ve never met Ruth. But I follow her blog and know her to be a kind and caring soul.

Days prior I received a cash gift from an equally kind and caring soul who remains anonymous to me.

For me, serving others on a daily basis comes primarily in listening and offering words of encouragement. I also give of my time to volunteer whenever such opportunities arise. It’s not only the right thing to do, but an honor.

As 2020 begins, we have 366 days to connect with others, to offer support and encouragement, bring joy, help in hands-on ways. I’d love to hear how you are making a positive difference in your world or beyond.

CLICK HERE to read my Warner Press post, “A Year of Serving Others.”

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Bea’s Thanksgiving Day blessings November 26, 2017

Kids create festive placements like this one for the Faribault Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

 

Go to the back door and walk in, the slip noted. Despite the instructions, I felt uncomfortable simply walking into a stranger’s home without first knocking. So I knocked, eased open the door and entered the galley kitchen. There Bea (not her real name) shoved her walker toward me, smile bright with greeting on this Thanksgiving morning.

Randy and I carried Styrofoam containers—one holding in the heat of a traditional turkey dinner, the other a slice of pumpkin pie.

Bea’s face flashed joy in seeing us. She directed me to place the containers on the seat of her walker. But I set them on the counter instead, advising her I would carry them to the dining room table. First, though, Bea peeked at the pie, which drew her praise.

“Would you like to see the dinner?” I asked. I lifted the lid to reveal shreds of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, a dab of cranberries and a dinner roll. Bea’s smile widened wider.

The petite senior pulled silverware from a drawer and I followed her to the table with the dinner and the dessert, depositing both onto her directed spot. And then I bent close, spontaneously wrapping this dear woman in a hug. She held on and cooed and I nearly cried for the joy of the moment, of holding Bea close in a prayer of thanksgiving.

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Note: This is the second year Randy and I have delivered meals for the Faribault Community Thanksgiving dinner. We donated about two hours of our time to wait in line, pick up 10 meals and take them to five homes in Faribault. It continues to be a humbling, joyful and meaningful experience.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling