A dear friend of mine is going through a tough time in her life right now. I mean a tough time. Two of her four children has been diagnosed with severe illness and to look at this woman is to see, among many things, exhaustion and weariness. I've spent days in my own head trying to figure out how to help her; how to make her smile; how to make at least one day in her life easier. Can I pray for her? Done. Can I offer her a listening ear? Done. What else?? Hmmmm. . .Ah ha!! Food.
Food can often be an area of complication because as mothers we know that we must feed our families and even more than that, we want to feed them good and healthy things!! But for my sweet friend and her hectic schedule, two working parents and six mouths to feed, getting a nutritious meal on the table by dinner time is a feat in and of itself, right? So, mid-week it dawned on me that even if cooking her a meal wasn't going to change her life, it would make one (even two days in her life a little bit easier). So, I called and left her a voice mail on a Wednesday night saying that the following night her family's dinner was on me. . .I also said there would be two little surprises in the bag and that I'd wait to hear from her about timing for when to drop off dinner the next day. Needless to say a texted reply said she was on board!! The following morning I was off to the grocery store to start my mission!!
The following morning, once back from the grocery store I my kitchen looked like I was cooking for an army!! Six and a half hours later here was the final outcome. My girlfriend's care package included the following things:
Packed sack lunches for her three eldest children. As I was passing the gift bag and card aisle at the grocery store I spotted these colored paper sacks and was inspired to add this extra 20 minute morning time saver for my girl friend and as an added way of showing love to her children I made them extra special with color, personalization and pretty ribbon. I've smeared the names to keep them private.A doughy loaf of french bread rolled up in aluminum foil was all ready for the oven in case they wanted it "as is" or warmed up. Sugar cookies for the whole family for now or later. . .whenever a sweet tooth might come around ;)Breakfast for the next morning - homemade orange cranberry loaf. . .another morning time saver that my sweet friend can slice for her family and serve simply as is or warmed up with butter and honey. De-lish!!
This was my fun presentation packaging of the last two items.
A salad to start contained mixed greens, baby spinach, green apples, walnuts, blue cheese, vinaigrette, strawberries and blueberries.
In case I missed any family food allergies I packaged everything with clear labels to avoid a mishap.And because the whole purpose of the care package was to allow my girl friend a COMPLETE night off from her "mom duties" I included disposable utensils, plates, cups, napkins and all the food containers were trash-able as well.
I love Hello Kitty. . .Guilty! The only two items I forgot to photograph were the lasagna and the double chocolate walnut brownies. . .my 21 month old flooded or pantry with the Ozarka machine while I was cooking so I was momentarily distracted ;)
All this is to say: a little kindness to others goes a long way. When people have children meals are often delivered to them. When we had children we requested that people not do this for us but the reason is that outside of myself EVERYONE in my family tends to be picky eaters so it would have been a waste of people's efforts. Because I had personally never taken people up on this kind offer I had never realized what an incredible help it was to others. It was not until I did this for my dear friend that I understood what an incredible difference it made in her life to be free from making three meals in a row for six people. She was rested, thankful and mostly felt loved and validated by a friend and more importantly she knew that someone could see how hard she was working and struggling to stay afloat at her own life. If for no other reason, sometimes people need to know that they are appreciated and seen. Show a little kindness today. . .pay it forward.