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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winner Number 3: Kerri Epling is “Puzzling”


Here’s Kerri’s service idea just as she submitted it:

Last year on a whim we took a jigsaw puzzle to a newly- widowed woman in our congregation. She was having some people stay with her for a few weeks due to her own medical issues, and we set the puzzle out and started it on a table in her side room.  As ladies came to visit and stay with her, they would each put in a few pieces while they talked.   Several of them commented how much they enjoyed the time working together on the puzzles and how easy it made for them to have quality conversations together.  When the puzzle was completed, the new widow had so many great memories of her friends working together on the puzzle. 

(I read this and thought it would also be fun to frame the puzzle when finished and let the sisters who worked on it sign the back and gift the framed puzzle back to the recuperating sister.)

So many great ideas. So little time!



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Winner #2: Molly Cobb and the 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s her letter. You could still do this even this year and extend to the new year. Even starting with just one sister would be a good beginning. Then expand next year!

This service project is one that the ladies at Hillcrest church of Christ in Neosho, MO, have done the past several years. It was initially started by my mom, Becky Cobb, who is a digger and is leading our Digging Deep class/ group this year. So, this is submitted for her because I’m fairly certain she won’t do it herself. So, if this is selected as a winning entry, the prize should go to her. 

In December, we do what we call “12 Days of Christmas”. We select several individuals in our congregation who could use a little extra cheer during the holiday season. Then, each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, one lady will drop by the recipients’ homes and drop off a small gift. Some people leave it as a surprise from a secret sister and others make time to stay and visit. Each recipient gets 12 gifts and visits leading up to Christmas. It started as a way to connect with some new converts/ members and has expanded to bring a little holiday cheer to widows/widower, those who have lost close loved ones in the previous year, individuals with terminal illness, shut-ins / members in the nursing home, etc. 
It’s one of our favorite traditions now! 
Thank you for your work on the Digging Deep Study! 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Six Winners Instead of Three!

Just like we do not know how many wise men there were serving the baby Jesus, you never know how many really wise women there may be when it comes to serving Jesus, the Savior. (Serving others is serving Him [Matthew 25].) So, narrowing down your service ideas to a mere three was nigh to impossible. I’m taking some of your ideas to present in ladies days about service this year. I’ll credit the diggers, but I cannot wait! Mostly, I cannot wait to try some of them myself. You are the best!

So, six winners instead of three this Christmas. The six ladies below need to message me their postal addresses. I’ll send your tea towels and bracelets. Let me know that they arrive safely. (It’s mayhem season at the post office!)

Meanwhile, I’ll be posting the winning ideas here. Drum roll…the winners are:

Aurelia Wright–California

Nancy Pennington–Ohio

Debbie Deavours–Alabama

Sandra Woolsey–Tennessee

Kerri Epling–Tennessee

Molly Cobb–Missouri

Every reader needs to look at the ideas I’m going to run in the next few days. (You ladies are intuitive about effective service!) I know there’s at least one of these ideas that each of you can incorporate into your own service regime or into the work of your local church. Here’s the first winning entry from Nancy Pennington (trying to get the “Christmasy” ideas in first):

“We have a single mom of 3 in our congregation with no family in the area. My husband and I are taking the three children out to lunch and Christmas shop for their mom. We are giving each child (8,7,6) a set amount of money to buy a gift for mom. The mall is an hour from our home. This has been fun thinking of what to do.
Nancy Pennington




Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

This Year’s Holiday Contest!

As December begins this year, we are finishing up a Digging Deep study about that amazing service project completed by our Lord in the upper room at the Passover feast. This year’s holiday contest is centered on service. Send us your best service idea for the holiday season. I’ve heard about several already from Diggers, but this contest is open to all women who’d like to enter.

I don’t want to start describing ideas because I don’t want to pre-empt someone’s best idea, but I do want to say the project can be costly or without cost. It can be simple and quick or long and labor-intensive. It can be performed to help a child or a widow or a family or a congregation. The creativity of women who read this blog always amazes me.

So send your best service idea to Send it by midnight on December 10th. Three winners will receive these cute little silver-tone bracelets that I’m making this year for fun gift-giving. They have a tiny little shovel charm and a little bar charm  that says  “BLESSED”.  I’ll also send along one of the Digging Deep flour-sack style tea towels from our store.

Let’s help each other serve!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Ideas for Growing Faith: Holiday Gifts and Activities

Several more ideas from the holiday contest are worth a mention. Anything’s worth a mention that might plant a seed in the heart of a child that may yield souls for heaven; perhaps even in multiple generations. SO, here are a few that rise to the top of the list of entries.

Kelly Rhodes suggested making a colorful songbook that’s child-specific. Each time your child or grandchild learns a new Bible song or verse set to music, put the words of that song in a decorated and durable binder, so that the child and parents will always remember the words to those sweet little hymns of budding faith.

Bobbie Goodnight suggested a story time using the book “If Jesus Came to my House” by Joan Gale Thomas. She also recommended accompanying it with a song called “In the Image of God” by Andy Robison. Click on the picture (left) for words and music. (Permission granted by the author.)

Erica Grieves’ idea was born of a quarantine. Missing the caroling and fruit basket-making and all the great congregational service projects, Erica set her kids to Bible-searching for scriptures about joy to include in  cards the family plans to send to those who need holiday encouragement.  As Erica puts it…”This year I’m gifting my kids the opportunity to turn our blues to the scriptures. Since cards bring joy to both giver and receiver, my children will spend the rest of our quarantine looking up verses that bring JOY. We plan to incorporate these into the cards. It’s an opportunity to remind us and others that no matter the circumstances, scripture always has the answer. It’s my prayer this will stick no matter what life may throw their way.” 

Lots of you moms are making blessing bags for the needy people your children see in parking lots or at intersections as you run errands. My grandkids’ bags include some simple toiletries, bottled water, snacks and info about the church. Blankets for distribution in winter are just $2.50 currently at their local WalMart, so they bought a few of those, too.  All of these blankets and small bags were placed in a large durable bag that now lives in the back of their van, just in case they see someone in need. Believe me, they were plenty excited when they did see  their first man in need last week. (The bag preparation was accompanied by Bible stories about giving sacrificially and the kids gave generously from their piggy banks to help purchase the  bag contents.) I believe this is an important and direct mental tie for kids to the judgment scene in Matthew 25.

Many of you are also distance-caroling this year for the widows in your congregations. These faithful elderly people will never forget the joy of this event and it just might be the highlight of their Christmas. If you do this, practice with your children. Make them understand the import of what they are doing in view of Matthew 25 and James 1:27.

Finally, Kathryn Baker’s kids were writing cards to all the members of the congregation during the Covid quarantine. Kathryn admitted that after a while, this became a tedious task. It was Kathryn’s mother-in-law who purchased for each child personalized stationery, markers, address labels, stamps and stickers to put some extra flair into this great, but challenging, service project. (Grandmothers, here’s a great place to step in and make a helpful contribution!)

Happy Holidays to all of you and may each of us give our children “good gifts”                                                                                                                                                                          (Luke 11:13, 14).


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Choices in the Distance

As you may have noticed, Glenn’s been keeping me pretty busy proofing with him, and writing for the children, on a Daily Boost that we’ve been sharing for the West Huntsville family for the quarantine period ( I’ve barely had a moment to write anything except that. Now, I know you do not need me to write anything. Quarantine lessons and blogs and podcasts are coming out our ears right now and that’s a major source of encouragement for me! But, for my own sanity, in a world void of face-to-face interaction (other than with Baxter, the cat, and the Daily Boost Partner), I need to peck something out now and then. It’s not a face, but it’s a more personal interaction, anyway.  So, it’s really for me; not you!

As with every sweeping event that occurs in our world, the Corona virus overlies a spiritual battle. The devil would love for us to grow tired of being at home with our husbands. He’d like to see divorce rates soar as we come out of this crisis. On the other hand, we have a great opportunity, without the distractions of crowded schedules, to draw closer together as families and to solidify our bonds together with our heavenly Father. Further, we have before us right now, some almost tangible forks in the road. 

We have extra time. We can waste it in a depression that drives us to spend lots of time on social media commiserating with the rest of the world or we can establish goals for ourselves (Bible reading, homemaking projects, daily relationship-building activities with children, daily time in prayer with our spouses, etc…) That’s a choice all of us will make right now. 

We have some very discouraging news to process at this point in life. We have a choice about that, too. We can react with frustration and anger at government and the society around us, or we can search, in this darkness, for opportunities to be light. We can always shine brightest for Christ in the darkest times. Right now, service opportunities abound. There are elderly people to check on, cards can be sent to Christians in areas of the country in which there are voids of encouragement, we can share our toilet paper (maybe we can?) with those in need, or we can handle our bread from the oven with gloves and then carry some to neighbors who are struggling and perhaps are not members of the Lord’s church. We can take our kids (just us and them)  to create chalk sidewalk messages for shut-ins in our neighborhoods, from afar, or make drive-by greeting posters for those who may be sick or struggling. We can make those posters and drawings in our homes and on our own fences and then photograph them for those who would be uplifted by them.  We can waste the canvas that always comes with darkness or we can creatively paint it for His glory, This is a fork in the road. It’s a choice.

Those of us who are married will grow closer to our husbands or we will become easily frustrated and resentful. We should prepare for that choice. Sure, there will be changes that we have to process if our husbands are suddenly at home all day. There will be more cooking and cleaning and even less time for quiet meditation, especially if your kids have normally been gone all day. But we should prepare our minds for the choice. We can allow the current situation to damage our marriages or we can search for ways to capitalize on time to grow closer. We can take “haven” in internet devices or we can make moments to watch old movies and reconnect with those who are most precious to us. It’s a conscious choice. We can play the blame game with our spouses or we can play Monopoly. Don’t lose the battle by default.

We can also become so busy playing that we lose sight of the importance of the Word. Right now there’s a three hour gospel meeting online every night (*F.) There are two-hour upcoming virtual ladies days each Saturday from Polishing the Pulpit (more about that soon). PTP365 is an almost infinite treasure chest of the Word’s meat  and, right now, it’s FREE! There are Word-packed Bible classes for adults and children. They are all there. But it’s a choice. You may not be able to study and watch every day, but we can do it some days. We may not be able to do three hours every night, but we can do something. It’s a no-excuses-choice. 

And speaking of doing something, let me say THANKS to all who responded (and you did in a big way) to our support notes for the struggling little Vermont congregation. That was a choice you made and here are some of the responses so far: I love sisters. (One of you even hand-painted bookmarks for the entire congregation! Whaaa?!) I love the glorification you are about in your everyday quarantined lives! You make this isolated old woman beam even when I am all by myself. 

From Vermont:

Thank you so very much…It thrills me that so many more people will be aware of Christians’ struggles up here. The cards are pouring in…3 big envelopes plus a few from you already. We are going to be delivering them soon.

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And the blessings just keep rolling in…thank you so much for the check and the books. There are not enough words.pastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic_1.pngpastedGraphic_1.png

This is what greeted me when I checked the mailbox at the building this evening, plus a note that said I needed to go to the post office to get more. Thank you so much for doing this. pastedGraphic_2.png I also got the incredibly kind and generous letter from you two and the other men. Sending love and gratitude to all 5 of them!