Sunday, November 1, 2009


I'd like to introduce you to my baby sister. She's nearly 5 years younger than me and we're total opposites. And we're totally the same.

Although she is currently in Ohio caring for Ma and Pa (who are suffering from various ailments ranging from semi-mundane to "what are the chances?" to scary-serious), part of her heart is still in Zambia, Africa, where she spent a couple of years working as a full-time missionary. It probably goes without saying that she is one of my heroes.

I have no good reason for keeping this from you, other than the fact that when I first started blogging here, my two loyal readers already had the inside scoop and it seemed silly to repeat it.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the key values that I want to instill in my kiddos and one of the top 10 (top 5?) is generosity. I'm convinced that a generous spirit is not something that necessarily comes naturally, or even easily. It is learned and it requires a knowledge of the world outside of one's own bubble.

This learned inclination to look beyond the comforts of our own lives is something that we all have within our grasp - we can all choose to reach out and grab it and pass it along. It's a choice that we can make - every day. I want to be more generous. I want to find ways to show generosity every single day and then when I find them, I want to choose, without thinking twice, to act. I want our kids to understand how blessed they are and to believe that with the blessing comes a responsibility. They can only learn this if we teach it. If we live it.

We're at an advantage, because we have their beloved Auntie Keisha to talk about. They have seen the pictures and heard the stories and I'm so thankful for that. Whether God leads her back to the overseas mission field or not, this is a blessing to all of us - to have had our lives touched ever so softly by her experience. Of course, generosity by association is not the answer, but I feel like we have cause to more readily remember those precious babies in other parts of the world who not only go to bed with growling tummies at night, but who starve to death.

I want our kids to lose some sleep over this as they grow.

For now, world hunger is probably not a concept that they are able to comprehend. But they can comprehend sharing their toys and making sacrifices on behalf of someone else. They can learn that it's a good thing to take a meal to someone who is sick or buy groceries (the good stuff!) for the food pantry.

They are not too young for those seeds to be planted. And the seeds are in our pockets alone. It's up to us.

As we head into these next months, filled to the brim with wonder and anticipation, I pray that part of our focus will be on those around us, in our immediate circles and beyond, who need.

(While we're on the subject, check this out. But be warned - it will change you.)


  1. So true. Stepping away from the comforts of our day to day lives and just giving of ourselves in whatever way is so important. It also helps instill gratitude in our lives instead of the need for more, more, more. Great post. On a superficial note, your sister is darling! :)

  2. God bless your beautiful family and the lives you touch!

    : )

    Julie M.

  3. Your sister sounds amazing. You are such a good mom to be worried about instilling those lessons and values. They are so important.

  4. troy is one of those "generous" people & i know for a fact that it was not lived by or instilled in him by his parents:)

    i have no doubt you guys will be excellent examples to your kiddos, and i think you can let a little bit of that heavy burden drop off your shoulders because i can witness to the fact that to some degree, i believe generosity is in someone's nature when god instills it as a gift!

  5. Amen. I have prayed since I found out I was expecting Lily that God would give her a kind and generous spirit, a heart like His, so I feel your burden to help instill those qualities too. How better to really BE the church??

  6. What a great tribute to a beautiful person (inside and out). Keisha has touched our lives many times and we love her for her generous, loving, giving spirit. You are more like her than you know Shannan and I am proud to have you as my daughter-in-law! You do a great job with my beautiful grandkids too.

  7. Wow! I am always amazed by missionaries. To actually know one...what a privelege:) She looks like a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing.

  8. you are so amazing. thanks for the great post. may we all try to do better at this!

  9. Have I told you how special I think you are?


  10. To give without ever thinking of anything in return. Yes, that would have to be on my top 5 list for my grandchildren too! In America it is so easy to be selfish, it takes some doing to remember our calling as Christians." They will know that we are Christians by our love". I am just as proud of you and Cory and the many ways you touch lives around you. I know your heavenly Father is pleased that you have the desire to listen to His voice and to obey without giving in to the second thoughts that so quickly come. I still want to someday, as a family, do a mission trip to Africa. What better way to instill in ALL of us what truely matters.

  11. This is so close to my heart! Thank you for writing such an eloquent post about raising generous, caring souls.

    You're swell! :)

  12. God is so smiling at you two. ;-)

  13. They are definitely not too young to plant the seeds! You're a wonderful mom!! And your sister, well God bless her, she's amazing!

    A few years ago my oldest daughter (now almost 8) surprised me when she brought me every last penny from her bank and informed me that she wanted to give her money to "the babies who don't have any food" and my heart swelled with pride and love...

    :) T

  14. Sisssay ~
    I read your blog per moms request today.
    All I can say among the tears that are streaming down my face is, "Thanks" and "I miss Africa".

    I wish I could go running back into the arms of those (in Africa) who have taught me the true meaning of giving with out any expectations. Oh, how I MISS THEM all.

    We think we graps it here in the Western world, but we have many lessons to learn from those who seem to have mastered the gift of generocity.

    Lil Sis

  15. Love it! I remember discussing "Sassy Keisha" years ago. Wyatt's church group is saving their change to buy animals to send to Africa. He's so excited about it and when he earns money he puts it in the box. Makes me proud! He's a little concerned though with how a cow is going to get there?!

  16. thank you for this post... we ALL need to lose sleep over this! We have two dear friends that are in Senegal as full time missionaries. Praise God for them and for parents that instil in their children generoisty, kindness and selflessness in the times we live in.