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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

The Third Thing To Do This Summer

I gotta admit I got it wrong again.

Remember a couple weeks ago when I urged all of us to savor the summer, prioritizing time for both rest and relationship? True, that, but I want to share a couple of stories that have added a third dimension to my summer intentions: Reaching out.


Recently I read North Carolina writer Kathy Izard’s description of a regional lunch group with a purpose:

“For four years, six friends have been gathering for lunch every other month in Charlotte, but there's a twist. Each time, they choose a different restaurant purposefully picking a place that is off the beaten path like a diner or budget- friendly cafe. They do this not so their lunch bill will be inexpensive. They do so to surprise a server. You see, the purpose of the Tippers Club is to bless an unsuspecting waiter or waitress. During lunch they'll ask questions of their server finding out a little bit of their story--how many kids they might have or other details. Then when the bill comes, they not only pay it, they leave a card with well-wishes for the server including a detail about something they learned. The real surprise? Each woman places $100 in the envelope with the card. Yes, that means they leave on average a $600 tip. They don't stick around for the tears or the thanks. The Tippers Club quietly slips out with just the joy of knowing that they truly blessed someone that day.” As Kathy noted, “What a great way to be human kind!”

Now if you’re like me, you might gulp at the idea of leaving a hundred-dollar tip. I don’t have those kinds of discretionary funds. But here’s what we can do instead: Try visiting a diner or a fast-food establishment where prices, wages, and tips are low. Order a drink or something small, and use your cash for an especially generous tip instead – maybe a $20 tip for a $5 tab. If your server is having a bad day, that small gesture can make a big difference.


Most of us are fortunate enough to have the convenience of a washer and dryer in our home or apartment building. But what about those who do not?

Three years ago, my Wisconsin friend Barbara decided to visit her local laundromat not to wash clothes but to bring a spot of cheer into someone else’s life. Recently widowed, Barb has a heart of compassion for others who might be lonely or in need of encouragement.

Every month Barb makes up sturdy bags containing detergent, dryer sheets, $10 worth of quarters for the machines, a bag of candy, and a little pamphlet about Jesus that includes the name and address of her church.

She “scouts out” the facility first to make sure she has enough for those inside and then returns with bags in hand, quietly passing them out with a gentle, “Happy laundry day, God bless you.” Barb does not wait to be thanked.

Amazingly, though, her daughter

happened to see the post below on Facebook from one of the recipients.

The "Laundry Lady of Green Bay" has inspired me to do something similar here in my town.


Here’s one final idea for your summer.

Take a stack of crisp dollar bills and circulate through your local dollar store distributing them to customers. It’s amazing what $1 can buy. Or plan a Giving Saturday with your kids, grandkids, or Sunday School students.

When we were pastoring in Wheaton, Illinois, my most memorable Saturday was one in which a small group of high school girls and I decided to put feet to our faith.

Within a few short hours, I drove them to the local police station where they distributed boxes of donuts. From there we visited a dollar store to pass out dollar bills and buy glass vases, making sure to tip the surprised clerk.

Our next stop was the floral department at the grocer’s where we purchased bouquets to place in the vases which we then delivered to a local nursing home, asking the receptionist to distribute them to residents who seldom got visitors. Final stop was my house for lunch. These young women brightened every place they touched that day.

Rest and relationships are key for summer, but so is reaching out. Please share your ideas with the rest of us!

In order to savor the summer, I’ll be taking a mini-sabbatical from blogging in July, as I did last year.

It’s not a break from ministry, though. Next month I’ll be speaking virtually and in person at conferences for clergy spouses, First Place for Health, and writers at Taylor University. (Links are below if you’d like to join us at any of these.)


1. Married to the Pastor conference (online)July 22, 11 am-7 pm ET

A free 1-day event to help pastors' spouses find connection, restoration, and freedom.

If you’re a clergy spouse, you may register here starting in July:

2. First Place for Health Summit Virtual access begins July 29.

For anyone seeking wellness in body, soul, mind, and spirit: 4 Keynote sessions, Workout, & 10+ Seminar Sessions. $49. Register here:

3. Taylor University Professional Writers ConferenceJuly 28-29, Upland, Indiana

Maggie Wallem Rowe writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the mountains of western North Carolina. The author of two books, Maggie is a devotee of dollar stores.


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