Planet Ark


Our last summer service play group took place this past Tuesday! We had such a great time for all five weeks. I’m so thankful.

We read the story Planet Ark about how we can all be modern-day Noah’s through caring for our environment.

We were able to support seven families in Bangladesh in receiving a fruit tree seedling that will provide food and income through World Renew.

The kids made leaf creatures and were awesome at the nature scavenger hunt!


Next week I would like share about the groups more personally, but for today I’m so thankful they became a reality, for all the participants, support, and amazing difference makers! And… there will be more. Hopefully forever and forever.

About Proximity formed some wonderful partnerships and we will be moving to hold more events throughout the year with Jodi Baron of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.

Please, join our facebook service play group page for details and opportunities!

We’d love your ideas and to partner with you. I really mean that! Partnerships are what make a difference in our world. Every story and everything we did was better because we worked together as a community!





Planet Ark

mimi's village collage

Last week we read Mimi’s Village and talked about clean water, vaccinations, and global health care. We supported Shot@Life, a movement to protect children worldwide, by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. We were able to support two children with a full vaccination set against polio, measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The kids were able to lift a jerry can partially full of water to get an idea of how heavy it is transport your own water.

We also had a stuffed animal vaccination clinic! Thank you Nurse Mackenzie, Nurse Ellie, Dr. Julie, and Dr. Rebecca for immunizing our favorite lovies!


Our last summer play group is this Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00pm at Kollen Park in Holland!

We will be reading the book Planet Ark.

Bring along $1.00 if you are able for fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. Your purchase of a fruit tree seedling helps a subsistence farm family improve their land and grow fruit to feed their family and to sell for income.

We will have a nature scavenger hunt, leaf creatures craft, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, and egg and spoon relays.PlanetArkPlayGroupWe have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community! I’d love to partner with you, contact me with ideas 🙂



#TalkJustice: Creation Care


Kids #TalkJustice Creation Care

Recycling, using energy efficient light bulbs, saving endangered species. Kids are pretty good at protecting the environment. How can our families dig deeper, see the big picture of caring for God’s creation, and strengthen our impact? It is important for our kids to know our consumption habits effect the world around us. The environment is a facet of our lives that really connects us globally to the rest of the world. We have a responsibility to care for what God created.

Creation Care Discussion Starters:

creation care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Could you add a new habit each month this year?
  • What about the drought in California? How could we be proactive even if we don’t live there?
  • If we don’t care for the environment now, how might that effect our future?
  • Could your habits effect someone in China?
  • How can we reuse things?
  • What things do we buy local? Is there anything we could add?
  • Do our efforts make a difference? How could we share what we do to help others contribute too?
  • Does our church have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Does our school have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Are there any local projects we could get involved in?
  • Do we support our local farmer’s market?
  • Are there any global projects that protect the environment we can be involved in?

Kids Books about Creation Care:

earth day

The Curious Garden, Compost Stew, Curious George Plants a Tree, Michael Recycle, The Magic School Bus Climate Challenge, Fancy Nancy Earth Day is Everyday, Biscuits Earth Day Celebration, and Gabby and Grandma Go Green.  




19 Ways to take Action: 


A creation care twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What is your family’s best green tip? We’d love to hear about it! 




Earth Day Resources for Your Family

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Today is Earth Day!
images (1)CitizenKid a series of books inspiring kids become global citizens has added a new book to its collection Planet Ark: Preserving the Earth’s Biodiversity. 

earthEnvironmentally Themed Movies for Families

images (12)Visit Recycle City a computer game from the Environmental Protection Agency

images (2)Read OxFam’s Grow Method and booklet Fighting World Hunger at your Table

images (3)Consider bringing TerraCycle to your school or business

images (4)Use Preserve Products: Nothing Wasted, Everything Gained.

images (5)The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants to alleviate world hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water.


Visit my Creation Care Board over on Pinterest. I spent way too much time last week trying to gather the best of the best ideas.

Visit my friend Leslie’s DIY Pinterest board. Leslie is a talented crapter (she up-cycles regular stuff into fun crafts).

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Head over to the website The Story of Stuff Project. They have thought provoking videos about creating a sustainable world.

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Read the story of creation with your family.

Genesis Chapter 1: In the beginning… God created all we have. I think we have a responsibility to care for it!

Check out some the great earth day books for kids above: The Curious Garden, Compost Stew, Curious George Plants a Tree, Michael Recycle, The Magic School Bus Climate Challenge, Fancy Nancy Earth Day is Everyday, Biscuits Earth Day Celebration, Gabby and Grandma Go Green.  


What is your family really great at when caring for the earth? 

Jen Hatmaker’s Seven


Jen Hatmaker has written ten books (see them all here.)

Here is Jen Hatmaker’s website.


Five kids, a prolific speaker, a pastor’s wife and unbelievably real.

I love this woman’s sense of humor. She is hilarious. I also loved her ‘council’ a group of six friends she leaned on during the project and who joined her in varying degrees.


Seven: an experimental mutiny against excess is one of the best books I have read in a long time. You will grow and you will laugh, that’s a winning combination to me. 


Clothes: She wore seven pieces of clothing for an entire month.

Spending: Her family spent money in only seven places for one month.

Waste: She adopted seven green habits for a month.

Food: She ate seven foods for an entire month.

Possessions: She gave seven things away each day for a month.

Media: She eliminated the use of seven types of media for a month.

Stress: Her family slowed down and adopted the ‘seven sacred pauses.’



Leave a comment and win a copy! What category would you struggle the most with? 


For me: Clothes, pretty partial to sweatpants, so no struggle there.

I think media, because I really like the internet and The Amazing Race.

Also food, no ice cream or nachos bell grande for a month?

Honestly, I was challenged to adopt all of them in varying forms and can’t recommend this book enough!

Involving Family: Composting

A Guest Post by Pastor Jen Petersen

Under our kitchen sink are two containers.  Like any good Dutch home, the garbage can be found behind the left cabinet.  Behind the right, you’ll find a small bucket that used to be white.  Every once in a while, when my mom is over babysitting, she’ll scrub it back to its original shiny white plastic – I have no idea how she does it.

The bucket is now black on the inside.  For several years, we have used it as our compost bucket.  We fill it with coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit and veggie scraps from the kitchen, eggshells and the like.  And a couple of times a week, the bucket gets dumped in the large bins behind the garage.

We’ve been composting for about 5 years, shortly after we moved into our home.  My husband asked his parents if they might be able to get some old apple crates from his hometown.  They rented a trailer and hauled two wooden crates stamped with “Aebig Apples,” the old family apple farm, now sold off to other families.  (I’ve heard that old pallets work really well, too.)

Out of the two crates, we’ve created three separate sections – one that’s compost ready to use, one that’s resting and turning to be next years usable compost, and one in which we are currently collecting our kitchen scraps and yard waste.  Jeff and our two boys turn the compost with a pitchfork throughout the year and each year we harvest enough compost to feed our small back yard garden.  This winter they even built a snow compost man in front of the bins!

Our boys (5 and 3) are wholehearted partners in this composting endeavor.  In the kitchen, they know which items go in the compost bucket, which items go to recycling and which items go in the garbage.  They have, on embarrassing occasions, scolded grandparents (and once or twice even friends we were visiting) for not composting.

And, while we don’t encourage our children to shame our loved ones, I have to say that I’m kind of proud of them for wanting to teach others how to compost.  I’ll say it – I’m a little proud of the fact that, with our family of four, we rarely fill our large City of Grand Rapids garbage bay in a week.

And I also recognize that we have a lot of room to improve.  Eli is in Kindergarten at C.A. Frost Environmental Academy in Grand Rapids.  I’m grateful for a school that will teach my children care for the earth.  I know there will be plenty of times that my children will scold me for my less than stellar practices toward the earth.

Composting allows our kids to learn that all trash is not useless.  They already have a sense that some waste can be reused and some waste just takes up space.  They are learning that, if we want our earth to give us good food, we have to feed it and care for it.

And it’s really not too hard to get started.  All you need is a container with some room for air to flow through and a way to turn the compost.   You need a balance of green (kitchen scraps, grass clippings, etc) and brown matter (dried leaves and other similar yard waste, soil, etc.) and you need to keep in moist.  Done properly, compost doesn’t stink or attract animals.  The piles develop a rich earthy smell of dirt, but they shouldn’t smell rotten.

I’m certainly not an expert on composting.  I encourage you to check out your local garden center or recourses on-line for more complete instructions on composting.  This site has lots of good information: