Monday, November 5, 2012

Shipping love in a shoe box

The holiday season is beginning and if you are like me you are turning on your Bing Crosby or Michael Buble Christmas CD and settling in with your laptop and a cup of hot cocoa for a little early Christmas shopping. I love shopping online. There is something about stealing away from the living room and quietly ordering gifts without anyone knowing (and without having to leave the house). And then the anticipation that builds as brown boxes and bubble-wrap packages begin arriving at the house. I also love the bustle of the streets and the smiles on the shopper's faces carrying their treasures home when we go last-minute Christmas shopping late at night while the snow is falling in the moon-light. Whichever way you shop I think you must agree that Christmas shopping is just lovely. 
I am getting ready to bundle up and venture out into the blustery November morning to go Christmas shopping for some of the Lord's kiddos. Until the day that I become an actual mother I am going to bless children who either don't have mom's to care for them or whose mom's can't afford to give them gifts. Operation Christmas Child organizes shoe-box drop-off's all around the world, bringing gifts to children who have next to nothing. Last year my family's shoe-boxes went to India! I include my younger siblings in the shopping and packing of the shoe-box gifts, letting them decide what gender and age of child they would like to shop for. By the end of the of the day we are all referring to the children as "my little boy" or "my baby girl". Compassion is a beautiful thing to witness growing inside of my little brothers and sister.
From school supplies and toiletries to clothing and toys those shoe-boxes fill up fast. For many years my family didn't participate in Operation Christmas Child because we didn't think we could afford to shop for four extra children during the holidays. Last year my siblings and I completely filled four shoe-boxes at the Dollar Store. At $10 per child, it was completely affordable! Buying picture books from thrifts stores and getting t-shirts from the clearance rack at Target or Walmart, buying one pack of four toothbrushes rather than four individual travel sized ones, and packing school supplies you bought but didn't use (like the extra pens and pencils) are a few other ways to keep the expense low. 

I read this story on Facebook this morning and it moved my heart, "Alma was abandoned by her mother in a train station when she was 4-years-old. She was left with nothing but her name pinned to her coat. The police found her and brought her to a nearby orphanage in central Asia, where she lived for five years until she was adopted by an American family.

At the orphanage, Alma had a small locker for her things. All she had to her name was a hair tie, hair brush a

nd colored pencils, which she kept in a shoe box. Alma didn’t know where the shoe box had come from until after she was adopted, when she saw an OCC video in church with her family. Alma’s face lit up and she turned to her parents, saying, “I got one of those shoe boxes!” 

When she was adopted, Alma had been asked to gather her belongings to take with her to her new home. Alma chose to bless her friends by leaving all of her toys and gifts in the shoe box at her orphanage. She knew she would receive other gifts, but her friends in the orphanage had nothing."

I want to bless those kids, I want to send them love, I want them to see (tangibly) that they are not forgotten. I am going to attempt to pack five shoe-boxes this week. I would love to pack twenty! Pick-up day is Sunday the 11th and Sunday the 18th so, for the next week, every item sold from my online store will provide funding for me to pack more shoe-boxes. So get some Christmas shopping done for your friends and family with one of my paintings or prints and empower me to send more love to "my" kiddos!

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