Sunday, October 22, 2006

It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive!

My kids get so excited every year around this time.  Why?  They get to pack shoe boxes!!!  In our homeschool co-op, I annually collect shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child (a project of Samaritan’s Purse founded by Franklin Graham).  These boxes will be given out to children around the world who are living in extreme poverty, in constant fear because of wars/fighting, or in disaster-struck areas.  These simple gifts will brighten up the children’s life with God’s love, joy, and hope.  These shoe boxes are also evengelistic tools; they give local believers the opportunities to tell children about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, through Gospel literature and evangelism programs.
 
This is a wonderful project to get your kids involved in.  Kids in America have so much to be thankful for, yet many take their plenty for granted.  This is one of many ways we can share with others in need.  For details (including the collection center near you), please visit  www.samaritanspurse.org/occ or call 1-800-353-5949.  The collection week this year is November 13-20.  If you cannot do the shoe boxes this year, please still consider praying for the boys and girls who will receive shoe boxes that they may come to know (and receive) the best gift of all, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ!
 
By the way, there are so many ways we can give, especially near Christmastime.  Many Christian organizations (ex: Gospel for Asia, World Vision, etc.) have gift catalogs available from which you can purchase lambs, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, fishing boat, Gospel literature, VBS material, wells, etc. for native missionaries and needy children/families.  These kinds of gifts touch lives and make a significant impact.  Giving (especially secret giving) is such a joy! 
 
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." Emily Dickinson
 
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord JESUS Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘" Acts 20:35  And you know…Jesus is always right! :) 

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Double-the-Fun Birthday Party

Oh boy…oh boy…what a fun-filled day we had!  Today we had a birthday party for our boys (one will turn 8 on the 10th and the other will turn 5 on the 11th).  There were 6 kids, 2 teenagers, and 6 adults altogether.  We played "Dinosaur Hunt," "Candy Toss," "Drop a Marker Cap (instead of a clothespin) in a Vase," "Pin (Stick) a Nose (smiley sticker) on the Clown," "Hot Present," and "Coin Search in a Sand Box."  The kids (and yes, my darling husband, too) had a blast playing the games.  In addition,  my forever-young & active husband  played basketball with the kids.  They had a ball!  After the party, some of us played football, bouncy balls, and then badminton until dark.  

Parties wouldn’t be complete without yummy treats, right?  Well, we got chocolate cheesecake, white chocolate raspberry ice cream pie, brownie mudpie ice cream, crackers, chips, and gummy worms.  Everybody’s tummy was happy :) .  We’re blessed with a beautiful weather today (quite rare in October in Oregon).  Usually, we have to have the boys’ party inside because it’s too cold/too wet outside .  But this year it’s different; we did most of our activities in our backyard.  It was great!

However, we did our "present time" inside.  Our soon-to-be 8 yo son received a cool wristwatch, a stack of coin collection books with several half-dollar coins, lots of great books, a basketball (to be shared with his brother), a rocket football, money, a frog that sings & dances, a video ("God’s Earth Team" by Moody Institute), special marbles, and a copy of a drawing from a friend.  Our soon-to-be 5 yo son received a baseball badminton set, a huge green hairy ball, lots of great books, Gobblet game, Blink game, Total It game, Buzztime Kids Trivia game, a rocket football, a basketball (same one to share with his brother), money, a turtle that sings & dances, and special marbles.  Both boys remembered to say thank-yous to everyone.  They truly appreciated all the guests and all the gifts.  They showed good sportmanship and they cheered others to do well during games.  They don’t mind sharing a birthday party every year, either.  We’re so proud of them!  Our sons are wonderful blessings from the Lord; they’re unique and special in their own ways.  Two boys do double the fun (and keep us on our toes…and knees, too)! Never a dull moment…for sure.

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace."  Isaiah 54:13