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24 Days of Giving, Day 23-24

For day 23, we donated to Lifesong for Orphans to feed the boys in a boys home in Bolivia for one week!

For day 24, we invited someone who is lonely this Christmas to a Christmas Eve service with us and over to our house to make dumplings on Christmas afternoon!  She is from China and only working over here for four months, so she doesn’t have any family or friends nearby.  We’re really glad she took us up on our offers!  She’s going to teach me to make dumplings tomorrow!  So this is a win-win situation!  🙂

My children have done such an awesome job of GIVING this Christmas season so tomorrow is their turn to receive and they are super excited!

24 Days of Giving: Days 20-22

For day 20, we left a Chick-Fil-A gift card and note in our mailbox for our mailman.  We got to peek out the window and watch him get it, which was so fun for the children to do!

For day 21, we donated to Project Hopeful by purchasing things like mattresses for orphans, goats, a chicken, etc for people in Uganda and Ethiopia. Everyone really enjoyed picking out what they thought would be a neat thing to give!

For day 22, we went to Wal-Mart and bought two gift cards.  Alex gave them to a sweet family friend and said, “One is for you to keep, and one to give away.  Because it is more blessed to give than to receive.”  🙂   So cute to watch Alex do that!

What else have we been up to lately?
We did this Christmas tree/ Bible activity and it was so meaningful. We looked up this list of Bible verses (there are only 14 and they go in order! 15-20 minutes max).  We drew a little Christmas tree beside each verse in their Bible to remind them of WHY Jesus came. Each verse tells a REASON for Jesus’ coming. So so precious and blew me away pondering on it. Plus the child will see these little Christmas trees in their Bible for years to come, what a treasured memory of looking those up… http://familymanweb.com/reason-christmas-family-activity/

Our theme this month… “BE the gift.” We went caroling just on our street and it was so precious. The children WERE the gift! Hubby played the guitar softly and we all sang, I think most our neighbors enjoyed it as we heard all the “awww’s” and “how cute!” Perfect weather for it, no complaints of being too cold! And who doesn’t like to hear little voices sing “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.” I enjoyed the peacefulness of walking up and down our street in the dark with the guitar softly playing in between houses.

24 Days of Giving, Days 14-19

For day 14, we took 4 big sub sandwiches to our local firestation. We thought it would be a big hit with the firemen but God love their hearts, they were more concerned about giving us hats and stickers and letting the children climb in their firetruck and ring their bell. I think they gave us more than we gave them! But maybe it’s a guy thing, you don’t act too excited till it’s chow time after the guests leave!
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For day 16, we donated to New Day Foster Home! We visited New Day when we were in China in August 2013 (Two pictures below). The staff was wonderful and they work very hard to take care of orphans that would otherwise have no hope. We love supporting New Day! Caring for the least of these and finding them forever families. Click here to check them out or donate!… http://www.newdaycreations.com/foster/help/howto.htm

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For day 17, we went to our local park and used sidewalk chalk to write messages of hope to all that will see… kids idea! It didn’t sound all that fun to me… to load up five children and go to the park in chilly weather, but you gotta be that fun mom when your children need you to be, right?! We wrote things like “Joy to the World,” “Do you know that God loves you so crazy much?” “Jesus saves,” etc!

For day 18, we left quarters on two toy machines along with “You’ve Been Rack’ed” notes at a local toy store, hopefully it made some child’s day to find those!

For day 19, each of the four older children picked something from Compassion International’s Gift Catalog. We ended up buying two chickens and two mosquito nets for someone in a third-world country! LOVED doing this, so neat for children to get to pick out what they want to donate!. http://www.compassion.com/catalog/catalog-view-all-gifts.htm

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Would love to hear of any giving things you’re doing this month!! Let’s spur each other on and give God ALL the glory!

24 Days of Giving: Days 9-13

Day 9 & 10. For day 9 we mailed a card and Wal-Mart gift card to a widow, a very special widow! For day 10 we mailed a card and gas gift card to a single mom, a very sweet single mom. We hope they both feel the love this Christmas and are reminded of God’s amazing love for them. And look at what my children left on my computer for me… “You’ve been racked” (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness) and a pan of toy cookies. So sweet!
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Day 11: For today, we donated to Women at Risk International to fight human trafficking. We often don’t think about it here in America but all around the world women and children are sold, used, and abused. The stories are horrific. As much as I wish it didn’t exist, I can’t pretend that it doesn’t. These precious lives need our prayer and our resources at the least. There are many areas you can choose to donate to within WAR int’l and we chose P4WB...
“Pray for WAR Babies (P4WB) is the heart-torn war cry from WAR, Int’l in response to an unimaginable horror: baby trafficking. Around the world, the faces of trafficking are children, beginning in the cradle with babies sold for as little as $25. WAR, Int’l is passionate about being a mother to the motherless and protecting babies from those who would harm them. When you join us, you spare these little ones from a life of horror. They can be tucked into cradles of safety and hear the stories of Jesus sung to them. They can grow up to be the beautiful, loving human beings God intended them to be. While P4WB is a part of our Emergency 911 fund, all money donated to P4WB goes towards prevention, rescue, and healing programs intended specifically for children. By collecting coins to fill a baby bottle, you and your children help rescue children around the world.”http://warinternational.org/get-involved/


Day 12 & 13: We’ve done several fun things this weekend! First we snuck over to a friends house and put a yard sign in her yard (I think we picked someone that wouldn’t mind and would actually like it). Then we spent 3 hours making 70 homemade egg rolls. Whew, what a chore! Everyone helped so it went quick… ahem maybe not! We took some of these and some other snacks to a Mom that just had a new baby! We also divided up our stack of Christmas cards and prayed for each person we had a card for, so precious to hear my children pray for friends and family. We also stopped at a laundr-o-mat and left some quarters in some slots of washing machines along with notes! One more stop last night to Wal-Mart and we were able to talk with a cashier and leave her with a little book I had in my purse, Caden was brave for handing it to her and speaking up to tell her Merry Christmas. (If you’re wondering why my sweet little girl is in a boy’s sweater vest… I told everyone to dress a little warm for the parade we were going to. Biggest brother Alex wanted to help Emily get dressed and decided that all 4 of them should match by wearing sweater vests. They were so excited and happy about it, I just let her wear it. Didn’t want to squish their excitement and how they bonded over that). Merry Christmas!
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Also just thought I’d share a family thing we did… Thanks to Todd Wilson (The FamilyMan), our family had a special evening the other night! We played his board game “To Bethlehem” where you have to find your way to baby Jesus. Along the way there are family discussion cards (like, what is your favorite Christmas tree ornament and why, what’s the best gift you’ve ever received, sing your favorite Christmas carol, and more!) One of our favorite things on the board was putting a towel on your head to be a shepherd! Here is a picture of Dada with a kitchen towel on his head! Afterwards, thanks to the Familyman Ministry idea in the “You ‘Da Dad” 2014 calendar, Dada camped out under the Christmas tree with the kids. Oh, the excitement! They had so much fun! Both the “To Bethlehem” game and the 2015 calendar are for sale on their website! http://store.familymanweb.com/products-p…/featured-products/


Some other recent pictures of our fam…
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24 Days of Giving Day Five Thru Eight

Day 5 was a flop. We attempted to bake cookies to deliver but they turned out hard and over-baked. Oops. So we tried again this morning and made cinnamon rolls right from the tube (Thank you Immaculate Baking Company!) We snuck down the street and left them at a friend’s door who lost her sweet 17 year old son last year. She has become such a sweet family friend, my children just love her! They enjoyed ringing the door bell and then taking off running! So much fun!

For day six, we made homemade cards for a prisoner!

Day 7 & 8: Dad took the children to Wal-Mart yesterday so that they could buy a beverage for a Salvation Army bell ringer, but no one was there ringing. So we went back today and a lady was there! She was super thankful for her drink and let us take a picture.

It was so sunny I couldn’t get anyone but Cole to look up in any of these pictures though!

The older boys kept talking about how fun it was to leave $5 Chick-Fil-A gift cards on people’s cars so we also did that again, this time in the Wal-Mart parking lot! They all had fun picking out which car they wanted to RACK (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness). Caden was especially excited to RACK the ambulance. We were still driving around when the firemen came out to their vehicle, but they didn’t see our paper and gift card!! I hope it stayed attached until they got back to the station, otherwise it may have flew off somewhere, yikes!

I wasn’t going to post the closed-eyes, not-going-to-look-up pics, but then thought, hey, let’s keep it real, pictures don’t always turn out like we moms want them too, right? Life’s not perfect. Merry Christmas!
Alex had been dressing up and pretending to be a farmer at home and didn’t want to take these overalls off today!
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24 Days of Giving

I’ve been chronicling our December activities but hadn’t yet shared here.  Let me get you caught up on what we’ve been up to the past few days!

I’m so excited it’s December 1st! Eeek! Today begins our family tradition of our Giving Calendar! We’re beyond excited!! For our Advent every year, we do 25 days of giving. We called an official meeting the other night and wrote down all of our ideas and how to execute them. We scale back our structured homeschooling for December so that we have time to do this. We explain that God gave us the greatest gift there ever was by giving us Jesus. So we want to give Him gifts for Christmas by blessing others in His name and for His glory, not for our own. (So don’t tell me how great we are in the comments below, okay? It’s ALL about Christ!) I’m going to try and post our giving things every few days in hopes that it inspires others to get out and go give too! We started this tradition young enough that my children are more excited about all their giving things than they are presents for themselves. When people ask them if they’re excited about what Santa will bring them, they kind of look at them with a blank stare. They know that Dada and Mama give them presents on the 25th, not Santa. They get to give for 24 days and then we give to them on day 25 because they are so loved by us. It is more blessed to give than to receive! Let the giving begin!

24 Days of Giving, Day One: Donated to Reece’s Rainbow Angel Tree. My children picked out the orphan they wanted to sponsor and they’ll get an ornament in the mail as a keepsake for doing so. So sad to see all those children waiting for a family that are living in such sad conditions. Click on over to find an orphan to pray for this Christmas! We also added their picture and name to our prayer wall to remember to pray for them throughout the next year.

We did another thing also today since that one didn’t require too much time. The other one for today was “Do one nice thing for each family member.” The kids loved this! It was so sweet to see them think how they could bless each individual person in the family. Here are some of my favorite things they did…
Mama- gave out piggy back rides around the house and tickle times. I also read everyone “Ronnie Wilson’s Gift,” such a sweet book to read any time of the year, but I wanted to especially read it to kick off our Giving Calendar! A great lesson about giving to Jesus by giving to others!
Alex- played Uno with little sister and let her win, built a blanket/ cushions fort for Cole, watched younger siblings so Mama can have quiet time
Caden- gave one of his toys to his big brother, colored a picture for a sibling
Cole- served everyone a snack for snacktime
Emily- gave out massages and kisses and stickers
When Dada got home from work, he gave piggy back rides and wrestling matches and dishes for Mama.  🙂

24 Days of Giving, Day Two: For today we made a trip to the Dollar Store! First we drove around the parking lot looking for four special vehicles that we could RACK (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness). We put a “You’ve Been Rack’ed” flyer along with a handwritten message and a $5 Chick-Fil-A gift card on each car! We got to see one lady get in her car, then get back out to check her windshield! We couldn’t see her reaction though, we didn’t want her to know it was us so we got away quick! Then we went into the Dollar Store and left four “You’ve Been Rack’ed” flyers with a handwritten message and a $1 bill to buy something. It was sweet to see my four children pick out which vehicle they wanted and then which item in the Dollar Store they wanted to put their $1 and note beside. SO. MUCH. FUN! Oh, and got to RACK a friend with some chocolate too! (Forgot to get Dollar Store pics). If you want to print out your own “You’ve been Rack’ed” cards, I got them here.
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24 Days of Giving, Day Three: For today we did “doorbell and ditch” to two neighbors and left their children Family Life’s “Interactive Nativity For Children.” It’s a neat thing we enjoy doing every year where you read a book and open up one box (present) at a time that tells the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus. My children love opening up the little boxes to find trinkets inside, so I hope they’ll enjoy this! We also left cookies at another sweet neighbor’s door!
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24 Days of Giving, Day Four: Okay, well my husband took over today, guess he thought my idea was measly. And well, just wow. I was going to have the children all pick a number for the number of bottles of clean water they wanted to buy for orphans through A Child’s Hope Int’l. But Jason had other ideas. I don’t really want to say but let’s just say he went big. Bigger than what I was thinking. We’re all doing the happy dance here, SO much more blessed to give than to receive! We did still buy clean water, just more than I had planned. So exciting!! Feel free to get in on the fun! If you donate $8, it provides 120 GALLONS of clean water for orphans!

Let me know if you do any fun giving things!!