Thursday, February 25, 2010

Racing On

God has started to embolden me in new ways and I'm beginning to stretch out toward the bigger goals he has for me. It's like stretching for the finish line at a race. It makes a difference--the reaching and stretching.

Almost two weeks ago I got a lead on some new Hot Wheels cars for sale on eBay. They looked perfect for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and I only knew of them because someone posted a tip on the OCC Extranet. I immediately thought of purchasing 5,000 but decided to ask for a sample first. The samples came quickly and were as nice as I'd hoped they'd be. The seller gave me a good price on 4,800 of them.

Everything seemed like a done deal. Then I mentioned to the seller via e-mail that I'd probably kick myself for not buying more at that price but was having problems finding storage. To my surprise, he offered to keep them for me until I got storage established if I wanted to buy more.

What to do?

I hate this kind of decision. Do I buy more while the price is low or wait for God to provide something better in the future? Will I have to move these boxes of cars from storage spot to storage spot over the next two years or will I miss God's opportunity if I don't buy them now. Interestingly enough, the cost of them doesn't really bother me. I've seen God bless us financially in so many ways that I never mind investing in opportunities like this.

Over the next two days I asked for prayer and I asked my husband for advice. I asked the seller to give me the dimensions of the cartons the cars came in. And it started to become clear to me that I should buy twice as many as I'd originally planned.

So I'll soon be the temporary owner of 9,600 darling little cars. The 'Next Generation Pastor' at my church joked on Facebook that he'd invite 9,600 preschoolers over for a race. And I told him that I'm already visualizing those thousands of little boys. Every time God blesses me with a large quantity of an item for shoeboxes I picture that many children.

Now I'm seeing in my mind those 9,600 cars being pushed through the dirt in front of thatched huts or over the cracked cement of orphanage floors by hands with skin that is light or dark or any shade in between. And I'll bet they'll be making those instinctive 'vroom vroom' noises that boys of any age make when they see a car.

My mind is racing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Twisted Adventures

It’s been a long time since I updated this blog. I have no excuse for that. It’s not that I haven’t had any adventures to recount; I’ve just been lazy about actually putting fingers to keyboard. So let me fill you in on some new twists.

My life is crammed with God’s provision of items for shoeboxes. I already have more than 5,800 clothing items ready to go—a great start toward my goal of filling 12,000 shoeboxes this year. I have these items stored in several places and am waiting on God’s provision for more space. I feel like the man in the Bible who said he needed to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones. Actually, I would love to have a barn of any size, but you get the idea.

In the midst of the clothing items and the 2,460 bars of soap I got with coupons and the 5,700 tubes of toothpaste, one of my most interesting adventures in recent months was the acquisition of candy canes.

These twisted confections are perfect items for shoebox recipients who long for ‘sweeties’ so I couldn’t wait for the after-Christmas sales to snap them up. After visiting our local Target store daily for two weeks, the magic 90%-off-on-Christmas-items sale arrived.

I had to work that day so my dear husband, a confirmed non-shopper, braved a howling snowstorm to haul a truck full of candy canes out of Target. I went again after I got out of school and filled my minivan as well. I counted 19,422 after cleaning out the store, but that didn’t seem like enough, so I called my daughter, Jen, and asked her to check the Target near her in Cranberry, PA. The dear girl was actually excited when she called me two days later and reported her haul of another 7,128.

My Church Relations Coordinator, Heather, snagged seven cartons of them at Wal-Mart and another nine cartons were donated by the mom of one of our Church Relations Specialists who lives several hours away.

Then my daughter shared the need with her boss and he was thrilled when he went to a Giant Eagle grocery store and picked up 1200 candy canes for only $9.00.

Final tally stands at somewhere around 37,000 candy canes. I know it’s twisted but I’m ecstatic.