Saturday, June 29, 2013


This week has been really screwy.  Each day I had a loose plan in place for what I would do that got completely turned around.  The days were productive, but not in the ways I'd planned.

Today's Operation Christmas Child stuffed animal safari started in the rain, but as the hours passed the weather improved.  The rain stopped and the sun peeked out.  Only 200 animals found their way into my car (151 from my safari and 49 from another team member) but, true to the rest of the unplanned week, there were some unexpected blessings.

We've been praying for God to bring us 26 new churches this year to participate in Operation Christmas Child for the first time.  Today I stopped at a new church plant that's only a mile from my house.  They were having a yard sale so I stopped to buy some stuffed animals and pulled out my OCC brochure.

Well, it just so happens that the churchplanting pastor and his wife came from Ohio where their church had been a relay center for OCC.  They asked if we needed a new relay center!  Too bad they're located just a couple miles from our collection center but they're definitely interested in launching OCC at their church.  Unexpected blessing and answer to prayer for sure.

Another church rummage sale's "bag sale" netted only 15 stuffed animals but I got a bag full of yarn for a team member who crochets stuffed animals for the packing party.

Also unexpected were the five pairs of brand new shoes I picked up at a yard sale for $2.00 each.
It was 2:30 pm before I returned from the hunt and the late afternoon was filled  with sorting and washing animals, removing screwdrivers from their packaging so they'll take up less room in the storage container, and, as an afterthought, making dinner.

What's next?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

1/2 Ton of Blessings

I love seeing God prepare the way for me.  Last week I ordered 10,000 small bars of soap and 5,000 toothbrushes for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but I was never contacted by the vendor to arrange for a delivery.

Today I came home from running an errand and found a note in my front door telling me I'd missed a truck delivery.  How could I miss it when I didn't know it was coming?  I called the number for the trucking company and they told me they'd send the driver back.

So about 15 minutes later an 18-wheeler pulled up in front of my house and blocked our narrow residential street while he pulled down the lift gate and dropped the pallet of 35 cartons at the end of my driveway.  He let me know the load was 1/2 ton and seemed disgruntled that he had to return.  I tried to explain that I had no idea the truck was coming in the first place.

In God's providence my sister-in-law was here and was able to help me transfer the cartons to my trusty minivan.

Tonight my husband and I had to drive to the neighborhood of the church where our storage container is located and the dear man navigated the over-heavy van up the hill to the church and helped find space to get those cartons snugly fit into the container.  Then we slipped into the church restrooms to mop the sweat off and change shirts before we were on our way to our meeting.

Thank You God tonight for these blessings--all 1/2 ton of them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We Are Glad!

It's been nearly two weeks since I've written an Operation Christmas Child blog.  That's crazy.  I can't remember the last time I let so much time elapse without an update.

But I got caught up in the end of the school year and some family plans and activities.  Sometimes living gets in the way of recording life, and that's as it should be.

Good things are happening in our family.   As soon as I finished the school year last Wednesday, Jim and I hopped a plane for Chicago to help our daughter celebrate the completion of her residency in OB/GYN.  She says she's already delivered over 500 babies and now she starts private practice.  We are glad!

To top that off, she also got engaged on Sunday.  More excitement and, again, we are glad!

Back home again, I'm now on summer vacation.  Boy, am I ever glad!  Today I took 7 large bags of too-big donated stuffed animals to the Salvation Army.  Then I bagged up another 6 bags that are too big for our packing party boxes but could still be used for other Operation Christmas Child boxes being packed by members of our team.  I'd almost forgotten what the carpeting looked like under all that stuff.

Yesterday, God gave me another blessing when I got a call from a vendor I've worked with before.  He's closing his warehouse temporarily and wanted to sell me all his toothbrushes--13,000 of them--all good quality with caps on them.

An hour later I met him at my storage container and we stashed them all inside. Now I only need 9,000 more and I am glad!

Today I spent some time on the phone and the computer and got 7 out of my 10 relay center profile & agreement forms turned in.  They were due last Friday, so I'm late, but still....I'm glad!

And, did I mention....I don't have to go to school tomorrow....

We are glad!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Moore Multiples

Sometimes I feel like I have multiple personalities.  Or maybe I just WISH I did.  When it comes to this Operation Christmas Child journey and, to be truthful, this life journey, I just have a hard time achieving balance.

I sway from one thing to another, from one thought to the next.  I'm supposed to be working on making sure my Collection Center (past due) and Relay Centers get their profile & agreement forms in before next Wednesday when I leave for Chicago to celebrate my daughter finishing her residency in ob/gyn.

So there are calls to make, but I'm not making them.

Instead I do other things like get caught up in running a 5K race to benefit Samaritan's Purse relief efforts in Moore, OK.  This is me running as "Brunhilda the Viking Rainbow Princess."  You can still make a donation online by clicking here and scrolling down and clicking on my name to access my page.

Brunhilda has great online and offline friends who have contributed $1080 to help the folks in Moore but maybe Brunhilda is just distracting me from what I'm supposed to be doing.

Today my daughter bought her wedding dress and I'm excited about that.  I also did some legwork on a gift to celebrate my youngest daughter's graduation from her residency.  I also shopped online this week for some potential favors for my daughter's upcoming bridal shower.  I'm trying to get my schools closed up for the year.

Physically I also have difficulty with balance and I think that's because my core is weak.  If I could get my core muscles strengthened I would have balance.

Likewise, I need to strengthen my spiritual core and listen harder for God's voice so I can have balance in my life.

Did I mention that I need to be making phone calls to my Relay Centers?

Multiple personalities.  Maybe I'm on to something.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Shoebox Stuff Blues

I've never been one to keep a truly immaculate house but back when my kids were young it used to be uncluttered.   Now that I'm an empty nester my Operation Christmas Child journey has complicated things.  My husband built himself a room just to get away from shoebox stuff.  And I'm starting to get tired of the constant clutter myself.  Thus, the following ode---

Shoebox Stuff Blues

An old woman who lives in a ranch-style house (blue)
Has so much shoebox stuff she doesn't know what to do.
Every spare room has stuffed animal piles. 
If laid end-to-end they might stretch on for miles.
The carpets are covered with fillers galore,
Enough, if she wanted, to start a small store.
The beds are all draped with clothing assorted
And boxes hold pencils that need to be sorted.
Folks bring donations that fill her with glee
But add to the mountain of messes, you see.
Her friends clean their houses and make windows gleam,
But simply just seeing her rug is her dream.
While others plan wardrobes and organize too,
Washing stuffed animal's what she will do.
And so if you visit and walk through her door,
Forgive the appearance of windows and floor.
Eternity's coming, and if she can choose,
Her mansion will not have those Shoebox Stuff Blues.