I really don't like making decisions--mostly because I'm generally indecisive. I want things to be perfect, so I avoid making decisions for fear of making wrong ones. This is part of the reason why I'm not interested in home redecorating. Too many decisions!
I find, though, that my Operation Christmas Child shoebox obsession involves constant decisions also. At least every week, and sometimes even every day, I have to decide whether to buy certain items and, if so, how many.
I don't have a firm budget for our shoeboxes but I have a general idea of what I want to spend. The thing is--because God has blessed my husband and me the limits are pretty negotiable. But I've spent my whole life being a frugalista and that habit dies hard.
So when I find a bargain I enter into an arduous internal debate along with prayer. As I try to decide whether to buy or to wait I take into account a number of factors such as--
- How often do I see this item at this price?
- Will the item have some practicality but also bless the child who receives it?
- Will it fill some space in the box?
- How good is the quality for the price?
- Do I have enough room to store it and will it store well?
Asking my husband for help in these decisions usually just frustrates him. He's prone to ask, "Do you need it?" But beyond the basic school supplies and hygiene items there are no real needs for the boxes. It's all about prayerfully stewarding our resources to bless as many children as possible.
Of course, only God knows which items will bless each child, so prayer is always a must.
Still, I'm often left staring at the latest bargain on my computer screen with fingers hovering over the keys in prayerful agony.
This year God has blessed us already with so many bargains. Our storage container already holds all the paper, pens, and pencils we need for 2016 and then some. We have over 23,600 baseball hats and water bottles and over 23,000 fillers.
Still, I have a strong conviction this year that I want the quality of our boxes to be even better. I'm asking God to help us be sure to bless each child who receives a box packed at our packing party.
I subscribe to several online sites that give me alerts to bargains and try to scan sites as often as I can. Today one of those hints involved a company called U.S. Toy. I found plastic cups and, after all that internal deliberation, bought another couple thousand. I think colorful plastic cups are both fun and useful.
Small cars were another item I found there. They won't take up much space but I know boys love cars so I added 540 of them to my cart. And I threw in 1200 paper party hats just for fun.
Hmm...I hope I made the right decisions...
ps--for those of you who want an update on last Monday's delivery. God answered beyond anything I could ask or think. The truck driver called before delivering and my husband beat the truck to the church. And, miracle of miracles, instead of using the lift gate the driver opened the pallet on the truck and just handed the light cartons down to my husband. The driver even keep the pallet on the truck so I don't have to deal with finding a home for it. That never happens! So many answers to prayer.