Two days ago the children and I took part in a home school group service project. It was a project that is close to my heart, as I have been involved in doing this (off and on, admittedly) since college days. Operation Christmas Child involves shoe boxes, odds and ends that make a child's heart sing, and the love of Jesus. Our family went shopping together for items to put in our boxes: Charis shopped for a girl 5-9 years old, Tobin gave lots of interesting ideas for a boy 2-4 years old, and Arden just went along for the ride while Ted and I chose items for "his" 2-4 year-old-boy. It was such a delight to talk with the children about what we were doing and to hear them say things like, "Mommy! I think The Girl would really like this!" or "Daddy, can we please get The Boy this?"
Tuesday morning after our official school time was finished for the day, we packed up our treasures and met with several other families at one house for a box-assembly process. It was a beautiful day, and the children enjoyed playing on the wonderful swing in the backyard while I sorted out items to put in the boxes. Charis joined me and helped pick out the wrapping paper for each box. She then helped me with the wrapping (she loves tape) and put the tag labels on. When we were finished with our boxes, the whole group stopped to pray for the children who will be receiving our love gifts.
Later in the day we took a meal to a friend from play group who had surgery last week. The children and I discussed that we now had the opportunity to help someone else with a home-cooked meal, just like the ladies from church helped Mommy with meals when Daddy was away. I'm thankful for opportunities like this that help me show Charis, Tobin, and Arden just what it means to love other people and to demonstrate our love for them in practical ways.