Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nurturing a giving heart

I have always felt it so important that my children learn to have a giving heart.
To have eyes that see beyond their own little world to the needs of those around them.
All year 'round, but.....
Especially at Christmas.
I mean, isn't that what Christmas really is?
The Great Give-Away.

So I've had my eyes and ears wide open the last month for opportunities we might have to really experience how much more "blessed it is to give rather than to receive."
To learn how to give to those who have no way of giving back.
To be a follower of Christ....don't I want to follow His example?

Last Christmas I really wanted to send a box of encouragement to our dear missionary friends who are on the mission field of Thailand.  They have 8 children and are such faithful ministers of the gospel of Christ.
But I just couldn't get everything together in time and the shipping is so very expensive.
This year I spoke with another friend of mine from church who is Thai by birth, and is going with her family to spend 2 months visiting her homeland.  She told me she would be visiting my missionary friends, and when I asked her if she could take some things to them from our family, she immediately said, "YES!"
I was so excited, but only had a few days to gather together some things.  It was so much fun asking my friend in Thailand what they needed (via Facebook), and then being able to put my hands on those items so quickly.
So we were able to send off some things to Thailand for FREE in my Thai-American friend's suitcase!!

But I'm collecting ideas for next year, and I feel the Lord has already given me an exciting idea for our missionary friends for NEXT Christmas!!

But we've also been busy in our kitchen again this year, making gifts for each of our children to give to their friends.  A few of my children naturally want to give presents to their friends, but a couple have to be taught to think about that.  So every year, for the last several years, we have made it a tradition to make gifts.
Children need to know that not everything can be, nor has to be, purchased to be a treat.
I feel every child has creativity within them and the ability to make beautiful items with the proper supervision.
So we make lists of all the children they want to give to,
and we start creating.

Click here and here for a peek of what we made last year.
This year I saw an idea for making candle jars out of used jelly or pickle or baby food jars, and thought as Charlie Brown....."That's IT!!"
Here's what we did:

Start with any clean used little jar.  
As you can see, we didn't get upset that the label didn't completely wash off in the dishwasher.
Slather the outside of this jar with "mod podge."

 While the "mod podge" is still wet,
cover it with tissue paper in any design you want.
Then slather more "mod podge" over the tissue paper.
Let dry.

Drop a tea light candle inside and wrap pretty ribbon around the top to finish off.


We've also been making these:

We put two in a snack size baggie per person, and they go into the gift bag along with two of these.....

Our children can't WAIT to take all their gifts to all their friends.
It's one of our favorite ways to teach them the joy of giving!!

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