Daily Advent Gift: Day 10


There is a great organization in the Boston area to help survivors of domestic violence. Each year, a group of moms in my town gather to serve these survivors a Holiday meal. The least I could do was provide a few items for the meal.

The Second Step fosters the ongoing safety, stability, and well-being of survivors of domestic violence. Our comprehensive residential and community-based programs build on the strengths, needs, and values of the individuals and families we serve. Through partnership with survivors and collaboration with the community, we lay a foundation for a future free from abuse and full of possibility.

The Second Step

Donations can be made online to help families get back on their feet. Giving can be made online or donations of goods (household items, clothing, toiletries, etc) can be dropped off.

Oof. The year I totally forgot about Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child shoebox

Oof. Operation Christmas Child boxes are due this week. THIS. WEEK. (What is Operation Christmas Child? Not only does it help children, but it’s a great giving activity with kids. The boys and I put together shoeboxes last year – see it here!) See, I have this blog about giving. And I’ve been consumed with my little startup. And what happens? I let everything slide. Like what?

Giving. This blog. Making giving a priority.

See, I get it. We get busy. Consumed with other things.

But it’s okay. The sweet, wonderful people at Samaritan’s Purse understand. They must really love me. Because let’s be honest, my heart sank when the boys realized it was Operation Christmas Child week. They said “Ooohhh! I can’t wait to do that again this year!” And I realized, but you’re in school all day, and I missed out on shopping with you this weekend, and this week is already looking crazy….

Guys. Samaritan’s Purse made an ‘Build a Shoebox Online‘! They made an interactive process where you can go through, pick out what you want to include in your shoebox, pay a fee and you’re done. They do the rest.

And yes, creating a shoebox online takes away from all those moments when you can walk through the store with your kids, pick out items, pack them up and pray for the child that will receive them.

But I’d so much rather a child receive something than nothing. To know they are loved and cared for. Despite my inability to prioritize our time right now.

For those you who are able to pack a shoebox for a child in need, they must be delivered this week: November 18-25. Find a dropoff location here. Wondering how to pack a shoebox?

Operation Christmas Child Processing

Who knows, maybe I’ll get my act in gear this week. But I’m thankful that even if I don’t, I can build a shoebox online. I encourage you to do the same.

Make & Give Away: Headbands


You can put a smile on the face of a terminally ill child! Remember Sarah’s guest post about her Little Ladybug Shoppe? She is sharing how she makes the headbands and clip-on accessories that she hands out at local Children’s Hospitals. So now you can make them too and distribute to children at your local hospital! (Please be sure to contact your local organization’s volunteer coordinator before donating.)

These headbands and accessories are easy enough that school-age children can make them, with a little help from an adult. What a great way to teach kids about giving to others! Email me if you are able to participate – we would love to hear about your experience!

From Sarah:

Little Ladybug Shoppe has the unique opportunity to provide handmade hair accessories to young girls diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  It is my hope that this small act of kindness will be a true blessing to them.

I wanted to add my reasoning behind these nylon headbands.  Since the girls who will be receiving these bands have terminal illnesses, I wanted to be considerate of the fact that they might have no hair due to chemo, bruise easily due to medication or treatments, or very sensitive skin due to their specific condition.  I thought the soft nylon bands would be the most comfortable option, and allowing the removable accessories would add some fun and variety.
Thank you so much for your interest in joining Little Ladybug Shoppe‘s mission to bless terminally ill children.  I hope we can be a ray of sunshine to them all.
Below is the tutorial for just the headband.
Supplies needed:
Colored nylons
1″ wide ribbon (color to match the nylons)
Fat quarters
Plain metal alligator clips
Hot glue gun
The band
1. Cut one leg of the pair of nylons and then cut down at the toe so you basically have a “sleeve”.
2. Measure 18″ and trim off any excess fabric.
3. Bring the two ends together and tuck one end inside the other.  Make sure it measures 8.5″ to make a standard child’s size headband.
4. Thread a running stitch to join the two ends together.
5. Pull the thread tightly so the fabric bunches up where you placed your stitch.
6. Wind the thread around the bunch several times and then finish with a couple of finishing knots in the back.
7. Cut a three inch piece of ribbon and use a hot glue gun to secure it around the fabric bunch.  Make sure it is tight, but just loose enough to slip an alligator clip underneath.
Please visit the Little Ladybug Shoppe for the rest of the tutorials. Learn how to make the clip-on accessories: bows, flowers and rosettes!

Giving during Lent

During lent, we prepare our hearts for Easter. It was common during my childhood to give something up for the duration of lent. But for me, it was half-hearted and often lasted only a few days. I never made the connection as to what giving up chocolate had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This year, I’m switching it up. Apparently when I have to make a sacrifice and give something up, it makes me focus on what I’m missing out on all the more. (What a great personality trait…) But if I sacrifice time & money and give to others, it will allow me to focus on what truly matters. It’s God’s money, not mine. To love my neighbor. My gratitude for Jesus. Each denomination has different traditions, so do what allows you to focus on the true meaning of Easter.

Giving to Someone Lent

For more information about some of these giving ideas…

Host a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party

Birthday Wishes birthday box

Make a bracelet or pouch for the She’s Worth It Campaign

Collect medical supplies for Sole Hope

What other ways can we give during lent? Share your ideas in the comments!

Psst…I have more posts about my faith. Take a look!


Make because She’s Worth It Campaign

Shes Worth It Campaign
Remember my friend Andrea, who’s girls were raising money for a safe home and care for orphans? (As an aside, I wrote that post back in June and the girls have already reached their goal! You can learn more about Andrea at her sites:  The Train to Crazy and Go To Patterns.)

She is now raising awareness and money to end human trafficking in partnership with the She’s Worth it Campaign. >>> Read her full post here.

Per LAUGH brand clothing, a huge supporter to end human trafficking,  an estimated two children are trafficked every minute worldwide. This is frightening and horrific. I may not be able to rescue those enslaved, but I can help encourage those that have been set free and let them know how much they are loved. But how?

In addition to raising money for two projects (see below), she and a team of folks are making bracelets and zippered pouches for women and girls who have been rescued from the sex trade. And best of all, they want you to join in!

So we’re asking YOU to join us. Will you make a bracelet or a zippered pouch for a girl in Thailand, India, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Amsterdam or even the United States? We’ll be distributing them through many organizations that work directly with women and girls fresh out of the sex trade in desperate need of love and healing.

The Train to Crazy, Make because She’s Worth It!

Give Time

How can you help? Make!

Host a She’s Worth It Party to make bracelets or pouches with your friends, church family, girl scouts, etc. Or work on one while you watch The Bachelor. Don’t know where to begin? Tutorials will be posted on The Train to Crazy next week in case you need project ideas. The whole point is to make something for someone else, so they know they are loved. What a beautiful gift!

Email thetraintocrazy (at) gmail (dot) com for more information. She will send you details, including the address to mail you completed projects. Andrea will collect the bracelets and pouches and will mail them to She’s Worth It. Some will be hand-delivered in Cambodia in May, and the rest will be distributed by other organizations in partnership by She’s Worth It.

Are you a blogger? Write a tutorial for your bracelet or pouch and link up with The Train to Crazy.

Join Andrea, Bev, Jess, Jess, and Vanessa!

Bev from Flamingo Toes
Jess from If Only They Would Nap
Jess from Me Sew Crazy
Vanessa from Designs by Sessa

Give Money

From The Train to Crazy…

Along with the bracelets and zipper pouches, we’re also asking that you donate $10. Just $10. Your $10 will be helping fund two projects we fully believe in. (If you can’t donate, we’d still love for you to make something!)

  1. Father’s House: a safe house for children in Cambodia who are at risk for being trafficked. This home is run by In His Steps International. You can read more about it here.
  2. The Sewing Project: we’ll be raising money for a group of mothers in an Indian village who have been freed from the sex industry and are learning sewing as a trade! The funds will also help hire a social worker to help them with them with rehabilitation. This project is run by Indian Rescue Mission.

Click the Donate button below to support this great cause.

Online fundraising for Team MAKE raising money for She's Worth It!

(Your online donations are secure and safe. They are also tax-deductible.)

Give Love
Pray for the women and girls who are trapped as slaves in the sex trade.

Pray for the women and girls who are rescued from human trafficking, as they heal and rebuild their lives.

Pray for those who are actively working to rescue slaves, such as International Justice Mission.

Pray that those who are enslaving others are convicted by their actions and repent.

One Million Lights, impacting lives globally & locally

One Million Lights

The need for clean, safe lighting in impoverished areas is urgent. The rural poor are the largest users of kerosene, often walking great distances to purchase it. Although solar lighting seems like an obvious solution, people lacking electricity have been unable to transition from kerosene due to high up-front costs. Those living on less than a dollar a day simply cannot afford a light for $20-$50. Our lights help families shift wasteful kerosene cost to productive investments in education, nutrition, and healthcare.

Why Light? One Million Lights

One Million Lights philippines

Part of being willing to give to others is the realizing and appreciating all that we take for granted. It takes thinking less about ourselves and more about others. And that’s the reason I’m so inspired by One Million Lights. They are not only distributing solar lights to those in need, but is doing so without disturbing the established norms. They are giving kids a chance to read at night, something we take for granted, but has a snowball effect on education and its benefits.

One Million Lights argentina

One Million Lights is also committed to impacting local (US) youth with school programs that highlight our abundance and need to love and help others globally. Take a look at some K-12 schools and how they are collecting donations for solar lights in different underdeveloped nations (here).

Want to give money?

$15 will provide one solar-powered lantern for a family. Donate here!

Want to give time & love?

Become a Light Ambassador. Light Ambassadors get to hand deliver the lights!

Through our donor-meets-recipients model, One Million Lights brings you an opportunity to be on the ground in a developing region. Our Ambassadors personally hand individuals the gift of rechargeable, environmentally friendly, solar lights to improve their living conditions and reduce the use of harmful lighting alternatives.

Light Ambassadors, One Million Lights

Want to learn more? Everything you need to know about the Light Ambassador application process can be found here. How great would it be to go as a family and hand out lights. Now I just need to wait a few years until the boys get a little older…

One Million Lights kenya  
Psst, I have more posts about Non-profits…have a look!


Give back this Tuesday! #Giving Tuesday

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are filled with consumption. We overindulge with mass amounts of food and deals. So let’s give back on Giving Tuesday.

Volunteering is always great, but I know it may not be practical for some. So here are some other quick, kid-friendly and fun ways to give back this Tuesday.

Give Blood. Okay, the kids may not enjoy this one, but you may be able to give blood while they are in school. To learn more about where you can give blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org

Download the Charity Miles app and take a walk, go for a run, take a bike ride with your kids.

Charity Miles is an iPhone/Android app that empowers you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity by walking, running or biking.

Just choose a charity and press start. As you walk, run or bike, the app tracks your distance and you earn money for your charity. Bikers earn 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile, all up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

Go through your cabinets or stop by the grocery store and deliver food to a food bank. Or search for a local food bank via Feeding America.

Go to your local store and pick up medical supplies for Sole Hope.

I’ve mentioned the wonderfulness of Sole Hope before. They are always in need of donated medical supplies for their Foot Washing and Jigger Removal. Imagine the selflessness of washing someone’s jigger infested feet. Reminds me of Jesus!

Kids can help pick out the first aid items (listed below), help package them and bring them to the post office (field trip!).

  • Bar Soap
  • Sharpies
  • Large Safety Pins
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Cotton Balls
  • Medical Razor Blades
  • Medical Tape
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Gauze
  • Band Aids

Mail them to: Sole Hope, PO Box, 1492, Asheville, NC 28802

Learn more about Giving Tuesday and other ways to give back on their website GivingTuesday.org.