Lin, from a place called Simplicity is doing a GIVEAWAY of one of the Memorial boxes!  Here is my entry:

In October of 2009, my husband unexpectedly came home from his job of 7 years.  Just by the look on his face, I knew something was wrong.  Very very wrong.

He had been laid off.

Now, we don’t have a savings to speak of, never have.  We have always lived paycheck to paycheck.

So, fastforward to December when Christmas is FAST approaching and I have 3 children here expecting stuff under that tree and no money of any kind to give it to them, God gave me an incredibly crazy idea to do what we call “Homeless Joe” bags.  (I do a lot of photo sessions at a park in Tulsa and we pass a lot of homeless people with signs that read “will work for food” “help of any kind needed” etc etc.  Our Pastor challenged us to give them food!  Give them water!  And give them a little message of Christ.  So we always do.)

My husband was still very much unemployed, so I sat my boys down (Brooklyn is young and wouldn’t understand) and asked them if Santa didn’t bring them anything for Christmas, is there anything they could not LIVE without?  And, of course, my practical boys replied with a no, because when they thought about it, God has blessed us with everything they really do need and want. Christmas is no LESS Christmas because they didn’t get more CRAP under that tree. Let’s be honest.

So I told them my idea of using my last $25 after all my bills were paid to do more “Homeless Joe” bags but on a little bit bigger scale.

A few people from church were collecting blankets to pass out to the homeless, so this worked perfectly to do both together! Each ziploc freezer bag (used specifically for a reason, not just because I’m cheap and didn’t want to get cutesy gift bags. Think about it.) contains a new pair of gloves, a new pair of socks, 2 packages of crackers with either cheese or peanut butter, a candy bar (because they are frankly YUMMY), 2 cereal bars (because they are healthy and full of vitamins, but not NEARLY as yummy as candy bars), a bottle of water, and a water drink mix with extra vitamins added.

Let me stop right here and clarify: this was TRULY a God-inspired thing, because left on my own, I’d be selfish and probably a big Scrooge. Just call me Scrooge McSuggs. Nice to meet you.

It’s the Christ in me that urges me to give even when my husband has no job. It’s Christ in me that gives me a giving heart.

We did about 11 bags on the $25 I had to spend.

Fast forward to Saturday evening when I get an email from a sweet, sweet blogger friend to check my mail. I frankly don’t check my mail because there isn’t ever anything GOOD in there. PSO has never once sent me a nice card to tell me they are thinking of me during this time of unemployment, and don’t worry about this months’ electricity bill…’s on them. Hasn’t happened. So, I didn’t check the mail for that day.

And I should have:

Dear Miss Rachel and Mr Daddy sent me an incredible gift bag full of yummy treats just for ME! The most awesomest socks that I am quite positive were NOT $1 off and came 8 for $5 and I’ve worn twice already, maybe two days in a row and I know that’s gross, but I didn’t want to take the time to WASH them because they were just so yummy…..Don’t hate. The best chocolate on the PLANET, and I shared with Austin’s bus driver who shared with HIS wife and called me JUST to concur that it was INDEED the best chocolate on the planet. And a Willowtree figure.

Oh I heart Willowtree.

But the most AMAZING thing, and I tell you, I still can’t believe it. Rachel and Mr Daddy sent me Christmas money to buy my children Christmas. In fact, I’ve already gone and done some, and I plan on keeping that Target card when it’s empty and putting it in my Bible as a constant reminder that God is ALWAYS faithful. Always. Even when I don’t see it or don’t feel it. He is faithful.

It has been one of those things that just makes you cry and praise God all at the same time.

God urged me to GIVE even when I was afraid to, and I did. I stepped out on faith (not even BIG faith….mustard-seed-sized faith, I’m not too big for my britches that I will lie and tell you how amazing my faith is. It’s bigger than it was for SURE, but I’m still a fearful person.) and I gave the only extra money I had to do what God asked me to do with these “Homeless Joe” bags….

….and He bl ow s my mind through Rachel and Mr Daddy: blog readers I’ve never met. Yet.

For my Memorial Box, I would put that Target card that supplied my kids Christmas!  I still have it, tucked away safe so I don’t forget what God has, is and will do for my family!