CHRISTMAS ! That’s right…..CHRISTMAS ! As of this minute, in 70 days, 10 hours,36 minutes……the big day will arrive. Wow! seems as if it just passed, doesn’t it? I was always told the years would move faster the older I got…and it’s true! They seem to fly by now.

When I retired after 20 years teaching music, I received many wonderful gifts from friends and co-workers (who are friends, as well). Some of the parents also shared wonderful kindnesses with me, too. All these ‘treasures’ are very dear to me. But, one of the most dearest was just a little card. But, inside, there was a note telling me that a lamb had been purchased, in my honor, and placed with a family in a South American country to help build their flock.

Since I was familiar with this organization…I was especially pleased. The organization is Samaritan’s Purse. It is run by Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham. You my be familiar with it through one of it’s programs, Operation Christmas Child.

Have you filled a shoebox or two with supplies and toys to send to a needy child? This is the same organization. One of it’s other ministries is helping families become self sufficient. By building their flock of sheep, or goats, of even chickens…the family will have enough for food for themselves and enough to sell to buy other supplies. For just $14, the family can receive a starter brood of a dozen chicks. $70 will supply a goat or other dairy animal. For just $50, a pond can be stocked with 500 fingerling fish. Then another$50 will supply nets for fishing or a boat for $350. And $35 will supply all that is necessary for a family to get started in the beekeeping business. The bees will then help pollinate the fruit trees that can also be provided. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Before my Mom died, she encouraged us, as a family, to pool our money, and supply some of these needs. Our gift giving had gotten out of hand. We were all spending more than we needed to…on each other. We all were so blessed that we did not need a thing. And, there were so many others that did. So we followed her suggestion. And, the year after she died, we again contributed in her memory. This is becoming a tradition in our family that we plan to continue. We have just received our Christmas catalog. If you would like to have a catalog, you can see one at or find out anymore information you need.

This has not cut out our giving presents to each other, but what we give is just a token. The majority is now given to others through this organization. If they should receive more contributions for a project than can be used, our gift will be applied to a similar project where it is needed. They will gladly send a gift card if you would like to give a gift in honor of someone.

In our family, we made plans to take up money when we gathered for Thanksgiving dinner…..and then 1 person was in charge of selecting the areas we would support and they would bring a report to the rest of the family on Christmas Day. Our gifts were given in memory of Mom. You may choose to do your gifts individually or another way all together.

I realize this is quite different from my usual post. However, this is a program our family is fully invested in and I would encourage you to, at least, look at the information. Thank you for considering this worthwhile ministry.

“I tell you the truth,whatever you did for one of the least of these….you did for Me.” Matthew 25:40b




  1. Tonja, I was familiar with the "Shoebox" project and participated in it last year for the first time, but I wasn't aware of the other projects. Thank you for this beautiful post and the information you shared. I will definitely visit the "Samaritan's Purse" website to see the projects for this year (I love the idea of "giving a lamb"). What a wonderful way for families to share their blessings with those who are less fortunate.

  2. Jeanette Glover |

    Tonja your Mother taught so many people about Missions. I'm going to Atlanta again this year to pack the Christmas Boxes to send overseas. I just pray that one day I can go overseas to help give them out, that would be an answer to prayer.

  3. What a wonderful post to awaken to this cloudy morning!! Your words and pictures just brought the whole project alive, and that sweet baby with the lamb—that should be their poster.

    I don't remember if I've seen you post for a CAUSE before, and I applaud your interest and your support. And for the first time ever, Today I posted for a Cause as well: Kat's Walk for Life, to support finding a cure for breast cancer. We're thinking alike these days, you and I, and isn't it a marvel to think of the ripples we can just sit here and send out?

  4. Yes it does seem like I just packed away my decorations. I did a shoebox last year and I know I will be doing some this year. Actually after Christmas last year I bought childrens gifts that were on sale at Target just for that occasion.

  5. We've done Samaritan's Purse in the past….but are now involved in a ministry called Mercy Uganda…..working with the women and children of Uganda. Our church supports Samaritan's Purse too.

  6. We just had the Shoebox appeal at Anthony and Lori's church this morning. I have also seen their wonderful catalog you referred to. Mennonite Central Committee does the exact same type of catalog at Christmas, and I just love that we can contribute in such a practical and ongoing way to people in need.

  7. I have not heard of Samaritan's Purse before, but have sent animals through the Heifer Foundation which works on the same principal. We share some of the excess God has blessed us with each year. We believe it is the true meaning of Christmas.

  8. justabeachkat |

    My family has rallied for the American Cancer Society and it's wonderful to see how our family has taken on the cause and joined hands in support of each other.

    I think it's wonderful that your Mom has instilled in your family a beautiful tradition of giving. It's a truly worthy cause. Your photos are beautiful.

    70 days until Christmas?! Really? Ugh….


  9. I LOVE Kurt Warner and this just makes me love him more.

    He was EXACTLY the kind of QB I ADORE. (I know – – – I live in IN and we have Peyton, but I'd prefer Kurt. Shhhhhh don't tell.)

    I knew he is a christian – – – but how awesome that he did this. I noticed he was on DWTS this go round, but hadn't been watching. Thanks for sharing this!

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