When you live in America, it can be easy to forget that there are children all over the world who have never heard the story of Jesus’ birth, or received a Christmas gift. As Americans, we tend to get pretty wrapped up  this time of year with Black Friday shopping, hanging lights on our houses, and standing in long lines to get our kids’ pictures taken with Santa.

But the reality is that there are millions of children all over the world who have never seen a Target ad, sat on Santa’s lap, or even heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s why for the past several years, Steve and I have gotten involved with Operation Christmas Child — a program started by an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, which has delivered more than 115 million boxes to children in 150 countries since 1993.

Getting involved is easy. All you do is find a shoebox or plastic container, decide if you’d like to pack it for a boy or a girl, and look for gifts for a specific age range. We figure that most people enjoy shopping for little kids because it’s so fun to buy toys and games, so we typically fill our boxes with things for the sometimes overlooked teenage boys. This year, our boxes included hygiene products (washcloths, soap, hair comb and a tooth brush), school supplies (notebook, pencil bags, pencils and sharpener, and pens) and few fun things like hacky sacks and playing cards.

We just packed the stuff in an Operation Christmas Child box, paid the $7 shipping charge online at the Samaritan’s Purse website,  and dropped it off at our church, which is serving as a collection site this year. I’m told that our boxes will be sent to children in Mexico this year.

It’s not a lot, but for some kids, a shoebox full of small gifts will mean the world this Christmas. It will provide a few things, give them hope, and prayerfully, the knowledge that they are loved by God and by us.

  • We hosted a bridal shower at our house this weekend for Ann’s niece and this fruit and vegetable charcuterie tray was a big hit. We found the large tray at @pier1 and filled it with all kinds of colorful fruits and veggies from @wholefoods. #charcuterieboard #entertaining #bridalshower #fruits #vegetables #charcuterie #charcuteria #postcardjar #home #healthyfood #wholefoods #pier1
  • The Pea Cocktail is made of Hendricks gin, basil soup, Amontillado sherry, lime juice, blanched spring peas, virgin olive oil, and Aquafaba. It's available in the #edenbar aboard the @celebrityedge. One of things we love most about @celebritycruises is the quality cocktails they serve.  #cocktail #gin #travelblogger #postcardjar @cruisecelebrity @cruisecritic #cruising #travelblogs @bethanyatsea @that_traveling_man
  • Baked Alaska is always one of our favorite desserts when it is offered in the suites-only restaurant, Luminae, on Celebrity Cruises' ships. Under all that toasty merengue, you'll find delicious Neapolitan ice cream.
  • Villages in Santorini, Greece, are perched high up on hills overlooking the Aegean Sea. These dwellings, which have been here for centuries, enjoy a commanding view of the beauty that surrounds them.⁣
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  • The "Fat Elvis" dessert as prepared by Chef Kurtess Mortensen of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. This was the seventh and final course of the first ever Whole Hog Dinner at the Merc. ⁣
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  • The Elderflower Blush, made from Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain elflower liquour, Sprite, lemon juice, lemon juice, and strawberry. This delicious cocktail was available at the pool bar. #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #celebrityedge #endlesssummer #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #cruisecritic #lifeisbetteratsea #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #cocktail #poolbar
  • Sometimes, on a road trip, it's good to just stop and appreicate the beauty. Ann saw this tree on the side of the road and was inspired to snap a photo. ⁣
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  • Fresh flowers in our room at the Pioneer Woman Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Flowers like these are just one of the many wonderful touches that make any stay at the Boarding House a special experience to be remembered.

Making the most of midlife.