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And that's what Christmas is all about...

So, Christmas was a little different this year. Life is different. Priorities are different. My heart is different.

My family decided last minute to use the money that we would've spent on each other for a better cause, a more fulfilling purpose. Our original thought was to spend around $300 on toys for boys and girls and donate them to Helping Hands. So, we did that but in matter of days, my eyes were open to just how big our God is. He totally blew my mind.

So, we went to Target and purchased the toys. We split the money 50/50 for the boys and girls. Shopping for them was really fun and something that was really cool for us to do as a family. But on the way home that afternoon, as I was driving along, I felt like there was something else that needed to be done. I felt such a burden to help people! So, I just came up with the thought of maybe not donating the toys to Helping Hands but instead trying to find a family that was in desperate need of providing their kids with a Christmas. As soon as I got home, I asked around, posted something about it on Facebook and on Twitter. I thought I'd give it a day and if no one responded then we'd just go with our original plan. This is where it gets good....ready?

The next day my best friend, Autumn let me know of a lady that she works with who lost everything in house fire a few days before. The Brown's are a family of four with two little girls, ages 3 and 6. I thought that would be a great place for the girl toys to be donated to so I was really excited about that! Autumn gave me the husband's cell number and I planned on calling him right after work that afternoon just to let him know that I had some toys for his girls. Well, before I got off work, I called my dad to tell him the news and then he told me that he had actually already called Helping Hands and they would be expecting the toys....all of them. So, my idea to help The Brown's went right on the window! Until...

So I have this amazing job with an even more amazing boss, Jennean. She's more like a close friend. We've known each other for almost five years. We've shared a lot of life moments and stories together. Since I was at work when all of this was taking place, I told Jennean about the situation. Jennean is not only a really great boss but she's also a giver! She has her own non-profit organization called Just A Girl as well and you can read about what they do here. As I was leaving work that afternoon Jennean donated $100 to me on behalf of her organization so I would be able to help The Brown's! Amazing woman! I was so excited and extremely grateful! When I left work, I called Mr. Brown but he didn't answer his phone. So, I left a message which was something that was out of the ordinary for me to do. I thought, "Okay, either he's going to be really grateful or think I'm a complete psycho!" In the message, I told him that I knew of his situation and that I had some toys for his girls if they needed them and some donated money and to just give me a call back. As soon as I hung up the phone leaving that message, a friend of mine, Jennifer, called me to ask if I still had toys to donate because she knew of a family in need. The family she knew of was through her friend, Janet. Janet works with Big Brothers Big Sisters and mentors a family with three kids. Two boys, ages 5 and 9 and one girl, age 12. Because I had already made somewhat of a commitment to The Brown family, I told Jennifer I'd get back with her if I was able to come up with anything else for these kids. All I had now was toys for the boys and nothing for the girl and I just couldn't do that! I seriously didn't think I would have enough to help these kids. But then...

When I got home from work, another friend of mine, Adam, send me a message through Facebook asking if I had found a family to help. Adam and I went to high school together and he is serves in the Army and is getting ready to leave to serve in Hawaii. He told me it was really awesome what I was doing and asked if I was taking any donations! Whoa...hello God! So, of course I told him I'd love for him to help out in any way that he could. Adam ended up unselfishly giving $100. I was blown away! Adam was the final piece that enabled me to help out so many! My brother's sweet girlfriend, Chelsea also donated $20 to me to go towards the family with the three kids! And, Autumn gave extra money to go towards The Brown family! My plans changed in a big way! So, here's the breakdown if you're confused:

Helping Hands--I decided to give ALL the toys to them that my family purchased from Target. We will probably be able to give to about 20 kids with those.

The Brown's--They called me back the next day and I spoke with the wife. She told me the girls were fine because so many people had already donated to them. So, I asked her what her biggest worry was. She responded with, "I know this is selfish but my husband and I have nothing to wear to work". I reassured her that ANYTHING she asked for is NOT selfish in any way. I mean, they lost EVERYTHING! So, we were able to get $175 worth of Amex gift cards for them to spend anywhere. Sweet!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Family--I spoke with Janet and she was so happy that I was going to be able to help! She actually told me that a lady who was suppose to provide Christmas for these kids had just backed out the day before. She kept saying I was such a sent blessing! I had $120 to spend on these three kids. I went to Target, found some great deals and ended up spending around $160 on them. It was totally worth it and so fun shopping for them! I made sure each child had around 4-5 individual gifts to open and then I was able to snag a DVD player for $30 and some DVD's for $5 each as well as a few board games for all of them to enjoy as a family. I also made them Christmas cookies to really make it feel like Christmas at their house! Because of my hectic schedule, I was unable to go with Janet when she dropped off the gifts to the kids but she sent me a text message that said, "Thank you for making the children's Christmas matter! They were so happy! May God bless you like you have blessed this family! They said they've never had so much on Christmas!" How awesome is that?!

Overall, I didn't get to see any of the families or children receive these gifts but I really don't mind. It's not about that. It's about helping people and loving on them in whatever way I can! This blog isn't about what I did it's about the change we can make if we just put an effort into it. My prayer was that God would provide the way and I promised to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. So yeah, I'm pretty sure God provided...in a huge way! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and remember that change starts small but can grow into something that will blow you away! Thank you to EVERYONE who made this possible! I will be forever grateful!

Change is good.




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