As we prepare to enter the holiday season full steam ahead, many of us take a moment out of our busyness of baking, feasting, parties, shopping, and wrapping to give back. As you consider where you can help be a blessing to someone else this season, allow me to tell you a little about Operation Smile .
Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity which, through a network of foundations and medical volunteers, provides life changing surgeries and medical care to children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
If you are a college student (or know someone who is) there is another way to help Operation Smile, while saving some money on those expensive textbooks: CampusBookRentals
CampusBookRentals.com has made a minimum commitment to contribute 80 surgeries to Operation Smile through June 2014, but
that's just a minimum! They are contributing to Operation Smile in two
ways: First, through the minimum commitment as mentioned above. And
second, through their RentBack program, they provide students the opportunity to direct
any portion of their earnings to Operation Smile directly from their RentBack account.
I hope you will consider the good works of Operation Smile as you think about where to donate your charitable funds this year. (And maybe you can save yourself some money and help a great cause along the way using CampusBookRentals!)
* This is a sponsered post. However, all opinions are my own. *
Earlier this month, the family went up to Pigeon Forge for the day to celebrate my birthday. It was such a nice way to spend a Saturday, I had to just share a little with you.
Normally, I dread a drive up I-40 through the Pigeon River Gorge. The big trucks, the curvy road, and lane barriers and the mountains just make for one crazy, claustrophobic, scary ride. Fortunately it was a lovely day, the traffic was light (with oddly very few semis) and the fall colors were just on the downside of peak. It was beautiful!
The morning started with a stop I knew the male offspring would enjoy - the Smokey Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville. After that we did some shopping at the outlets in Pigeon Forge, and then grabbed a light lunch.
Next up was my very favorite spot in Pigeon Forge... The Christmas Place!
I managed to talk the family into posing for some silly pictures.
I really love this store! I could spend hours just looking at all the decorations and trees. It's like getting to hang out in Santa's workshop!
From there we went down to the Old Mill. Where we browsed in the shops... and bought far too much candy!
The day ended with dinner at my favorite restaurant in Pigeon Forge: Mama's Farmhouse. (you can read my previous rave review of it HERE) Seriously... if you like country cooking and are ever in Pigeon Forge you have GOT to eat here!
It was a wonderful day with the family. Part of the perfect birthday weekend. Which I don't think I thank the Man of the House enough for putting together for me!
I saw this on CBS Sunday Morning show a couple of weeks ago, and it made me cry a little. And smile.
These are kids in middle school! I have lived through middle school. I have seen two offspring through middle school in the not so recent past. I know exactly how selfish... and even cruel... middle schoolers can be.
But if you have ever looked at middle school kids and had any worries for the future, these boys can renew your faith in the next generation.
This is a bunch of kids who were willing to put themselves aside for one evening so that someone else could have a moment of glory.
And let them be an inspiration to all of us. What could we do at any given moment to brighten someone else's day?
For a year now I have been keeping a gratitude journal. Sometimes writing several things a day, sometimes nothing at all. Sometimes for several days in a row it goes untouched.
It's so easy to get wrapped up into the busyness of life and to overlook all the beautiful things.
We often forget that even in the hard times, the sad times, the hurt-filled times - there is still good. There is still something for which we can give thanks. There is always something, no matter how small, which we can be grateful for.
We notice the big things. The births. The weddings. The parties and celebrations. The unexpected promotion,a gift, a vacation, a raise in salary, a visit form a loved one. But what about that few seconds of solitude when our soul can rest, the sound of silence, the song on the radio which has us singing along, the moment something makes us smile briefly.
Life is made up of all the small things that happen between the "Big Stuff". Those are the things we should perhaps be most grateful for.
Scripture says in Matthew 25:23, "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have
been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many
things. Come and share your master's happiness!' " Perhaps when we take the time to notice and are faithful to thanks for all the we consider "small", then we will be showered with even more blessings.
Again this year for the month of November, I am keeping a series of posts entitled "30 Days of Gratitude & Thanksgiving". A sort of gratitude journal to remind me of all the blessings (big and small) in my life.