Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shoebox? Shoe-in for Change!

When I was a kid, I remember helping my Grandma Betty pack dozens of giftwrapped shoeboxes into her trunk around Thanksgiving. I vaguely knew they were to help kids somewhere on the other side of the world at Christmastime. I most definitely knew that Grandma would give me candy afterwards for helping, which was far more important to me at the time!

But I did eventually grow up. And as soon as Nick and I got married, we started packing a shoebox every November for Operation Christmas Child, an outreach of an organization we support called Samaritan's Purse. It's run by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son.

The idea is simple: you take a normal-sized shoebox, fill it up with goodies for a boy or girl in 3 different age categories from ages 2-14 that you choose, and finally drop it off at a local pickup station (usually a church, business or school). Samaritan's Purse then delivers it to your boy or girl in any number of countries, often delivered by such diverse methods as camel or donkey.

In addition to getting the Christmas gift of a lifetime, each boy or girl gets an invitation to a local church and a Bible tract explaining the salvation message.

And now they let you track the status of your package! Last year, our box went to Peru.

I must say, Operation Christmas Child is grand fun! I'm supremely proud of the amount of stuff I manage to pack into my shoebox every year. Not to mention, it is an awesomely-easy way to teach Jack about missions. This year, he was super-excited to buy stuff for "kids who dote hab enny." :-)

Check out the list of 27 items I crammed into my box this year, chosen for a boy ages 2-4 in honor of Jack:

denim shorts, 6 pairs of socks, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, playdough, a ziploc bag of hard butterscotch candy, 8 packs of gum, bar of soap, comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, 4 squishy sports balls, basketball hoop with inflatable ball, writing tablet, washcloth, baby powder, calculator, cup, fork/spoon, dinner plate, coloring book, Hot Wheels car, pencil sharpener, Kleenex and 2 race cars!

Go ahead and pack a box for yourself -- collection week is this week, November 15-22! Check out the link:

Happy shoeboxing!

Friday, November 5, 2010

"So" my Perfume

When I was around 13 or so, I had a small obsession with my Aunt Penny. First of all, I looked more like her than my mom. Aunt Penny looked killer in red (as did I, according to my color wheel), wore lipstick, drove a stick shift, could tease her bangs in true 90s fashion, and had certain assets that my awkward pre-teen self truly desired. She was the coolest.

At our almost-weekly lunches at Los Cabos, she would laugh hysterically at everything I said. I never figured out why, but I didn't care. I was just so enamored that a grown woman besides my mom would find me fun to hang out with.

Aunt Penny wore So de la Renta perfume. To me, it was the icing on the cake. That perfume was so grownup! So womanly! So expensive-smelling! I had to have it.

So imagine my joy when, at my 13th birthday party, Aunt Penny bestowed upon me a magic bottle of the golden, treasured So (pictured above). I vowed to wear it and a bra at the exact same time, therefore proving my womanliness.

Yet I wanted to treasure every last drop. So I made a compromise with myself: I would only wear it to special occasions, like church and all those homeschool functions I attended. (I'm really upping my coolness quotient with you, aren't I?).

So I wore my So to my middle school graduation, first homecoming, as a bridesmaid in Shane & Jill's wedding, for good luck during my driver's test (I passed the first time, thank you very much!) and first cheerleading event and SATs, to my Hult Center concert, high school graduation, first day of college...

And even my own wedding and honeymoon. On the day I gave birth to Jack. So and I have been through a lot together.

A few years ago, Oscar de la Renta stopped manufacturing So. I was terrified. Would I be a real woman anymore without my signature scent?

My awesome mother-in-law stepped in, buying me a few more bottles online before they went. I was saved!

I still wear So. Yet lately, as the gold level in my bottle drops lower and lower, I've been thinking. About getting a new perfume. Gasp!

Yet I think it's time. I've been wearing the same perfume for a dozen years, and I love it (thankfully, so does Nick). But it's time to move on. To what scent, I don't know. But I feel older now, ready for a change of scentery. (Any suggestions?).

I think I'll still keep the last bottle, though. Maybe I'll smell it every once in a while, and remember what it was like to feel the longing for adulhood live in that strange, in-between land between girlhood and womanhood. For me, So encompasses both sides of the fence, so it's doubly special. They say scent is the strongest emotional trigger, and I think it's true.

So long, So. You've served me well. And thanks, Aunt Penny, for setting an awkward wannabe on the path to all things woman. :-)