This Christmas Season has been one filled with many changes. Our son and his wife are in Sweden so it’s our first Christmas without them. Our daughter and her new husband sharing their first Christmas with us, bringing their animals, putting us with four cats, one dog and five chickens! We are my mom’s main caregivers, which brings a lot of joy but also much more responsibility. The nonprofit is in the midst of moving to a new season, filled with so many great opportunities to change lives but also brings the need to raise more money than seems possible. It’s a bit crazy! But the Lord continues to show me that every moment counts, every penny we share counts, every hug, a kind word, or shared baked good counts. In a world where we are taught to be selfish, I am more than thankful to be where I am, doing what I am doing, and continuing to hear God’s voice in it all. My husband and I had the privilege of taking some of our local homeless community to a family’s home as they hosted over 100 to a meal they would otherwise not have had. They allowed this forgotten community to have Christmas in their home, at their expense. This family understands the true meaning of Christmas, sharing God’s love with others. No wrapped gifts, no stockings just a home filled with what these people needed most, a warm meal, and a loving arm around them. Watching my daughter and her husband move through their first year of learning how to make their own traditions, build their own lives and make decisions that may seem overwhelming I am reminded that my husband and I had to fail, make mistakes in our day to day lives to become who we are now. Just liking each other at times felt impossible. I don’t regret any of it. It all has drawn us closer. Some precious friends of ours that are settled in their lives, have older children, a beautiful old home they have worked on together, trips planned and secure jobs found out they will be having a baby in a few months. I am so proud of their response to this very unexpected gift. Through fear and shock, they are embracing this new addition to their family. Another family is in the midst of losing their three-month-old baby. In the heartache of this they are cherishing every second they have left with their gift. One of the children we sponsor has a sister and brother as well as an unexpected adopted sibling. Their family struggles to supply the basics, living in a country where the opportunities are nothing like America. After having their third child, still an infant, a sister died leaving her son with no one. They took him in simply because it was the right thing to do. Not because they could afford it or because they had room, they didn’t. But they are learning to embrace every moment they are handed. On a trip to Moldova hosting a camp for kids that have very little, we made friends with a dog. Yes, a dog. She was hungry, lonely, her hair was matted, she was a mess but followed us everywhere and became part of our “team”. She just wanted to be near us. After camp when everyone had left our team decided to love on this little one. We bathed her, cut her hair, fed her, loved on her. If we can have so much compassion for an animal how much for should we care for one another in the little and big things? I am thankful for our financial failures as they have made us wise with our money. I am grateful for God allowing me to travel, to see how most of the world lives, it has made us compassionate and willing to give sometimes more then we have. I am thankful for the heartaches, they have given me understanding when others are facing trials. I appreciate every penny donated to Village to Village, it makes me careful about how funds are spent, it causes me to have integrity and honesty. I am sad that so many in our world live for themselves. What joy they are missing out on. How we spend our time and money say a lot about who we are. We can look at someone’s checking account and see where their heart is. Where is your heart today? If you are unsettled, unhappy, lonely I encourage you to begin to do small things for others. You will become addicted to doing good. It will not only make you a better person it will give you purpose. You may be the only person able to meet someone’s needs. Do Good. Give. Love. Embrace. Become a hero.