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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hosting Christmas with My Family, Part 1 - Blessing Bags

This was my first year hosting Christmas with my family.  
We did our Christmas last weekend since it's Kyle's families turn to get us for Christmas this year.
Hosting Christmas means planning Christmas...not exactly my forte.  
We ended up having a blast though.

For this post, I'm focusing on our first activity, the blessing bags.  

First, we created blessing bags, an idea I found on pinterest.  
We put together gallon size ziploc bags and filled them with things that might be useful to the homeless.  
Each family brought 3-4 things to contribute.  
The kids packed up the bags and made cards to go in them.  

They really enjoyed the process.

Then we set out to deliver them. 
While driving along the way we saw a couple of people holding their signs at the stoplights, so we gave them bags.  

We headed toward downtown, and this is where my "big ideas" don't always mingle well with the small details.    

We found someone pushing a shopping cart, so with a two car caravan we pull over and parked.
She was on the move so by the time we got 10 people piled out of the cars, gathered up the bags, then decided to hand out water too, she was a couple of blocks ahead of us.
We set out after her.
It felt really awkward chasing down a homeless woman on the move.
I can only imagine what she may have been thinking with 10 people trying to play it cool, but hurriedly chasing after her!!

We finally caught up with her and I realized this probably wasn't the best way to distribute the bags!
I asked her if we were to pass out more bags to more people where we might find them.
She was EXTREMELY helpful.
We got the inside scoop on where they all hang out.

In fact, this is where the experience became a shocking reality.
We saw one man's dwelling place.
Literally just a pile of blankets, with his bible and a couple of books in the doorway of an abandoned retail space.
The next doorway over was his bathroom.
It really smelled...bad.

We walked a few blocks and had no trouble finding people to give them to.
We brought 10 bags and could have handed out dozens.  

On our way back to the cars, we ran into a man who called himself "Cadillac."
He asked us if we would love him because no one else loves him.
He told us stories of himself  back in the '60's "saying what he means and doing what he says"
Turns out, he's a huge OU fan. 
The sad thing is, he probably won't remember us or our conversation. 
The alcohol on his breath was overly obvious. 

I think the experience was just as beneficial (if not more) to us than to the recipients of our blessing bags.
It deepened my appreciation of humanity.
I also felt my heart wanting to get to know these people more, but then I'm not sure I could handle if/when something terrible happened to them.
It was a good family experience...definitely something we will do again.   

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