Operation Christmas Child

Christmas in October? I know, we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet so why am bringing up Christmas?! Well, it’s time to start thinking about putting together shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Collection week is just a month away – November 12 – 19, so I wanted to tell you about it now so you’ll have time to get them ready. It’s a really easy and fun way to give back.

Samaritan’s Purse International Relief is a non-profit organization that provides emergency relief all over the world to victims of disease, war, natural disaster and famine. One of their projects, Operation Christmas Child [OCC], has been distributing gift filled shoe boxes to underprivileged children in over 130 countries for nearly 2 decades. This is something I look forward to every year, it’s fun, takes very little money, and truly means a lot to the children.

All you do is visit their website, choose a gender and age group and fill a shoe box. They have instructions on their site with a list of suggestions on what to put in the boxes, things like small toys, markers, note pads, candy, even a toothbrush. They make it easy, all you do is pack the shoe box and take it to a local drop off station and they send them off. Let’s help them reach this year’s goal of 100 million shoe box gifts!   

Get your kids involved. I love putting the shoe boxes together and my kids have fun helping me choose the goodies to fill them with. It’s important for my kids to see that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. Doing charitable work helps kids become caring well-rounded individuals, particularly in the world we live in. They must be absorbing the message, one afternoon last summer, my boys set up a stand to collect donations for The Children’s Hospital, then they went through their toys picking out things to donate to homeless kids – all on their own accord! It sure warmed my heart and made me proud. And it certainly was a nice change of pace form the usual, “can we have this… can we do that!?”

It’s common knowledge that helping others makes us feel good but it may also benefit our health. In the book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Alan Luks and Peggy Payne set out to show how one’s physical health improves along with emotional well-being when we volunteer. They theorize about what they call the “helpers high,” similar to what runners feel when endorphins are released.

Although the items in these boxes are simple little things, for some of these kids, it might be the first gift they ever receive. It means so much to them and helps make their Christmas morning a little brighter ♥

10 Healthy Things You Can Do To Prevent Breast Cancer

Survival rates are at an all-time high for those with breast cancer, early detection is the key so be sure to get the proper screening based on your age group and family history. In the last 20 years, there has been a 30% reduction in mortality and over 90% of breast cancer patients survive after 5 years when with early diagnosis. Healthy lifestyle choices will help you beat the odds of being diagnosed.
  • Hit the gym, lace up those running shoes , pop in awork out DVD – choose some type of physical activity because just 30 minutes of exercise each day reduces your chance of getting breast cancer and exercise boosts t-cells that help your immune system work at full capacity
  • Exercise also helps keep your body fat percentage in check. Too much fat on our bodies creates hormones, particularly estrogen, which has been found to stimulate cancer
  • Garlic, turmeric and cruciferous vegetables including brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy are good breast cancer fighters because they bind estrogen in your GI tract
  • A recent study showed that drinking 3 cups of green tea a day can reduce risk of breast cancer by 50%
  • Steer clear of Bisphenol A. I have written about the dangers of BPA in several posts. It’s found in everything from plastic containers to the lining of canned foods to cash register reciepts. BPA is problematic because it imitates estrogen so it disrupts our endocrine system and messes with hormones. It’s been associated with many cancers including breast cancer
  • Avoid parabens. You know how I feel about parabens if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. I always advise using cosmetics and sunscreen that are formulated without them because parabens mimic the body’s natural hormones increasing the risk of breast and other cancers
  • Pesticides can also affect the way your hormones react so buy organic when possible and use green cleaning products
  • Ask your doctor about taking the active form ofvitamin D3, 1000iu’s a day may slash your risk of breast cancer up to 50%
  • HER-2 is a rare but aggressive form of the disease. Another study found that eating lots of raw salad veggies dropped the risk of developing it by close to 35%
  • Curb your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day. Studies show that over imbibing on a regular basis increases the risk factorForward this to the women and men in your life, yes, men can get breast cancer too.