Friday, December 10, 2010

A Little Child Shall Lead Them (to Compassion)

We opened our Christmas presents from Joy while we were together in Williamsburg at Thanksgiving. Both Les and Ashlee got flannel jammy pants (I already had some). Earlier this week I bought us all new slippers with my $10 coupons for a couple of stores. It's been so cold here this week, we've all changed into cozy pants and slippers as soon as possible each evening.

When I am cozy, I love curling up with a book. (It's why I don't have an e-reader yet; it doesn't seem curl-up-able.) Books make me forget the cold. They take me off to another world, transporting me to someplace fun, warm or at least interesting. I get to live someone else's life for a few hours. And I learn so much. (I'll never forget learning from one of Gilbert Morris's fiction books that West Virginia came into being during the Civil War, when the western counties of Virginia refused to secede from the Union.)

Alyssa Deraco knows what I'm talking about. A 12-year-old who loves to read, she feels books can help us forget our troubles and she wanted to share that experience with others. So she started Alyssa's Bedtime Stories, to collect kids' books, uses and new, to donate to kids living in shelters who could use something to help them forget how difficult life can be. Worried that they have no "cozy pants," she decided to bundle the books with a pair of pajamas.

She and a few friends choose the pjs and appropriate books for each child, wrap the presents, handwrite the personalized cards, and deliver the gifts so they can meet the recipients. This year their handing out 124 pairs of pjs and over 300 books. Want to know more? Read the newspaper article about Alyssa.  Donations are always appreciated, whether of books or pjs or money to buy them.

Or you could just allow Alyssa to lead you toward your own unique service. What makes you cozy? What helps you relax and forget your troubles? Maybe it's a hot cocoa and a family game night. Can you invite another family or a widow over to join you? (Don't forget to tell them to bring their slippers.) Maybe it's soothing music or a warm bath. No, don't invite someone over for a bath. But you could put together a gift basket with bath salts or bubble bath, a CD and a beverage for a single mom and give it with a voucher offering to take her kids out for a few hours so she can indulge.

The point is to share with someone in need something that nourishes you. What will it be?


  1. Thank you for such an uplifting story and a link to support such a fabulous cause! Reading has been a staple in my life since childhood and I can totally imagine how a book (and PJs!) would be such a nice gift for a displaced child.

  2. I wanted to share something that I have started doing this month & I will say it is not easy but, well worth seeing the Joy on people faces. In TN they have this food bank for people who need food. I have some friends that work very hard at my work who take care of their grandchildren and they went to try to get food & they were not able to, because if you own a house & work you don't qualify. So, I put up a box at work & asked people to go through their cabinets & get anything they are willing to donate to families who need food & a friend & I make baskets every 2 weeks to the families we know are working & trying to make ends meet and are unable to spend alot on groceries. My friend & I will continue to do this & also are looking into puting boxes up at the church & to keep helping as many families as we can. It feels so good to know that they are able to have a good meal and I have helped feed families in out country. I love you sharing you blog. I know mine is a kinda different but, I wanted to tell you that my way of stepping into someone else life and destressing is to help & give to others it makes me feel at peace:)

  3. Maggie, I am with you; books were my best friends as a child. Joy, thanks for sharing a great way we can meet the needs of others. I love your generous spirit that isn't just compassionate in attitude but also in action.

  4. Thanks for talking about what my mom and i do. it made me so happy when i saw ur blog and how i was mentioned in it! Thanks so much!
    Alyssa Deraco and my mom, lilian smith.