Okay, okay.  So, I know the whole last post was about how the best gifts, the REAL gifts, aren’t “things.”  This is true.  But, after a birthday like I had this week, some of the gifts I received were so thoughtful that I couldn’t help but share a few of those special “things.”

I will start by saying that my sister LOVES to try and make me cry.  Buying me a birthday gift is no exception.  I don’t cry much, I’m just not terribly sentimental, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.   She succeeded a few years ago, and  I think that just fueled her fire for wanting to do it again.  She nearly accomplished that goal again this year.  I opened up this beautiful necklace from her and went into the speechless-ugly face…..BUT squeezed the tears back into my eyes and kept from bawling.

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My husband and kids also nailed it on thoughtfulness.  Andy and I began having a lot of discussions a few years ago about dual-purpose gifts–items that directly benefit the creator (or person in need) and the recipient of the gift.  We love seeking out ministries that help people provide and thrive.  Over the years we have donated in people’s names through Samaritan’s Purse Gift catalog, purchased items from Noonday Collections, bracelets made by women from Haiti, necklaces from Africa, and many other beautiful ministries.

This year I asked for one thing for my birthday , the new Michelle Duggar book–(it’s an obsession right now, but that’s another story).  Instead I got something much more special.  Andy found out about a small business located out of Patalenitsa, Bulgaria called Bloc Socks.  Every pair of Bloc Socks is hand-knit by the women of the Patalenitsa knitting co-op. They source all of their wool locally and use patterns that have been passed down through Bulgarian families for generations.  They are beautiful knitted socks, booties, and accessories that help the women in that community preserve their knitting traditions and provide additional income.


Mine came yesterday in the mail….




Yes, they kept my feet warm while I watched my crazy kids play in the freezing cold on the patio yesterday!  But, more than that, they keep my heart warm knowing the thoughtfulness that went into putting them on my feet!


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