Saturday, December 4, 2010

Janie's Stocking

I want to get a cow for Christmas. I know that sounds funny, but really, I want to get a cow for Christmas.


So we went ahead and decided to set up all the Christmas decorations. Janie had a few rules about Christmas 'set-up' at our house. First: on the day we get our tree we will play Bing Crosby Christmas music and eat those gross frozen 'delights' from the grocery store freezer that we would never, ever eat otherwise. I mean the frozen puff pastries and the frozen snack trays and little weiner hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury pastry. Actually, those are delectable. Second: the Christmas tree must be taller than her. Period. Third: We must purchase our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. No earlier, no later. This third one, I am sure, was to extend the deliciousness of the Christmas season for as long as possible. Janie loved Christmas.

I decided that we would honor these traditions in the Booth household, but I was a bit concerned about
the kids' emotions (and by that I mean mine of course) as we set it all up without her here. It's all sentimental stuff we're setting up, you know? We could try and get along ok, but the elephant would still be in the living room regardless of the twinkling lights and tinsel draped over him. Janie is not here to enjoy her favorite holiday. How am I going to do this? Solution: set everything up as usual, but have some of the kids' friends over. And behold, it was good! No giant crying jags or anything! So thanks, Abby, Beek, Chris and Emily.

As we unpacked all of our Christmassy stuff, I came to the green plastic bin, opened it up, and there it was: Janie's Christmas stocking. Ugh. I hadn't thought of that. Hmm, do we hang it up with the rest of our stockings? Do we not hang ours since she can't hang hers? We chatted and somewhat resolutely decided that we mustn't be controlled by sentimentalism: Janie is in heaven and we must move forward. So back in the green bin went the stocking.

The next day, Janie's parents mentioned that it was a little hard seeing her lack-of-stocking at the fireplace. Yup, I agreed, it is a little hard. But it seemed best. And then it came. The wonderful, brilliant idea. And it wasn't even mine. It was Janie's mom: "why not put it elsewhere in the house and drop spare change into it...and then give away however much there is by Christmas?"  Zowie! I like it! Now the creative juices were flowing: why not make her stocking available to anyone else who would like to contribute? Why not mention it in emails and on the blog? And why not make it more than a 'spare change' thing and let it grow to a substantial amount and really help someone in need? Or maybe more than one someone in need?

So we are 're-purposing' Janie's Christmas stocking.

So I want to get a cow for Christmas. By that I mean that I want to get a cow for someone this Christmas. They cost $500 through a neat organization called Food For The Hungry. The kids' band raised over $1000 to give to them this past summer. And we ended up with a catalog of things you can buy for needy people in the world: and a cow, a whole cow that is alive and healthy and everything, costs only $500. A well, a whole well with clean water for a village, in, say Africa, costs only $2500. A goat costs $150. FFH has gifts for every price range. So......I'd like to invite you to contribute: however much money gets deposited in 'Janie's Stocking' will be invested in the lives of needy people. It will be given in Janie's memory and in Jesus's name.

I would also like to help a needy family right here in Rutland. I'm putting out feelers even as I type to find out who God might have us help. However much comes in, I'm thinking I'd like to split between a local family and one overseas.

Here's the catch: this whole thing is going to go through my family. No 501(c)3 organization (except Food For The Hungry of course) and no tax write-off. Also, no credit cards. So if you already know me (I think most regular readers of this blog do....) and trust me to actually give the money away rather than buy myself a Hover Scooter, then if you'd like to be in on it, just send a check to me. Plain and simple. You can send it to: Chris Booth, care of Calvary Bible Church, 2 Meadow Lane, Rutland, VT 05701. The church is only a mailing address; make the check out to me, thanks.

If you don't know me and think this could be a scam, then of course don't send anything. That's fine. But we're doing this thing and I think Janie would really like it. But if you like the idea, then let's team up and see what God will do to help someone this Christmas!

*Here is a page about Food For The Hungry's financial stewardship. 93% of your money goes to the field. That is an unusually high percentage.


  1. I think this is an AWESOME idea! :)

  2. Hey Chris,

    I'm so happy that we're going to to this! Another cool organization that I found, in addition to Food for the Hungry, is a relief effort called Duncan Africa. There motto is "Poverty Sucks, Play Guitar." It's one of the coolest ideas I've heard of in a long time, and you can read more about it here:

    Anyway, that's just another idea of an organization to support at this event or a future event. I still think the cow is a wonderful idea =)

    See you soon!

  3. What a wonderful way to honor Janie, and one that I'm sure she'd love!!

  4. Aw, come on, Chris, I thought I was done crying when I read your blog. Here goes again. :)

    Of course, we love it - couldn't be a better way to go.

  5. Ahh, I love those black and white holsteins (how do you spell it anyway) and I love Janie. OK

  6. Hey its great to hear from all of you! Thanks for the great feedback and this is only day one...I wonder where this will lead!?!

    Marcia, I can't guarantee that it will be a Holstein....actually, one thing I forgot to mention: I guess Food For The Hungry requires the recipient of the cow to give away one of its offspring to someone who needs one, and they have to give away one, and so on, and so great is that?

  7. Hey Chris,

    I am on staff with Food for the Hungry and came across your post this morning...

    It is very encouraging to read your story and see your desire to help others this Christmas! God certainly humbles us every year as he gathers a network of supporters for those in need around the globe.

    Just wanted to personally say "Thanks".

    Mark Kaech

  8. Hey Chris do you have a deadline for this?
    Jane Shortsleeves

  9. Wow, Mark, I'm so pleased you found this and thanks so much for commenting! I hope that by the end of this we can be writing a nice fat check to you! I am already feeling so blessed by the donations that have already come in, as well as the 'pledges.'

    Jane, oops your right I needed a deadline! Let's make the deadline December I can have a few days before Christmas to get the money to the local family. The cow (or whatever animal we end up 'getting') would actually be given to the recipient after Christmas, so if a few more donations come in after the 20, that would still be ok.

    Thanks so much everyone!!!

  10. Way to go Chris & All...

  11. this is so amazing!!!! with all the checks coming in you better buy a
    bigger stocking (ha-ha)

  12. I would looove to need a bigger stocking! Let's do it!

  13. What a unique way to use Janie's stocking! Count me in!

  14. You Booths are amazing! You are such an encouragement to me and a host of others. This is definately a Janie project. Count the Halls in!!