By Martha Williams

Here we are, looking toward four special days, when it seems like we only had them yesterday.

Halloween, of course, matters more to some than others. It has always been a special day at my house, though not for ghosts and goblins — it’s that day that tacks another year onto my vital statistics.

Then there’s Thanksgiving, and that age-old discussion, “will it be ham or turkey for dinner this year?” A day when many families gather as many generations as possible into the dining room for those unforgettable treats — perhaps like Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie or those cinnamon rolls granny always brings?

Christmas. Where are we at on that gift list so far? And where are we shopping? Local stores, catalogs, online at places like Amazon?

And, of course, then we start all over again, with New Year’s Day. I like to make a prime rib roast on that holiday. And already tired of that howling wind and rain, I’m ready to cuddle down into my recliner, under three blankets and two cats — just the right amount of warmth and love.

And it’s definitely time to start thinking about that certain Christmas project.

The shoebox gifts we gather each year for Operation Christmas Child are sent to Samaritan’s Purse around Nov. 20, so that means we’d best be getting busy.

Every year we scurry about, trying to find the best bargains, to pack as much as we possibly can for needy children who otherwise would have nothing. But do we look beyond the items we select, or think about the effect they will have on the children who receive them?

Much more is given to those kids than that box full of goodies. They learn of God’s love for them and their families, get opportunities to attend classes and learn much more. Often, because children learn, so do parents, and more people come to faith in Jesus.

Have you ever wondered what happened to a single box? Where it went, and the effect it had on the people it ended up with? How would you like to hear the story of one box and the lives it touched?

You can, on Oct. 12.

Crescent City Foursquare Church will introduce you to Elena Hagemeier, a young woman who can tell you just what it did, and what it meant to her and her sister in the former Soviet Union. The program begins at 7 p.m. and if you’ve ever packed a shoebox, or thought about it but never did, go and hear her.

If you have questions, call 707-464-9501, or 707-464-2034, or visit

To contact Martha Williams, call 707-460-3000, or email . I’m having a bit of trouble with email being bounced back no matter how many I delete, so please call me if that happens.