Monday, February 28, 2011

Counting Down...

I've got about 8 more days until I start my month of rice which I mentioned earlier!  I'm kind of excited.  I know that's kind of weird, but I am very interested in what it's like for 50% of the world.

If you don't want to read my whole last post (I don't blame you), then I'll explain:

50% of the world's people only receive rice to eat for dinner.  It kind of blows my mind. 

So I wanted to see what it was like.  I'm starting on March 8th (I know, it's random.  My husband's birthday is tomorrow and we're going to celebrate this weekend, so I needed to push it back.  The good thing about it: Lent starts next Wednesday, so it might become my Lent deal and I'll just extend it to Easter, if I can make it). 

Are you interested in joining? 

If a month is a bit much, you could do a week.  If a week is too much, you could do a day.  I'm going to try and take pictures of my bowl of rice because I think it sounds like fun.  I'll try and make it more fun than it sounds.

If you'd like more information on hunger in the US and throughout the world, you can visit these links:
Feeding America
ELCA World Hunger

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Little Things

I've never really had any life-changing experiences.  Or at least I don't think I have (I feel like people who know me would tell me differently).  I've never done drugs and then realized that I had a larger calling or been in a car accident.  I feel like my life has been made up of smaller things.

I can pinpoint a few moments in my life journey that have changed me, but they always seem so little that it's almost ridiculous.  And they have always been words.

I figured that I'd share two with you.

I was sitting on the subway, the 1 train, to be exact and it was SO full.  I don't remember where I was going.  Maybe I was on the 3 train on the weekend and I was going home and it was running local.  But that's neither here nor there.  There was a woman reading a religious pamphlet and I remember it saying, "Love is a VERB" across the top.

And that's it.  But I felt like I had just discovered something important.

The other time is nearly the same thing.  I was on our church's Stewardship Committee.  A Stewardship Committee essentially helps convey the idea of why the church needs money and how they use it and how we donate our time and talents as well as our money.  The visiting pastor (who was going to give the sermon the next Sunday) handed out sheets of paper with 1 Timothy 5-6 on it.  I remember reading it and here's the part that knocked me over:

Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous.

Now, I think it's important to say that this is The Message version of the Bible.  I've never been entirely fond of it.  In the NIV, Jesus always says "Truly, I tell you..." when he speaks and I LOVE it and I have a hard time with translations that don't say that.  But the word that hit me hardest was "extravagantly." 

What do you think of when you hear the word "extravagant"?  Do you think of others or of yourself?  It's a word, for me, that has always conjured up an image of women in furs and diamonds.  Extravagant.  To be extravagant in our giving...I think that's beautiful. 

Do you have any moments, little or big, that have changed the way you view the world and your place in it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Keep Calm And Carry On

Hello again!  Did I tell you that I was headed to England?  I was the best (wo)man at my friend's wedding and I had a blast.  But a combination of too much adrenaline and tea kept me up most nights and now that I'm back in the US, I have a cold.  But I thought I'd post some pictures for you!!

The City of York, England 

The shortest street with the longest name (and the most boring shops) in York. 

The newlyweds came with me and had a fish pedicure. 

It tickles at first and then it feels like your feet are vibrating. 

 The first dance.

The wedding cake! 

My outfit. 

The hotel/wedding venue: The Churchill Hotel. 

Cutting the cake!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Don't Like Pizza

It's true.  I have actually been told I'm UnAmerican because of this!  I don't like pizza.  When I got pizza as a child (in fact, both my sister and I would do this), we would pull the cheese off and I would take it a step further and wipe off all the spaghetti sauce.  Even now, I don't like sauce and cheese like that.  I eat the mushrooms off my pizza, give my cheese to a small child or my husband, wipe off the sauce and eat the bread.  I can't help myself.

But Super Bowl weekend, my husband got a pizza that was AMAZING.  And yes, I said it.  Amazing.  So amazing.  That I made him order it again this weekend.

It's from a small place in Jersey City called "Carmine's Pizza Factory" and it's the BBQ Chicken Wing Pizza:

And yes, that is a swirl of RANCH DRESSING on that pizza.  I love it.

My husband laughed and said, "I can't believe it took you 25 years, but I'm glad you found a pizza you like."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You can see and hear the difference in the style of helpfulness or worship when people are trying to earn God’s love and when they are trying to return God’s love. Returning love has an entirely different energy than earning love. It’s not based in fear or desperation or groveling. It’s based in ecstasy and joy. -Richard Rohr

Monday, February 14, 2011

Help Send Emilda to the Special Olympics

Help Send Emilda to the Special Olympics

This is all coming from
Emilda is 18 years old. She and her family live in a crowded squatter community in the Philippines. It’s beside the public cemetery.
Emilda has the mental capacity of a three-year-old child. She is also an athlete.


In 2009 Emilda competed in the 12th Philippine Special Olympics; her performance qualifies her to be part of the national delegation to the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

With your donation she can rise above her circumstances and compete in Athens. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Additional Information
For Emilda, overcoming poverty comes in the form of running. In 2009 she competed in the 12th Philippine Special Olympics and won one gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal in Track and Field. Her performance qualifies her to compete in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece this summer.

Living in dire poverty, her parents are not able to provide for Emilda to compete, even in local competitions. Her church and child development center have absorbed the expenses for Emilda’s local and national competitions. Unfortunately, it’s beyond their ability to help her compete internationally.
The Philippine government cannot financially support athletes competing in the Special Olympics and so help must come from elsewhere.

Her need is $19,857.

This sounds like a lot of money, I know.  You know what's really crazy though?  Compassion said on their Twitter: As little as $.60 from each of our followers can give  a chance to win a medal at the  

60 cents?!  That's it?  If everyone gave $1, they'd have MORE than enough.  It IS attainable!

Emilda has trained and worked hard. Her mother and the director of the development center have been her champions. They’ve worked to overcome every barrier they can.

Will you join the effort to give Emilda an opportunity of a lifetime?


Your donations will provide for Emilda’s training and equipment expenses, as well as the travel expenses (e.g., passports, visas, food, transportation, lodging, etc.) for Emilda, her mom and her mentor, who is also the director of the development center and will serve as the family’s translator. Neither Emilda nor her mom haver ever traveled outside of their town before.

If the link above doesn't work and you would like to help, please click here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Random Thought: Heaven

Has anyone seen those Dannon Greek yogurt commercials?  The ones where they say that yogurt is a little piece of Heaven on Earth?

Look, I'm pretty sure that yogurt is NOT Heaven.  And if it is, I'm not entirely sure I'm ready for that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

For Making Me, Me

I remember growing up, NO ONE could say my name correctly.  When we got to the point where teachers (mainly new and substitute) would get to my name and pause.  Everyone knew it was me.  Since I went to a small school, all the other kids would yell out, "DANAE!"

I was never a popular kid either.  Ugh.  I was the opposite.  I got made fun of and teased constantly.  I even remember a teacher who made my life miserable!  I was always a little bit different.  Sometimes, it was more than a little bit.

(My brother and I in Hong Kong, wearing our Beard Heads)

But I grew up...maybe got a little bit weirder.  And one of the best times in college was when we were discussing names and, if everyone could have a different name, what would it be.  Finally, my friend turned to me and said, "You couldn't be anything other than a "Danae."

Yes, I do go to the mall food court to hunt spare change that people have dropped.  I eat with utensils that are shaped like construction tools (because they're awesome) and I still sing songs that I taught at Vacation Bible School when I'm walking down the street.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.” -Isaiah 43:1

If I Were A Butterfly
If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings
If I were a robin in a tree, I’d thank you Lord that I could sing
If I were a fish in the sea, I’d wiggle my tail and I’d giggle with glee
But I just thank you Father for making me, me   

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Christ Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank you Father for making me, me 

If I were an elephant, I’d thank you Lord by raising my trunk
If I were a kangaroo, You know I’d hop right up to you
If I were an octopus, I’d thank you Lord for my good looks
But I just thank you Father for making me, me

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Christ Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank you Father for making me, me 

If I were a wiggly worm, I’d thank you Lord that I could squirm
If I were a
fuzzy wuzzy bear, I’d thank you Lord for my fuzzy, wuzzy hair
If I were a crocodile, I’d thank you Lord for my big smile
But I just thank you Father for making me, me 

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Christ Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank you Father for making me, me

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. -Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update: Souper Bowl Sunday

I had mentioned that our church youth were trying to raise money for the Souper Bowl Day of Caring on Sunday and their goal was $450.

I talked to our church secretary today and she said that they ended up raising over $1,000!  The money will be going to the ELCA World Hunger Fund.  God is good and so are the people in and around our church building!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

So I was just thinking about how excited I am that Steve said I could go to El Salvador with our church this year.  I've been saving the money for it and I am so excited.  I get to go to England (for a wedding), El Salvador and Hong Kong (to visit my family) this year!  I am so thankful for these opportunities!

Those are big things.  But they don't happen often.

I want to think about the little things.

I have a friend who asks me every day we e-mail, "What are your three things?"  And she's asking about the three things that have made my day a good day.  They're always small.

So here are mine for today:
1) I found 75 cents today.  75 CENTS!!  I even found a quarter!
2) Our kids did the Souper Bowl of Caring today and last year they raised $450.  This year, they raised $450 after our 9am service (we have two services)!!
3) I get to meet my friend Jane for coffee on Tuesday, I get to finally pay for her (she always pays for me) AND she may even be going to El Salvador during the time I'm going.
4) I'm feeling a little bit better today.  I was sick all weekend and on Friday, but I'm feeling better.
5) Our church sermon was really good today.  It made me smile.
6) I get to see my friend Laura in two weeks.  I haven't seen her since my wedding.

Do you have anything that you're thankful for?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don't try to reach God with your understanding; that is impossible.  Reach him in love; that is possible.
~Carlo Carretto

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tomorrow: One Day/One Lunch

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
~ Mother Teresa

If you would like to read the full post, please go here:

Amy from Building The Blocks is doing One Day/One Lunch tomorrow.  The average American spends between $2-$8 for lunch (and I can tell you, in NYC, it's more like $15-$20!) and she's asking that you donate your lunch money for one day to help an orphan in Ethiopia eat.

If you would like to donate your lunch money tomorrow, February 3rd, here's the information:
Online donations:
**indicate for the Adami Tulu Preschool.

Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
For the Adami Tulu Preschool