Friday, April 29, 2011

Gracious God, when the economy is in disarray, when young people are fighting in faraway wars, when we argue over issues and refuse to listen to the other side, I ask that your grace enfold us. Move us from self-interest to compassion, from the need to be right to the place of doing right. Let the love that is at the foundation of creation spread out like roots, bringing life, healing and wholeness to places cracked and broken. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Few of Easter's Baked Goods

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I've Learned

So here we are at the end of Lent.

And my task for the day is to tell you what I've learned. I think that will be hard.

The Sunday before Ash Wednesday, our church passed out a small calendar. Across the top were the words, "God's Love Doesn't Just Add Up, It Multiplies."

With each Bible passage, there is an action, whether it is praying or donating or researching something.

So here is what I have learned:
That to "go and do likewise" does not always have to be with my hands, but also with my heart and my prayers. My prayers are just as important as my hands.

I can't save the world. It is God and God only who can change it. I am only a small part and, as the Sara Groves says, You are the sun and I am the moon and I am only a reflection.


So now, as I enter into Maundy Thursday, I want to savor it all. Both the sorrow at the death of Christ, but the joy in the resurrection. We cannot accept the glory without the tears. We cannot embrace the joy without the pain. That is what Easter is really about - the sorrow of our sins that put Christ on the cross as well as the joy of the Resurrection and our salvation.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparing For Easter

God dwells where we let Him in.
~Menachem Mendel

I have some photos for you guys. I'm just behind on posting. Sorry :)

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Fast I Am Trying to Choose

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

- Isaiah 58:6

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feed Homeless Teenagers

So I decided to give it a try and see if you would like to help me feed homeless teens who come to Covenant House because they have nowhere else to go.

Here's my giving page. I was going to do a Chip-In, a somewhat easier way to see on the page what's going on. But, by doing a First Giving page, you receive the tax benefit if you donate instead of me (extra incentive) and it goes straight to Covenant House (for added trust-bonus)

If you would like to help me in my journey, please visit here:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeding The Children

“My parents said they don’t want me anymore. I spent a couple nights at a friend’s house, but they said they didn’t have room either.”
                                                - Julie
Reading the stories on Covenant House's website always hurt.  I don't know what it feels like to be unwanted and alone and I can't really imagine it either, if I'm being honest with myself.

I received a packet in the mail the other day from Covenant House.  It was about food.  You know how appropriate this is for me right now! 

Covenant House feeds about 1,700 youth every day, in the hopes of keeping them away from the pimps, prostitutes and gangs who give them false hope.

It costs them $2,882 for EVERY dinner that they do.  $2,882 EVERY DAY to feed these kids dinner.

And I really, REALLY want to donate.  But it's $2,882.  And I started to realize that I always want to do things by myself.  That has always been my downfall.  I can do it and I can do it by myself.  This is very obviously not true.

So I guess I have a question: if I put up a chip-in, would you be willing to chip-in with me to help feed teenagers who have nowhere else to turn?  And don't feel guilty.  I would just like an honest answer.  Thank you!

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8 ESV

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Rice Month: What I've Learned

It's kind of hard to think that I finished with my 30 days.  I wasn't always perfect with it and, of course, I thought of all these really cool ways that I could have done my rice (Blue rice?!  That would have been cool, right?) 

But here's what I've learned from this:

1) Plain rice kind of sucks.  There were days where I looked at my bowl of rice and pined for something else.  That the thought of eating more plain rice made me sad and I couldn't imagine eating another bowl of it.  What about all the people in the world who have no other options?

2) My concentration was almost nil for anything after just eating a bowl of rice.  My headaches were almost immediate if I tried to do anything.  How are children, who may have only a bowl of rice to eat, going to be able to accomplish anything?

3) I was hungry almost immediately after eating a bowl of rice.  No turn around.  For men and women who may have spent hours walking for water or who have spent their days toiling outdoors or children who have walked miles to and from school must feel this far more sharply then I do.

4) The food waste in America could change the lives of the hungry all over the world.  Sure, we can't really send cooked food overseas, but we could be using that food to feed some of the 30 to 50 million Americans who are hungry today.  Organizations like Rock and Wrap It Up! and City Harvest are helping to change the way we see food waste.
5) We must stand up for the destitute, the poor and the forgotten.  God has constantly and continually called us to love the poor and to help the hungry.  We must "let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24)"  Places like Bread for the World and ELCA World Hunger are trying to change the way we deal with hunger, whether it be lobbying our government on behalf of those who need justice or dealing with the problem directly.

If you would like more information about different organizations that I've found through my rice month, I'll list them for you below and what they do (all information comes from their websites):
ELCA World Hunger: ELCA World Hunger is a comprehensive and sustainable program that uses multiple strategies—relief, development, education, and advocacy—to address the root causes of hunger and poverty.

Bread For The World: Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kauzbots: Kauzbots robot toys are the perfect gift for anyone on your list who wants a cuddly gift or a thoughtful gift that supports causes in a unique way.

Feeding America: Feeding America food bank members help provide low - income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors.

Feed The Children: Feed The Children is a Christian, international, nonprofit relief organization with headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disasters.

Rock And Wrap It Up!: Rock and Wrap It Up! is an anti-poverty think tank. Using greening tactics, we recover food and other assets to agencies fighting poverty, increasing their operating budgets.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 29: O-H-I-Rice

If I asked you what this shape was, could you guess? 

What if I showed you this next?

My sister-in-law sent me this Ohio-shaped cookie cutter a little while ago and I remember when I opened the package, I could NOT think of what it was.  My husband looked and me and pretty much just said, "SERIOUSLY?!"  Yeah.  We're both from Ohio.

Tomorrow is my 30th day...and my last.  30 days of rice dinners.  Well, 28, in the end.  It's like the February of rice dinners.  I'll have to sum it all up tomorrow.  I'll make it a good one, I swear.

I've been really interested in Rock And Wrap It Up! since I saw a report on them yesterday.  Here's what they're all about:
The Rock and Wrap It Up! Program boxes up all prepared but untouched meals following rock concerts, sporting events and schools then delivers them to local food banks and charitable agencies. Rock and Wrap It Up! also collects and distributes toiletries and cleaning products from hotels, schools and other participating donors.
Since its inception in 1991, Rock and Wrap It Up has:
  • Donated to over 43,000 shelters and places of need
  • Collaborated with 60 sports franchises, 150 bands, and 200 schools
  • Collected more than 250 million pounds of food
  • Fed more than 500 million people
Our partnerships include 150 music bands, 60 Professional Sports Franchises including the entire National Hockey league, Colleges like Columbia, UCLA, Univ. of Florida, Hotel chains including Marriott, Grand Hyatt, Sheraton, Film and television producers NBC/Universal and HBO. We wrote and helped pass the Federal Food Donation Act which encourages all federal buildings to feed the poor and not put food into land fill.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day ...?: Lazy, Lazy Rice

Ugh!  I don't know if lazy is right, but so SO busy.  I've only skipped one other rice day, but I've been pretty regular.  But half of my pictures are on one camera and half are on another and I've been baking and...those are all my excuses.  I couldn't even be bothered to figure out how many days I've been doing this.  But I'll let you in to what I've been up to this past week/weekend:

Bakesale For Japan in NYC!  They raised over $4,300 in New York and, the tally isn't in yet, but they think it's over $100,000 nationally!

 At church, testing the camera.

Watoto Children's Choir visited us from Uganda.

They were really good.  I helped cook for them.  Took me almost all of Saturday.

This is my tired rice...right before I realized that Vindaloo had projectile vomited across the couch.
My Easter bonnet cookies!  I made fondant decorations for them.  I'm going to make them for our Easter bakesale.

Here's what I'm watching today!

 Rock and Wrap It Up