January 28, 2013

Fifty Lanterns Uganda Trip

Hello Family & Friends!

When I was laid off from Supervalu in September 2012 I never realized in the short time how my life would start to change. I feel I finally am discovering my own purpose. My goal in life has always been to make small differences in people's lives; recently I was given an opportunity to change a lot of lives in a way that was larger than any I would have imagined.

Linda presenting solar light

My friend Linda Cullen Weiley is the founder of Fifty Lanterns International. Fifty Lanterns International is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that partners with established humanitarian groups to provide communities in the developing world tools that provide safety and opportunity through renewable energy sources such as solar-power lights and arrays-they bring light where there is none. The solar lantern can rid a home of toxic and expensive kerosene and the risk of a deadly fire. With the extended day that the solar light gives a family, children may do their school work, daily activities can be completed after sunset. Fifty Lanterns has completed 17 major distributions or solar installation projects since it was founded in late 2004 including homes, schools and hospitals. Each of these projects made a vital difference in the lives of widows, orphans, families, and disaster victims. Linda and other Fifty Lanterns representatives personally deliver the lights for each project.

I have been helping Linda promote and raise money to purchase lanterns. The most recent project will provide solar lights for a group of Ugandan grandmothers who take care of orphans with AIDS. Linda has asked me if I would go with her in March to deliver at least 250 lights to the grandmothers.

This is an opportunity I have been doing serious discernment about. Maybe the reason I haven't found a full time job yet is the God has a purpose for me on this trip. I know there are risks involved in traveling to a developing country and I need to be smart in my decision. However the advice I give to others keeps going through my head "You can't fly if you don't leap!" It's time for me to leap!

The cost of the trip will be approximately $2500 (I am estimating higher until airfare is confirmed) and I will be gone for 10 days. The trip dates will be confirmed in a few days, but I will be leaving the end of February. I am sending this to ask for your financial support for this trip. Any money donated above the cost of my airfare will be given to Fifty Lanterns to purchase more lights for future projects. In addition to cash and check payments I have a credit card reader to process credit card payments. I hope you will consider helping me achieve this opportunity. Please contact me by email at smserving@gmail.com and I will provide you with my address and/or phone number.

I will post on my blog www.smallserving.blogspot.com so you can keep updated on my journey. I hope you will consider helping me achieve this opportunity.

Thank you!


January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!! My Lucky '13

Happy New Year!!  With a new year comes a new list. The number "13" is often associated with bad luck or superstitions; I have never been a believer in that, on the contrary it is one of my lucky numbers.  This list is going to be called "My Lucky '13". My list are not "bucket lists", they are ways to make sure I keep going out and living.  God gives me the days I have on this earth for a purpose, I may not know what that specific purpose is, but I know I am lucky to live each one of them.
  1. Read 13 books. I have always been an avid readers, but lately it feels like my book reading is lacking because life seems to be too busy. I typically read 2 or 3 books at a time so to read 13 books in a year should be a goal I can accomplish. 
  2. Try 13 new restaurant. This item is always an easy one for me to get done.  There are so many great restaurants in the Twin Cities area and even outside of the Twin Cites. This is something everyone should do because it is a great way to get out of dining ruts.
  3. Learn to make cheese. One of my favorite foods is cheese. I have seen quick recipes on making soft cheese; I might have to challenge myself to try making a hard cheese too.
  4. Learn to make pasta. I love the taste of fresh pasta and I have always wanted to make pasta since I was given a pasta maker from a dear friend of mine. I cannot wait to make fresh pasta for my niece Karley as she prepares for swim meets this season. 
  5. Learn to scuba dive. Not many people know this about me, but when I was little I was deathly afraid of water. Another not so known fact about me is that one of my favorite sounds is the sound of being underwater. I love to swim. I love being surrounded by water. I took a introduction to scuba class when I was in Hawaii in the hotel pool many years back and have wanted to give it another try and actually leave the pool.
  6. Cook with Chef John Besh. If you follow my blog this item will look familiar. To cook with Chef Besh was #1 on my 12 in '12 list, unfortunately I was unable to have that opportunity. I did make progress in my journey to cook with him so I am not giving up.I am hoping this year will be luckier in achieving this goal.
  7. Climb the stairs of the IDS Tower.  At 57 stories this iconic building is the tallest building in Minnesota. Climbing is part of reaching goals. I am going to climb the 1,280 stairs to reach this goal for 2013. 
  8. Get a full time job. I was laid off from Supervalu in September 2012.  I was able to pick up two part time jobs, however a full time job would provide would hopefully provide financial stability and benefits. 
  9. Defend my Golden Whisk Award at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. One of my goals in 2012 was to meet local baker Danny Klecko from Saint Agnes Baking Company in St. Paul, MN.  Who would have known that meeting Danny would lead to the highlight of 2012-cooking at the Minnesota State Fair and winning the Golden Whisk Award. I had an absolute blast doing the demo and cannot wait to find out what the theme is this year. 
  10. Be lucky enough to spend time with people who inspire me. I have such an eclectic group of people I know. They are in my life for various reasons. I want to spend time with them, but I am also adding other people that also inspire me. I think getting snippets of wisdom will be awesome.
  11. Learn to read Braille. I love to read so I figure why not try to do it without my sight.
  12. Increase the success of Small Servings. I started my blog in March off 2011 to share my life and my talents. I write about cooking, dining out, products I like, and some of the creative work I do. I have been given some great opportunities in 2012 to promote my blog and what I do as the owner/creator of Small Servings. 
  13. Go to San Antonio. My cousin Robert Weiser asked if I would put this on my list as number 13, so I did. A trip to San Antonio is always a fun time.