Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving... and Now Christmas!

The holidays are here! It's by far my favorite time of year.  Within in the past week, the holiday spirit has quickly set it - possibly due to the inch of snow we got in Portland on Tuesday.  Yesterday was a wonderful thanksgiving spent with friends.  I had Thanksgiving dinner at my friend Drew's apartment.  His dad, his dad's wife and his niece were in town from South Carolina and they sure know how to make delicious Southern food.  We had a great evening of fellowship and fun.  I definitely missed all of my family back in Texas (and Uncle Rufus' amazing fried turkey), but I am enjoying this new tradition of spending Thanksgiving with the people who I am very thankful to have with me here in Portland.

It is now officially the Christmas Season! I can't think of anything I love more than Christmas lights, Christmas carols, holiday parties, and everything else that is part of this joyous season.  My friend Megan, her mom and I kicked off the Christmas season this evening by touring the Pittock Mansion which is exquistely decorated for the holidays and then going downtown to watch the lighting of the Portland Christmas tree in Pioneer Square.  It's rather chilly outside so we sat in the Nordstrom Cafe and watched the festivites from above out the window.  We ended the night by enjoying some delicious guacamole, queso and margaritas (which are always part of any season of the year for me).  Happy Holidays, y'all!

in Pittock Mansion

outside Pittock Mansion overlooking downtown Portland

at the Christmas tree lighting in Pioneer Square

a great ending to a great night

Christmas Time is Here...
"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely..."
~Charles Dickens

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Fugitive

My cover has been blown.  They're on my trail.  My name is all over the news and on "WANTED" signs.

According to The Oregonian newspaper:
Troutdale Police are looking for a lilting Irish national, wanted in connection with a series of recent embezzlement cases at local businesses totaling over $225,000.

Mary Elizabeth Carter, 46, was last known to be living in Portland, said Troutdale Investigations Sergeant Steven Bevens. She is wanted on a pair of outstanding felony warrants for aggravated theft.

Carter, described as 5 foot 7 inches and 160 pounds has a slight Irish accent. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Mary Carter, the police need your help.
People at work are catching on.  Yesterday, Bill came over to my desk and said, "What's your middle initial?"  "L," I said.  Today a coworker passed me in the hall and said, "Didn't I hear something about you on the news last night?"  I'm doing everything I can to throw them off, but they are keeping a close watch on me.

I got emails yesterday from family in Texas saying they were "praying for me" and if I get caught I should "plead insanity".  At least they're still claiming me.

Thankfully I'm "housesitting" for the next few weeks (aka hiding out).  I'm hoping the dyed hair, weight loss and Texas accent are a good enough disguise.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blackberry and Rice

This evening, one of the worst nightmares came true: my phone completely died and I was disconnected from the world. For three hours.  I thought my phone was dead for good.  Not because of old age, not because the battery burned out, but because I handed it to a 6 month old.  Yes, I willingly handed it to a 6 month old.  Bad idea. Obviously.

I was taking care of two babies during a meeting at church this evening.  They were doing fine until one of them got fussy and set the other one off.  So they both started crying.  I just couldn't get little Abigail to stop crying.  After trying everything (rocking, bouncing, swaying, singing) I decided I should just go ahead and page her mom.  So I pulled out my phone to send an SOS message and baby Abigail instantly calmed down.  It was as if the lights and buttons hypnotized her.  At that point, I was just glad she wasn't crying and let her suck, drool, spit and slober to her little heart's delight.  From that point on she was a perfect angel.  She was giggling, laughing and babbling.  After about 30 minutes I said, "Hey Abigail, do you want to call Uncle Daniel and tell him hi?" (Her Uncle Daniel is a good friend of mine from Murdock.)  I reached over and grabbed my phone, which slipped around in my hand due to slobber, pressed the phone book button... and nothing happened.  Dead.  I couldn't revive the wet thing.  I was frustrated at myself, but decided to just let it go and take it in to the Sprint store tomorrow.  Abigail and I had a great time playing the rest of the night.  She sucked on her teething toys, pacie, and bottle the rest of the night.

When I got home, my phone still wouldn't turn on so I put it in a bowl of rice.  I had heard about this crazy trick for if you accidently get water (or baby drool) in your phone.  The rice absorbs the moisture.  And what do you know, it actually worked!  After 20 minutes of sitting in pile of rice, my phone turned back on and I was back in business.

Moral of the story: don't give your phone to a baby.  Duh.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This car double parked behind me this weekend.
Ironic?... I think not.
Just a reminder not to be a sore loser.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Deb and I had the opportunity to speak in chapel on Tuesday. We spoke on the blessings of the auction and thanked the staff for each of their roles in making the event a success. We played our Change-a-Life video which is shown right before the paddle raise on auction night (see video below).

The quote used by one of our honorary chairs at the end of the video is from a Hatian proverb that says, "God gives but he doesn't share"... meaning that God gives us humans everything we need to thrive, but he doesn't divvy it up. That charge is laid upon us. What a huge responsibility; and one that we don't do very well.

There is a scripture in Acts 4 that shows an incredible picture of what it would look like if we actually took hold of that charge and shared everything we had:
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had... There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."
We each have so much more than we need. And yet there is still hunger, starvation, homelessness, poverty and suffering in the world. It's an overwhelming charge to take hold of. Where do we start?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Great Adventure 2010

This past Saturday evening was Medical Teams International's 5th Annual Great Adventure Dinner and Auction.  The evening was amazing and we raised $1.34 million!!!  The weeks leading up to the even were long and stressful but I was suprised at how well everything went on the night of.  Of course there are always a few kinks throughout the night (for example: a lost puppy kennel which turned up on the bottom of a cart in the catering tent), but overall everything went very smooth.

It's exuberating to see all of the hard work that has gone into planning the auction come together.  It was almost surreal to see the doors open at 5:00 and watch 650 guests pour into our warehouse which was completely transformed into an amazing international silent auction area and tropical Guatemalan dining room.  I was also amazed at the generosity of our guests.  The live auction was so exciting (at least the bits and pieces of it that I caught while running around dealing with logistics) --- people were raising their bid cards high and often.  Each time a package sold, I thought of all of the effort our committee members put into procuring each specific items that ended up raising thousands of dollars.

So the night went well and was tons of fun.  But most importantly we raised $1.34 MILLION which will touch the lives of millions of people around the world!!

 The International Silent Auction room

our incredible Silent Wine section

Our auction intern Olivia with the $8,000 puppy and one of
the Trail Blazer cheerleaders (our spotters for the evening)

Father Ganz, one of my favorite people in Portland
- so glad he was able to make it to the auction!

Bas and the Auction Chairs about to announce the total

celebration dance!

me and our new Director of Development, Kristen Kirst

click here for more pictures

and here's a pretty cool video of our warehouse transformation