Thursday, January 27, 2011

Congee Mission Accomplished!!

This is my "I DID IT!" Dance. I did it, I did it, I did it! Three days of eating nothing but congee.!

The first day wasn't too bad, but I have to admit that by supper time on day two, I was beginning to loose heart (Big Time!), especially when I saw my family come home with bags of groceries. Everything looked and smelled so delicious while my brothers put the groceries away and my mom made their supper. I told my mom that this was the hardest thing I had ever done. She asked if it was harder than cutting my hair, and I dramatically wailed "YESSS!!!!!". I cheered up quickly, though because just before my dad came home we had money flooding in, and we passed the $400 mark! My dad had to eat congee!!!! Poor Daddy didn't see it coming. At first he didn't seem impressed, maybe because supper smelled so good. Then, he pretended to be happy, since I was jumping for joy. We decided to eat on my bed, so we wouldn't have to see the rest of the family eating such a delicious meal. (I think he's smiling in the picture below because he knew it was going on the blog. :)

Thank you, thank you, Everybody who contributed money so that he would need to join me! I feel a little sad for him now, though, because I'm done, and he still has 4 more meals to go. Not only that, but he has to miss a yummy potluck lunch tomorrow afternoon at work! (Please send him a note of encouragement! I think he'll appreciate that:)

This morning, after my shower, I found a really yummy breakfast waiting for me on the table! (Thanks, Mommy!) It was really nice to celebrate with eggs and pan fried potatoes!

Please don't get me wrong, congee is pretty good.......but having it even for 1 day straight, (just three meals in all) it started getting pretty intense!!!! (Although, it was totally worth it for the orphanage donation !!!)

I have to admit that sometimes I am picky with food. Sometimes I do complain a little bit when my mom makes: squash, yams, asparagus, zucchini, tofu, quinoa, or couscous - and I can't even try lamb (who's with me?). I decided that I am never going to complain about food again (well, except the lamb!) since so many orphans all over the world don't get to choose what they eat - ever. They also don't have a family to support them through the rough times. I am very grateful that I don't live in an orphanage, and that I have a family who loves me.

Thank you again Everyone, for supporting me through these trying three days, and for all your heartfelt words of encouragement, and... (I can hear my cousin saying, "Stop being overly dramatic! :).

A sincere thank you, though, to my dad and Mr. Berzenji who kindly jumped in and sacrificed 9 meals. You really encouraged me!

Mr. Berzenji started eating his congee this morning. (You can send him a note of encouragement, too. I think he would appreciate it.) Click here to read the funny post he wrote about congee this afternoon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My $200 Congee Challenge

Hello Everyone!

Some friends, the Yang family, from church came over for a visit today. Mrs. Yang gave me (and her daughters, Katie and Priscilla) a congee cooking lesson. In case your wondering what congee is, it's a type of rice porridge/rice soup that is eaten in many Asian countries. It can be made with chicken, pork, or beef (and I think fish too). Because it is so nutritious, soft and easy to chew and digest, and inexpensive to make, orphanages in China make it for the children. Many orphanages serve it once a day, and some serve it more than once a day.

The Yangs eat congee often for breakfast, and as a comfort food. We had so much fun!

Ok, this is where it gets exciting...When I told my dad that I was going to make congee and blog about it, he had a brilliant idea that I could do more than just make it. He thought that I should maybe try living on it for a few days, and raise some more money while I'm at it (instead of just waiting around to get my hair cut). I though that this was a great idea! My dad said that it would help me understand what it is like for those orphans who eat it everyday. So here's our idea: So far the total donation amount is at $245, but if I can get around $200 more donated through the "Chip In" button at the top right hand corner of my blog, I will eat the congee we made today three times a day for three days in a row (9 meals, and nothing else. No snacks and only water to drink). This will be pretty intense, folks! After three days, I will let you know what my perspective is on eating the same meal day after day, just like many orphans have to. Here is the best part: since this was my dad's idea, my mom thought that maybe he should do it too. At first he said no, but then I fluttered my eyelashes at him (he can never resist that). I am happy to say that he's in, but the deal is only if I raise $400 before Thursday, January 27th. The congee is already in the fridge, so I need donations fast. I'll start tomorrow morning and hope that the money will be donated. I am going to bed now, and my mom is now going to attach the pictures. Remember, this is for a great cause! (If you don't know about it, read my first post). Thank you so much for all of your support! Let's get my dad in on it! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Just Hair

A week ago, my Uncle Gordon, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, took me out on a surprise date, to see the movie “Tangled” in 3D. I loved it! When I was talking about the movie with my mom later, it got us thinking about my upcoming haircut, and remembering the last one three years ago......

When I was nine, I decided to cut my hair for the Canadian Cancer Society. My friend, Christine, and her sister Rebecca, were already going to do it, and invited me to do it with them.

I didn't do it because I wanted to cut my hair. I did it because I liked the idea of making a wig for a child who needed one. We had just visited my Auntie Lil who had cancer. She showed me her wig. I felt sad that she didn't have her real hair, but pretty happy that she had a wig to wear. (My Auntie Lil passed away last April 2010.)

In the weeks leading up to my hair cut, I raised more than $900 thanks to my generous family and friends! Right before the “Big Day,” a reporter from the local newspaper came to our house to“interview” Christine, Rebecca and I. She took a couple pictures, and also asked us some questions. It was fun being interviewed for the newspaper!!! The”Big Day” finally came, and we had breakfast with a group of police officers who had just finished the Cops for Cancer bike ride. Once we arrived at the mall (where I was getting my hair cut) I had goose bumps crawling up my arms, and also felt like I had butterflies floating around in my stomach! I was very excited, and also pretty nervous! I was especially nervous when I found out I would be getting my hair cut on stage in front of a lot of strangers!!! Even the mayor came to the event. After my ponytail was cut, we got to go to the “Beauty Salon” for FREE!!! I got to pick out the style I wanted, I picked a “bob”style!I remember lots of people taking my picture, and lots of people congratulating me. I also remember feeling very proud of myself. (Now I understand that that's not the point! ) To be honest, I really didn't know I was going to get so much attention, and it was a little overwhelming. :) It was a BIG event!

Later, after it was all over and when it was just me and my mirror, I cried. I cried because I felt that I didn't look as “beautiful” without my long hair. I really liked having long hair, and I liked the compliments people gave me. I knew I would miss being able to put it in braids and fancy styles. I also cried because I thought I looked younger. Now this was a big deal to me because all my friends were older, and looked older, and I always wanted to fit in.

To be honest, this time around, I am still a little bit concerned about looking younger, because I am still younger and smaller than many of my friends. (I'm not naming any names, but you know who you are! :) Since I have done this once before, this time I am definitely looking at things a bit differently. I am more prepared, and I see that outward beauty doesn't count as much as the inside does. That's why I don't want it to become about me, me, me (like it did last time). The main point is that I am blessing someone with cancer who doesn't have what I have (hair), and orphans in China who need so much. I am excited because I can bless other people with this gift that God gave me.

I've been also thinking about girls in orphanages in China who have never been able to grow their hair long. They probably aren't allowed to because having long hair would be a lot of trouble; it would take a lot of shampoo, it would take quite a while to brush everybody's hair, and then there's the lice problem...

It is silly of me to think about beauty when they are probably rarely ever told they're beautiful.

This time I am definitely not going to cry in the bathroom (because I know that I am helping kids who need help). I am definitely not going to focus on all the attention (even though this time I am blogging about it, and the whole world knows about it! :) This time I definitely don't want it to become about me (no hoopla this time!) And last but not least, I am definitely not going to feel sorry for myself, because God has blessed me so much!

I might miss my 'braided tresses', but after all, it's just hair!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The lesson I learned about "STUFF"

This past year, I learned that stuff doesn’t satisfy as much as it promises. I’ll tell you the story... Last Christmas (2009) I got the most ultimate present. One that I was totally NOT expecting. I got a hot pink IPOD NANO with a light pink, silicone case, and with my music already downloaded onto it, from my Grammy and Papa! This was the ultimate present because I had wanted one since my cousin 'A' got hers a year or two before. Her ipod is a really nice blue one with a green silicone case. On our sleepovers, I loved listening to “Little Women” on her ipod! I always dreamed of having an ipod. So once I opened it, I was seriously jumping over the moon! I was so happy that I didn’t think anything would ruin my happiness...... until A opened her “over the top” present too. She got a silver, wide lcd screen Sony CAMERA!!! Now, you have to understand, that I already had a camera, but It was a few years old, and it didn’t have the widest screen in the world. When I saw A open it, and everyone started making a big deal about it, I needed to quickly leave the room so that I could let out all the tears that I was holding in. I couldn’t help but cry and cry, I felt so sorry for myself, because I thought she had a better camera than me.

Can you relate to that? Have you ever had a Christmas or birthday that left you feeling unsatisfied? Every time you received a gift, it made you happy for an hour or two, but after a short while, you were not satisfied, and you wanted MORE? You open one gift, you say a quick thank you, you want another. Open another gift, say a quick thank you, you want another. It keeps going until all the presents under the tree are gone. You’re sad that it's over, and still not fully satisfied with the gifts you have?

As I was crying in the bathroom over the camera, I knew that it was wrong. I started asking God to help me stop. I realized that it was so silly of me because I got this amazing ipod that I had wanted for a long time, and A didn’t have a camera. A was also really happy for me when I opened my “ultimate“ gift, but I was the total opposite. Eventually, God gave me peace to stop crying and helped me to be happy for A, and thankful for my ipod and camera. I learned a big lesson. I learned that stuff on it’s own doesn’t satisfy my heart. When I dreamed about having an ipod I believed if I ever got my very own ipod, I would have everything I wanted - but, when I got it, it didn’t take me long at all to think of something else I really wanted. It's a trick. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed my ipod! I think thankfulness is the key. The more thankful I was for my ipod and camera, the more I could enjoy them. Here’s the BIG lesson I learned through many discussions this year with my family: The more thankful I am for what I have, the more I can enjoy my ‘stuff’, and the more focused I am on others the more satisfied my heart is.

For this reason, this year, my family decided to do Christmas a little bit differently. (In my perspective, we came to our senses a little more!) This year was the...... (drum roll please).......“Spend Less, Give More” Christmas. Our goal this year was to give more to people who NEEDED, and less to each other, (because we really don’t need anything). My dad gave each of us a certain amount of money to give away, so that we could discover the joy of giving! My gift was some Agricultural packs for families through World Vision. We also had a fun time packing shoe boxes for Samaritan’s Purse. (We filled boxes with school supplies, candy, toys, toothbrushes, soap, etc.)

Our church also did something called “The Advent Conspiracy”, which is a movement to worship fully, spend less, and give more at Christmas time. As a church, we all pitched in money to buy gifts for some families in need in our city. Some people volunteered to go shopping and buy groceries and gifts with the money. The kids got to wrap the gifts and deliver the hampers (with some adult volunteers) to the families. It was so much fun to bless these people with food and presents because they wouldn’t have had them otherwise!

I have been thinking about how much orphans and orphanages around the world NEED, when I only feel sorry for myself because I don’t always get what I WANT. From now on, I don’t want to ever feel sorry for myself AGAIN, when I have everything I NEED already and orphans around the world don’t. Orphans NEED stuff like clean water, healthy food, shoes, clothes, warm blankets, medical care, a safe place to live, an education, and most of all a loving family. Now, I have All of this, and it’s just plain silly of me to think “I Need/Want More” when I DON’T!!!!! I feel extremely happy that the money I am hoping to raise by cutting my hair is going towards things that orphans truly need.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Very First Post!

Hello! My name is Sharaya. Welcome to my very first blog! I invite you to join me on this very special countdown to my ''Haircut for Adoption!'' Day. I have been growing my hair long for the past three years. I plan to get it cut to show support for a very special family, the Berzenjis, who are going to adopt a little girl or boy from China. (They have already done this once before!) Once they receive their child's referral, I will post their child's photo here, and photos of the orphanage that the money will go to, and then we will set a date for the Big Day!

My main goal for this blog is to help raise money for the orphanage donation that they will be making when they arrive in China to meet their new child. If you would like to contribute, that would be wonderful! Just click the Chip In button on the right. Also, here's the link to the Berzenjis blog: (Mr. Berzenji, I love keeping up with your blog! I also love your sense of humour!)

Another reason why I have decided to start a blog is to get the word out about the thousands of children in China who need families. As I research and learn new things, I'll keep you posted! If you have any links to blogs or websites you think I should check out, let me know!

Now I'll tell you a little about myself and my family.......

I am twelve years old. I love to read, sew, cook/bake, embroider, dance, sing, play the piano and clean,( yes, I like to clean:). We are a homeschooling family... and I love it! My favourite subjects in school are Bible, Math, and English. I am the oldest (princess) of the family with three exceptionally cute brothers! (Sorry Asht:) Ashton is ten, Caiden is six, and Brennan is three, (but he thinks he's seven!) I have the most wonderful family in the world!!

And finally I would like to tell you about the Berzenji family, (because I have a feeling I'm going to be mentioning the Berzenjis all through my blog!) We've known the Berzenjis for as long as I can remember! Kole is the oldest, and is also the same age as I am. Dawson is the same age as Ashton, Gemma is just a few months older than Caiden, and Ping is a year older than Brennan. We met them when I was two years old at church. After a while, they moved to one city, and we moved to another. They have remained very special friends, though!

A year ago, the Berzenjis adopted Ping from China. She was about three when they met her. Kole, Mr. Berzenji, and Mrs. Berzenji flew to China to bring her home. On their way back from China, their plane stopped in our city, and we eagerly met them at the airport. It was so much fun seeing the Berzenjis, and meeting Ping for the first time! Ping soooo cute! I am hoping they

stop here again, the next time they travel home from China.

Thanks for reading my very first post!


Oh, one more thing...In case you are wondering, I am going to donate my hair to the Cancer Society so they can make a wig for a child with cancer who needs one.