Sunday, May 31, 2009

Africa: The Uganda Flag

The black stripes symbolize the African people. The yellow symbolizes the sun and the red stands for brotherhood and fraternity. The crested crane is a national symbol of Uganda - which was first used during British colonial times. Black, yellow and red were also the colors of the Uganda People's Congress party, who came to power in elections in April 1962.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Health Alert! Excessive Cola Consumption

Excessive Cola Consumption Can Lead To Super-sized Muscle Problems, Warn Doctors

ScienceDaily (2009-05-20) -- Doctors have issued a warning about excessive cola consumption after noticing an increase in the number of patients suffering from muscle problems. Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can lead to hypokalaemia, in which blood potassium levels fall, adversely affecting vital muscle functions. Symptoms can range from mild weakness to profound paralysis. Worldwide consumption of soft drinks was 83 litres per person per year in 2007 and is expected to rise to 95 litres in 2012. But it has already hit 212 litres in the USA. ... > read full article

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Africa - Support Raising

I'M GOING TO AFRICA!!! Say what?!?!?! I'M GOING TO AFRICA!!!

I have an exciting opportunity this summer! From August 9th - 19th, I have the privilege of traveling to Jinja, Uganda with a team from my church, Austin Christian Fellowship (ACF) to join God in His work there. We will be caring for orphans at a babies’ home in a village called Bukaleba, visiting impoverished communities, serving students in schools, and building relationships with individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Simply, we are going to Uganda as servants and learners.

This experience will also allow me to decide if humanitarian work is what I want to do with my life and to what extent. I have been toying with the idea of joining the Peace Corps since college, and more recently I have been contemplating working with Doctors Without Borders or Mercy Ships. I have this huge heart to serve and go places where others do not want to go to help. Did you know that the life expectancy at birth in Uganda is 49 years for men and 51 years for women? Twenty-five percent of all deaths in Uganda are due to HIV/AIDS. I want to inspire, encourage, enlighten, touch, and help those living in Uganda. This will be my first missions trip out of the United States. I have helped locally with lunch and church programs for the homeless under the I-35 bridge and have gone on trips to Galveston , TX to help rebuild after Hurricane Ike. All have been amazing experiences and I cannot wait to go to Uganda.

The purpose of this post is to ask you to be a part of my support team. I am also asking you to pray about being an extension of my team by supporting me financially. The cost of the trip will be $2,700 and this will cover airfare, room and board, insurance, and ground transportation.

Even if you choose not to donate financially, please let me know if you would like to join my prayer team. If you choose to provide financial support, you can do so online, please go to ACF's online giving page.

1. If you do not attend ACF, then click on the "Give Now, Non-Attenders" button. It will ask that you register as a non-member of ACF by giving some personal information. Complete the information, type in the alpha numeric password on the screen, and you are in. Once in, you can immediately give by choosing the "Africa Mission Trip" under the heading "Give To," choose the amount, and write "Michelle-Africa" in the "Optional Memo" line. To give an additional time, it will ask that you change your password, so that you can return to the site again using the ACS non-member login.

2. If you attend ACF, then use the "Give Now, Registered Attenders" button. If you are not yet registered, please fill out the "Get Plugged In email" and instructions will be sent to you within 48 hours. Once registered, log on using the Access ACS member login. Once in, you can immediately give by choosing the "Africa Mission Trip" under the heading "Give To," choose the amount, and write "Michelle-Africa" in the "Optional Memo" line.

Donations can be tax-deductible. It is requested that contributions be received by June 9, 2009.

I will be continually blogging about my adventures before, during, and after my trip to Uganda. Thank you so much for the support!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Indecision wastes time

I won't lie; I'm indecisive at times, but I was thinking about it quite a bit lately and it just wastes time. I'm going to make decisions and stick to it. I value my time. It's the one thing I ask people to respect. I work 40 hours at a minimum per week (if I'm traveling, more). I'm at the gym 2-3 hours per day. Commuting takes 1-2 hours per day; daily hygiene is about two hours per day. And I like to sleep at least six hours per night. I don't have a lot of extra time to waste in a given day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Am I really happy?

I thought I had it all the past few months. I had a reliable relationship with a fantastic guy who lived 900ish miles from me. People in high places have been acknowledging my work. I have great friends and an active life - volunteering and being outdoorsy. Who really would want anything more? Why would I need to lose more weight when I was comfortable in my own skin?

Then, I did what I always did. I relied on other people for my happiness. I volunteer because I like to see people's joy in what I do...it makes me happy. My boyfriend DID make me happy, but then things took a turn for the worse, and that's when I felt my life was crumbling - I relied too much on him. I dived into my work further, just to get pleasure from people's compliments. I put too much of my happiness based on other people and not on myself. While I still exuded confidence superficially, deep down I was not confident in anything about me.

The more I worked out the past couple of weeks, the more I have felt confident in myself. I've taken a few day trips in the area by myself and have been finding comfort in my own skin. I still realize I don't know how to balance my love and happiness to help others with keeping my confidence in myself. Will I always go through these crazy cycles time and time again?

At the end of the day, I am with myself. I can only rely on myself. I need to stop focusing my attention on others and occasionally I can be stingy and demand others to focus their attention on me as well. I don't always have to be the giver.