Friday, January 22, 2010

Determine your Destiny

"The best way to predict the future is to create it"

The $2-a-day Challenge

I started this amazing new class at Watermark church on Poverty. Every Thursday is now the highlight of my week. In addition to learning more of the stats on poverty and what the bible has to say about it, they help us plug into volunteer opportunities in Dallas and beyond.

One of the most interesting things we've learned is that almost 1/2 of the world lives on less than $2 a day. It's so hard to imagine how rich we are! Our class has challenged us to go 7 days living on $2 a day (so $14 for the week) and to drink nothing but tap water (since 1 in 6 people don't even have access to safe drinking water). These small challenges help keep the needy top of mind.

I've also felt really passionate lately about better understanding homelessness in Dallas, so I'm looking into churches that have programs that immerse you in homelessness for the weekend and let you experience it. How amazing would that be and how could it not alter your perspective and open your heart to the needy?

Finally, I'm considering planning a late Spring/early Summer trip to Haiti to help out with the situation there. Right now it's just a thought, but if you'd be interested in coming too, please let me know!

Other than that, I'm heading to Michigan this week to visit Ana, Justin and my adorable nieces and to do some recruiting at U of M. It's going to be cold!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wishing you a wonderful 2010! (our recap of 2009)

Happy new year! 2009 was an exciting year for us, primarily because Christine took a sabbatical to volunteer with needy women and children in India. That made it the perfect time to plan an Allen family trip to India for Christmas.

Right after returning from Christmas 2008 in Belize, we kicked off the year with another exhilarating trip to the Fiesta Bowl, followed by an incredibly fun trip to Puerto Vallarta for Sara and James’ beach wedding. In February, we hosted a fancy champagne & chocolate Valentine’s party, which was a lot more fun than jamming one more holiday party into December! This year we spent Easter in Michigan with Christine's sister & her family, Mother’s Day in Carmel with Dana’s family, our 5th anniversary in LA and 4th of July in Austin with Christine’s sorority sisters.

Some memorable events for Christine included running 2 half-marathons and scoring tickets to an Oprah show. (Dana has been enjoying the Xbox she won on the show ever since!) Over the summer we visited Vancouver for Marc & Leah’s wedding, and celebrated “Thanksgiving in August” with both families in Dallas since Christine was going to be in India in November. For Christine’s 33rd birthday we threw an Indian-themed going away party with a henna painter, Bollywood dancer and Indian food shared with great friends.

This Fall Christine LOVED living in Bangalore and volunteering with Oasis India! In addition to traveling all over the beautiful country, she feels she was able to learn a lot about working at a non-profit and tackling the complex issue of poverty. Dana’s parents & brother joined us for Christmas in India. Dana’s father grew up in India, so it was great to see the country with him & hear about some of the Allen family history. We also loved seeing the Taj Mahal and enjoying the tropical paradise of Kerala.

For work, Dana moved to the Doritos team this fall after 2 years on the Multipack business. Christine started the year by launching Smartfood popcorn clusters (new healthy treats for women) and then led Innovation for Tostitos & Dips.

This year we’re feeling very grateful for how God has blessed us. May your dreams stay big and your worries stay small in 2010! Christine & Dana

Life is a precious gift. Don't take yourself too seriously and remember to have fun!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back in the US

I'm updating the blog after a bit of a hiatus because frankly... there hasn't been much to blog about. My camera broke in India (my updates feel naked without pictures) and after the crazy adventures of the past few months, it's hard to find things in Dallas that feel exciting enough to write about. But to make my Dad happy, I'll give you an update on what's been happening.

Our travels with the Allen family in India were amazing. The Taj was especially majestic and it was a very special way to spend Christmas.

Prior to the family arriving, Dana and I visited some really nice resorts (both on the beach and in the jungle) that Eapen had recommended, so we had a wonderful time on what I will always think of as our 2nd honeymoon. (or 3rd...depending on if you count our post-wedding trip of Thailand and French Polynesia as 2 separate honeymoons). Here is a picture of us hiking in the Tiger Reserve (wearing lovely leech proof socks)

Back in the US, I re-adjusted fairly easily to life in Dallas. I did have sticker shock at Starbucks and a tough time choosing what to wear(dressing in India is sooo much easier). My feet were also killing me after getting used to walking in high heels again, and the cold weather was a shock. But I'm LOVING eating beef cheeseburgers again, taking showers, enjoying soaks in the tub, cuddling with my cats (and hubby) and drinking wine anytime I want : )

At Frito I was welcomed back with a promotion and a new role that I'm pretty excited about. I'm now leading the "Shopper Experience", so if you have any ideas on what would make your grocery shopping experience truly wonderful, please let me know!

We kicked off the New Year with a fun champagne and lobster dinner with dear friends at Kate and Robert's house. It feels good to see my old friends again! At the same time, I'm missing the people in India A LOT. I wish I could click my magic slippers and pop over to see them anytime I wanted : )

Last weekend Dana and I went to Dallas' best restaurant (The French Room) and enjoyed a 13-course wine dinner to celebrate being back together in the same city. The food was superb, but I probably only drank one glass of wine - my tolerance is so low now because I hardly drank alcohol in India.

This weekend I'm just hanging out, working and enjoying quality time with Moorea and Samui. Dana is at the World Championship of Video Gaming in Orlando. Now that he works on Doritos, his "job" entails a lot of interesting things like that and going to the Superbowl in a few weeks.

Well that's it for now. Wishing all of you the best in 2010!