Thursday, February 25, 2016

My NTS Experience.

I know that my FB was inundated with Night to Shine photos, videos and comments for a bit, but I have had a few questions. My Mom suggested that I write a little informational blog about what it is/ was. I will try to provide you with a good overview of the whole experience and of course will interject a few of my own neat facts and thoughts. It is my hope that after I write and post this, you will see why the excitement. It was extraordinary!

Basically, this is a Prom for individuals with special needs, ages 16-23. It is the same night for all hosting and it is as close to Valentine's day as possible. This year it was February the 12th.

The Night to Shine (NTS) is one of the Tim Tebow Foundation's (TTF) main initiatives. Here is their official site This was only the second year for the event, but it grew so much. Here are a few stats, rounded and approx, of course:

                                                  2015                                                                 2016
Host churches                            44                                                                    more than 200
Volunteers                                 15,000                                                             more than 70,000
States                                         26                                                                     48
Countries                                    3                                                                       8
Kings & Queens                        7,000                                                                 32,000!!!!!!!!!!

So, the Tebow CURE Hospital (TCH) here in Davao City, Philippines sponsored a NTS this year. My friend HK was the event planner and did a super job. When you are chosen to sponsor a NTS you receive a detailed instruction manual, Prom Kit (deco, gifts), financial support and guidance from TTF staff. We had to tweak a few things as we do not live in the US and some things just needed to be different. For example, we just do not have limo services here in DC, Phils!

The guests were chosen from different organizations here in Davao City. I am still in awe how this all came together as we were not a "church" hosting and HK put together a fabulous team to help with all the different logistics. The body of Christ pulled together from different denominations, Non profits and professions. I am certain God was smiling! Our guests came mainly from 2 different Blind schools, a organization for the Deaf, Down Syndrome Association and from our very own TCH CUREkids. We invited 100 and 97 of  them came! Our very first patient, Ruby Anne was there! Each guest was referred to as a king or queen as they were all crowned.


The kings and queens arrived at the Grand Meng Seng, a hotel downtown, and were registered.  Each guest was paired with a "buddy" (a volunteer that spent the evening with that particular guest). From there they were taken to a room for VIP treatment. They were fitted with a gown or dress or barong. In the US they guys wear tuxes, here the formal wear is a barong. After they slipped into their formal wear, they went into the "chair" to be pampered. Hair, makeup, corsages, boutonnieres and perfuming.  Time and care was taken for each guest. I could not believe the styles that the woman doing the girls hair. Really, I think she came up with about 45 different and unique styles. Everyone looked amazing!

When our guests were Red Carpet Ready, they proceeded to the professional photographer. Everyone had their own photo shoot. 

Then, the Grand Entrance!! I was part of the friendly paparazzi team. Our job was to greet each king and queen. Cheering for, photographing, and encouraging our guests as they walked a long red carpet. Some of the kings and queens would stop and pose and just took it all in! The were seated at large tables and were offered opportunities to play games, sing karaoke or just chat with their new friends and buddies.  

The dancing came later as it was loud and really took over the event. We danced about an 1/2 hour before dinner was served. The atmosphere was like a huge party full of joy and fun.

The scrumptious banquet was served. Each buddy went through the line and served their king or queen. Really was so thrilled to have so many people so full of love in one place. After we ate, we heard a special message from Tim Tebow. He officially declared that each guest was crowned the king or queen of the Prom. This year, Tim Tebow went to Haiti on the 11th and attended their event as it was a day early. He then made surprise appearances in other places in the US on the 12th. You can probably read news articles telling exactly where he went, I know he really got around this year! Back to the DANCING....We could not keep the dance floor empty anymore.....they all just enjoyed dancing so much. I did too! There was a bubble machine and  the DJ did a fantastic job. 
At 9:00 the Prom ended. Guests were given their favors that came from TTF in the states. TTF bags, tumblers and a special silver picture frame with the photo already in it. 

I need to say something about the volunteer aspect of this event. Like I said, HK had to pull from so many different groups and resources. Most of our volunteers were Filipino with a few expats sprinkled in. People donated gowns, a dress shop gave a huge discount for gowns and barongs. The stylists and professional photographers volunteered their time and only required payment for materials, Several churches gathered buddies, prayed and everyone pulled together.

 I am sure I am missing things, but for now this is my best synopsis of what went on. Here is a short video of our NTS. Working together to LOVE is something quite wonderful! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Today, there is one more McDonald's in the world

Living in a different culture, it is so nice to have familiar things. Funny, but as my Mom and I talked today she was asking if we even liked to eat at McDonald's. While visiting or living in the US, we really did not go much. But to have it here in the Philippines, it is a taste of home. The menu is slightly different but my favorite Cheeseburger tastes so good here.

So today, my walking buddy, Marlene, and I decided to attend the Grand Opening ! Grand Openings are a big affair here, loud, lots of people and giveaways. Many other businesses will send flowers with their well wishes.

With our ticket we got a free umbrella and the McDo chicken meal.....fried chicken and rice. Yep, they serve rice as an option here and you can even get spaghetti! YES, you can still get yummy fries here too, I am certain they sprinkle them with magic powder that makes them oh, so good. Sooooo we stood in line, listened to the Minion band (yep, the same one that was at the Happy Walk on Sunday). and smiled and greeted all of our McDo lovin friends.

So there you have it. A McDonald's is born. Buhangin....Davao City, Philippines. It is something quite wonderful to start the day with such joy, friends and festivities. I just wish it was not so close to our house....UGH! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sand Tables

I am a total sucker for anything that allows me to play. I have been wanting a sand table for the kids at Tebow Cure Hospital  ever since we opened. Maybe it is due to the fact that CURE Niger was in the Sahel and there was sand EVERYWHERE?  Maybe it is because I find it incredibly relaxing to sift and dig in the sand?  Maybe I have seen t he benefits of sand play and want our patients to have this special treat? Whatever the reason, we had been given a very generous gift from a stateside VBS. Of course I had a bit of a wish list as did others that work with our kids. This was at the TOP! I started asking questions where one might purchase a sand table her in the PIs. I started looking online and just brainstorming. L had the brilliant idea of having one made! Brilliant to me, but some what obvious, I guess. So, I went into dream mode......needed to be wheel chair accessible, just the right size for little arms to reach in, deep enough, mobile, colorful and inviting.

C, our Facilities Manager, listened to my list and by the next morning he had drawn up an amazing plan. He hired a carpenter to bring the plan to reality. Unfortunately the project was put on hold when  the carpenter went missing (please pray that he would return to his family). Hmmmm, so what to do now?  C recruited our awesome  maintenance man, A, to finish the project and that he did! Look at this amazing paint job ta boot! I am thrilled. They exceeded my expectations!

It took more effort than your would think to find sand. C was diligent and finally found some at a local pet store. Funny when you live on a island and the kind of sand you want is not allowed to be taken from the beach!  Today, C greeted me with a huge smile and the news  that the sand was IN the table. Off to the store I went to find a few sand toys. I found exactly what I wanted.

My little buddy, J and I broke it in today!      

 This is going to be such a treat at TCH! I love our one of a kind sand table. What a fun distraction....playing with sand inside, while healing up from surgery or while doing physical therapy. Most wonderful of all? The many smiles and joy that I am anticipating. 

Friday, January 15, 2016


Oh, the fruit! I just love the fruit and what I love even more is the surprise of finding a new fruit. The Philippines is full of them. Check some of them out here. This past year was full of fruit gifts. I guess friends are starting to catch on, it must be my love language? They may be my favorite kind of gift. Mangosteen, pomelo, lanzones and the latest.....balimbing. 

 This is not the first time I have tasted this (It is also known as star fruit) BUT this is  the first time I have been given such pretty, yellow/orange ones.  The giver suggested sprinkling them with salt as he said it would bring out the flavor. I decided just to try them as they were......they had a very subtle taste, sort of pear like? L says it is not like anything he has tasted before. I guess they just taste like star fruit! They were very juicy and just oh so pretty. SO wonderful getting little surprises and trying new things.