Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Feed the Children

Friday, August 6th, 2010

The relaxation after the World Series of Poker has been wonderful. 🙂

It’s hard to even realize how tough the WSOP grind can be until it’s over. Suddenly, you don’t have a tournament to race to, you’re not spending thousands of dollars every few days on a tournament, and you’re not fighting every germ you come into contact with. It’s always fun to play a lot of poker and see friends that you don’t see most of the year, but the rest period after it’s all over is very calm and centering.

In the last few weeks, I did take a break from Las Vegas to visit some friends in Los Angeles, and I even got to spend some time shopping, partying, among many other things with my very close girlfriend Shannon Elizabeth. And it was then that I made a decision about where I’m going to spend some time in the next few weeks.

Nicaragua!

I was considering doing some charity work in Vietnam, but when Shannon talked to me about her upcoming trip to Nicaragua for Feed the Children, I was so excited to make the trip with her. I’ll get back to Vietnam in the next few months, I’m sure, but this new adventure gives me the chance to help other people in need as well. We’re going on an aid mission for this nonprofit organization, and we’ll be helping children by providing food and clean water, helping create shelters, and giving them other supplies that they don’t have. It’s something most of us take for granted, but many children don’t even have food in their lives every day. Shannon is no stranger to doing charity work, and I figure that both of us together can do some great things!

(photo courtesy of FeedtheChildren.org)

Another exciting thing about this trip is that Associated Television International is working with Feed the children to shoot a documentary about this trip. This 60-minute documentary will give people a first-hand look at our experience, seeing the poverty and helping make their lives a little better. But the major point of the documentary will be to show the rest of the world what kinds of problems exist in these parts of the world and what needs to be done to help.

For more information about Feed the Children and how you can help, visit www.FeedTheChildren.org.

And I leave in a few days! I’ve got my shots to prevent me from getting any of the local diseases… Ouch! I hate getting shots! But I know it’s all for the right reasons. I’m so looking forward to doing this project and getting involved in helping the people of Nicaragua.

Thanks for all of the recent birthday wishes, as it really made my day even more wonderful! The most precious gift I received, in addition to the love from everyone, was this lovely Lakshmi statue and some meditation items from Shannon. So sweet! After she helped me schedule an immediate appointment for Jace to see her vet to handle a problem with his breathing, which turns out to be asthma, we ended up going out to dinner for sushi that night. Shannon was so considerate on my birthday, understanding that I wanted to keep it low-key, even though she surprised me with good friends Tracy Wagner and Matt Mazzant showing up to dinner! It was a wonderful birthday, and big thanks to the three of them for making it extra special!

I think this year is going to be a good one for me, and once I get back from Central America, I’ll be preparing to get back to poker with the first few events in Europe. It should be an interesting few months, and I’ll keep you updated as best I can!

Cheers!

The BEST Birthday Gift Ever!

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

My second stop on my six-week travel venture around the globe was Vietnam. I wanted to start off my trip by doing what I love to do more then anything else…helping charitable causes and doing what I can to make someone else’s life a little bit easier and if what I do brings a smile to persons face, that just makes it that much more fulfilling for me.

However, this trip it was those I was trying to help that helped me in a way that I am truly grateful for and they made a special day in my life the most memorable day for me so far…MY BIRTHDAY!

Believe it or not, I have never been the kind of person that goes out and has a party every year August 2 comes around. I don’t find anything wrong with anyone that wants to celebrate their birthday and have a big party. I just have never had that same urge. I usually spend my birthday with family and close friends doing something low key. And the times I am traveling during my birthday, I usually spend it alone in my hotel room reflecting on things that has happened in my life and the things I can do to change my life for the better before my next birthday comes around. I am not telling everyone this so you feel sad or bad for me because I am alone on that day, it is a choice I make and it is how I like spending my birthday.

This year was different though. This year I got the best birthday gift ever! I was at my hotel in Saigon when a couple of my close friends asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I explained to them just as I explained above about what I normally do on my birthdays. But I told them this year I want to do something a little bit different. I told them, I want to help others on my birthday. I don’t want to spend it alone and I don’t go out partying but I do want to do something that will bring joy to others on that day.

After talking with my friends, one suggested I visit this orphanage he knows about that is in need of money so the children in the orphanage can go to school and get an education. He told me the place was about a 2-hour drive from Saigon and that the Sister that takes care of the place and the people there would appreciate any donation. I spoke with my friend some more and got the details I needed about things they do there. I knew after our conversation, I not only had to go meet these people but I had to go there and give them any kind of help and aide I could. Donating money is not a problem and I know that always helps but I wanted to do more. I then asked my friend to set up a time we could be there on August 2 and I asked him to not let them know that my purpose for being there was to donate—I wanted to surprise them.

Aside from the monetary donation I planned on giving them so the children there could get proper schooling, I arrange to have 2 truckloads of 100 lbs rice, a truckload of cooking oil, and a truckload of milk to be brought in with me. I was very excited to get to our destination the morning of my birthday. Honestly, I cannot recall ever being that excited about it being my birthday. And I believe that is because I really wasn’t excited about what day it was—I was excited about what I was doing that day.

When I arrived at the Thien Binh Catholic Orphanage, I was the one that got the surprise of a lifetime!

I was greeted by 130 smiling, laughing, excited kids and the gracious woman that has been running the orphanage since 1972 “Sister 7” (that is what I was asked to call her). I could not believe my eyes. I looked at my friend and asked if he’d told them why I was there and what I was bringing. He simply replied, “No, you asked me not to and I didn’t.”

Not really knowing what was going on and what I may be interrupting, I slowly got out of the car. I could see that they had set up what looked like some kind of celebration or party so I turned to my friend with a puzzled look on my face and he simply said, “Oh, I did tell them today was your birthday and they know who you are so they wanted to surprise you.”

I was not only immensely touched but I was speechless. And as I got closer to the table they had set up, I saw it. They had a HUGE birthday cake for me! On it was “Happy Birthday Liz” with a picture of the Queen of Hearts. I could not believe it. I have never gotten a birthday gift that was that thoughtful and it truly was priceless for me. And to add icing to the cake, all of the kids sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Sister 7 (who I am told use to be a Princess that lived in the royal palace of Thailand) then wished me happy birthday and gave me many good blessings. I thanked her and gave her the money her orphanage needed so the kids there could go to school.

I also spent that morning meeting the kids and talking with them as we handed out the cake I cut. I then went to the trucks that had come in with the rice, cooking oil, and milk I arranged to have brought there and helped unload them. I wanted to make sure the orphanage got what I arranged to be delivered and that everything was there for them.

Once all of the unloading was done, I got a chance to tour the orphanage and it was an awakening moment for me. This orphanage is not only for children, but for mentally handicapped adults, and elders as well. Those living there range in ages from 6 months to 80 years old. The children that are brought there either lost both of their parents or were abandoned by them. The elders that remain there either have no family to care for them or like the children, abandoned by the family they do have. Sister 7 has maintained the orphanage with the help of those that have grown up with her there and the influences she has that will give aide to help all of the people there.

As I walked around, I was so surprised to see so many happy and cheerful faces just living life, enjoying life, and full of joy. I say it was an “awakening” moment for me because I thought how do these people do it? I mean, how can someone be so fulfilled with a life in a small village with really no resources and nowhere to go? I could see what they have and it is so little compared to what I have and what I have seen in my life. I know that thought may sound horrible to some of you but I am being completely honest when I tell you that is what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking it because I think I’m better then anyone of them. I was thinking it because really I was seeing first hand how in so many ways, they are much better people then most of the people I know…including myself. I mean, they are true survivors and they know what it means to enjoy the smallest things in life. They cherish their life and they know how to live with what is given to them without expecting or chasing for more. And that is something I truly admire. 

This experience has truly made this the BEST birthday I have ever had!

Cheers!

The fun side..

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I came up with a great idea for this journal entry. Most bloggers get in the habit of telling you how they feel and explaining what they are going through! I wanted to have a little more fun with this blog!

I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of the things that makes me smile or laugh instead. So, I have included a few videos that I personally enjoy. I want to share with you some of my experiences in hopes that it reveals a little bit more about who I am.

Before I get into the videos I want to let those of you looking for more poker related journal entries to go to www.pokerlistings.com. I am one of the featured bloggers on the site and you can read more about poker there. I usually post a new blog every Tuesday.

I also want to tell you a little bit about what’s going on this week. Well not much!! I’ve been playing a lot of online poker lately. You can read about it on Pokerlistings tomorrow and I also went out to celebrate one of my girlfriends birthday on Tuesday.

A few of us girls went to the Palazzo on Tuesday and had dinner at Lavo. I really recommend the place and it had some pretty good eye candy too! Several girls got together to help Joy Miller celebrate her birthday. Afterwards some of the girls had a couple of cocktails and we called it a night.

Outside of that it’s just been poker mostly. And of course I always get great feedback from everyone about the blogs. I enjoy reading the feedback and writing back to you whenever I can. On to the videos:

I want to start out with a more touching video first. This is a segment from X Factor which is the UK version of American Idol. I’ve been thinking a lot about having really genuine and authentic people around me lately and I remembered this Amy Connelly video.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
– Mother Theresa

Speaking of really honest and transparent moments. Check out this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

While we are on the topic of X Factor. This is one of my favorite shows. I fell in love with it when I first started watching it. I am reminded of another clip I think you should check out. This one made me really laugh hard. These two think they are the next P Diddy and Usher!

The next video is a spoof that a friend of mine in Vancouver recently forwarded to me. It’s a spoof of the T.I. Whatever You Want song. I thought this was pretty clever and it gave me a real good laugh. Thanks Saad! 🙂

The last video I want to share with you guys is just a video that makes me think about all my “slick” guy friends lol. It’s a song by Gym Class Heroes. I think everyone can have a good laugh and appreciate this video for what it is. Especially all the women! 😉

Well I hope you enjoyed some of the videos. Sometimes you just have to laugh at life and go with it!! These are all videos that remind me to just keep laughing and continue to have a positive outlook in life. I look forward to sharing more interesting clips in the future.

Cheers!

Halloweekend!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday Night!! Just so you know, this is going to be short. It is Halloween weekend in Vegas and one of the most interesting and busiest weekends of the year for the Clubs. Big plans with the girls! Me, Lisa, Lacey and Galina are meeting up and heading over to TAO. I’ve received several text messages from friends throughout the day asking me to swing by TAO to party tonight.

Just to give you a quick update, the rest of the week has been pretty mellow. I stayed at home most of this week. Since my last journal entry, I’ve been busy doing interviews, working on my different blogs and working on a poker article. I did get out one day and went to watch a movie then played some Bingo afterwards at the Hard Rock with some girlfriends. That was a blast!! I love Bingo. Not many people know this about me but I can play that game all day long.

My computer is so hot at the moment, it might explode!! The computer has been on all day and I think it’s about to overheat! I do want to send a special announcement to my Niece and Nephew who both turned 14 yesterday. They are twins. I am extremely lucky to have them in my life. Every year I call them to wish them a Happy Birthday and ask them what they want. This year, they hardly asked for anything at all. My niece in particular specifically requested that the gift be under $40. I told her she could get anything she wanted and I could afford to spend more but she told me she already had, “The greatest aunt in the world for my present.” I was so touched by her sincerity and couldn’t hold back my tears after hearing that. She has no greed or selfishness in her.

Well I’m off to go party with my girlfriends tonight in LV and tomorrow I fly to Los Angeles to attend Shannon Elizabeth’s Scavenger Hunt party she is hosting. That should be a lot of fun. I am looking forward to hanging out with my good friend Shannon and than I am back to Las Vegas in a couple days. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween weekend. I will update my blog and hope to have lots of interesting stories to tell you guys from my weekend adventures.