Wednesday, October 28, 2009



I assisted my friend Lisa as she photographed a special project yesterday. During our time together, she reminded me of this post -- another one of my favorites. As mentioned earlier, my favorites tend to be the ones that help me to "get it right".


The photo above will look like an ordinary snapshot to you, but it's not ordinary to me. To me, it is one of my most meaningful photographs. It represents a significant day in my life. When I saw this little fellow in his green and white pajamas, my eyes
instantly welled up with tears....and it changed me for life.

This little boy is a resident of the City of Refuge Children's Home. His birth parents are nowhere to be found. By the Grace of God, he has found a home with 60 other children at an orphanage atop the Blue Mountains of from the homelessness, violence and chaos of the mean streets.

Oh...and his pajamas? They once belonged to my son.

My wife has given gently-used clothing to the orphanage for years now. The donations have always been a gift of love from my wife. As for me? At the time, I probably viewed the donations as a tax write-off. Thankfully, my heart has been profoundly changed by the most compassionate person I know -- my wife, Kay (below).


Seeing my son's pajamas on this little boy jump-started something inside me that I didn't know I had. What was once
a tax deduction in my mind, has now become a small but meaningful contribution to a living, breathing child of God. And in the process, I've emerged from my cocoon -- a rebirth of sorts.


Do you realize just how rich we all are? Even when times are tough, we are richly blessed.

  • 800 million people on our planet will not eat today. Will you?
  • 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Do you?
  • 92% of the world's inhabitants don't own a car. Do you? Maybe two?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, those who answered "no" will think that you are rich.

That clothing you haven't touched in months...those canned goods that have been sitting on the shelf because they're not your favorite...give 'em up! Chances are you won't miss them. Call a local soup kitchen or an outreach center and drop off your items. We can make a difference! We can help in some small way. Someone needs those things way more than we do. You could impact someone's life today. And ya know what? It will make YOUR day...and maybe even your life.

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." -- Arthur Ashe



Anonymous said...

Hi Uncle Dan,
Happy Birthday!!!
I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog the photos and writing. Reading what you wrote and seeing the photos makes me realize how very much we all have and how blessed we really are. Thanks for pointing that out for me. And thanks for inspiring me to get out there and do some shooting of my own. :)
Your niece,

Sara Baulenas said...

Thanks for your so very kind comment about my flowers, I saw your photographies and I find them very very interesting!!! I love the Bible too! I hope we can keep in touch!

Best regards!

Ron said...

This blog really made my heart melt. I can only imaging the feeling when you first saw him wearing your sons old PJ' remember your son grow up in it and not its passed on to help someone less fortunate. Moments like that makes you so much richer.If only more realized...

Thanks for sharing!

Dan Denardo said...

Hi Amber,
Thanks for the birthday wishes. It's pretty special when you can celebrate a birthday with your son that was born on the same day of the year! And thanks for your kind words about my blog. It's been a good project for me to keep my creative juices flowing. My friend, Ron, (who commented here) has been a huge supporter in my blogging. He is an amazing fellow. I would urge you to follow his blog, too. I am glad to hear you are getting a chance to pick up your camera -- I know it's tough finding the time, but it's probably a good creative escape for you. Thanks for your kind words.
Love, Uncle Dan

Jay said...

Believe it or not, I was crying before I ever got to the post --- the picture was not an ordinary snapshot.

I am the youngest of 7 children, 5 of us were adopted. We had foster children in and out of my house my whole life. Very very few things touch my heart more than children, and nothing more than children in need. How blessed you are to be a part of this organization... and how blessed they are to have you and your (obviously very sweet) wife.

My little one came home from church the other day with a bag that she had decorated. Her assignment is to fill it up with "goodies" to take to our food bank. She has talked about it everyday... I know that she gets it, but I wish that she understood it.

It's so easy to sit back and live my life in my little bubble... but I know better, I need to allow myself to see more of a life that, if it hadn't been for my wonderful parents, I very well could have been a part of.

Thanks for this post. --- and you're right, I have things in my pantry that I will never eat, before I read this they probably would have just ended up in the trash.

Jay said...

Oh -- and I love NOOMA! I just saw that link on the side of your page.

--- Have you ever heard of "Invisible Children"?

Dan Denardo said...

Jay, I have not heard of "Invisible Children", but I'll make a point of looking into it. I appreciate the heads up! We're making plans to attend Rob Bell's church (NOOMA founder) in a few weeks. It's just a couple hours from our home. He is is NOOMA. We have many of the NOOMA dvds and we like to watch one or two of them before we hit the sack. Since they're only 10 minutes (or so) long, it's a nice way to end the day. Thanks for your great comments. I always look forward to your visits/comments, Jay. -D2

Ron said...

Did you mention Rob Bell? I was in Honduras with him last month shooting a water special...I didn't know he was so popular! Very nice guy!

Dan Denardo said...

Well, assuming it's the same Rob Bell, yes, he's hugely least in certain circles. Time Magazine has called him the next Billy Graham. He has a church on the west side of the state (Michigan) that has more than 12,000 members -- it's called Mars Hill.


Javier said...

Dan, as I read your post I understood that meaningful change you speak off... Truth is we don't always thank God for what we have, and more often than not we feel that we're not in his grace because we can't get something we "so desperately need"... like a new tv set or something of the kind... as I read your lines I realized how lucky I am and how ungrateful at the same time...

Thanks for making me see! :) and thanks for capturing the real world!