How I Got My Green Groove Back

OR: Some Happy Hippie Habits I Still Have

On Sunday I posted a rather woe-is-me piece about how I’ve lost my eco-friendly “religion” as of late (I’ve been a slacker, I’ve been in a new place – and I haven’t been adhering to my usual routine of kind-to-our-plantet practice).

It’s true.  I’ve shopped at Walmart, we’re going through roll after roll of paper towels around here, I’m drinking Keurig coffee and so on… It’s embarrassing.  Happy HIPPIE Rose is my blog after all, this is a place where I post about loving the earth and being green and all that jazz.  I’m a self-proclaimed hippie and if I expect people to trust my advice or try out my tips, there’s a certain point to which I need to practice what I preach!

And really, I usually do.  I’m blaming it on our move and all the commotion of living our of a hotel, visiting family for a week, and now moving in with my cousin and acclimating to his routines and what not.  I won’t re-hash it all – go read the post for yourself if you want to revel in my failure.

(I’m also being pretty overdramatic.)

I know I’m super far from a failure right now.  As was pointed out in the comments on Sunday, it’s not a terribly huge crime I’ve committed here.  It’s life, it happens.  My intention was actually never to lament, but rather to come clean and then take it from there.  So Sunday I ‘fessed up.  Now, we’ll be moving forward.

After be-smudging my good hippie name, I did make the self-defensive claim that not everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.  There are, actually, plenty of things I’ve kept up with and am doing now that are mighty green.

Today, lemme brag on those! 

I love the earth, I am a legit hippie.  There are easy, fun, money-saving ways to run a home and live your life that are kinder to the earth than some of the typical American practices.  Especially when it comes to chores, I love to keep a tidy home in crunchy fashion – using hippie cleaning methods.

duck face all in the rubber gloves, after a crazy night of chores – i was sweating so hard from cleaning!

For one, rags – not paper towels.

rags are reusable and that’s rad

Paper towels are pricey.  And they’re wasteful.  Landfills are clogged with paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins.  If I must buy some kind of paper product (that’s a disposable version of something that totally exists in reusable form), I at least go for the recycled materials version.  Depending on what the use of the paper item was, when you’re done with it you may be able to recycle it – so keep that aspect in mind if the paper-made route is one you must go.

But really, rags love messes.  Rags are the best!  They work better than paper towel, and you just wash them.  It’s nice.  I get so annoyed at the paper towel commercials that equate rags to smearing bacteria all over your home.  UGH.  Common sense goes a real long way.  If you’ve just used a rag to wipe up some raw chicken goo, how abouts you retire that one to the dirty laundry hamper and not rub it on the counter until it’s been properly laundered.

It’s home cleaning 101.  It’s how people have been tidying up for years, centuries!  It’s not rocket science.  I’ll elaborate more on a paper towel based rant some other day, because I feel like I could go on and on about all of the anti-rag marketing and propaganda out there that’s just so bunk.

Use rags.  Wash them. Apply common sense.

You know what really helps the cleaning process?  A solution that’s antibacterial.  Like say, white distilled vinegar (WDV).  WDV is amazing.  It kills germs, it cleans up all kinds of messes, stains, spills, grease, gunk, and more.  Yeah, it smells strong at the time of use – but as it dries it is 100% odorless, colorless, and unnoticeable.

vinegar is heaven’s nectar. it does everything!

I use WDV everywhere.  Dishes, laundry, surfaces, mopping solution, the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room.  Anything that can be cleaned, I involve WDV somehow.

Remember my old Tide Challenge?

our current laundry room set-up. tide + wdv = a cheaper, better way to do every single load!

(I bought a big jug of liquid Tide, very pricey and wonderful smelling laundry detergent – and as an experiment, I diluted it with WDV for every load of laundry to see how far I could stretch a bottle).  Here’s the premise of the challenge, a midway update post, and finally – the results post.

Check those out to read all about the magical laundry powers of WDV.  Detergent, microbe killer, disinfectant, funk eliminator, fabric softener… it does it all.  And in its wake it leaves clean-smelling, lovely, soft clothes.

Speaking of reusable rags and WDV, let’s talk about mopping.

If you so much as own a Swiffer, I don’t even know if we can be friends.  Swiffers are so so so so bad.  They’re evil!  They create so much waste, and why?  For what?  It’s lazy and ridic.  You can get a mop with the exact same function as a Swiffer (the spray with the little pad on a stick that you use instead of the old school rope mop or the sponge and squeegee kind) that – get this – uses a reusable pad on the bottom.

Instead of those pre-soaked Swiffer pads that cost a fortune, are chock full of chemicals, clog up your garbage can, and eventually our whole planent with all of those dirty pads – just use a mop with a washing fluid chamber that squirts out a little stream of cleaner and houses a cloth pad on the bottom that you simply wash and reuse.

I used to have a Lipman spray mop back in Hawaii, with reusable cloth pads.  I liked it just fine. When we arrived in Western New York, I needed a new mop, though. (The Lipman worked just fine, it was packed up and it’s in the Pacific Ocean on a ship somewhere, with the rest of our belongings).

me, going nuts, with my awesome new mop

Totally coincidental to my viewership of Celebrity Apprentice (really, I didn’t realize it was the same mop from the show until just now as I was looking it up online and saw Lou Ferrigno pics), I am now the proud and ecstatic owner of the O-Ceder ProMist spray mop.

i love celeb apprentice, but did not love lou. he was actually super annoying. but, he’s repping my new mop, so i gotta give him credit for that. i love this mop!

It caught my eye because it was the cheapest one of its kind in the store.  And boy oh boy am I so glad I took this baby home!

There’s a microfiber pad that easily sticks to the bottom, I bought a secondary pad for a few dollars – so if one’s in the wash, I can still mop it up.   And in the RARE case that a mess deems you must mop with something disposable, they do sell paper pads that fit as well (but don’t do that, just wash the reusable ones).

I LOVE THIS MOP!

best mop ever

It’s great.  It’s so sturdy, the head pivots so nicely.  It’s incredibly easy to use, and it’s so eco-friendly.  I fill up the cleaning fluid tank with a simple mix of WDV and water.  WDV is the perfect mopping solution, you know.  It kills the germs, it cleans, the floor will sparkle and shine – withOUT the stick left behind from Lysol or whatever other chemical mopping stuff you use.  And yes, it smells wacky… but as soon as it dries there is no scent.  None!

look at the shine on that floor – nice!

machine washable. very very easy.

Okay, I think you get my point about the cleaning.  It’s so easy to do, y’all.  Being green is not hard, it’s not always expensive or scary.  I know that when you’re in the grocery store and you see the free range organic food, it costs more than the hormone-filled antibiotic-ridden regular version.  The monetary commitment to an eco-friendly life can seem daunting. But that’s only for certain types of green living.

For most of the things I do around the home, I actually save money.  

WDV is way cheaper than any fancy cleaning product you can buy.  Samesies with baking soda (another awesome cleaning agent that works miracles).  Buying something once, like a rag or a towel and then being able to re-wash it and use it for a really long time is epically cheaper than going through disposable stuffs.

You get the idea?  I hope.

Now.  I know I mentioned food.  So there’s a couple more things I’ll sling into this post.

We feed our dog fancy food.  As in, organic doggie food.  I don’t believe in making him eat that corn-filled, horse meat, food colored, toxic fake garbage that’s all fillers and no nutrients.  We were so blessed at the ole MCBH Commissary, because they carried Organix brand dog food and it only cost a dollar more than the typical on-the-shelf doggie food crap.

Specialty dog foods can be very pricey and you may have to go out of your way to get your hands on them.  I understand that’s not feasible for everyone.  But check this out… Purina has a new label of food out, and although it’s pricier than the typical bag of Beneful, it’s still very affordable.  No corn, no fillers, no super duper garbage – and it’s made by Purina (my cousin works there, as does my Uncle Bobby, we love Purina around here).

jj’s new food, yummy!

JJ loves it!  He eats it right up, and we’re able to easily find it in the dog food section of our local grocers.   It’s called “One Beyond” and the commercials are super cute too (they always advertise for it on Hulu, I’ve noticed).

And finally.  I know in Sunday’s post I lamented about drinking coffee from the Keurig.  The uber-wasteful single cup coffee dispensary that makes you a solo cup of joe, out of a single disposable plastic-y cup.  Oy, the waste.  So much garbage, so much packaging.  It’s convenient and lovely and delicious – yes.  But the hippie in me just feels like such a heel.

So, I went old school and busted out the regular coffee pot.

i can make coffee the regular way

It’s a lot less wasteful, as long as we drink all that we end up making.  Coffee itself is such a slippery slope of hippiedom anyways… from fair trade, to poor work practices and shady farming, etc.  So I won’t get into that side of the bean in this post.  I’ll just tackle my end, the making and drinking side of the story.  And yes, I’m still imbibing in the Keurig-made stuff (it’s what we have in the house), but I’m not exclusively drinking Keurig and I intend to make my way back to the good ole brewing pot.

So there you have it!

Yeah, I’m not as super duper green green green as I had it when we were in Hawaii.  I’ve slipped a bit, I’ve let some things slide.  I’ve had to make accommodations and adjustments because of moving.

It is what it is.

But I’m turning it around.  And hey!  Even on my worst days, I was still maintaining some very clutch eco-kindly habits.  Some is better than none, every little bit really does help.

So as I continue to get my green groove back, I’ll keep y’all in the loop.  The tips and tricks I learn, I’ll pass on.  Because let’s be real, I didn’t invent this stuff – not by a long shot – other hippies taught me, and thus I want to teach you.  And if you have some good tidbits, tell me!  Shoot me an email or let me know right here (happyhippierose@gmail.com).

I’m always looking to build up my repertoire of hippie living.  So go out, get some WDV and a spray mop and clean with kindness.  Happy Housekeeping, y’all!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that are not my own:
Lou Ferrigno with the mop
O-Cedar ProMist mop collage

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30 Days of Blogging Honesty – Catch Up: Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

I’m back on my 30 Days of Blogging Honesty kick!

Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check out Tom Baker’s OP here, rules, prompts and all.   And here are a couple of my contributions so far: my intro, my day one.

I know it’s so cheesy to lump a few together, but I’m determined to get back on track.  I’m still sick, and even though it’s been a bummer of a low-key Easter – I’m bound and determined to get my stuff together.  I’m even making dinner tonight, which is awesome and the first time I’ve cooked in a while.  I’m not getting better in a reasonable time on my own, so I’m just forcing myself to get back into some routine of normal-ish life.

So… here we go:

Day 02 — Not including food, blogging or television, my most guilty pleasure (this includes chocolate)…

celebrity-related crap. 

The funny thing about a guilty pleasure is that you have to feel somewhat guilty for it.  When it comes to candy, ice cream, reality tv, lounging in the bath tub for hours on end, taking breaks to go down to the beach, buying something I don’t really need… etc, etc, etc – I don’t feel guilty!

I love candy and sweets.  I love most things that are deemed bad for one.

So my definition of a “guilty pleasure” is something I like to partake in, even though I’m morally opposed, or I know it’s bad.  When Duggs and I like to paint or work on really messy crafts, we’ll sometimes use paper towels.  Paper towels are so EASY to use, no mess, no laundry, etc.  That’s a guilty pleasure.  It’s one I haven’t seen in our house since before Christmas and I was making a ton of holiday crafts with all kinds of paints.

Celebrity crap, like reading trashy celeb gossip blogs or buying tabloids… that’s a real guilty pleasure.  I love it, even though I hate it.  I think that the way paparazzi flocks to celebs is wrong, I think the decimation of any personal life is unfair.  I know that being a public figure has its trade-offs – but it shouldn’t be the way it is now.  We treat our celebs simultaneously like gods and like dirt.  I hate it.  I think it’s wrong.  I don’t want to support the careers of rabid paparazzi photogs who stalk celebs, I don’t want to support celebs who pull crazy crap just to drum up publicity… and yet, I read the Us Weeklies of the world, I watch the crazy TV shows that offer us lame regular folk exclusive glimpses into the fancy lives of the most illustrious of famous folk.

us weekly, probs my fave of the trashy glossies. photo source, here.

So that’s a real guilty pleasure.

Moving on!

Day 03 — Regardless of my current status, do I believe a person should save themself for marriage…

I know it might make me the mayor of rip off city to not really get into the nitty gritty of this one.  I know that controversy and craziness is part of the fun of this here 30 Day Challenge… it’s why we promise to be totally honest in our replies.

My answer to this: no, I don’t believe a person should have to remain a virgin until marriage.

It’s tough for me to come out and say that because I know a lot of my readers are strong Christians and uphold a certain caliber of moral tenacity.  I know that this answer might be disappointing, that purity is something very important to many of the Christians I know and respect – and there are plenty of save-it-until-marriage advocates I know that aren’t Christians at all.  For those who make the pro purity choice, I admire and respect their willingness to do so.

For me, though – I have a different take.  I think that consenting adults experience a relationship on a wide spectrum.  And I think that having sex is just part of this spectrum, it’s one of the pieces that goes into a healthy adult relationship.

I’m not sure how I’ll advise my future kids on this… I’m not sure how I’d talk to a teen who asked me about this.  I think it really depends on the place I’m coming from.  If I’m teaching Sunday School or working with a youth group as an official part of a church, then I think it’s important to echo the church’s beliefs and not speak out on my own.

But I also recognize teen pregnancy issues, young people with STDs… I see these realities and I feel like trying to teach abstinence just isn’t always effective.  I think safe sex education is really important, and I think that setting the stage for kids to feel comfortable asking the tough questions is how you can make a huge impact.   If a teen is okay asking me about sex, I have a real chance to offer practical advice about protection without being shut out or viewed as condemning, judging, condescending.

And when it comes to consenting pre-marital adults: I feel strongly that sound adults should be able to do whatever it is they’d like to do.  Without my judgement, attitude, or forced ideals.  Besides, my ideals – the ones that are actually mine – are okay with consenting adults doing what they’d like to do.

So.  I know this may not be popular.  I know that some readers might really be annoyed with me or let down… but I stand by my choice, and I think that my opinions don’t take away from my love for God, my willingness to be a good person and a good Christian.  I think it’s just a choice, one founded in reality and based on my own experiences.

It’s totally an individual choice, though.

If someone who is a devout Christian, or is practicing any kind of faith/lifestyle that didn’t encourage or allow pre-marital sex, I’d encourage them to keep in line with their existing ideals and to not do it.  But, I’m not going to judge someone for having sex.  It’s not my place to do so, it’s my place to love others and to try my hardest to be accepting, understanding, kind.  And, I’m not going to try to back pedal on my past behaviors or to condemn others now, while I’m already married, for a behavior type I didn’t myself uphold before I was married.

(Ugh, now all my family members reading this are totally cringing, right?  TMI? Oy.  This is a tough one!)

Of course I recognize that some physical relationships can be too much, too soon and can really hurt people in the long run.  But when approaching the issue in such a wide sense, I have to be honest here.  Specific cases will differ, some people are more or less mature than others.  Sometimes sex is used as a pawn or for the wrong reasons.  But many times sex is healthy and normal and it’s what grown ups do.

I guess I got into this way more than I wanted to, but there you have it.  If you respectfully disagree, I understand.  Just try to not go too harsh on me, though!

Day 04 — A blogger friend I’ve known for over five years told me she has been blogging anonymously all this time and most of what I know about her is her fantasy. My reaction to the news is…

totally annoyed, miffed, perplexed, and ANNOYED. 

If you want to write a fictional blog, why not just disclose that it’s fictional from the jump?

I can’t stand the whole lying online thing.  Even if you think it’s harmless and in good fun – it’s not.  Because when you portray yourself as a real person, that’s how many readers will think of you.  Readers will relate, glean advice, comfort, understanding… readers will come to get all kinds of things out of your blog – and if you were just lying or being fake, you’ve totally let them down.

I understand that people like to use the anonymity of the interwebs to engage in fictional lives, or to embellish their real ones – but why not just say that? Probably because no one would read a fictional blog, ha.

But, most of my reason here is based off the “friend” aspect of this one.  I would be so mad if someone I considered a friend was a faker.  It’s happened to me before, actually, on Internet forums… and it sucks.  It’s awful.  A girl I trusted to be a real person faked having cancer.  I’d give her advice and comfort, I was “there for her” while she was going through this supposedly awful experience… and then it turned out she was full of it the whole time!

Not the same as blogging, I know.  But still, an experience of Internet lying and fakery.  It happens too often on forums.  And even though we all know it can and does happen, it still stinks when it does.

When I think about other blogs that I read, ones where I’m not really close or friendly with the writer – well, then I don’t care so much.  I’m pretty sure Texts From Bennet is fake, but I don’t care at all.  It’s so funny.

So there ya go.

I’m actually a little nervous to hit post on this one.  But I’m being as honest as I can be… and we’ll just have to see how it goes.  If anything, this exercise is challenging me to get outside the box of what I’d normally post about, for sure.

And hopefully as the days go on, I’ll be better about sticking to the schedule.  I’m actually going to work on some more posts and queue them up so I have some consistency going on.

As always, thanks for reading!!  xoxo, hhr

Whew. What An Amazing Weekend – Women Of Hope Retreat 2012

I spent this past weekend on the North Shore with 140 of God’s LOVEliest women at my church’s 2012 women’s retreat!

the women of hope

I’m fired up, filled to overflowing, loved, happy, encouraged, humbled, grateful, and … exhausted!  Hence, this post isn’t the actual rundown post.  No, this weekend was so full of post-able pieces of wisdom, insights, joy, fun, photos, and good ideas it’s going to take me a hot minute to compile it all together.  I think I’ll actually make a few posts.

I was so honored to be on the ministry team, working at the event.  I was in charge of the tie dye event and I came up with/led some ice breakers.  I want to post about the group bonding games we did in hopes that others could take the ideas and use them for their own events (Annmarie and I co-led the ice breakers and we are oh so clever, we invented our own games for the ladies to play!!).

The ministry was amazing.  We had devotionals, testimonies, teachings, praise and worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Eight women were baptized in the ocean! EIGHT! Countless women had their faith renewed, re-ignited; sins were purged, the enemy was attacked, others were forgiven.

ocean baptism - amen!

The theme of retreat was LOVE.  We are Lovely, Overcoming, Victorious, and Eternal.

I learned so much, I just feel so pumped up.  I’ve been falling off in my obedience and commitment to God, and this weekend really gave me a chance to dig in and reconnect.  I was able to lay a lot of my own junk down and serve my God, happily.

So, there is MUCH to share, much to say and much to show.  Just give me a few days to collect my thoughts (and notes – I used like seven different notebooks, so everything is all scattered and out of order)… and a series of posts will ensue!

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

If you have any requests of stuff you’d like me to talk about, lemme know.

Oh, and the location!  The location was epic.  Camp Mokule’ia is peaceful and amazing.  The new direction of the facility is to live and run the operations of the camp in a way that is most kind to the land it’s on.  Sustainable living is totally promoted with a new gray water system, aquaponics, composting, gardening, and beefed up recycling.  A hippie like me couldn’t be more excited, especially because Camp management bases all of their green-inspired efforts in Scripture!  I’ll be interviewing the owner of the Camp and giving a full explanation of all their new eco-friendly installations, what the impact has been like, the theological inspiration for the efforts, and how camped have been responding.  So rad, right!?!?

I’m excited to get cracking.  Love to all of my sisters – thank you for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

“GrΣΣk” Spurs Memories, Good and Bad: A Personal Post On My Experienced Sorority Life

Are y’all enjoying my silly and weird “Screen Week?”  I am!  I watch way too much TV, Netflix, etc., and every time I get sucked into a new show or really connect with a movie, it inspires me to relate to my own experiences and post.

Warning – this post is long and it gets really personal.  Intense stuff up ahead!!   

Sometimes a TV show can get into your head and just really affect you.  Maybe the content is too close to home, or an experience portrayed resonates within you.  I like to use TV and movies to zone out.  But sometimes, it’s more than that – it can be catharsis.  And that’s what’s been happening to me recently.  A show has shaken me up and helped me to work through some old old issues.

The show “GrΣΣk” from ABC Fam, now available on Netflix (well, like six seasons are on Netflix now) is the latest series we’ve been sucked into.  Netflix kept suggesting it for us, and so finally, we gave the first ep a whirl.

It’s corny, cheesy, a lot of the acting is terrible, yes.  But it’s funny, light, and it’s just something I so easily connect to.

Yeah, I was in a sorority in college.  Alpha Chi Omega, Theta Sigma chapter at University of North Florida.

Hard to believe, maybe, for those of y’all who know me in my mid/late 20’s, my post-collegiate days.  For people who went to high school with me, it’s also probably hard to swallow.  I was quite the rebel rebel back then, so seeing me jump in and conform to an entity like the greek system may seem far-fetched… But not only was I a sister, but I loved it.

And why discussing that part of my life is so hard – it didn’t end very well for me at all. 

Ready for story time?

When i first came to UNF in the fall of 2001, I was a swimmer.  I walked on to the D1 team, and it was great.  The upside is that I was swimming faster than I had in a while, and I liked the swimmers.  The downside was that I couldn’t balance it all – I was falling asleep in class.  I ultimately had to drop a class (it was a night math class, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open, those 5am practices had taken their toll on me).  When I dropped the class, I ruined my swimming eligibility by not having a “full time” course load.

So, I wasn’t eligible for rush my freshman year – and I think even if I could have been, I was NOT interested in that.  I was the one who was anti-greek.  I didn’t want to “buy my friends” or “conform.”  I found the greek system to be elitist, stupid, expensive, and just a way for lame people to pump each other up.

me and my friend maxy, in our freshman dorm, being awesome!

there she is: rowdy rose is all her obscene glory! how could this gal be contained by a sorority?!?!

So even once I was able to rush my sophomore year, I didn’t because it “wasn’t me.”

crayon night with my pre-greek besties (the gals) - and stu! who was greek already.

The wacky thing is that I was dating a greek man!  My then-boyfriend, Eddie, was a Sigma Chi.  I had so much fun hanging out with him and his brothers.  And a lot of the gals that hung out with that crew were greek too.

The greeks I was meeting and becoming pals with were fun, awesome, they were more down to earth and fun to be around than I’d ever have imagined.

fourth of july, way back in the day, me hanging out with a bunch of my sigma chi pals before i was greek

I started just conforming anyways.  Next thing I knew, I was dressing like them, I was going to the scrapbook store and wearing pearls.  I was into it!  I loved going to Sigma Chi parties and events.

Then, there would be greek-only stuff, and I HATED it.  I hated how many secrets Eddie could keep from me.  Looking back, it seems so silly – it was just his own chapter’s business and ritual.  But for some reason, not knowing what went on every Sunday night really really got to me.

Then a friend consoled me, saying that when greeks and non-greeks try to date it never works out.  The non-greek (the GDI) gets left out of too much and gets resentful.  It’s hard when your boyfriend has to go to a social that his fraternity has arranged with a sorority, and I cannot go.  Oh man, that would make me so jeals back then.

My BFF at that time was a greek gal, Kendall.  I wanted to be a part of what she was a part of.  I wanted to rush to get to do all the greek stuff with her.

me and kendall

So, I decided to rush my junior year.  (Sadly, things with Eddie didn’t last – but I do owe him so much, as it was that formative time that really encouraged me to become greek myself and get to go to socials and have my own secrets).

I rushed in the fall of my junior year.

Going into it, I had all of these AXO friends.  I rushed solely so I could join them.  The thought of joining another sorority didn’t even cross my mind.  The greek system at UNF was really small back then – there were only 3 main sororities, and a 4th was colonizing that year.  KD was too new for me.  Zeta hated me because of some beef I’d had freshman year (boy drama, but of course – my boyfriend cheated on me with a ZTA, I flipped out at a country bar one night and near bout got in a fight, then I ended up hanging out with a dude who unbeknownst to me, had a ZTA girlfriend. oopsies!  So ZTA immediately didn’t invite me back.  Which is sad, I think at heart, I would have made a damn good Zeta!).

Now it was down to AXO and DG.

A funny thing happened in rush.  AXO knew I was a shoe-in, and so they spent like zero effort to recruit me.  Looking back, that should have told me something.  I didn’t feel wanted at all, it was like they knew they didn’t have to bother convincing me.

DG on the other hand – they wanted me. They made me feel so welcomed.

I couldn’t even tell you what happened at Alpha Chi on Pref Night (the last, most important night of rush).  I don’t remember any details from AXO.

But in the DG room, oh man.  I still remember Katie singing and me crying at her immaculate rendetion of “Home” (that song: it feels like home, to me… it feels like home. zomg, her voice is amazing).   Katie preffed me, and I had such a genuine, awesome, time with her.

When I had to rank my choices I was so torn. So torn, I was up there for a while.

Of course, I chose AXO.

Things were okay at first.  I felt shafted by some of the sisters I’d considered friends for a while.  I wasn’t an exciting shiny new member to them.  No one really ooh’ed and aww’ed over me.  During big sis/little sis stuff – my big was kind of a derelict, and I didn’t really feel special at all.

There was some fun hazing-ish stuff that went on.  Harmless, silly stuff that was really cool.

here's a group of us at some western themed something-er-other when i was first in as a "pledge"

I LOVED my pledge class.  The girls that came in at the same time as me were awesome.

AXOs at a toga party - i'm the tall one on the far right

Eventually, I found my place in AXO.  When I got sick with cancer, my sisters rallied around me and they literally saved my life.  They did fundraisers to help me pay for treatment, they totally kept my morale up.  It was an awesome showing of love and support – at least to me, I felt very very loved.

sasha still loves me!!

I should mention that my best friends during this period were my sisters.  I was living off-campus with sisters, those were the people I chose to hang out with.  And my very best friends from college, who I’m still close with to this day, were all sisters of mine at some point.

The arguments for joining a sorority about the real friendship and the longevity of those friendship – that is real.  I’ll agree to that.

I became the Chaplain of my sorority.  It was an honor, and it was a job I loved doing.  During rush, my first time on the other side – I had a blast.  I worked my tail off to do my best.  I was going through chemo at the time, and I was able to get up and give this tear-jerking speech about having cancer and how my sisters were saving my life.

my football jersey from the powderpuff team i played two seasons on - rowdy rose, #17

the plaque from KA for being one of their roses, a hat with letters on it that i used to wear all the time, and the paddle my big sis made for me

It was a Pref night killer!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of a group like this?  My cancer was totally exploited for rush, but not against my will.  It was an important thing that had affected the whole chapter, so it made sense to tell the potential new members about what kind of ladies my sisters were.

To this day, I still have people comment about how they heard me talk during rush and they found it inspiring.  It was nice.

I found my way in the greek world.  My then-boyfriend was the President of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha.  I became their sweetheart, it was really fun hanging out with the KA boys all the time.   I love those rednecks!

a few of the KA boys - these guys were real good to me, always

I was Chaplain, and I was running our concession stand that we worked at the Jags games.  Being in Jacksonville, FL – we had access to work a stand at the NFL home games for the Jags.  It was REALLY hard work, but an awesome way to generate revenue for the chapter.  I did a great job as manager, a job that no one wanted to do.  I made it FUN!  I came up with fun incentives to motivate people to go.  I was great with that.

The Super Bowl came to Jax that year, and we were able to work the stand at the Super Bowl!  We were serving food to celebs!  It was awesome.  Our booth was in the Touchdown Club, an elite level of  the stadium, and we got to see so many A-listers milling about.  Super rad!

My real sister became an Alpha Chi at Stetson – a few hours away.  I surprised her by showing up to initiate her, it was awesome!  We had so much fun with the Stetson chapter.  We’d meet up with other chapters at State Day and other AXO events.

That spring – the spring of 2005 – I was letting off steam.

with the pi kapps on spring break - bahamas, spring 2005 - the best trip ever!

I was declared cancer-free in December of 2004, and so well, it was time to celebrate.  I’d spent way too much of college being sick and if I wanted to let my hair down, so be it.  (I guess I didn’t have hair, haha, but you know what I mean).

In my opinion, I was still upholding the values of AXO.  I had done so much for the school – student gov’t, mock trial, spirit club.  I’d held a huge GPA.  I’d held offices and done them well.

out at a party

When the girls put choices for a big sis, I was the first choice of WAY more girls than I could take on.  As it was, I took “twins” and I took my role as their big to heart, trying to be the best I could.   I was voted onto the exec board, and I was to run our recruitment in the Fall – I was in charge of rush.

I was partying quite a bit – but still upholding my responsibilities and then some, still working, and getting good grades.

Here’s where it gets really ugly. And sad: 

The week before finals, well, the NIGHT before finals – a Sunday night – we had a chapter meeting.  Someone called me that day and asked if I could bring the keys to the chapter’s storage unit with me.

That was weird.  Why did they need my keys?

I got to chapter and I was told that I needed to stay afterwards for a CR meeting.

CR is the Chapter Relations and Standards Board (I think).  Anyways, there was one exec sister in charge of CR, and then a board with a member from each pledge class (or maybe it went by grade level).

The CR Board ran the sorority, kinda like HR.  That’s where complaints and discipline went down.  And everything that happened there was totally confidential.

So I stayed after, and I was so nervous.  I’d never been in trouble before.  Well, during homecoming the President and myself had both gotten caught peeing outside – first of all, at a school full of rednecks, that’s not really a shock – and we were up late working on homecoming stuff (building our epic parade float) and we had to pee.   I remember that going on, and both the Pres and I were equally as guilty.  And that happened back in February.  The fateful night that changed my life was at the end of the semester.

our prize-winning homecoming float, it was hollywood with famous stars all over the hills. building that float was so fun and crazy! we were partners with pi kappa phi, and it was such an epically fun time.

(By the way, we WON homecoming that year – it was awesome.  And I was in charge of our homecoming team, I was a captain or something, and I worked my ass off.  Literally, blood, sweat, tears (and pee), all went into that amazing victory).

homecoming - feb 2005 (basketball is the homecoming game at UNF)

So there I was, asked to stay after.

And they kicked me out. 

It was really simple.  “We need your keys.”  “We’re recommending that you step down from your exec position and disassociate from the chapter.”

The worst part is, I HAD NO IDEA WHY.

I STILL DON’T KNOW WHY. 

They told me that someone had come to them in a CR meeting and told them something about me.  And this piece of information was so damning, they wanted me out.  Because everything said in a CR meeting is confidential, they couldn’t tell me what was said.

I had NO way to defend myself.

I didn’t even know what was going on.

I was so stunned I couldn’t even speak.  I just cried.  It made no sense to me then, and for years it’s haunted my heart.  My very best friends in the world had a meeting about me, behind my back, and decided that I was such a bad person they didn’t even want to associate with me.

It was the hardest thing I’d ever experienced.

That night I offered to resign from exec, but to still stay in, and they said no.  That I had to leave.

I just kept asking why, and the president looked at me all steely-eyed and said,
“YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.”

That phrase haunts me.

At one point when I was begging to stay in, they had the CR board members pipe up.  Amber, this girl from my hometown who had never really liked me – she put the final nail in my coffin.

That was it, I was out.

(this is really harder to write about than I thought it would be).

You know what you did. 

That phrase terrified me.  It’s the phrase that took my life as I knew it, away from me.  And after fighting so hard for my life – my life that I had built and made, my life that was happy and I cherished – someone else was able to take it all away from me.  A group of them were.

The news was shocking.  No one could believe it.  People kept asking me what I did, and I just kept saying, I don’t know.  I didn’t know.  I still don’t know.

What if it wasn’t true?  What if someone misunderstood something?  My name was tarnished.  I had no legit way to defend myself.

It felt like getting sent to prison in a fascist regime – where you don’t even get a trial, and there is no evidence.  They just accuse you of treason or some ambiguous political crime and you’re out.  You’re done.

I was shunned.  I couldn’t go to any events, I couldn’t see my friends.  They did it to me the night before final exams started, and I was so mad at them for that.  That’s just low and unfair, I was so upset and I had to go take all of my exams and finish up my papers.

Half my wardrobe was inaccessible to me – all of my stuff had letters on it!  I lived with sisters, who were still active, and that hurt too.  I couldn’t very well ask everyone I knew to quit too, but it was really hard.  Every one of my good friends were still greek, and once again, I was the outsider who wasn’t allowed at the parties.  The clubhouse had a No Roses Allowed sign.

It hurt. So badly.

It was the deepest emotional cut I’ve ever experienced, actually.

There were friends who stood by me, for sure.  I was really close with the Pi Kapps at that time, and they totally had my back.  But the decision was done, there was nothing that those who believed in me, could do.

It was a dreadful shock to know that people I had trusted, or at least considered to be thoughtful, kind, or decent – were a part of it.  That was so weird.  It really messed with my willingness to trust for quite some time.

The helplessness of not knowing why made it a thousand times worse.  My parents helped me approach it from a legal point of view.  We contacted Nationals.  They just told me that they were standing by the chapter’s decision and that was it.  My sister’s chapter petitioned to have the decision overturned, they didn’t care.

The Dean of Students guy who was greek advisor or something – I had worked for him for a while, back when I had cancer I had a desk job within student affairs.  He hated me too, Tom.  He supported the Alpha Chis in their choice.  The Alum advisor, Amanda, I had always thought she liked me – well, she was in on it too.

All of these people knew about it before I did.  They knew why, and NO ONE talked.

The level of serecy they were able to uphold is amazing.  To this day, I still have no clue.  There were some nasty rumors about me going around.  I’d lost a lot of weight (being off of steroids and all the cancer meds can do that), and there were some kind of rumors about me doing copious amounts of cocaine.  The rumor seemed so ridic, I didn’t think that could really be what they used to boot me out over.  But who knows.

I think that there were jealousy issues.  I know that some people had missued the cancer funds – taking money out of that account and paying for other things with it, promising to pay it back after rush with collected dues.  There were certainly some dark and sketchy things going on.

But I never dreamed these girls who I had come to know and love would do this.  It was so weird and surreal to see someone I thought was my dear friend, tell me to beat it.  Can you imagine?  I was thinking, who are these people?

I didn’t do anything kick-out worthy.   I KNOW THAT.  I know what I did and where I was.

But what sucks super hard – other people don’t know that.  People saw me so differently.  I had volunteered, and worked so hard in good will to build the community that is UNF.  Today, that student community thrives off the hard work my peers and I put into it.  We built the entire spirit movement from the ground, up.

A year ago, at the end of March 2011 I went to a church event out here in Hawaii, and the theme was forgiveness (my post on that event is here).  That was the first time I honestly forgave the girls who did this to me.  It’s still hurts so much to talk about, the way they were so awful to me – it still makes me sad.  But I don’t carry any hate in my heart at this point.  I’ve tried my best to forgive them, between me and God, I have.

I don’t know if any of them feel remorse.  No one ever apologized to me.  No one ever shined any light on it for me.  I would love for someone to come forward at this point and tell me, it would bring me great peace of mind to just know what the heck they think I did.

So, now, today – years and years later – I still have all these loaded feelings when it comes to greek life.  I’m not sure if I could genuinely tell someone to go for it and get involved.  I’m still friends with sisters I had back then.  But I’m embarrassed when I think about what happened, and I would never want anyone to be hurt the way I was.  I just don’t know if I could ever recommend or trust an institute that allowed me to be treated the way I was.  The control and power dynamics are intense.  It’s really hard to combat the system – impossible, actually.

But if all goes well, it can be a great experience.

Watching this show, Greek, has brought up so many memories.  When they do fun greek life things, like socials and mixers, door piles, singing songs, showing ritual kinda stuff – I remember the good ole days, and I reflect fondly on my experiences.

It’s just that those happy memories only go so far… and ultimately, I end up back at sad.

It hurt my self worth a lot.  I was asking a lot of questions – am I not friend worthy?  Am I a bad person?  What did I do wrong?

It shook me to my core, and it took a while to re-build my own self understanding.

I felt used.  I felt like they used me for rush, to attract girls in with my cancer story.  I heard rumors that after they kicked me out, they still talked about me in the rush room as if I had left or quit and they still talked about how great and wonderful they were to me.  I was livid that they had cheapened and reduced what I had been through.

But even still, I find myself defending the greek system in some ways.

My husband was never greek, and he doesn’t really seem to be an advocate.  He thinks of it as elitist, snobby, rude.  And sometimes when he’ll base an idea on a generalization, I’ll defend the greek ways.

Watching the show had me go grab and dust off this book I remembered hating back when I was in a sorority.  “Pledged, the Secret Life of Sororities” is a book by investigative reporter Alexandra Robbins.  I was still active when this book came out and I read it – even though it boiled my blood.

read at your own risk - stolen pic from amazon

At the time I considered Robbins to be bitter, jealous, mean, and just looking for reasons to mock and pick apart the greek system.

I figured now, given my current point of view, I may have a new appreciation for her book.  So I cracked it open and started to read a little bit and a funny thing happened –

I still can’t stand her approach!

She still sounds bitter and hateful to me.  It’s had me reflecting a lot, honestly. Do I sound bitter like that?  I sure hope not.  I’m very bitter about my own experience, and how that was handled (I think I’m still bitter, even though I try not to be) – but I don’t ever want to sound how Robbins does.  She just sounds like someone who wanted to be in the cool club and since she wasn’t, she lashed out like woah.

There were a handful of reality shows about sororities that came out around the turn of this century, and they were really damning to the greek PR machine that tries to keep the image looking good and nice.  But the shows served a purpose in piquing American curiosity, and thus people wanted to know what did really go on in there.

I’ll say that my experience in a National Pan-hellenic women’s fraternity was very different than what went down in the local chapters who allowed themselves to go on reality TV.  The imaged and exaggerated stuff seemed more the fodder for juicy TV than the way to define the average collegiate greek experience.  That’s just my POV, though.

So there ya have it. 

It’s funny how a simple, cheesy, wacky TV show can dredge up so many feelings.  It’s funny that while we’ve been watching it on Netflix, I find my mind wandering all over the place – thinking about the fun times I had.  Thinking about how much it all meant to me at that time in my life.

What do you think?  

Do you know why I was kicked out?

Has a show ever done that to you? 

I often wonder what other experineces would be similar to what I went through?  

Has anyone else ever been shunned?  

My entire social structure was taken away from me, against my will.  I imagine when someone comes out and they’re rejected from their social group – it could feel similar. Maybe.  If you’ve come out – what do you think? Am I making little or light of your experience?

Well, sorry today got heavy and sad.  But for those of you who like me and my blog, this was really revealing.  Another big one that was hard to talk about and now I feel lighter for having done it.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

PS – and I hope I properly expressed this in the main article, but just in case, there were some great people and loyal friends who literally got me through that whole experience.  Afterwards, there were still greeks I could love, and trust.  And most of my college friends that I keep in touch with today were greek at the same time I was.

I will never forget how good that core group of friends was to me during that time.  My roomies and BFFS, the pi kapp guys who were like brothers to me (the blood kind, not the greek kind).  I love so many people from those days, still.  There were some who were good to me and never wavered in their loyalty.

 

SO – I’ve gotten a little bit of feedback, and the story that seems most consistent is about a rumor.  A rumor that I was doing cocaine off of a toilet seat, at a fraternity formal.  And that a group of my “sisters” had witnessed this. 

I’m not really sure how anyone could have witnessed this… as I’ve NEVER in my life done cocaine off a toilet seat.  (Who does that??  Was the hooker’s ass already taken?).  

It’s so infuriating, honestly.  They never even asked me about it.  No chance to ever defend myself.  On one hand, the absurdity of the rumor makes me feel vindicated – but on the other, it just makes me getting kicked out and going through so much pain feel even more futile than it already does.  

They really did boot me out over nothing.  Shame on them.  

are you okay?

I went on a run (okay, a jog with some walking) with the pooch this afternoon.

When I started, I was going down the mountain my house is on, and I saw this car parked in the grass, off the side of the road.  It was a very weird place for a car, and it kinda stuck out as odd to me.

But I just ran on by.

the view on my run (right in our neck of the woods)

I use a stopwatch when I run. So on my way back up to my house, I knew for a fact it had been 38 minutes.  And that same car was still there.  The driver, a lady, was on the phone.  She was doing that thing you do when you’re having an intense convo and you press your hand/finger over the ear the phone isn’t up to, to better enhance the hearing in the phone-ear.

She was frowning.

It all felt odd.

I ran past her.

I kept going – but, mentally, l took pause: what if something was actually wrong? What if she needed some kind of help?

So turned around and ran down over to her window. And I asked her: “are you okay?

She immediately smiled.  Her frown immediately turned into a smile.  “I’m fine, I’m just on a break from work.  Thank you for asking though, how thoughtful!”

from the top of the hill/mountain - looking down. taken a week or so ago.

Seriously, don’t all go nominating me for the Nobel Peace Prize or anything. But I did have one of those sappy, altruistic moments where I genuinely asked myself what kind  of world would we live in if every time we saw someone frowning, or saw someone who seemed out of place, lost, or in a weird situation and we just took two seconds to ask:

Are you okay? 

I know, I know… some folks don’t want to be bothered.  And it could get annoying.

But for those times something IS wrong, or for those times you really were in distress: how amazing would it be to have someone just ask if everything was alright?

….


operation christmas child part 2: seven new awesomely crafted care packs

I asked and y’all answered!

OCC Part 2 – Seven More Boxes Made With Love, Thanks To You!

My Church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, participated in this year’s Operation Christmas Child project, a drive to send shoes boxes stuffed with toys, gifts, candy and what-not to underprivileged kids world-wide.  The church’s goal was 3,000 boxes.  Matthew and I made two on our own.  When we turned them in, our church was well under it’s goal.  I solicited an offer – if anyone funded the cost of a box, I would do all the legwork to create, shop and fill a box.

I wrote this blog about OCC a couple weeks ago.

Seven more boxes were funded, packed with love and turned in – thanks to y’all!  My friends and family came together to help us with this amazing project. And ultimately… our church reached it’s goal!  3,002 total boxes are being sent to kids in need.

AMEN!

How awesome is that?!?!?

Thank you: Miss Alice (my wonderful mother-in-law), Viper and Anna (my Dad and step-mom), Claire and the Williams Family, Kayla and the Hayes Family, Staci and the Ostrowski Family, and my lovely friend Ariana!  With all of your love and funding we were able to make SEVEN boxes to go out and send some love to seven more children.  How amazing is that?

I’m so appreciative.  I love this project and just believe in it so much!

So, because I’m too lazy to sort through all these pics… here’s a big mishmash of the assembly and turn in process, including what the inside of each box looks like.  Check ’em out:

Just to mention, every box got a hand-written note from me… I finished them so late on Saturday night though, I was too tired to snap any pics.  I used some nice stationary I had, and I just kept the letters simple and sweet.  For those of you who OK’ed it, I included your name, photos and address!   I basically just said that God loves them (the kids) and that we’re thinking of them.  And for each of you, I gave a couple generic/simple sentences about what you like to do… “We like going to the beach” or “I live in New York!”  etc.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE!

my bff dommie sent ME a care pack, yay!!

I know I’m slacking at blogging again.  Oopsies!  But srsly, last week was a doozy.  It was awful.  I was just sad, and missing home, and having just all sorts of stressors… not to mention that I wasn’t feeling so hot to begin with (I got sick over the weekend) and then Duggs and I got food poisoning or some kind of stomach virus.  Whatevs, we were vomming and it was a nightmare.

Okay, so last week was just totes awful.

And then, my little lovah-from-Louisiana, Dommie, sent me a care pack- Hooray!  It was so very very fun to be on the receiving end of such a treat!  And it just really cheered me up, I really needed it.

Thank you, Dommie!! I LURVE YOU! 

she demanded that we skype her while opening the box!

So, turns out that Duggs was not only in on it, but that he was all too prepared for the glitter bomb that she tried to put in the packing tape.  If we had not so carefully opened it, it would have been a glitaster (a glitter disaster)… but you can’t bomb the original glitter bomber herself, it just doesn’t work like that!  So Duggs craftily opened the box over the trash and kept our floors nice n clean.  Good work, Duggs!

crisis averted

okay, thats alotta glitter my friends. lots and lots!

The box was decorated for me, how fun! It said “I love yer face,” one word on each panel, it’s a common Dose expression (Dose is Dommie + Rose, we’re a beast when our powers combine).   And then on top of exquisite decor, there were oodles of prizes and treats in there.  For me and my fbff (furry bff), JJ!

decoration! yay!

what's bigger: my nose or my iphone?!?! sheesh.

aww cute!

i did eat them, and they were amazing!

There was so much candy in there, I’ve been on a sugar buzz all week.  Awesome!

the most awful book anyone has ever sent me. AWFUL.

so fun! what are these called, silly bands? silly bracelets? whatevers, i like 'em!

She really hooked up the pooch, which is so great.  He deserves to get hooked  up, he’s a good sweet boy.

a toy for my pooch

a photo of jj from yesterday, destroying his new toy. he looooved it!

treats for the good boy

very cute

the cutest magnets ever, and i love fun magnets so this is extra fun for me

a picture she drew for me, posted on my fridge ... with the magnets she gave me, next to an older picture that she colored for me!!

a really cute craft involving GLITTER and my FBFFs jayjer and rascal! so crazy cute and fun!

There were so many more fun things and treats in here, but I didn’t get pics of each and every thing.  She sent me an awesome pink Supah Coop sweatshirt, for her cousin, Cooper, who got a spinal cord injury playing football.  I’m proud to where that, so rad!

the box with all my goodies in it! you can see my new pink hoodie, love it!

So there ya have it!  I still have doggy cookies to bake, and a BEDAZZLER to play with.

Did I mention that?!  She gave me a BEDAZZLER!  I’m so excited!  I’m going to bejewel everything I own, pretty much.

Getting to actually hang out with my dommie in person would be best, but for now… having a care pack from her is pretty sweet!  I love you and I miss you!

i’m the princess of the plagues

Yes, I am still alive.   It’s been a doozy of a couple weeks (has it been a couple weeks?) … but yes, I am cheerfully alive!

I’m the Princess of the Plagues!

i'm such a princess, even on my death bed!

I was just on the phone with my mother-in-law, Miss Alice, and she asked how I was doing.  “I’m Egypt, and there are plagues coming down on me left and right!” Was the cleverest and most accurate response I could muster.  I didn’t even know where to start in explaining the mess of recent times here in my paradise.  Between the house, my health and just overwhelming craziness… I’m still here, your happy hippie rose!

My frist plague has been power outages.

Caused both by storms and by man.  We’ve been having the most terribly fantastic thunderstorms out here and for me, as a Floridian, to say that, you know it means junk has been crazy out here!   The power’s also been cut off by what is being called “the inconveniences of construction.”   The local construction operation keeps pulling the plug on my neighborhood and our housing manager keeps telling us “Oh Well! It’s in your contract!”

I know that power is a luxury.  I know that millions of people don’t even have power at all, so for me to whine when it goes out is elitist and American and Princess-y of me.  I apologize for being whiny and I do maintain that I’m super appreciative of all that I have.  But on a real life level: I work from home, I base my grocery budget off being able to buy and safely store a small amount of raw ingredients and then cook them. When I can’t open my fridge or freezer, use my stove or oven… what am I supposed to eat?  Canned tuna is the theoretical answer. McDonald’s drive-thru is the reality.   It’s been killing my food budget, and it’s just been stressful.  No internet, not being able to work on my business, limited connection with home, and well – it just gets boring!

Con: my tie dye business has kinda come screaming to a halt because I can’t wash and dry my items.

Pro: I’m really enjoying walking, reading, working out at home, and I’ve totally kicked my morning-coffee habit (no coffee maker).

So yeah, I’m whiny but I like my power when I’m home.  My hubs works hard to pay for it, and he wants to know I’m all well taken care of while he’s away.  And it gets boring!  There are how many Real Housewives seasons on right now?  I can’t be missing out on all that!

Amidst the Power Outages – My A/C Broke, thus flooding my house.  Somethingerother clogged, the water got all backed up in my AC unit, and it burst out, causing a small flood in my laundry room.    This all happened on the eve of the “Memorial Day Weekend 96” – meaning that when my house started flooding on a Friday night, I was told someone would be out first thing Tuesday morning.   Lovely!  So i put down towels, and did my best.

it's hard to see... but there was water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

On Monday I got a bit edgy and tried to use my washer/dryer.  The problem is that my washer/dryer were right in the flood.  So yeah, as soon as I turned them on a SMALL electrical fire of sorts started.  White smoke filled the laundry room and I could smell and electrical fire.   It was really, genuinely frightening.  Weird noises were happening and everything was pretty stressful.  I had to grab the dog and get out of there.  And the 911 operator wants to keep you on the phone, but all you want to do is put them down and start grabbing your stuff with both hands.  Anyways. The firefighters came swiftly and everything was okay.

fireman in mah house

police and fire and everybody all in my front yard

I AM SO VERY BLESSED, I’m fine! 

Many people are not so lucky when it comes to house fires of all sorts.  A gal I know wasn’t so lucky: Brandi fire story and fund  I went to college with Brandi, and she just recently really did live through a home fire.  She’s okay, thank God.  But all of her belongings have been lost.  There are some funds set up to help her mentioned in the note I linked.  (does that link work? hopefully it does).

After my small fire, repairmen came out and fixed everything over the next couple days, and things got better.   So I do have a working AC unit and washer/dryer… I just have to deal with the construction-related power outs that are going on for the rest of June (I think).  Last week we had scheduled outages from 8:00am – 2:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  That’s crazy, right?  It’s supposed to get better and eventually stopped.  Here’s hoping!

Then the next plague: THE plague!!  

I’m so ill.  I have some serious cold, virus, nasty sickness going on.  It started out with a fever and a sore throat and it’s just taken over my body. I’m writing this on a Sunday, and I know I’ve been out of the loop for days now.  I went to bed Wednesday night and haven’t really gotten out since.

I’m sleeping about 20 hours a day.  It’s amazing how if you give yourself time to sleep and lots of fluids how your body can really fight off a cold on it’s own.  I mean, I’ve been useless for days – but I’ve steadily gotten better everyday withOUT any antibiotics!  I’m so proud of myself.  I hardly have a voice, and I’m pretty weak… but like I said, one day at a time.

Finally… during these storms we’ve been having, the last plague to attack me has been the bugs!!!   The rain that’s come with all these crazy thunderstorms has been driving all kinds of bugs inside.  And with the bugs come my favorite: the maggots.  Ugh.  Vom.  Nasty.  Of course this happens when I’m all sick and weak.

There are definitely elements of paradise that are more than I’ve bargained for!

So there you have it.  I’m my own little ancient Egypt, and the craziness has been raining down on me, floods, bugs, sickness and all. But ya can’t keep a good gal down, I’m the princess of these plagues.  I’m all frumped up on my deathbed, watching reality TV and eating snacks.  I’ll be fine.   I’m getting better everyday, and in LESS THAN A WEEK my husband will be home!

So even though I joke and make light, I’m doing quite well and life is good.  Soon enough, y’all can read my homecoming post!!  Amazing, right? I’m so excited and I just have my sights set on that.  Ohh eee, I’m pumped!

Thanks for reading, that’s all for now.  Wish me well, will ya!

deuces from my deathbed couch of sickness. see ya!

Speaking of homecomings… Addendum – I did emerge from bed yesterday for a couple hours to go see Carly’s homecoming.  BIG Congrats go out to Carly and her hubs, welcome home!   Also my heart and prayers go out to her as on the same day as her husband returned from deployment, she also lost her Grandmother.   I can’t imagine experiencing such highs and lows all on the same day.   Lots of love and prayers to Carly during this tumultuous time.

welcome home smooch for carly!

girl’s night out – women of hope april 2011 event

Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay’s women’s ministry is the Women of Hope.  Almost every month there’s a different event for us and April’s was “Girl’s Night Out.”  Held on Thursday, April 28th 2011 – Girl’s Night Out was a really relaxed and fun night of fellowship, meeting new women, and getting some tools for us to go out and be the best, strongest, most graceful women we can be.  So rad!

And I got to use the Britney Spear’s handless mic, so you know it was an awesome event.  (Yeah, they let me have a microphone, please read on for the full explanation!)

As always when I write a blog – this is just my own reflection/rambling based on my point of view – nothing official, okay?

Girl’s Night Out


The whole mentality behind the Girl’s Night Out event was for us to have a more casual way to fellowship, but yet not a free-for-all.  Tami, the Women’s Pastor, approached me a while ago.  She really buttered me up and told me the women at retreat had so much fun making tie dye and that it was such a hit.  So just when I was all placated by the flattery, she asked if I would be interested in teaching the women how to make friendship bracelets at an upcoming event.  How could I say no?  (I would have said yes without all the flattery, but that part was nice so I let her go on.  haha!)

Not only was the bracelet-making going to be a fun activity and something new for a lot of the women (and something fondly nostalgic from childhood for many of us), but it would be a craft that reiterates a really cool verse from Ecclesiastes that spoke to Tami.   I love when things all connect, and this whole bracelet thing was one of them.  Not only did the craft tie into the Word, but now all of us who attended would have matching bracelets.  So rad, right?

My Prep

all the strings

At the planning meeting for the event it was decided that all of the women would have the same colored string.  Like true “friendship bracelets,”  we’d all have matching ones!  So cute.  So Tami and I played around with the colors, and found this coral pink, a soft blue, and white that all looked very pretty together.

I took home a giant sack o’ string and set to work prepping it all so the night of there’d be no measuring, cutting, and all that stuff.  While I was sitting at home making all of the little bracelet starters, I was thinking about the shells we got at women’s retreat.  Tami told us that she had prayed over all of the shells before we all got one.  So while I was touching all the string, prepping it, I just thought about all of the Women of Hope.  I thought happy thoughts for everyone, and I prayed for each person who might end up with a particular string.    It just felt nice and positive, and I felt so honored and humbled to get to do such a thing.  I’m so new to Hope Chapel, being welcomed in the way I have been is just awesome.

one table's worth of string

The Event!

We had a great turnout.  It’s so awesome to see so many women make the time to come up to church on a weekday evening and spend some time with their sisters.   All twenty tables had people at them – so that means there were almost 180 women present! Good job!

the view from standing right outside of the sanctuary. the mountains, the big cross lit up. i just thought this was a pretty scene. this was taken right before the event started.

The event was in the Clamshell (the sanctuary), which had been set up into tables of nine.  There were some pretty paper lanterns hanging.  And the vibe was just really casual.  We were coming together to worship and learn, yes – but to just chat and get to know each other as well.  The design of the seating was so that we’d meet new people.   Even though that whole concept was a little harder to pull off in practice than it was in theory – I think everything ended up working out just fine.

all set up and ready to go

(Not to dwell on the plan that didn’t work perfectly – but to explain it I’ll say… The plan was for everyone, as they entered, to draw from a basket a table assignment.  That way, people who came together would sit at different tables and meet new people.  It was a great idea – but ended up being a bit tough to pull off seamlessly in real life.   It’s of no matter though: the intention of the idea did work out, a lot of the tables had mixes of women who don’t necessarily hang out all the time or know each other).

All of the tables had a “hostess,” who led everyone in the ice breaker game and just sort of facilitated the evening.  A big thank you to the 20-ish women who stepped up at hostess tables.  What an awesome thing to do to help ensure a great time was had by all.  Thank you hostesses!  (I don’t have a copy of the list or else you betcha I’d thank everyone).  Patti was my hostess and she was such a pleasure to be seated with, she’s so sweet and fun!

Oh, the snacks were awesome!  Veggies, humus, pita chips, and more.  The food is always such a highlight for me, I totally have a problem.

the awesome table of snacks

dessert table

Two Truths and A Lie

As an ice breaker, we all played this cute and easy game at the table.  Everyone had to give three statements about themselves – two of which are true, and one is a lie.  Everyone else tries to guess which is which.   You end up learning fun little things about each other, and the chosen “facts,” usually lead to a story or two and a lot of laughs.  Our table was totally giggling the whole time we played, and I could other tables busting out into laughter at various times as well.

The whole point of an ice breaker is to get people warmed up, talking to each other, and to help us get to know each other.  So hopefully for all of the tables the mission was accomplished.  And it was accomplished in an easy-going, fun way!

here's carly lying away about pink being her favorite color!

I’m trying to remember what my three things were… I know one of my truths was about swimming the English Channel, and my lie was about doing a semester of study abroad in Singapore.  Shoots, I can’t remember my other truth.  I’m sure whatever it was it was rad, because well… I’m rad. (hehehe).

Rikki Talks About the Strength of Lady Friends

Next up was the beautiful and sweet Rikki Wurlitzer praying with us, and saying some words about what Ecclesiastes 4:12 means to her. The verse this whole bracelet thing is based on, is as follows:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT).

Rikki talked about how when we’re together, like a triple-braided cord, we’re stronger.  She told us that the enemy tries to isolate us, make us think that we need to be alone, and that is such a lie!   It’s good to need each other, and to want to be together as sisters in Christ.

because of the lighting, it's so hard for me to get decent quality pics - but here ya go, here's one of Rikki on the mic

She gave the example about that girl, we all know one (or maybe we are one), who says the ole I don’t like women!  This is another lie.  Rikki spoke out that we do need our sisters.  And she gave the illustration of life being like a game of red rover.  When hard times gets hurls at you, if you’re standing there with your arms tightly linked around your best girlfriends – you’ll be able to resist breaking down and getting beat up by life’s challenges. Afterwards you’ll still be standing tall and intact.

First of all, I totally related to the “I don’t like women” statement, and I just loved the red rover analogy.  I used to be one of those women.  I used to have all guy friends, and I used to think that being friends with girls just wasn’t for me.  I went through a couple different stages of this kind of thinking. Once was in high school when I was a total surfer chick, and all my pals who I surfed with were boys; it seemed like the girls didn’t really like me back then.  I said, in a way to protect myself, that I didn’t need those girls.  Later in college I was in a sorority, and after being hurt by some of the women who were supposedly my “sisters,” I was very defensive about gal pals, and again donned the “I don’t need girls” attitude.

But it sure isn’t true these days.  I LOVE my lady-friends, and I have no idea where I’d be without them.  I’m blessed to have a whole army of awesome women I know I can count on.  I do have some guy friends, but they’re really tiny in percentage compared to the amount of women in my inner circle. I’ve come to love and embrace all that is being a woman, and I’ve come to love and embrace having women all around me.  I relate to women, I get advice from them, they help me as I help them.  During deployment, I feel like my gal pals and I really pull each other through.  I heart girl’s nights. And finally… I cannot imagine the look on my husband’s face if I told him I was going to hang out with my dude friends. Haha!  That would be a riot.

Looking back, I see that when I was in anti-girl mode, I was doing it out of defensiveness.  I was saying it because I was scared that they wouldn’t like me back.   Now I see how great having female friends really is.  And every time one of my girlfriends tells me that they don’t like women I need to point out that I happen to be a woman!

Back to what Rikki said, the red rover analogy was just so cool.  As she was talking I got this awesome mental image of me linking arms with all of my best gal pals and just daring bad things to try and mess with us.  Seriously, we’re pretty hard to take down and we know it!

Rikki shared some really wise and sweet words with us.  I love that she was shooting from the heart, talking to us all with such love.  I totally see a Pastor-in-the-making, as she was well-spoken, comfortable on stage, and so right on with her words.  Well done Rikki, you had such an awesome contribution to the evening and to all of us who were blessed to hear the thoughts that God put on your heart.

My Turn- Bracelet Making Time

Because it’s my blog and all I do is talk about myself, I’ll keep this short and sweet.  I basically just stood up there, showed everyone how to make the bracelets using three cords and a really simple knot.  Then I wandered around to the tables and helped out anyone who asked me for a bit of help.  I used the term “y’all” a lot, and I was probably louder and more nasally in real life than I am in my head.    I did have one sweet thought that I shared with everyone:

Seeing as we were all making these bracelets together and they’d all be matching, I thought that maybe it would be cool to remember this evening whenever we looked at the bracelet.  I told the ladies:  Maybe if you wear it on your wrist every time you see it you’ll think about church, your sisters of hope who sat with you on this night, maybe you’ll think about praying, and seeing the bracelet will remind you to do so.  Whatever the connection is that you have with it, I hope it’s happy and positive.

here i am, barking away instructions

adjusting the hands-free mic, lol. of course i had to mess with it and fidget. my mom is sighing just reading this, lol.

I had a really fun time helping out, and honestly I was honored and humbled to do so.  It’s just so flattering that everyone has such a fun time with these little crafts that I do enjoy so much.

We didn’t really go out of our way to advertise “friendship bracelet making” when the event was being promoted, for fear that no one would come.  For a lot of people, the thought of making bracelets is probably a turn off and sounds boring, not fun, or whatever.  But all in all, I think it was a hit.  Or at least it was tolerable.  Some women really surprised themselves and had way more fun than they thought they would.  In the days since, I’ve had a couple gals tell me they can’t stop making bracelets on their own and they’re having so much fun with it.

And the gift that keeps on giving?  The Dom Rep mission team is going to take the leftover string with them on their trip and use bracelet making as a way to bond with girls they meet in the DR.  How cool is that?  I love that this is being paid forward!

Kacie told me that she made 9 knots in each color, for every woman at her table.  Then, after repeating that a bunch of times to make the whole bracelet she finished it off with 33 white knots: one for every year that Jesus lived.  How cool is that?  I love that Kacie took the concept, and made it her own and made it special and as a remembrance of this evening, her sisters, and Jesus.  So perfectly done!

kacie's bracelet, groups 9 with 33 white knots at the end. so awesome!

here's what my bracelet looked like

Worship

The Women’s worship team moved us all with three songs: Blessed Be The Name, Came To My Rescue, and How Great is Our God.  Kacie, one of the women’s worship leaders told me after the event that she was almost in tears as she was leading us through “Came To My Rescue.”  All three songs were beautiful.  And as 180ish women stood and sang together, I was honored to be part of such a pretty tribute to our God.

the women's worship band

every lady in the house was on her feet and singing to God!

Since three songs were played, Kacie pointed out to me that the worship team was giving us all a musical triple cord braid, how cool is that?  Another connection.  I love it!

Tami’s Sermon

The meat and potatoes had yet to be served.  Tami, our Pastor, gave a sermon after the games and crafts were done.

The main idea of the whole evening was about equipping ourselves, strengthening ourselves for whatever may come our way.  And while having our sisters with us is one way of equipping ourselves, prayer is another.  Prayer is something that any of us can do, in any situation.  Tami’s message was about different places to find prayers (for when we don’t have the words on our own), and different ways in which prayer equips her to be the strongest, fiercest warrior-princess she can be, as a means to inspire and motivate us all.

Tami told us that no matter what happens to her, prayer is her first reaction.  As we’re told in First Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing,” Tami prays all the time, and for any and everything.  As an aside: this is so true!  I’ve tried to watch a movie with Pastor Tami, and she spends the whole time praying for the characters.  It’s so cute, her heart is pure gold.

tami speaking from the heart

In Hebrews 4:12 we’re told that “the word of God is alive and powerful.”  Tami told us that something she really loves about our God is that He’s a living God.  His word is alive just as He is.  Meaning that, what He’s told us rings true now and always and we have the privilege of calling on our God and interacting with Him whenever we need Him.  This is amazing.  He’s alive and accessible and open to us.    And our way of accessing Him is PRAYER.

Tami opened up to all of us about some of her more personal struggles.  She’s talked about social situations that were like salt in a wound for her, but all she could do was sit and smile and trust in her God.  (I don’t want to disclose all of Tami’s personal business on my blog – but she opened up about her own fertility issues, a struggle that can pang so deep into the heart of women that long for babies but aren’t able to have them).  I was sitting at the table crying, knowing the feeling now myself, of congratulating another pregnant Momma and wishing so badly that it was me.

But it’s in these sad and hard times that we have the option to pray.  We can ask our God for solace, for comfort.  We can ask our God for whatever it is that we need in the moment we need it.  That’s what is amazing about loving and interacting with the real and living God:  He’s always just a prayer away.

For some people, prayer is a challenge because choosing the right words is hard to do.  The Bible has a verse for just about every situation you could ever find yourself in, or at least there’s a verse that can apply to just about every feeling you could have.  So in those times of needing to pray, but not knowing what to say: use God’s Word!  You can pray the Word!

It’s one of those things that seems so simple and so obvious for some people.  But for someone like me (I grew up in the Catholic church), praying the Word back to God is new to me.  It’s unfamiliar territory.   Hearing Tami speak about how our God wants us to learn His Words, understand the Word, and say them back to Him – it was like turning on a light bulb.  Of course I can do that, I should do that, I need to do that!

Tami printed up these really cool cards for all us and they’re full of the Word.   There are a couple dozen bullet points with different Words to inspire us, to remind us of how much He loves us (His daughters!), to show us where in the Bible we can go for different needs (healing for example).  The last bulletpoint simply reads, “Pray His Word.”

the cards Tami made for us

In John 10:10, we know that Jesus came so that we may have life and life and live it abundantly.  It’s the part of John 10:10 that people always focus on.  But the first part of that verse is telling us that there’s a thief – the enemy.  And the enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy (NASB).  So to battle this thief, and to enjoy life abundant – we must equip ourselves as best we can.  Prayer is essential in this way (Ephesians 6:18).  Tami, at this point, literally pulled out a cardboard sword and brandished it for a minute.  Giving us the visual of fighting.   Her point is that in real life we don’t carry around swords of metal – but we can brandish the word, or use a prayer to fight back the thieves we encounter, the enemies that attack us.

a blurry washed out photo of tami waving a sword

Finally, the point of us all being connected by the triple-cord braid is that just like we can use prayer for ourselves, we can use it for each other!  When one of our sisters falls down, we can pick her back up with prayer!  (I totally got the Sister Act song in my head “if my sister’s in trouble so am I” – remember that from the movie Sister Act? It totally came to mind then and now, lol).

So, at our tables we all had these little cards.  And since we were seated in groups of nine, we were asked to get into groups of three, and make a commitment to be prayer warriors for each other.  To be there for one another spiritually.  This is bold and important commitment, and one that I was so honored to make.  What a cool idea, that not only are we connected by having fun times, fellowship, worshipping together – but we’re not becoming three-cord bracelets of prayers!

Tami ended the evening with some closing words and then by praying for us all.

I have to say:

I hope that the women had a great time.  I know that there were aspects of the evening that were very new to some of us.  I’m not used to speaking in front of a big group like that.   I don’t think many of the women were used to sitting at tables with new people, working on a craft like bracelet making. But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing, and I appreciate the effort everyone made.  And hopefully we can all learn that when we’re with sisters-in-Christ, we’re always in our comfort zone.

tsunami, march 11, 2011. our own little adventure.

The earthquake and tsunami that started in Japan on March 11, 2011 brought an incredible amount of destruction, death, sadness, and fear.  I ask that anyone reading this blog just take a moment to respect the gravity of these events.  For some of you, I know that means you’ll pray.  For others, maybe just take a nice moment of silence or just send some positive vibes to japan.  If any of y’all reading this would take that moment, it would mean so much to me.

My Wacky Tsunami Adventure – March 11th!

My flight landed around 10:00pm Hawaii time.  I’d just been on a ten day vacay from Hawaii to Florida to Minnesota back to Florida, to Washington state and now back to Hawaii.  WHEW.   By the time my plane touched down I’d been traveling for 22 hours.  So as I’m sure you can guess, I was super thrilled to hear the tsunami alarms going off.   All I wanted to do was sleep, but stepping off the plane and into such chaos gave me a second wind, big time.

Carly came to the airport to pick me up, but since we couldn’t call or text each other, it was a bit of a mess.   You see, during an emergency all of the cell towers get clogged up making calling or texting impossible.   Luckily, Carly and I both have smart phones and we literally used FB statuses to communicate.

“I just landed, Carly if you can see this I’m in Hawaii, but still on the plane.”

“Rose’s plane is 40 minutes late and the sirens are going off, yikes!  Does anyone know her flight number?”

I’m just paraphrasing from memory… but you get the idea.   So we kept commenting on each other’s FB and eventually we linked up. Facebook would actually become the primary way everyone kept in contact throughout the whole night.  (I feel so validated that FB finally has a serious, legit purpose.  Now the millions of hours I’ve logged in FB world seem justifiable, right?)

So anyways.  My plane lands way late, and I’m all confused about what’s going on.  Tsunami? What does that even mean?  I’ve been out of the house for two weeks (reatreat + my vacay).  I have no food, no flashlights.  I’m probably low on toilet paper.  I’ll need water.  And what do I even do to prepare my house?  I don’t have a plan.  Uh oh.

Carly was in a real pickle too.  She’d been in the cell phone lot waiting for my plane to land, and as she’s just waiting and waiting (because my flight was so late) the sirens keep going of and the doom seems more impending.   I’m so glad that Carly is a trooper and she waited patiently to hear from me.

So now that we’re linked up, and together – its almost eleven at night, we have no supplies, we haven’t prepared for this thing at all, and its expected to hit at three in the morning.  We have four hours to square away our lives.  EEEEKS!!

Carly and I drove back to our base and braved the only store that was open.  Of course it was packed.  It was so packed that it actually took us 20 minutes to even get our vehicle into the parking lot, the line of cars was that long.   Once inside, everyone was going nuts.  Buying water, dry goods, supplies, booze, etc.  We personally stocked up on water, snacks and pooch food.

After stocking up at the store we decided to check out what was happening and make a plan.   Carly’s house is in a low-lying neighborhood and we assumed she’d have to evacuate.   My house is on a hill, and a sign denotes that my neighborhood is a tsunami safe zone.   The assumed plan was for Carly and her pets to come hunker down at my house.   We found some MP’s doing evacuation noticies and our assumptions were confirmed.  Carly’s house = not safe.  My house = shelter.

We saw on FB that our friend Megan was also being evacuated, so we swung by her house and told her to come hunker down with us as well. Why not make it a party, right?  Megan has a dog, a cat, and a husband.  Carly has two doggies.  I have my pooch.  So all in all, it would be a full, fun, animal-friendly house.

I kept updating my FB status letting my friends know they could come seek safety with us, and that their pets were more than welcomed.  (I can’t even imagine evacuating and not being able to bring JJ with me.  I literally get sick just thinking about it).

 

The Scary Part

So I finally get home, GREET MY EXCITED POOCH WHO I HAVEN’T SEEN IN TEN WHOLE DAYS, and turn on the TV. The footage from Japan is plastering across the screen and they’re making predictions about wave heights and arrival times for us.  This thing, this giant 100-foot-deep wave is confirmed and headed our way.  I’ve lived through many a hurricane and tornado.  I’ve rode out storms.  But something about the massive wall of water coming towards you creates a unique sense of impending doom.

So we just tried to say aware? I guess?  We kept the news on, and all of us had our laptops out.  Since we couldn’t use our phones, we were all using social media to update everyone about our situation.  I was posting that anyone who needed a place to stay could come to my house.  I was letting family know I was back in Hawaii and okay.  It was just a weird, chaotic time.  And thank God for FB!  Seriously, I can’t say it enough.

carly's doggies, kitty and kano

my jayjers!

sweet, chill, awesome kano

megan, violet, and kano.

me and my boy

What should we do?  So many questions.

The drama I personally have with a tsunami is that I don’t really know what to do.  Do I pack a backpack of my photos and keep my sneaks by the door so if I need to literally run for it I can?  Do we practice scampering to the roof?  If this thing really comes, and the water really rises, what do we do? How do I maximize the hour or so I now have before it hits?  Do I grab up all of my first floor valuables and schlep them upstairs?

To say that I felt unprepared was an understatement.  I know what to do in a hurricane.  I know how to hide in a bathtub under a mattress if a tornado is coming my way.   But what the eff is one to do in a tsunami?

 

So we sat around for a couple hours.

At first I went nuts trying to make the house all welcoming and nice.  I was so unprepared for guests!  Luckily, I had done a good amount of cleaning and tidying before I left on my trip – so the house was presentable.  But I was all flustered about making everyone comfy, so I spent a couple hours scurrying around making sure there was plenty of toilet papers to go around, and that everyone knew where to find clean towels. etc.  Finally Carly talked some sense into me and I simmered.

We ate some snacks.  And I was so exhausted I just kind sat on the couch and nodded in and out of sleep.  Dear sweet Carly made me dinner. We ate corn dogs.  Literally, I got to choose a possible last meal… and I went with corn dogs.  I’m not even sure what that says about me, but I think it might mean something awesome.

i love corndogs

this ridiculous and embarrassing display is my apocalypse stash of dry good. this is how i planned to survive for days in a worst case scenario. i'm such a twelve year old.

We took all of our important documents, and got them together and put them in ziplocks.  I had my marriage certificate, birth certificate, nursing license, etc., all that jazz safe and on me.   I think that was one of the smartest things we did.

We also gathered all of the candles and lighters and flashlights so they’d be in one spot and easy to access if we lost power.   I filled the bathtub up so we’d have a freshwater supply.   That one may have been overkill.  But then again, if there wasn’t any running water and we were stuck in the house for a while, I bet everyone would have been pretty durn thankful for that tub!

baby when the lights go out... we'll be ready.

We knew the estimated time the wave should hit our island was around 3:20-something in the morning.  So we just sorta stayed awake and watching the news and played it by ear.   We didn’t really have a plan on what we’d do if the house started to fill with water, I still don’t know what to do.

Finally it was like four in the morning and we assumed the worst of what could happen, happened.  So we went to bed.  Carlita and I took our doggies upstairs and we all got snuggly.   As the morning grew out, cell service started to kinda come back to us.  Then it was a nonstop buzzing of  texts and calls as family and friends checked in on us.   So we really didn’t sleep too much at all, but at least our loved ones who had been worried about us were able to check in.   Its nice to be loved, its nice to know that people were worried about our safety and well-being.

Looking back, I have NO idea how we didn’t get hit worse.  I have no idea how that water went around us and hit California.  I don’t understand it, and I probably don’t want to.  But for whatever reason Hawaii was (mostly) spared, I thank God.

doggies in bed

kano wishes he could get up in the bed too. aww sadface kano.

look how jeals jj is of kitty. jj LOVES carly, that's his girlfriend. and there's kitty, hogging carly all to herself!

soooooo cute, sleeping jayjer.

good morning my pooch!

The Reality Now – JAPAN

What’s happening in Japan now is just tearing out my heart. All of the dead and dying.  The displaced people.  Those who can’t get in touch with their loved ones.  The reactors and the brave brave people trying to work on them.  The radiation and the terror its causing.  People who have lost everything they owned.  I could just go on and on… the situation is far too immense to even try to understand, let alone describe in a blog.

The other day I wrote a small prayer for Japan:

Dear God: please heal, protect, comfort and be with the people of Japan. Cool off the reactors, protect the people from radiation, unite loved ones who are still separated from each other. Bring the hungry food, the thirsty clean water, let the devastated have arms to cry in. Please God, I PRAY FOR JAPAN.

Prayers, good vibes, money, volunteers, donations, water, clothing, flights out of there… help is needed in so many different forms right now.   I’m not even sure how to wrap this up, how to properly end this blog with tact and the proper amount of reverence for the situation – so I’ll just say that my heart goes out to Japan and all of the people affected by this disaster, and they are all in my prayers.