christmas 2011 rundown

I’m trying to figure out how to post about Christmas:

  • do I talk about being homesick (because I was, I missed my family and the East Coast so very much)? That could be a whole post right there, if I let it be.
  •  Do I talk about how much fun Duggs and I had carving out our own Christmas memories, in our first-ever just the two of us Christmas?
  • I’d like to thank everyone for the beautiful and perfect gifts I received.  Some very lovely and well-wanted things were sent my way.
  • I also want to talk about how CRAZY it was, turning our house, here on base, into a Christmastime factory that even Santa’s elves would respect.

So here’s my rundown: Stats, the Good, the Bad, and even the Ugly. 

Stats:

  • 10 boxes and big puffy envelopes were sent to family across the country
  • 62 (and counting) Christmas cards were mailed out
  • 40+ cards were handmade and hand delivered!
  • Six service projectes were participated in
  • One all-nighter was required to pull it off
  • ZERO parcels arrived late! hahaha, take that Post Office on base who said it’d never happen! 
  • Probably a dozen boxes were shipped to us
  • And the Christmas cards are still coming in (oh, I love cards!!)

The Good

Matthew and I really did have a nice time together this year.  It was so fun waking up Christmas morning and going down to see presents under the tree, gifts from our families back on the mainland, as well as presents that we were able to exchange with each other.

The gifts I recieved were just AMAZING.  The things people gift you say a lot about you, and this year’s message was loud and clear: we love you, you silly hippie!

Duggs  got me a Tamagotchi, like an original from 1996.  That’s a whole story in itself.  He bought me a beautiful necklace.  I was gifted a scarf that I love from Aunt Heather and Uncle Joe, my Mother-in-law knows me SO WELL, and sent an amazing package of pretty things for me (like a set of floral gilden notebooks, love!) as well as more food from Omaha Steaks than anyone could eat in a month.   I won’t sit here and brag and brag and brag (even though I want to)… but I was very blessed this year.  Gift cards, hand made cards, a new handbag, new make up and new make up brushes, scratch-off lotto tickets. cute Christmas ornaments – so many things that I love are filling my living room.

It’s a weird time of year, ya know.  I try so hard to not be materialistic, but that’s not honest.  I do love things.  I love pretty, cute, fun, lovely things.  And to have been gifted so many, especially in a year that’s been economically hard – well, I do feel so happy.  And spoiled!

So, thank you.  I am grateful.  I’ll stop reveling in my presents now.

I had an even better time with the giving!  I know I’ve already blogged about a lot of the giving projects Duggs and I got into.  I’m so proud of us for making a big focus of this season, giving to others.  That’s def a good thing about this Christmas.

So, to speak on giving:  I did gift Duggs a humidor for his cigars, some handmade coupons (the kind where I’ll watch a movie he picks out without whining, or he can play video games all day guilt-free, those kinds, hahah).  I bought a couple Jets shirts and a keychain/beer opener.   I got him some video games (which is another funny story I’ll have to blog about later on).

did i mention duggs got booze, too? he did. plenty!

Church was a blast!  We went on Christmas Eve and it was such a joyous, happy celebration.  I really did enjoy myself.  Duggs and I sang Christmas carols with everyone in the Sanctuary, and it was just happy and fun.  The energy was amazing, I LOVED being there.

Christmas evening we went over to the Tanner’s house and we had an amazing prime rib dinner with them.  It was great.  They are such wonderful friends, so spending the holiday with them, out here, was really awesome.

Overall, there is SO MUCH GOOD that came along with this Christmas, that’s for sure.

Props: Please check out Chaos To Art – the store that Duggs bought some BEAUTIFUL up-cycled sachets and change purses from.  I’m so in love!!

chaos to art = amazing, love all of these repurposed gifts!

 

The Bad: 

I was homesick.  I missed my family.  Sure I made lasagna on Christmas Eve, as did everyone else in my family – but we all ate it separately, so far away from each other.   I’m really hoping that we’re all together next year.

And I missed Matthew’s family too.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen them, and Matthew has hardly spent any time with them at all these past five and half years.  I know they miss him so much too.  So again, next year I’m just hoping for more family time.

 

The Ugly

Oh boy.   I was bad this Christmas.  Real bad.  I try to live in an eco-friendly way, I’m a “green” person.  (this is the happy HIPPIE rose blog, ya know).  This Christmas was so un-green, I’m mortified to be honest.

We sent packages.  We got packages.  I won’t even admit the amount of packing materials, tape, and paper that’s coming in and out of this house.  Not to mention the cross-Pacific and cross-Continental shipping of everything.

I’m getting sick just thinking of it.

I indulged.  I know I did, and it wasn’t very nice to good ole Mother Earth.

So to my planent, and my fellow greenies: I heartily apologize.  I plan to do better in the future.  More gift cards, more digital gifts, less shipping.  And hopefully, I’ll live close enough the in-person gift exchanges will be possible.

But man, did we waste a lot.

I didn’t even make my own (recycled) gift wrap this year, like I usually do.  Just, eeks.

(Saving grace: I was gifted a reusable bag (love those), Duggs bought be some local tea, and I was gifted cruelty-free make up! So at least I have those few eco-friendly aspects on my side.)

Another thing going in the “ugly” list, I didn’t really do anything for Hanukkah this year. I didn’t make any latkes or even so much as light the candles with my dad/step-mom over the phone.  That’s something I do every year, and this year it all just got lost in the shuffle.  So I’m sad about that for sure.  Next year, it will be a better effort next year – for sure.

So there you have it: the good, the bad, and the ugly – and all of it coming together to make one memorable holiday season.

 

And now…. the photos!  In no particular order, enjoy:

Most of all, I hope everyone of my reader had a very Happy Holiday.  Wishing you all a wonder New Year!  

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

christmas crafting!! care packs, con’t; cards and more cards (and a CUTE lil’ surprise)

Here’s the final rundown of the rest of our Christmas Crafting.  Enjoy!

More Christmas Care Packs!

So, I posted a pre-Christmas look at one of the boxes we sent out.  Now, that all of the gifts have been shipped and opened, and the big day is over: here dear readers, are the rest of the beautiful boxes we sent out to our families.

The McKay Box – sent to Long Island!

ta-daa! the mckay box

The other McKay box, sent to Tennessee!!

my christmas vertical poem, a real treasure (haha)

it got all bleached out by the lighting - but i sketched and colored in the ko'olau mountains for the hawaii and then drew some granite and pine tree kinda mountains for tennessee!

And the last care pack to show off, the Gioia box – that went to a whole ton of fam down in Florida:

Now… here’s the surprise I mentioned in the title.  So after we’d decorated all these boxes, to my great happy surprise, I open up one of the boxes sent to us from family, and what do I find?  A decorated box!! From my cousin (my differently aged twin), Nicole!

She is SO SWEET and ADORABLE:

I started opening it and saw the decor and i just squeeed with excitement!

she did such an awesome job!!

Nicole drew tie dye and a drawing of JJ.  Oh man, what an awesome gift.  Turns out that when she saw the box I sent to her and her fam (the Florida box), she opened it and said, “Hey! Rose stole my idea!”  hahaha.

She didn’t even KNOW I had decorated her box. How cool is that?!?! She and I are such twins, it’s almost freaky.  We always do stuff like that.

Cards!

We had SO MUCH FUN making the care packs, that we decided to crank up our hand-made card production.  I know I mentioned in an earlier post that we were making cards to bring/send to a VA hospital.  Well, that ended up not working out (not our fault, just logistics with the hospital) – so we decided to find another great place that some handmade cards could deliver smiles:  the local assisted living facility, Aloha Rehab Center.

On our way to Church on Christmas Eve, we dropped off the cards.  Hopefully, they spread some smiles.  We made Christmas, Hanukkah, and Happy Holiday Cards.

Our Cards:

these are the fronts, they look so great, yeah?

the backs - duggs did 100% of these,. by hand. amazing, yeah????

just a diff pic of some of them!

Sorry the photos are kinda crummy, I was rushing.   We crafted right up until the last minute!

Duggs started out just being the guy who cut out everything (my cut man).  But once the volume started ramping up, he started helping out so much more!  Thank you so much, honey, it was so fun to work on these with you – and for such a nice purpose.  I think we ended up making 30+ cards.  I never got a final count, as we were working down to the last minute.   (We want to make more cards for Aloha Rehab, and our next goal is 100 cards!).

Thirty may not sound like much.  But all of those little trees are hand painted, samesies with the snow flakes.  Yeah, they took longer than expected, but I’m so proud of the final products.

After all the Christmas crafting we did, I can easily say that making snowflakes is my most favorite to do! I think I got pretty durn good at it by the last one I made.

Finally, our card for this year: 

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

As always, thanks for reading!!  xoxo, hhr

Okay, okay.  One more surprise… here’s the card Duggs made for me!!

it's a christmas tree, made out of glitter paper. i found it on top of all my presents!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah – CARE PACK SNEAK PEEK!

So.

I promised myself I wouldn’t leak a single festive photo of our holiday handicrafts until they were good and distributed, and all inteded parties had opened everything.

But.  Since I’m impossibly unable to wait for anything: I’m showing y’all one box now!

Altogether, we sent out FOUR decorated boxes, and I *think* that despite the nasty grimm forewarnings of my local poste employees, they all made it on time, as per normal non-holiday timing would have predicted (yeah, they scare you and say because it’s the holidays everything will go slower.  Well, knock on wood, things are going as they should so far!).

My Dad, Stepmom and Grandma received this multi-holidayed gem:

it's my half and half box! so rad, yes?

Half Christmas, Half Hanukkah (just like the best of us)..

this is my favorite part, see what I did there? with the color swap? ya see that? clever.

I’m realizing now that I don’t have photos of all the gifts, but it’s okay.  After everyone has opened all of our gifts, I’m following up my It’s Good To Give Part 1 post with a Part 2 that dishes some of the highlights of gifts we sent.  I make gift-giving this super intense process, and yeah anyways… like I said, after Christmas.

But for now, I hope y’all like getting to peek at one of the cutest boxes ever made.

Oh, the best part – my fam had no clue we were decorating, so what a surprise to open it up and find a colorful treasure for the eyes like this!  (YEAH. I really like the boxes I decorate.  And I’m proud of them.  So WHAT?!?).

I say “we” becauseOle Stinky Duggs was quite amazing this past weekend.  He was sick, didn’t feel so hot, and yet he gave up his Friday, Saturday, Sunday-all-nighter-till-10-a.m.-Monday to help execute these boxes.

He was my cut man (cutting out the little doodads I color, draw, and write) and he’s also the world’s best gift wrapper. Seriously!   Thank you, for all your help Duggs.  We make a good team any time, but at Christmastime, man we’re some kind super duper duo. Yeah!

Thanks for taking a peek at my combo-holiday care pack!

And to ALL my readers, friends, family and loved ones:

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY HANUKKAH 

HAPPY YULE

JOYOUS KWANZAA 

and just… Happy Holidays!!!!

as always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

what a day

December 19, 2011 : What a Day. 

  • I get offered a job, one that I really wanted; a writing job. I accepted and I start tomorrow. I’m elated!  I was so nervous all weekend, so I’m also relieved  as well. whew.
  • Duggs got some really great news today, having to do with some ongoing work stuff.  I’m happy for him.  He works so hard, always.
  • We are done with all of our Christmas gifts that had to be mailed out – some nine or ten packages and parcels altogether, so many!!  It’s a HUGE relief that we got it all done and with so much pizazz. We really went the extra mile, It literally took at least 80 man hours to get done what we did. I’m totally going to get “glitter lung,” or some other ailment from excessive crafting.   And I can’t post pics yet – I don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprise!

okay, here's ONE sneak peek - that's it!

  • In order to get it all done, we had to stay up all night.  Now my brain is a pile of mush and I can hardly keep my eyes open.  I have to go to sleep in a minute.
  • One year ago today, we lost our baby-to-be; we just realized it was the 19th, and even though it’s been a whole year – I’m still sad.  I still miss being pregnant and wish that I had a baby bouncing on my knee right now.

duggs was deployed, so to help him understand what i was going through, i took a lot of photos - here's me on dec 19, 2010, quite sad and upset, and not feeling well.

Whew, what a day.  Mostly, I’m super thankful and stoked.  And for the Cletus thing (Cletus-the-fetus) I’m reflective, sad (yes, and I think it’s okay to be sad) and I’m trusting God with the big picture.  We’re playing the long game.

So I’m remembering today, how I was to and see fit.

But as for tomorrow and the new year ahead of us: it’s full speed ahead!!  I’m so excited for 2012.  Duggs and I have decided that it’s going to be our year, we’re just gonna do big, great, things next year, all increasing our happiness, bettering ourselves, and doing that whole shooting-for-the-stars thing.

Yeah, wow.

What a day !

 

as always, thank you for reading my blog here! xoxo, hhr

 

cute and EASY christmas crafts, cards and decor ideas!!

It’s so fun to really get into the holiday spirit by jazzing up your home, work on some holiday-themed crafts, and wish your loved ones a happy holiday via card (or strangers, for a random act of kindness).  Here now are a few easy and fun ways to do so:

Cute and EASY Christmas Crafts, Cards and Decor Ideas!! 

1. Christmas Blocks

My friend Ashley came up with this idea, and her husband Jed made and cut all of the blocks for us, thank you so much you two!!  Once Jed handed over the blocks, Ashley and I went to town painting them.  Now she’s in the process of making something more sculptural, involving clay snowmen (very ambitious!) and I just went for painting them.  I cannot believe how cute they turned out:

how cute are these?!

Jed brought us the plain wooden blocks, and I painted all of the sides a solid color background using dark green, light green and white acrylic craft paint.   You don’t have to make the blocks yourself, either… check hardware and craft stores for pre-cut blank blocks (the Tanners hand-made ours to get the perfect size!).

plain block getting painted with some greens

For the non-lettered sides, I stuck with easy-to-paint very recognizable “holiday” shapes.  I did bells, and wreaths, Christmas trees, snowflakes, Angels, stars, ornaments, candy canes, hearts (because I love hearts)… now come to think of it, I didn’t paint any Crosses, oh man, I so should have done some crosses! Doh.

so pretty!

I freehanded everything, but it would be easy to make stencils (or buy stencils) and go with that.  You can print stencils from just googling around for them!  I chose things that are super easy to do though, snowmen (circles), ornament (circle), candy cane (hook with stripes), the angel was easy too – it’s just a circle for the head, with a ring around the circle as the halo, and then a triangle body with wings coming out of the top.  Easy-peasy!

designs, yay!

the blocks on our mantel, aka: top of the tv stand! (we have no real mantel here. boo!)

2. Let It Snow – Paper Snowflakes

I did this one last year, and I saved the snowflakes and re-did it this year too!  I live in Hawaii where we are without snow, and thus to make a sparkly flaky Christmas, I had to take matters into my own hands.

I literally just made paper snowflakes and then taped them to the ceiling in our front hall.  This year I upped the anty by wrapping the framed crappy art in the hallway with snowflake wrapping paper.  Ooooh, fancy!

I think this is one kids would have so much fun with.  Also, you can do the classic snow-flakes-taped-to-a-window thing.

snowing, yay! (this is last year)

love the masking tape, classy!

3. The easiest Christmas Card you’ll ever hand make

I featured one of these cards on a post a couple days ago:

simple, but cute!

It’s a flat card, like a postcard.  Just write your holiday message on the back.

I made a whole mess of trees, and Duggs (my wonderfully supportive and awesome husband) cut out the cards from a big posterboard that I had.  We chose to use white because it’s what we had on hand, you could use any color though!

some of my painted "trees"

As you can see, the “trees” are just triangle with a litany of squiggles, stripes, polka dots and what-not.

trees and cards

now put the trees on the cards, any ole way you like!

Glue them down, I use those photo stickers from scrapbooking.  Just affix the trees to the cards, and then bust out some markers to decorate.  And then! You’re done.

Now all you need is someone to give your card to.  I suggest bringing them to a soup kitchen when they serve Christmas dinner, or maybe to an assisted living facility.  Or maybe your brother-in-law.  It’s up to you!

These would also be great for other holidays or occasions.  Cut out yellow stars of David onto blue paper = super cute Hanukkah card!

4. What to do with last year’s cards!

I kept all of my cards from last year.  It’s an easy up-cycle and a way to fill up a wall or hall, or wherever you need some Christmas cheer!

wall o' cards!!

This is a wall in our kitchen.  Usually there’s a big tie dye sheet that hangs up there, but now it’s become a giant card collage.  I love it!

when trimming the tree, i had this leftover weird beaded garland thingy. nice, huh?

Now, all said and done… It can be a little difficult to warm up the coldness of a base housing home, everything is so industrial!  But I’ve tried my best this year, and I think I’ve done okay for myself.

One last photo, of the ole gift-wrapped photos on the walls:

cozy christmas couch!

Good luck with your own holiday decor attempts … if anyone has any other idea ideas, post them, or link me to them!  I’m still in the mood to keep going and going.  (Besides, this stuff all stays up ’till after New Year’s anyways!).

Happy Crafting, everyone!

And as always… thanks for reading.  xoxo, hhr

 

P.S.  BONUS!!!

Ashley made this really great Christmas sign.  So there’s one more idea for you.  I give her all credit, it was her project entirely.  She took a big piece of wood, and just painted it.  She wrote “Merry Christmas” on it, then adorned it with some painted snowflakes.  She finished it with a snowy border of white paint!

especially since she's wearing my "smock," i think she and i look alike - but here's ashley, painting her great christmas sign!

I don’t have a photo of the finished product, but you get the idea!  It’s super easy and will look great in your home, or maybe out by your front door.

Okay, now I’m really done.  Love you all, thanks for reading!!

not just for inmates and foreign kids: it’s good to give, part one!

It’s Good To Give. Part 1

So I know I’ve already posted about a couple of the venues for holiday giving that we’ve participated in this year (we, as in Duggs and myself) – holiday gift bags for local lady inmates, and making some amazing shoebox care packs for Operation Christmas Child.

But our holiday giving this year isn’t just for inmates or kids in faraway lands!  We’re getting into other forms of giving, some that impact our communities.

Here what’s we’re doing… and how you can do so in your very own land:

Holiday Cards

Who doesn’t love a sweet cheerful card?  I know it can seem weird to send out an anonymous card, but for someone in a tough spot, a random act of kindness can mean such a big deal.  Really!

I think it may already be too late… but just in case it’s not, you can send a card to a Wounded Warrior at Walter Reed Hospital:

Holiday Mail For Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Now, the rep I spoke with on Friday said that it was basically the last day to have cards/mail post marked that could get to an injured service member in time for Christmas… but hey, it didn’t sound like a hard deadline.  And what’s the worst that could happen?  It gets there a couple days late?  I say go for it, but I am a bit of a rule-bender.

I’ve been making these cute Christmas tree cards at home:

easy and cute, just write the message on the back

I’m checking in with the VA hospital out here today just to make sure, but I plan on bringing in the cards to them.  You can also make some easy “happy holidays” cards with paper snowflakes and blue markers, or Hanukkah cards with Stars of David and some gold glitter for gelt.  Easy-peasy, yeah? I’m planning a seasonal craft blog later this week, and then I’ll give the step by step how-to.

I really wanted to send cards to anonymous wives/spouses/caretakers of Wounded Warriors this year.  But .. I got on the idea too late.  I haven’t been able to find a program that has anything like that in place, now.  The good people at Operation Homefront have emailed with me about possibly gearing something up for next year.  How awesome would that be?!?!

Make some cards.  Buy some.  It doesn’t matter.  And take a few minutes to write a friendly message and then bring them to people who could use a smile: your local hospital, your local old folks home, the local businesses you support and enjoy; maybe it’s not a stranger, but someone you know who could use a smile? Cards are so easy and so nice. Bonus points for using recycled materials.

Toys for Tots

The United States Marine Corps Reserves run the annual drive to collect toys and stuffed animals every year.  This year, my friend Becky (who is one of the most generous people I know!!) sent me some toys to donate at a local Toys For Tots drop-off out here.

(also: Hallmark channel is airing some sort of Parade tonight that goes to benefit Toys for Tots, so tune into that too!  That sounds fun.)

But like I said, my friend Becky sent me a box of toys to give out.  So Duggs and I decided to chip in our own toys, and bring them all together to the drop off.  The one at our bank is due by this afternoon, so either before or after our big doctor’s appt run for the day, we’ll be going by there.

toys, that will go to tots! thank you becky!!

It’s easy to find your own local drop off, and really… toys don’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to drop off half a dozen Leap Pads to make a difference (and if you did, could you please give me the location and time of your drop-off?  haha, I kid.. I kid…).  A little goes a long way, think of how great it feels to just make one child smile.  Aww.  That warms your heart, admit it.

Hawaii Food Bank

The good people at Hawaii Food Bank make sure that hungry families are fed.  This is so amazing and important.  We will be giving food to their drive for this year.  I love picking out some of my personal faves to share with others.  Like those Annie’s Organic Pasta Stars.  I always donate those!

I actually love to donate high quality food.  Just because one is having a tough time financially doesn’t mean one wants to be unhealthy.

But that’s nit-picky.

In all earnestness, I suggest finding your local food bank and making an edible donation today!

Can you tell that I like to give things, rather than money?  I do like to work with charities where I can make or buy items to give.  I can be picky about charities to donate to, and so giving a tangible item is nice.  It feels controlled.

But some forms of giving just go the farthest when you make a monetary gift.

Doggies!

I plan to give some cash money to our local Humane Society, the Hawaiian Humane Society (note, NOT the national one, that’s a different beast altogether, ya feel me?).  I can’t even click on the Humane Society’s webpage without getting all misty-eyed.

Another great one is Hawaii Dog Foundation, where our very own JJ came from.

Is there a local shelter or rescue in your area that needs soem support?  (I mean, what animal rescue doesn’t need financial aid, overpopulation and crappy owners have made un-homed pets a crisis in our country).

And So On…

I’m thinking that’s about it for this year.   But ya never know!  I’m such a tenderhearted sucker, I end up always trying to give, give, give to everyone.

If you’re stumped on a gift for someone, you can always give a donation to a cause of their liking in that someone’s name.  Or you can choose a cause of my liking, and then I can barrage you with thank you emails!

It really is better to give than to receive.

I do so want everyone to enjoy whatever presents they hopefully get this year, but please, don’t scrimp on the giving either.  I know it’s hard times, I know it is.  But when times are tough, we just have to dig deeper.

You can do it!

So… Where are you giving to this year?  What are your charitable holiday plans? 

Tell me all about them, and maybe others reading will want to join in with you too.

As always, thanks for reading everyone!  Happy Giving!

xoxo, hhr

christmas in the pokey

I’m talking about bringing the holidays into the big house. Jesus’ birthday in jail. Holly Lock up! Jingle bells behind bars. And so on…

Incarcerated Christmas

the wccc in kailua

But seriously, all joking and cheap attention-grabbing aside, it’s been a good week with great acts of giving to chat about.

The Women’s group at my beloved church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe, aptly called the Women of Hope, recently participated in an interesting Christmas-related drive.  We collected hygiene items, basic toiletries, some chocolate and other simple, nice, feminine gifts to help supplement the holiday presents female inmates will receive this year at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua.

I know that might sound weird to some.  In fact, a couple people have expressed to me how odd they find this idea.  But Prison Ministry is no new concept, and well, people in jail are still people.

A rant on my personal beliefs:

As an American, I believe in our corrections system.  I believe that jail can and should rehabilitate people so that after serving sentences they can return to society.  How is that to happen if incarcerated people are treated like lepers?  Aren’t given any love? What’s the motivation to get out and assimilate into law-abiding culture if the average American won’t touch you with a ten foot pole.

I believe that love goes a long way in the rehabilitation process.  And that it’s a necessary ingredient in creating well-adjusted citizens, in general.  We all need love.

Now, I know that folks are locked up for a reason.  They’re not all lily white and innocent.  I get that, c’mon, I’m far from dumb.  But people are people.  And people need love.

And pssst Christians, we’re called to love everyone!  Even those behind bars.

/soapbox.

Onto the gift giving:

I am so humbled and honored by the friends who came by my house and dropped off items to give, the people who literally wired money to me and sent me carepacks of toiletries.  I’ve literally been bowled over by the generosity I’ve witnessed this holiday season.   Even in the toughest of times, people are still finding a way to reach down and give out.  It’s so beautiful and amazing.  And I’m just honored to be a part of this.

There are roughly 300 women in the Kailua WCCC at any given time; currently there are about 260 lady inmates.  Every single one of them, even those in lock down units, will receive a gift bag this year for the holidays.  The donated hygiene items will be essential for many of these women.  And for too many, it will be the only gift they receive all year.

I am so spoiled with love.  I literally cannot imagine spending a whole year in a place as dark, scary and lonely as prison and then only being loved on once.   It breaks my heart and it makes me wonder about the crime cycle and the derivatives of criminal activity.  The optimist prime in me knows that love and kindness can break that cycle, and prevent people from going down that road in the first place.   I mean, I obviously have no study to cite on this one, but I just imagine how broken and angry, how lash-y out-y I’d be if I was relegated to a cell and ignored.

My friends gave me all kinds of goodies, shampoos and nice lotions.

salon samples of super high end products, nice!

kenny helped buy all of these bottles, thank you kenny! i think maggie's are in here too. you two ROCK!

We collected all the items at the Women’s event held on Monday, An Evening In December.  It was an awesome night of praise, worship, fellowship and a fired up message from guest speaker/local celebrity Dawn O’Brien, from FM 99.5 “The Fish.”

On Wednesday, Pastor Tami, the women’s pastor at HCKB, drove all of the goodies up to the WCCC where my friend Chiffon and I met her.  The two Pastors from the Correction Facility’s Chapel, along with a couple inmates came out to the car to get everything from us.

tami's car was stuffed!

We all held hands and prayed together in the parking lot.  Seeing the excitement and glee come over the faces of the ladies receiving these gifts was priceless.  That was my Christmas present right there.   They called me “sister,” and they asked God to Bless me.  I have no idea who they are, or what anything in their past could be…. but when they thanked me, and prayed with me and called me sister, I had never been more affirmed of the importance this type of giving, ever.

the entrance of the facility

chiffon and me, by all of the stuff!!

chiffon, one of the women's pastors, me, pastor tami from church, and pastor tami from the wccc

I’m also feeling really called to go work in the system, hopefully with women or at the youth facility.  Getting to meet the Pastors who work inside the jail and talk to them, and hear their excitement at new volunteers was really motivating too!

To everyone who bought items, gave money, brought things in: THANK YOU SO MUCH!  It was truly a successful drive, and the holidays of so many women will be blessed.  They also will use some of the items to gift to women when they get out, as they go to a halfway house or what have you, so these blessing will keep on going and keep on giving, all year long!

And for reading my little blog, as always, thank you!!

xoxo, hhr