New Wrist Candy

Being at retreat earlier this month totally got me into a bracelet making mode and now I just can’t stop!  At women’s retreat I brought a big bag of embroidery floss with me and a bunch of us had fun tying new bracelets, yay!

Now, every night before bed I find myself working a little on one, it’s so relaxing.  And with all the crazy weather we’ve been having, I keep telling myself it’ll be a fun hobby to have on deck for when the power goes out again.

our backyard getting crazy in the high winds

the first hail i've seen in hawaii - it woke me up at five in the morning last week, pelting the house with a ton of fury!

Speaking of retreat, I am so aware that I’ve been a slacker in writing some more post-retreat blog posts.  I’m working on it – life these days is busy!  We’ve had terrible weather, work has been busy, I haven’t been feeling great, and we’re moving soon – lots and lots of excuses, I know, but legit all the same.

So back to bracelet talk – 

A few weeks ago I finally took off my usual friendship bracelets and went bare.  It had been a good long while since I’d made any new ones and the ones I’ve been rocking were old and well on their way to yucky.

Within like ten days, I’ve totally made myself a whole new arm of stringed fun!  Check it out:

my recent wrist

Isn’t that thick oranges and yellows number on the end awesome?  It took forevs but I’m so glad I went for it.  It’s 12 strings across, and since it’s the kind that goes string by string tying the knots, it was time-consuming!  I love it though, it’s super rad (despite that obvious one mess up in the middle, grr).

a fun, albeit time consuming, new bracelet to make!

The new threads look so great with my other newest piece of arm candy, the L.O.V.E. metal bracelet everyone at retreat was gifted:

this makes me so happy!

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Retreat IceBreakers – Copy, Borrow, Steal!

This past weekend was the annual Women of Hope retreat.  140 women gathered on the beautiful North Shore at  Camp Mokule’ia.  I was invited to be on the ministry team for the event, and it was my pleasure to help out.

photo courtesy of robyn pratt - to give y'all an idea of the cafeteria we were in all weekend, this is where we played all of the ice breaker games.

One of my roles was to come up with and lead some icebreaker activities.  A lot of the women were new to retreat and new to the community.  Hope Chapel has multiple services and campuses, so even women who’ve been attending for years may not have had the pleasure to cross paths.

The theme of the ice breakers was to connect the women.  Our goal was to foster friendships, highlight commonalities, encourage teamwork.  Basically, it was all about bonding and creating a stronger sisterhood.

Annmarie, my dear Irish pal, was my co-leader and we had a blast all weekend!  We’re both pretty funny (if I do say so myself) and we were able to inject a lot of banter and jokes into our on-the-mic time.

here's a pic of annmarie - with her hubby vic. i snagged this off of her fb!

So, since I helped create all of these games, with lots of borrowed common ideas and a little bit of my own creativity – I’ll be the first to encourage any readers to go ahead and re-use them.  Borrow these ice breakers for your next retreat, workshop, classroom, whatever.  And if you do, let me know how it goes!

Stand Up / Sit Down

I’ve played variations of this game tons of time, in all kinds of group settings.  Since the idea was to connect women, we came up with this idea in a planning meeting for the event.  We drafted a list of categories to call out, some serious and some fun.

How to Play the game:  Basically, Annmarie and I read a list.  We told the gals, if what we read applies to you – stand up.  While standing, look around and see who else is standing with you.

For the first night it was a good way for the women to get a feel for who they’ll have things in common with – who’s going to be up nice and early, who will stay up late.  For the newest members, finding out commonalities is a great way to start a conversation.  It’s also a gentle way to start things out, no one had to do anything crazy or super outgoing.

The list had administrative items like “first time at a retreat,”  “if you’ve been to five or more retreats,”  we listed out all the church services HCKB offers, we asked about what campus they attend, if they’re visting from another church.  Morning people and then night owls were asked to stand – this was all so people could find a familiar face, so newbies wouldn’t feel alone.

We had a lot of silly items, “love sushi,” if you “like rock’n’roll” please stand up!  Dog lovers, cat lovers, parents, married, single, and so on.   Oh, and we called out for “motorcycle owners” knowing durn well it would apply to a specific person, and it was so funny!

Pros: it was easy, fun, our jokes made it funny, and people seemed to have fun when something they liked or included them was called.

Cons: it was simple, possibly kinda boring, and it doesn’t really work if it goes on and on forever.

I didn’t hear any negative feedback on it, in fact people said it was fun.  I know it sounds like it would be really boring, but when you actually do it – people get pumped.

Things in common game! 

I’ll preface this game by saying that when everyone checked in to camp, they were given a yarn tied around their wrists.  Groups who came in together were told to get different colors.  We had pre-cut a pile of them, seven different colors.  Then, during the event when we needed to break up into groups – using yarn color was the easiest way to go.  By breaking up people who traveled together, ladies were forced to make new friends and get out of their social comfort zones.

How to play the game:  Teams were given five minutes (or was it ten?) to brainstorm a list of things they had in common, every single one of them!  Team with the most commonalities, wins.  A prize will be given (we used a paper bag full of candy and treats).  The catch is that if other teams also listed the same thing, they’d cancel each other out.

After time was called, we went one team at a time and they read their lists, if others heard something called out that they had written down, they’d cross it off.

It went really well.  They ladies had to get creative, clever and learn about each other very quickly.  The ONLY way to succeed was to find things out about each other.   The pressure of the timer helps everyone to bond by coming together.

I created this game based off some similar ones I’d seen online.  I really loved it.  The winning team had 37 items!  Examples ranged from “we all love chocolate,” to listing anatomical consistencies, “we all have boobs,” “we all have hair” being some (it’s easier for a same-gendered team to play if you go that route!).  Some answers were really sweet.

Pros: Players get to know each other, it was fun, the sillier the answers – the more everyone laughed.  It got the teams working together, competing.  It was everything an ice breaker should be.

Cons: I think it could get a bit boring during the reading.  Since there’s only one list, a lot of people just had to listen and hang out during the reading phase.  It could be hard to figure out things you have in common, especially if they were more meaningful things/less superficial.

Mad Libs-styled Skits

skit performance - this one took place in narnia!

We ran this game in three parts – so it helped to fill a lot of time, and the opportunity for teamwork was immense.

How the game is played: 

every team did a great job!

Part One: Every team takes out a sheet of paper.  Annmarie and I give them six categories, they must come up with something for each one.

Our’s were:  a location (anywhere – real or fictional), a date (day, month, year – past, present or future), a food, a celebrity, a Bible verse, and an Olympic sport.

The teams filled in the lists and then we collected them.  And of course, we redistributed them so each team had a list they didn’t create.  The instructions were that each team must create a performance using ALL six elements on their list, each one must be incorporated somehow.  We told them they could write a song, put on a skit, anything really!

amanda on the guitar as her team sang an original, and hilarious, song!

 

i loved watching all of the performances

Part Two: We just gave them all 20 minutes to practice.  Practice during free time was encouraged, but just to make sure everyone did a great job, we opted for practice time instead of doing a different ice breaker.

Part Three: Performance time!

This was so fun.  Our lead pastor, Tami, was in tears watching the show.  She was so impressed at the great job every team did.

Groups were judged on creativity, humour, thoughtfulness, fact accuracy, props, energy and using everything on their lists.  Prizes were given to first place and two runner ups!  Picking the winners was about impossible, each team did an amazing job!

Pros: LOTS of bonding time.  We saw so much teamwork and creativity.  Groups spent a lot of time together.  Women who usually stay behind-the-scenes totally got up on stage and gave it their all. New friends were made, people had fun, it was fun for the audience to watch.  Since our retreat was faith-based, having a Bible verse in there was a good way for them to incorporate the Word into the project.

I just heard rave reviews about the skits, everyone seemed to have enjoyed it very much.  By creating the mad libs style lists, the skits were wacky and funny!  Since they had no idea they’d be doing skits ahead of time, they didn’t really have props, so it was fun to see everyone come up with stuff on the fly.  We had a lot of musicians at camp, with instruments, so the music abounded!

Cons: I used Curling as an example of an Olympic sport, and I’m pretty sure five out of seven teams used it, so that was kind of a bummer.  I’d caution anyone using this activity to limit the number of examples you give.   It was a time-consuming activity, a lot of the groups needed much more than the 20 minute allotment to put it all together.

The idea for this game just came to me Friday night during the teaching.  I quickly scribbled the rough idea down, then Annmarie and I hashed out the details.  I’m really quite sure the inspiration was Devine – it just popped into my head out of no where.  So praise God for the spurt of creativity!

So, if you were at retreat – what did you think about the ice breakers?  Annmarie and I really tried to give everyone activities that would encourage friendship, sisterhood, and bonding.  Mostly, we wanted everyone to just have fun.

If you’re going to use any of our game, please let me know how it goes and what modifications you make to suit the needs of your groups!

as always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

I Am Second

This weekend was a blur.  My hubs (Duggs) had duty on Friday.  I got sick and was up all night, so I did sleep either.  So, Saturday we both slept.  Today, I’ve been in recovery mode – we’ve just been taking it easy, spending some nice relaxing time together.  With a teensy bit of crafting in there.  I worked for a hot minute.  I haven’t been feeling awesome, so staying home has been nice.

But part of staying home is that we didn’t make it to church this weekend. Sad face.

I love going to church.  Our home church out here in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, is wonderful.  The sermons are passionate, down to earth, funny, relate-able.  The people are amazing, loving.  It’s home to us.

Going every weekend is a way to center our lives.  It helps to ground us.  We spend some time praying, being with God, celebrating all the amazing blessings we experience.  Reflection, thanksgiving, and fellowship.

It’s part of the routine that we love, the foundation for the week. Sets the tone, ya know.  (I hope anyone of my high school friends reading this just shouted set the tone! in your head, LOL).

I know that a blog post isn’t nearly the same as church.  But, I did spend some time this evening focusing on an aspect of my faith that I wanted to share with y’all.   wanted to spend a minute posting about a super rad revolution that I am happily a part of.

I am Second.

Darrell Waltrip’s I Am Second Video

I am Second is this awesome movement I heard about on the radio a while ago.  We’re all in second place, because God’s first.  It’s about all of us contributing to take care of each other, lift each other up, pray for one another and be a community of God’s children.  From their website, here’s an explanation of what it’s all about:

I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.

 

You are here for a reason. We all have needs and could use some help. Talk to us. Call, chat, or email. 24 hours a day.

 

Go a step further, talk with the people in your life. Spread the revolution of Second. Share the videos with friends. Start an I am Second Group in your neighborhood, workplace, or school or join an I am Second Group already meeting.

 

Volunteer at concerts. Serve through I am Second community service events. Organize your own I am Second events. Sign up for an I am Second Expedition to help people in other countries. Check out Get Involved for other opportunities. Connect with us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

I am Second is designed to help people discover their purpose in life. Have you discovered yours?

 

I’ve yet to go volunteer at an event, but I try to get involved when I can.  They post prayer chains on FB – stuff like that.  I’ve chatted with total strangers, just to lend an ear, being there at the right time to just help someone.  It’s awesome.

The stories of I am Second members are so awesome.  People who’s been saved, overcome really incredible adversity.  The site has videos and stories that can really brighten your mood.  From huge celebs to everyday people, so many members are part of the movement.

I would love a chance to volunteer with I Am Second.

So, today, I went ahead and registered.  Not just following the FB feed or Twitter, I actually made an account.  So now, it’s up to me to see what opportunities may come my way.  I’m posting here for accountability, and in case others are interested in signing up!

Jason Castro’s I Am Second video

So while I know spending time on a website is totally different than attending church… I just wanted to take a time out from my day to invest some energy into my faith.   And hopefully I’ve sent a couple more people over to the site.  If you check it out and like it, let me know!

As always, thanks for reading!!  xoxo, hhr

capture: women of hope’s january 2012 event

Capture God’s Heart

January 23rd, 2012: Capture. Women of Hope’s Event at HCKB.

one of tami's capturings of God's amazingness - sunset over the koolaus

Monday night was an amazing women’s event at Church.  Oh man, it was really fun and well done and I feel like the message taught went straight to my heart.

The night started out with some really good worship jams.  I walked in and heard the band playing and I said to a friend, “oh man, they sound so good!”  And she was all, “what, they regularly don’t sound good?”  And I was all, “you know what I mean.”

Really.

So we sit down, Ola gives some announcements and then they played a commercial for Women’s Retreat (the first weekend in March, holla at me for info).

you can totes skip this next part, it’s totally a tangent: 

I bring up the commercial for one reason, and it’s totally vain.  I was in the commercial.  In fact, I was happy and blessed to be a part of it; I got so much out of camp last year, I was really super glad to tell others how good it is.  My problem is that I looked TERRIBLE in this commercial.  Like crawl under the table and die kinda terrible.  I’m still rolling in mortification over here. 

It was HD.  And the camera was lower than me and I was all acne and jowls.  I didn’t even know I had jowls until Monday night.  So anyways, I was super duper embarrassed.  Afterwards people kept telling me what a nice testimony I gave about camp, and so on, but really I just bee-lined it to my car to get out of there. 

I’m a little sad that I let it get to me so much.  I’m pretty sure this is some sort of lesson in my vanity.  Which I know is up there, I’m way too vain. 

But really? Ugh.  Why must lessons be so painful sometimes?  I’m trying to not let it be my focus and weigh me down.  So moving on..

The actual start of the post:

Tami started the event beautifully.  She let us in on one of the ways she prays to God.  Tami asks Him, “let me see the way you see.”  What a totally beautiful thing to ask God for.  She’s so sweet, I really love and admire Tami’s heart.

i totally forgot to take pics on monday night (i was writing so much)... here's a cute one of pastor tami. love her!

The enemy loves distraction.

So by keeping that in mind, the theme of the night is capture – to capture God’s heart, to capture those moments when you see His beauty and you feel His love.

Tami: “We aren’t here by mistake.  We all have people to reach; so focus in, and capture. We believe there’s a movement and He’s calling His daughters to rise.”

And then she prayed for all of us, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of being prayed over by Tami, you are sorely missing out.  She is an epic prayer warrior, and she so speaks to the hearts of women and just emotes out these lovely, heartfelt prayers.

“Holy Spirit come and capture us.” was the last line of her prayer (I can’t take notes while praying, yo.  It’s bad enough I was trying to “check-in” during praise and worship. oopsies!)

The Kanani came up to teach the lesson for the evening.

“Jesus didn’t go looking for fights, or telling people how broken they are.  Jesus didn’t point out flaws… He just loved.  He loved the broken.”

kanani, on monday night, as captured by tami!

Kanani opened by just speaking to us about brokenness and how Jesus isn’t the type top kick you when you’re down, or suss through your problems, your flaws, and point them all out to you.  He’s was an uplifter.  He was a positive speaker.  He spoke life and love.

Just like Instagram captures the moments of our lives, in pretty pictures.  (Instagram is an iphone app that everyone is totes obsessed with).

“You’re never too young or too old to capture Jesus. Take pictures of your life; you can see the beauty in so many things…

God is causing a seismic shift; there’s a groundswell for Jesus.”

Its like when you’re surfing, and you’re waiting to catch a wave and you feel that little pull back … God is tugging at us to catch this wave.

sidenote: my elementary school motto was “catch a wave with the braves” and I always think of that every time I hear the phrase “catch a wave” used in any sense other than when I’m physically surfing.  haha. random. 

Back to Kanani’s teaching:

NOTHING can separate us from God’s love.  No one,  no event, nothing can get between you and His love.

No higher price has been paid for you!

John 3:16

For He so loved the world… HE SO LOVED US.

He gave up Jesus for us, and through His blood we are bought and claimed!

“the Most High has summoned you into His presence… so what do you do?”
The rest of the teaching was on Psalm 34, as it’s written in The Message.  It’s just amazing. For this blog post I typed it out myself, and I was so blessed to go back through it and read it again.  How have I never focused on this gem before?  It’s seriously epic and touching and beautiful and it’s such a love letter.

Okay, read it.  Really, read it!!!

Psalm 34 (The Message version) 

I bless GOD every chance I get;

my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;

if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;

together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,

he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile.

Never hide your feelings from Him.

When I was desperate, I called out,

and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle or protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see-

how good God is.

Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;

worship opens doors to all his goodness.

Young lions on the prowl get hungry,

but God-seekers are full of God.

Come children, listen closely;

I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

Who out there has a lust for life?

Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

Guard your tongue from profanity,

and no more lying through your teeth.

Turn your back on sin; do something good.

Embrace peace – don’t let it get away!

God keeps an eye on His friends,

his ears pick up everything moan and groan.

God won’t put up with rebels;

he’ll cull them from the pack.

Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,

ready to rescue you.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there.

If you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Disciples so often get into trouble;

still, God is there every time.

He’s you bodyguard, shielding every bone;

not even a finger gets broken.

The wicked commit slow suicide,

they waste their lives hating the good.

God pays for each slave’s freedom;

no one who runs to Him loses out.

Does it get better?

There is so much in there, and Kanani really went verse by verse, and I took like eight pages of notes.  So let me see if I can point out some highlights here.

Kanani showed us some slides of her sister, a woman who literally blesses God everywhere she goes.  There are all these pics of her out on the beach, out anywhere and she’s just hands up saying “hi” to God.  It’s amazing!  She sees God everywhere, she recognizes and thanks Him for the beauty all around us.

My own words here… Ever since I was little I remember by mom always saying things on a super beautiful day like, “how can people not believe in God?”  Like when we’d travel and step out into a gorgeous scene, she’s always be in awe of God and His creations.  I think her reverence for His masterpiece has really set into me, and that’s just something I’ve done all my life too.

Now living in Hawaii, it’s so easy.  I mean, really!  The views, the mountains, the clear water, snorkeling on beautiful tropical reefs, hiking through lush jungles.  Waterfalls, sunsets and sunrises over the water.  I see it all. DAILY.

No wonder so many people out here love God!  Hawaii is such a strongly Christian state.  (And it’s a blue state, just sayin).

It feels so easy to love God here, because even the rainy days are gorgeous.  There’s a rainbow every two feet.

So back to what Kanani was saying…

“Have a passion for everyday, have a lust for life.”

when you step out and see God’s love, capture that blessing in your heart and thank Him.  Talk to Him, praise Him for what you experience.  Keep Him with you, and be close to Him always.

Never hide your feelings from Him. If you’re in a tight spot, call out to God.  Cry out for Jesus!

“Even when your life is a wreck, He hasn’t abandoned you; God is in you.”

We should be declaring the praises of our sister instead of tearing her down.  We should be speaking victory and life.  Use your mouth to say nice things, don’t talk stink.

“God is there when your heart is breaking.  If you took a picture, you’d see God in there.  He’s right there.”  –   then she was speaking to different kinds of heartbreak, not just romantic.  And I know that when I lost my baby last winter, that was heartbreak.  My heart was shattered.

And it was God who pulled me through.  He dragged me out of the sadness and pain and into the sunlight.  Literally and metaphorically, and spiritually.  God was there right with me.

“We’re here to save souls, to connect with our sisters, putting God first.”

In the middle of a busy situation, be the one who notices the person having a hard time or who has a sad look on their face.  Be the one to not worry about the mainstream and go over to the one who needs some love and give them that love.  Be like Jesus!

“No one who runs to Him will be turned away.”

Preach by living. Worship by living.  Have joy in your life!

Okay, then there were some snacks and chatting, and the prayer team was there (which I took advantage of, and I got some prayer to seriously help me get better. Amen!).

And they had this photo booth set up with all these frames so you could “capture” yourself and your friends… (ugh, but after that vid I was so not into being in front of a camera, let’s not kid).

kanani and her daughter, captured!

But mostly what I walked away with was this call to arms to live a happy life.  To use my voice to speak kindness, and to help others be happy and to always praise God.  Just to put Him first, and then to love others like Jesus did.

I feel compelled to rally up my sisters and bring them with me on this movement.

And to notice the moments as I go.  To take pause when I see God’s wonder, and say, “yo Daddy God, thank you! This is amazing! I love you!”

I mean, my blog here is happy hippie rose… and well, what’s better to make one happy and to be a hippie than to be kind, love on others, help those in need, and to appreciate what we have.  Be grateful, love this earth and all its beauty and everything God has provided us with.

I feel like Psalm 34 is totes the happy hippie rose anthem.  Totes!

So go out, have a lust for life!  See beauty and be grateful.  And when you need God, call out to Him!  When you don’t need Him, still call out to Him!  Run to HIM!  He will never turn you away, and nothing will ever come between you and His love. Blessed are those who praise Him, so sing His praises all day long. 

as always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

here's an instagram of me, capturing this moment of blogging and smiling!

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

time to crank out the jams…

…And By Jams, I Mean Tie Dye!

I’m so excited, I just gotta share this news with someone.  I’ve been asked, last minute, to host a craft booth at my Church’s Women’s group event this Monday.  As in, a few days from now!

Over 350 women have already signed up and paid, but even more are expected. For some people this may sound so small-timey.  But for me, this is my first time selling tie dye at an event, or really selling in person at all.

So between now and then, I need to crank out some tie dye!  

i need to make lotsa tie dyes, like this!

Now, I do have booth selling experience. Quick story:

My folks used to own a phone card business (trust me, I know that sounds so bizarre).  Back in the 90’s my dad and I went to France with my elementary school’s exchange program (he was the group translator, that’s a whole ‘nother story on it’s own; he learned french in eight months just so he could be the translator, hahaha, Viper is amazing!).

(i know i had a photo of us in france somewhere. i can’t find it… grrr… i’ll keep looking later on)

So we get to France – and all the pay phones required these prepaid cards you swipe, no coinage. Dad thinks it’ll be the next big thing, we become the biggest phone card dealer in the whole Southeast, and the only licensed dealer of Visa Cash Cards (a derivative of phone cards, it’s a prepaid card, like a credit card – but not based on credit, it’s just prepaid so you don’t have to carry cash around).

Next thing ya know… those pesky cell phones become all the rage, and payphones become all but obsolete.

But anyways, back in the heyday of the phone cards, we used to travel around to all kinds of conventions and sell them.  I’m talking Europe, Asia, everywhere.  So I know how to stand at a booth and sell… I just haven’t done so in a decade and a half, and never with my own tie dye.

I have a feeling it’ll be like riding a bike though.

My Dad (Viper) and Step-mom (Anna) still actually run the business… it’s just not as crazy booming as it once was.  You can check them out: Kars Unlimited. 

Okay, I have company coming in this afternoon.  Another guest for dinner will be coming over tonight.  And I have all this tie dye to crank out. (And maybe make some pricing signs, I have to sort and prep all the inventory I do have, and make some kind of poster for custom orders or something).

Not to forget- at the very same women’s event I’m hostessing a toiletry drive for the local women’s correctional facility.  They do gift bags at Christmas for the inmates, and we’re collecting donations for said gift bags.  Oh, busy busy!!  Lots of sheets to wash, laundry to fold, sweeping and fixing up to do. Oh my!

Thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr 

P.S. If you’re interested in helping with the toiletry drive, let me know anytime before midday on December 5th (Hawaii time), and we can figure something out!  You can comment here or email me: happyhippierose@gmail.com   -thanks!!

P.P.S. I really will make a siggy soon! I swears it!

one of the kids' shirts i'll be selling!

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!

operation christmas child: cute crafts that bring big blessings, you can help too!

Operation Christmas Child

I’ve totally found the most perfect charitable project for my skill set: Operation Christmas Child!  The important part is that it’s an awesome project, delivering gifts to children in serious need.  The fun part is that I get to make care packs, and not just regular care packs, Christmas care packs!  How perfectly rad is that?!?!

And there’s more… you can help me! 

christmas care packs for an amazing cause

Samaritan’s Purse is a world-wide ministry that brings food, medicine, clothes, vocational education, supplies, and love to the world’s most vulnerable populations.  Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project that delivers hand-packed boxes of small toys, candy, clothes, toiletries, personal letters, and The Gospel to children in 130 different countries.

My church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay (HCKB), is participating in OCC this year with a pledge of 3,000 boxes!  National collection week is later this month, and our boxes are due by November 20.  (Boxes are actually collected year-round at Samaritan’s Purse HQ, but HCKB’s 2011 drive has a hard deadline).

the OCC pod at church, handing out empty shoe boxes and then collecting the full care packs

so much empty space that needs to be filled with OCC boxes - this whole pod needs to be packed!

This video moved me to tears when they played it during our Sunday service a couple weeks ago: 

So how can you help?  My church is shy of their goal.  We haven’t turned in 3,000 boxes yet.  Duggs and I made two, and while we wish we could make a million boxes, we have financial limitations of our own.  Here’s where I’m asking people for help:  if you would like to fund a box and send me some cash money, I’ll do all the legwork and handicrafting! I’ll shop, decorate, pack and pray over a box that will have your name, contact info and any personal touches you’d like me to include (if you want I can put pics of you in there, we have a photo printer, and if you give contact info some children will write back as pen pals).

It’s up to you how much you’d like to spend per box, and you can pick if you’d like it to be for a boy or a girl, and what age group.

you decide!

Samaritan’s Purse does ask that $7 be included with every box to help cover the shipping and handling, so please keep that donation in mind as well.

If you’d like to just donate directly to the organization, you can always just do that.  Go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ/ and you can give money online to help kids get boxes that way.

I know there are so many charitable organizations to work with, and there are so many projects this time of year.  I know that so many of you are tapped out and pulled in many directions.  Please don’t feel like I’m panhandling… I’m just putting the offer out there: if you’d like to fund a box, I’d love to put it together for you.   Matthew and I had such a great time making our boxes this past weekend, we’d be honored to keep it going.  Something about OCC has seriously touched my heart and I just feel so compelled to do as much as I can.  If even just one more child gets a box, that’s a great thing to me.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve picked some kind of service project to do at the holidays. It used to be because my Mom made me… but the tradition stuck and I’ve kept it up as an adult, happily!  Since being married, my hubs has gladly jumped on board (thank you Duggs, for sharing your hard-earned money with those less fortunate than us). This year, making the boxes and having such a hand in the actual gift the kids will get, felt so special to me.

I love how personal OCC is.  I like actually selecting the items, the possibility of being pen-pals, that every single box will be unique.  OCC is specialized, it’s different, and I really know and believe in my heart that these boxes will have a great impact on the children who receive them.  Based on the religious nature of the project, I know it’s not for everyone.

I’m so pumped to work on the boxes, to give these kids a smile, and to offer them the hope and peace that is the love of God.   In the darkest of places, God’s Light is needed the most!

….

Check out the boxes we already made: 

i busted out the glitter glue, of course!

our boxes are going to mongolia, so i looked up how to write "merry christmas and happy new year" in mongolian cyrillic!

tie dye was included!

all the goodies we packed on in

costume jewelry!

we wrote personal little notes and included pics of our lil fam

packing it all in there was no easy feat. but i mean, i am a care pack expert.

i used every inch of space i had

As always, thanks for reading and looking at my photos.  If you are interested in funding a box, we have just less than two weeks to get it done!  Email me: happyhippierose@gmail.com or just comment here.  THANK YOU!!

happy hippie birthday to me!

On July third I celebrated my twenty-eighth birthday.  It was one of my very best birthdays to date!

happy bday to me!

Last weekend as a whole was just great.  

Church Stuff:  Friday night and Sunday morning I was blessed by being able to share a testimony at Church, live!   I’d never gotten up and done anything like this before in my life: publicly talking about my faith on a microphone, sharing my personal life and beliefs with others like that, talking about our family finances.  But the story that prompted me to give the testimony was too good not to share.  A real God Story.

My hubs came with me on Sunday, and like a real champ he went to both services with me.  He also recorded me.  You can check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja_xf6w_VK4

Or you can go to my church’s archive page and check it out there: http://www.hopechapel.com/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000053339  on this one, i’m about 35 mins into the 3-Jul-2011, 8am service.   If you feel like watching sermons, watch the Sunday 10am service.  It was an epic epic sermon.

screen shot of my testimony

making faces and flossing my iphone = totally standard.

Getting up and telling my lil’ story was just an honor.  I feel like it was a special birthday present from God.  And it’s a super rad story!!

Leisure Times With My Duggs: My hubby and I also got some nice beach time this weekend.  Being Active Duty military, he had a “96” to celebrate the holiday:  a 96-hour period off work to enjoy the long holiday weekend.  Having him home and getting to spend some laid back time with him was just perfect and awesome, we needed some time like that.  We cooked together. relaxed, worked out, went to the beach, etc etc etc.  Luxurious!

i heart peace and the beach and sunshiny happy days

ole boring stinky duggs reads and gets burnt

I dyed my hair black!  WOO!  My natural hair color is like dirty blond, I think.  For the past year I’ve refrained from putting any color in my hair to see what it would do.  It’s gotten soooo light, it’s been fun.  But I dig contrast.  I love having either dark dark hair or white blonde platinum hair.  Which is weird, because I don’t do a lot of makeup and really look done up.   But I like fun hair.

So anyways, I went back to black.  I had a box of dye that was collecting dust, so I just used it!

dying my hair on the back porch

Oh the food!!!!!!

I’m probably addicted to food.  As soon as I’m eating, I start worrying and wondering what my next meal will be.  I think about food all the time.  So for my birthday, all I asked for was some snuggling on the couch with my boo and some really good food.  And, because I’m spoiled rotten, I got both!

We ate at Koa Pancake House on my birthday morning!!  I love that place.  We had banana pancakes, pork vinha d’alhos, eggs, fried rice.  Oh yum.  It was just Duggs and I, and it was a cute date.  I love breakfast dates.

my birthday breakfast

crazy duggs, eating some eggs n stuff

This is the first birthday of mine that I’ve ever spent with Duggs.  That made it so special and wonderful.  My heart is just all full and bursting, ya know?  It was so nice to have a happy birthday with him!  I’m all mushy and sappy for my Duggs.  What a great guy, I really am the luckiest gal in the universe.

He made me pineapple upside-down cake from scratch with fresh pineapple.  Then some lovely friends came over, and we had a DIY Sushi party!  Duggs made an amazing spread of hors d’ouvres to snack on, fried panko shrimp, and he cut and prepped a kajillion things to go into sushi rolls.

my birthday cakes that duggs made me

nom nom nom... i heart the homemade sushi

chef duggs!

Duggs took some cute pics of me opening my presents, but I don’t have them.  And I was just flooded with emails, FB posts, calls, cards, texts, etc.  I just felt so much love from so many people!  So to everyone who was friendly and gave me some b-day love: thank you so much!  Y’all made me feel so happy and special.

All in all, it was just a lovely weekend and one of my happiest birthdays to date.  That husband of mine sure did good this year!

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.