Aloha to Hawaii, I’ll Miss You So… Saying GoodBye In Photos

Aloha Beautiful Hawaii! 

aloha rainbow state!

good ole wackiness from my first ever trip to hawaii, back in 2009

Saying goodbye to paradise was harder than I thought it was going to be.  This next step of life is so exciting and wonderful, and trust me: I’m blessed, happy to be where I am physically, emotionally, and everything – this point in life is good.

honeymoon at turtle bay, an amazing time

Our life in Hawaii was extreme, we saw great times and faced challenges.  We reunited there after deployments, but it’s also the place from which we had to say good bye.  We spent sun kissed afternoons out on the water, luxurious days at Turtle Bay, fun evenings out and about… it’s where we said “I do,” and it’s where we found the apple of our eye – our sweet pooch JJ Duggan!

our wedding day

exchanging vows on kailua beach, we did our wedding our way and it was so perfect for us

me and the sweet lil’ pooch, oh i’m so glad we found him in hawaii

It’s also where I’ve battled some health issues, it’s where we suffered a great loss when we experienced our miscarriage, coping through a lonely and hard deployment that was tossed at us without much warning.  But through it all, we came out on top, our marriage was bonded tighter and stronger – so we’ll take with us the happy sunny sweet tropical memories and get ready for a clean slate as we wipe away and move past some of life’s tougher trials.

saying goodbye before a deployment

saying hello when he comes back home again! ahhh, the reunion kiss is always the best.

I’m excited to be in New York and starting this next phase of our lives.  We’re literally writing the first page of a new chapter.  Matthew is out of the Marine Corps and he’s now a civilian, we’ve left Hawaii and moved to New York.  We’re setting out on our own, together.  Duggs was already established in the USMC and living in Hawaii when I came out and joined him – this is a step we’re taking together, going through it all hand in hand.

So yes, I’m stoked to be here in New York…

But I’m going to genuinely miss Hawaii.  I just wanted to take a little post to reflect on the gorgeous aina paradise and really say Aloha.

aloha to paradise, i’ll miss the warm pacific oh so much

we had so much fun boating and out in the hawaiian sun – too much fun to be had every hawaiian day

Hawaii is the kind of place where everywhere you go, there’s an epic view and a breath-taking scene to just suck in and fill yourself with.  The lush mountains, rainbows, flowers, the amazing bright blue oceans and the warm buttery sun bathing all of us.  Hawaii really is this vibrant, happy, relaxed paradise and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived there and spent the time there I was able to.

horseback riding on the north shore, romantic and something i’ll never forget. a truly one of a kind experience.

this island is incredible, i could take a million pics and still wish i had more

When family and old friends came out to visit, we were able to have an awesome time with them in Hawaii – showing off our island home.  I made some amazing friends and connections in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay refreshed and renewed my faith and my love of Christ.

sky diving day in the fall of 2010 – duggs, me, anna (my sister), and brian (duggs’ all time bff)

hope chapel women’s retreat 2011 – arise and shine!

L.O.V.E. HCKB Women’s Retreat 2012

me and ashtan and her navy day ball!

haunted lagoon 2011 at the polynesian cultural center, with ashtan + me

girl’s hiking morning at makapuu lighthouse, while all of our hubbies were deployed we made the best of it!

hope chapel k-bay is where i so found my heart for God – this past christmas was so awesome, here i am in between mel and tami!

The military experience is one that we’ll always remember.  Me as a spouse and Duggs as a dutiful member of the United States Marine Corps.  His service is the whole reason we were ever in Hawaii.  Even though the USMC liked to throw wrenches in our plans all the time, I have the utmost respect for the branch and the military in general. I’m grateful for the hard and brave work those dedicated men and women do, and I’m so proud to be married to a man as nobel as a Marine.

our first usmc ball together, in 2010

I tried to pick a couple photos to sum up my amazing Hawaiian experience, the wonderful times I’ve spent in paradise.  And yeah, it was impossible.  So thus… here’s a crazy montage of pics as a way for me to say Aloha!

I’ll miss Hawaii so very much.  I hope that we’ll be able to visit again one day, and hopefully it won’t be too far in the future that we get to go back.  Until then, I’ll take my mainland life one day at a time and find new beautiful sights to oooh and aaah over, I’ll discover new favorite places and I’m sure Duggs and I will forge tons of new memories and create lots of new adventures, all with stories to tell.  But as we do, I take some little pieces of Hawaii with me always – the sea turtle tattoo I got on my first trip to the island, the wedding ring on my hand that will always make me think of Kailua’s soft sandy beach, and the thousands of memories forever etched into my heart.

Aloha Hawaii – I’ll love you always! 

pretty islands (photo credit here)

And to my readers, I thank you (as always) for reading! xoxo, hhr

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Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies and Miscellaneous Misadventures.

Man oh man! (is that enough alliteration for ya or what? wow! that’s impressive, even for me).

I actually drafted this post back before we even left Hawaii, and just didn’t have time to polish it, upload the pics and get it online.  But for the sake of continuity and explaining a little bit of what the heck happened to me (when I fell off the face of the blogging earth), I figured I’d go ahead with it anyways.  So keep in mind this here blog wraps up our last days and weeks in the beautiful tropical paradise of Oahu, a place I’ll always love and already miss dearly.

What happened to the rest of April 2012?  We were overcome…

Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies, and even more Misc. Misadventures!

I really really thought I could keep up with the 30 Days of Blogging Honesty Challenge. I really really did… but clearly I did not.  (My last day was day 12, that’s hardly a noble effort.  Sheesh!)  And I’m bummed, and disappointed in myself. I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time finishing through with projects.  And I try really hard to manually get into my brain and change my ways, try to do better- but I’m human, and I long ago abandoned my perfectionist ways and the obscene pressure I used to put on myself to do everything to the letter; I’ve learned when to walk away, or ask for help, or admit I’m not hacking it. So as far as blogging diligently these days?  Keeping up the 30 Days challenge?  I’m so not hacking it.

I did not hack it!

Perhaps it’s a case of bad timing?  Most likely a case of taking on WAY TOO much at a time when I knew I shouldn’t have.  When real life gets super duper busy and something has to go – personal blogging and other just-for-fun hobbies have to get cut before working, or eating, or cleaning do.  So with everything we had juggling, the happy hippie rosieness I add to the Interwebs had to take a backseat (sadly).

A big thanks to the gang that let me play along for the meager days I did, and to all of those who read the entries and had fun with it all.  Here‘s where I found out about it all, over at the fab Tom Baker‘s blog. Maybe next year I’ll try again, and in the very least I have a lot of new blogs that I subscribe to now.  So that’s fun!

Before I get into the super gross stuff, I had better point out – April 17th was our SECOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

april 17, 2010 – the best day of my life

So Duggs took the day off, and so did I, and we both stepped away from the compies and the Interwebs and celebrated by spending a lovely, peaceful day together.  We had some lofty and fancy plans, and in the end just opted to relax and be together.  My Dad and Step-mom did gift us the edible arrangement (yummy!) and we got some very nice cards in the mail too.  So- for all the anny love, THANKS Y’ALL!

thanks viper and anna, it was soooo yummy!

We had a great anniversary, and we’re so very blessed to have spent two wonderful years of marriage.  Here’s to many, many, MANY more to come!!

Now,

Onto the gross:

MOLD

looks appetizing, yeah?

They really really did find mold in our house on base.  Oodles of it, gross stuff.  All kinds of colors and colonies.  At first they tried to lie about it and tell us it was dust.  But I’m no fool, no sir-ee, and I pushed and insisted to have them act as if it were mold.

What came of it?  A couple measly attempts to clean out our A/C ducts and not much else.  The sad part is that a new family will move into that very same house (they may already be in there now) and who even knows what can and will happen to them and their health.

a moldy air vent, lovely!

duggs has way better pics, way more documentation… but there are the ones i snapped the day the housing guy told me that our vents were just “dusty” and he didn’t see any mold.

Yes, they’re tearing the street of houses down sometime in 2013 and building fresh brand new ones.  But a year or so is still a long time to dwell in a poisonous death trap.  And who knows what other houses are full of what other kinds of spores and methods of slow respiratory suicide?

Ugh.

I’m really hoping that the longer I’m away from Bordelon Loop, the better I’ll feel.  I want my lungs to get rid of the gunk and the nastiness that’s embedded into my body.  I truly hope that both Duggs and I see some restored health in the near future.  What if all my face pain and ear ache troubles were mold caused from the jump?!  Getting a “cure” out of moving would be utterly epic.

MAGGOTS 

This wasn’t my first encounter with household maggots.  Sad, but true,  Exactly a year ago they plagued me and had me on the edge of my sanity.  There’s just something about maggots squirming all over my home that just horrifies me.  They’re just SO. DAMN. GROSS.

Gross = such a severe understatement.  I hate them!!

eww. eww. eww. eww. EWW!!!!

Now, we didn’t have a massive abundance of maggots crawling all over the place. It’s not like they were covering the walls and ceilings, etc.  But every day we’d find them… four, six, ten at a time and it seemed like each day there would more.  Always congregating in the same area of the house, but I was never able to find an exact source.  And talk about hard to kill. They so difficult.  You have to use bleach (which we were out of) or you have to literally squish them so hard they pop to death.

HOW EFFING NASTY IS THAT?!?!?!

If you just threw up in your mouth a little bit and never want to even ever read my blog again, I don’t even blame you.  That idea is so nasty to me I even hate myself for just typing it out.  Now imagine that I had to live it.

maggot vid of the super yucky crawly guy!

Last year when the maggots came, I prepped this whole crazy blog post about it all, complete with lots o’ pics.  And then, I decided not to post it.  With the use of bleach and hard work, sleepless nights and Carly’s steam cleaner I was able to combat the nasty crawlers in a few days… and well, I had just started my tie dye ‘biz and I was worried no one would want to buy a shirt from the maggot house.  I mean, rightfully so.  And Duggs hates people thinking that he has me living in squalor, it’s embarrassing.

from the 2011 invasion – they came in by the front door.

okay, so looking at this (another ’11 pic) i remember that last year’s batch was actually way way worse than this year’s. the 2011 influx just scarred me so badly, i’m now a huge weenie when it comes to maggots and i’m totally fearful and icked out and just can’t hardly handle them.

last year i had bleach on hand. come 2012, my hippie green ways have so evolved, i didn’t have any available.

same species this year and last, that’s for sure though

last year, i was all no-nonsense. i needed to re-find my old 2011 badassery for this year’s dilemma. i mean, actually… i was kinda badass in my own right after the first couple days. i got over the initial fear and started going rambo on those little bastards. i’m not all shrinking violet, ya know.

look at how tough i was a year ago (and tan, jeals!!), i’m gonna be this gal again!

But we keep an immaculately clean home, that’s just the tropics for you!  It has nothing to do with our cleanliness or hygiene, or the caliber of provider my wonderful husband is… it’s just Hawaii!

MOVING! 

At time of press I’m already in the great state of New York.  But managing such a big move isn’t just a hop, skip, and jump.  So during the last half of April (especially) our lives were really up-ended as the moving date got closer and we had more to do.

my final look at our pink house on the hawaiian hill – so many mixed emotions, so much joy and some really challenging times all went down within these walls. i’m excited to move forward because that’s the direction of life. but i’ll always have a special place for the first home i shared with my husband and all the experiences we shared there.

Shipping the dog = getting his health certified, shots and records updated, making sure his crate is the right kind and all good to go.

Shipping the car = special letter from Honda since it’s a leased vehicle, getting it all cleaned and properly prepped to go, not to mention having to turn it in so we didn’t even have a whip to get ourselves around.

Shipping the goods = movers came and packed, so at least that part is taken care of.  But there’s still lots to plan and accomodate, lots of organizing to do.

there’s all of our worldly stuffs, all packed and crated up

good bye goods, see you in ny!

Prepping the house = painting, cleaning, fixing, mowing.  Just getting the mold, maggot, rat, ant, spider, infested death trap into suitable condition to turn in the keys was such a joke.  The place was such a mess! And yet they had us spit shine the whole place top to bottom as if we were turning over the taj mahal. sheesh!

duggs, the wonderful good man he is, did most of the painting

when i say “most,” i mean like 95% of the painting… i helped do the first coat in a room and a half… he did all the rest + all the final coats on his own

i don’t think duggs slept for two weeks straight with all the prep we had to do to move

Taking care of getting all my meds refilled and stocked, getting in all my last appointments and securing records.  It’s this kind of stuff that you don’t even think of!

what’s a goodbye tour of o’ahu without a trip to good ole tripler army hospital? hahaha. oh, of course.

duggs and i at the pharmacy together, a task we’ve done so many, many times together… and this one was our last

Not to mention planning work, finances, arrangements, figuring out where to go and how we’re getting each step of the way… etc. etc. etc.  There’s a lot that goes into such a move.  Especially considering that Duggs is transitioning from military to civilian.  Not only are we changing continents (kinda) and location, climate, and timezone – but our lifestyle is totally changing in so many ways too!

Duggs had epic amounts of paperwork to do, signatures to get and all kinds of running around to make sure we were all squared away.  Once the packers came and nabbed all of our stuffs, we moved to a hotel 30-40mins away from base (based on traffic) and that’s when things got even wackier!

Limited and low quality Internet, limited access to anything, me and pooch living in a tiny room.  And oh the horror… no more cable! No DVR! I can’t even continue discussing the hardships I endured.

(I’m being sarcastic.  Other than being in a nosy, weird part of town with the pool closed for repairs and the Internet super craptastic, it was perfectly fine.  The staff was lovely and I had a nice enough time.  And pooch-friendly!  Who can ask for more?!?!).

But seriously, what’s a move if nothing goes wrong and all goes smooth?

-Duggs got in a fender-bender, won’t get into the details here – but as it all worked out, we REALLY lucked out on all the technicalities of that one, although for a day or so it was a huge source of stress.  Thank God no one was hurt!

-The shipping company didn’t take the car the first time we went to go ship it – some mess about having wheel locks on and not having the key available to take them off (the key got packed when the movers packed up the house, oopsies!).   So figuring that out made us sweat a bit.  A lot a bit.

adios honda! see ya in new jersey, sooner hopefully than later!

ahh, the thrills and good times we had here.

-The prescriptions for my final day of med pick ups were all messed up, and thankfully we were able to sort it out, but the day we left we spent three hours un-doing that whole mess.    Driving around to the pharmacy and the doctor’s, cabs and all kinds of stuff.  Oy! Mess!

-We had so much packing to do, we were cramming it all into our bags right up until the last minute possible…

jj standing guard over all the crazy mess that we had to pack up. yikes! (we unpacked it all, so that we could re-do the most efficient packing job possible).

When Duggs went to give JJ a quick bath, and the hotel room’s bathroom door malfunctioned, and locked JJ in the bathroom!  Thankfully the tub wasn’t plugged (although the water was running, and it was such an awful waste).  We had maintenance come as quickly as they could and try to break open the door, but since something was broken with the knob and lock, it took them like 15 minutes to bust him out.  Poor guy was so scared – and poor us, so stressed having all this go on while our flight count-down was ticking right in our face.  We didn’t have time to burn!

the crazy bathroom door that self-locked and trapped poor jayjers in there all alone

if you look to the left you can see the pooch in there. i layed on the floor and he put his nose under the crack and sniffed me, gave me little smooches. he gets so scared so easily, i had to go wait with him and stand a vigil.

the maintenance guy who came to free our pooch!

I’m sure more went wrong, it felt like at the time that everything was going out of control.  But then we made it… we made it to the gate, we boarded the plane (the last ones on), JJ made it too, we all got to NY safe and sound and in one piece and well, that’s all we could even ask for.

Moving can be such a colossal pain in the bum, but starting a new chapter of life is such an amazing experience.  It’s so cool to get to start something fresh with Duggs and set out into together and see what will come and figure our way together.

Medical Maladies

Sickness. Yes, I have been violently ill.  AGAIN.  This time it was a stomach bug.  Luckily for me, it hit me the hardest right on moving day and I was rendered useless while trying to pack our house and get everything together to move from Hawaii to New York.  Perfect timing, right? I was vomming and so sick to my stomach I could hardly move.  THANK GOD it has let up the past few days and I’m cautiously optimistic about referring to myself as “feeling better.”  (I wrote this part from the hotel in Hawaii, on one of the last days of April – at the time of press I can tell you that my stomach bug totally cleared up and I’m feeling much better on that front, but of course since traveling to NY I’ve picked up new germs, a new cold, and I’ve had a dreadful sore throat and head aches!  It’s just been back to back to back illness for me, it’s been awful!  I’ve had a “cold” or a “bug” almost nonstop the past two month.  What’s up with that?!?!)

my dear sweet neighbor made me this super delicious soup earlier in the month when i had a dreadful respiratory infection. how kind of her! thank you amber, i’ll miss having such a sweetheart neighbor!!

Back in April when I had the tummy bug, oh man there were some awful awful days though… like, I don’t remember feeling that ill during chemo, honestly. HUGE thank you to everyone who checked in and sent love + prayers + well wishes.  Many, many thanks!

my first attempt at “food” after a couple fierce days of stomach bug

Besides my health, life has just been nutty!

Misc. Misadventures! 

Work is nuts.  Life is nuts.  Leaving Hawaii and the USMC and our lives as we knew it and starting totally anew is nuts…

But it’s nutty in a hectic way as well as a great, wonderful way.  I’ve taken lots of pics during our trip so far and I’m excited to share with y’all the wonderful time we’ve had so far.  I’ve been the recipient of so many well wishes and love, and it’s been such a delight to have a loud and great cheering section, encouraging us along every step of the way.  On some of our bonkiest, most stressful days – getting an uplifting and happy message just meant so much.

The zany crazy days of April are behind us now, and embracing this new life has been an activity sought with zeal.

I’ll wrap up this April Hawaiian catch up by saying this…

Spending our last Hawaiian day in a busy blur, we had so much going on.  I took a minute to chronicle (because of course, I love chronicling as much as I can) and here’s what I pecked out right before we had to pack up the compy:

What can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy’s Law, right?  It’s so all over this move.  But as it does, Duggs and i just keep repeating our marriage’s mantra: we can get through anything together.  And really, we can. Done: car is shipped. Meds have been (finally) picked up after an uber crazy pharmacy-Tripler ordeal of running around. Rental car is donezo and out of our hands.  House is packed up.  Snacks and sudoku have been purchased.  Movies have been downloaded to mobile devices.  All we have to-do now is finish packing up this hotel room and we’re outta here.  It feels like a lot to do, but after all we’ve been through in the past few weeks – painting, sickness, the maggots, the mold, paperwork hiccups, so much running around, pooch getting a boo boo on his arm – we’ve been through it all together, as we can anything.

And as we get through it, we come out with smiles and funny stories to tell.  So long as I have that Duggs to hold my hand, I’m not intimidated by all this wackiness and manic messiness that’s been our lives as of late.

So now, I’m off to shove some clothes into my suitcases and make that flight!

after saying such sweet sappiness, i had to post a couple pics of me and my duggs being mushy… so here are some that i’ve never posted online, they happen to be from st. patty’s

oh i love this man with all my heart!

The way it all worked out we’ve been able to go on a New York state road trip and spend some much-needed time with family and friends.  Our tour de loved ones has thus far been amazing, and we still haven’t even made it to the Buffalo-area yet – where there’s so much family left to reunite with!

a strange mid-sentence snapshot of me and the duggs being lunatics in the rental whip, riding around new york! stand by for more of our moving antics to come…

As always, thanks for reading!  I’m glad to have made this big ole long post and hopefully it’s been a way to catch everyone up and give somewhat of an explanation for my weeks of no-showing.

We’re still on the road and in the midst of the moving process – so I’m not sure when I’ll be in a place to start posting regularly again.  But I sure do hope its soon.  I love working on HHR and I so do love each and every reader who takes the time to follow my ramblings and see what’s been going on and what we’ve been up to.

When I sign off each post with “thanks for reading,” please know that I truly mean it.  So thanks for standing by and thanks for your patience with all the shuffling we’ve been experiencing lately.

And really: thanks for reading!! 

xoxo, hhr

30 Days of Blogging Honesty: Day One

If you missed the crazy, obscene, verbose intro post I just threw up – you may want to just consider yourself lucky and start 30 Days of Blogging Honesty journey right here.

Just kidding! Go read this crazy mess right meow.

30 Days of Blogging Honesty

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Day 01: The one thing that it seems like everyone else on the planet is into but I just cannot stand is…

Loud noises. 

My right ear is super sensitive to sounds, a condition that’s plagued me for the past 15ish months (more reading on my ear dramz, here).  Loud noises, jarring sounds – beeps, boops, thumps, screams, yells, horns, blasts – it almost hurts just thinking about them.  My ear is just so tender, the noises amplified all the time.

I wear ear plugs often.  I always have a set in my purse.

i have these exact ear plugs, little carrying case and all. so clutch, they're pink! photo credit: http://www.hearos.com/sleepprettyinpink/

When I go to the pharmacy on base and there are loud kids or crying babies in that small area, the noise just bounces off the concrete, at every angle imaginable, and just comes at me in painful jabs; I get this image of thousands of knives bouncing every which way, all around, and yet magnetically attracted to my right ear, bee-lining into my dome.  As it hurts I have to try so hard not to wince, make a face, or react lest I feel like a jerk.

no privacy, no sound absorption, no problem! k-bay health clinic, the pharmacy is in that center corridor, to the left. you can't really see if directly in this photo, the patients don't go inside though - we wait outside in the covered hallway and go up to the window to get our meds. photo credit: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/usmcbase/ss/Hawaii_9.htm

I love kids and babies and I totally understand the great chance that little ones at the pharmacy are in discomfort and/or don’t feel well, maybe something is wrong with another family member and stress levels are high, or just that running errands isn’t fun and the kids are bored, restless, over it.  The last thing a Mom needs is me giving her the stink eye.

So I just have to take it.  It HURTS ME.  It’s physically painful in a way that I never anticipated. And when I’m out in public I don’t explain my weird ailment and predicament to others… I just silently take it.

me, at Tripler Army Hospital, getting one of my nerve blocks in an unsuccessful attempt to alleviate the ear pains.

It’s like that with all kinds of accidental sounds – the clatter when someone drops something on a hard surface, a speaker at church who has microphone pops or reverb (the music at church can do it too), or sometimes the sound guys have the mics accidentally turned up too high and regular talking is too loud and thus assaults me in the eardrum… trucks going in reverse and making that beeping, the emergency broadcast system weekly, monthly, whateverly tests that just pop up in the middle of a TV show, calling a wrong number that’s actually a fax machine, plugging my iphone headphones in and the volume is all the way up by accident, those stupid memes that are tricks when the scary monster and crazy sound effects pop up, talking on the phone with a friend and something wacky and loud happens on their end that I never saw coming, like a baby who wakes up from a nap all of a sudden or their smoke alarm goes off and I get pierced in the ear, any kind of squeak or squawk that just happens from cawing birds to sneakers on the gym floor…

there are SO MANY accidental loud sounds that hurt me.

how hearing works. mine is like times twenty and your kids, your ringtone, your car speakers... they're that green zig zag of pain. image found on: http://hearingtherapyaustralia.com/info/hearing.html

bizarre and sensitive cysts that crop up behind my ear contribute to my ear pains. no idea where they come from, no idea how to treat them. (i actually have a bunch right now for the first time in months, probably stress-related since i've been sick and my body is taxed more that usual).

And then there are the not-on-accident noises that suck too.  Like any kind of whistle, ringtones, car horns, car alarms, my neighbor’s car bass that he insists on using no matter what time of day or night it could be – including when he’s working on his vehicles in the car port (the carport that’s feet away from the a wall that for my living room, kitchen and bedroom), did I mention ringtones? Yelling, screaming, cheering, clapping, shooting (I live near the shooting range you know) … audio with wacky, high pitched sounds (I was once listening to a podcast that had some sound effects that were so shrill I couldn’t get through more than a couple minutes).

one man's jackpot is another gal's torture device. oy, just looking at this hurts! photo credit: http://interiordesigncar.com/car-interior/car-gear/

All of the neighbors whose back yards face our back yard seem to have 24/7 outside dogs and they bark, and bark, and bark.  It’s like a loud domino effect that just goes on all the time.  They bark louder than my TV is inside, they bark so loud I can’t hear Duggs when he’s inches away from me.  It’s insane. I’ve never lived in a place with so many dogs, all so packed in close together, where the dogs and just left out on their own and thus they’re irritable, on edge, angry and barking.

the view of our yard looking more towards the back and to the left. bailey tanner is on my shoulder like a parrot whilst jayjers is along the fence.

the house directly behind ours, up the hill. there's always a dog or two outside, particularly barky!

that wonky palm tree is in the far right corner of the back yard. that yellow block of houses is one street up the hill from ours, that whole yards-facing-yards thing.

jj'r rump ... standing in our back yard and facing towards the right (towards the firing range as well, just to paint the whole scene).

I probably could have answered “outside-only dogs” for this too (while we’re on the topic).  I can’t stand people who own animals and then just leave them out in a sun-drenched hot back yard all the time.  And when it comes to my neighborhood, I really mean ALL the time.  Day and night, 24/7, these pooches are just outside.  At least we have fences… but I can’t help but think that without the fenced-in yards these dogs would be inside actually getting affection and attention.  (I’m naive though and without the yards they’d probably be tied to a stick, let free to roam, in a crate in the back yard or at the glue factory. Oy).  These poor deprived doggies just sit out on their own, all alone, no one talking to them, petting them, no one to play with.  It’s so sad.  I can’t stand it.

Anyways.  Loud noises – I’ll stick with it.

These examples, while hardly exhaustive, at least offer some insight into what it’s like to have this crazy ear dilemma and just try to live day to day.  It seems impossible to avoid sometimes!

the view from right in front of our house, over that hill towards where the sun is coming from is a firing range... you'd think it's far enough away not to hear, but depending on the wind and what's being shot, it can carry!

Irony at its finest: I’m by no means a naturally quiet person.  I have a booming voice, I’m clumsy, I used to be kinda hard of hearing and would always have things turned way up…

Go figure.

Now I love quiet.  I love peaceful, calm, serene quiet spaces without shrill, shrieking, annoying noises.  I keep my phone on silent all the time, I haven’t been to many concerts at all this past year… I just gravitate towards a different sound comfort level lately since having this problem with my ear.  (I mean, don’t get me wrong – I have deaf friends, and I can only imagine trying to cope with that, I’m so grateful that I can hear at all, and I would never want to be deaf or unable to enjoy all of the sounds I so love, like my husband’s voice, JJ’s cute noises, talking on the phone, music, TV, and so on).

the hush of the waves is just the right volume level for me.

that's what i'm talking about - my two boys snoozing is music to my ears. well, as long as ole stinky duggs isn't snoring, of course.

What’s so hard to explain to people is that it’s really painful and my defenses against it are so limited.  Even if I’m wearing nice earplugs, if someone whistles near me – I don’t stand a chance.  I can wear the crazy big ear protection, but it gets kinda absurd to try and just act casual.

this is a nonchalant look for sure.

these are like the ones i always keep in my purse. fashionista status, right?

the best part, they go with virtually every outfit i own. photo credit: http://store.aihalaska.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_1403&products_id=31549

So yeah, I can’t stand loud, shrill, piercing, booming, noises and sounds.  But the longer this ailment of mine plagues me, the more I’m convinced that the world is obsessed with upping the decibles!

icing down the shoulder/back does help with my owwy ear.

There ya have it – day one is done!

Whew. Felt good to rant, honestly.  I feel like I consciously try to avoid using my blog for complaining… but man oh man, sometimes you gotta scratch that itch, huh?  Once in a blue moon, it’s nice.

Come back soon for Day 02 of this 30 day business, will ya? 

Click right here to check out Tom (the guy who’s created and is hosting these 30 + 1 prompts)’s Day 01 post, and to see a list of others participating.  His blog is hopping, provides more instructions, and is fun to read!

Feel like jumping in and playing along too?  Do it!  The Rules and 30 prompts are here.   If you want to play along, link on up – will ya?  Keep in mind that everyone will have different end dates as not everyone will blog everyday; it is totally not too late to start.  So c’mon and go for it.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Don’t think my post was wordy enough?  No worries… here’s some addendum I was going to axe, but I already went to the trouble of including links and stuff, so why the heck not:

How I Locked In On Choosing An Answer:

Actually, I went through a whole lot of answers to get to this one.  Oodles of ideas for a rantalicious, complaint-ridden post came together.  The concept started out pretty flat and plain, without much of an idea, but then slowly it took shape.  At first I was thinking on a lame scale – I could whine about how wasteful and over-priced Swiffer products are.  I don’t really care for chocolate, and people never really get that.

But this is asking me what is it that I can’t stand that everyone else on the planent is into.

Lots of people dislike Wal-mart.  I know I’m not alone in my political ideology, my thoughts on our cultural obsession with instant gratification; lots of us can’t stand someone with an inability to have a sense of humor or even just people who take themselves too seriously.

The other day on Adam Carolla‘s podcast the gang, in honor of April Fool’s, was going over a list of all these stories from The Onion that people believed to be true.  Some of them were so outrageous and so clearly satirical – and yet all kinds of people were so quick to believe these fake news items, and just as quick to make a huge stink about them.  Like the Congressman who believed The Onion article about a new “abortionplex” being built, oh my.  I can’t stand that kind of rush to judgement and freaking out… I’m not the only one in the world who can’t stand that, though.

And don’t even get me started about writing and blogging…

I can’t stand bloggers without a real knack for writing.  Bad sentence structure, no working comprehension of idiomatic expressions, redundant repetition (heh), poor grammar, writing at the level of a grade schooler – and so on! It drives me batty.  I’m not being super critical about a mistake here or there, I mean habitually skill-less writers. But I don’t have to read such blogs and I’m not the Internet’s only snob.

I can’t stand using the letter U instead of the word “you,” samesies on “C” for “see.” I don’t like wacky hard-to-read textspeak at all, actually.  But me, along with every other English Major and the world’s old folks probably can’t stand the text shorthand of the digital age.

So I’m back to square one.  LOUD NOISES.  I’ll stick with it!

 


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!

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

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

the women of hope

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

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

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

ocean baptism - amen!

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

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

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

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

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

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

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

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

she’s going the distance…

She’s [not] going for speed.

Oh man, did I go running yesterday.  Yesterday evening, actually. I had an epic run! 

Did you read Friday’s blog, about how I was reading the awesome marathoner-in-training blog (SmilesAcrossTheFinish) and in doing so I got all pumped up to train harder?  (Woah, I just went all blog-within a blog-within a blog, there. Woah.)

we headed out right as the sun was setting, a perfect time to go

So yeah, for those who aren’t caught up on my crappy ramblings: I’m feeling all driven to try and run harder.

Before we go any further, YES, I love Cake.  And if you think I mean the baked batter with buttercream, while you are correct (I love that cake), I really meant Cake.  The title of this post is from a Cake song.  They’re totally in my list of top 25 all time bands.  I should totally make that list sometime.

Anyways, about running: given my current health dilemma and meds, I’m not sure how consistently dedicated I will end up being, but I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna give it the ole college try and then some.  I’m totally down to play through the pain.  And while I honestly do keep my health in consideration, I don’t want to use it as an excuse or to sell myself short.  It’s a rather delicate balance.

I have a goal for workouts per month, and I really want to push myself, even on those days I feel crappy or am having pain.  Sometimes, running or working out, even helps the pain.

I mean, if ever there was a girl rip roarin’ and ready to push the limits, ignore doctor’s orders and warning, disregard the notion of resting/taking it easy, and push through pain because she has the world’s highest pain tolerance – it’s ME!

I was honestly motivated and I had an AMAZING Friday-evening run.

me, making a REALLY weird face before i go running

weirdo

jj lookin' so so fresh

We ran for 63 minutes without stopping.  That may seem really small and insignificant to you, but for me – that was one whopper of a run!  I didn’t walk AT ALL.  And neither did lil’ pooch.

I won’t tell you how far I actually made it during that time.  That would be too embarassing. But, I did discover some nuances about my threshold and I feel like I have a baseline to start from.  I feel so pumped, that I actually want to go running now.

For everyone motivating me, THANK YOU!  I feel so good, and I hope the momentum keeps pushing me forward.

post-run stretch, feeling like a champ!

Ringing in 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

i found this random image, but it could be hawaii!

After the whirlwind and chaos of Christmas, the Duggs and I had a totally chill and awesome New Year’s weekend.  He surprised me with plans and a dinner rez, and it was just an awesome, quiet, cozy way for us to re-set, refresh and get ready to face a brand new year.

First, we went boating!  On Friday of the long weekend, we took out a Boston Whaler and went boating out on K-bay.

leaving the wake behind us like it's 2011. (is that cheesy enough?)

It was so sunny when we first went out, a totally gorgeous day.

 

i heart k-bay, and the 360 pretty views

Being out in the sun, swimming, playing with the pooch (because it was low tide and he could gallop/prance around like an antelope) – it was all so calming.  I’m so ocean-oriented, that just being out on the water seems to always cure what ails me.

It was just the antithesis of Christmas-craziness, and it felt so good.

When we got home, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for me! Thank you, Duggs, you’re such a thoughtful husband.

special delivery

The next night, New Year’s Eve, we went out to Roy’s in Waikiki.  They had a set menu, with special fare just for New Years and it was SO. GOOD.  Just amazing.  We ate crab, lobster, freshly baked lavosh, I had butterfish and mahi for my entre, Duggs had lamb, and for dessert they had fresh strawberry malasadas, strawberry mochi balls with sweet basil ice cream in the middle, and ginger soda with champagne sorbet floats.  I mean, it was so good. I love food.

Oh.  AND they had funny hats and tiaras for everyone to wear.  It was so cute! We had such a nice time on our dinner date, talking about our favorite 2011 moments.

After dinner, we headed over to The Tanner’s house, where some people were celebrating.  We literally walked in the door at 11:58, and just made the countdown!  I shared a happy New Year’s smooch with Duggs, and we had a toast with a ton of pals!

It was an awesome weekend.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

 

as always, thanks for reading! oxox, hhr

my 11 best of 2011

This past weekend Duggs and I have spent so much time going back and forth, asking each other: “what were your top moments of 2011?”  We tried to make a top ten list, but it was harder than you’d think.

What events were more significant than others?  What meant the most to us or had the most impact?

A lot happened this year.  Matthew and I were reunited after a seven-month deployment.  I grew my hair out long.  I tie dyed more garments than I could even count, and we hiked, climbed, swam and crawled all over this island.  2011 was a busy, crazy, strange year.   And here’s the best of it:

My Best of 2011

i LOVE those sun rays

I hope it goes without saying that certain things are the best in my life, regardless of the year, entities like my pooch, my family, my friends, etc.  So this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive of everything I’ve ever loved in 2011… it’s just the highlight reel of things that happened this year: 

1. Matthew’s Homecoming!

welcome home, my love!!!

Duggs came home from Afghanistan.  He came back, safe and sound, from his third and final combat deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.  Homecoming was totes my favorite event of the year.  Having Matthew back here with me is just beyond words.

best. feeling. ever.

2. This Here Blog: happy hippie rose dot com

I started this here blog, yes! The very one you’re reading!  It’s been a very fun project, a constant in my life that I’ve really come to look forward to.   I enjoy this blog.

And more than any of my feelings – I LOVE when something I’ve written helps someone else, makes another person feel better, or informs someone.  The lovely feedback has just been so inspiring.

2011 hasn’t been an easy-peasy year; during the challenges and hard times (mostly talking about my health here) having a reader reach out and tell me what nice things they’ve gleaned from what I have to say – pushes me to get through it, to carry on, and to do so with a smile.  So, to everyone reading, commenting and being a part of this: THANK YOU!!!

3.  I got a job! 

This just came to be very recently, but it totally counts as a best of the year!  I am so grateful and happy.  I’ve been entrusted with this amazing opportunity and I hope to work really hard and to do a great job.

(If you want to check out who I’m working for, go here: http://www.icucmoderation.com  Just remember, this is my personal blog, and anything I say is just my opinion and nothing to do with ICUC.)

4.  Baptism (and Church in general) 

I was Baptised this year, in September, at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay.  It wa s decision that I stand by (Catholic family members reading this can speak to me one-on-one, I love you and I’ll always be Catholic-by-birth).   Waiting for Matthew to get home, and wanting his support: September was the perfect month.  Matthew took pics and participated by being there, watching, and praying with all of us, his love on that day meant a lot to me.

Being Baptized as an adult is a really public way to declare my faith, and to just go big with it!  A highlight of the year is certainly Hope Chapel, and the level of faith I’ve exercised in general.  From Women’s Retreat to teaching at Children’s Church, to just attending service with my husband every Sunday, Church has been a solid and wonderful aspect of 2011.

Giving back, community service, helping others, and kindness have been such outward reaches of the church, that we’ve found ourselves really doing good in 2011; many of the projects we participated in were church-related.

Baptism is that symbol of being part of the church, and I am so happy and glad for that.  Praise God!!

5. The Holidays

For the first time ever, Matthew and I were able to celebrate the entire run of holidays together.  From Halloween straight to New Year’s.   Being together made the holidays so much fun.  We both love Christmas, and this year we were able to get so into it and go nuts with decorating, and cards and just everything.

happy new year!!

Sharing that New Year’s Kiss was so wonderful, too. Half of 2011 was spent in deployment mode, me alone in Hawaii and Duggs all the way in Afghan.  Kissing that all away and starting a fresh new together year, was just amazing.

6. The Tanners!

Did you think I’d leave our Hawaiian besties out of the list?  This past year we’ve really grown close to the Tanners, and we’ve made so many fun memories with them.  From the Navy Day Ball to boating out on K-bay, crafting nights with Ashley and watching Jed and Duggs be utterly ridiculous together, we love the Tanners!  Thanks for so much fun in ’11.

bailey and jj, BFFs

this is not drunk knife throwing

duggs and jed

me and ashley

7. Tie Dye Business! 

me, hard at work

Yeah, this year brought into being my little homespun tie dye business.  There’s been a lot to learn, and it’s also been a lot of fun.  I’m not sure what the future of hhr is, as of now.  Regardless, it brought purpose, focus, creativity, and ingenuity to my 2011.  To all my customers, I am so thankful for your support!

Want to check it out?  www.facebook.com/happyhippierose

8. Family Visting

This year saw a lot of our family members out here in Hawaii.  First came my Dad and Stepmom.  A couple weeks later, my Mom came out to see us.  In the fall,. Matthew’s Aunt Anne and Uncle Jeff were out here for business, and we were able to spend some time with them.

my stepmom and dad, cheers!

matthew with my mom (kathy)

aunt anne and uncle jeff out to lunch at the shack

matthew with his aunt anne, on k-bay

Being so far away from family is hard.

So seeing those familier faces in the baggage claim was such a joy.  During their trips we were able to see so much of this island by playing tour guide, it was like being on vacation ourselves!

9. My Birthday

Duggs says that my birthday was a highlight of 2011 for him.  That he loved buying me presents and making the day (heck, the weekend) so special for me.  It was our first time being together on my birthday!  So I know that it was special.

I gave a tithing Testimony at church the weekend of my birthday.  So, in that respect, my birthday was a very important day to me too!!

10. HAWAII 

ahhh, amazing

Just being here is a constant amazement.  This is really the most beautiful place of earth.  All year long we explored, hiked, swam in the warm waters, and sighed at the neon sunsets.  I love living here, and I am forever grateful to have spent 2011 on gorgeous O’ahu!

the view from turtle bay

yeah, turtle bay is gorgeous

aloha!

When we leave, Hawaii will carry such a special place in my heart for a long time to come.

11. Overcoming

I was going to put climbing Stairway To Heaven as one of my highlights.  I mean, it was totally a highlight!  An achievement, for sure.

But there were a lot of metaphorical stairways to climb this year, and I’m proud to say I reached the top, or damn near close, of most of them.  With Duggs holding my hand, the climb is always easier.  And once at the top, the view, spectacular.

trigger point injections, my favorite way to spend a day

grrr, i AM tough!

Pushing through and overcoming the tough stuff is the sort of thing that builds character, and gives me that resolution to dig in and overcome the next time ’round.  You only become strong through opportunities that require strength.

2011 has been amazing in it’s own ways.  But it’s a year I’m glad to see behind me.  I’m so stoked for 2012 and all that it may hold!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

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