Losing My Religion

“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight … losing my religion.”  Great R.E.M. jam, right?  It’s totally how I feel today.

Friends of faith, calm down!  I’m not being literal, or rather – I’m not talking about my spiritual religion, Christianity.  My love of Jesus is as intact as ever.  It’s actually thriving I’d say: going through this huge move with so much uncertainty and loose ends, Duggs and I have been very laid back.  I’ve really been able to just hand the reigns over to God and trust that we’ll be fine, it’ll all work out in His time, and that He has my back.  He always does, so why worry now?

love this!

Of course, we’re doing all we can to work hard and set ourselves up for success – but fretting over things out of our control?  Not happening.  We’ve had faith and it’s been very comforting.

What I’m referring to is my religion of eco-friendliness.

Practicing my beliefs through the way I run a home, the purchases I make, the products I choose to surround myself with, put into the environment and my body… I’ve lost that “religion” big time.

I’ve been SO BAD.

Drive-throughs, food dye, nitrates, preservatives… you name it, I’ve been eating it this past month+. I’ve had more take out and delivery than you’d even think humanly possible.  My first week in New York I ate at Dunkin Donuts literally every single day.  (There aren’t any DDs in Hawaii, and I was dying for jelly donuts and pumpernickel bagels like woah).

be still my beating heart

It gets worse…  Much worse.

Hi. My name is Rose, and I’ve shopped at Walmart recently.

(Hi Rose).

Yeah, I need a Walmart Anonymous meeting or something to help me cope.

i’ve been here, and i’ve spent money. oy.

I’m downright ASHAMED that I’ve supported the giant corporation that I’ve been a sworn enemy of for years.  I mean, I belong to an anti-Walmart watchdog group that keeps tabs on all of the pollution-causing antics, third world sweatshop supporting practices and employee rights-squashing shenanigans that the big blue box condones (and usually tries to hide with price roll back smoke and mirrors).

what do all these products have in common? check the brand. sigh.

It still gets WORSE.

I’ve used paper towels.  Lots of them.

the devil’s mess vessel

(I’m basically in tears at this point.  Who am I? Where has the real Rose gone?).

I’ve drank coffee made in a Keurig.  Oh how I swore I never would.  But I did. In multiple homes on multiple occasions… and I liked it.  It’s delicious.  I even bought more K-cups to refill the ones I willfully consumed.

the set-up here at nick’s. it’s sinfully wasteful… and yet sinfully delicious.

look out landfills, mama’s thirsty!

And if we’re getting really honest – which we are, I’m confessing to quite a lot of eco-sins here – I’ve also used some chemically crazy cleaning agents.  A little bleach here, a little neon colored scented spray there.  SIGH.

oh the shame. i should have to turn in my friendship bracelets and bandanna. am i even a hippie anymore?

I mean, I have excuses – sure.  I’ve been a guest in the homes of others.  I’m trying to be polite and keep things simple.  I’m living out of suitcases (essentially), and for a while we were technically homeless.  Going with the flow, not making waves, and so on… but you know what they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I know I’m being hard on myself.  But there’s a certain level of conscientious living that I’ve strived for and I feel like I’ve just totally ignored all of my earthly beliefs lately.

Really though, there is some adjustment period to be expected.  I didn’t pack rags with us like I had intended to (I was so ill the day the movers came to our house in Hawaii, so many of my plans for what was to get packed/shipped and what was to come with us for immediate access went totally out the window – I’m lucky to have underwear and socks with me, it was that crazy, I was that ill).

So I’ve been bad and I know it. 

Duggs and I went more than a year with only buying a single roll of paper towels for our home (for doggie pee when we were dog sitting and other such “emergencies”).  We use cloth napkins, rags, and towels.

I had actually kicked my coffee habit to the curb and was drinking tea, usually only one caffeinated tea a day – the others decaf, herbal, etc.  And even if/when we made coffee, it was with a regular pot.  Many of my (dear beloved) pals have gone Keurig, and while the idea of making one cup at a time seems convenient and nice, the waste just seems inexcusable.  All that packaging! Ugh.  (And I know there’s the “my K-cup” thingy that’s reusable, but still… who uses those? It’s way more fun and easy to just buy the regular disposable K-cups).

And Walmart? Ha! I haven’t been in a walmart in years.  Actually, Duggs and I made ONE purchase there the entire time I lived in Hawaii.  And before that, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been in one.

I like to practice what I preach.   I sure try to anyways.  We all slip up, yes.  I know I’m not perfect, but I try and that’s been something I define myself by, a source of pride.

As an American I know I have power in my vote, sure.  But we all have a power that seems to carry even more impact: consumer power.  Where we spend our hard earned money speaks volumes.  By not buying products I consider wasteful or harmful, by not shopping at stores whose practices I’m not down with – I vote with my money.

I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in recent years. It seems like every year since ’07, my resolution has been “to be greener,” and every year I’ve made imporvements.

Buying and eating better food to not support farming practices I don’t agree with (factory farming is downright evil) and to be kinder to my body is one that I’ve worked on for years.  The amount of waste reduction in our home has been impressive.  Using less and less “disposable” items and more reusable stuffs – it’s better for the earth and it’s better for our pocketbooks.

Do you know how pricey paper towels and paper napkins are?  That junk adds up! Back in Hawaii, I cut up one old towel and made like 15 rags.  They work better than paper towels and you just wash ’em and voila, good to go.  Cloth napkins are nice too, they’re softer on your skin and again, save money, waste less, so on.  Making our own cleaning products is WAY better for the environment and much, much cheaper.  Those fancy products add up; but white distilled vinegar?  Blessedly affordable.

oh wdv, our love affair will never ever end!

My crunchy habits do save us money, which is great.

But more than that, I’ve been able to live a lifestyle I’m proud of, one that allows me to live out my beliefs.  

So without those habits I feel like I’m being untrue to my heart.  I’ve had that R.E.M. song stuck in my head for days, and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  My eco-religion is a little lost right now.

I’m not all evil these days, though.  I’m slowly getting back into my green hippie groove.   The jostle of moving and being on the road, going from place to place was unstable.  But now that we’re here at Nick’s and settled in, I’ve been getting back into a greener routine.  I know it won’t be long before I’m up to my old hippie tricks and living at a level that’s reasonable and good.

It’s just the lapse that happened during the in-between for which I feel guilty.

I had to confess, get it off my chest.  But that’s it, I’m wiping the slate clean and moving on.  While I’m not pleased with some of the wasteful ways I’ve taken up lately, and the whole Wamart thing (*shudders*) … I’m not going to beat myself up too much.  What’s the point?

I’ve recognized the problem, and that’s always the first step.  So now, it’s about moving on and regaining my crunchy cred.  I’ll post soon (tomorrow maybe?) about the greenie ways I’m getting back and the hippie practices I’ve never lost sight of.  There are so many little, easy ways to keep an eco-friendly home, save money and be nice to ourselves and our animals (chemicals kill, yo).

And at some point I should post about all the crunchy hippie habits of mine that save money.  You’d be amazed at how my gentle ways also go so easy on the wallet.  But that’ll be a long post, and I’ll need to think of all the things I do – I don’t want to leave anything out.

For today though, the confession feels nice.  It’s off my chest – so thanks for letting me do that.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that aren’t mine:
Trust God image (it’s actually a teeshirt you can order, rad!)
Dunkin Donuts pic
Walmart storefront pic

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JJ, the Happiest Pooch: Photo Post

Oh JJ is such a country pooch.  He’s loving it here!

bounding with the ball in his mouth, like a real dog who actually knows how to play fetch!

He’s been playing so much, and he has a friend to play with too.  Seeing him run around makes me so happy.  This has been a great move for us, yes.  But the fact that our little boy is enjoying himself so much too really makes me feel great about everything!

rocky and jj

So here’s a massive photo dump of our sweet little doggie having a blast.  I figured I was posting way too many pics as it was, so I’d at least make a separate post chock full of JJ pics.  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you notice another pooch… the chocolate lab about three times bigger than jay = his new bff, Rocky!  Rocky is Nick and Austin’s dog.  At first the two were enemies and didn’t like each other, we even had to get a muzzle for ole mean JJ because he was too snappy.  But after some sniffing and playing, they worked it out and now the two seem to be good pals, having fun running around together.  Whew!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

P.S.

I drafted this post a couple days ago when I had some time, and I’ve since had more time to play with JJ outside.  This video is long (five minutes), but it’s of Duggs and me, playing with JJ and Rocky outside in the backyard.  It’s probably boring to everyone else, but they crack me up!!

In case the vid isn’t working, here’s the YouTube link.

I have it on Photobucket too: link, and this should embed it: http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf

We’re Here, We made it to our New Home!

Hi everyone!

here i am, at my new “working station,” the breakfast nook of nick’s house

I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted an update.  Things have been busy and we’ve been getting settled, of course – but the main reason I’ve been an absentee blogger is to do mostly with the Internet connection.  And the lack of a decent one here.

Turns out we’re a bit more off the beaten path than anticipated and getting a high speed set up has been a tough challenge so far.  We have a temporary solution (a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot), but it doesn’t get us very far and bigger files like photos and movies are painstakingly slow to move about, and usually end up getting dropped before completion.

posted this on instagram this past weekend – it’s a collage of our first weekend in fredonia. love it!

So, I wanted to jump in and say hi, even if I do it without all the bells and whistles of oodles of photos and all that jazz.

here’s the front view of nick’s house – it’s lovely!

We’ve been getting settled in, trying to get a feel for the area and see what all we got ourselves into.  The first couple days we were tired from all the traveling and feeling a bit overwhelmed at all we had to do.  But now that the anxiety of such a move has faded and reality is setting in, I’m just pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve acclimated, how comfy I already I am.

Our room is set up and we’re all unpacked.  We’re settled in and we’ve been able to visit with family in the area.  And, it’s lovely.  The weather has been perfect so far!  A pleasant change, I’m really loving it (even though my lips are all kinds of chapped).   My cousin Nick’s house is very comfortable and I really feel at home here already.  I’ve always gotten along well with Nicky, so I wasn’t worried about that.  But it’s just nice to now actually be here and to feel so at ease.

our room! i love it, it’s bright, clean, cozy and nice. it makes me happy to be all moved in.

Nick’s house is very nice.  He’s worked really hard to make all of this happen, and we’re just grateful to have such a great place to stay.  Not to mention that being with him, Austin and Rocky is just super fun!

nick’s kitchen, it’s plenty big and very nice

the breakfast nook, where i’m actually sitting right now. i love working here, it’s an awesome set up.

here’s a bigger shot of the living room (with sick duggs, aww)… i can and should take some better pics when the lighting is better and with the real camera, not the iphone.

the laundry room, aka: my dungeon! it’s only one part of the epic basement, and i already whipped into shape and got it all set up, organized, and ready to keep this family in clean clothes and linens. (i’m tellin ya, i’ve been on my a-game ever since we got here, it’s awesome).

I was sick, before we packed up in Hawaii… in the hotel in Hawaii, once we got to Long Island and then throughout our whole time in this state.  But now, just now, I’m FINALLY getting to feeling better.  And what happens?  Duggs gets my cold!  Gah.  Poor guy.  He went all this time being around me and my germs and it didn’t get him at all.  I guess it was bound to catch up to him at some point.  I hope he feels better asap.

duggs finally caught my cold, so he’s not feeling so great – on the couch with our little one

Other than Duggs having my cold, everything is just wonderful.  Moving here, so far, is feeling like the best thing ever.  I’m just loving it. It’s been a big change, no doubt.  But it feels like the world is our oyster now… we have so many choices on what to do!

I’ll tell ya the whole story…

My cousin Nick offered for us to come stay with him, in a small town – Fredonia – just outside of Buffalo, NY.  This area is interesting.  A lot of people wouldn’t see the appeal… but for me, I felt something calling me here.  My mom and her siblings grew up in Fredonia.  It’s that side of family’s “home base.”  Out Patriarch, my Great Uncle John, still lives here, as well as a mix of cousins, aunts, uncles, and other extended family.

The winter weather is intense.  Yes. I know.  I’m not sure how I’ll handle my first winter – but you never know until you try, right?

As for spring and summer, I couldn’t think of a more lovely place to live!  The festivals – there’s something going on every single weekend it seems, the weather, the hiking, camping, Lake Erie, Darian Lake (the amusement park, water park, with weekly concerts in the summer), being so close to the city (Buffalo has a lot going on ya know!) as well as the mountains, the countryside, the Finger Lakes, wine country, Canada, Niagra Falls… every which way there is so much to do.

Where we are now, at my cousin’s house, is a bit off the beaten path.  We’re surrounded by vineyards, it’s quiet and peaceful.  Just a couple minutes up the road though and it’s everything you need – grocery, gas, every fast food and chain restaurant, etc.   So for me, it’s a good way to get the best of many worlds.  A new place, a new climate, a new area to explore – the calm and quiet country life with a busy world not too far away.  Lots of family in the area, and just knowing my roots are here is neat.  Matthew’s family is nearby too, and now my sister is as well.  If we want stuff to do, we just have to look around.

And come winter, even though it’ll be cold and snowy – there’s so much to do!  Sledding, skiing, ice fishing, snow mobiling, hunting, etc.  We chose this area because all year round there’s a lot to do outdoors.  Chautauqua County is an interesting place, full of its own culture and color, and we’re excited to learn more about this place.  Besides, if you’re going to live where it gets cold, you may as well live where there’s enough snow to have fun with it, right?  (that’s what we’re telling ourselves anyways!)

So, we’re here!

It’ll still be a little while before all the details are taken care of and we have our whole lives set in stone and mapped out.  Our car and all of our household goods are in transit, we’re not sure how long we’ll live with Nick, etc.  But for now, for our first week here – things couldn’t be any better.

Thanks for following along with the journey and for all the nice and supportive comments and emails I’ve gotten.  It means so much!

Later this week I’ll put up a HUGE photo post – with all the nice and fancy pics we’ve taken here with the good camera.  It’ll be nice and you’ll be able to get an even better idea of what I’m talking about in regards to the area and all that.

At least now you have an idea of where I am and what our new life is starting to look like.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

HNL to JFK, Road Trip, Reunions, and So On…

We don’t live in Hawaii anymore.  It’s so crazy to realize that, but in another way – it feels like it’s been forever since I was in Hawaii.  I know it’s hardly been a week since we left, but the sounds of luau music and the taste of pineapple with li hing feel like super distant memories.  It’s weird how time can mess with you like that!

We finally left Hawaii on the evening of May 1st.  Getting all of our luggage, the pooch and ourselves to the airport was comedic at best.

the shuttle from the hotel to the airport. yeah, we literally filled the whole thing

arriving at the honolulu airport – so much stuff, yikes!

It took so long to do all the checking in and inspections that we were literally the last ones to run aboard the plane just moments before take-off.  American Airlines was actually great, they only charged us $175 for JJ – and if you’ve been following all of the controversy and price changes for animals accompaniment fare, you know this is a screaming good deal!

checking the pooch into american airlines

I was so sad to say bye to JJ.  I was so worried about my pooch being on the plane, all by himself.  He’s meek and scared of everything as it is.  I knew the poor little guy was just going to be terrified the whole time.  I slept with a blanket for a week out, so it would really smell like me.  We had his favorite pals, Hippo and Bonky in there with him, along with a new doggie bed a couple pillows he likes.

saying good bye to the pooch before we boarded the plane in hawaii

Then it was go time!

self-port in the plane lavatory, hahah. i’m shameless.

duggs and me, on the plane – good bye hawaii and hello new adventure!

We made a quick stop in LAX (and hey! Cali friends, don’t worry, we hardly had more than a few minutes to sit at the gate and then we were off again – if I ever have enough time to hang out during a layover I make sure to let folks know, and this was NOT one of those time).  Then on to JFK in New York City it was!  Jayjers seems to have done well enough, because when we picked him up in the NY airport he was his happy, excited, adorable self!

i look so tired after flying all night – but i’m super happy to be reunited with my sweet boy!

rounding up all of our crap in the jfk baggage claim

We landed in the mid-afternoon of May 2nd.  Between the flight lengths and the time change it really takes about a full day to go from Hawaii to the East Coast.  Then the nest adventure was rounding up the luggage (all zillion pieces of it… seven checked, 3 carry ons and a pooch, to be exact) and get the rental car checked out and on the road.

The first stop was Miss Alices, or Mom’s – my Mother-in-Law’s place in Long Beach, Long Island.

miss alice, outside of her home in long beach, long island, ny.

We stayed at Miss Alice’s house for three nights!  We were able to catch up with her, Matthew got to see BOTH of his brothers and we just all had an awesome time.  We got to relax, shoot the breeze, and it was just lovely all around.  MIss Alice treated us to some amazing home-cooked meals and we just lived it up, relaxing and taking it all in!

stephen, matthew’s brother holds jj

Matthew and I did some shopping (we made some awesome use out of some leftover gift cards from Christmas).

duggs driving me to the mall for some shopping!

yo, i’m at the mall. so what about it?

oh hay duggs, how does it feel to be back home?

It’s been a little colder here than we expected – but the change of pace has felt AMAZING. I love it!  We packed for a slightly warmer season, so while at the mall we did grab a couple more sweaters.  And Miss Alice gifted me some layering stuff and sweaters too.  Surprisingly, I’ve done well with the climate change and haven’t felt “cold” at all.  I’ve just really liked it!   One thing I have had to get used to – having to wear real clothes.  In Hawaii, I dressed sooooo casually, flip flops (slippahs) and sundresses all the time!  Not to mention I work from home, so I hardly get all dolled up.  In the NYC-area, it’s a different story.  You can’t go running errands looking like a slouch.  So I’ve had a fun time wearing “real” clothes.  It feels good!

A few of Matthew’s pals hosted a really sweet gathering for us and we were able to catch up with a lot of friends.  It was so rad!

duggs and me, from the night we hung out with everyone

We had a great night hanging out with everyone.  I was too busy gabbing (go figure!) to take many pics… ugh.  I promise that once we go through the real camera and upload pics, I’ll include whatever ones we have from that night.  It was a blast seeing Christian and Lauren, their little baby Griffin, Lauren’s parents were such a delight!  And then so many friends came over to say hi!  We got to see Brian and Rachel, Nick and Liz, my friend Marissa met up with us too, Christian’s brother Shawn, and then we were there – it was such a cool night!  (I really really hope I didn’t forget anyone).

To everyone who came and hung out – thank you so much!  It was so rad to see everyone.

miss alice, during the road trip out to the east end of the island

the view driving near nanny and grandparent’s house out in amagansett, long island

me and the sweet pooch on the road, loving it!

Before we went to the actual house, we stopped by the beach in Amagansett and I was able to lay eyes on the Atlantic Ocean once again.  After living in and around the Pacific the past couple years, and getting used to its warm waters and bright blue electric colors – it was nice to see my tried and true gray Atlantic.  Something about the murky and cold water just feels comforting to me, out of familiarity, out of the hours and hours I’ve spent in it and on it… as gorgeous as the Pacific is, the Atlantic will always be home to me!

the ocean!

the house in amagansett – it’s a beautiful beach home that duggs and his fam have all gathered at for years.

We spent a night with Matthew’s grandparents, his mom, his brother Johnny and his Uncle Joe all out at the beach house in Amagansett.  Uncle Joe had his lovely doggie Kola with him, and seeing Jay and Kola interact was fun and cute.  The time out at the beach house was very relaxing.  It’s so quiet out there, it was really nice.

I woke up the morning we were to head out that way with a dreadful sore throat.  I was so worried about getting everyone sick, but it’s been way too long since we’ve seen everyone.  So long as they were okay with me and my germs, I was more than happy to suck it up and make the trip anyways!

Here’s where I’m a heel: the vast majority of the picks we took were on the good camera and I haven’t even started to upload and sort through those.  The only ones I have are my random iPhone snap shots.  So I’ll have to go back and post much better pics from this trip when I have some real time to do a nice job.  On my phone, I hardly got any family pics – just some weird snaps here and there.

 

johnny is the biker of the fam, he looks like jax from sons of anarchy!

duggs and i got to sleep lucy and dezi style in twin beds, hehe! it was so nice and quiet there, we were able to get some great sleep.

check out this old school image of super duper hottie hubby back in the day!

Grandpa cooked us a lovely meal of salmon and rice, Nanny served a light and a delicious   key lime pie.  The whole family was able to catch up, chit chat and relax.  I know Matthew was just so happy to get to see his family – for him it had been about two years since he’d seen anyone!

The single night spent out there came and went too soon, and before I knew it we were on the road again… time to head back to Long Beach and drop off Miss Alice (my mother-in-law) and then pack up and head out to Pottersville.

Next up: a blog about our time at Camp Curtis on Valentine Pond, in Pottersville, NY.   Our road trip will continue and we’ll keep going and visiting more fam and friends.

the road trip route: JFK to long island, going all across the whole island and then back to the city, up toward and past albany and then on to buffalo! pretty sweet way to criss cross the state, huh?

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

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

30 Days of Blogging Honesty – Day 11

Day 11 — When I’ve had a really bad day the first thing (not person) I reach for is…

the couch. 

Howdy y’all, happy Saturday! I’m writing to you from sleepy eyes with tired hands.  This past week was another whirlwind doozy.  The move is getting closer and closer, and things have just been really hectic as our time in Hawaii is coming to an end, work is super busy, and yes – I’m still sick.  I’m on the mend though, and I’d rather be ill here and now than moving sick.

We have the comfiest soft couch; I just love our living room.  It’s such a soothing place to be, that’s for sure.

save some room for me, will ya?!?

I love to veg out when I’m stressed.

TV, snacks, comfy blankets, lots of pillows … and just zone out.  Having the pooch and Duggs with me is pretty great too.  Maybe if I can get a backrub or a foot massage out of it, that’s just incredible icing on the relaxation cake.

oh yeah, that's the good stuff right there

A good second place option is the bathtub.  I LOVE taking a nice, long, hot bath after a stressful day.  I love bringing a compy into the bathroom and watching streaming TV or movies, or listening to music or a podcast.

Yeah, I’m really good at just vegging out.  I love simple distraction to help my brain unwind.

Today was short and sweet, huh?!?

as always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

I’m participating in a fun blogging event.  Tom Baker and Cherlyn Cochrane created the “30 Days of Blogging Honesty” challenge – chock full of 30 writing prompts + one dare at the end!  To read all the rules and prompts, click this link.

Check out the other bloggers playing along:

Participants
Cherlyn Cochrane
Jenn MikoLJMelanieLast Civilized WomanPrincesa MusangPrimadonna Zel,CarolineKoiAurathenaTerriblethinkerSleep and SalamiMarliz3ePrysmatiqueDLonelyStarAnonymousBurnNicoleSylvia GarzaMariana,NenskeiMyNakedBokkieBluefiadiarriesVeehCirraBannatreasuresSajeevHappyhippieroseTheFerkelTom Baker*Sofia*Everything Love & Lust,*TemptingSweets99, Sites with an * contain NSFW material. If erotic or sexual material is offensive to you, please do not visit these three blogs.

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

This is Dedicated To The Ones We Love: Valentines To Our Bodies

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! 

Lately, I’ve been posting about some of my body image issues, Being down and out on the way I look… and I’ve seen a lot of replies come in letting me know that I’m not alone. 

A lot of us are hard on ourselves – over the way we look, the size of our bodies, over not fitting into this perfect image we think we should match up to.  

I want to change the way I see myself.  I want to break the patterns of being critical, sometimes self-hating, and getting so discouraged over my appearance… Instead, I want to use words of love to describe myself, having a focus of appreciation, wonder, and gratefulness towards my body. 

Instead of going it alone, I asked my friends to join in.  

What better timing than to do something like this on Valentine’s Day?  We can make our bodies the object of our affections. Now – I know there are lots of other projects out there that are like-minded.  I think that’s rad!  I didn’t mean to emulate or copy anyone with my effort here; the fact that lots of us are trying to embrace an air of positive body image is an awesome, good thing.  So if you know of another project or movement – link us to it!  Let’s share in the love. 

Reading these letters makes me smile, laugh, and even tear up a little bit.  There is so much beauty in this post, it’s overwhelming.  THANK YOU EVERYONE for your participation.  And for showing us all your real loveliness! 

Now, without further adieu…  Valentines To Our Bodies

Adam Avitable

adam avitable, showing us his best side? while the avitable is about joking around, adam is quite the dashing, charming, good looking guy!

Adam’s post is a little tongue-in-cheek.  He is an online humorist, and he’s great. Here are some excerpts – to check out his whole post, go here.

Dear Body, I love you. I knew that a steady diet of cheeseburgers, french fries, pizza, and butter would make you into an object of desire and affection. Your hair still covers every inch of you, except on the top of your head, but that’s okay. I enjoy being able to explore fashion trends with different types of hats. Being the size of six normal people just means that you are six times as awesome! Being able to ride in solace in an elevator because you meet the weight limit alone is gratifying. Bringing your own titanium chair to restaurants allows you to protect the environment, and buying four seats on an airplane before you board gives you the comfort that none of those other passengers will ever experience.

Andrew N.

andrew is a handsome gent - and look at the awesome TIE DYE!!!

So you wanna a love letter huh?

I love my body…

Your Statistics

Height 5’8″
Weight 215 lbs
Age 43 years
Gender male

Your Results

BMI 32.69 More info
BMR 2038.95 More info

I love my body so much I think its off the charts!  “BMI is between 30-34.99 (Obese Class 1) Individuals with a BMI of 30-34.99 are in a physically unhealthy condition”

I do love my body!

I hear walking is good exercise, so I tried this summer.  I also like to fish…it can be so relaxing.  Maybe I need to learn to fix healthier meals or something?   

This is fun. 

Ashley Tanner

ashley's pretty faceashley all va-va-voom at the navy day ball!

My sweet friend  Rose wrote a post about body image recently, and then extended the invite to write a love letter to our bodies!  I have struggled with body image issues in the past, mostly centering around my nose from elementary school through college, and more recently with my weight.  The weight was the hardest because I felt like it was something I could control, so when I first gained while my amazing husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were dealing with our first combat deployment, I used food as comfort.  That resulted in me going from my all time low of 125 to my all time high of 145-150.  I ran myself so hard (literally) I hurt my knee, I had to switch to swimming.  Then in 2011 I hurt my foot badly.  When I got off crutches after a month it hurt to walk 1/4 of a mile.  Now I can walk a full 9 miles, but my knees and hips pay for it because of the remaining scar tissue on the ball of my foot.  At the height of this injury, none of my clothes fit.  Not even the clothes that fit when i was 145-150.  That was devastating, and I refused to step of a scale.  I have since lost some of it, but my new aversion to scales has kept me from knowing how much.  I still hover around 140, my husband swears up and down I am the most beautiful woman he knows, and my body is amazing.  I seriously would be a mess sometimes without him.  
 
Now for the love letter… I love my legs.  They are long and gorgeous, and have carried me on runs and swims for distances I never knew I could achieve, and they remained faithful to me as I recovered by regaining enough strength to do basic exercises fairly quickly.  I love my size 10 hips, they are gorgeous and curvy, and I know they will serve me well some day when I have kids!  I love my back and shoulders, when I was swimming a lot I felt the changes in them and the strength, even though I do not swim like I used to, I still feel like they are stronger than they were before I was swimming a lot. I love my nose, if it was any smaller it would look strange on my long angular face.  It is also the most obvious feature I have gained from my Lebanese heritage and I am proud of it!  
 
I love you Rose!!  I think what you’re doing is amazing! 

 
Becky Cooper 

beautiful becky cooper

Becky wrote an entire blog post about today’s subject – check her out at Beautiful DIsaster.   Here’s a snippet of what Becky wrote:

I’d like to send a thank you out to every person in the world who takes a moment of their day to tell someone they’re beautiful!  One simple comment can be the difference between a smile or a frown for the day. A huge thank you to Happy Hippie Rose and her amazing blog for inspiring me to be comfortable in my body, and for always being there when I think I’m going crazy!

Claire Williams

the williams fam, claire with her hubs and two lovely children

Dearest one and only body, 
You are a precious gift from God and a temple to be cherished! You’ve allowed me to do so many amazing things throughout my life so far. But there is no doubt that the greatest gifts of my entire life are my husband and two beautiful children. And you, my magnificent body are the beautiful, strong, patient, safe and healthy environment that helped bring my children into this world! I love you for your strength that made both their births 100% drug free and for the ability to just make, grow and deliver them! What a miracle. I have more respect for you now than ever before. I’m grateful to God for you..I vow to protect and love you and teach my children to love and respect their bodies as well. Thank you!
 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
 
All my love and respect,
Claire Helena Williams

Heather Lyman 

heather – my pretty, inspiring, strong, wonderful cousin!

What a cool idea!  

 
Media has stripped away our ability to see beauty for what it really is…

 
I love my arms because they allow me to hug those in need of affection.
I love my mouth because I am able to lift the spirits of those around me, to praise their efforts, give them reassurance, profess my love and let them know I care.
I love my ears for they allow me to listen to those that need an ear to bend.
I love my stretch marks (most the time) because they remind me of the beautiful children I have and how much they have changed my life for the better and made me a better person.
I love my shoulders, for they let the weight of the world rest on them at times.
 
Most of all, I love my whole body, for it encompasses who I am; my spirit, my love, my heart, and no other person is me (no matter how hard they try to be 😉 ) !
 
Love ya Rose!
Leigh Palmer

leigh, doing what she does best - being happy, lovely, and awesome!

Dear Leigh’s Body –
 
I’m so amazed at the places you’ve gone – from sun, to sand to snow. From childhood to motherhood. You’ve gone up, you’ve gone down, but you always share your thoughts with me. When I’ve been bad and stayed out late – you told me. When I’ve been good and gone to the gym- you thanked me. Thanks for always letting me know what’s going on. I promise to always take care of and treasure you.
Libby Felts James

libby is a gorgeous girl, happy, honest and free!

Dear Lib’s Bod: You are amazing and I love you because you allow me to feel pleasure. Pleasure with a friend, pleasure on my own, pleasure when I taste something delicious, pleasure when I take a hot bath, pleasure when the sun shines on my skin, pleasure when I hear beautiful music, pleasure when I see beauty in my environment, pleasure when I get a little high after riding my mountain bike, pleasure when my husband smiles at me—I owe all of this to the marvelously formed miracle that is you. You fucking rock.

Awesome project, Rose! It is so great that you’re doing this!  

Check out Libby’s blog here.

Sara Stewart

sweet sar smiling - i love it! sar is smart, funny, and as you can see: beautiful!

Dear Me, 

After Careful consideration, thank you for all the things you have let me accomplish over the years, and most of all thank you for teaching me despite insecurities, that large, or small, overweight or thin that it doesn’t change what I am capable of, and best of all even with all the changes over the years, that it’s learning how to smile and laugh even when faced with tight situations (pants or otherwise) that is best lesson of all. 

Cheers, Sarah. 

Shannon Johnson Thomas

shannon dances with grace, her body is an expression of beauty

Dear Body,

 

Although you are quite vertically challenged (I am 5 foot small), you make up for it with your strength and agility.  My muscular physic allows me to express myself through the art of dance.  Because of this, I cherish you and always will.   :):):)

 

Love,

Shannie

And now it’s my turn.
Rose Duggan – the happy hippie rose

taken just now - me and pooch.no sucking in, no photo editing.100% authentic me - and i'm learning to love every inch!

Dear Body,
I love you.  Yes sometimes, you give me aches and pains.  Sometimes, it seems that you’re in a massive revolt against every intention I have.  Oftentimes, I feel out of control when it comes to you. 
Despite it all, though, I LOVE YOU. 
You have never failed me.  
My strong legs have always carried me.  Running mile after mile, rising up to a challenge, walking gracefully through the various phases of life – sometimes even skipping.  I love you long, strong stems.
My arms, though not strong by many standards have served me well.  They carry enough for me, they’ve learned to hug (hey, I haven’t always been a “hugger,” ya know).
My hands make art and type words that mean a lot.  They paint, craft, cook, and sometimes they fly out of control trying to illustrate a point I’m making.  Best of all – they hold the hands of Duggs. 
My eyes see the best in people.  
My hair has always done its own thing, and for that I have the utmost respect! 
Oh body, we have so much fun together.  We explore, travel, snuggle, stretch.  We’re at our best in water – I think maybe you are part fish.  (And I’m totally cool with that).  
Body, I am mean to you.  I call you names, and I feed you junk food.  I look at photos of other bodies and then I get mad at you.  I have an impossible standard for you, and it’s not fair.  For this, I am sorry.  I would like to be much nicer to you; I want to show you how much I love you. 
I thank God for making you just the way He did.  Exactly. 
Through every challenge we’ve gone through, I’ve learned much.  Every scar has a story and has helped shape who I am.  I love myself, and thus – I do love you too, dear body of mine. 
XOXO, Rose 
 

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