Monthly Archives: August 2009

News of the Greenville Twestival Reaches India

twest loc 1Here’s the thing about being a freelance writer, yes the hours are flexible and yes you can wear sweats every day of the week if you want, but a downside is some months are gangbusters and some months are like January at the local mall. For me the August work load was a little on the light side and I’m not someone who can sit around watching What Not to Wear for hours. If I have one slow-paced day I’m contemplating the real value of my existence. It’s just not pretty. I have a keen awareness that our days are numbered and I don’t like wasting any of them. I’m telling you all this so you’ll understand why I felt the need to undertake the planning of an entire fundraiser in just three weeks. Work was slow. I read a blog about Twestival Local. I signed up to coordinate the one in Greenville.

A group of London Twitter users launched Twestival a year ago. They wanted to combine Twitter with making a difference in the world. Their first big event was in February when they raised money for Charity:Water, an amazing organization bringing clean water to third world countries– a mission that is VERY close to my heart. In one weekend Twestival raised $250,000– enough to dig 55 wells in Uganda, Ethiopia and India. Six months later they created Twestival Local. Cities– hundreds of them– all over the world will have Twestival Local events on the same weekend, September 10-13. This time the money will go to a local cause. So that was my first task– taking in charity nominations and letting the community vote on them. Eleven charities were nominated. Thirty-five hundred votes were cast. Miracle Hill Boys Shelter received the most votes.

Another charity nominated was Hydromissions, an organization I love. The founders of Hydromissions, Steve and Jen Lorch worked hard to rally support and get votes. They sent emails around the world– including one to India to a volunteer named Penke– asking for his vote and his prayers. Unfortunately Penke didn’t get the message in time before the voting cut off, which Penke seemed to take particularly hard. Here’s the email he wrote that Jen forwarded to me:

Greetings to you in name of jesus christ.  i am much eager to know of voting.I am very grief  for not helped  others for voting to hydromission from india.becuase our regions not much having internet connection.and not knowing of internet use.

we have two internet connection(public) in our home town.if we go from our home town to interior or coastal ,atleast we dont have facility of phone also.

That’s why i did not do best to hydromissions by computer voting.

If the postal mail voting i would have done thousands to hydromissions from our pastors and churches.

I am very greif of this situation for not helped to hydromissions. The hydromission did best serivce in india by bore wells project. kindly forgive me for not helped to hydromissions for computer voting.our people are not much forward in all things.

I hope you would understand our situation .

Thanking you

penke

It feels good knowing someone so far away was so concerned with our little event here in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s obvious that Penke has a huge heart and would have done anything to support Hydromissions. While the GreenvilleTwestival is only two weeks away and many details still need to be finalized, I only hope that people in our own community step up to support Miracle Hill’s Boys Shelter with even a fraction of Penke’s passion. Our days are numbered so let’s not waste any of them. As someone once said, being good is commendable but only combined with doing good is it useful.

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Awesome Deals for Our House

This was THE weekend for good deals! On Sunday I saved over $100 on my grocery bill at Publix. That was a record for me as far as amount saved. It equaled out to about a 63% discount because I got about $160 worth of groceries for $59. My receipt is about three feet long! Saturday we spent pretty much all day shopping in Charlotte. After months of searching, we found two things we had been looking for. First of all, we got two new chairs for our front porch at the Pottery Barn Outlet in Gaffney. They sell West Elm furniture and we got two of these cute wood-slat chairs, with a cushion for just $60 each!

Our Cushions are Gray, Matching our Front Door

Our Cushions are Gray, Matching our Front Door

You can still get the chairs on the West Elm website for $169, plus another $24 for the cushion. The other exciting deal we found were curtain rods for our dining room and living room. For the past year we have been living in a fish bowl with just a sheer blind from Ikea shielding us from the world. I bought fabric to make curtains back in April, but haven’t been able to find decent, affordable curtain rods. I need six of them, so I was dreading how expensive it might be. Thankfully I found these cute little guys at Crate and Barrel.

The Long-Awaited Curtain Rod

The Long-Awaited Curtain Rod

They are regularly $49 but we picked them up for $14 a piece, which made the entire purchase less than $100. That’s about what you would spend on curtain rods at Wal-mart or Target, and I’m sure these are better quality. Plus they are different which was important to me. That means we spent $276 on items that would have cost us $840! That’s an overall savings of 68%! Can you tell I get excited by a good deal?

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Five Years Since Hurricane Charley

The Path of Hurricane Charley

The Path of Hurricane Charley

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Hurricane Charley ripped through Southwest Florida, destroying homes, leveling communities and scaring the crap out of me. I was working as a reporter at WINK-TV at the time. During the early morning hours of Friday, August 13 I got ready for work, put my dog in the bathtub with plenty of food and water and prayed he’d be ok.

I was sent to the beach with a photographer and another reporter to cover the hurricane’s arrival. As the storm started to pick up we decided to venture out in a station SUV. I truly felt close to death. Streets were deserted. Rain flew sideways. A port-a-potty glided past us like a leaf floating in the breeze. Power lines dropped from the sky. And we were 30 miles from the worst of it.

In the days that followed I worked the longest, hardest, most draining hours of my life. I’d finally end my shift only to have to fill sand bags from a pile the city dumped in a downtown park so residents could protect their homes. My house was feet from the Caloosahatchee River and I’d been warned it might blow its banks. For the next couple of weeks I was sent daily up to Charlotte County, the worst hit. News crews descended from all over. I rode in fire trucks as they surveyed the damage. I saw forks drilled into telephone polls from powerful winds and delicate tea cups sitting on shelves, surrounded by rubble.

There were no grocery stores open. Few fast food restaurants were still standing. I relied on half-eaten pop tarts, cold canned ravioli and bottled water from rescue organizations to keep going. While it was one of the most trying times in my career as a reporter, it was also one of the most rewarding. I saw firsthand the love and compassion people can have when strangers are struggling. People came from all over to bring food, clothing and water to people who had lost everything. One man spent thousands of dollars filling a huge tank with gas, only to give it away for free to people who needed to keep their generators going. The storm that I thought could have killed me tried its best to wipe out Charlotte County Florida. But I think it only made the community– and  me– stronger.

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Celebrating Two Years of Marriage in Charleston

I’m so excited! We booked a studio apartment in the heart of Charleston for Labor Day weekend. It’s to celebrate our two year anniversary. We spent our one year anniversary in airports coming back from a wedding in Iowa. Our house was in the beginning stages of being renovated so it was a stressful time. This year will be much different! Check out the place we are staying:

The Studio Apartment in Downtown Charleston

The Studio Apartment in Downtown Charleston

It's Above an Art Gallery

It's Above an Art Gallery

It even has a little deck. I think it looks so clean and peaceful! I’m really looking forward to our romantic getaway and to celebrating two happy, fun, crazy years.

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One Year Ago I Had Crazy Tan Lines

At the Finish Line of Our 2 Wheels 4 Water Journey

At the Finish Line of Our 2 Wheels 4 Water Journey

It’s hard to believe, but just over a year ago we wrapped up our 1143 mile scooter journey across North and South Carolina to raise money for world water projects. We called it 2 Wheels 4 Water. It was an amazing trip that I will always remember fondly and I hope to repeat. More than camping in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot, more than living in a Pontiac for ten days with four other people, and even more than running two marathons, 2 Wheels 4 Water was a test of endurance– both physically and mentally. We met a lot of neat people, traveled some lovely southern back roads and came home with some crazy tan lines. Most importantly, we raised over $3000 to put water wells in remote villages around the world through an incredible organization called Hydromissions. In case you were wondering, Franky the Vespa is still running strong.

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Don’t You Just Love Weddings?

Don’t you just love weddings? I recently returned from a great one. One of my very best friends in the whole world got married last weekend. The wedding was in Okoboji, Iowa, about 90 minutes from where we grew up. Okoboji is to Iowans what the beach is to South Carolinians. It’s the summer destination for sun and sand.

Jet Skiing on Lake Okoboji

Jet Skiing on Lake Okoboji

We stayed three nights at an Inn on the lake. I went for jogs along the shore and ended my workouts stretching on the end of a dock. The weather was absolutely beautiful and got me anxious for fall. I was a bridesmaid and my husband was the best man. I got to spend lots of time with some of my favorite people. We laughed until our stomachs hurt and made lots of great memories.

The Bride and Her Bridesmaids

The Bride and Her Bridesmaids

The bride and her new hubby are now celebrating in Hawaii. I imagine them relaxing on a tropical beach, zip lining like they are starring in an episode of the Bachelorette and hiking up volcanoes. While I’m a little jealous I can’t be learning how to hula dance, I’m glad I was a part of her special weekend. Now all of my close friends (except for one!) is experiencing the joys of marriage. Congrats Tonya and Ryan!!

All the Married Friends Showing off Our Bling

All the Married Friends Showing off Our Bling

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Filed under Friends, Getaways, life, Marriage