Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five years later-- Katrina in my Rear View Mirror...a reflection.

gulfport mississippi  sept 2005


Corny as it sounds, it's been said.... the fragrance of a flower lingers on your
hand long after you have given the flower away..

Those words probably best describe what it feels like to be part of something so big.  Back in 2005, I was so moved, I found myself heading off to Mississippi to be part of something bigger than my own little world.  To be part of a moment in time when the problems in that corner of our country were so overwhelming, so devastating,  so final for so very many people.  For me, I knew that sending a check in the mail just wasn't an option.   At the time, I had the luxury of having the time and support from my family and friends to be able to help first hand. I had an opportunity to have the adventure of a lifetime,
to take a risk and give with all my heart. I felt it was something I just had to do.

Before leaving for my trip, I organized and gathered donations of baby clothes, diapers, formula and toys for the children I knew I would find on my trip.  I multiplied my efforts by contacting the local radio stations and using my baby photography studio as a drop location.  I used  my connections with other small businesses who were also in the baby world to act as drop locations all over the Seattle area.  Donations poured in.  Continental Airlines allowed me to fly with several dozen boxes of donated items all the way across the United States to my destination for no extra fee. Yippeee!

If there is one thing I've learned about volunteering over the's that you have to check your ego at the door  (and your vanity!!)  Of course there were some bumps, OHMYGOSH, the heat, humidity and the BUGS!!  Not to mention that we only had one shower for the volunteers... that meant showering in a shower that 60 other people had showered in that day... sleeping in a church nursery on the floor.  And did I mention that I had really BIG hair from the humidity !!!  Honestly, I had everything I needed, sunscreen, water and bug spray.  
It was easy to keep my eyes on my number one purpose and that was to bring a smile and positive energy to a corner of the world that was in such turmoil.   To people who had lost so much and to the people who were working so hard as volunteers.  I learned to balance taking care of myself and being able to give and share.  
In the end, I took home so much more than I ever thought possible.  People were so grateful and appreciative.  I saw it, day in and day out.  I saw people working and pulling together, the Amish, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Atheists... it was a sight to see.  I saw the good instead of the devastation.  There would have been no point to focus on the devastation, that old saying, "it is what it is" was never more true. 
I wasn't sure if I would know when it was time to come home, but I did.  That moment came after nearly two weeks one evening when  I found myself sleeping on two metal chairs pushed together in the basement of a New Orleans church. I had given all I had to give and it felt great! 

 YouTube here...share my experience

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eloping to San Diego with Sarah and Braulio from Palm Springs!

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Sarah and Braulio along with their daughters
Eloped to San Diego with us!
Not only was the weather perfect but everything else was just as wonderful for them.  Here's what Sarah had to say about her elopement ceremony with us:

sarah and braulio  coronado beach wedding with christine and steve
Their ceremony with Steve

We couldn't have been happier about how our wedding turned out! It was perfect and exactly what we expected~ thank you so much!  We received the pictures yesterday and I can't tell you how happy we are.

Christine, you captured our day in a way that we will always help us to remember just how perfect and special everything really was.
  Thank you for everything... you have a very special place in my heart!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

You are Welcome! A wonderful thank you note from Jen & Ariel who decided to "Elope to San Diego" with us!

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We want to thank you, Christine and Steve for doing such a wonderful ceremony! Our day was exactly what we wanted-just the two of us on the beach! The location was beautiful and we LOVE how our pictures came out!! My Marine is currently deployed, so please keep us in your thoughts. I know you said you like to keep in touch with us. Thank you again.

Jen and Ariel
Eloped with us on Coronado Beach

We both thank you both for your service- know that you are in our thoughts,
  and we really do know first hand the sacrifice you are both making for all of us....
  we truly appreciate you both ~

our little website
for more information about eloping on the beaches of Coronado with Christine and Steve.  Information if you are active duty military and want to Elope in Style!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our weekend weddings part TWO...

more weddings and elopements from this the second weekend in August
Bridgette and Andrew, both serving in the Navy

We were happy and excited to help Wendy and Robert from Nebraska, Bridgett and Andrew both in the Navy, Carey and Joshua from Las Vegas and Vanessa and Darren from the neighborhood~~
  have a really wonderful wedding day as they
Eloped to San Diego
with us
Congrats we LOVED being part of each of these celebrations.  

sandy, happy feet

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This mornings wedding with Christine and Steve of Elope San Diego...Congrats Vanessa and Darren!

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our wedding this morning

Vanessa and Darren eloped with us this morning :)

thank you darren and family for all you do for us by serving in the military x0x0

Friday, August 13, 2010

Great Wedding Story...Carla and Jason tie the knot- "Dog Rescue-Style".. story from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

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Great Story about a wedding with a dog rescue theme, featured in Best Friends Newsletter.

  Before we get to that wedding- we have to tell you about what a cool place Best Friends Animals Sanctuary is.   We know first hand because Christine volunteered last fall at their sanctuary in Kanab, Utah

Best Friends in a nutshell:
they are the largest no-kill sanctuary in the United States... and if that's not enough...the DogTown series was filmed live at the sanctuary and shown on the National Geographic Channel, they also fought to save the lives of the dogs that Michael Vick was using in his dog fighting ring and were able to rehabilitate many of them.  Additionally, they were instrumental in the rescue of animals during Katrina...

photos by melissa mullen
Read this great wedding story right here:

photos by melissa mullen

If you would like to help Best Friends at your wedding, here's how, it's very easy!
There are a number of ways you can incorporate Best Friends into your wedding, anniversary, birthday party or any other celebration. Instead of party favors, for instance, you can let your guests know that you’ve made a donation to the animals as part of the celebration. Best Friends can also set up a gift event for your wedding, in which you include small cards with your invitations that let your guests know they can make a gift donation to Best Friends to celebrate your special day. For more information, or if you’d like to individualize how you involve Best Friends in your celebration, email or call (435) 644-2001 ext. 4801.

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