moving day!

Oh, blog peeps. Do I ever have something to tell you…

The bad news: Say goodbye to this here blog. My Green Orchard is being put to pasture (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?). It’s been a good blog. There were some great memories (this one! and this one! and this one too!). But it’s time for a small change of direction.

So, the good news: Say hello to and, the new website and blog, respectively.

WOW! Who knew?!

I could proceed with this post sentimentally, reflectively, professionally, ecstatically, or in about a thousand other ways. But mostly, I’m surprised. I never, ever thought that when I picked up a camera and started seeing beauty everywhere that I’d someday create a website and take pictures for other people.

God’s funny that way. Wiley like a coyote.

So, there it is! I really hope you all like the website. It represents about 8,000 years of (and taken off of) my life over the past few months. Technology isn’t for the faint of heart.

As for the blog, I hope that you’ll find more of the same things you’ve found here, but with a bit of a new direction. Daily life commentary infused with food, football, unexpected adventures, and things my mom said will still abound, along with lots and lots of pictures!

I’m not sure what will come of the new sites, but I’m so excited to find out. Thanks for being the fantastic blog readers that you are and for joining me on a boatload of diverse life happenings over the past two years! Can’t wait to continue the party over at!

(Public Service Announcement: If you’re nice enough to subscribe via email or Google Reader, you’ll need to change your subscription to the new blog site to receive updated posts from now on. Please and thank you.)

programming note


The face of the earth…

I promise I haven’t fallen off of it.

I’m just working on a few other projects right now and sadly (so sadly!) the blog has taken the brunt of the consequent neglect. Be ready for more posts than you want, need, or know what to do with in the near to immediate future.

In the meantime, happy MARCH! (And for those of you who are also wondering how we’ve already arrived at the third month of 2011, I’m right there with you.)

belated news flash

So hey, I moved!

And started a new job!

And forgot to tell you guys!

I’ll give myself multiple blogging demerits for that one.

Remember this? When I left Roberts 6 months ago? When I left thinking that in the next 6 months I would drive away in a blaze of glory, fall in love with a location on Roadtrip USA, and make a semi-permanent move to a place that was decidedly not Rochester, NY?

Welp. It’s 6 months later. I’m back in Rochester. And back at Roberts, no less!

Oh, irony. You’re a funny friend.

The story is this: Roberts graciously offered me the opportunity to work as an interim Resident Director for the rest of this semester while the permanent Resident Director is out on sabbatical. And I said heck yes my friends! Because 1. I love Roberts. 2. I love employment. 3. I love nouns.

To be fair, the decision making process was more complex than 1, 2, 3. Old habits die hard and the verb-lovin’ side of my brain had a few reservations. But I’m beyond happy to report that the nouns held their own and got the victory on this one, because my return to Roberts has been nothing short of amazing. I’m equal portions humbled, blessed, grateful, and elated.


It’s so nice that God has better plans than I do.

a reluctant farewell

It’s been a week since the Packers Super Bowl victory. And while I’ve made the most of every opportunity to rejoice outwardly and inwardly over the past seven days, I realize that the time to hop off the celebration train is fast approaching. It’s unfortunately true. But in an effort to say goodbye to the Week of Wonders with gusto, I need to share with you the following. It’s what I’ll be watching for the rest of the off-season.


oh, crap.

Last night I did a little tidying up around the blog, deleting unused categories and combing a few others, trying to make things a bit more organized around here. I didn’t know that there was a problem until Michelle was nice enough to clue me in on Facebook:

“ps. was there something wrong with your blog? I got 12 new posts from you today, some of which clearly shouldn’t have been from today.”

I checked the blog and things looked fine…but then I checked Google Reader. And quickly realized that I had indeed treated all of you to a little retro blog action last night. And when I say a little, I mean a lot.

Guys, I’m so sorry!!!!!!!!

I fought the blog and the blog won.

weeping in wisconsin

I think I cried live on Wisconsin radio yesterday.

Unfortunately I’m not kidding.

Let’s start at the beginning, which, like every day in 2011, began with snow. And that means the driveway and I had the opportunity to bond once again. This relationship is one that I honestly enjoy. I love winter. I love snow. I love trying to beat my previous shoveling PR (because yes, I am that crazy). But sometimes relationships fall on hard times, and sometimes those hard times are due to the influence of a third party.

Yesterday, the wind meddled. It wrought havoc on my peaceable coexistence with the pavement.

Since we now have more snow than I have height shoveling has become a cardiovascular event. If I shoveled in neon spandex and blasted some golden oldies I could record myself and start selling “You Live in the Northeast!” workout DVD’s. What was once a simple repetition of shovel and dump is now a complex squat, lift, and chuck sequence. With the introduction of wind, this series became squat, lift, chuck and duck to avoid having all of the snow I just removed heralded back into my face by Gael force gusts. It was special.

After a short learning curve and multiple “FOR REAL???” conversations with the wind, the driveway and I worked things out and were back to our happy state by the time we parted ways. When I got back inside, however, I was looking for a little warmth. And what better source than the double digit hours of Super Bowl coverage I taped throughout the day on Sunday?

Imagine my dismay at finding that it had all been deleted by the DVR to make room for other recordings. Let’s just say I was a somewhat devastated troubled.

But in accordance with my life as a snow remover, I plowed on (please insert 5 points here for unabashed use of lame snow puns). I checked off to-do list items with gusto, one of which was to find a way to see or hear the Return to Titletown celebration occurring at Lambeau that afternoon. After coming up empty on live streaming of Wisconsin television stations and nearby locations with access to the NFL Network I found an online stream of a radio station that would be broadcasting the ceremony in its entirety. Success!

I tuned into said station 15 minutes early and listened to the commentators commentating on all the glory that was to come. My excitement increased exponentially by the second. And then the music began! And the cheering was heard! And the commentators ushered in the glorious ruckus with…


The live streaming ended abruptly just as the celebration began. Panicked, I called the first number I saw at the bottom of the website. A deep voice picked up the line and said, “Thank you for calling (station’s call letters that I’ve already forgotten…sorry, Wisconsin…I was really upset)! You’re on with (radio announcer).”

To which I so eloquently blurted,

“I’m a fan from New York and I’m trying to watch the event at Lambeau and no one is showing it live and I was just listening to it on your station online and then it went dead and I don’t know what happened and please help!!!”

To which he said,

“Yeah, unfortunately we can’t air it online.”

To which I replied,


To which he hesitantly offered,

“…I’m sorry?”

To which I cried (shamefully…but literally) all in one breath,

“No it’s ok thanks for your help have a good day bye (click).”

It wasn’t the singular event. It was probably the combination of back to back to back days of lack of sleep and surplus of emotion that led me to weep on Wisconsin’s air waves. Luckily for everyone, I’m sure most of the locals were tuning into Return to Titletown anyways and did not hear my open display of woe.

After that, I resorted to watching the Packers Twitter feed update to get a feel for what was going on. At least it was something.

Until Jason Wilde, who was previously my favorite Packers beat writer but will now be forever cemented in first place, tweeted this:

“I’m told if you are out of (Title)town and looking for the big Return to Titletown event online, you can stream it at”

I clicked on it just to see what the deal was. And it turns out the deal was for Time Warner Cable customers, which my parents are! And all I had to do was sign in! Which I did! And before I knew it there was Donald Driver, getting the warmest of welcome homes from the sold out crowd at sub zero Lambeau Field!


During the commercial break I headed straight to Twitter to thank Mr. Wilde for making my day. This time with semi-dry eyes:

“THANK YOU @jasonjwilde for the espn3 tip! I’m a fan from NY and have been trying to find a way to see/hear it all day long! Watching now :)”

To which he replied,

“Happy to help. RT @mygreenorchard: THANK YOU @jasonjwilde for the espn3 tip! I’m a fan from NY and have been trying to watch.”

Getting to watch the Pack come home to Lambeau AND getting a retweet from one of my favorite sports writers solidified the day’s swing in a much more positive direction. The fact that UPS came with last week’s Packers Pro Shop order and that another order was placed a few hours later…icing on the cake.

(Although if today is a bit more even keel, I wouldn’t so much mind.)

the story of the season

Blog peeps: it’s story time.

Really. You’re in for a doozy.

I made a pro and con list while deciding whether or not to go on Roadtrip USA. The con side contained a few legitimate concerns – the fact that I would be sleeping in the back of a mini van in various parking lots and campgrounds, that I would be quitting my full time job to volunteer indefinitely, that I would be leaving my friends and family behind to travel alone for nearly 3 months. These, I’m ashamed to say, were not chief among my concerns.

Nearer to the top of the list than I’d like to admit was the fact that I would miss the first half of the NFL season.

For the record, I realized then as I do now that putting football in the ranks of shelter, income, and humans may point to a few skewed priorities. But it’s a true story. Since my traveling conditions were so up in the air I had no way of knowing how or if I would be able to connect to the National Football League and could only assume that our relationship would suffer as a result. Perish the thought!

However, I’m thankful to report that at some point a hearty dose of reality smacked me upside the head like a Deacon Jones sack. Eventually I came to the conclusion that closing the door to a once in a lifetime opportunity that had so clearly been opened by the Lord just so I would not miss the first 10 weeks of the 2010 season would be 10 shades of crazy and then some. It would not be a moment enshrined in the Best Decision Making Hall of Fame. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So, I let it go. This moment bore a mantra, one which I repeated constantly and shared publicly when I missed the first week of the regular season while canoeing in Montana:

I spent most of Sunday repeating the mantra, “If there’s anything I’m not willing to let go of, I’m holding onto it too tightly,” in the hopes of talking myself out of being deeply disturbed at missing the first Sunday of regular season football. It worked on some levels – the logical, practical ones, for instance. The ones that know that there is life outside of the NFL.

But all of the other levels…well, they went down kicking and screaming.

It was not an easy transition. There were moments of unsettled gloom. There were instances of internal resistance. There were a LOT of questions pertaining to whether or not God really knew what He was doing, leading me all over the continental US like a nomad.

But can I tell you what happened over the course of the season? Because it’s really A+ material. I mean, I may be inordinately excited about it…but I really don’t think I am! It’s such a good story!

After that initial Sunday of chagrin when I wore out my mantra and recommitted to the cause, I saw more televised Packers games than I have ever seen in any season to date. Among them: a game in a movie theater in Portland, one in a temporary home in Colorado, and another in a gloriously free hotel room in Dallas. And not only did I get to see more Packers games than ever before, I got to go to Lambeau Field, home of the Packers, for the first time ever. I got to go to Cowboys Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLV, where the Packers would eventually play for the title. I got to come home and watch the last half of the season with my family, something I haven’t been able to do since I left for college. I got to watch the Packers defeat the Bears for entrance into the playoffs one week while sitting on my couch and celebrating with said family, and then watch them defeat the Eagles in the wildcard game the next week while sitting in a hospital room and appreciating the same celebration with the same family ten times more after life was turned upside down by my dad’s surprise vacation on the cardiac floor.

And then on Sunday…you know what happened! I know what happened! A record number of TV viewers know what happened!

I got to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl.

(Insert unspeakable joy and 1,000 victory laps around the living room here.)

The game mirrored the season: overcoming seemingly insurmountable injuries and adversity to win in the final minutes. And their season mirrored my season: constant change, a need for perseverance, a perpetual stream of blessings.


What I was so unwilling to relinquish in the beginning was given back to me in abundance in the end. I was given the ability to fully experience what was arguably the most incredible season the Packers have had in my lifetime in the most personal, tangible, special way imaginable.

There’s a verse in the Old Testament where God is talking to the Israelites about tithing. Clearly, the Israelites and I are in slightly different situations. I’m not wearing any burlap, for one. But despite the differences I feel like the sentiment still applies here. In Malachi 3:10 God says,

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

And that’s exactly what I heard in my own heart on Sunday. It was like God was saying, “HEY! I know you thought you were giving something up, but I just wanted you to give it to me. And look at what can happen as a result! You can trust me when you give me football. You can trust me when you give me anything.”

I’m not at all saying that the Packers season and Super Bowl win are in any way tied to my decision to go on the trip and leave things I love behind. Not in the least. But what I do believe 100,000% is that when we give something to God, He is faithful with it. He will make it so much more than we could ever make it on our own. He will use anything – even football! – to tell us how much he loves us and cares about every detail of our lives.

One last anecdote: While I was driving my parents van the other day I switched from the radio to see what was in the CD player. Turns out it was “101 Best Loved Hymns.” Since that’s not usually how I musically roll I started flipping through other CD’s to put something else in (no offense, Mom and Dad). But before I could do so a hymn that I haven’t heard in FOREVER came on, one that I love, and I sang along and replayed it a few times. After getting stuck in my head and therefore on mental repeat for days, I realized it perfectly fits the story of the season. The first verse and chorus go like this:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

Man. What a season.

scenes from my living room

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Go Pack Go.


More to come tomorrow…or whenever I come down from Cloud 10,009.





My second favorite day of the year: Super Bowl Sunday. Although, truth be told…Christmas is going to have to be unbelievably amazing this year to top the glory of the Packers being in the Super Bowl.

The menu is planned. (Hello. It’s practically the most important part.)

The programming scheduled. (Thanks to TeuxDeux, my new favorite online to-do list maker!)

Even Monday is scheduled according…

The balloons are inflated. The cheesehead is stationed. The adrenaline has been flowing since 5:30am when I woke up because I was too excited to sleep any longer is flowing.

It’s going to be a great day.

To close, this inspiration from Coach Lombardi:

“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”

And all of God’s Packer Backers said: Amen. GO PACK GO!!!

super (bowl) familial support

First, a week ago I snapped this shot of our Christmas tree rapidly disappearing beneath the snow:

And this is what remains a week later:

Goodbye, Christmas tree. See you in April or May.

We now have half my entire height in snow on the ground (at least 2.5 feet) and almost 5 feet total for the winter (58 inches). Snow, what can I say? You must have heard me back in December.

Second, I love my mom.



My mom loves her job at the middle school cafeteria. She has a great time with the kids and more often than not she can be counted on to dress up for holidays and special occasions just to add some extra fun to the day. So last night she asked me if I had any Packers t-shirts she could borrow to wear to school in the morning in honor of the Super Bowl. When we decided on this one, she asked if she could also borrow my cheesehead. And this outfit is what resulted.

I couldn’t be more proud.

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