GAF Mission

"to TEACH inner city youth and/or underprivileged persons to be successful entrepreneurs while revitalizing inner city neighborhoods with a concentration on socially responsible/sustainable business practices"

GAF is the
Western Mass Office for

diy project

BUT…knowing I wanted to do something special with our wedding flowers, I decided to make a decision today. So I Googled it, of course. I debated a shadow box, but that seemed too obvious, and I wasn’t sure how my bouquet would fit in one. Plus, I’m also not sure how I feel about having a dry, now brownish, crunchy looking bouquet hanging in a box on my wall. 

So then I came across a picture of some random looking flower petals in a glass container of some sort. I tried Googling other similar ideas but with “wedding” in the search, and I couldn’t find any other wedding bouquets or flowers in glass containers like I pictured in my mind. Either way, I took the idea and ran with it!

I went to Walmart, Target, TJMaxx (twice), The Dollar Tree, and Michael’s, comparing glass containers, vases, jars, etc. Somewhere along the way, I thought about incorporating the cork from our champagne bottle/wedding toast as well as my mom’s wedding dress lace that was wrapped around my bouquet. I ran home, grabbed the cork, and kept looking for appropriately sized glass containers that would fit the cork.

Jack pot! I found a big glass jug with another cork (easily removable) that fit the bill. I purchased it with my Michael’s 40% off coupon (duh) for $6.53 – success

Redefining "home."

There are not many things sweeter than coming home. Greeting your pet, snuggling up on your couch, enjoying a cup of coffee, sitting on the porch, sleeping in your own bed. Sometimes, when you’re in between physical homes, “home” becomes more of a person and less of a structure with four walls, a roof, windows, and doors. And when “home” becomes more of a person and less of a place, reunions are oh so sweet, and goodbyes are oh so hard.

Thankfully, we are in the reunion stage. And my heart is smiling brighter than my face.

Being 851 miles apart from your husband can easily make you very bitter, jealous, and depressed. It can consume and control your thoughts in the blink of an eye. Lonely nights, attending events alone, being a third wheel, dinners for one, phone calls for hours. It is hands down one of the biggest challenges I have faced, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My long distance relationship (and now marriage) has taught me a lot about home. It has taught me a lot about appreciating and living in the moment. It has taught me a lot about Christ.

I am thankful for long distance because it forces my marriage to be built on communication. And sometimes that’s all we have (thank you texting, facetime, and snapchat!) I am thankful for long distance because it transforms eating a sandwich for lunch with your husband on a Monday from mundane to extraordinary. Long distance pushes me to my limits, brings me to my most highs and lows, and forces me to love in ways that I don’t humanly understand how. I may not be able to touch and see and experience day to day things with Kevin right now, but I know he’s always there, loving me from a distance. This reminds me of how Christ loves us and how long distance reminds me of faith. I choose to put my faith in a God that I cannot see, touch, or feel, and He unconditionally loves me “from a distance.” I am thankful for this realization and for this season of life. I pray that we never forget these long distance days apart because they are very much the foundation to OUR story.

And don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon EXCITED about finding ourselves a physical home together very soon. (We already have a realtor, eeeee!) In the same state. In the same city. Finally, in the same home. And as excited as I am to find a home together, move in, decorate, unpack those wedding gifts, etc…I have even greater comfort and excitement in one day living out our eternal home.

If you’re in a long distance relationship, my heart goes out to you. You are not alone, and you can do more than you imagine.

“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” –Colossians 2:5

truth be told…

So here we are, MARRIED! I cannot express enough how beautiful and joyful our wedding day was! I will forever remember how perfectly everything and everyone came together and how much love was felt that day.

But truth be told, every time I hear the question “how’s married life?” a piece of my heart just sighs and doesn’t want to answer.

[Do I smile? Can I smile? Do I say it’s wonderful or great? Do I go into all of the details of our situation? If I do, maybe they don’t really want to know or care. Then comes the ‘oh, how unfortunate’ or ‘I’m so sorry, that must be so hard’ or ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder.’ Really? How convincing can I sound? What do I do?]

Yes, I get it. It’s not quite ideal (or natural) to get married, spend a week in Jamaica feeling on top of the world…and then spend 4 months apart. And it’s only been 2 weeks…that’s it. We don’t get to enjoy the first few months of marriage happily together in our newlywed home. We don’t get to start cooking dinners together, going on nightly walks, or finding our new “married routine.” We don’t get to use our new wedding gifts or go on spontaneous date nights. Instead, we get to encourage each other through text messages and prayer. We get to look forward to facetime and phone calls. We get to update daily countdowns until the next time we can see each other face to face. And we get to miss each other a whole, whole lot and appreciate more and more every second that we DO spend together.

As pitiful as I have felt over the past 2 weeks, I have learned now more than ever that I cannot do anything on my own. My plans are nothing compared to His, and only by His grace and guidance can I do any of this. Where I am weak and discouraged, my husband has been strong and encouraging. And through him, I often see Christ’s unwavering love. I am forever grateful for technology and plane tickets (3 more weeks!) and for the strength found through this experience. *Please do forgive me for any of the whining, frowns, complaints, or grumpy moods recently…I’m working on it!*

Update!

Here’s a few pointers from a Upstate New Yorker. It’s not easy to drive in snow! Always, drive under the speed limit. Always, always drive cautiously! A must is, stay close to the yellow line. Slush and ice are plowed to the side of the road.. You will be pulled in, in a blink of an eye, if you get to close to the edge of the road. Always, bruah evey inch of snow off your car, before driving. The snow blows onto thr road and other cars behind you. Always, warm your car up before driving. This will hrlp keep your engine running better. Year round tires are a must. Always, keep extra blankets, scarf, hat mittens or gloves in your car, in case you break down. I wish you both the best.

*Annual Gasoline Alley Foundation Holiday Party- December 5th*

Everyone is invited!!

Stop by to see your old friends, and make some new ones.

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

4-9pm-

Beer , Wine, Munchies

Manfort Mansion Band will perform for your listening pleasure

Manfort Mansion- 270 Albany Street

Artifact's First Anniversary Block Party

Come join us to celebrate Artifact Cider Project’s first year of making locally sourced hard cider!

There will be 4 food trucks, 4 bands, lawn games, and of course a full draft line of our ciders featuring an exclusive anniversary cider release, only available on the 19th.

This is an all ages, family friendly event with no cover charge, but remember to bring your ID if you’re over 21 so we can serve you up some delicious cider.

Featuring music:
– Manfort Mansion
– Carinae
– Great Smokey
– The No No’s

Featuring food:
– Wheelhouse Farm Truck
– Holyoke Hummus Company
– Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn
– Sidecar Bakery
https://www.facebook.com/events/500752126756460/

Comment on Groundbreaking Ceremony by Mary Moultrie


Posted on by John Majercak

Our Groundbreaking ceremony yesterday was spectacular!  Over 100 of our supporters and partners were on hand to celebrate the fact that we now own the property at 83 Warwick Street and construction is about to get underway.

The theme for the event was “We are all pieces of the puzzle,” to reflect on how many individual efforts are needed in order to piece together this project.

Instead of holding the traditional golden shovel, honored guests assembled an oversized puzzle.  And everybody got a puzzle-themed pin (made from reclaimed trim and recycled paint, of course).

Here is a copy of the program that lists all of our supporters and partners.

Here’s ourmedia release from the event.

You can view some of the great media coverage at these links:

22 News

MassLive.com

We’ll post a photo album from the event soon.  In July, we’ll give you a look at the plans for the building from inside and out!

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One Response to Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Mary Moultrie says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goal!! I enjoyed working with you and look forward to seeing the completed project Summer 2011

    Mary Moultrie


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Comment on Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony by Gerry LeBlanc


Posted on by John Majercak

For those of you who missed our Groundbreaking – we’ve posted a photo album of the event on Facebook!  Thanks again to everyone for making it such a great event.

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One Response to Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Gerry LeBlanc says:

    Great photos!


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Comment on Landscaping Day Two by Andrea Gauvin


Posted on by admin

More amazing machinery and talented operators on the job today. They are recovering some awesome locust trees that will be milled into lumber for our new parapet. Check out the slide show to see the changes around the building (as in: now you can see the building) and how it is being accomplished. Now we can get to the walls to install our super insulated metal panels that will transform the performance and look of the building. Next up is transforming the overgrown, disintegrating parking lot into one with drainage that will meet USGBC LEED standards. We know our customers and donors will also enjoy the ample amount of parking spaces and the easy access to the store.

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2 Responses to Landscaping Day Two

  1. Andrea Gauvin says:

    What a great picture of the machinery! It’s amazing how quickly the parking lot has been transformed into…well, a parking lot!


    • Suresh says:

      Great information; howeevr, one thing wasn’t mentioned .When the perforated pipe is laid down I was told that the holes face DOWN, not up which is how most people would think it works. If that were true then a layer of stone should be placed under to pipe or the mud will clog up the perforations. If I’m mistaken, please post the correction. If the holes were face up you would have the water level above the pipe before it started to drain.


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Comment on Prepping The Lot For Drainage by Lisa


Posted on by admin

Now the site is cleared and the work can begin to create the parking lot which will feature plenty of spots compared to our current lot.

While you will never see it, the drainage system will be very cool. In order to send storm water as slowly as possible into the city sewer system, we have installed a system of drywells that could contain a “50 year” storm.  This is the worst storm that might come along only once every 50 years.  The drywells are perforated cement containers fed by drains in the parking lot surface. There is enough capacity to contain the water from the “50 year” storm and let it gradually drain out through the perforations. Visit the drainage gallery to see more pictures of the process.

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One Response to Prepping The Lot For Drainage

  1. Lisa says:

    LOVE IT!!! What a forward thinking initiative to lighten the burden of storm water overflow into the river!


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