Friday, October 3, 2008

Celebrity Helps Kickoff Green Wedding Giveaway

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

Who better to launch Clay Hill Farm’s The Green Wedding Giveaway than a celebrity relationship expert?
“When it comes to marriage, I have been quoted as saying don’t do it,” Steven Santagati said during the official kickoff of the unique project at Clay Hill Farms last week, “…because most people are not fully aware of the commitment it takes to make a marriage work for the long haul.
“However, I’ve discovered that people who are aware of matrimonial reality are usually aware of other things as well; safe driving, health, and yes, the environment. So will a couple’s common sense transcend the relationship and carry over into their green practices? I think so.”
Santagati has appeared as a relationship expert on the Today Show, Oprah, Rachael Ray, Fox News, CNBC, VH1, The View, and The Tyra Banks Show. He is the author of “The Manual” and has appeared in more than 70 national and international television commercials.
Clay Hill’s Green Wedding Giveaway is a contest of commitment in which couples are encouraged to explore the parallel of a commitment to each other and a commitment to the earth.
“We’ve always wanted to give a wedding away,” Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the project and daughter of Clay Hill Farm owners Gordon and Donna Lewis, said, and when Clay Hill Farm was one of the first businesses in Southern Maine to be a state certified Environmental Leader, the time seemed right.
The project is looking for couples to come up with creative ways to commit “to each other as well as the earth.” Lewis-McShera said, noting that “green is a process, not an end result.”
She said in putting together the contest entry couples can become aware “of the little things they can do” to help the earth and realize the “little things they do are important.”
The green wedding will be a daytime wedding ceremony and reception at Clay Hill Farm June 21, 2009, that is appropriately the Summer Solstice. Rehearsal dinner, ceremony, catered reception, flowers, hand-painted watercolor invitations, photography, DJ services, live cocktail music, cake, hybrid bridal transportation, spa services, organic beverages, tuxedo rentals, wedding-night suite and honeymoon week…are all part of the Grand Prize package.
Couples are asked to submit a play, a poem, a painting, or a song, along with a two-minute video or a photograph and essay that creatively answers the contest question and demonstrates an understanding of the contest message.
Applications for the giveaway along with contest rules and complete details are available at Engaged couples must complete their online applications and mail their entries on a CD or DVD by Dec. 31.
The top-five couples will be decided by a panel of Clay Hill judges and will be revealed at a bridal fair in Portsmouth Jan 11, 2009. The public will vote and pick the winner on line at The winning couple will be announced February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the grand prize, wedding package valued at over $30,000, the top-four couples will be awarded prize packages, and random prizes will be awarded to contestants and voters.
“We are really proud of the Green Wedding Giveaway Contest,” Lewis-McShera said. “It is a great way to give back with a positive message of connectedness and empowerment.
“So much about green today is overwhelming and intimidating. How can we fit in?” she said. “The truth is, we are all green in some way. So, pick your shade and shout it to the world. It’s time to feel good about all that we do, commit to improvement and celebrate all contributions.”
Caption: Steven Santagati, celebrity relationship expert, addresses a crowd at Clay Hill Farms. Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the Green Wedding Giveaway, stands to the right. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Bill Irwin to Share Tale of “Blind Courage” in Kennebunk

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

The only blind person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from North Georgia to northern Maine will speak at the Sea Road Church Sunday at 10 a.m.
Billl Irwin took eight and a half months to cover the more than 2,000-mile trek in 14 states in 1990.
Irwin, the author of “Blind Courage”, the account of his life and incredible journey, now shares his message of hope and encouragement with students and adults.
“I try to get the message across that life happens,” Irwin said in a telephone interview earlier this week, and while life goes on, it sometimes “appears as though God doesn’t care about us. That’s not true.”
Irwin said, “We can persevere (with God’s help) and do it with peace and joy.”
“The Trail was a pilgrimage to share God’s love with all those whom I met while hiking,” Irwin said. “My book is an account of my experiences and shares the plan of salvation with every one who reads it. I believe that nothing happens by mistake. And at age 67 I am learning that being a Christian does not guarantee one that there won’t be trouble in life, but it does guarantee one that they will never have to endure their suffering alone again! This is the most important lesson in life except that of salvation.”
Irwin was accompanied on the trek by Orient, his seeing-eye dog and he knows it would have not been possible without God’s help.
Irwin was blinded by a rare eye disease when he was 28 years old and believes that happened so the power of God could be seen in his life and to give others hope.
“Once you know Bill’s story, you will never forget him,” Wayman Spence, chairman of WRS Publishing, said. “Bill was an angry, middle aged man with few prospects and fewer friends. His four marriages had failed. He was an alcoholic, a five pack a day smoker, a manipulator and a user.”
“For 26 years I was an alcoholic and lived my life out of control,” Irwin writes on his web site. “I never even thought of God much less sought a personal relationship with Him. Through the surrender of an addiction to cocaine of my youngest son I was able to get a good look at my life the way God saw it and it was not a pretty picture. I was to the place in my addiction that I was drinking around the clock and thought that I would die without it.
”God dramatically and completely delivered me from the desire to drink,” he writes. “Two months later He delivered me from my five-pack a day cigarette addiction. God provided these miracles without my asking for help or even having a desire to recover.”
Once Christ came into his life everything changed.
“He changed me and helped me overcome all the things that prevented me from being a happy person,” Irwin concludes. “I experienced the peace and joy that only comes when one is willing to surrender and allow Jesus Christ to become first in their life.”
Sea Road Church is located at 140 Sea Road in Kennebunk.
Caption: Bill Irwin, the only blind person to hike the entire Appalacian Trail from North Georgia to Northern Maine will speak in Kennebunk at 10am on Sunday. ( photo)