Donna Crawford
Redondo Beach, California


I was born in North Carolina and lived there until I was about 2 or so.  My father was in the military, so we moved every year or two.  We lived up and down the east coast, in Arkansas, Germany and Kansas, before he retired in 1980.  I attended Manhattan High School (in Kansas) and college and law school at the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!!).

I've lived in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and California since leaving my parents' home.  I currently live in California with my husband Kirk (even while we were on our RTW, we considered California as home). My family and friends are scattered all over the place, as you can imagine.

My husband and I are highly involved with our church, locally. I have lots of hobbies, including cooking, HAM radio, reading, travelling, bzflag, and sports/outdoor activities. Although I love to watch Jayhawk Basketball, I generally prefer to participate. Some of my favorites are beach volleyball, scuba diving, cycling, rowing, swimming, snow skiing, tramping, surfing, off-roading, etc.

My travels over the last few years have taken me to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and most recently, on a 15-country, 1-year round-the-world trip.

Feel free to drop me an email to let me know how you're doing, or any other suggestions you have for these pages! And be sure to sign my new Guestbook!

Recent Articles

Thursday, October 12


TV Piece

I'm not sure how long this link will be active, but take a look while you can. It is a short news piece that appeared on ABC News 7 yesterday.

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Wednesday, October 11


An Extreme Week

Well, now that the public announcement has been made, I can post about a rather exciting event coming to the South Bay! Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has chosen a South Bay family for its next project. That means that for a week (beginning today), the South Bay will be host to thousands of volunteers who will, in a single week, demo (destroy) the existing house on the property and build a new, special purpose home for the selected family! It's a massive undertaking, and even more so when you realize that all the labor, all the materials for the home are donated. The volunteer team will work around the clock (24 hours x 7 days x 1 week) to complete the house in the allotted time.

What makes this even more exciting for me is the connection that I am fortunate enough to have to this project! Obviously, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an ABC program. But how does it work? ABC selects a local builder. In this case, our close friend, Vic Braden, and his company Cornerstone Construction Group, was selected. Vic took on an amazing task 2 years ago - he agreed to, on a strictly volunteer basis, be the general contractor for the renovation of the Morrell House in Redondo Beach (very near my house). The renovation began as a ShareFest project, but for 18 months, Vic and several people from our church gave up every Saturday to restore the craftsman style home to its original splendor. Kirk worked with Vic often. In addition, Vic has been the general contractor on most of the Mississippi Mission trips through King's Harbor Church. The first year that Kirk and I led a team to Mississippi, Vic was our GC. Vic has incredible ethics, amazing talent and he's a joy to work with. He has an incredible heart for God and inspires others daily.

When Vic was contacted by ABC and asked to take on this role, he called the church and had the staff begin praying for him. Ultimately, he agreed to take on the massive project. It's an interesting story Vic tells. He owns a small, local, family-run construction firm. Certainly not the typical profile for the contractors that ABC selects for this sort of thing. Several times, Vic said, "are you sure you have the right guy?!" Every time, the response was "We know who you are, and yes, we are sure!" Right before he got the call from ABC, Vic and his wife Linda were looking at their business. They had just finished a few projects. They had a couple more lined up to start. The new projects fell through at the last minute. Suddenly, they were faced with an empty plate and no real understanding of why. Then ABC called. God's timing is perfect! :) If they had had those projects when they received the call, they could not have said yes.

The way the project works is that ABC pre-selects five families from a general area. The families are notified they have been nominated, but no one knows which family has been chosen. Well, no one except a very VERY few at ABC and the top people involved in the project, the architects, etc. Who is the family, you ask?

Officer Ripatti leaves the hospital after being shot in the chestEarlier this year, LAPD Officer Kristina Ripatti (wife of LAPD Gang Officer Tim Pearce and mother of a young child) was shot while on patrol. She is now paralyzed from the chest down. The house we are "making over" will be for that family. King's Harbor Church and ShareFest both include many attendees and volunteers who are "first responders" - police officers, firemen, paramedics, etc. This particular project is an excellent fit for our participation.

So, ShareFest, Cornerstone Construction Group, a local marketing firm (Beckett & Beckett) and ABC are partnering up to do an amazing work in our small community. In the last weeks, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers are being lined up from the professional trades. Typically building is done on a horizontal timeline. The foundation is poured. When it's ready, the framers come in and frame the house. Then, the plumbers come in. Everything happens in a specific order. In this case, the building is done vertically - the subcontractors will be in the house at the same time, virtually on top of one another, trying to complete the work in the extraordinarily short time frame. If you've ever been around construction before, you know that generally, the subcontractors (or "subs" as they are often called) often don't speak to one another...they view themselves as being in competition with one another. This timeline forces them not only to talk to one another, but even to work together!

In addition to searching for manpower to build the house, CCG and ShareFest have been urgently rounding up suppliers to donate the materials used to build the house, food to feed the hundreds of volunteers, buses to get everyone in and out of the neighborhood, tents for the various headquarters, RVs for the few people involved who have to be onsite 24/7 for the duration of the project, and so many other things. The South Bay (and Southern California in general) has proven a tough sell for many. Many many movies are filmed here and so many companies are accustomed to these requests - they don't want to give anything away. On the other hand, if any of the materials are purchased and not donated, the family may find itself taxed on the home, which does not accomplish the goal. And so, many many phone calls are made, people involved trying desperately to find the few remaining requirements.

Perhaps you are now asking yourself whether Kirk and I are going to be involved in all of this. The answer is, quite simply, "YES!" Kirk is on the "Smart House" team. The entire house will be wired for all sorts of smart things - automated/remote control lights, computers, etc. I don't even know what it all includes, but Kirk is well-equipped to help out in this area. Our friend, Mike, is has a company that puts this sort of thing into houses regularly and he is running the team. Even though Kirk will really only be in town for a single day before leaving again for Australia, he will work his shift - contributing what he can. I have actually already done some work on the project, working on some behind-the-scenes stuff for ShareFest. In addition to building the house, we will be taking donations for the family. At the end of the week, we cut a check to the family for all of the donations we've taken in. (In reality, the donations will keep coming, as will the checks to the family, but for purposes of the show, the family is handed a check when they move back into their new home). In addition, I'm on the call list for several teams, and have been asked to be a "Marshall" (which means a gopher). I'm happy to do whatever I can.

As you can tell, I'm quite excited about this project and am looking forward to seeing what is accomplished in the South Bay as a result. Of course, a house will be built...but so much more is already happening! I will try to post updates as we go along!

The official project website lists much more information about the family, the volunteers and donors. In addition, you can donate from that site and volunteer to help!

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Friday, September 29


Phone a Friend?

A friend of mine passed this on to me recently. It's pretty funny - take a look.

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Tuesday, August 2


Our Nephew is on TV

Well, our nephew, Corey, has been appearing on a TV show on MTV called "The 70s House". He was recently interviewed by a local newspaper, the Press Telegram. Here's the text of the article:

Retro reality check
MTV: Seal Beach's Corey Hartwyk has a good time in the '70s
By Ryan Ritchie, Staff writer

TIME TRAVELING back to the decade that gave the world bell-bottom pants and 8-track players might sound more like a prison sentence than a vacation. But not so for 19-year-old Seal Beach resident Corey Hartwyk, a contestant on the MTV reality program "The '70s House.' To him, it's just something fun and different to do -- and a "chance to win some free stuff.'

"I never really was into being on a TV show like this,' he says. "I had a full load in school that semester (the show taped in the spring) and I was working a lot. I was getting sick of doing the same old stuff. It's not like I wanted to be a reality TV star or I thought reality TV was the way to get big in Hollywood. It just gave me an excuse to drop school for a semester.'

The program, which airs tonight at 10:30, takes 12 young people and sends them into a competition-style reality show where participants must fully immerse themselves in the clothing, food, cars and vernacular of the 1970s to advance to the next round. Participants who slip up and don't stick to the '70s theme compete in '70s-related contests (the first episode featured two contestants playing the game Operation, the second had contestants answering '70s trivia) and one is eliminated. The winner receives several prizes, including a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle, a trip and computer products.

The show is hosted by comedian Bill Dwyer and Natasha Leggero and features appearances by such '70s icons as Erik Estrada ("CHiP's'), Deney Terrio ("Dance Fever'), Jimmy Walker ("Good Times') and Leif Garrett.

Cast members thought they were entering a reality show similar to MTV's "The Real World' or "Road Rules' and only found out what the show was truly about upon arrival at the house. There they were forced to give up all things modern -- including cell phones, computers and MP3 players -- to get a sample of what life was like during the groovy decade.

"We thought it was one of those plain-old reality shows where you live in one of those MTV `Real World'-style houses or something, and then we get there, and it's all '70s decked out,' Hartwyk says. "I was totally shocked about how everything was set up.'

Hartwyk, who was calling from a vacation home in New Jersey, tells us what it's like for a kid of the '90s to groove back to the '70s.
Q: How did you get involved in the show?
A: Actually, it was completely random. I worked at the Daily Grind (coffee shop) in Long Beach and some girl drove through the drive-through and told me they were looking for people for the show. It sounded interesting and I could compete for a grand prize. I was a little sketchy so I looked it up on the Internet and everything was legit. The next day MTV production called me and I went in for an on-camera interview. Within two-and-a-half weeks, I was in Pasadena shooting the show.
Q: Do you feel like the show being filmed in Pasadena gave you an advantage because you are from Southern California?
A: No, because I wasn't the only SoCal resident on the show. There were people who had moved to L.A., but I was born and raised here, so I think that gave me a whole different vibe than the rest of the cast members because it's way different here than the rest of the country.
Q: Was there anybody who wasn't into the '70s vibe?
A: Yeah. A couple people. Geo (who was kicked off during the first episode) freaked out especially. He hated all the '70s stuff. I think Hailley liked it but she didn't like the food because she's on some crazy diet or something. I think the guys liked it more than the girls because the clothes were fun for the guys, but the girls didn't feel attractive in them.
Q: Did you get to have any kind of say in what you wore? The show makes it seem like they just handed you something.
A: It makes it seem like that but we had a closet full of stuff to pick from. They had a bunch of different outfits that fit us. We had a choice of what to wear, but not on the first episode.
Q: The first couple episodes show you guys leaving the house a bunch. What did the neighbors in Pasadena think? Did you have any interaction with them?
A: We saw them when we were going different places in the neighborhood. They didn't pay much attention to us. They thought it was interesting what we were doing, but we didn't really talk very much to them.
Q: In other reality shows, sometimes the neighbors are upset the show is there.
A: We weren't legally allowed to drink on the show. I think that kept the noise level down a lot. Compared to other shows on MTV, most of those have drinking involved. I think that had a big impact on how we all acted.
Q: Do you think people will recognize you as that guy from the show?
A: Not really. I've been recognized maybe five times and I've signed like two autographs, but it's honestly not a big deal. There's like a billion reality TV stars now. I don't stick out that much.
Q: What was your knowledge of the '70s before the show?
A: I knew a little music and clothes.
Q: How long were you there before you felt like you were used to it?
A: Probably five days at the most. You always know the cameras are there but I adjusted pretty quick. I didn't act too different than how I normally would have.
Q: Did you feel like some people were acting for the cameras?
A: Not acting for air time, but more like being more of a goody-goody than they really are to protect what their family knows about them or their image in their hometown.
Q: What was the hardest part of the whole experience?
A: The thing that irritated me the most was being stuck with people who got on my nerves, because people really started to irritate me after a while. The guys were really cool and I still hang out with three of them a lot, but some of the girls were just ridiculous.
Q: How much did you consider the competition aspect versus trying to be a cool person and somewhat friendly?
A: I thought most of the time I was really fair toward everyone. I was friendly and the competitions weren't much of an issue because I was always pretty confident going into them. But one time I screwed with a girl's head a little bit just because I wanted the upper hand. That's what you have to do.
Q: Did anything ever come back to you in a negative way?
A: No. I felt a little betrayed at the end, but I don't know how much I'm allowed to say about that. Whatever, it's a game and I'm still friends with everybody afterwards.
Q: What were your favorite and least favorite items in the house?
A: I thought the clothing was the most interesting stuff. I loved the clothing. They had so much vintage stuff that I'd love to steal from them. All the other stuff was just material; I could care less.
Q: Was anything a real inconvenience?
A: They gave us microwave dinners a lot and we didn't have a microwave. We had to heat them up (in the oven) and it took 50 minutes. To get full you'd have to eat nonstop.
Q: How do you feel like you came off in the first two episodes?
A: I feel I came off as kind of an outsider and shy almost. I think there's so much going on in the actual game (part) of the show, that they don't show much time just being at the house. I wasn't shy and I wasn't an outsider at the house at all. I was friends with everybody and I was one of the more outgoing people in the house, but when it comes down to how they edit, I come off as the quiet kid.
Q: What was more difficult: The basketball game or the dancing?
A: I'm really uncoordinated at both. Probably the dancing. I'm fast and athletic, s

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Monday, July 5


Independence Day (Weekend)

We had a fabulous day on our little holiday! After spending the morning at church, and the middle of the day watching our newest series from Neflix, Alias, we held an impromptu barbeque at our house. We had planned to go to a friend's house, but they went out of town at the last minute.

Mike, Anita, James, Gia, Kevin, Diane, Kirk and DonnaWe had 3 couples come over to barbeque - a BYOM (bring your own meat) kind of affair. It was really nice to have folks over to our apartment.

Just as Kirk was getting our little barbeque going and the meat all laid out, the gas ran out! Uh-oh! He and Mike walked to the grocery store across the street to get more, but they didn't have any! (I got a call from Kirk when they were on their way back, "Fire up the broiler"). Notwithstanding that little glitch, the food all came out great and it didn't spoil anything (except, perhaps, Kirk getting to barbeque OUTSIDE).

Afterwards, we headed down to the beach to watch the fireworks. It was a beautiful display! And we had the added pleasure of being able to see another display just down the beach from us in another town! (Two for one!) All in all, we had a great day!

Last Friday, we also got to go see Spiderman 2! For the record, it was MUCH better than the first one, in my opinion!

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Donna in Austria
Click for larger image Austria, August 2003