About to release a new single!

21667_880705675357441_4642281442386560305_n.png

- originally published on May 15, 2019 -

Five months ago, I launched this project to record a song that I would then sell to raise funds for two organizations that are fighting human trafficking: Restore NYC and Nomi Network. Since I am super blessed to be able to release the song THIS coming Wednesday, I wanted to give a quick overview of the organizations, why I’m doing this, and how you can be a part of it!

Who:

Nomi Network – is the organization that I worked with for about a year in NYC (and I wrote the song while working there). Their mission is to provide training for women who are survivors of human trafficking so that they can become self-sustainable and provide for their children. They currently have offices in India and Cambodia and are doing very challenging but truly amazing work. They have a dream to replicate their model in many places around the world. They currently focus on creating recycled fashion and fair trade so that team members (some of who weren’t able to write their own names when they first started the program) are able to learn skills in sewing, production, and running their own business. There is more information available on their website: nominetwork.org.

Restore NYC – is another NYC based organization that works with women in the city who are over-comers of human trafficking. Nomi Network partners with them, so I learned a lot about what they do, and met some of the people involved. Their mission is to “end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of foreign national survivors.” Something that I learned while presenting this project to them is that “87% of survivors in New York alone are in need of long-term housing and only 4% receive it!” This is not ok!! I wonder, if enough people heard this song and wanted to buy it, then perhaps enough awareness would be raised to help fund more rooms so that women/men/children will have a safe place to live and be restored to all that they are capable of. Their website is at restorenyc.org. Interesting note: I wrote the song and titled it “Restore” before I really even knew about the organization Restore.

What: I am selling the song for the typical 99 cents on iTunes. If 1,000 people download the song, then that’s about $800 that will be donated (iTunes takes a small percentage of the final sales, I am keeping nothing). Our hope is that we can get a lot more than 1,000 people to download. It’s such a small amount of money per person, but if the words and music reach the right ears, it can become such a large amount of money in total.

Why: Before working for Nomi Network, I was aware of the realities of trafficking, and they always upset me. As soon as I started working there, my perspective widened greatly. I was still overwhelmed by the vastness and complexity of the problem, but I now realize that there is work being done, both by survivors and by others who have joined alongside them, and I feel deeply called to support this work through my art in whatever way I can.

When: I’m releasing the song and a music video to go with it this Wednesday, May 20th at 12 noon. Check back at my website and all social media for the links, and please do not hesitate to share with others. In fact, I truly need your help!!!!!

Where: There will be a link at www.facebook.com/roriemusic, a link at my website, or you can search for Rorie in the iTunes store.

How: These organizations always welcome donations or support of any kind. If you are at all inspired by the work being done (or through another local organization that you know of – an example of one in Washington D.C. is Courtney’s House), please donate to them directly. If you are inspired by this song, please share it with your friends and family via social media, or maybe even through a mass e-mail, asking your friends to share it with their friends, etc. And as always, thank you very, very much!!

An Easter Week Post

- originally published on April 1, 2015 -

It’s the week leading up to Easter, and I have been looking through the devotion book that our church made for the season of lent. Different members wrote devotions that talk about God’s love – something that is so worth studying and thinking about in this season, and particularly during this time in our world. I unfortunately cannot publish the devotions that other people wrote (without permission), but I decided to transfer mine to the blog. I think I needed the reminder today. Sometimes we say and write things in the flow of the moment, and then the meaning of those words is tossed out the window during a bad day or moment of doubt. I am sharing this post for myself, and for anyone who has experienced similar experiences in what it means to have hope. 

God’s Love and Our Hope

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

During these past few years, I have experienced God’s love in the reality of what it means to hope. As someone who loves to dream and imagine new possibilities, I became discouraged during a season of what seemed like failure. I wanted to see and experience the things that I hoped for, but was stuck in a pattern of feeling the loss, loneliness, or shame in my life and the lives of those around me. It was during this time that the gospel became so powerful to me.

God’s love is present in the very reality of what it means to hope. We have been saved by the cross, and are eagerly anticipating the day when we will feel the complete joy of being reunited with our Lord. But here and now, we have trials and seasons when we struggle with the unknown, when we cannot see what is ahead. I have been learning that the very thing that makes hope beautiful is that it is unseen. We have the joy of trusting in a loving God who will not abandon us. He will go before us, and even when we cannot see, His word to us will light the way, one day at a time. We can rejoice and be confident in hope because “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” (Romans 5:5). Our God is more powerful than death. He is victorious, and He is victorious in us.

The devotion closed with a prayer, but I’m going to close with one other thought. Today I found some photos that were taken on a trip to visit friends in Germany two years ago. I remember that, while on this trip, I was so stressed and worried about the unknown I was going to face when I got home – things that I still worry about on and off today. But the crazy thing is, when I saw these photos, I remembered how worried I was, and I started to think about the time that has passed since then. Life has been completely different than I ever would have planned. There are things that I thought I would have done by now that I haven’t, and there are things that have happened that I couldn’t have dreamed up for anything. I am so blessed and thankful that God is in control of time, even when it’s hard. This photo – taken in the Bavarian Alps — reminded me of stillness, patience, and restoration. Three words that have painted my life time and time again.

screen-shot-2015-04-01-at-5-41-08-pm.png

“He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.” – from Psalm 23

Reflections on a Kickstarter Campaign

- originally published February 25, 2019 -

Our Kickstarter campaign closed today at noon, and I could not be more thankful!!! With your help, we have raised $5,744 to record “Restore,” film a music video along with it, promote it well, work to raise funds for Restore NYC and Nomi Network, and raise awareness about the story behind the song. These are our goals for this project, and with your funding, we are able to embark on the journey! Now we just need prayers, focus, and patience as we go along 

I will be posting “Restore” project updates on my blog (right here), social media, and the Kickstarter campaign page itself over the next few months.

When I first set out to run this campaign, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would go. It felt like a huge risk, and I didn’t know a ton about crowd funding. At the same time, I knew that I couldn’t do it without Kickstarter at this point in my life, so I kind of had no choice!!! Then something crazy happened. I was completely touched over and over by generosity from people I know, people I kind of know, and even people I’ve never met. All of the sudden, recording this single wasn’t just “my project,” but rather something that I get to do with 98 of my friends. This is what it’s about. These things aren’t mine to hold onto, and I’m discovering that I love it that way.

So I have learned a lot through this crowd funding experience, and no doubt still have lots to learn. Thank you for your support. I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!!! Ok, gotta get to work.  you all! -Rorie

Why I'm Raising Funds to Record "Restore"

- originally published January 28, 2015 -

Hi, I’m Rorie, but you may know me as Erin Rea (I recently started writing and performing as “Rorie” – a nickname I’ve had for years). Anyways, I just launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to record my song “Restore,” and am turning to my blog to write a little more about the inspiration behind this project, and why I’m using the wonderful Kickstarter.com (aka inviting you!) to help fund it!

So I write a lot of songs, and love doing so. Throughout the past two years, I’ve lived in three different states, and four different rooms. It has been a growing experience, an amazing experience, a challenging experience, a hard experience, and a blessed experience all wrapped in one. But isn’t that life?

When I moved to NYC in the summer of 2013, I was looking for jobs and came across an organization called “Nomi Network”. I had the opportunity to work there for a year, and this experience was completely different than anything I could have planned for myself when moving to New York. I learned so much working with them, not only professionally, but also about the issue they work so tirelessly to fight against: human trafficking. I knew that modern day slavery was real, but I began to meet people and hear stories that made me perpetually uneasy. Slavery is not ok. Human trafficking is NOT ok. And yet, it happens all around us.

One thing I learned while working at Nomi is that survivors of human trafficking are too often portrayed as being helpless, when in reality; they can be some of the strongest people. Each story and every individual is unique. We do, however, have large numbers and statistics to communicate the breadth and gravity of the issue in both our country and our world, and there are many organizations working hard to provide resources and support. One day, one of my bosses said that she doesn’t call the women and families that she works with “survivors,” but rather, “over-comers”.

That day, I went home and started writing about what she had said. That’s when the song “Restore” came about. I kind of wrote it and set it aside. Then, while falling asleep one night, I imagined a beautiful dancer who was trapped in a room that was too small for her to dance. I saw her begin to break free from her situation physically, psychologically, and spiritually. She was not only rescued, but also restored. I saw this dancer dancing in larger rooms and spaces with more light until she was finally outside, completely free with endless room to dance and dream. I also saw this image of a garden in the pouring rain, with all different kinds of people gathering around it. This was just the beginning of what would grow to be the project idea for “Restore.”

For the next seven months, people kept singling it out. I would play a show and then someone would comment on “Restore,” and some would even ask if I would consider recording it (this included show attendees and people who are a part of these organizations)…and that’s where I am right now! Recording music costs A LOT of money. It’s a career path that I am not always sure why I chose, but one that is always there, staring me in the face and challenging me to take on the next thing with trust. So after requests and encouragement from a lot of people, I realized that I needed to try and get this particular song done now. I couldn’t wait until I had enough funds or publicity to make a full album (hopefully that will happen one day!). I am currently living at my parents’ house and working a day job to save as much money as possible while I run this campaign.

So here we are! I am ready to make this song the best it can be, and to share it with the organizations that inspired the lyrics by their work. I won’t be giving the song away for free, but I will be giving the iTunes profits to the programs at Nomi Network and Restore NYC!! Each Kickstarter Backer, however, will get the song for free. I hope that this song will be used to honor the stories of those who are over-comers of human trafficking situations, raise awareness and funds for organizations that are working to fight this issue, and to inspire and connect with those who watch, listen, and share. There are a lot of great conversations going on about this issue, and there are still a lot more to be had, and a lot of work left to be done. It feels daunting, and sometimes I wonder what just a song can do, but then I think about the lyrics in the bridge of the song. I don’t remember exactly how I thought to write them, but I can see now that they were words telling the story of my life in 2014, and how I was changed during that time.

//Here we are, all the same

Watching seeds grow in the rain

Could a story shake us, could it change us?

 

Here we are, all the same

Watching seeds grow in the rain

Could a story break us, could it save us?//

I believe that the story of “Restore” is one that needs to be told. We’re all here, we’re all the same, just trying to figure things out. We are all part of this larger story of restoration, facing our own experiences and trials that bring us to where we are. And yet, we have choices to plant small seeds of kindness, hope, or love that will grow even when all we can see is the pouring rain.

So that’s why I’m here to record and film “Restore,” and I would love to invite you to be a part of it. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported already! I am forever grateful. More soon!  Rorie

Click here to make a pledge on Kickstarter – every little bit counts!!: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rorie/restore-song-video-by-rorie


somewhere in this big and small world

- originally published January 16, 2015 -

We met because we all graduated from high school or college and were suddenly left out in the “real world,” or whatever that means. We met because we moved to the same city, or took a vacation in the same country, or because we knew each other when we were little and decided to start writing letters again. It doesn’t matter that you live half way across the world. Let’s be friends now, while we’re both here in New York City. Let’s be friends while we are hiking through the mountains in Germany. Let’s be friends now, because right now, we are together.

You can meet them at any time in your life. I met a lot of them this year. Those travel friends. You bond because you’re all on an adventure. Racing the clock: three months here, two months there. One week, one year. You bond fast because everyone is out of their comfort zones. After all, it’s very important to have a friend to go to the grocery store with, or someone to meet for lunch in the park. I remember standing in subway stations saying goodbye to these travel friends. And staring at the skyline from Astoria Park, talking about how “you’ll go home to Sweden,” “She’ll go to Rwanda,” and “I’ll be somewhere, not sure yet.”

There are some friends that live nearby for a long time. They are wonderful, deep, irreplaceable friendships. But there are some friends that you get to spend time with for just a few short months, or maybe a year, or a few years, and they mean just as much as those you’ve known for your whole life. This post is kind of a nod to the many friendships of this nature that I made over the past few years. The world is so big and so small. I’m glad our paths crossed somewhere in this big and small world.

portraits in the snow

- originally published January 9, 2015 -

Inspired by the novel “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard

It’s Valentines Day, and it has been snowing non-stop for the past week. I sit at the window and look out through the cold to see thousands of flakes fall and nestle themselves close to the others that are piled in our front yard. The sky is pink and silver while still somehow being dark. The streetlights look like stars hovering close to earth, just for now, so the few cars that ventured out can find their way home. They are unwavering, like miniature lighthouses in a suburban blizzard.

Sixth grade American history books and English papers are piled on my desk. Pre-algebra assignments are completed through the week. This is what happens when you have too many days off of school. You start making up stories in your head:

There was once a photographer who only took portraits in the snow. He tried taking photos of other things, but nothing turned out the way he wanted. It was only during a snowfall that he felt his life’s calling being fulfilled. So he captured many moments. Pictures of old steam trains chugging through blizzards, a snowy New York City in 1910, photos of children sledding and ice-skating, war scenes, ghost towns, and old churches. He would even walk into the forest at midnight and take photos of the full moon reflecting off rows of snow-covered trees.

Somewhere in this fantasy, my mom calls up the stairs and says that we are going to go for a walk in the snow. Even though the drifts are taller than my eight-year-old brother, my parents decide it will be fun to take a walk around the block. So I wear three layers of socks, a knit hat, and my dad’s oversized gloves because I can’t find mine and we need to go before it gets too late.

Once bundled up, we penguin walk down the driveway that has already been shoveled three times this week, and my brother and I skid and slide on the icy, snow covered streets. There are no cars except the occasional headlights making a turn ahead. We walk the entire neighborhood, and I sing Christmas carols because there aren’t really any Valentines Day Songs, except maybe love songs, but I’m just old enough for a crush and too young to know heartbreak. There are still strings of white lights and candles in some of the windows, but I can only see so much through the snow stinging my eyes. I look down at the ground and watch each footprint etch into the silhouette of my streetlight shadow.

At some point we come back to the house, and we have only reached the foot of the driveway when dad throws a snowball that hits mom in the arm. She squeals and tosses one back at him, sending my brother and I further up the driveway to collect our own ammunition. Soon we are all throwing snowballs fast as we can, laughing and targeting whoever caught us off guard.

Even though I’m still too young to know a lot of things, I seem to know that this is something I’m not going to forget. And, about twenty feet away, I can see another light flash, and I don’t really mind because I know who it is. There he is, standing with his camera on a tripod and looking kind of like a hologram with his coat and scarf. The photographer who only takes portraits in the snow. I’m sure I’m not going to forget. It was the Valentines Day snowball fight of 2003.

The Invitation

- originally published December 5, 2014 -

This whole writing music thing started with the fear of moving forward. Sitting in a loft bed at a University dormitory built in the 1940s, I scribbled lines in my journal: “Playing moments on repeat, watching orange haunt the leaves. Turning pages in my sleep, the danger warnings I don’t heed, when I can’t go back, but won’t walk forward, broken records never learn”.

I used to go to the symphony concerts just because I liked them, and they were free, since I was student. During that hour, all of the mess of life would somehow paint itself into something beautiful. I thought – this is a reflection of grace. Music can make something beautiful out of something painful. And each day I started to fear a little less and trust a little more.

Last Tuesday, the sun set amidst jet streaks over our house in Virginia on an eerie, fifty degree evening in a world of unrest. “Look at the etch-a-sketch sky!” I sat on the couch, remote in hand, watching hours of old, faded film. That’s when it hit me. I had started to think that there were no more beginnings. But I’ve been learning that life is full of beginnings. Each morning, something unfathomable happens. The sky yawns again, this time waking up, pulling back the shades. The hazy dark is flooded with orange, mint, hazel, and blue. Is this a small part of what Mary Oliver meant when she wrote: “it is a serious thing, just to be alive, on this fresh morning, in this broken world?” The poem that cradles these words is called “The Invitation.” Mercies are new, grace is faithful. That’s how it all really started. And now we’re here. And here we go.