Hi! I’m Sandra.
I was born in Cairo and raised in Houston, Texas. Even though my most beautiful, memorable, and enjoyable classes during my undergraduate studies were the ones I took for my English Literature major, I ended up going to pharmacy school because I thought that was the “responsible” thing to do.
During pharmacy school, I was concerned that I was not going to find a job that aligned with my personality and my newfound dream to help people focus on preventing disease and increasing their quality of life so they can go out and do what they were created to do!
After a small series of seemingly random events, God led me to the United States Public Health Service (USPHS): the uniformed service dedicated to disease prevention, providing assistance in the wake of natural disasters, and responding to disease outbreaks both domestic and abroad.
My 7.5 years (so far!) as an officer in the USPHS has afforded me opportunities to practice pharmacy in a federal prison, warehouses, hospitals, community shelters, emergency responses, and overseas during a disease outbreak. My current position took me to the Washington D.C. metro area where I currently reside with my lovely life-companion, Munir.
I love hiking, nature, traveling, film scores, reading, salmon sashimi, Lord of the Rings, British literature, and pretty much everything from Japan (even though I’ve never been!)
Her First Love was born out of a discovered, shared need that came up in a series of conversations amongst a group of friends.
We knew in our heart of hearts that adult women needed a place to come together to grow, laugh, connect, re-connect with the Trinity, challenge each other, express themselves, uncover more of who they truly are, and gain practical and spiritual tools to live a life that is intentional, holy, and filled with Peace.
We needed it ourselves and as we invited others along the way, it became very clear that we were not alone :)!
More than anything else, HFL is important to me for its potential to help prevent unnecessary pain and heartache in the lives of women. One of the reasons I am passionate about physical disease prevention is because of my own lifelong struggle with weight and unhealthy living.
I personally know how hard it is to try to undo years of poor nutrition and abysmal self-care, and though it still can be undone, it is much easier to prevent than to treat. The same is true for emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
I want HFL to be a place where prevention and treatment can occur simultaneously. I want HFL to be a place where women can meet and be transformed by Christ in stillness and quiet, in the Word of God and the words of His servants, in the hymns of liturgical worship and the songs of praise, and in the souls of the amazing women that come together each year.
I also want HFL to be a place where we can dive deeper into the luxurious feast that is our Orthodox faith so we can taste the richness it affords us and see that the Church has given us countless ways to develop and nourish our relationship with God.
I want every woman to know that you do not have to suffer silently or journey alone. We are your family, and we are here to pray with you and cheer you on.
We want to see you flourish and spread your wings in the Love of God…and to spread that Love to everyone around you. The world greatly needs it.