The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Look Kristine.... it's really a chicken!


It's actually a chicken... crossing the road... at the Maui airport.  When you see this, you know that you are in the country! :)

I surprised Brian with a trip to Maui for his 40th birthday.  I picked him up from work on Friday afternoon with his bag packed.  He thought maybe we were staying at a hotel for the night, but when I told him we were leaving the island he got really excited.  He was happy to be going to Maui, an island he hadn't been to yet.  

Then when he saw the car I rented for us, he was really stoked.  

I love this photo of us.  I love that you can see Lanai (another island) in the background.

I LOVE this.  This is a pineapple stand on the side of the road.  There were alot of them.  And they all had these little jars that said "Money Jar" (red arrow) with no one anywhere around to make sure you are honest.  I love the honor system.  Restores my faith in people.

We drove on this road.... notice that only one car can actually fit on this road... and there are actually 617 curves and 56 one lane bridge.  (that's from the brochure, I'm not making it up.)

Yikes, I can't see what's around that corner... or over that hill... aaaaggggghhhhhh!

That's the Road to Hana.  Alot of people opt out when they see the road conditions.  But it's definitely WORTH the drive for the views!

1 of 56....

White knuckles....

I think there should definitely be a hammock right there, what do you think?

Sunset... warm and breezy where we were sitting, but you can see the rain on the horizon.  It was a great last night to a wonderful sweet weekend.

Now for other things going on around here:

Here is the tree I told you about last week.  This is "Bob" as seen over Jack's bedroom (from my bedroom door.)

This is "Bob" from my front yard.

Getting closer....

This is Bob, standing in my neighbors yard, across the street from Bob.

This is Amy giving you a little perspective on just how tiny she looks standing next to Bob.

Jack had his Christmas chorale performance this week at school.  Please note that everyone is in shorts and barefoot.  This is MY kind of Christmas performance.  Being barefoot makes just about everything better, don't you think?

We made Gingerbread cookies... fun memory!

This is a bit backward in terms of timeline, but this was taken on Brian's actual birthday.  We went deep sea fishing.  Here we are starting out the day, so hopeful about a huge catch and some whale sightings.

Lines are set and we are ready to reel.

Brian caught the first "catch" of the day... a barracuda.  :)

There was ONE more catch the entire day.  There are many stories from the day, and maybe soon I'll figure out how to post the video of the incredibly rough seas we experienced. I thought it was 8 foot, but was informed that while I was asleep, it was determined that it was actually 10-12 foot seas.  People, that is twice as tall as me to twice as tall as Brian.  I don't know much about rough water, but I know that was a wild ride.  

At the end of the day we caught one Mahi Mahi and one barracuda.  Brian sort of blames it on me because I brought a bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen with me (which he eventually threw overboard.)  See, Hawaiian seamen believe that bananas are bad luck.  So, even though I don't believe whatsoever in superstition, I will say it seems unusual that we had so little activity that day.  Maybe the ocean was just too rough for the fish too????  Yep, I'm choosing to believe it was the water, not the sunscreen.  haha

I will say that when we landed on Oahu this afternoon, I really felt like I was home.  It was an odd feeling.  It's the first time I've left the island since we arrived, so it was a very odd sensation.  I thought of my friend Kim in Hong Kong.  I remember a post she did about coming back to Hong Kong after a visit elsewhere.  It was a definitely multi-faceted sensation.  Maybe I'll share more when I've had time to chew on those feelings for a while.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Island Life

There are alot of things I love about Island Life.  There are alot of things that frustrate me about life on an island too.  Here's a list:

Love- the weather.  Pretty much any day of the year (so far anyway) you can do whatever you want to do outside and count on there being some sunshine to do it under.

Hate - the fruit flies.  I don't understand why there are always fruit flies in my kitchen.  I try very hard to make sure there is nothing in the sink that would attract them, try to make sure the disposal has been run with plenty of extra hot water to wash away any residue of fruit or food, but still there is a swarm around my sink no matter what.  I have put out several "fruit fly traps" that always work at home (a covered glass of red wine), but no luck.

Love - the lifestyle, everyone is so laid back, it's how I imagine life was years ago on the mainland, where kids can bike two or three blocks from home without anyone worrying too much about it, where you can show up in shorts and "slippas" (flip-flops) just about anywhere you want to go, and where just about every day should or at least could involve some amount of sand and salt-water.

Hate - that I am so far away from my friends and I have no real options to just visit on a whim.  A visit home is a major undertaking and not something that could be easily accomplished.

Love - that we are still sitting outside at night and the weather is perfect with a light jacket.  The best temps of the year in Franklin and that is what we have every day here.  It's great.  The winds are blowing now for the past few days and I LOVE sleeping to the constant roar of the Kona winds blowing through my window.  It's amazing and natural and I will really miss all the fresh, open air when I get home.  I think this is the key to why we haven't had colds, sore throats, or an illness of any time since we've been here.  There is just so much fresh air that germs don't thrive.

Hate - that I am missing the first snowfall of the season today in TN.

Love - that there is an aircraft in the sky 24x7x365.  At night, when the winds aren't blowing, you can hear the constant faint rumble of planes and helicopters.  Between military patrols and commercial airlines, there is always a blinking red light in the sky.

Hate - that we missed the stick-horse parade at Moore this week.  Connor will be the only Harrison who does not have photos of himself at a stick-horse parade.  It's a MES tradition.  But I....

LOVE - that his Kindergarten teacher from home (who only taught him for 2 weeks mind you) made a horse for him because she didn't want him to be the only Harrison who didn't have one.  You don't find that level of devotion from teachers in most schools, I don't believe.

Hate - That we weren't home for Brian's 40th birthday yesterday, I had planned a big surprise party for him that involved a limo and lots of friends and pubs.  :(  It's times like that, when you KNOW what the day would have been like, that it's most difficult for me to be away.

Love - the tree down the street from my house.  I love that we have this experience and memory and I know it's one that will grow even grander over time.  I've tried to take a photo of this tree that will give you an accurate perspective, but you'll just have to take my word for it.  My neighbor, Bob, has a tree in his front yard that is probably about 4 or 5 stories tall.  He hires tree trimmers every year (as in, the kind that cut trees down) to climb the tree and drop no telling how many strands of lights from the top to the bottom.  At the tip top, there is a white star.  The most amazing part about this is that you can see the tree from several blocks away.  People are ALL OVER our street at the moment, driving slowly, stopping to get out and take photos, etc.  I am sure you can see the tree from space if you know where to look! :)  Or at least from an airplane.  Anyway, it's the coolest thing ever.

Love - that we can walk down to the tree every night, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, in our shorts, and really just bask in the blessing of this new experience.

Trying to love - the fact that this warm weather makes it seem more like Easter than Christmas.  I feel like I'm missing the Christmas season entirely.  I want to curl up on the couch every night and watch the countdown to Christmas movies, but it just doesn't seem like Christmas and I don't think about it.  But I'm learning to be okay with this... comforted by the fact that we'll surf on Christmas day and swim on Christmas Eve and there are some definite advantages to life in the tropics.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks - Day 6

Today, I am really thankful for my blog friends.  Because although I am so happy to be in Hawaii today, having spent Thanksgiving on the beach, having the sun kiss my cheeks, and my children swimming in the ocean, my blog friends are very special blessings to me.  I love living life with people in Finland and wherever the heck Lindsey lives, and Kansas and Miami and Texas and Tennessee.  I love every one of you and hope you are having the most blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving of your life!

And IF you have not gotten a message asking you for your address... please leave it in the comments so I can send you a Christmas card.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks - Day 5

I am so thankful for this island and all the adventure it is bringing to our family, both big and small new experiences.  

I'm thankful that we have family here this week, our first holiday away from home in a very long time.  It's so much fun to share all these amazing things we've come to love with people we love.

My mother-in-law is a ton of fun.  I love having her around.  She's just really the best mother-in-law anyone could ever ask for!

She loves me, true.  But she loves Brian like no other... and being the mother of three boys, I can say I understand!

My niece is here too.  I was SO excited to see her.  She lived around the corner from me for most of her life and I have missed this little toot!

To say I am thankful for the wedding that she and Connor had last night, in which they got married (big lip kiss and all), and then promptly got "divorced", might be a bit of a stretch, but I'm sure we'll look back on it and laugh some day!

I'm thankful my children are getting this little dose of home.  I think we all needed it.

And most of all, today, I am thankful that these idiots....

I mean... loved ones....

crucial earners members of our family.... 

Who may or may not be facing mid and late-life crises.... 

Who are lamenting celebrating their 60th and 40th birthdays in a most ridiculous and absurd way... and who took two of my babies AND my niece into the crises with them....  

Did not actually get eaten... 

by these!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks - Day 4

My Dad!  Today is his birthday.  He is 63.  He is Liam's hero.  And I know why, because growing up, he was my hero too.  He's larger than life sometimes.  You'd just have to know him to understand, but if you think of The Marlboro Man (not PDub's hubby, but the actual guy on the billboard), Bob Villa, Cesar Milan, and Bill O'Reilly all rolled into one, then you'd be pretty confused have a good idea of who my dad is.  There's pretty much nothing my dad can't do, fix, learn, or teach.  (In my lifetime, I've known him to break horses, fish, rodeo, rope, ride bulls, ride horses, raise cattle, grow tomatoes, build a house and many barns, and teach me to back a goose-neck horse trailer.)  He's patient (he helped me put my garden out one year... do you need any more evidence of the man's patience?  I think not!)  He's a perfectionist (which is why my garden had perfect rows, despite my protest over how much time it was taking him.)  He's a good ol' boy who taught me never to think too much of myself (his favorite saying was always, "There's two perfect people in this world... that's me and you.  And I'm starting to worry about you."), do the right thing and you already know what the right thing is (if I ever asked him "What should I do?"  His reply would almost always be, "I think you ought to save your money and buy yourself a cow."  Now this may sound funny to you, but it wasn't amusing as a teenager when the question was something like, "I don't have money and all my friends are going to the Dairy Queen tonight.  What should I do?" or "My check engine light is on in my car.  What should I do?"), be honest, tell it like it is (maybe that's a lesson he should have kept to himself, it's gotten me and him in more trouble than it was worth... come to think of it, maybe that's why my mom is so reluctant to give her opinion... hmmmm), have an opinion (boy do I!) and stand for something, work your butt off and you might get a little spending money to go to town on.  'Cause that's what country kids do.... they go to town.

Psalm 13:5-6

5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks - Day 3

I am so thankful for parents who love me and support me.  My mom has been my biggest cheerleader all my life.  She may occasionally get frustrated with me, but for the most part, she thinks I do no wrong.  Isn't this what every child should get to experience in their lives?  A mother who lights up for you!  I have the privilege of having had that all my life, and that is not something I should ever take for granted, though I often do.  My mom is probably the most giving person I know.  She is constantly taking food to someone, hosting someone, giving a shower for someone, or "doing" something or other for somone or other. 

My mom is so much more than what she "does" for me, but there is no short list of those things either.
  • She sends me money for little frivolous things that she knows I want (and sometimes big things too.)  
  • She buys Meg the most adorable clothes, she sends packages to all my kids on a regular basis, just because she knows they like mail, even if it's just a pack of gum, they get excited.  
  • She comes to most every event the kids are involved in, which is a pretty good accomplishment, considering they are 3 hours away (well, right now they are about 30 hours away, but when we are home.)  They aren't afraid to drive up for the day if it's something important in the life of a grandchild.  
  • She taught me about trusting God, the power of prayer, and serving others.  She gave me an inheritance of salvation and that is the best thing I could have ever gotten from anyone.
  • She never criticizes my choices or forces her opinions on me.  She will SOMETIMES give her advice, but ONLY if she is asked for it.  (And sometimes when you ask, she still won't tell you what she thinks.  Boy, I sure didn't inherit that trait from her!)
  • She reminds me all the time of how lucky we both were to have been loved and cared for by my Granma (her mom) for as long as we were and she reminds me of the legacy I have to uphold.
  • There is not one thing I could not ask her for or that she would not give me.  I could call her any hour, day or night, and she would do anything for me, no questions asked.  Oh I hope I can be that for my children.  It's the "any hour" thing I'm struggling with right now... those hours after 10 PM are pretty sacred when you have wee ones.  hehehe
  • There is SO much more about my mom that I am thankful for, there's really not enough time or space here, but I think you get the picture.  
I'm really irritated and ashamed that this is the only photo I could find of my mom on this computer.  I have SO many more photos of her on my computer at home, her with my kids, her at events like soccer games and baptisms, etc.  And this is not even a good photo because my mom isn't particularly a dog lover (she just happened to think this little pup was cute... Yes, Sandra, that is Rocky!)  She's not looking at the camera, so you can't see her sweet face, but hopefully you can tell by her smile how easy she is to be with and how sweet she is.  She is a beautiful woman.  She always looks put together, her shoes always match! :)  She is so precious to me and I can never repay all the ways that she has enriched me.  I just hope I can pass some of it on to my children.  As I get older I think so many times of some of the things I was told over and over as a child and they make so much sense to me and are so preicous to me, I want my children to understand them too!

Exodus 20:12
Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. "

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks - Day 2

It's really hard for me to believe that God has pulled me aside, set me on the sidelines for a little "time-out" with God, and He was so tender and loving with me that He brought me to this place to have this time with me.  It's truly, truly, indescribable in it's beauty, warmth, personality, and culture.

I'm thankful that God put this man at our helm.  He is so capable and none of us have to worry too long about anything because "Daddy" can solve almost any crisis.  

I'm thankful for the young man Jack is becoming.  He is so super responsible and thoughtful.  I'm proud of his heart and his attitude (most of the time.)  

I'm thankful for the laughter this little stinker brings to my life.  Seriously, my life would be so dull without him.  He keeps me guessing, keeps me laughing, keeps me on my toes, and keeps me on my knees in prayer.  (Yes, that is a dead crab he is holding.)

I'm thankful for the tenderness of this child.  Oh, how he loves his mama! 

I'm thankful for the beauty that surrounds us in every single nook and cranny of this island. Around every turn there is something completely different, new and adventurous to experience.  And I love seeing my daughters beauty accentuated here.

I'm thankful that my children, despite their occasional protest and lament about home, are thriving here.

Psalm 136:6-9

6The Lord stretched the earth over the ocean.
 God's love never fails.
7He made the bright lights in the sky.
 God's love never fails.
8He lets the sun rule each day.
 God's love never fails.
9He lets the moon and the stars rule each night.
 God's love never fails.