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

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. 

A Week of Thanksgiving!

So many people on Facebook have been doing a thankful post every day.  It was a great idea.  I really wish I had been with it enough to participate.  Lord knows I have enough to be thankful for, more than enough, truth be told.  But in an effort no to be totally flippant about my blessings, I'm going to try to do a post every day this week about the things I am thankful for right now.  However, my in-laws come in tomorrow night, so it might be more difficult than I am planning.  Which brings me to my #1, I am thankful to FINALLY have someone to share this paradise with. I'm so glad that they are coming.

To start with, I am thankful to share my life with this man.  He isn't perfect...

But he is perfect for me.  I am thankful that he is forgiving and tolerant and giving.  I'm thankful that he has a good sense of humor and that he provides so well for our family.  I'm thankful that he's about 1,000,000 times smarter than me and that he can manage money... and I'm particularly thankful that he's not too fussy about how the house is kept.  

And to prove he has a good sense of humor, I'll share our Christmas decorations with you.  Since Kristine asked.... and by the way, Kristine, these are the type decorations that the realtor asks you to take DOWN before you sell your house! :)

Remember I said that Brian has a sense of humor?  Well, he has affectionately themed this Christmas decor "Redneck in the Tropics".  And then he laughed that I can't do anything without a little touch of redneck... and I guess he's right.  I prefer to think of it as not out-growin' my raisin'.  But semantics, semantics... :)

I was very unhappy with how the tree turned out.  I had the idea to use the colors of the sea (white foam,  turquoise water, brown sand, silver just for sparkle.)  It didn't seem quite "organic" enough, so we decided to put some of our sea treasures on the tree.  These are things that we have found on the beach in various spots.  

We fabricated a faux sea urchin for the topper.  Sea urchins are everywhere, and quite honestly, they wig me out a bit, but they are SO cool and amazing.  There is something about them that makes me want to reach out and touch them (something about the forbidden fruit I suppose.)  It's very akin to the feeling I get when I stand at the top of a very tall building, like I might get the overwhelming urge to fly and not be able to stop myself.   You don't have to admit you ever have that urge, I know some more of you are out there.  

It's fun, but it's still not what I had envisioned.  I'm really open to suggestions on how to maybe help this thing out a bit.  Any of you uber decorators out there, please feel free to chime in here... Tropical Redneck, while entertaining, isn't a theme I'm necessarily stuck on.  

I'm thankful that this is the end of my street and I will actually be sitting there on Thanksgiving morning with my niece and my in-laws.  

There are so many other things I am thankful for.... but I will spare you the rambling and wait for tomorrow.  

Psalm 136:1
"Praise the LORD! He is good. God's love never fails." 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things that will always make me think of Hawaii

1.  "Slippas" (flip flops) outside of every door (even at school.)

2.  Rainbows (where is this place I live that people don't even notice rainbows unless they are "significant", as in a double, a full arch that you can actually see the end of, etc.)  In their defense, rainbows truly are an every day occurrence.

3.  Plumeria.

4.  Nice people, everywhere.  Did any of you see the interview with "Danno" from Hawaii Five O this week on Late Night?  When asked whether he liked living in Hawaii, his response was, "It's great for the first couple of months, but eventually you start to miss angry people."  HA!  It's so true.  People let you in front of them in traffic.  The check-out line takes a while because most of the folks are going to "chat you up" while they are checking you out.  I don't really know that I've seen anyone be impatient here.

5.  Clouds on mountains.  We live on the drier side of the mountain so the sun will be beaming here, but there will be ominous clouds "up on the ridge."  It's completely majestic.

6.  Walking to school.

7.  Walking to pre-school.

8.  Spam Musubi   (Which, by the way, is sold at gas stations very similarly to the dried out hot-dogs and burritos they sell at convenience stores in TN.)

9.  Brian's Jeep  Dreaming of bringing it home with us, but who am I kidding...  there are about three days out of the year that are actually mild enough to enjoy it in TN.

10.  No air-conditioning.

11.  Poll "baths" instead of "real" baths.  Oops... Make that Pool Baths!  :)  Thanks Barb!

My favorite thing on the planet is being barefoot.  I absolutely adore flip-flops.  To be quite honest, if I had the community here that I have in TN (family, friends, neighbors, school, etc.) I would be so tempted to stay.  The pervasive attitude here, where it's really okay if I run up to the school barefoot because Liam forgot his glasses, just fits me so well.  I love how laid back everyone is.  I love how no one is putting on heels to go to the PTO meeting.  Everyone is just relaxed and giving everyone else the grace to live as they please.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yay! Fun photos....

I found someone in Hawaii willing to let me take their photos.  My sewing room is starting to look like an episode of Hoarders... I needed a creative outlet that didn't cause a huge mess.  You can check out their photos on my photo blog, if you have nothing else to do with the morning!  Hope you have a GREAT Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I need a title for my life...

because when I go to post random stuff that happened throughout the week, I never know what to title it.  Random things 101?  Anyway, here is our week in review...

Jack, never satisfied to just do something, has to figure out how to make something MORE dangerous!

God really was so good to provide brothers, right next door, who like to do dangerous stuff too!  And they slept over last week.  God really did care that our boys would be missing the other brothers in our life!

This was Saturday night dinner at the Kahala Hotel.  

Seriously, the Chuy's patio at home has really got NOTHIN' on this one....

The kids, ALL four cheesing the fakest grins you've ever seen.  On the beach, during dinner.

The Kahala has a dolphin lagoon where you can see dolphins up close.....

very close....

We watch the NFL for breakfast over here.  After church, we head to a local pub for breakfast and watching the Titans.  The games start at 8:00 AM and are usually over by about 3.

Here's Connor creating his ketchup sensation....

Here's Connor when I told him he now had to find something to dip into that ketchup and actually eat it. We were out of fries, so it was either edamame or wings.....

Can't you just hear the sigh?
And the whine?

And the protest?

Aww, yeah, here we go, full on tizzy.

Manipulation central.... even though it never works, why does he keep trying it with me?

Then trying to pretend that it actually was terrible... hard to hide a smile when it's that yummy.

Liam watching the game

So precious!  I love this smile.  This is the smile that lights up a room.  This is the one you get when he really is happy, and not just obliging his mama.

All I can do when I see this is breathe a sigh.  It makes me tired to look at these two, knowing what it took to get it off of them, and the walls.  Please feel sorry for me! Please? I have many more years of these two living together!  I hear you laughing... especially you Mama!  

Then, in my spare time this week, I made a skirt for my niece, which Meg promptly claimed as her own. Threw it on with her cowboy boots and called herself happy! 

And she looked so darn cute, I just went and bought more fabric to make another one.  Oh well!

Good thing I got all those change of address letters written before I left... ahem.... because the tooth fairy had to make a very special stop this week!  And there are three more very close behind it.  Connor says he's going to be singing "All I want for Christmas is my FOUR front teeth."  :)

Hawaiian word of the day... Joy: Hau'oli, 'oli, le'a

How can I have anything but joy, that my Savior has been so gentle-handed with me that He has asked me to serve Him by serving these five goofballs I call family.  And He's asked me to do it where it's 85 degrees outside everyday, I live two blocks from the beach, and there is a rainbow almost every day to remind me that He is here too!