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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Open letter to the departures gate at HNL International Airport

Dear Departures Gate:

I want you to know that I did not set out to develop this aversion to you.  I believe that I began visiting you with an open mind.  However, over the past several weeks, I have learned that you are not an entity to be taken lightly.  I have brought you the most beloved people in my life and time and again you have swallowed them whole, none of whom I have seen again, I might add.  I have complained multiple times about this issue, but still I have no resolution.  Just today, for example, it happened again.  I brought you my own Daddy and he too disappeared through your corridors.  I have yet to know what's become of him.

Furthermore, I might note that your brother, the arrivals gate, does a fantastic job.  I have never once had an issue with him.  He has delivered exactly what was promised, on time, every single month.  I am confused how two entities working so closely together, even looking so similar to one another, can have such paradoxical ethics.  You might try taking a lesson or two from him, if you hope to improve your reputation.

I want to go on record as having stated that I am filing a formal complaint against you.  I've had it with your heartless attitude and careless disregard for my feelings.  Consider yourself duly warned!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why is it so hard?

Why is being a follower sometimes so hard, and at the same time, so beautiful?  I KNOW God has brought us here to Hawaii for a reason, a season, and a blessing.  But, whenever someone visits, it's SO hard to see them go.

My brother, sister-in-law, and sweet, yummy, precious little niece came to visit us last week.  They left the frozen tundra of TN for the balmy weather of Hawaii, and I couldn't stop staring at my little niece.  You wouldn't have either... she's a doll baby.  That's Tennessee-speak for precious! :)

See what I mean?

Look at those EYES!  I know the photo is over-exposed, but I think it might be my favorite of the week because of her EYES!

My brother is just so awesome.  I've told you all so many times how amazing he is, how proud I am of him, and how much I love him, but really, every time I spend time with him, I'm reminded of how much better he is than me in so many ways and how much I want to grow up to be more like him.  Most of all I respect him.  He's fun and funny and energetic.  My kids love him to pieces and he never seems to lose patience or energy for their shenanigans.  We're still laughing at some of his stories.

My sister-in-law is so easy to get along with too.  She's just one of those people you can have around you all the time and she never starts to wear on you or you never feel like it's any work to love her.  I wish I could be more like that. Believe me, I'm sure there are alot of people that are glad to see me go at the end of a visit.  But they are so purposeful, thoughtful, amazing... I'm blessed.  BUT.... it's SO HARD to see them go.  They were just such a real reminder, yet again, of how amazing my life and relationships are at home.  So I came home from the airport yesterday and had myself a little pitty party by the pool.

But I woke up this morning and remembered that I am here for a season and a reason.  I tend to romanticize home when I get homesick and I know if I were there, the busy-ness of life would overcome me and I wouldn't have time to appreciate all the things I long for.  Plus I wouldn't get to lick my wounds by the pool, I'd be licking them by the heat vents.  :)  And I'm learning to sit in my restlessness and let God mold me through it rather than trying to soothe it myself with some activity or "project."  I'm also learning with a new clarity just how BAD I am at resting!

And besides, it really feels a bit ridiculous and selfish to long for ANYTHING when I have this in my back yard....

We heard the surf report yesterday that there would be 25-40 (that's FORTY) foot faces on the North Shore, so after church, we loaded up two cars and went to see for ourselves.

You really can't tell from the photos, they don't do it justice, but I've never seen anything this big in my life.

They were as tall as our house....

I don't have good shots of the surfers because they were like little dots on the wave, you can barely see them.

There were crowds of people, but most of them were behind us because the beach was roped off due to dangerous conditions.  We weren't allowed to get close to the shoreline.  In fact, the lifeguards were patrolling on their 4 wheelers keeping everyone behind a certain point.  That girl in the photo above was about to get yelled at over the loud-speaker!  

Our family is thriving here.  I love so many things about the island.  And I am not going to lose sight of what I love here and the fact that this is a very short period of time, in the grand scheme of things.  I'm not going to allow myself to dwell on what I'm missing.  I do long for the companionship and familiarity of home, but you know what, home is still there. My friends still love me and they are still there.  They will still be there when I get back too.  And we won't have lost our love for one another or our companionship and familiarity.  I KNOW that God is working in my family while I am here.  I KNOW that God is moving in my husband as I see him growing and changing through his job and the church we are attending here. I see him becoming a more thoughtful follower. It's amazing to me that God can do this for someone in a place like Hawaii, where it seems we are practically the only Christians in the neighborhood.  My brother told me that Hawaii is actually the most un-churched state in the US.  Seems odd that God would bring us somewhere like this to speak to us in a way, but then again, it seems hard to ignore Him with all His work around us all the time.  He is in every single element of this island from the lovely people to the amazing scenery, awe-inspiring ocean, majestic mountains, and warm air.  

And don't get me wrong, it's not like we aren't having fun.  In fact, the friends we have made here are fun, we've laughed so much, eaten TOO much, and just plain old relaxed ALOT.  We've done more as a family than we ever did in TN.  We spend our weekends together, doing activities together, not just attending one persons sporting event or activity, but all participating together.  I don't want to allow one day of this experience to be robbed from me.  I want to treat it like the blessing it is and the growth opportunity that I think God intended it to be.  And I just want to appreciate it!  

I am sure this post has been boring for you, if you are even still reading.  But I mostly wrote it so that I can be reminded, when I start to think I need to go home, that there are so many reasons that being here is a good thing and that God's got this.  He holds the experience in His hands for all of us.  Me, you, all our friends at home; He can and will make something more amazing than we can dream IF I can step out of myself and just get out of my own way.  

Anyway, my dad will be here tomorrow, so there's no time for lamenting too long.  I have lots of stuff planned to do with him, including a trip to the big island, Maui, and Pearl Harbor.  I really can't wait to see my Daddy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Friends, Isolation, and a Time-Out

I really have felt lately that I am starting to "get" why God brought us here to Hawaii.  When we first arrived, I was so restless.  I couldn't enjoy the slower pace because all I could think of was what I was missing, what I "should" or would be doing if I was back home.  I missed fostering the dogs!  I missed my family and the occasional visits!  I missed my friends!  I MISSED my dog! I missed my sweet neighbor most of all.  I was just biding my time until God would let us go home.  In fact, I even asked Him a few times just to hurry up and get the point across to me, let me have the lesson so I could leave and return to my full and busy life.  

But God wasn't sending me a plane ticket in the mail and He wasn't in any great hurry to reveal His motives to me either.  As usual, His timing, not mine.... dangit!  So I sat, friends and family came and went, more friends and family booked tickets, and each time someone left I wished I was going with them and worried how long it would be before I saw them again.  But now, I'm starting to be okay with the waiting. I'm "settling down" as I would say to my kids and not so anxious or impatient for God to "let me go" home again.  I'm starting to understand that He has me here, in this time-out, for a reason.  And the slowed pace may very well actually BE the reason.  I am finding that it's much easier to find time to spend with God on my own here.  I first started out frantically trying to find a Bible study because I knew I needed someone to keep me honest about the time I spent with God.  But now, I'm finding that I'm doing okay for now, just seeking Him each day on my own.  Meandering around through the Bible is okay for now.  I have never been one who could really sit down and read the Bible without a "purpose", a lesson plan, or a search for specific Scripture in relation to a circumstance.  Now, I'm finding that it's okay for me to just wander through God's Word, sometimes recalling familiar stories and verses I have heard 1,000 times, other times, finding new stories or new details to stories that I hadn't given notice before.  (Maybe it's because they sound totally different now that I'm not reading them in the King James.  As far as I know, the only Bible I owned was King James until I was 25.)  

Today, Meg had a play date with a friend from school.  My two favorite little girls from her class were including her in a play-date and I was so happy that she was finally getting some friends to play with.  When I got to the home, it was so inviting, the little girl's mother had made blueberry muffins and coffee, the smell was wonderful, the home was so inviting and cozy.  And the two other moms and I sat around the kitchen table talking for two hours to the sound of our girls giggling and singing.  It was a little slice of heaven.  Finally, I had some "comforts" of being in a familiar setting.  We chatted and talked and they were asking about our transition, and the word, "isolated", came out of my mouth regarding our move.  And that's the first time I think I had put a name to what I felt.  I wasn't so much lonely, though there were moments, I wasn't so much homesick, though I certainly have been at times, I was just restless and something else.... and today I realized what it was.  I have felt isolated. I've felt so disconnected from friends.  I have no real opportunities to go home.  I mean, besides the fact that it costs around $1000 to get home, I could stomach that if I really needed to; but it's a very difficult trip.  It's a long way to go for a few days, and I can't see leaving the kids longer than that.  So I've just gotten no peace at all about planning a trip back.  And I think it's been the right decision.  God is slowly but surely revealing to me that the peace of being still is exactly what He wanted for me right now. 

I tend to think that when God corners me and demands my attention, He is trying to move me in a new direction, tell me something He wants from me, or generally rock my world.  But this time, I don't really know if that's what it's about.  I don't think God always has to have my attention to tell me to GO somewhere, maybe what He's trying to tell me is that He just wants my attention, without motive or ultimatum, He just wants me to listen... it's never been my strong suit (just ask my husband and friends) but I'm really trying to learn.  

But I'm still getting pierced! :) 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The shortest lived piercing in history.....

Meg got her ears pierced today.  I have nothing to prove that this happened except a $30 pair of white gold CZ earrings.  It was totally spur of the moment (I know that surprises every single one of you) as we were at the mall, we saw another little girl sitting in the chair at Claire's getting her ears done and we just said "go for it."  She was so brave.  She didn't even wince when they stuck the earring in.  The only comment she made was, "Woo, that hurt!"  Then she told Brian, "Just a little pinch."  But later in the afternoon, the wound started to ache, as any wound is want to do (even the self-inflicted ones.)  And she decided that the cost of beauty was just too high.  How could I force her to live out the pain of her decision.  I saw a painful reflection of some of my own decisions in this little small example my daughter was showing me.  So I helped her remove the earrings.  I gave her some ibuprofen and I kissed her ears and told her if she changed her mind later, we'd go again.  And you know what, it was worth the $35 just to see how proud she was of herself.  She called every little friend she has and both her grandmothers to tell them how big she was and it was worth every dime.  She even Skyped with my mom and got to show off her short-lived bling.  But in the end, the earrings came out, the holes are already closed up, and I am wearing the earrings myself.

But I sort of developed this fascination with piercing from watching how wonderful my daughter felt from her new-found beauty.  I'm thinking there will be another piercing in my future, but I'm not going to tell you where I am putting it until after it's done (mostly because I know my mother is terrified even as she is reading this and I will get a call or e-mail in the next five minutes with her opinion about whether or not I should do this.)  In the end, Ondrea would probably never get another piercing.  But you know what, Ondrea would not have let her four year old daughter get her ears pierced either.  But guess what... Sasha WOULD!  And Sasha is thinking that by Monday or Tuesday, you can look for a photo of my new bling.  We'll see... maybe I'll change my mind when the high of my daughter's right of passage wears off.  You'll just have to come back and see! :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Where did it go?

Has anyone seen the month of December?  Cause last time I looked at the calendar it was December 17th.  And today the kids went back to school and it's all over.  How in the heck did that happen?

I do have proof that I lived some fun moments for the past three weeks... but... but.... where did it go????

Our dear friends arrived from TN on 12/17.  Meg was SO happy to finally have one of her friends here that we didn't actually see her until after they left.  :)

They were really happy to see the sunshine since they left snow and freezing temps to get here.  

Meg was over the moon!

North Shore hat purchases.... 

North Shore chill fest.... 

Heading out for a night of karaoke.  Hil-air-e-ous!

The kids gaping at Bob (the tree)

Of course there was surfing....  (that is NOT me, by the way.  It's my friend from TN... she's a natural!)

and more surfing....

stunt surfing....  (that's Jack!)

and double surfing....  did I mention that our friends are actually the parents of one of Jack's best friends too!  

It did rain a few days while they were here...  but we didn't let it stop the fun.

Is this the cutest hat you've ever seen?  Or maybe it's just the face that makes the hat cute.  Yes, I think that's what it is! 

The caves at Here to Eternity Beach

Our prom picture.  I think the them was "Almost Heaven"  haha

By the end of the week, we were all exhausted, a few pounds heavier, and sad to see them go! 

We saw the Hawaiian version of Santa

The Who's down in Who-ville came out on Christmas morning. 

The goodies were out of control after Santa left his stash.

Four days after our friends left, Lani came for a stay.... 

She's sweet and gorgeous and I can't wait for her to go so I don't have to walk her.  :(

Then we had a New Year's Eve party... and things got a little out of hand.

Yes, those are actually pop-its on the floor... we (the adults) had a bit of a war with the kids Pop-its.

Guess who wasn't laughing when she had to clean it up! :(

See, I really did have fun and we did ALOT, but I swear it only lasted about 3 days!