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.