A New Name

It isn’t really a new name. It’s as old as I am. But it’s a new language. Well, not at all a new language….it’s an ancient language. But it’s my own old name in an ancient language…which is very new to me.

Kahehi Onalani

Isn’t it beautiful! That’s my middle name in Hawaiian. I know…cause a Hawaiian told me so.

He’s a friend of Caleb’s who is visiting, and in the midst of listening to his soft, melodic voice singing those beautiful traditional Hawaiian songs (which I could listen to all day long) and talking about all things Hawaiian…from the history of the Islands, to hula, and from the disappearing culture to our favorite fruits…he told us his sister’s name. I don’t remember it, but it was long and lovely. And then we talked about the language. I love to hear the Hawaiian language. So I asked him and he told me that in Hawaiian, my middle name is Kahehi onalani.

Mahalo! (Thank you.) I’ll keep it.

And after I finish learning Swedish…I’m going to learn Hawaiian.

How do you say, “Dream on” in Hawaiian? ….or Swedish?

Life Without Facebook: a survivor’s guide (Part 2)

Am I missing Facebook?

Is that why I’ve been checking my email 432 times a day?

Is that why there are certain people that I feel like I haven’t talked to in 57 years?

Is that why I feel at a loss when I think of a really cool line that I’d love to write as a status?

Is that why I seem to hardly be on the up and up anymore?

Is that why I get on the internet and, after the 432nd time of checking my mail, I wonder what I got on there for?

No. I think that I only feel that way because I’ve had a cold for the last 157 months…and Facebook would be a really nice distraction.

But honestly…I still LOVE not having a facebook.

And every time I hear it mentioned, I think….I am so glad I am done with that.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Feeling Fruity….or…Lessons from a Mango

In Hawaii…

What’s that???

Yes, I’m going to talk about Hawaii again. Of course I am. You can’t spend ten days on a gorgeous island in the middle of the Pacific and just stop thinking about it all of a sudden! It’s not possible!

Anyway….

In Hawaii, enjoying incredible, delicious, amazing tropical fruit is a daily occurrence. And let me tell you…I LOVE incredible, delicious, amazing tropical fruit. Papayas, pineapples, coconuts, lychee nuts, (and yes, I made that a link because I have a feeling many people don’t know what that is) guavas, passion fruit, mangos…I LOVE them all. Can’t get enough, really. And it’s a highlight of being in tropical places to be able to partake of such lusciousness. It can’t be duplicated here. It really can’t.

I feel the same way about cherries since our visit to Chelan, Washington a few years ago. Never before or since have I had cherries like the ones we feasted on there. Oh my….they were amazing.

And Colorado peaches. Wow. Oklahoma has good peaches (in season), but those Palisade peaches…

But here I am, back in Oklahoma, where even the apples we get are rumored to be up to ten months old. I am missing Hawaii. I am missing that tropical fruit!I have a cold, and some of that God-given sweetness would feel so soothing to my sore throat. I could be better in no time after a dip in that salt water ocean, and a healthy dose of Vitamin D along with a fresh pineapple-coconut smoothie. Mmmm…such a nice dream!

Still. That’s no excuse. I knew better. And what’s more…I KNEW I knew better.

*insert dreamy flashback whatchamacallit here*

I’m standing in a grocery store in E– and completely taken in by the lushness that comes from two long-ago flowers on a mango tree in Brazil. In that love that is so often called blind, and with mouth-watering visions of juicy splendor, I buy them and take them home.

They look right and ready so I take out my two plastic baggies and carefully shield my skin…willing to risk an allergic reaction for the sake of such divine goodness…but not too twitter-pated to not be cautious. Slowly, I peel the red skin away….revealing the golden-ness of the treasured fruit…and then deftly I slice that anticipated sweetness away from the inedible seed.

It is brown inside. Brown and strange and hard and OH so disappointing!!!!

**************************************************************

Some experiences are meant to be enjoyed in the moment and then forever in your memory. Some things just aren’t supposed to be duplicated. Ever.

I KNEW that I knew better.

*sigh*

ENOUGH

Here is the second assignment I submitted to my writing class. So enjoying it. It’s wonderful to be a part of a group of ladies who are interesting, incredibly creative, responsive and thought-provoking. They are inspiring me!

ENOUGH

 Our band had been together for quite a few years before that summer tore us apart. Not a complete fissure…only a gaping hole that our brother, the lead singer and guitar player, left in his angry wake. He didn’t leave alone. He took pieces of our hearts with him. We desperately tried to assure ourselves that we could manage. We had obligations, after all, a tight two week schedule in Colorado. People were counting on us. Dates were set. If we could get through this tour, we could go on. We could manage.

Strings broke, instruments refused to tune, emotions raged and exhausted us. So many questions that needed answers….only we didn’t have the answers. We didn’t understand. We were wounded and those wounds were raw.

 People were kind. They encouraged and supported us. They loved us and we needed love.

 We had endured five of the seven events on the calendar, and the finish was in sight. I was weeding a flowerbed the afternoon before a concert in a town about an hour and a half away. The warm golden sunlight refreshed and revitalized. I mindlessly reached down to yank a weed and seconds later my hand was on fire. Stinging nettle. How could I have been so careless? I knew better than that. Blisters formed as my fingers swelled. Really? I needed this too?

 I tried to play my fiddle while we were setting up, but my swollen fingers didn’t bend the way they should. And they hurt. I’ll never forget the warmth of my friend’s hand as he held mine and prayed that God would touch and heal and take away the pain. That prayer was answered. Just as we made our way to the stage the pain subsided…and the swelling didn’t once inhibit my playing. My benumbed heart was grateful…but dull.

 The next night we had our last concert in the park. All day we debated moving it inside. The wind was gusty and clouds lurked in the corners of the mountain framed sky. The community wanted the concert. In the park.

 We set up in the wind and we played in the wind. Gusty breezes that beat us and whistled through our microphones at the same time sucking the song out of my wooden flute.

 I looked toward the hills and saw snow on the peaks…and dark clouds heavy with moistness heading in our direction. Something inside of me snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. Silently, my soul cried out…”Father!!! We are doing this for YOU…why are you doing this to us?!?!”

 As swiftly as the wind-swirled snowflakes fell, my despair and anger and hurt disappeared. Suddenly I was filled with complete, unreserved, undeserved peace. I knew deep in my soul, that God was with us, even in the storms and hurts and trials, He is with us. He is drawing us close, and loving us, even when we can’t feel or understand. And that assurance that He will never forsake us…is enough.

Summer, Winter, Fall…what next?

I spent some time in Hawaii…the land of eternal summer. Then I went to California…more summer. In fact, Santa Cruz was unusually warm.

So strange to see coffee cups with snowflakes on them and hear the advertisements for peppermint mochas when we’re in t-shirts and making plans to go to the beach.

I left sunny California and ran into snow in Arizona. BRRRR!!!!! Winter!!!!

And I arrived home to see the beautiful colors of Autumn and hear the crunch of leaves under my feet. But it was warm.

The night after I got back from my Pacific Adventure, Oklahoma experienced tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, wind, flooding AND earthquakes…all at the same moment.

The only natural disasters that we can think of that Oklahoma hasn’t had to deal with in the last year are volcanoes, tsunamis and asteroids. But we have a month and a half left…

Glad I know WHO is in control!!!

Overwhelmed

I am blessed. Overwhelmingly blessed. And sometimes that overwhelmingly blessed feeling is so overwhelming I can’t believe it…even though I’m living it. Humbling…altogether humbling.

Some blessings come through people. Like…an amazing trip to Hawaii and all the loveliness and adventure that comes with that. Or a second vehicle for Tera and me that will make our lives a lot easier…but is nicer than anything we thought we would have. And the opportunity to travel down the coast of California and then stop at the Grand Canyon. So incredible. So overwhelming. So humbling.

Then there are the blessings that come straight from our Heavenly Father…those blessings that are so unexpected and so undeserved that I can only breathe, “Thank you, Father.” through tear blurred eyes and past a lump in my throat. For instance…

After we left Hawaii our plans were up in the air. I usually take long trips with my brother John…who does a great job planning and setting up get-togethers and routes and…well…everything! But John wasn’t there. And it was up to me to do those things. And…well…I sort of waited till one day was done before working out another, which works well…or not. Sometimes it was frustrating…sometimes we felt inconsiderate to others. But our lovely cousin, Dixie, at just the right time reminded us that we were right where our Lord wants us…that we just need to trust in His guidance. YES! We needed to stop worrying and just trust.

Tera and I left LA with the plan to see the Grand Canyon before dark, and then drive on toward home so that we would only have two days on the road between California and home.

It was cloudy all day, and so beautiful as we crossed the desert. We reached the turnoff for the Canyon as it began raining a bit. We realized that we hadn’t figured that sunset at the Canyon would be earlier than at the coast, since it’s farther east but still the same time zone. As we made our way to the Park we noticed a patch of sunlight to the east of us, and we started to pray that the patch would move over to the Canyon, so that we could enjoy what we could see in the little time we had.

“Father, we KNOW that you can let the sun come out so that we can see the Canyon. You’ve blessed us so much…please bless us with this, if it’s Your will. We KNOW You can!!! Please?”

But it only grew darker and rainier…colder and mistier. We were tired…and a little bit whiney and decided that we’d better just stay the night there. We knew that would mean an extra night on the road…but also knew we shouldn’t pass up a chance to “really” see the Grand Canyon. After all…it could be only once in a lifetime! So we went to the hotel that the park ranger recommended for us, checked in and grabbed a bowl of soup at a nearby restaurant.  We were both exhausted…and felt like we were fighting a cold. And then it started to snow outside. Not just little sprinkles of snowflakes. It started to snow HARD! Before we knew it, everything outside was covered with a beautiful blanket of fluffy frozen flakes. We snuggled in and talked about how nice it was to be so comfortable and warm, and how we thought it was probably the best decision to stay.

The next morning we woke up exhausted…and that cold we were fighting had won a bit of the battle. We kicked around the idea of staying there another night, but decided we’d just have slow easy morning, take our time seeing what there was to see and then find out how far we’d get toward home.

The branches of the pines that lined the road were heavy with snow. The wind was blowing as the snow fell, so the ground and trunks had a thick covering of whiteness. It was gorgeous. The sun shone through the scurrying clouds, and we were in awe of all around us. That was before we even SAW the Grand Canyon. It was cold there…but it was magnificent.

That first glimpse…

It doesn’t matter how many photos or videos I’ve seen. I honestly thought it might be a bit anticlimactic. It wasn’t.

We took our time and tried to absorb the majesty around us. We stopped at every pull out, saw an elk in the woods and climbed the watch tower. We spent hours, and every minute of those hours was euphoric with the knowledge that our Father had orchestrated such a display and changed our plans so that we could enjoy it. How horrible it would have been to try to catch the Grandness of the Canyon in the five minutes we would have had before it was too dark to see anything. How much we would have missed if He had answered my prayer that night. How sad it would have been.

But Yahweh wasn’t finished confirming how very much He loves us. That same day, Tera and I figured that we could reach Albuquerque by 10 that night…which would leave us with a very reasonable day drive home. Only…we were tired. Being out in the wind and cold all day had taken a lot out of us, Tera was feeling sicker…and by the time we were near Grants,New Mexico, we couldn’t help but feel like we would really, really like to stop. After doing some figuring we decided an hour more or less wouldn’t make much difference. We found a hotel and settled in. It felt SO good to be settled in. Tera went down to the front desk for something…just in time to hear another woman say that I-40 Eastbound was closed down due to a fatal accident. Closed for 2 hours, as a matter of fact. We would have been stuck in that if we hadn’t decided to stop. Again…overwhelmingly thankful that we stopped.

Our Father was guiding…and protecting…and loving. We were rejoicing…and humbled.

Sometimes it isn’t always so clearly seen…but I know that always….ALWAYS…my God is working…guiding…protecting…loving. And I am overwhelmed.

Overwhelmingly blessed.

Writing Class

I’m taking a writing class! Isn’t that exciting! I think so! Thanks to my dad…since he signed me up. I guess it helps to have connections, you know.  😉

If ever you want to take a writing class, may I recommend writers.com?

Anyway, I thought I’d share my first assignment here:

Assignment 1 10/31/11

 Family History

 I spent the day with my niece. My niece.  I love to be with her. I love to look at her and see glimpses of my brother (her father) and sister and father and mother in her. I love that we have the same initials and that she’s old enough now to think that’s pretty cool too. I love to hear her say she wishes I lived nearer – because I know that means she loves being with me as well.  There’s nothing like knowing we are family – forever united by the same blood that courses through our veins – and our fathers’ veins and their fathers’ veins. We have history.

 It’s Papa’s birthday today. He’s been gone almost two years now and I still miss him. Growing up, I thought he was one of the most amazing men that ever lived. I still do. I loved him deeply. He was my step-grandfather. We shared no common blood, and I don’t look like him. But we are family – forever united by the love that coursed through our hearts. We have history.