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Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

Last year we switched from a parent-only approach to teaching to the help of an online school.  Our first year on the island it was all me, and with a part time ministry job it really sucked the life out of me.  Moving to a completely new environment without the family support and familiarity made homeschooling even more difficult.  The families that we had been spending our dance and music time with were no longer available.  Taking out the full time teaching has given me back creative time which lets my brain engage the youngest when she needs help with a class.

I’m excited that this year she will write more, read some great classics, have a study hall to help her with any needs she may have with math or science, begin her voyage into French, and study American History up until the early 1800’s.  We have also made music and theater the big focus for the year.  Anyone who knows us may ask how is that any different?  It comes down to her commitment to rehearsing and staying in shape.  We will spend more time practicing, memorizing, and exercising.  It’s not a have to.  It’s a want to.  She should have quite a story to tell by the end of it all.

With a week and half until we are in full swing we are hoping to enjoy the rest of our summer break.  It’s a little different here because seemingly the summer never leaves.  Oh sure, there is actually sweater weather for about a month, but for the most part, if we are willing to drive, we can find sun somewhere on this island.  It’s just finding the time to enjoy it.  This year have blocked out adventure time during the week.  It could be a hike, or a paddle, or just enjoying a good book on the beach.  That whole schedule is still a few days away, so my question for now is what shall we do TODAY?

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The storm passed, but not without causing some damage.  Our church ohana in Kona is safe and sound.  Puna, also on the Big Island, was hit the hardes,t and will be without power for up to 6 weeks.  This time of year is very hot and humid.  It makes not having air con or ice even more of a bummer.  Hopefully things will be restored quickly, and the outpouring of help with continue.

Last night we expected to be hunkered down another severe storm system.  The second hurricane heading our way, Julio, veered north and completely missed our lovely set of islands.  We were a little disappointed to not see more wind and rain, but we are so thankful to be safe.  Plus, the already saturated ground needs a little time to dry out.

Even though we didn’t experience a hurricane we wouldn’t change how we prepped for these last two storms.  It’s a very good thing to have what you need.  Being prepared gives one a lot of peace.  Knowing that we can care for our precious pod is a huge relief.

The saying goes “once and homschooler always a homeschooler.”  I learned a couple of new things about hurricanes and the Sandwich Islands.  Only four hurricanes have made landfall on the islands in the last 100 years.  The Big Island has a natural hurricane buster.  When the hurricane hits the Big Island the volcano is so big it breaks up the storm.  The doppler radar shows this amazing natural phenomena.  I also learned that wind shear, usually a bad thing with things like flying in an airplane, actually works to our advantage in a huge storm because it also breaks up the storm.  Kauai wasn’t so lucky 22 years ago when they were hit by Iniki.  It didn’t have that buffer.  We are praying for a very boring rest of the hurricane season.

 

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Our latest adventure surrounds the buzz of the impending tropical storm.

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When the locals are loading up on bottled water and canned goods a person tends to pay attention. I was reminded that it takes the boat a while to arrive with supplies.

We’ve discussed how we feel about it. We are cautious. We don’t live right next to the ocean or an inlet, so a storm surge isn’t an issue. A power outrage is really on main concern. We have a disaster kit from our PAC NW days that we just replenish from time to time. I think we are pretty secure.

We just need to plan a storm watch party, hand crank up the emergency radio, tie down the kayak and BBQ, and pray for safety over our chain of islands.

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We just finished a month long trip back to the hometown.  It was delightful.  We had a lot of family time, took in a few plays at the Shakespeare Festival which is like Disneyland for theater nerds, and enjoyed the sites and smells of a very familiar setting.  In some ways it was difficult to come back to our new home.

People think that it’s crazy to think that we wouldn’t want to rush back to our island paradise.  The setting is gorgeous, we have a wonderful safe place to live, and we have some very special friends that have become our island ohana.  I think that it comes down to the fact that our hometown family is not here.  That support system that we’ve have come to rely on for decades is not easily accessible.  As our family grows older so does our realization that time is fleeting and is something that we cannot get back.  Modern technology makes it a little easier, but real Facetime is the best.

So how is our reentry going?  Pretty good. The first morning back started off with a long walk on the beach and ended with a great shrimp stirfry.  Both are great advantages of living in the middle of the ocean.  We are taking it one day at a time, and thanking God for every blessing of being here.

We are heading into the warmest time of the year.  Last year the youngest said, “The heat.  I can’t get away from the heat!”  The Mr. has put a lovely plan in place to help keep us cooler.  That is definitely making our reentry much easier.

Time to drop the youngest off with friends, and for another trip to the library to prep for my drama classes that start next week.

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It has been one year…

I had stayed up all night before my early morning flight. I still had so much to do. The youngest fell asleep watching “Enchanted” on the bed next to me as I wrote notes, as I packed and repacked, and as I asked God one last time if this is really what He wanted us to do.

We had spent the days leading up to my flight packing up the house, thanks to the help of family and friends. I don’t know what we would have done without the generosity of those people who gave us boxes and packing paper, and helped us pack and clean. It was all so overwhelming to move out of our home of 16 years, but the comfort and care given by those precious ones was like salve poured over an open wound.

Those last moments spent locking up the house were bittersweet. I took a picture of the barren front room, that a few years earlier I had painted a deep red found on the reject paint shelf at a local hardware store. I walked past the case once filled with treasured books and knick-knacks, like the Korean wedding ducks given to us on a Holt trip and the small wooden bowl that is the first present given to me from my mother in-law. The kiddos sat on the counter in the blue room, that was actually taupe color, for one last time. I snapped a picture. I hid that moment in my heart as it spilled over with gratitude for the gracious gift God gave us in being able to buy this house. I paused one last moment by the front door, my hand resting against the door frame, thinking this would soon be a home filled with another family’s memories. “Bless them Lord,” I whispered, “May this be holy ground.” I wiped the tears from my eyes as I pulled the door to and turned the lock.

In a few hours we would start over. Where would we rest our heads? Where would we put our Christmas tree? What about my piano? Would my children feel at home? I had I stop thinking. I had so much left to do. I would save the inner dialogue for the flight.

It’s been one year since I stepped off of that plane to make this island my home.

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Our trek to the most remote island chain in the world started almost 12 years ago.  Even though we never really felt compelled to travel here, we jumped at a chance to buy a voucher for two tickets at a garage sale.  We chose a hotel that was being remodeled.  We traveled one month after 9/11.  There was plenty of room to spread out on the beach, and we found really good deals at the market place.  The total trip cost around $1,000, with the tickets included.  We found ourselves pleasantly surprised by how much we were enjoying our surroundings.  About two days into the trip we prayed for God to show us how we would minister in this place.

A couple of years later my husband won a trip to a neighbor island through a sales promotion.  It was beautiful.  The island moved at an even slower pace.  The hotel upgraded our room to an ocean view.  We found the perfect breakfast place, and loved learning the local history.  Sitting on the beach during sunset with our feet in the surf while listening to a band play James Taylor covers was pretty magical.  Again, we prayed how God would have us minister in this place.

Not long after that my husband was invited to teach and train the sound team of a local church here on the island.  They graciously offered me a ticket to join him.  I spent the week reading books, swimming, and taking in the local sites, sounds, and cuisine.  It was a pretty sweet adventure.  We left wondering how God would end up using us on this Island.

Our home state is beautiful.  Our hometown is an hour from the beach and an hour from the mountains.  It didn’t take long to get to Mom and Dad’s, and an even shorter time to get to my in-laws.  Siblings and nieces live close by.  Why would we want to move away from it all?

Our family spent a month here the year before we moved.  By the end of that month we were invited to come join the church for a season.  We loved the people.  We really believed in the church’s core values, and  were encouraged by the emphasis they put on creatively sharing the Gospel.  It still wasn’t an easy decision.  We thought it through.  We knew we had to say yes, or we would regret for the rest of our lives.

It’s been almost a year.  We continue to pray how God wants us to use our gifts here in our new church.  We are still figuring out the balance of ministry life and family life.  It’s a bit more challenging, honestly a lot more challenging, without a support system like we had at home.

There have been moments of greatness, and that keeps us pushing forward.  In a future post I’ll share a timeline of events of this past year.  It’s been a doozie, but one that is full of the evidence of God’s handy work in getting us from there to here.

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Anyone who has spent time here will probably tell you a couple of things. “The Islands are beautiful.”  “Hawaiians are so welcoming.”  “Everything is so expensive.”  “The traffic is horrible.”

We knew all of these things before we moved here.  Our entire family came for a month a year and a half ago.  It was such a blessing.  Even though we lived on the edge of Waikiki we still had a taste of living local, and what it really would take to live here full-time.

My first trip for family grocery shopping left me tears.  I was only 3/4 of the way through the list and I had gone through what typically would have been a month’s food/incidentals budget.  I stood next to Jeff and had to fight off the tears.  How would we make it for the next month?  As always, God provided.  God continues to provide.

We’ve learned how to stretch things, that Costco is really an economical place to shop, and that what before would have been freezer meals are lunch for the next two days.  We don’t eat out very often, but we didn’t do that much before we moved.  (Oh wait, unless it was at the D.Q.  All those from home know which one I’m talking about.)  Simple first world problems, right?

We have also learned that, for now, we will have to drive to where ever we want to go.  That’s just how it’s going to be.  We have beach chairs, the beach bag, towels, and mats packed in the back of the car.  We always bring water bottles and snacks too.  It’s what homeschoolers do wherever they live, so that they are ready for an adventure in the school of the outdoors.  We just know that our gas budget is also doubled since we moved.  The cost of a yearly registration for one car is almost triple what we paid for a two-year registration.  We could ride the bus everywhere, but for this phase of life we are choosing to keep the cars.

It’s all part of life here on the islands.  We moved with our eyes wide open.  It gives us an ever grateful heart for the little things.  It forces an even deeper dependency on God.

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