Archive for the ‘Solacegirl in the 808’ Category

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.

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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The likely hood of making military friends while living on The Island is quite high, and we have already said good bye to two families over the past year.  I have decided the process of making new friends only to have them move a few months later absolutely stinks.  I have also decided that the fruit you receive from putting yourself out there is totally worth it.

Every few years these families pack up everything they own to start over in a new place.  Yes, they signed up for this, but no one understands the unique pressure this puts on a family.  Each of the families that we have gotten to know have endured multiple deployments to scary parts of the world.  The spouses of these soldiers are strong and caring, raising their children as single parents for months at a time.  They do admit to moments of weakness, wondering why they agreed to this life style, but they are deeply patriotic, deeply committed, deeply spiritual.  Their mobile life in the military seem to have given them a better understanding of gracious and inclusive living, and our transition to The Island would be not be as easy without them.

So, today we say “We’ll see ya when we see ya” to some special friends. The heart ache is deep, but we are better for having shared these past months of musicals, drama classes, youth group activities, camp, coffee dates, and fabulous text streams of laughter and tears.  God bless you McDees!  We’ll see ya when we see ya.

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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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Yesterday, as I drove home from registering our car for the year, I started mentally composing this post.  I was reminiscing about my first trip to register the car at that satellite city hall.  I left with plates from a new state, and proceeded to wander around the parking garage looking for the car I had just registered.  45 minutes later I was calling the hubby thinking that the car had been stolen.  This was only a few days after we had to pay a nice impound fee because I had parked in a spot that obviously was not legal.  This was only a few days after I had tried to start the car in a grocery store lot, and ended up paying a nice fee to have a new key made to replace the stripped one.  I really didn’t want to have to tell my hubby that now the car was gone.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t stolen.  I had walked back to the wrong level of the parking garage.  Hey, it looked just like the level below where my car was actually parked.  Those that know me, feel free to laugh.

I felt pretty good about myself after this last trip to take care of the car.  I had successfully parked in a spot the led me directly to where I needed to go.  I then went inside, having not remembered that I needed cash or check to pay the registration (I quickly solved that), and only had to stand in line for 30 minutes.  I took care of business, and was able to walk directly back to the car.  This is a huge win.

My original car that made the boat trip over was totaled back in January.  I loved that car.  It was a huge answer to prayer.  The kiddos had spent a few summer weeks previous to that driving side by side in a little red truck without AC.  Now, I know that AC is a huge luxury, but when the kiddos  have to sit one sweaty body next to another they get a little cranky pants.  This new to us car had separate seats, AC and  CD player.  I had enough room to drive a pack of kiddos to the pool, to the park, or to wherever.  The kiddos rejoiced, and often thanked God for that car even after having it for years.  I was devastated not only that I was involved with an accident, but that I had totaled the car in the process.

A month later we ended up with another new to us car.  Again, there are separate seats, AC, and CD player.  I have enjoyed cranking tunes while trucking kids to and from rehearsals for the musical, so I was a little bummed that the radio stopped working as I drove out of the parking lot.  I started mentally adjusting my blog post.

I thought, “Ok God, what do you want to tell me?  You have my full attention.”

The next thing I noticed was that the speedometer needle was moving erratically, and then it was the RPM needle, and then the odometer numbers disappeared.

“Hmm,” I stated, “At least I still have the AC.”  There wasn’t a whole lotta get up and go after I stopped at the red light.  “God, you’ll have to get me home,” I prayed.  I made it up and over the hill, or mountain, just as the AC decided to quit.  I kept on praying.  Five minutes later I pulled into our driveway and our car shut down.

Right now I’m just being thankful that I made it home, that in the back of the car I had groceries to unload, that I had children around to help unload them, and that tomorrow a friend on the church staff is coming by to replace the part that went kaputski.  Yep, another set of first world problems.

Thank you, Lord.  You are the same God as before things started shutting down on the car.  Why should I think that You are  different because the car broke down?  There is no reason to.  I believe that with my whole heart.

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I’m still searching for the familiar, those places where I know that I’ll find what I’m looking for.  I just wanted cummin.  I use it a lot in my cooking, and had finished off the last of what came over on the boat.  I had checked five different stores.

I gave up looking for it until one day, when I happened upon a Whole Foods.  I’d never been inside one before.  Wow.  Nice store.  I decided to check the spice aisle.  Yes!  I found cummin, and it was on sale.  I let out a huge sigh of relief.  Finally, something familiar.

I’ve taken for granted the value of the familiar.  Finding a spot for the silverware is pretty simple.  Discovering the best place to buy milk is cake.  Uncovering the mystery of how I fit into the fabric of this island is a little more difficult.

A year ago I thought I knew who I was: a homeschooling mom and pastor’s wife heading across the ocean on a great adventure.  I thought that the worship leader, dreamer, artist parts of me were on the verge of finally being set free.  All those palm trees drawn in the margins of my college class notes were finally becoming a reality.  I was going to live on the set of the TV show Lost.

Then you move 2,532.64 miles away from your previous life, and you start to question everything.  Even though there is a Starbucks on almost every corner, this is definitely not the Pac-NW.  Things that you come to count on being there are no longer at your finger tips.  People you used to call in a pinch to help with kiddos or go for a walk with are across the ocean.  Places to release your creatively energy are few and far between.

I need to trust when I hear the LORD quiet my spirit by saying , “Hush my child, you need to become known.”  It is all about becoming known.  I need to get to know my island, and my island needs to get to know me.  Building relationships take time, effort, and patience.

This past weekend Pastor Wayne spoke of caring deeply for people.  He shared a story similar to this one.

An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians
were such giving people. The teacher said, “Jesus taught us that giving gifts is an expression
of our love and friendship for Him and each other. Jesus said, ‘It is more
blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

A couple of days later the boy brought the teacher a
seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a
beautiful shell?” the teacher asked. The youth told her that
there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could
be found.

When he named the place, a certain bay several miles
away, the teacher was speechless. She knew that it would have
taken the young man hours to walk to the bay. Also, he would
have faced many dangers from the jungle and rocky cliffs of the
seacoast along the way. “Why, it’s gorgeous and wonderful,
but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me,”
the teacher joyfully explained.

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of the gift.”

If we care deeply then the walk is part of the gift.  If I care deeply about my family, my friends, my church, this island, then the time it takes to become known is part of the gift.

Dear Lord, please help me use my time wisely, so that I care for what it most important.  Amen

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We had the red whale and a few hours to kill.  We headed out to North Shore.    I have never been there, but my husband went on a scouting trip the last time he was here and sent me some amazing photos of white sand beaches and turquoise blue water.  It was the first week of December and my outfit consisted of a swimsuit, shorts, and flip flops (from now on I will refer to them as slippers).  We had bottles of water, apples, and Hawaiian music playing on the radio.  This was going to be a great day.

The red whale is an older suburban that didn’t have air conditioning, but did have a squeaking passenger door that needed a little extra help staying shut.  When visiting the church we were allowed to drive it.  We loved it because it wasn’t a rental and felt like we had a little more legitimacy with the locals as we drove around the island.

We headed through Haleiwa.  As we hit Sunset Beach we noticed scaffolding and large signs on the beach that said “Triple Crown of Surfing.”  Ah, sweet!  We ran into a professional surfing competition.  We couldn’t miss this, so we pulled into a field with a “Parking $5” sign and found a bruddah helped us pull into a great spot.

Oregon beaches are beautiful and majestic.  It’s a good distance from the dune to the water.  You have time to contemplate how long you think you can last in the freezing water before your feet are too numb to walk.  Here on the island its 10 feet from car to water and you set an alarm to remind you to get out so you can apply a second coat of sunscreen.

The biggest difference to me are the wave.  In Oregon there are big waves, but you usually watch them from your car or hike in to some remote part of a beach to see them.  Here it’s like the wave breaks in your face.  The waves are big and right there.  I don’t feel like I have adequate words to describe them.  Before now I’ve never seen waves like this..  The churn of the water as it hits the reef really makes a person understand the need to respect the power of the ocean.

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After well over a year, I’m back in the blogisphere.  I’ve been wanting to get back to posting since we decided to make the big move to the islands.  I’m still working out the format.  Should each day be a different topic?

We have experienced so much since moving here.  Ministry life in itself as a topic can fill volumes.  So much can be said about homeschooling.  Uprooting our family from a culture we’ve known our entire lives and transplanting into Polynesia is a topic I never thought I could address.  If you know me then you know I’ll share a little on each and probably a whole lot more.

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