Well I was born in a small town…

Well I was born in a small town…

It’s been a while since I have written anything, and if you’ve been waiting I apologize.
I have had a lot going on these last few weeks including an incredible Maui vacation, husband in and out traveling for work, and some new major life changes.

I haven’t been able to find time to sit and ponder a good post.  I do feel that I owe one though, for our journey has taken an unexpected turn.

We are returning to NH, just in time for summer in New England.

I know, there are a lot of thoughts, questions, and feelings around this change.  Feelings from me, my family, our friends in NH and our ohana here in Hawaii, and possibly even some readers that have been following my journey.

Some of those feelings I have felt or heard from others so far are joy, sadness, confusion, surprise.  Unbelief even.

 

You see, living through this journey has taught me many things and from the get-go, one of the things that I have talked about is that we should never say “never”, and be careful with “always”.  The truth is, we have no idea what is going to happen.  Sure, we can plan, and we should feel free to move forward and commit to things, but when we hold too tightly to plans, our homes, or even relationships, there is a potential that we are setting ourselves up for either complete devastation upon unforeseen change, or on the flip side, missing out on a different beautiful journey if the opportunity presents itself.

Take my life for example.

Dream home, great community, awesome friendships new and old, mostly good path and direction in life, and BAM!

Hawaii.

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What if I had said no?  What if I had said never? (I came close).

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One of our friends loving on Sage

I would have missed out on learning new ways of love by the young adults at church who love on my children in ways I have never seen and who have welcomed me into their friend zones without hesitation and reminded me of goodness and grace.  I would have missed out on picking up old passions and hobbies such as playing the guitar again or investing thought and time into creative writing, or being inspired to eat healthier and experimenting with plant-based foods or fish that I never even knew existed.  I would have missed out on experiencing life and nature in ways that I had never imagined, taking the time to breath and simply be, simply enjoy a sunset over the ocean, or watch a sea turtle napping on warm sand, or enjoying the time it takes to prepare a fabulous New Year’s eve meal and accepting that the preparation time isn’t a hindrance because why the frig are we always in a rush? We enjoy each other during that time too!

In my journey, we feel that it is time to return to the starting point.  How could this be?  We thought we were in Hawaii for the long haul.  We committed ourselves here.  We did everything in our power to make this our home and workplace.

For me, this next step of my journey is a beautiful and perfect, yet difficult and challenging one.

The next step is beautiful because I get to return home.  I will return to all the people and places that I have loved and missed and helped shape me in the first place to be who I am.  It’s beautiful because I get to return as a more seasoned and inspired version of my original self, with more gratitude and appreciation than ever before.

The next step is perfect because it just makes sense.  It makes sense to me that my aloha journey has been one of growth, lessons, love, and gain, and that now I must return to NH and apply all of it, to share this deeper love, and hopefully teach what I have learned.  It makes sense that something new has been birthed inside of me, and that the time is coming to see what we can do.  It makes sense because I was being prepared in a way greater than I even understood and there is a place being prepared for my family to step up and just do it.

The next step is difficult because we truly thought we were here for good.  We threw our hearts in with the friends we made here.  We committed to our new life, our new ohana.  We allowed ourselves to fall in love with the beauty and pleasures of living in the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian Islands.  To think of our leave is very depressing in some ways, and to feel like we are letting people down or disappointing people that have come to know and love us is devastating.  They have all been gracious and understanding, but it is still difficult.

The next step is challenging, for similar reasons why it is perfect.  Because the task of applying what one learns, and being one’s better self in an old environment IS a challenging one.  It is easy to keep growing and receiving in a place that is new, laidback and accepting and the catalyst for all that growth in the first place.  It’s a totally different challenge to go back to the familiar, the old life, as the new self.  I am nervous of failing.  I am anxious that I will be frustrated with the culture, or the old ways.  I am concerned that as a family, and as marriage partners, we will fall back into routine and not continue in a pursuit of greatness.  These are some of the challenges that we may have to overcome or accept in a new way.  Another challenge for me is staying in the moment still.  I keep hearing this voice, “Don’t act like you’re already gone.”  This can be a challenge because there is a lot to do to prepare for another cross-world move.  Especially one so soon after the first!  And there is a lot of excitement in preparing for our return.  But being present is so important, because I know that in two months there is still so much to learn, and growth that can still happen.  I want to soak up every bit I can.  I don’t want to miss out.

I plan to write more, way sooner than the last gap, but for now I hope that you are inspired in some way.  I hope that you are reminded that you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but where are you today?  What challenges do you face right now?  What love is before you at this moment to give, and to receive? Don’t waste those moments.  Don’t take for granted the impact you have, and don’t be so hard or tightly wound that you yourself can’t learn or receive.  Being open to what is around you today, in this moment, is a beautiful thing, and this right here is where you have the most influence, right now.

 

Its just stuff…

Its just stuff…

Today, I am taking time to sit down, and reflect on the last week since my husband has returned home from his work trip.  He was gone for four weeks.  In some ways, it seemed like much longer, yet in others, it’s like he never left. IMG_2883

We have been quite busy since his return, one of the primary reasons being that our stuff has arrived. Bring out the champagne, put up the banners!!! This is a moment to celebrate!!!

You see, when one makes a move such as New England to Hawaii, one has many choices to make.  Sell, or not sell?  Pack, or give away?  Does one attempt to pack, pallet, move, and ship on one’s own, or hire a moving company to take care of everything start to finish?

We chose the latter, which seemed to be the easiest, yet definitely the most expensive option.

We chose a company called Hawaii Moving and Storage.  Google them.  Because as I share this story you’re going to wonder if we did.  I swear, they had some glowing reviews.  And a fine rating with BBB.

We made a huge mistake, but how could we have known?

Google Hawaii Moving and Storage, then CROSS THEM OFF  YOUR LIST!!

When we got our household items last week there was a lot of missing items.  Among them were a large sofa chair, 13-foot-long truck racks, a huge and expensive table saw, a toddler bed mattress, and a brand new car seat.  Of the things we did receive, about half of it was damaged.  I’m not kidding.  Furniture that had been in pristine condition upon loading was completely scuffed up, dented, chipped, stained, or just plain broken.

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We found ourselves torn between incredible relief that all of our stuff had arrived, and utter disappointment that we were missing so many things and had so much damage.

The company claims to have no idea where the missing items are, and no explanation of how it even happened.  They want to take no responsibility for any of the damaged property.

We paid them over 10,000 bucks to get our stuff here. 

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Here’s the reality.  There is nothing we can do.  It seems that this outcome was/is completely out of our control.  They gave us what appears to be a book to fill out and send to their insurance company, which we will do, but if we get anything approved from them it will be worth a certain amount of monetary value per square foot of lost or damaged stuff.  Which means we’ll be lucky to get half compensated.

Here are the takeaways.

We should have heeded the advice that we read online of many people that have moved to Hawaii.  SELL OR GIVEAWAY YOUR HOUSEHOLD ITEMS.  I sincerely hope that at least one person out there planning to move to Hawaii reads this.  IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK!! Unfortunately, we have talked to so many people, and it is not completely out of the ordinary that this happened to us.  If we could go back in time, we would agree that that 10,000 bucks could have given us a damn good start at new items here in Hawaii, as opposed to missing and broken items that we were determined to bring.

Takeaway two: I hadn’t seen our stuff for over 5 months.  During the time we’ve been living here, waiting on our belongings, we had to make some purchases obviously to get by. We rented a couch from Rent-A-Center.  We were given a few things.  My husband even built the kids some furniture!

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Hubby working on my sons bed

We did the bare minimum, yet what made sense for the stage of life we are in.  We had what we needed, but not nearly half of what we had been accustomed to back home in NH.  Part of moving to Hawaii is understanding that in some respects, the way of life really is simpler.  One respect in regards to stuff.

When you live on an island where shipping anything from 2000-6000 miles away is expensive and takes a long time (amazon prime even takes weeks), there isn’t a Walmart, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or Jordan’s furniture within reach, you learn that you can get by with only three pots and pans, or one set of bed sheets, and you realize how unimportant the superfluous is.  When our boxes arrived, I was very excited; it was like Christmas!  But I also sort of got stressed out realizing how much stuff we had.  Where would I put it?  What were we going to do with it all?! (I have already given away three full boxes).

On that note, take away three, it’s just stuff.  I really am learning what it means not to hold on so tightly to our earthly possessions.  Yes, it’s true, that the chair that was not returned to us had been a splurge, and my favourite chair, and it’s infuriating to think that this company just let it “disappear”.  But here’s a good reminder: these things are just things.  My joy, my hope, should not be placed in a chair.  Can I be content with out it?

Can I be content, knowing that the importance of following the still small voice within is more pertinent and eternal than a comfortable chair?

Can I set the example to those around me, that my attitude, my determination, my perseverance, is not founded on my things?

Can I laugh fearlessly at the future knowing that the five of us are healthy, well-fed, and living on an island that many would call Paradise?

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There’s a passage from the bible that I have been reminding myself of through this experience.  Ephesians 4.  Its good stuff.  But specifically, this highlighted verse.

To me, in this situation, it is saying, stuff happens.  That is life here on Earth.  But don’t let your joy be stolen.  Don’t let your hope be dictated by such volatile occurrences.  Especially those that are out of our control.  Our minds, and our hearts are ours to protect and guide.  We should allow nothing, and no one to have so much power in our lives to detract from the power within ourselves.

It’s just stuff, right.

Missiles and Waimea Valley

Missiles and Waimea Valley

So this morning was, for a few minutes, possibly the most scared I have ever been.
We had big plans today, the kids and me.  We were heading to beautiful Waimea Valley for a walk to the waterfall, and then going to do lunch in Hale’iwa and some beach time.  After getting dressed I came down to my kitchen to finish getting ready and checked my phone to see an Emergency Alert about a ballistic missile headed straight for Hawaii.  I was told to take shelter immediately.

img_3263.jpegMy toddler was whining and on the verge of throwing one of his ever-so-popular tantrums because I wasn’t responding right away; my five-year-old was playing with his Legos on the counter right next to the kitchen window; and my daughter was upstairs getting ready to leave.

What.  The.  [insert four letter word of your choosing here].

I had text messages going with about five different people, mostly military friends, a couple here on the island, a couple not, and my husband who wasn’t home at the time, or even close to home.  I asked my military friends if this was real and what to do!  They all advised me to stay inside away from windows and doors.  Great.  I was home alone, with my three babies, and I realized how utterly unprepared we were for an emergency crisis.  In NH, we had an “emergency” plan for things like fires, and security threats.  We haven’t talked about that yet here in our new home.  We had no bottled water, we barely had any groceries left, never mind nonperishable food items.  No flashlight, no medical supplies, nothing.

I told my babies to come to me, at the same time my husband was calling me on my cell phone.  I can’t imagine how helpless and scared he felt with all of us so far from him in the middle of the scariest emergency we’d ever faced.  I was starting to full on panic.  I was convinced that the worst was going to happen.  I mean, it was an emergency alert that literally said “This is not a test. This is really happening”.

One of my friends who had served in the navy, here in Hawaii for three years, reminded me that the sirens should be going off.  There are incredibly loud sirens on every street corner that get tested once a month, right in the middle of nap time of course, as well as in all the military bases, and in serious threat, those sirens would be going off.  His reminder calmed my heart-racing by the tiniest ounce, but until someone could tell me that there was no longer serious threat, I could not catch my breath.

As my husband was trying to calm me down on the phone, and trying to convince me to leave the place I was sitting on the floor next to the inner most wall of our house, to turn the television on for news, I was increasingly aware that my children were dead silent and watching my every expression, hearing my every word.  I was careful in what I was saying out loud because I didn’t want to scare them more than they already were, I was so upset though because all I could think is, they have no idea what’s about to hit them.  There was a lot of pressure and I felt myself being crushed under all the emotions, panic, and convincing that these were potentially our last moments together.

Finally, someone sent me the most amazing text message of all.  It was a snapshot from one of our state representatives (that state rep is PISSED by the way, and has been all over the news if you haven’t noticed).

IMG_6577-1I finally gave in to my tears.  Although I was so relieved, when my husband asked me if I was okay, I whimpered, “No,”.  When he told me he loved me I couldn’t even respond.  My children began asking questions.  What’s wrong Momma, what’s happening, etc.  I wasn’t even sure how to properly answer their questions; I still didn’t want them to worry.

It took a whole 33 minutes from the time I received that first alert, until I received the second saying “False Alarm”.  I haven’t watched the news yet, but I’ve been told they are saying someone accidentally hit a wrong button.  And it took them 33 minutes to tell us that?! Are you kidding me?  How many other people were in similar positions as me?! Hundreds of thousands! Hundreds of thousands or more of us, plus any tourists who got the alert, panicking and wondering what the hell to do.  I am still shocked that it took that long, and that is part of why our state representative is so fired up.

I had so many thoughts and feelings after this experience.

You see, part of why I felt so panicked and shocked and unprepared is because I had no idea what the heck was going on! Not only had I no plan, no supplies, but I literally didn’t even know what a ballistic missile  truly meant, what taking shelter meant, or how much time I had before said missile hit our island! Was it minutes? Was it days? I had no idea! If it hit, was there really any chance of survival, even in “shelter”, or was it useless?  Should I be more prepared for those situations and start saving in case this ever happens again?  I was under the assumption that Hawaii was a “safe” place to live because of all the military here (Hawaii is unique in that it has every branch of the government here, even on Oahu alone!).  Also as a friend of mine once said, most countries wouldn’t waste a missile trying to hit Hawaii because “it is much easier to hit a football field than it is a trash can”.  (Hawaii is a tiny group of islands far from any other land in a very large ocean).

When my heart finally stopped beating at a dangerous rate, I gave all my kids hugs and kisses, told them I loved them, and we carried on with our day the best we could.  What else could we do?!

We went to Waimae Valley.  The weather was perfect, the children and I enjoyed some time in the middle of nature, with no cell phone service, and no worries about anything more dangerous than tripping and falling on the path.  I could sense the relief around me.  It seemed like everyone was cheery and simply happy to be alive and enjoying the beautiful weather.  I know that’s how I felt.  When my kids asked to pause and look at the millionth huge green leaf, that we’d already seen the whole walk, I said yes.  When they asked me for shaved ice, even though they didn’t finish their sandwiches, I said yes.  When they asked to take turns pushing the stroller, I said yes.  Usually, I would say no to all these requests (I know, I am a control freak).  But even though there had been no real threat to our lives, I was still so grateful to be alive.  Even though, in retrospect, there had been no real chance of our being blown up this morning, the feelings and thoughts I had experienced were as real as the air I am breathing now.  And they threw me into a place of gratefulness once again, for this amazing life I get to live, and the beauty of wanting to inspect those leaves, and taste that ice, and see those gorgeous ocean waves.

Don’t take today for granted, friends.

We truly don’t ever know 100% what is going to happen.  In my potential last moments of life, all I could think about was how much I loved my babies and my husband.  And how I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center Review

The Discovery Center is three stories of life-size, pretend play for children.  Life size doctor’s office, life size “super market”, and one of the kiddos favourites – a life size airplane interior, including cockpit.

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The scanner even makes a scanning sound!

There are many other stations, way too many to list them all but my kiddos loved every single one of them. At each station, there are uniforms that the children can don to pretend they are driving the bus or cooking in the diner, etc.

My personal favourite is the third floor, which has a little village feel, with house facades representing several different countries.  You can enter the houses and the interiors are authentically decorated and furnished for more pretend play for the children. For example, the Japanese house has a table and cushions to sit at, with authentic looking Japanese dishes to enjoy a [make believe] meal.

My two sons really enjoyed this place.

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Using the “skid steer”

There is a lot for the children to see and do in here.  I would say if you’re interested, save this for a rainy day, or even to get out of the hot sun for a bit.

I most likely, will visit here again.  The whole experience is indoors.  There is a small café, and gift shop inside also.  It has clean and nice bathroom facilities.  The price ranges 10 to 12 dollars per person.

This attraction is in the heart of Honolulu, near Kakaako beach park, and the parking lot is free.  The center closes at 1, so this is definitely a morning activity! Here is the website for you to check out. http://www.discoverycenterhawaii.org