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.

 

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamt about love and finding a husband.  But in a way, different than most girls might, I think.  From a young age, I imagined that I was going to have an incredible, strong, world-conquering marriage.  Before I even understood the fullness of matrimony, I knew I was destined to a partnership in the truest sense of the term that would stretch far outside of just the two of us.  I knew that an average, loving, healthy marriage would never be enough for me.  I wouldn’t settle for anything except “power couple” status and so I was going to make it happen.

In October 2016, my husband and I went to a Marriage Conference put on by our church.  I was so excited for the weekend as we drove to the small coastal town in NH, dressed to the nines in anticipation of a super fun, and super romantic experience where we could grow and learn together.

Fast forward to our ride back home.  It felt that my excitement and anticipation had metamorphosed into frustration and discouragement.

18274951_1445443225520363_9079635165776095689_n.jpgWe had a fun time, please don’t get me wrong! It was an excellent night away with some of our closest friends, enjoying food, drinks, dancing, and great words.  But you see my marriage was far from perfect.  It wasn’t a bad marriage; there were no major grievances between us, or struggles.  There weren’t any fights over money or whatever married people usually fight over, and despite my husband and I both being stubborn, independent, somewhat self-focused people, we always allow each other those qualities and we always are able to resolve conflicts and get to the same page.  But I really sensed, back in autumn 2016, that our marriage was ready to be taken to the next level.  I thought there was something I was going to learn, to change, to control, to help it get there.

During the ride home when my husband asked me what I thought of that weekend, I told him that I had had fun, and I felt that our pastors had spoken a lot of truths, but that my interpretation of what they were trying to share meant that my marriage would ultimately be doomed.  Hopeless.  Out of control.  I had taken the impression that my husband could be who he needed to be only by my constant reminders.  And what I learned that weekend was that ultimately, despite my greatest efforts, my marriage could never be top level unless my husband plays his role to make that happen.

I didn’t trust that my husband would ever step up in the fullest way, and I never trusted that he would let God work in his life unless I created that situation to happen.  And if I am not in control, my efforts are futile and so is my marriage.  Trust me, I know how dramatic this sounds given what I said about our marriage being an overall pretty decent one, but I was striving for power couple! Not decent! And I was the one that had to make it happen! (Yes, you can laugh at me, I sure do)

Going through the motions of the holidays and winter months in New England, I decided that the best approach to fill this sudden lack of control was to start seeking out “my mission” on Earth.  My husband had his construction business, and invested a lot of his time and energy into that, but now that I was not going to put the same efforts into making my marriage what I wanted, where else should I focus the mission?  I did a lot of reading, praying, and soul searching, and I learned some pretty cool stuff that I will write another post about someday.

Spring came, then summer.  A good friend of mine had invited me to attend a small concert with her in the same coastal town where the marriage weekend had been.  As we were hanging out on the pier waiting for the music to start my friend asked me if Frank and I were planning to attend that year’s marriage conference, and what we had thought of the previous one.  I told her we probably would because we had a great time last year.  I shared with her my feelings from it.  The ironic thing is, as I was explaining all those thoughts to her, my husband at that exact time was sitting in a hotel room in Honolulu where he was on a business trip, thinking and praying about our life and the direction it was headed.  He had landed some huge jobs that were requiring him to travel.  I was becoming increasingly frustrated whenever he took absence.  I viewed our separation as a negative thing, and a hindrance to the partnership I desired.  He was searching for the right resolve on how to fulfill his work duties, grow his business, but continue to grow our marriage and be with his children.  Although I had a lot of thoughts about all this and was open with him, I no longer was saying no to the things I wanted to say no to, or trying to advise him on what I would do if I were in his shoes.

A few days later when I picked my husband up from Logan Airport he told me that he had figured out how we were going to make this all work.  I got very excited because I assumed that he had come to the same solutions that I had thought of myself.  “We’re going to Hawaii!” I was shocked.  This was not the solution I wanted.

Despite the end result, Frank told me all the reasons why he felt that was the best decision.  And everything he had to say about our marriage growing stronger and our family being together and our spirituality increasing, was exactly what I wanted him to say.  I didn’t ask him to say it, I didn’t lecture him on anything to get him to say it.

You get the point?

In the same exact moment, I was reflecting with my friend about how frustrated I was that my husband might not do what I wanted and needed him to do, he was figuring out the answers on his own without my help.  Now I am not advocating that marriage partners do things separately, not work together, or whatever other accusation one might make toward me at this point in my story.  I am simply sharing in order to inspire, encourage, and give hope to someone because you see, I doubted if I would see growth or change where growth and change was needed because I wasn’t the one initiating it.  I was under the impression that most people would never change, or never grow, if someone wasn’t behind them reminding them to do so or helping them see “the point” all the time.

I wasn’t giving my husband enough credit for how thoughtful, intuitive, and discerning he could really be, and I wasn’t giving him the space to flex those qualities.  Thankfully, pre-marriage weekend, my husband was laidback and loving enough to give me grace during my attempts at control to either agree with me, or ignore me altogether.  In this sense, we are compatible.  He is a very strong person.

IMG_2372So, in less than a month’s time, we went to Hawaii!  Within a week of being here we felt that we were supposed to make the move more permanent than the 6 weeks we originally signed up for.  We had very clear direction and peace about making this our home, longer-term.  Although we knew that we would be going back to NH someday, we also knew that we should settle in a bit.  In many ways, it was difficult but we did it.

Regardless of business and opportunities to increase our coiffeurs it was impressed on us from the very beginning that the point of our time in Hawaii was going to be our marriage first, and our family.  That’s it.  Although we thought we saw ideal money-making situations, or invitations to ministry leadership, the only thing promised to us was that we would learn a lot about ourselves, each other, and taking our marriage to that next level.  That was it! Anything outside of that was just assumptions and distractions.  Anytime we started to focus on something other than self, and marriage, things got stressful, confusing, or felt “off”.  In fact, so far everything outside of us that we thought was going to happen fell flat.  All of the business deals we were offered when we first got out here turned out to be way less appealing than we were told.  All of the investment opportunities we thought we were going to take were held up by details that we didn’t consider, or couldn’t have anticipated.  But we got more calls than ever for work back East.

This past week, on Valentine’s Day, my husband was in Boston working a job.  He was feeling frustrated and discouraged that we were apart, and that he has so much work there, but now we are living here.  We had a beautiful conversation about this whole journey, beginning to now.

Why did we come to Hawaii in the first place?  What lessons have we learned here?  What growing have we done here?  In what ways are we in agreement and stronger more than ever before?

It was amazing to hear him open up and take the position of victory and gratefulness rather than how he sounded when he first called.  Even more amazing, later that evening I received an email from him where he’d written down some of the lessons he’s learned in great detail.  I am telling you, the words I was reading would make any wife swoon.  Better than any romance movie, or love song.  What he wrote is worth more than any opportunity or deal we could have landed out here. Worth more than living in a tropical paradise.  Worth more than gold.  He said all the things that I didn’t even realize I needed or wanted him to say.  Deep stuff. About our kids, about our partnership, about our God, about our future.

The opportunity was never about money, or influence, or status.  We were actually given the best opportunity ever.  Abundance in love and unity.  And in all His goodness and grace, we got to do it in one of the most beautiful places in the world, surrounded by some of the most amazing people we have ever known or have love us.

You see friends, you don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t! You don’t have to pressure yourself into the illusion of being in complete control.  You’re not! You don’t need to know all the details.  You don’t need to have all the directions.  Through these last six months, what I have learned, and do now know, is more valuable than anything. From October 2016 fearing that I was doomed to a healthy but boring, happy but uninfluential, content but routine marriage, all the way to now.  Now, where through this journey, I believe more than ever that I am walking in destiny.

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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.

The Cliché Post

The Cliché Post

It’s all about perspective, right? I thought I had this down, like to my inner heart of hearts down.  And then life changes.

My family moved to Hawaii four and a half months ago, from the quaint and beloved state of New Hampshire.  The move was, for lack of better term for the sake of this post, very impulsive.  We did it on three weeks’ notice.  No, we aren’t military (everyone asks), and it wasn’t like a job assignment per say.  Originally, we came to Hawaii for a construction project we were a part of, but we thought it was a temporary deal.  We planned to be here for two months and that’s it.  But destiny had different plans.  We felt in our gut that we were supposed to make the incredibly temporary move, permanent.

I know, it sounds adventurous and romantic and inspiring (and I hope it is all those things) but really, it’s just plain DIFFICULT.  Truly.

You see, in New Hampshire I was getting to a place in life where I felt like things were finally coming together.  We had helped start a church with our favourite people in the world, and it was thriving.  We were in a beautiful, great town that had the best community and was the type of place where most people would want to raise their children and send them to school.  Our business seemed to be doing well and taking a turn for the better, and we had hopes and dreams for the future that we were getting ready to implement.

We had built what we thought was our forever home, or at least the home we would raise all our babies in.   And it was a serious labour of love.  We literally built it ourselves from the earth up.  My husband did all the site work, we designed and printed the blue prints, we put our own sweat, blood, prayers, tears, cement handprints, EVERYTHING into that house.  And it was beautiful.  This past spring, we got baby chicks, we designed and planted beautiful vegetable and flower gardens.  We had brilliant plans for a patio off the back porch and even a custom, in ground swimming pool.

Life was good.

 

 

Moving to Hawaii rocked all that.

You see, last night after my babies were all tucked into bed and I finally had a moment to reflect, I became very emotional.  I was thinking about the tiny, 3-bedroom, duplex we are living in now, that has no yard, barely enough room to park, and lots of problems.  I was thinking about how tough it is to homeschool my kindergartener while my almost two-year-old is in this constant phase of tantrum throwing.  I was thinking about how expensive the kind of fresh produce that I am accustomed to is here in Hawaii, and how it’s even difficult to find some of the grocery products that were staples back East.

Really, I was regretting what I’d left behind, and comparing everything to that life.

After a good cry, I got my journal out and started to fill it with prayers from my heart.  And I realized how silly I was being.  Yes, I believe it is okay to miss what we left behind.  I believe it is okay to be sad about the huge, custom, GORGEOUS kitchen I had spent years dreaming about and finally received to have to leave it after only a year.

But I also was looking at it all wrong in that moment.  What if that first house was just a stepping stone to the next house.  What if I saw this move as an opportunity to do even greater.

What if I focused more on what we do have, and the blessings we have been given over and over again instead of continuously lamenting what I am “missing”? What if that missing would keep me from something even more incredible?

Friends, when things get tough, I know, it is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, and our loved ones.  My encouragement to you today is try not to look backwards wishing for what once was.  If we can focus our intent on what’s in front of us, and gratefully, accept the challenges and push through the processes, what greater reward might there be?

Are you holding yourself back from your victories today?

Let’s let go together, and win some more!

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