Monday, January 22, 2018

Restful Sabbath

 Sunday is meant to be a day of rest and we did our best to honor that commandment!

The other day, in all of our reminiscing about our young adult years, Justin observed that his most important decisions or opportunities came when he was where he was supposed to be. That happened for us yesterday.  There is a child we are particularly worried about and have been praying to know how to reach her. As we sat in church yesterday, one of the speakers seemed to speak right into my soul, telling me exactly what path we needed to take with this precious daughter.

As an added bonus, we got to meet the family of one of our sons mission companions! They live near our condo and it was so fun to make that acquaintance. 

The rest of the day was spent reading, eating (lots of local fruit) and laying on the beach.  We even built a huge sand model of ancient Jerusalem and spotted more whales.

We carry heavy loads in our normal day to day responsibilities and this week, for the most part, we have been able to put them down.  As we sat on the soft, warm sand watching the sunset and listening to the waves crash along the shore, Justin said, "I don't think I have ever been this relaxed."

Moments later, a rogue wave caught us by surprise. It covered me completely and all I could think was, "Save the book!" It did get wet and will be forever wrinkled, but survived for the most part. As to myself, I had sand in my nose, ears, belly button and otherwise completely filling my bathing suit.  I am convinced I will never get all of the sand out of my hair!

Another perfect day.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Yesterday was spent going down memory lane. The first thing in the morning, we went to the temple. It has been recently renovated, which included painting. I'm sure it was necessary, but unfortunate as the iridescent shimmer was painted over. Still, it is a beautiful temple, looking straight down to the ocean.

Then, we wandered all over Laie, home of the BYU campus. I shared every story and my sweetheart listened attentively. My heart was full of happiness as I remembered those all-important years of personal discovery and growth.

Two of my former Miamaids attend school here now, so we got to spend lunch with them. 

My waist is a little softer and I've smiled so much that my smile lines stay. I'm sure my enthusiasm has settled somewhat, but I still use that word to describe myself.

So much has happened since I left this school, but this place helped mold me into who I am today. 
(If only my old college friends were here, too!)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hawaiian Wildlife

On our second full day in Hawaii, we saw incredible wildlife. Throughout the day there was a pod (or several) of humpback whales right outside our rental windows. We ate breakfast watching their spouts and seeing the curve of their backs, which was cool. But after breakfast, we went down to the edge of the water to exercise and that is where we saw this:

I obviously didn't take this, but this (thank you BBC) is exactly what it looked like!
It happened twice and I couldn't believe we were so lucky!

A little while later, we grabbed our snorkeling gear and decided to float around for a while. We saw hundreds of brilliantly colored tropical fish, from tiny to some the size of a serving platter. Each one was unique. Every time I saw a fish that looked like maybe it was just a boring brown fish, it would turn and have neon blue circles on its tail, or neon purple stripes on its fins, and so forth. Justin even saw a silvery squid.

And then, I almost drowned myself when I gasped at the sight of sea turtles! We swam with sea turtles! What?! It was as cool as it sounds.

No, I did not take this one either.
We were cold from swimming early in the day, so we decided to build Ancient Egypt out of sand to warm up.

This was taken from our 6th story window, so not the best shot.
The cutest part was when a grandma stopped to take a picture! Lol.

The afternoon included reading, napping and wandering on the beach. Then we walked out to the point to watch the sunset.

We ate a delicious dinner then played some games until bedtime. My mom nailed it when she said she was glad we were having a transcendent time. Yes we are!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hard Habit to Break

For twenty years we have been bearing and nursing children. Twenty years will get habits pretty ingrained into a person's routine. Though we have left the children off and on over the years, never for this long or this far away.

It's hard to put those habits away. For instance, when we went to the grocery store, I went to the back seat to get the baby. Justin keeps putting his glasses or keys in high, hidden places to destructive fingers can't find them. I hung my purse of a closet knob, then thought, "Wynnie is getting good at zippers. I'd better put that somewhere else or that'll be the end of my chapstick!"

When I packed our lunches, I literally packed enough for two days! We have a puzzle going and I was trying to finish it yesterday so no one would mess it up before we could finish.

I went swimming in the ocean with my husband. We didn't have to take turns so one could stay with the baby. We weren't worried about anyone getting lost or in too deep.  We are eating when WE are hungry, sleeping when WE are tired.  Holding hands and sitting next to each other without a little person wiggling in between us.
I would be terribly sad if those children weren't a part of my busy, crazy life, but this sure is a lovely vacation.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Anniversary and a Return

In August of 1995, when I was 18 years old, I left home to go to college in Hawaii. I had never been to Hawaii, but it sounded like a good place to try.

I spent one really wonderful year at BYU Hawaii and when I left in August of 1996, I thought I would be coming back to continue my education. 
Life had different plans for me.

This is the dress is was wearing when I arrived in Hawaii over 22 years ago.
We've tried to come back to Hawaii so many times over the years, but could never swing it.  
Until now.
Now, we are in Hawaii.

I can't even explain all of my emotions! Serious nostalgia, gratitude for my husband who works so hard and for my kids who are tending the home fires so we could leave them, the thrill of being in this gorgeous place, and relaxed.

What a wonderful 20th Anniversary celebration! 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Farewell Facebook: A Two Week Assessment

I joined Facebook in 2008.  From the first days, I delighted in finding old friends or reconnecting with infrequently seen relatives.  As my kids grew, it was a nice way for me to see their public lives and get a glimpse into the lives of their friends. I liked the easy way I could share my life and, in a small, probably insignificant way, hopefully encourage and uplift others.  I used the platform to share my love for my friends and testimony of my Savior.  After only a short time, it became an important communication tool, so even though I had wanted to take a break from Facebook for a long time, it was the only way I had to communicate with some people (and vice versa).  For these reasons, I weathered elections, disasters, and apostasy.  I'm proud of my diverse list of friends who come from all political parties, races, parts of the world, sexual orientation, and religions.

However, the company of Facebook has gotten out of hand.  For reasons I explained two weeks ago, I decided to take some time away from all social media.  It has now been two weeks since I've glanced at any of the pages.  Would you like to know how it is going?
  1. My reading has been getting more attention.
  2. I've exercised every day.
  3. My house is cleaner.
  4. My blog is back in business!
  5. The battery in phone seems to be holding a charge longer. ;)
  6. Since I cancelled my newspaper at about the same time, I don't know what is going on in the world.  This is a Pro and a Con.
  7. I get to hear about things, instead of getting the crisp, cutting-edge, minute-by-minute news updates, I get end of the day reports.
  8. I miss the accolades of that silly thumbs up. Where my blog might get a couple of dozen of readers and no comments, the same picture or comment on Facebook would have had 15 comments and 85 likes within a few hours.
  9. I don't check my phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  10. I have no idea how anyone is doing.  I don't know if someone needs me.  
So, I've basically found time and obscurity.  I like the finding of time, I don't necessarily like obscurity.  I like to be informed and, sadly, I like atta boys (gotta work on that).  Will I continue with the social media hiatus? Yes. It isn't forever, but for now I think the stepping away is good for me.  Right now I need time more than the other things social media offers me.  Besides, I have books to read and hobbies to explore, a basement to finish and kids to raise, a library to build and places to go.  What is it they say?  
Time is non-refundable; use it with intention.
So I shall.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Missing Grandma

My birthday was this week.  One day I was cleaning the living room and looked up to notice only one card on the mantle.  It was from my Choctaw Tribe.  People don't really send cards anymore and that's okay, but the reason I noticed was because there was only one card.  And it wasn't from my grandma.

My beautiful grandma never missed a birthday.  She always sent a card and it was usually covered in stickers.  It used to have two $1 bills, but at some point she started putting a $5 bill in there for me.  There is something loving about tradition.  It is something you can always count on happening and I know my kids, siblings, cousins, and aunts and uncles all knew there would be a birthday card from Grandma, covered in stickers with a few bucks inside.  She remembered everyone.

My grandma passed away last summer.  Those last days with her, then dressing her body for burial with my mother and sister, are some of my most sacred memories.  This might sound weird, but hers was a wonderful death.  She was ready to go and had lived a beautiful and full life.  Her husband, oldest daughter, mother and grandmother were waiting for her on the other side.  (Not to mention the host of those whose family history and temple work she had completed.) Everyone here had a chance to say goodbye and to spend time with her recently.  I have so many happy memories of grandma and am so thankful to have had her!

But as I vacuumed the living room and noticed the absence of that birthday card, I missed that wonderful, soft grandma.  How thankful I am for the knowledge of the Plan of Happiness; I will see her again!