So it’s been almost 6 months since we arrived on island!! I can’t believe how time flies…the stress of finding a house, spouse’s injury to include an ER visit and physical therapy (who told him to jump off a big rock??), moving in to our old, unrenovated home, getting the family settled, kids starting school, beginning a new job for husband and touring the area! It has been filled with adventures and beautiful scenery! We have met the kindest people….great neighbors and new-found friends!
What I love about the military life is the opportunity to reinvent oneself. For someone who has barely sewn a button, I am taking a Hawaiian Quilting class, for someone who doesn’t like the water, I have taken up paddle boarding and for someone who doesn’t make too much time to read, I joined a book club….who am I?
Living in Hawaii is a dream come true for most. Visions of relaxing on a warm beach, sipping mai tais without a care in the world is what comes to mind. Well I hate to rain coconuts on the paradise parade, but our arrival has its share of challenges.
We arrived over a month ago and it has been enlightening. After the amazing greeting at the airport by coworkers, we checked into our temporary lodging which I am truly grateful to have. But its an old building with stained carpeting, no kitchen and lots of unwelcomed “visitors”! My kids are getting used to the these critters and are excited to see what is the latest arrival everyday. Lizards decided to have babies in our room and they were dropping from the ceiling onto our bed….imagine my surprise!
But it’s temporary right? Well, housing has been a challenge….there just aren’t enough homes for all the military here and the commutes are wild. Traffic is similar to LA or DC…the other day, it took us one hour to drive 4 miles! And only one vehicle gets shipped so we are a one car family right now. We have done extensive house hunting and have seen the most unusual homes….bathrooms outside, roasting pits by bedrooms and the oddest additions to homes. So we want to live on base and are willing to pay the exorbitant amount for tiny, non-renovated homes just to not have a commute. Oh did I mention the resident rat problem?!
People may think Hawaii’s weather is perfect, but we came from perfection so for me, the weather is hot and humid. Let’s just say my hair looks like Diana Ross’! And why must I be sweaty at 8am already for just walking outside!
So I know I shouldn’t complain, but it has helped to decode the lingo…”paradise” means no place to live and $9 for a gallon of milk, “tropical” means humid and bugs & rodents of unusual proportion, “historic” means old and rundown and “quaint” means you will have to put most of your belongings in storage.
But after being vagabonds for almost 2 months, in lodging with few belongings and kids, I can still say that I am still very happy! My husband is home from deployment, my family is healthy and together and even though you can play connect the dots with my daughters bug bites, she is happy as well! We have met the best caring families that are turning out to be great friends. Isnt that what its all about…people. And we have had great moments, like having church by the beach and seeing this view..picture I took with my phone. It was a moment with my great family that I was happy to be in quaint, historic, tropical paradise!
“Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more the favor of God!” Proverbs 18:22 The Message
So the day finally came………….
Lots of preparation, planning, organizing and of course, personal grooming!
I thank God for our reunion that was better than could be imagined. At our tiny airport, we had the local news station present, Operation Welcome Home committee and about 100 people who consisted of military members, friends from church, kids’ school families, neighbors, etc. It was a wonderful sight with flags, banners, live music (cello, piano and guitar from kids music teachers), patriotic cake pops for kids and more than anything….gratitude and excitement!
God bless all the families who continue to be apart right now, who had a loved one come home different from when they left or who never had their love come home at all!
As any challenging time in one’s life, you learn a lot about yourself…..you make mistakes but you do better, you make friends and you learn how to be a friend, you love and miss your spouse yet you learn you can do things that you’ve never done on your own….most of all, you appreciate life and all the fullness therein. Thank God that my husband is home!
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life will be given over to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27 – 28 NIV
I recently converted some videos to DVD and going over the memories in just these short few years was heart-wrenching. What a journey we’ve already been on in these years and in our many locations. I’m excited to see what’s ahead, but reminded how I need to enjoy each day to the fullest because it goes so quickly.
I see what my children have accomplished in this year and during this time of deployment…..learning of other cultures, math skills going up to multiplication, reading classic literature (which is amazing for oldest’s age), science experiments, etc. But more than anything is that I see them grow in their love and understanding.
They have made friends and have felt love for them. My oldest has felt sad as we begin to depart this location…the first of these feelings for him. And I’m grateful that he is learning to experience the good with the bad of life and learning to handle each side with grace, strength, wisdom and most importantly, love!
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:25 The Message
I was shocked to hear the new of the passing of my son’s t-ball coach. He was young, healthy and had a sudden heart failure after a workout. He left a beautiful wife and 5 children, the youngest of which is only 6.
So we gathered to celebrate the life of a great coach, a wonderful man in our community who has a wonderful family and who gave of his time and energy to young people through sports for over 15 years. He played ball for 30 years and coached over 800 kids throughout those years….the most overqualified t-ball coach there could have been:) My son played along side the coach’s son and he had a ball (pun intended). The coach was kind, encouraging and supportive to my son during this time in which my husband is deployed. At our closing party, he made special remarks about each player that were so funny, correct and insightful into each little guy. And he also talked about my husband’s service…there was not a dry eye at the park. “Who cries at a baseball party” is what he said. But that is how touching his heart was, so sincere, so genuine and without effort.
He will be missed by those closest to him, but even those of us who just knew him these few months, he made an everlasting impact. God bless his family!
“Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 NIV
Nothing like seeing your children learn to defend themselves. I think physically, emotionally and spiritually, being strong and being able to guard & protect oneself and others is an amazing and necessary task.
“God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV
So I think most women are pretty open and most of all tell the most intimate details of our lives to anyone who stands still long enough. At least I do.
But I still don’t think I ever really know someone’s story. You may see people in passing, strike up the basic small talk and sometimes it’s not until much time has passed that you really learn something significant.
Well in my quest to get fit, I have been spending a lot of time at the gym. I took up Zumba which I love and there is this one instructor that I really enjoy. I’ve been taking her class for over a year now and find her positive, encouraging and highly energetic. What I know of her until recently was that she was a mom of 3 children and a good dancer. She is very tiny and I tease her that I can’t believe 3 human beings have come out of her body. She always laughs. But that was about it until recently.
One day, we began speaking after class and I told her about our move, us being a military family, etc. She seemed so excited about our move to Hawaii and spoke of her family in the Philippines. She told me that she would like to visit Hawaii, maybe on a “hop”. Because she used that term, I asked if she or her spouse was military and she proceeds to tell me that her husband was in the military and she is a “survivor spouse”. I felt a tightening in my chest and an ache for her. We began to talk for a while and she told me how her husband died in 2007 (not sure if in combat or not and I didn’t ask) and she has been raising her 3 very young boys on her own. My son plays with her son while we work out and I saw her with her children. But I had no idea. She goes on to say that her father had passed away the month after her husband. She said it was such a difficult time for her and her mother both….her mother and brothers are local only extended relatives in Philippines. And they are very close and have supported one another through the years.
She was sensitive without being emotional and strong without being hardened. It was so amazing to listen to her. I asked her how she did it and she said that you just find the strength as a mother of young children and move forward because you have to. Wow, I was so inspired and walked away from our conversation feeling so encouraged by her. What a testimony.
People are always thanking me for my sacrifice and service, but I have given nothing in comparison nor have I been required to sacrifice as much. I learned a lot that day and will never forget that encounter. Just when you think you know someone’s story, we really don’t at all.