Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the Groove

You know how it is when you get back from a long trip...it seems like it takes almost as long as you were gone to get back into the "groove" of your daily schedule? Email has piled up...the post office is holding [boxes] of mail -- most of it "junk" ---but you never know so you have to go through it piece by piece -- in case there is a PRIZE!

Well...I got back Sunday and have been trying to get back in the "groove." Today, I hit it. Of course, I got up at 4:30 am in order to get there -- but ohhhhhhhhh does it feel good to have the laundry done, the emails current, the beds changed...and I found all the "prizes" in the mail! Woo Hoo! I am current at work too -- not sure how that happened -- but I will not study the whole process too closely in case I am wrong. *whew*

My honey is out of town...so tonight, I thought I would see if I were "in the groove" on the scrapbooking front. I have been wanting to do a layout about my niece, Lindsey. She reminds me so much of my sister -- and as she grows up she is becoming more and more like her. She is strong (not strong willed -- just confident and sure of herself), determined, smart, sweet, funny, sensitive and loves Jesus. All of that is wrapped up into two words..."Little Lady."




Since it has been God's will for me not to have any children of my own, I have felt especially blessed that my sister and brother-in-law have so openly shared Tyler and Lindsey with me. She is a joy...and I love her.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Full Circle

That's the thing about vacationing on an island...if you stay by the shore and keep driving, you will eventually make it all the way AROUND the island. In fact, that is what we did today...with many stops along the way. Here are a few highlights.

  1. 1. Dole Pineapple Plantation and the worlds largest hedge maze.
  2. Glider plane rides
  3. North Shore Bonzai Pipeline (and its ability to reach the TOP of the sand dune we were sitting on and get us all wet!) Fortunately, MY camera was one dune higher....
  4. Eight dozen shrimp shared among seven people sitting out looking over the ocean at a roadside shack...our favorite were the coconut encrusted -- but the butter garlic ones ran a close second,
  5. "How many boys does it take to get one coconut out of a tree?", you ask. We found that it takes all three of them...lots of laughter, rocks and sticks -- but there is a reward of coconut milk when you are done.

We had very much fun today...I am exhausted...going to download all the pics and watch 24 then I am going to bed. The boys however, heard that there was going to be a hula dancing exhibition and just on the off chance that the girls might be wearing "coconuts" they have opted to go over to the beach and watch! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh......hormones -- wonderful things -- particularly when you get three 15-17 year old boys in one place! I was going to show you a few pics of the trip around the island...but the internet connection is too slow to upload them. Will try another time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Deep Thoughts

Well...I can tell that I have totally relaxed because my brain has moved from thinking about "what do I have to do next?" to "the meaning and purpose of life" kind of thoughts.

As I was sitting looking out over the Pacific Ocean this morning, I was listening to some great praise music by a friend of mine and watching a mother whale teach her new born calf how to jump out of the water and splash its tail. (I won't go into all of it -- but I did just take a whale watching expedition and am FILLED with little known facts about the humpback whales lifestyles and preferences.) Suffice it to say -- the momma can't start making the trip back to Alaska (where she can feed again -- there is nothing for her to eat here) until her calf is strong enough to launch itself out of the water and hit a predator hard with its tail. I don't know if this momma was motivated by hunger or maternal instincts but they stayed at it for almost an hour. It was mesmerizing to watch...and then it got me thinking.

Only a few short days ago, I was basically unaware of this life cycle happening over here in Hawaii. Yes, I was excited about seeing the whales -- but more in a "hey, cool -- look at that whale" sort of manner. It wasn't until I got here and learned details about their lives that watching them and caring what happened to them took on a whole new meaning. I WANT that little calf to make it (almost half don't). I am amazed at the maternal sacrifice of going without food for more than four months in order to come back to Hawaii to give birth, nurse and prepare her calf for life. Seriously -- no food for FOUR months...that means no chocolate too --- man is that momma whale committed!

Anyway, back to my deep thoughts (most really didn't involve the life cycles of whales) -- I started thinking about why God sent His Son down to earth to be with us. It wasn't because He watched us from far away and thought, "wow, hey cool, look at those people I created." He was already present with us...He knows us...He knows our trials, our joys, what gives us peace, what we are willing to sacrifice for and what we aren't. But He also knows that we live in our own "present." If it isn't right there in front of us -- or around us -- we don't give it much thought. He knew that about us -- and our HUGE need for salvation and sent His Son to be with us. That is totally cool to me...

Ok...enough deep thoughts...perhaps it is a good thing that I head to Oahu on Sunday and start getting ready to teach next week...I am finding deep meaning in whales!

You all take care and know I love you, miss you and look forward to being "present" with you again soon. You are not out of my mind.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Today...reading The Big Picture, by Stacy Julian, one of the assignments required that I list some of my "favorite" things. Her point was that these items tell a lot about who we are and what is important to us...and perhaps are good things to scrapbook. I like the concept. So here are a few of my favorite things (not sung as in the Sound of Music or even rhyming):


  • Blue glass bottles -- because I like the way light looks shining through them in a window.
  • Lavender scented candles, body wash and lotion -- they remind me of a trip to France when the lavender was in bloom
  • Cinnamon hard candies -- my best friend in first grade and I would bring them to share with each other during recess.
  • Lemon Verbena soap -- my grandmother (I called her Jammy Jane) smelled just like this and she was my favorite person in the whole world.
  • Christmas -- I love the white lights, the music, the decorations and the smells of Christmas -- not to mention getting gifts for people I love. I also love the story of Jesus birth -- and want to hear it over and over.
  • Big fluffy white towels...warmed in the winter.
  • The color blue
  • Sitting in front of a fire reading a book while it is gray and rainy outside.
  • Listening to Dan Fogelburg or Mary Chapin Carpenter while scrapbooking
  • Walking barefoot on closely trimmed grass
  • The sound of the ocean (duh...I am in Hawaii)
  • Puppy breath
  • Waking up on Saturday and realizing that I can sleep a few more minutes if I want to.
  • Vintage Nancy Drew Books
  • A good hair clip to keep my hair up off my neck
  • Antique stores
  • And now....CROCs. I bought two pair to bring to Hawaii with me...one flip flops and the other just the normal ones....and I LOVE them...I want to wear them all the time.

So -- I took a picture of them today so that I could be one step ahead of the game on my "Favorite Things" mini album I have decided to do. Looking back over my list -- I realize these things do tell a lot about me...and are worthy of scrapbooking. Ask me -- and I will tell you what I learned...or you can wait and see the album...your choice!

Love you guys....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Treasures


Ok...today was WONDERFUL!

I have been doing "boy fun" things for the past two days -- but it paid off this afternoon. They took me to the LSS here on Maui and gave me 30 whole minutes to myself. It turns out that scrapbooking isn't that big with the locals -- but they have figured out that vacationers like myself do like to create scrapbook pages of their trips so this store has created a whole line of paper and die cuts. It is TOTALLY small -- but cute. It was fun to talk with scrapbookers from other parts of the country. Some of them post on 2 Peas...so now I have a couple of new on-line friends to watch what they do with their vacation.




I also found some vintage Hawaiian postcards that are totally awesome.




Tonight we went to our favorite restaurant on Maui...Mama's Fish House and had Mahi Mahi stuffed with lobster, crab and coconut cream sauce....encrusted in macadamia nuts and broiled....it was enough to make my eyes roll back in my head. I wish I had the recipe...I would make it at least once a week.

Ok...enough....love you guys.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Surprise!

Surprise indeed!


Weston had NO idea that his best friend, Taylor was joining us for our trip to Hawaii over spring break. Even though they had played in a paintball tournament on Saturday, Taylor kept the secret.

On the way to the airport, Weston was trying to feel out Royce and myself on which one of us was going to accompany him on his more daring plans...biking down Haleakelah (sp?), Snuba-ing (a combo form of snorkeling and scuba) and surfing. I had assured him that I would go snorkeling with him a lot -- and that we would both be prunes from being in the water together since his Dad isn't a big fan of open water -- preferring to sit and listen to the waves rather than FEEL them buffet his body. He wasn't convinced that it would be fun enough without one of us and I was having to semi-commit to some things that I wasn't sure I was supposed to do yet (since I am still recovering from surgery).

Anyway, we got to the airport and I walked in ahead of them to "get in line at the counter." Instead, I ran around to the side where we had agreed to meet Taylor and his parents and got the camera ready. A few moments later, Weston came in -- heading straight for the counter and looking confused to not see me there. Taylor took a few steps forward and said his name. This is the look on Weston's face when he saw Taylor....



After much jumping around (all over the place and my stupid camera was stuck on red eye -- so I missed most of that) -- they embraced and Weston continued to repeat..."No way! No WAY! No Way!"



Taylor kept reassuring him..."yah -- we're going to Hawaii man...for two weeks!" but I don''t think it sunk in until they were on the plane for several hours.

They are both a joy to be with -- and I have to say that the fact that I didn't have to go out there and go surfing was QUITE the relief!

Love you guys. Am hoping to check out a LSS here on Maui this afternoon...they boys even suggested it after we have run them all over the place and waited for them to do all kinds of activities. I am so blessed!

Paradise

There is a reason they call Hawaii -- Paradise! It really is totally beautiful...even though it has been mostly overcast with some brief spots of sun. That is fine with us -- we get sun -- but not too much...and it isn't raining...which it is doing on Kuaii.

Visiting paradise is different with two teenage boys. It is more about planning the next days activities rather than how "inactive" to 40 yr olds can be sitting out on a lava encrusted point -- but it is so much fun helping them enjoy this island paradise for the first time that it is rejuvenating all in itself. Yesterday (after getting our lost luggage in the morning), I went snorkeling with the boys. We saw all kinds of fish and were absolutely exhausted after a couple of hours.

Today, the boys took surfing lessons...and Royce and I went on a whale watching boat. Here are a couple of pictures of the boys. I will save the pics of them actually surfing for later.





















I cannot even begin to describe how majestic the humpback whales are -- particularly as up close and personal as we were able to get today. There were three or four males fighting for the right to "escort" the female...(at least that is what the certified naturalist called it)...and they put on quite a display of whale tail. I caught this pic...imagine this tale being 15 feet wide...and then realize that the whale itself is 3-4 times that in length...and they were swimming right up beside us. They are very graceful...a bit shy...and apparently very flirtatious! The girl whales have it pretty good here. However, when I thought about it -- I am here in Paradise with three wonderful guys myself...so I am pretty happy about my own situation~

I have been taking LOTS of pictures with the goal of scrapbooking SOME of them...and reading THE BIG PICTURE by Stacey Julian....and working through Heidi Swapp's book on loving your handwriting. Fun, fun, fun!

Miss you guys. Hope all is well....

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sometimes

Hello friends...

Sometimes -- isn't that an interesting word? It means that there are only a certain number of "times" something occurs. Not always....that is really what it means. Not always. That is what makes "sometimes" special. Because you never know when a "sometimes" is going to happen.

You have to watch for "sometimes" moments...or you miss them. For instance...

Sometimes I am sad. But that means I am not ALWAYS sad. I need to remember that when I am sad...it is only a "sometimes."

Sometimes, I stop for a Marble Mocha Machiato at Starbucks...wow is that a great sometimes!

I started thinking about this word when I did a lo about a little girl I met in Oreol, Russia. I called it SOMETIMES...here it is. The journaling is in a pull tag behind it.


















Last week, I did this other two page LO about my honey, Royce and his son, Weston. He is such a great Dad...and has made lots of memories with him...has really built into him. I found a quote that I loved..."Don't wait to make your son a great man...make him a great boy." I loved it and felt that was EXACTLY what Royce has done...so I created a LO around it.



Hope you all have had a great week...and are looking forward to a great weekend. Sometimes something special happens on the weekend!

Love you guys

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Couple of Thoughts

We all have times in our life that we would call "difficult." When I was a teenager, it was because some boy I thought was "cute" walked right by me and didn't say a word -- and my personal perception would be deflated. As I have grown older, my "difficult times" have changed in nature -- and I have also become much more aware of other people's "difficult times" and my sense of inadequacy to help them through them. As a Christian, I turn to God for the answers.

Recently, several of my on-line friends have gone through some really tough things. A baby with surgery, the loss of a child at birth, job related problems, financial issues and personal conflicts to be resolved. My heart has gone out to each of them. I have prayed for them...and continue to do so.

I read a great little book this weekend that really encouraged me...and today I thought I would share just a couple of things from it. The title of the book is, The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times, by Robert Morgan.

It starts with a quote from one of my favorite writers, Charles Spurgeon, "The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape."

I love that. I could have just stopped right there and been fully ministered to. Here is a quick outline of the 10 rules:

1. Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
2. Be more concerned for God's glory than your relief
3. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord
4. Pray!
5. Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work
6. When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
7. Envision God's enveloping presence.
8. Trust God to deliver in His own unique way
9. View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
10. Don't forget to praise Him.

None of these rules make the "difficult times, pain or sadness" go away. But they were a comfort to me...in my own personal "difficult times." God does seem to have mysterious ways...and the Bible acknowledges this in John 13:7 "Jesus answered and said, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."

I love hymns. Don't get me wrong -- I love contemporary Christian music as well...but sometimes there is a richness of blessing old hymns...like this one.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercey and shall break
In blessings on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
and scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter,
and He will make it plain.

I know that I can trust Him to save and deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. He will save and deliver in His own unique qay, whether miraculous, providential or mysterious. He always does that for His children. That is His specialty.

I love you my friends...and wish there were a way to avoid these "difficult times." Know that I am thinking of you and praying for you...and willing to wait with you for God's answer.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Back on Track




Oh yeah...I got to go back to work today! Probably more importantly, I am feeling much better. Guess there really is something to this "bed-rest" thing after all. *smile*

I did come home after a meeting I had out of the office -- so it was technically a "short" day -- but I still feel like I got some things accomplished at work non-the-less.

When I got home, I finished the altered journal that I have been working on for my friend's daughter who is going on two school trips in a week. Her Mom wanted her to have a fun journal to keep track of everything in -- so we put this together. Thought I would let you see the cover and one of my favorite pages.

Hope everyone is doing well...

Blessings,

Jann