30 June 2007

the return

Did you know Hawaii is six hours "behind" eastern standard time? I'm not a fan of flying east. It takes
f o r e v e r!

So, I'm stopping off at my parent's place in Seattle to catch three hours and spend some time with them, before hopefully "catching" the other three hours by Monday morning.
In the meantime, this is an old pix cuz I can't get to my computer's pictures. So stay tuned for more photos at a later date.

Did I mention i'm missing paradise?
sigh! who said all good things must come to an end? I wish it were not so.

Mahalo Hawaii.

28 June 2007

almost paradise

Paradise provokes the necessary inspiration and imagination to describe much of life on the Big Island. Things are glorious here.

The last few days snorkeling,
traipsing through botanical gardens,
viewing waterfalls,
and exploring the amazing volcano that really is this island,
have been beyond amazing. I've been reminded often of these words the poet/warrior David once penned as some what of a theme for this trip:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
the skies His handiwork, too.
Day after day they pour forth speech.
Night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard...

but the truth is, there are some parts of creation that I wonder about. Take a look at this creature:
There are tons of cats in Hawaii. Why? I know, some of you, even some of my dear friends, are cat lovers. But I'm not sure there needs to be so many of them...and so many poised right outside where we're staying and hunting through the night.

And then there was yesterday's afternoon excitement. After viewing the breath-taking wonders of the ocean world while snorkeling, we returned "home" to a different wonder. It was signaled by my sister Carmen's scream when we opened the door.

"Team K" sprung into action, though, (at least the other three of us) as we discovered the varmint still racing around our kitchen floor. We chased it into the living room, promptly cornering it under the couch. (Does that work?) While we had the thing cowering under the davenport, we finalized our strategy. No easy feat, truly, and you'll perhaps understand why after viewing these photos. (NOTE: These photos are not for the feeble stomached. If that is you, it may serve you well to scroll down past these next two pictures.) The plan was for Jenni to lift one side of the couch while Hildred and I knelt ready with weapons in hand. I'm not aure if Carmen served as the town crier or a cheerleader, or how her role fit in, but I'm certain it was crucial to the success of our "mission" together. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we isolated, or, shall I say, annihilated the perpetrator.
Actually, I'm wondering as I place the second photo here if you can even guess what it is, or, rather what it once was? Unfortunately the creature scurried so swiftly we didn't photograph it in life. Only here, on the bottom of my shoe.
In case you cared or couldn't tell, it was a cockroach.
WAY bigger than the cartoon version on Raid commercials.
HUGE. Horrible. Not to be toyed with!!

On the other hand,
the amazing things definitely outweigh my questions.
Such as this fabulous gecko here, lounging on a peace lily.
(Shouldn't we make it a practice to lounge on a peace lily in our day?
or some equivalent?)

Truly I experience more wonder and awe than I can adequately testify to.
Our creator is beyond my words
to explain or describe. But I'm reveling in the attempt.
You're beyond good, dear Father.

27 June 2007


It seems strange to be in Hawaii. Seriously, this would not be my first choice for vacation (well, before arriving here that is). My sister Hildred vacationed in Hawaii twice so I'd definitely been intrigued by her pictures and stories.
(Hmm, perhaps this wasn't what I meant when I asked them to pose for a picture.)
The driving story is, my sister Carmen and her husband honeymooned in Hawaii 12 years ago. They wanted to return for their tenth anniversary, but, found it more a dream than a financial possibility. That is, until they won a Hawaii trip (all expenses paid) two years ago at a Christmas work party.

(Yes, my sister works at "the firm." One of the benefits of living in Fargo I suppose.) So they returned to Hawaii a few months after their 10th anniversary. (I thought that was a pretty sweet and generous gift and expression of God giving my sister the joy of her heart.)

On that trip, they explored one of those condo presentations and ended up becoming "an owner" here in Hawaii. They "sold us"
on this great idea that we could
celebrate Carmen's 40th birthday here.

Last night marked "the dinner."
(The birthday "girl's" meal pictured here for starters.)
Moments and conversations around meals land in the very significant category for our family. Until I left for college, nearly every Sunday afternoon at my parents house consisted of leisurely conversations around the dining room table. Family, friends, and the "stranger" who happened to visit our church joined us in that sacred space. Current significant birthdays and anniversaries, if possible, resemble that space.

Granted this whole week will mark a memory, but last night, especially, we celebrate gift of Carmen Faith! Maybe 40 isn't so bad after all?

25 June 2007

slow and stop

Here's something about a bald head being beautiful:
when one smiles it shines across the face and really reflects off and radiates from the head.
Think of Mr Clean, people. You know what I'm saying.

Now, consider a Hawaiian surfer expressing his joy and passion about living in the slow and stop climate of Kona; particularly the six foot rule of his school time endeavors. (The six foot rule refers to the "policy" to hit the surf once the waves are greater than six feet--regardless if you're working or at school!) This is the pace of slow and stop. Road speed limits are 25 mph at best (except for the 55 mph of the highways) and drivers seem unwilling to engage the maximum limits. Locals say the volcanoes signal an eruption but usually take about 200 years to spew.

Thus we're living in the slow and stop lane.
One drinks in beauty there.
One breathes deeply sensing the movement of the oxygen extending life to cells.

One laughs leisurely, loudly, at undisturbed lengths,
and likely lingers over silly things.
Peace fans out from one fingertip
until one's whole body is wrapped in it;
the generosity and hospitality of it
becoming something both undoing and wholly embraced.
Perhaps that's why they named the place we're staying Paradaiso...

more later.
the waves, sun, and surf beckon.
Well, that and my sisters are here waiting to go for a walk!

21 June 2007


I'm on my way to meet my sisters...
to celebrate Carmen turning 40!!!
Not that I would want to be that old or anything...
but I am excited to celebrate her.

Happy 40th KC-CK!

C u soon!!

Pix credit from June 29, 2006.
Stay tuned for an update!!!

(Carmen is front right!)

19 June 2007

random shots

...that have been accumulating the last several weeks...

My friend Barb and I met at a prayer conference in Colorado in 1999. I think we'd both testify that the event and the years since then distinctly formed and shaped our lives. She stayed with me last week to attend a prayer conference hosted by a church down the street from my work.

What do you give a Dad who has everything
for Father's Day?
The Absorber of course.
(BTW this is not my dad!!)

From a few weeks ago already...
"The" sandwich, at my friend's daughter's party.
Yes, it does have pickle relish spread on top.
And ever-so-shortly after eating that amazing-looking sandwich,
they indulged in the string game.

Ask me more about it some time as a device to give out gifts. My friend Robin is oh-so-clever!!

And speaking of Robin, check out the flowering tea she brought...
you've never seen anything like this!
It looks so obscure, innocent, bland even...
that is until the water transformed it.

Can anyone say Pirates of the Caribbean, or something? The weird thing is, what you can't tell from this photo is that this flower is in water, or actually, in tea water. It created the tea. And it was delicious tea. Bizarre. But good.

18 June 2007

affirmation and rejection

Yesterday marked another great passage. A church around the corner from me affirmed my friend Dan as their pastor of strategic leadership and teaching.

In addition, our friend Rik expounded on 2 Timothy to challenge Dan to always preach the word. And our friend Bill reminded Dan of the foundation of love, the richness in reformed (and reforming) theology, the beauty of diversity, and the necessity of team.
The church blessed Dan and his family by offering them gifts and by creatively welcoming them into this new family.

Later, as we shared a meal together and reminisced about the blessing of the day, and recalled some of journey over the last few months, we observed the peace settled on our brother.
The last six months have been good for his soul, mind, spirit and family, too.

I am grateful to attest to that.
I look forward to seeing what the next six months offer.

Today marked a significant day at work. We hosted a blood drive and cpr training. It was something we'd been planning since the beginning of my employment. We've been urging, encouraging, and all out begging people to give.
(Did you know the national statistic is that less than 5% of the population donates?)

I waited for a lull before jumping in line. I enjoy giving blood regularly but have not donated since January. As I sat there answering the familiar questions, the nurse did the finger prick, splashed a few drops of my blood into the solution, and promptly watched the blood not drop. And i knew it. I'd be rejected for low iron.

For me, successfully giving blood is a high. It is more than satisfying to realize that "my" donated unit of blood can help save life somewhere. I was anticipating this rush today.
Rejection and lack of success utterly annihilates enthusiasm. Especially when I consider pre-knowledge that my iron is sometimes low thus I could have boosted it this last week in preparation. (I did have a big ol' wonderful steak this past weekend after swimming in Lake Michigan for the first time this season!! Unfortunately, it was not enough.)

Despite my "failure," we did contribute 51 units.
I'll try again some other day. sigh.

15 June 2007


grades posted for my class this week.
Last week I checked every single day, waiting for the professor to post them, and every day logged out with no word.
I finally checked again yesterday and discovered the word was in.

In conversation with a coworker this week, we mused at the importance of grades, and the pressure of grades particularly within the academic sector. And then noted how in the pursuit of a job, we'd never had to supply our transcripts, or for that matter, defend or explain a grade.

Granted, top scores and high marks can secure scholarships for college and graduate school appointments. Certainly in my adolescent and teen home, good grades were rewarded with praise and perhaps a meal at a restaurant. There is satisfaction in doing a good job. But in the scheme of life, do grades matter?? Do friends think more or less of you because of your gpa? Do we naturally achieve more success and become higher functioning persons, or higher paid employees based on the difference between a 4.0 and a 2.9?? If a person scores off the charts academically but possesses poor social skills does one of those qualities harm or help him or her?

I know, it's not the most important query in life. I'm just wondering a wee bit if "the grade" really matters. What does God think about how I'm living out His love and the teaching I received through these classes and what does He really think about my grades?

10 June 2007

left behind

This is the petal of a dying peony.
It's amazing to me how much beauty remains in something that is dying.
I can marvel about such beauty for quite some time.
However, the truth is, the fading beauty grows at my friend's house. And we moved them out of that house this weekend.
I'm less excited about that.

"Losing" friends like this causes conflicting emotions. Part of me has wanted to shut them out of my life (or would that be shut myself out of their lives?) these last few months in protest (and denial) of their imminent move.
And in likely passive agressive, emotionally immature, and self-protecting moments I tried to do that.
But it did not save me from the loss. In fact, I only missed out on moments with them.
As it turns out, their move allows them to create and imagine new life, new experiences, new relationships, new house, etc.
And that should be such a fantastic thing to witness and celebrate.

I guess I'm not quite in the celebrative mode yet.

04 June 2007

wanting s'more

It may seem silly, ridiculous even, to see that my friends and I are creating smores using a stove top as opposed to an outdoor setting when the weather has been nothing short of inviting, begging even, for us to build a campfire.
None the less, here we are. It was simply too late to build a fire, so the stovetop sufficed.

It was my friend Beth, I think, who first started taking photos of fabulous looking food. And so I copy her, at least, I copy the idea. I'm quite caught up in how much beauty there is in food. Seriously, as with all of creation, God just didn't hold back.
And although the pleasure and the taste of the food cannot linger, the memory and the photo can remain.

You're sooo good, Father God.
I'm eager for more sunrises, and sunsets, and clouds, and flowers, and food and...

03 June 2007

loving the moment

Hitting the "send" button on my final paper last Friday was so sweet. Who could imagine that such a simple action would produce such great satisfaction? Ah, but of course, when I say final, I only mean final in the sense of my first semester. Only five more semesters to go (at least, if things go as I plan them.)
(This is the screen shot I've been looking at for all these months. I know you're interested.)

I wish I could describe the community I'm getting to know through this online masters program. It's amazing how much they are contributing to my growth and healing. Of course, it's a spiritual formation program, so perhaps that seems so elementary. Naturally they would contribute in such ways. But, when I consider that some I haven't met. Some live in the UK, mainland Europe, Central America, and throughout the US. They're all different ages and sizes and colors. Up until January, I'd never known any of them existed. And now they've invited me to know the depths of who they are and they're helping to shape me? It's amazing to me, at very least.

But I'm happy to say "goodbye" to the formal requirements of the program...so that I can engage again in life.

So, does that mean what I've been doing these last six months has not been life? Is the sense that I've "put life on hold" really accurate or is it that I've been experiencing life differently? Or is it a different life?

In other news, as there's no good segue to such ponderings, I've had several visitors lately. I'm thinking I'm living in a zoo. Or perhaps, just in the wild. No, this is not in reference to my parents or my college friends. It's more in the animal category. You remember the ducks from a few months ago, perhaps. My birdfeeder has been rehung so I'm getting lots of feathered friend activity there. But I welcome such visitors. No, it's not the worms or moths I blogged about either. Over the weekend, as I sat outside leisurely enjoying a suspense novel, a squirrel starting talking to me. You know that way where they're "yellin" or somehow seem like they're chewing you out for something? Well, i yelled back. And then the creature began advancing in "my" territory. With no apparent fear of me.
So, I got out my broom. Not to cause harm so much, as to just inspire some fright. When the creature sounded again, this time in the bushes within a foot or two of me, I grabbed the broom and tapped the bushes.
This action proved successful as the creature began running away...
er, that is, until I realized, this wasn't the squirrel, it was a big-ol woodchuck, or something. Which reminded me that a few weeks ago, I watched a raccoon waddle away from my bushes.
It does make me wonder what's so luring about my house.
It's not like I live in the country, people.

Anyone else encountering such brazen visitors??
(Sorry, no pictures. I was too surprised to grab my lil' camera.)