Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pepe le Pew

Christopher takes the kitchen trash out each night. So, at about 10pm he rounded up the garbage, replaced the bag and headed out the door. A few moments later he returned, somewhat shell-shocked and staring oddly at me.

"There was a skunk at our garbage bin! He was sitting right there when I went to throw the bag away. (long pause) He sprayed..."

"He sprayed!? Did he spray you?"

"I don't know. I don't think so. Can you smell me?"

"Hmmm... no. Wait a minute. Oh golly, you did get sprayed!! Go upstairs and jump in the shower right away!"

I followed Christopher upstairs to retrieve his clothing using methods employed by nuclear testing facilities. Christopher scrubbed so vigorously it would have put Silkwood to shame. All in all we scraped by relatively free from disaster. The clothes came out fine. And after a day of open windows and highly sophisticated means of odor removal (read frufy candles) our house is home only to the toxic smells produced by little children.

But it did get me thinking. What if people could spray their "scent" so potently you could smell it and never wonder, "Was Bob here?" You would just know. You know? And then I thought even harder (this is where it started to hurt). We do leave our mark, and we leave it so profoundly that anyone walking by can immediately notice it. We all know people that are a joy to be around. Like fresh baked bread they just smell wonderful. No one could refuse their sweetness and gentle spirit. I know of a dear woman, Sharon Jackson, that has this down. She even has churned butter! The real thing too.

And we can all think of the person that smells like spoiled milk, the kind that has lumps from sitting outside in a sippy cup for three days. Or the back-of-the-refrigerator-leftovers that have become more closely related to extra terrestrial life forms than Chinese take out. Yep, these people leave you gagging from their sour spirits, frustrated lives and inevitable issues they seem so prone towards.

From musky cologne to mothballs we all have a scent we leave - like skunks. God genetically allowed the skunk to stink. It isn't his fault. But God didn't design us to stink. In Genesis 8:21 God says the sacrifice of Noah is a pleasing aroma. What sacrifice? For Noah it would have been burnt offerings. But in Hebrews 13:15 the New Covenant tells us what will make our pleasing aroma. It reads, Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. I hope you are encouraged to acknowledge Christ with your lips today. Besides eternal salvation... it makes you smell good!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Adventures in Astrophysics

Okay, so we already talked a bit about our trip to the Aquarium. What was NOT mentioned was a small side-trip we made to the American Tin Cannery. See, we got to our parking spot, and I was woefully under-prepared for the amount of change that the parking meter would require, so we needed to make a small jaunt to the nearest ATM and change machines.

Too bad ATM machines can't dispense $2.00 in quarters. All I needed was $2.00 in quarters, and instead I got a $20.00 bill with a $2.00 charge for the ATM! I wonder how many people parking on the streets outside the aquarium are doing the same thing I am!

So there I am, with a $20.00 bill in hand, and no quarters. What to do? Look for the nearest "junk" retailer to spend as little as I can to break my $20.00 into smaller bills. Otherwise I'm stuck with $20 in quarters. No thanks!

We wander a bit, up and down the escalators, and spend a few minutes in the coin-operated kiddie ride area. Then I spot the place, Windborne Kites. Lots of cheap stuff, and lots of really fun kite-related stuff. We spend about 10 minutes looking for fun and cheap stuff, and then I spot the perfect item: the Arrowcopter. This $5.00 item is the answer to my trouble, and with tax, gives me four $1.00 bills, SCORE! The claims of the Arrowcopter were too much to resist: flights of upwards of 300 feet in the air, with some reports of MINUTES for the aircraft to land back to earth. My curiousity (and desire to expedite our planned trip to the aquarium) got the better of me, and I bought it right away, not really expecting much performance out of it.

Back to the car, stocking the parking meter accordingly, I stuffed the Arrowcopter into the car to lighten the load into the aquarium. The girls were pestering me the whole time back to the car about when we were going to go out and try it out. I promised them we'd go out after dinner and try it out...

So, we had dinner, and it was time to take the new toy out for a spin. I loaded up Hannah, Bethany and Caleb, and we drove over to nearby Schoonover Park, with vast open spaces ideally suited for our "adventure".

We go out into the middle of the field, and I find myself a good spot for the first shot. Throw a few blades of grass into the air to determine the wind direction, and then give her a good launch. Up, up, up she goes, and catches the breeze, and soars some 100 yards across the field, nearly catching in a tree on the other side. I had no idea it would float so much in the wind!

Then each of the kids take turns with it. Even Caleb gets in on the action, and has a blast. In fact, after a small mishap where the toy smacked his little finger and cut him a bit, he turns out to be somewhat of a natural at it, launching it some 100 feet in the air on his second try!

Hannah and Bethany have a blast chasing it down while still in-flight and doing their darnedest to catch it mid-flight. Hannah is just a bit more coordinated, so has a bit more success.

We had a blast the twenty minutes we were out. And for the help it provided in giving us a great parking spot for the aquarium, I say it was one of the best $5.00 toys I've every purchased!

Aquarium Fun

Daddy took us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday for some fun! We have all written a bit about our trip...

Princess Hannah
I liked the Aquarium a lot! I wish I could go there every day. We went to the sharks and saw a sun fish. And only one hammerhead shark, once, on the very bottom. But we were on the balcony so we couldn't see it very well. If I went there every day I would have nothing else to do.

Princess Bethany
We went to Flukes, Flippers and Fun and we got a stamp to see a manta ray on our hand. And we had so much fun that I could just scream out loud. Because I had so much fun. We saw sharks and we also went to Splash Zone. We played in water at Splash Zone and also we played on the slide and with the costumes. And I also want to say, "Thank you Mama for typing this."

Prince Caleb
I like the water! I liked the sharks and how they go around. I liked to make the sharks go around in the water and make the water go and get wet. I got wet in the water and playing hard with the sharks!

Friday, May 26, 2006


Do you have a boy? There is something about boys. I don't even think it is fair to say that a boy is simply the opposite gender as a girl. Girl evokes sweet and tender, maybe a bit whiny or emotional, but generally stable. Boy... well, boy is more than dirt and cars; it is not only smells and wrestling and baseball; boy is tomato.

"What do you mean," you ask? This morning my daughter, Bethany was helping my three-year old son, Caleb get breakfast. He didn't want to be sitting where she put him so after telling her this he says, rather gruffly and in his I'm a man voice, "Tomato."

Tomato. That was all. Just that one word. Slippery little fellow. How do you discipline for saying the name of a vegetable? I am delighted he even knows one! This is what I mean by boy. A girl would never think to call a sibling an apple. It would never cross her mind to use rutabaga as a thinly veiled substitute for meanie. Not so with a boy.

So Bethany comes to me and complains that her brother is calling her names again. "What names", I ask. "Tomato", she replies. I barely held in my laughter. Point #2 about these boys - they have comedic timing from birth. A few days ago Caleb was getting into something he shouldn't be and I called to him in the backyard. "Caleb, stop that or you will need to come inside." He doesn't stop. "Caleb! Stop that right now." He stops and then runs into the house and gives me, what has been coined in my home, the Bill Hyler smile. Who is Bill Hyler? My 86-year old grandfather. They share a caught me with my hand in the cookie jar I will just amuse you with my smile so you can't really get mad at me look. My husband has it too and he isn't even related by blood! It is still the same thing. Because they are all boys. Doesn't matter how old they are because boyness transcends age and goes way further than even the Masons. It is the reason all men can snicker at the smell of their own fart.

Boy. Tomato. I am allergic to one but still eat it because I love the taste. Maybe that can be applied to other as well...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Laundry (and other irrefutable laws, like gravity)

I use 20 lbs of laundry detergent in 9 weeks. In an average week I wash 4 loads of whites, 3 loads of brights, 3 loads of darks, 2 loads of towels, 2 loads of sheets and a load of delicates. I run the dishwasher every single night and usually have a small load of handwashables as well. We drink nearly 8 gallons of milk a week, use a loaf of bread in 3 days and can polish off a box of cereal in one sitting if Christopher is eating with us. We drive a 12-passenger van, own two baby swings, two cribs, a cradle, bunk-bed, moses basket and two play-pens. I have 5 children, 7 and under. We are Odd.

My goal in life is to get all my chores done in as little time as possible while adequately training my children to eventually take the task over entirely. I have so far brainwashed them into putting dishes away correctly, managing their own toys and putting folded laundry in the right drawers. My text book is Confessions of an Organized Homemaker which literally saved me from a mountain of unnecessary work. The key to success you might ask...

Bins. Containers. Boxes. Baskets. Holders. I actively work to give everything a home. A labelled home. A labelled home that contains all the pieces, accoutrement, parts, piles and stuff that accumulates in a home of seven. I have baskets for burpies (thereby freeing me to cease folding them neatly), and sleepers. Containers contain toys and toys and more toys. An 18-month old can put toys away when it is just dropping it in the box, instead of lining it up neatly on a shelf. Labelled dresser drawers tell the older girls which one houses what so they can efficiently help with putting clean laundry away. And labelled laundry hampers (this was just recently discovered, and as you can see I am not quite done with the Michelangelo-esque cave paintings) help older children who read place their dirty clothes in the right bin while little ones can follow the pictogram for the same effect.

I now get giddy at the sight of storage aisles and container stores. The smell of plastic can be intoxicating to me! Sometimes I think I have gone nuts. I have too many bins and I am making WAY too big of a deal out of this. And I am sure I would live just fine without all my boxes. But then I appreciate anew the convenience of this system when we need to get the next set of clothes down for Leah and wouldn't you know it - the 2t are clearly marked in a see-through bin sitting in my garage. I love it.

I have so much still to learn about managing a large household. I find it ironic on a regular basis that I grew up in a house of two, including my mom! We practically had our own wings of the house. And now here I am trying to squeeze every ounce of function out of my home and wondering, already, where we will put the next baby. Wild.

So if you have tips, suggestions or patented organizational techniques please pass them my way. Along with your prayers they are one of the things I need the most!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


"Waaaaaaaaa - MAMA, I have a boo-boo!" You can only imagine how often I hear those words spoken in a house of five children, four of whom are walking and thereby capable of falling. Each of my children addresses pain differently but they all like to get their boo-boos kissed. What is it about a kiss which sets to right all the world?

Leah likes to hear herself cry. She falls and immediately begins to pout, then cry and finally screech. She likes to be kissed and then kissed again and finally kissed yet one more time. The whole while she snuggles in my arms, sucking her thumb. When she is done she pushes off of me and runs away, quite independently! She will be back...

Caleb shows anyone interested in looking (or anyone near enough) his blood - even if the blood is in his mind alone. He falls, starts to cry and between sobs comes running to tell me about the blood surely pouring down his leg, face, arm, etc. Once he determines that the blood has sufficiently been noted by any audience he can gain he insists upon kisses. "Kiss my boo-boo please, Mama. Kiss it right here!" Once the kiss is delivered he RUNS off with a smile and skip, right back into trouble.

Bethany dramatizes every scratch, scrape or rub. Upon falling she barely controls herself long enough to sob out the words, "oowwww." Flinching and crying she hardly tolerates any cleansing or bandaging of the wound. We have learned to settle her by telling her what we are doing but deny her the absolute truth of it. If she doesn't know what is happening she is ten times better off. I kiss the bandaged boo-boo and watch her limp off to continue to mourn the discomfort for the next several hours.

Hannah has grown up and I miss her already. She clings stoically to control when she gets hurt, preferring to hold back the tears and work to show herself mature. No more kisses to relieve her pain. She sits still for me and barely flinches when I need to treat tender cuts. She has no idea how sweet it was when I could kiss her little fingers and hug away the ouch.

I adore having children. I adore having many children. One of the reasons is to kiss boo-boos. I am not ready to give up the magic of it all. And sometimes even Hannah lets me use that wonderful magic on her. Someday she will recognize the power of it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sweet Sorrow

My maternal grandmother, Olive, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Because of her age and existing health conditions the treatment options are limited. My grandparents and their children have made the decision to pursue treatments to help guarantee a quality of life but not put her in any more discomfort for the sake of time. We are not sure how quickly the cancer will progress.

My children are very attached to their grandparents. My eldest daughter is named Hannah Olive after my grandmother. We live very close to Granny and Papa and spend holidays, special dinners and just afternoons in their company. This has provided an incredibly rich heritage and multi-generational paradigm for my children. A few days ago it was decided that they needed to have a better explanation of what is happening to their "Who-Who" and how this will ultimately effect them.

It was sweet to see their immediate concern for Who-Who and her comfort. Hannah especially wanted to understand how this cancer "got in" and whether Papa could catch it. She felt much better when we told her we would look in her body atlas book and learn more about cancer and how it works in the body. She was information driven and her need to process what the pancreas is, what a tumor looks like, how cancer comes to be all drove her ability to understand and handle the news. Bethany is our emotionally connected child and she wanted to know whether Who-Who had pain. Did it hurt? Could Bethany still hug Who-Who the next time we saw her? Maybe Who-Who would feel better if she brought her some flowers when we went over. It brought tears of joy to my eyes to see the connection they have with this wealth of experience and wisdom.

Later that evening however, the sorrow also hit and I held my little girls while they cried. Bethany is very sad that she will lose her Who-Who. Her concept of time is still childish so she became caught up in needing us to go over to Who-Who's house immediately. Hannah became withdrawn and quiet, feeling sad but not sure how to fully express it. She said over and over again that she would pray that Who-Who gets better and that Papa doesn't get sick.

We are beginning the journey of grief and loss in our children's little world. It makes us sad that we have to address this at all. Humans are designed, by God, to live eternally. Adam and Eve were never supposed to experience death and neither are we, so many generations later. Yet here we are, crying together over the knowledge that our beloved grandmother and great-grandmother does in fact have a limited life... on this earth. The blessing I can give my children is knowing that my grandmother trusts upon Jesus for her salvation. She is going to live beyond this death. "Parting is such sweet sorrow", for with the sadness of our goodbyes comes the anticipated joy of our reunion.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Toad

Leah is a Toad. But she is OUR Toad. She really shouldn't even "be". God knew we needed her, and worked extra hard to insure we got her.

Caleb was only 4 months old, and nursing, so I didn't even realize I was pregnant. Very soon afterwards I developed a complication called placenta previa, and had early difficulties as a result. Not knowing I was pregnant meant I did not manage some of these complications very well! On Valentine's Day Christopher simply stated I was pregnant. Mind you, Caleb was now 8 months old, and I was ready for another baby. But something seemed to be happening to keep us from getting pregnant. I was discouraged, and thought the idea that I was already pregnant ludicrous. It took me two more days before I bought a test. I think I just waved it over my belly, and it began blinking, in neon letters, and saying in an audible voice, "Yes, you are pregnant!". Great! I couldn't figure out when this all happened but one thing I have learned in Odd, when the test says you are pregnant - you are pregnant. I called my doctor, and made an appointment for a few weeks later (we all assumed I was about 6 weeks along).

Christopher and I were married on March 1, 1997. In 2004 we decided to spend our anniversary going to dinner, and a movie. We picked Cheaper by the Dozen. No joke. And while watching this movie version of Odd it happened - I felt movement! That can't be, I am only 7 or 8 weeks along... In actuality, we discovered a few days later, I was 19.5 weeks pregnant! Nearly half way done.

Once we had the correct due date I went on a rampage to find a doctor, and hospital that would give me the kind of delivery options I longed for. After several doctors, and a final decision to leave the Monterey County for Santa Cruz County facilities, I found my "soulmate" in obstetrics. She was willing to allow me to have a natural birth, free from intervention, and fuss. She was willing to let me gestate as long as my body needed. She was willing to sit back, and allow God, and my body do what they were designed to do. But God had other plans, and those little complications I mentioned earlier turned into big complications at about 32 weeks.

I was in my routine ultrasound with my OB when she puzzled at the screen. "This seems odd," she mused. Together we started fitting pieces of a huge puzzle together that ultimately showed us I had complete placenta previa, with little to no chance of change, and my dream delivery was out the window, being replaced with a planned cesarean. We agreed that she would allow me to go to 39 weeks (a mere week short from "full-term"), and things were set. But things weren't really "set". As the days progressed we discovered I might have other complications which could ultimately lead to the loss of my uterus, my life or my baby's life. This devastated me. The idea of never being able to bear more children was a grief I could hardly fathom. And on the flip side Christopher was coming to terms with the possibility of losing his wife or child. It was an incredibly emotional, and faith-building time. But in it all we never wavered that this little child was somehow meant specifically for us.

On the morning of my planned cesarean date I woke up at 4am to use the potty (or rather my bladder decided to wake me up because it had 12 drops it HAD to void before another minute passed). As I crawled back into bed for my last hour of sleep I felt an odd sensation, and realized I was hemorrhaging blood. Uncontrollably. We called 911, and I was rushed to our local hospital for an emergency cesarean. No one was allowed in the delivery room, and I was put under general anesthesia. It was the epitome of what I fought so hard against in my decisions for facilities, and doctors. The irony was not lost on me as I slipped in and out of coherent consciousness.

Leah was born on July 26th, 2004 at 6:11am. She weighed 9lbs, 11 ounces, and was 22.5 inches long! She lost some blood during my hemorrhage but both of us were able to slide by without a transfusion, and in incredibly good health considering all my blood loss.

And so as I watched her playing at Park Day yesterday, with the other homeschooled children running around her, I laughed to myself. She has SO much personality. She is my most tempestuous child. But she melts my heart every day.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mary, Too

Not to be outdone, Mary needed to make a showing tonight. Isn't she just adorable? Hannah and Bethany spent a couple minutes making silly faces while I had the camera out, and Mary (almost 5 months) cooperated obligingly!

Daddy Day Care

Trisha is out at her monthly crop tonight, so I'm at home alone with the kids. Now I have my chance to exact my evil plan, and am methodically training the kids to be weird like "old weird Dad"! You are looking (from left-to-right) at Hannah (7.5 yrs), Bethany (5.5 yrs), Caleb (almost 3 yrs), Leah (almost 2 yrs).

While Mary was upstairs taking a much-needed nap, I pulled out the camera and snapped a few photos. Even Hannah and Bethany got into the action and snapped a few. It was lots of fun. They're watching Larry Boy right now. All is right in the world.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Reminiscing about Kauai

Many years ago, while I was single and in college, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Hawaii for a backpacking trip. And not tourist-trap Waikiki either, real honest-to-goodness Hawaii....KAUAI! I spent two weeks in the Hawaiian Islands, with eight of those days in Kauai. The first three days were spent hiking the amazing Kalalau Trail, an eleven-mile trail that covers the only roadless section on the perimeter of the island. Crossing the famed Na Pali coast, a very rugged section of Hawaiian wilderness, it is a very ethereal experience. We spent another five days "living" on Kalalau Beach once we arrived. The island of Kauai contains in its upper ramparts, the wettest spot on earth, Mount Waialeale. Because of this fact, the entire island is covered with the lushest blanket of green you ever saw, and the Kalalau Trail crosses many creeks and streams and gazes upon the steep canyons and valleys carved by the enormous runoff from Waialeale. It really is a beautiful sight!

So why, some ten years later, am I writing about my trip to Kauai? Well, in a nutshell, it was the turning point in my life. I hope to recount my visit to Kauai in hope of providing some insight to the amazing way that God works...

For those of you who don't already know, I'm involved in a recreational pursuit called County Highpointing. I try to get to the top of every county I can. Right now, I'm collecting California county highpoints. There are 58 counties in California, with a total of 56 highpoints; two of the highpoints can be claimed for two counties since the peak sits right on the county line. I've completed 17 of these 56 highpoints, and plan to have four more done before the summer is finished. There are some amazing spiritual lessons I've learned from climbing, from good effort and the joy of victory over challenging circumstances. My highpoint trips are always spiritually refreshing. My trip to Kauai was paramount in that regard...

The County Highpointing community, as a whole, is trying to complete the entire collection of county highpoints, with there currently being a total of 3,142 county highpoints in the United States. When all the county highpoints in a given state have been surmounted, that state is said to have been "completed". California was completed many years ago (in 1992-1993), and the process chronicled in a wonderful book I enjoy immensely, California County Summits by Gary Suttle. Until recently, the state of Hawaii has been an uncompleted state, the highpoint of Kauai County being a rather troublesome spot. The highpoint of Kauai County is a mountain called Kawaikini, and sits a mere mile from Mount Waialeale, along the same ridge high above the Alakai Swamp, an almost impassible tropical rainforest that separates Kawaikini from the nearest trailhead.

First Attempt, May 2005
SUCCESS! February 2006
Bob Burd's dayhike attempt, April 2006

As I watched the pursuits chronicled in the links listed above, it made me think back to my visit to tamer territory in Kauai County, yet no less dramatic from my perspective...

I arrived in Kauai on New Years Day, 1995. It was winter break from college, and we had six weeks off from school. I flew with my roommate and some friends of his. We changed planes in Honolulu, and then flew into the (now private) Princeville Airport on the north coast of Kauai, right next to Hanalei Bay. The Princeville Resort is the major draw to this northern part of the island, and must have been the main reason to have an airport in Princeville. Maybe since 1995, they've realized it isn't economically feasible to have the airport open any more? The main airport on the island, in Lihue, is on the east side of the island, and most of the resorts that the tourist go to are clustered around Lihue, and down toward the southern part of the island near Poipu.

We arrived in Princeville, and quickly got about figuring out our transportation options. Knowing we had about 12 miles of road to cover to our trailhead at Ke'e Beach, we set off doing what any good Kauai local does to get around in Kauai: hitchhike! We started walking the road toward Ke'e Beach, and quickly picked up a ride. Drivers in Kauai are very friendly to hitchhikers since there are proportionally smaller numbers of drivers there than there are non-drivers. We got to the road's end, bid our gracious driver adieu, and set afoot on the Kalalau Trail, setting our sights on Hanakapiai Beach, two miles into the trail. There is a spur trail that heads inland along Hanakapiai Stream from Hanakapiai Beach to Hanakapiai Falls, and this is quite the tourist destination. So, the Kalalau Trail is miserably muddy and in poor shape from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapiai Beach. We set up tents and spent our first night, New Years night, in nice campsites at Hanakapiai Beach. It was very temperate, and it felt like we wouldn't need our tents. Little did I know of the Na Pali coast weather mid-winter...very windy at night! It blew our tents like crazy!

Next day we set out for our next day's destination: Hanakoa Camp, some five (5) miles distant. Since almost nobody went further along the Kalalau Trail than Hanakapiai Beach, we found the quality of the trail increase markedly. We found ourselves acclimatizing to the Kauai weather more this day, and made it to Hanakoa Camp around lunchtime. We set up camp there, and found a neat place along the creek where there was a small pool with a large rock above. We had a BLAST diving and jumping into the pool. We had dinner, set up camp again, and dealt with another windy night.

Next day we set out for the terminus of the trail, and the goal of our trip, Kalalau Beach, some five (5) miles distant. This is the most rugged section of the hike, but amazingly, this rugged five-mile section of trail was MUCH easier to negotiate than the two-mile section on the first day. It's amazing how you acclimate! We made it to Kalalau Beach around lunchtime, and set up camp under the brush back from the beach. We proceeded to walk the length of the beach to the far end to see the famed Kalalau waterfall. After a long day of hiking, this waterfall provides an awesome opportunity to clean off and get a natural "shower". While at the waterfall, we came to know some other folks who were staying at Kalalau Beach. We came to find out over the next few days that these people actually LIVED on Kalalau Beach, and in hamlets up in the nearby Kalalau Valley, the massive valley formed by the Kalalau Stream as it erodes the "Pali" or cliffs on its journey north to the ocean. Not only did these folks live out here, but their choice of clothing (or lack thereof) was a bit surprising. No matter, without any morals to speak of, neither me nor any of the other members of my party had any objections. We made friends quickly, and were invited to our first community Kalalau Beach dinner later that evening.

We had a great dinner of passionfruit, oranges, guava, and the "native" plant of Kauai, taro. The taro root is much like a potato, and is usually boiled like a potato in order to eat it. Guava and passionfruit grow in abundance up in the Kalalau Valley, where many of our hosts made their "permanent" residence. The feeling of community was strong, and I really enjoyed it. Our hosts regaled us with stories of living off the land and traveling into "town" at Hanalei and further to Kapaa and Lihue to restock. Hitchhiking was always the means of transportation when off the trail. We visited until much after sunset, and then retreated to our tents under the trees.

I spent the better part of the next three days doing much of the same. Relaxing for many hours on the beach, swimming in the ocean, climbing up the use trails (there are no official trails) into Kalalau Valley to forage for taro and fruit, and exploring the many neat hideaways that Kalalau Beach has to offer.

During all this free time, I had a great deal of time to think. It was here, on Kalalau Beach, 3000 miles from home, that I decided that I needed Jesus. My life was a mess. I had been in a physical and amazingly UN-fulfilling relationship with a woman that ended very badly. I had been spending a lot of time with Christian friends during my college years, and their life and behavior was markedly different that the friends I now spent time with. Even with all the majesty and grandeur of Kalalau, all the freedom to live any way I liked, I was still lonely and in need of a Savior. A friend had been talking to me rather intently about Jesus just before I left for Hawaii. He knew all about the unhealthy relationship I had, and knew I was ripe to know of a Savior who would forgive and love me regardless of the things I had done.

I spent time journaling while in Kauai. I had never been much for journaling, but here it seemed appropriate. I mostly bemoaned my poor life choices, but talked as well about how amazing the place was, and how blessed I was to be enjoying it. I don't remember actually writing it down, but during my quiet times alone on the beach, I knew this experience would be the beginning of something big for me. I would go back home, and ask my friend more about this Jesus. I would find out how to get involved in a life with meaning and value.

I returned home after spending two amazing weeks in Hawaii a new man. I talked with my friend, and within two weeks decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The day was February 4th, 1995.

Life has never been the same since...


Bethany just brought me two flowers, "One for you and one for Mary" she explains (apparently as a reward for nursing). She brings me flowers almost every day. Little flowers that get lost on the counter and big flowers that take all her might just to pick (can anyone say, "iceplant"?). She loves it. And she does it with enthusiasm and joy. I must admit, at times I find it more than a little distracting. I even made a new rule that she could only bring me new flowers when the old ones in the vases are dead. She forgets. I get more flowers.

So it happened today like it does on so many other days. But something inside of me clicked today that doesn't usually happen. Instead of seeing dried petals in a couple days, or murkey water I will need to clean... again, or even the immediate work of getting a new vase and putting this latest bouquet in a place of honor - all I saw was the heart of this precious little girl and what God gave her for the rest of us. Flowers. Can you imagine a world where people just give out of their hearts based on their talents and passions, regardless of what the response was? I mean seriously, as adults who have been corrupted by bitterness and dissapointment we tend to give people one chance... if they are lucky! And if they blow that then we are done. After all, we have better things to do than, "let that person walk all over me". And by the way, "who do they think we are, someone that just sits there waiting for them to call us?" I mean really, "I have better things to do with my time than continue to pursue them when they have done so little to show me any appreciation lately."

Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. So today I am going to work to enjoy all Bethany's flowers. Because ultimately she is the one on the right track, not me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Am The King!

Trisha invited me to be a "contributor" to her blog, and little did she know how dangerous that idea really was! HA HA HA, now I will take over the entire universe of Odd!

I'm going to post at least twelve self-portraits every hour, along with lots of pictures of the kids acting just like me. *evil maniacal laugh*

Just you wait!

All kidding aside, I'm looking forward to inviting people here to join us in our public journal about life in the land of Odd...



So here it is! Christopher introduced me to the idea of blogging some two years ago, but I didn't have time then. HA!

I anticipate you will drown in Letters from Odd some weeks and practically starve others. Rest assured I haven't forgotten you but diapers, schoolwork, commitments and life have gotten in the way of posting.

Christopher and I sincerely hope you enjoy our $0.02, or at least come to better understand life in Odd.