Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's time to go

My last day in Honolulu as, once again, it's time to go.  As I walk the beach in the early morning light  iI can't help but reflect on memories in these beautiful islands called Hawaii.  I think of you, mom, as I pass the beach of the looming Rainbow Hilton Hotel standing on the lagoon where the
thatched-roof Waikikian Hotel stood for so many years.  A place where we so often gathered with local friends for the famous eggs benedict  served overlooking the magnificent Pacific Ocean.  I can see the new tower of the Hilton where Ron is working and our reason for our time in Honolulu.  Waikiki has changed in many ways surrounded by high-rise hotels and lovely designer shops but at the same time, it hasn't changed at all.  Aloha permeates everything and is a constant reminder message  " don't worry about a thing, cuz every little things gonna be alright----this is my message to you." I have so loved our time here;  the warm, sunny days and tropical nights.  The long walks, floating in the ocean and dinners at the beach.   Time to be together and soak in the spirit of the islands, to worship with believers in Christ on the sandy beach of Waikiki.  I think of how often you spoke of Honolulu, mom, and the way it had captured your heart.  The Hawaiiana, our place of sweet refuge is no longer a hotel and yet as I pass by we are still sitting at the pool with Larry, watching our darlings Sarah & Rachel swim.   I was once a teen-ager visiting  Honolulu, and now a grandmother here so many years later having been restored over and over by the beautiful aloha.  Honolulu, place where the joy of sweet memories lives larger than life and only makes room for a glimpse of sorrow.   In going,  I will return to again find that piece of my heart.  Aloha and Hana Ho, beautiful Hawaii .
With a grateful heart--

Morning has broken

The sweet sound of birds singing and cooing in the umbrella tree far below our 26th floor of the
Discovery Bay begin our mornings.  Another beautiful day as the darkness turns to gray and begins to fade over the mountains of Honolulu.  It's 6:00am and Waikiki is just beginning to wake up, the moon hesitating to leave the beautiful tropical sky to allow for the rising sun.  The beach walk is so very different in the early morning, so peaceful and almost empty with only the presence of people walking, running, barefooted beach boys and girls carrying surf and paddle boards heading for those sweet morning waves.  My eyes scan the horizon, water as far as I can see, the sand freshly groomed in anticipation of happy times on the beach and in the beautiful waters of the Pacific Ocean.  Hawaii, a place hard to express on paper as it sweeps over and into your very being with warmth  joy, restoration and everything aloha.  A place of many years of unforgettable  memories of happy days and lovely nights.   I am a better person for having had 6 months in this place called Honolulu with these people of Aloha.  Praise with elation, praise every morning, God's recreation of the new day.
With a grateful heart--

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Hawaiian Christmas

It was Christmas in Honolulu for our family in 1976.  Mom, dad, Ron and I flew from Seattle to join Bob and Steve both coming from Air Force bases for our holiday together.   Arriving in the beautiful tropics of Honolulu, into the winter weather was a special time for us as we had planned for months to be together at The Reef Hotel for Christmas that year.  Honolulu wasn't the metropolitan city it is today, even groceries not close by, so mom and dad always brought with us a cooler of foods we would need during our stay.  This time it would include lutefisk which no Swedish Christmas would be complete without.  My dad brought pickled herring, potato sausage and the Pepperkaker he always made for our Christmas holiday.  So many years later, it's a beautiful morning on the Waikiki beach walk as I approach the corner of the long-standing Reef Hotel, one of the first of the early high-rises.  I can see that Christmas day in my mind, as I walk closer,  my dad and I on the beautiful Waikiki  beach.  A beautiful day, a wonderful memory.   Tears are slowly filling my eyes as the joy of having had my wonderful dad and sorrow of losing him much too early, collide.  So many years ago a picture that can still tug on my heart as I reflect on the joy of that Christmas, and the sorrow we didn't know was soon to come.   We never would return to Honolulu together with my dad and throughout the years  a hole of my understanding of joy and sorrow living together at times can't be reconciled or sometimes even accepted.   But today, walking this beautiful beach,  I will choose joy for the memories of my loving mom and dad that will always live with the sorrow of their loss.  Absent in the body, present with the Lord,  forever loving you, mom and dad. With a grateful heart but missing you everyday.

Larry was a limo driver in Waikiki

 His name was Larry.  Larry Choy.  Larry owned and drove a beautiful black limo in Waikiki and it was there, at the airport, that he picked up my mother the first time for the drive into Waikiki.  It was the fall of 1977 and a time of grieving for our family as we began our life journey without my much-loved father. Still stunned and feeling the emptiness of his passing,  Honolulu,  the City of Joy and a place of so many wonderful family memories became a place of refuge and restoration for my mom.  A place our family received a special gift of friendship with Larry Choy.  It was a divine appointment my mother had when she arrived in Honolulu that beautiful, tropical evening and made her way to the limo of Larry Choy.  A friendship began that night that was to last many years and be a source of comfort and joy for my sweet mother that could only be a gift from God.  Larry was a believer in Christ.  He was a self-less man who many times brought laughter and love to our struggling days.  Years would pass with many trips to Honolulu, always greeted at the airport by Larry in his limo with his arms full of flower leis to welcome and deliver us to the darling Hawaiiana Hotel in the middle of Waikiki.   Our days in Honolulu would center around the Hawaiiana, the pools and so many meals on the patio always delivered by Larry in his limo.  Such gifts of love and aloha.  In early years, Sarah would swim for hours in those pools and later, Rachel, as a baby and toddler would add to our sweet times at the little low-rise hotel,  sometimes in the pool or napping on the patio in her crib.   And so, over the years, God made a way for healing times for us through Larry Choy and his gracious friendship in The City of Joy, the beautiful Honolulu.  Slowly overwhelming sorrow began to turn to joy as we healed with the love and support of our friend, Larry, and his beautiful heart of compassion.  Always in our hearts, and our Honolulu memories, dear Larry---

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A piece of my Heart

A beautiful day and a visit with my neighbor, Mary.  Her Mother's Day was centered around the excitement and joy of the birth of their grandson Simon just last week as she shared the wonderful moments of Simon's arrival.  Grandjoy--

The phone rang,  my sweet Ellie began to sing Happy Mother's Day to me as my tears began to flow.  I could hardly speak as the news had come a couple of months ago.  Brian, Rachel, Ellie and Cash would be leaving Spokane for a move to Los Angeles and we would, once more, become long distance granddparents to Ellie and Cash. I want so much to put on a good face, to not think about how much time might pass without seeing our beloved grandjoys but somehow I could never have imagined such distance between us.  But life is a fluid adventure, ever-changing and I know I must once again embrace God"s plan for each of us in our little family.  My mind will always reflect on the little faces of my Ellie and Cash as they ran to their front door for a hug as we arrived and the anticipation of a day at The Lake House as their car pulled in the driveway. It won't be long before the packing will begin and they will begin to travel to their new home far from those who love them most and I will find a empty place in my heart that longs for the site of them.  At the same time, once again, joy and sorrow will live together.  Our joy, Rachel, Brian, Ellie & Cash, our sorrow so many miles away.  It's in God's hands----

Paradise Found

Memories light the corners of my mind on cue as my flight arrives in Honolulu.  It's almost like a slide-show of photos of now vintage times in these lovely islands that began  47 years ago.  We were graduating from high school, Laura, Kristi and I, heading for a week in Honolulu, a graduation gift to us from our families.  It was a Pan Am flight,  the first for all of us, and nothing could have prepared these three teen girls from little Poulsbo for our arrival in beautiful Hawaii.  Those first never-to-be-forgotten memories of the warm tropical air and the scent of fragrant flowers as we disembarked the flight and made our way to baggage claim.  It was late afternoon as we took a taxi to our little hotel in the center of Waikiki.  The Royal Grove was a darling pink stucco hotel with a center pool,  still there today, surrounded by tropical plants and flowers of all kinds and only a couple of blocks from the beautiful, sandy Waikiki beach lined with surf boards and beach boys.   Our next day began at the International Market Place choosing Hawaiian fabrics for our bikinis that would be made by a seamstress within hours.  Laura's was a gold/rust color, Kristi's was bright hot pink and mine was two shades of deep and light blues. With our new bikinis and beach mats in tow, we made our way to that glorious beach for hours of sun and warm ocean water swimming. That ocean as far as the eye could see. The Willows for dinner, the stately landmark hotel Halekulani on the beach for a lovely breakfast and evenings of warm beach walks.  Our seven days in Hawaii ended all too soon but was only began of my love affair with the aloha spirit of the glorious Hawaiian Islands,  a place of the heart called paradise.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I thought about grandma & grandpa's orchard in Cashmere all day today.  It's the day of your birth, my wonderful father.  I'm sure it was a sunny, eastern Washington spring day.  The trees had lost their blossoms as the buds began their journey to become fruit in my grandpa's apple orchard.  I can imagine your mother, my grandma Alma so anticipating your long awaited birth. And so, a baby boy, John Robert Gerry arrives to join his waiting family, my grandpa & grandma Gerry and his big brother William.  Two darling boys, Billie and Johnny growing in the orchard in the Cashmere
valley in the loving arms of a beautiful little family.  As I stopped to soak in the presence of the farm house, the yard full of flowers and old trees, I could see you all in that lovely home and feel the warmth of the nurturing in my life that began that day with the birth of my much loved, always missed father.  As the farm house remains on that Flowery Trail hill in the Cashmere valley, so also the memories of my family, Grandpa Bill, Grandma Alma, Uncle Bill and you, my father, in the beautiful apple orchard in Cashmere---