Mini Sabbatical

Lately I’ve been feeling like this:
The large rocks are the important, essential parts of life, and the sand are the non-important, non-essentials. If you do the non-essentials before the essentials, you can’t fit everything into your day.
I want my life to look more like this:

This is what happens when you do the big, essential things first, and then fit the non-essentials afterwards. Everything fits!
There are other, more important things that I need and want to be working on, but I find my time eaten up by mindless TV watching and perusing of blogs and additive social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest. The funny thing is, that while enjoyable, sometimes these sites don’t help me become a better person. In actuality, I get down on myself for not being as pretty/fashionable/crafty/creative/healthy/motherly/wifely, generally amazing as everyone else seems to be, and I become discontent with what I have, focusing only on what I don’t have. This isn’t healthy.
I’ve noticed another side-effect: I’m having a hard time figuring out what I truly love because I spend so much time feeding off of the passion that others have for whatever they’re passionate about so I think “I should love that too!” But really I just love what they do and how they do it. Does that make sense?
Then yesterday I read this glorious idea and thought BAM! That’s what I need. Basically it says to ditch your goals and work on establishing good habits and when you establish good habits you’ll be the person you want to be and be led to the life that will make you the most happy. I’m so good at making plans and breaking them. I feel like life has been telling me lately to just let go and work on becoming my ideal self by doing the things that feel right to me and just let it lead me where it leads me. You really should read it when you have time.
So anyway, I feel compelled to step away from blogging and etsy, and social media and for a little while and focus on the things that are essential to me right now:
  • God
  • Family
  • Health
  • Creativity
  • Hawaiian Language
  • Reading/research
I love you guys, all my bloggy friends, but there are other things that need more attention, and until I learn to prioritize correctly I need to let myself off the social media hook and bring some balance to my life. So for an undetermined period of time I’ll be stepping away but I won’t be gone long. I’m hoping for this to be a productive, introspective time of reading and thinking and skill-building and when I come back I’ll have more focus and drive.
A hui hou! (Until we meet again)
p.s. pics are from dotson5

Life Goes On…

Keola got a rejection from the University of Oregon today. It’s hard not falling into that 2011 “woe are we” rut but we’re determined to just keep swimming. On the bright side, our chances of staying in Hawaii just increased. It’s hard not knowing what’s in store for our family, but whatever it is, I know it’ll be worth waiting for. 

To Remember

Yesterday was a little bit of a bummer.
We allowed ourselves to feel the disappointment. Feeling is a part of living.
And we do a lot of living in this house.
Disappointment happens.
But that was yesterday.
Today, we are determined to dust ourselves off and keep moving forward.
Today we are working, writing, creating, sharing.
Determined to be one of those amazing stories.
Thanks for the inspiration Paul.

Blood Orchids

don’t usually never read books set in Hawaii, because I always expect some inaccurate, unrealistic portrayal of the people and culture here (I wonder if that’s how other folks feel when books are written about where they’re from). I don’t really like movies set in Hawaii. I don’t really like TV shows set in Hawaii. I know too much for it to be enjoyable, and I’m waaaay too critical. I just can’t help it! So I was a little nervous going into Blood Orchids, but after becoming acquainted with Maui author Toby Neal through social media, I thought, why not support her and give it a go? I might be surprised.
This book is set in Hilo – my home town. In fact, I’m a Hilo High grad, the same school that a couple of victims in the story went to. I attended UH Hilo. I’ve even been to Halawa prison to visit my future father-in-law. I know each and every place this story took place in. I could SEE everything quite clearly. I didn’t need much imagination. But because I am FROM Hilo, I became even MORE critical of it. The pressure was on for the Hilo I know to be described just right.
Ms. Neal does not disappoint. While she does alter the names of some places slightly (which threw me at first, but I see the wisdom in changing things up a bit), she does a good job of capturing Hilo’s details – the tin roofs, the grass, the rivers, bayfront, Volcano, Punaluʻu Beach, the plantation houses, the porches, the dogs, the NUMEROUS dark colored, lifted trucks, the black sand. It’s all there.
The pidgin (something else that usually makes me cringe on TV and in movies) was decent and used in the right places. I like how she didn’t have the locals stereotypically spewing pidgin every time they opened their mouth. We are capable of speaking proper English. It’s true that many of us turn it on and off depending on context and emotion and I felt like she captured pidgin usage very well.
She also does a good job explaining what things are to people who are unfamiliar with Hawaii, but she does it concisely and it doesn’t take away from the story.
But I’m probably the only one who cares about such details. On to the story:
I found myself really liking Lei Texeira, the main character. I loved how the story of her past unfolded and how it affected her actions throughout the book. She’s flawed and brash and rude but she has her reasons for being so. Think Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality (before she gets pretty) but with a darker past. As the story progresses she slowly begins to bring down the walls that she’s built around herself and let people in, but it isn’t an easy road and she can easily revert back to her former self on a dime. This is no Disney portrayal of life and struggle.
I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, and the time that was taken to develop each one.
I HATED the villain. He’s a total disgusting sicko pervert who just makes you want to take a shower…or 20, which is good. Ms. Neal keeps you guessing as there are quite a view weirdos in the book and any one of them could be the main perp, not that Hilo is full of weirdos or anything, but there are some interesting folk.
There are some pretty good twists in the story. You think it’s over, but it’s not and even though she gets through one challenge, you get the sense that something else is gonna happen. I loved the suspense.
Finally, I really liked how things wrapped up. Everything came full circle and the connections drawn to family and Lei’s history are unexpected, but make sense.
Overall, I found myself really enjoying this book. It was surreal to have it take place in my hometown, but kinda fun at the same time as I could picture everything really easily. I started out with a critical eye, but was soon lost in the story. It could’ve happened anywhere. I would’ve enjoyed it all the same. Be warned, it gets a little graphic sexually, and there’s a bit of swearing but not overboard. This is a story about cops and criminals after all.
If you’re looking for a grittier, darker side of Hawaii, support a local author and check out Blood Orchids by Toby Neal (the first in a SERIES! Woohoo!). It was a real page turner for me and I hope it’ll be the same for you too.

Wordy Wednesday

 This was going to be wordless but I just have to point out a couple things about this picture in case you’re blind like me.
When I first took this picture, it was because I thought the juxtaposition of a baby next to graffiti was cool – something pure and innocent and something kinda gangster and defiant of society. Deep right?
But then Keola pointed out to me that the graffiti said “soul,” which adds a whole new layer of meaning to the images, Noweo being a new soul, a happiness sponge and unaware of the soul-sapping facets of life.
THEN, last night as I was putting together these pictures, Keola said “Oh cool the arrow’s pointing at her.” Being my blind self I said “What arrow?” A second glance confirmed it. Someone sprayed the word soul on this bench with an arrow waiting for the right soul to sit on it and be captured forever.
I could not think of anyone better than my baby girl.  I’m so grateful this moment didn’t pass me by. Stay soulful Honeybee.

Around Here

Around here we’ve been enjoying the last few hours of peace before our nieces come home and school begins.Around here we’re cleaning out useless stuff, organizing what’s left and trying to find a place for the truck load of clothes Noweo got for Christmas.
Around here I’ve had a blast connecting with other bloggers. What momentum I feel for 2012!
look how neat my desk/dresser is! that can’t last…
Around here I can’t stop playing with my new iPhone, and Keola can’t stop teasing me about it. I try to play it cool, like it’s whatevs but I’m not a very good liar. He also likes to hide it from me and laugh at me. Apparently I’m cute when I’m dismayed. Not nice.
one of the zillion pictures I’ve taken with said iPhone…actually, ALL of these pictures were taken with said iPhone.
Around here we are desperately trying to get into healthier habits after the holidays, but the steak, BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, sugar cookies and cream cheese cake are making it difficult.
Around here we’re excited to move forward – whatever that direction may be…
Ready, set, go!