Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lauer Power!

A Final Toast over Fred's Mexican Take-Out!

Shaka Kit---still taking out the trash!

The Amazingly Wonderful Lauers

Three Girls plus the Zoey Girl!

Joe and Maisha' s Special Bond

Handsome Kit and Beautiful Shelly

Friends Forever

When we returned to Maui after spending our holidays in Virginia, one of our biggest hopes was that we would have time with Kit and his family. Kit has acute leukemia and is fighting the battle of his life. Vicious cancer cells have invaded his bones and blood, and a year later, after three chemos and numerous transfusions, he is still in the battle like a mighty warrior.

Kit has the spirit of a lion. Before cancer, he was strong, fit and the ultimate athlete, biking miles every day. Now he is physically weak, but spiritually powerful. He and his family have been our strongest support in our time of grief. Kit's faith never wavers, no matter how much he suffers. He lives in a loving trust relationship with his Heavenly Father, and considers the suffering of this time as not worthy of being compared to the future of glory that awaits us all.

Kit has given us so much strength. He is the engine of faith, and we've hooked our little caboose on to him and felt him pull us through over and over again. His depth, his wisdom, his unshakeable confidence in God have lifted us and given us deep comfort.

We've been blessed to share some special dinners with them recently and last night was our last. We fly to Virginia today. It was so hard to say goodbye to Kit and Shelly and Maisha. It was the hug we never wanted to end. They are the most beautiful, exquisite people, full of love and grace and compassion. They are precious treasures in this life and in the life to come. What a privilege to share their journey and wait patiently on the Lord, together.

There was given me a thorn in the flesh. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me...For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Cor 12:7-1

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saying Goodbye to our Maui Ohana

Our Maui life has been a collection of superlatives. So many friends. So much beauty. The best church. The most comfortable life. A vineyard full of ripe fruit.

Then a scorching fire burned our landscape, and parched, we found a deep well of love from which we could drink, over and over again. Our thirst has been bottomless. You have poured pure water on us unrelentingly.

strength for our new changes, courage to face our future.

We've needed you all and every drop of your mercy.

Leaving you is so difficult. You are tattooed on our hearts now, like my son's name on my arm. We love you and will never forget you.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. I Jn 4:11,12

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Peace to All Who Enter Here

Bill and Lu were our first new friends on Maui. They are the kind of people that you just want to be close to--warm, accepting, open and engaging. Lu is caring, supportive and thoughtful. She has a bright mind, a lively personality and a lovely way with words, able to say even difficult things in the most gracious way. I am always in awe of her well-chosen words --they are like salve on wounds and gentle rain on a hot day. Best of all, Lu laughs a lot and never takes herself too seriously.
Bill is her perfect counterpart. He's a doctor with a true healing gift, and just his presence is calming and reassuring. He is extremely wise, well-read, perceptive, and intelligent. He knows so much about so many things, and yet he listens respectfully to any point-of-view, and is patient and compassionate with the weaknesses of people. He also sings beautifully, and has been the backbone of my husband's worship team for 15 years.
Their people skills are off the chart, so naturally they are both popular and well-loved. But to us, they are more than all that. They are also the people who have given us our most precious Maui memories.
Twenty-something years ago, they built a beautiful cottage by the sea in Keanae, on the rugged north shore of Maui, the wild and untamed side. It has been a place for their family escapes, but in their legendary generosity, also the place of numerous adventures, get-aways, spiritual retreats, and marriage seminars for most of their Maui friends. They have kept a journal of all the comings and goings thru the years, and the only real payment they require when you stay is to log your visit with a few of your reflections on being there.
We spent our last two days in Keanae with them, poignant and emotional, we cherished every moment of the time. Looking back thru the journal, we came across so many sweet remembrances. Among them one that made us laugh: our most memorable Mother's Day when Joe and Bill created Kafe Keanae for Lu and I. They made a menu out of a paper sack, devised a gourmet breakfast from leftovers, and serenaded us on the front lawn.
We also looked at Joey's frequent posts, tangible proof of his good life, the evidence of his physical existence that we now cherish. In them he extols Keanae, his favorite place on earth, and his family, his friends, and our numerous adventures in this wild place. He praises Bill and Lu for their generosity because he knew what a privilege he'd been given to be a recipient of their repeated hospitality in that special place. Being there, Joe and I could breathe in Joey's spirit, feel his mana everywhere, and touch the place that he loved best. Like a flashing slideshow in our minds, memories of so many beautiful days in Keanae came back, filling us with longing and hunger for our son, but also bathing us with comfort.
So to Bill and Lu, such beautiful, generous, enduring friends, we speak our deepest gratitude. We love the sign you have on your wall: Peace to all who enter here. Thank you for creating and sharing a place of peace for us, for your overflowing generosity that enabled it all, for your journal that documents it, for the healing influence over the lives of so many, especially us.
We love you so.
Aloha and a hui hou.

Peace to all who enter here

The Lanakila Church...so many moments of worship and sweet communion with people we love.
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Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matt. 7:24

The Place Where Love Grows

Lu and I hugging on the famous porch,a monument to countless group photos

Joe and Bill, Bros for life

The Kepler's and their wonderful home, the site of so many of our most precious memories
Aren't they too cute?!
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Sean!

Relaxin' with his dog Rommel and no doubt researching ski resorts and base-jumping on his computer.

The Fish Taco Master Chef! His Habanero Sauce Rules!

We are so proud of this man. He's courageous and dedicated (and handsome).

Sean is a study in contrasts. He's an adventurous adrenaline-junkie, but full of common-sense. He's wise about life and people, but also makes us roll with laughter when he's mocking them. He radiates confidence, but will admit it and apologize when he's wrong. He loves heavy metal, but he also likes Toby Keith, and The Three Tenors singing opera. He's a natural leader, but loves to just hang with his family. He's a loyal friend, a hockey dad, a family man, a solid athlete, a loving husband, and a Christian. He's got a bird tattoo on his arm, in honor of Joey, and it's surrounded by stars representing his teammates who have given their lives for their country.
Awesome and Brave and a Force to be Reckoned With!
You can't help but be impressed with this guy.
Happy Birthday Sean! We love you.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Eph 6
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Our Hero Sean at the White House at Christmas

With the Commander-in-Chief --an invitation only event. George Bush and Sean talked about courage, in a manly kind of way which I am too delicate to relate here!

Chillin' in the Blue Room

A picture with President Ronald Reagan's Portrait--

can you say "conservative"?

With the Whole Incredible Family--JoAnne, Chase and Clare
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Farewell Party--They Asked Me to Post This!!!

Farewell Party for Joe & Karen Johnson

Saturday, March 28th
12:00noon - 3:00pm

For location and details of what to bring, call Lydia Pedro at 283-8192 or email lydiapedro@era.com. If you would like to help with this party, email jerikunkel@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Indelible Bond

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero"
~ Marc Brown

"After a girl is grown, her little brother - now her protector - seems like a big brother."
~Astrid Alauda

"Our brothers and sisters are there with us
from the dawn of our personal stories
to the inevitable dusk."
~Susan Scarf Merrell

making marks that cannot be erased, removed, or the like: indelible ink.
that cannot be eliminated, forgotten, changed, or the like: the indelible memories of war; the indelible influence of a great teacher.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Rom 12:10

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kindness and Compassion

Joey and Aidan at Hula Grill, Waikiki May 12, 2008 Two of my favorite men.

One obviously all sunned out, overtired and upset about something no longer remembered. The other, understanding, patient, and gentle with the little guy. He'd been the littlest one, too. He remembered how it is when everyone is smarter, faster, and stronger than you. An embracing arm, a knowing smile, a moment of love captured by the click of the camera.

Important now.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sometimes I Just Need a HUG!

Our family is a circle of strength and love.
With every union the circle grows.
Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.

Above all, love each other deeply. I Pet 4:8

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Bow WOW!!

We Love Hawaii Canines for Independence!

Splinter Surgery---OW-EEE!!

My foot as it waits for the anesthesia to take effect---notice the cute plumeria on my big toe!

Dr. Doug Birch, the nicest foot doctor on the planet, works his magic. Call him at 877-FOOT

The Miniscule Culprit-the tip of a toothpick--such an itsy-bitsy splinter, such humongous pain!!!

All better now! How do I spell relief? Splinter surgery!!!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More from My Artsy Girls

Clare, the Rare Bear

Izzy B. Bunnytail

Cuddly dolls made out of old socks!!
All 4 Dolls are super cute and their Nana loves 'em!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Papa Wampa's Bracelet

Clare. Our Found-Things Artist, on the bus

Papa's String Bracelet made by Clare
Our granddaughter Clare is a pretty crafty girl. She likes to create things out of whatever bits and pieces she finds around the house and yard. Sometimes it's kleenex flowers, sometimes it's sock dolls, and this time it was a string bracelet for Papa Wampa. Papa loves this bracelet and he's been wearing it for over 3 months. It stays with him at all times, he wears it night and day and everywhere he goes, even the shower. It's a handmade gift from Clare, the Rare Bear.

I like Clare's recycle-repurpose-reuse approach to art. She takes a bit of something, not too fancy, and turns it into something funny, beautiful or useful. It doesn't cost anything but time and imagination. It stretches Clare's creativity. It makes the recipient very, very happy.

God does the same with us. He takes our little lives, and our small faith, our little talents and longings, things that seem incidental, and brings out something to look at--something to behold. I am in that process right now in a deeper way than ever before. I am trusting that my Redeemer Recycler will make something beautiful and useful out of my scrap of broken heart.

"...to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning, praise instead of despair..." Isa 61:2-4

Sunday, March 15, 2009

HIM Conference Inspires

Roughly 4000 people from every island in Hawaii attended the 3-day HIM Conference. I don't think I've missed one since I moved here 15 years ago. The speakers are the best in the world, and their messages of faith, hope and love, like a power-packed Christian multi-vitamin, always buzz me into action for another year. This year it was a source of tremendous comfort. The HIM Conference centers me in my faith, focuses me on where my purpose is now, encourages me with my future up ahead, and sifts out the useless and distracting from my daily life. For me, it's a good time with God and His people, a little foretaste of Heaven. I always come back strengthened. This time I heard the whisper of God in my ears, "Just trust Me".
HIM crowds at the Honolulu Convention Center

Nick Vujicic
The Highlight of the HIM Conference
Nick Vujicic, 26-year old Australian, born without limbs and with one tiny little chicken foot that he uses to move himself, is perhaps the most inspirational speaker I have ever heard. You can find him on youtube or you can borrow my dvd which I purchased at the conference. If you EVER get the chance to hear him in person, it will change your life. He's a gifted speaker, very funny, and very encouraging about life's greater purpose. It will help anyone, anywhere, no matter their life circumstances.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Prov 3:5,6

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Colors in the Kihei Sky

Sunny Kihei rarely sees a rainbow. You have to have rain to have a rainbow. But today, the ocean is blotted out by a large gray raincloud, and though we've lost the ocean view, the exquisite rainbow has taken it's place. No ordinary single rainbow, this one vividly shows it's outer layer, a second rainbow with the colors shining in reverse order.

You can't see it without thinking that God is an amazing artist. He paints the cloudy skies with color in a very show-offy kind of way! In the rainbow today, I hear His voice. He's saying, "Do you think I'm big enough to take care of you? I am the God of rainbows, double rainbows, red, blue, green and yellow. You can't do this, you can't do sky, or ocean or clouds, or rain. Only I can do this. And I can take care of you."

Thanks God, for the reminder.

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Gen 9:13
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