Tuesday, September 23, 2008

He Is Really Here....

I got up this morning expecting to do my normal things.....take the girls to school, walk, clean a little. Today was my dad's arrival flight from San Antonio. I had been preparing for it all along. I had been telling people he was coming. I bought certain foods that I knew would make him smile and even signed up with a gourmet coffee by mail thing so that he could have the best while visiting.

But even with all of those things surrounding my thoughts, today didn't seem real. Thoughts kept going through my head questioning why I was doing things.

* "Why am I scrubbing the bathroom even though I did it two days ago? Oh yeah. My dad is coming in today."
* "Why do I keep looking at the clock like I have to be somewhere? Oh yeah. My dad is coming in today."
* "Why do I keep checking to make sure the bedroom is just so? Oh yeah. It is because my dad is coming in today."

It didn't hit me completely even as I drove around the airport 4 times trying to figure out the signage with all of the construction. It wasn't until I stood in the terminal and looked into each face that walked by that I realized fully....my dad is coming in today.

The minutes went by and I fought back the panic that said "What if I missed him? What if he walked by while I was looking at the arrival screen? What if....What if...What if.....?"

Then he was there with his signature walk and sporting a new 'handle bar' addition to his moustache. I hugged him and couldn't let go.

We visited with my brother over coffee at the local diner and then came home for left over spaghetti and conversation.

It has been a bit awkward. We are both nervous.
It was quiet tonight and everyone else was in bed but the two of us. Then of his own doing, he swung the conversation around to our relationship. He said, "I have so many regrets and there are so many things that I wish I could undo with not being there for you for so many years. I can't fix the past. All I can do is hope to make up for things now."

How many times I have played out a conversation like this in my head. How many responses I have written over the years in my mind. But now.......I couldn't speak. I couldn't say yes or no, you are right or I forgive you, the past is is past and we are moving forward........................

I couldn't even move.

We hugged goodnight and again couldn't let go for a long time.
Will I even sleep tonight?

(I am humbly honored that David at Authorblog awarded this post as Post of the Day.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"How are you doing?"

"How are you doing?"

I have heard that question a lot this week and I have answered it truthfully each time. That can be harder than you think. It is all too easy to say, "I am fine" or "Good" and not give it time to sink in and be real. I tend to use those pat answers because I don't want to "burden anyone with my woes". But this week I decided that people wouldn't ask unless they really wanted to know.
Of course I am careful to keep my answers short and not give the listener more than they bargained for.

That makes me smile. It reminds me of being on the flip side. Being on the long listening end of a story after I ask the question, "How are you?" happens to me a lot. I enjoy it. I like letting people know that someone cares and many times it is obvious that I am the only one who has asked them in quite a while. My husband laughs because invariably I will get into a conversation with the person at the check out register about their day, their limp, sprained wrist, bad attitude, recent car accident.....or a myriad of other stories. He has stopped asking me, "where do you know them from?" because the answer is usually the fact that I just met them in that 5 minute time frame. You name it and I have heard it. I once even had someone confess to me that she had cracked her ribs while ....being intimate.

I am told I just have one of those faces that say it is okay to spill your life and I will listen.

Many times someone will stop me in a store and ask where something is as if I work there. Do I explain that I am a shopper too? No. You can shake your head but I usually figure out where the item or place is and help them find it.

I have no idea where I am going with this or why I started sharing it.
I actually sat down to say that it has been a busy weekend.

My dad flies in on Tuesday ...........

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


New things seem to always be different than from what we imagine they will be like.

I am now into the 3rd week of the girls going to school and me having a lump of time on my hands. I had imagined that I would stand in my house alone, evaluate my day and choices, and then choose something constructive or adventurous to do with my time.

That hasn't happened yet.
Instead I get to the end of my alone time and find I have done nothing at all. The mindless TV has been my companion. All of the house cleaning that I never had time to do before and figured I would attack with zeal......nothing. If it wasn't for the joy of my dad flying in from Texas next week I don't think I would even want to scrub the bathrooms.

I know I am in a transition. This mindless numb feeling will shake off.
I did have a glimmer during my walk yesterday. (hey I am up to 5 miles now)
Instead of rhythmically stepping with an a mind full of emptiness, I did notice a few things and began to compose slivers of thoughts in my head about my walk.

I noticed the smell of fall in the air. I enjoyed the sun in the sky doing it's job, warming the earth and air from a crisp 53 degrees to 74 degrees in a matter of 80 minutes. I recognized that there are many different types of people using the trails along side of me. I saw moms with running strollers, business men biking to work with their suits on, seriously dedicated exercisers, and casual walkers with their Starbucks mocha cup in hand. Cottontails hopped in and out of the trail while morning birds called out their tributes. I even saw a doe with her fawn having breakfast under a tree.

God is good, life continues, and even this season will pass for me. Before I know it, I will be back in a groove and being productive.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And the World Gets Bigger.....

It didn't take long at all. The girls are starting to bounce out of the trauma of all things high school and get into a routine. Their alternating daily schedule of A/B days seems more complicated than college but they are doing it and starting to come home with goofy stories. How it blesses my heart and brings tears to my eyes when I drop them off in the morning and they walk towards the academic building side by side giggling....sometimes with arms draped over each others shoulders.
I know that they will be just fine.

At the same time I was getting them ready for this new part of growing up, God was asking me to let go even more. Let me explain....

Our church has been working with another church in Kampala,Uganda for the past few years and they have recently asked for us to send a short term missions group their way in December. Pippin has always thought it would be an incredible experience to participate with a missions outreach and has told me for a good 5 years now that Africa is the place that really calls to her heart.

You can imagine the things that hit me as I thought it all through. I wrestled with vague pieces of information that I had heard on the news about Africa.....violence, disease, and malnutrition to name a few. I knew for a fact that things can happen anywhere. The girls can get hurt jumping on the trampoline in our backyard much less be halfway around the world. I can't protect them from everything. My life long job has been to equip them. But the other voice in my head was laughing at me, telling me I was a fool to entertain the idea of sending my young 17 year old naive girl into THAT. I fought panic for quite a while.

Then, through a series of amazing circumstances, the pastor of the Kampala church was in town and we were able to get together for a meeting. He answered many questions for me about the area and what the team will be encountering.
Civil unrest? Absolutely not. That is much further north.
Wild and fierce animals? No, there will be no safari side trips.

The clincher for me was when a friend prayed with me for guidance and peace about the whole idea. She shared with me a picture that came into her mind while we were praying. It was a picture of a beautiful little bird in a nest looking out at the world around. This little bird, always respectful and attentive, flapped her wings and said, "How about now Mama? Am I ready to try and fly now?"

That picture was not shared as a tool of manipulation. (It is okay if you believe different than I do.) For me, I believe that God can speak to us in visions and that vision went right through to my heart. Instantly I wanted to cry out, "What more do you want from me? I have done everything you asked. I schooled them like you wanted. Now I am sending them to school and trusting You to care for them even though there will be times when I know they will be hurt and uncomfortable because it is part of growing. How much more do you want me to let go?!"

As soon as I thought it, I knew the answer. He can't guide them if I don't fully let go. He can't protect them and shape them if I don't take my hand off of the steering wheel.

So, my Pippin is signed up to go on the missions trip to Uganda for 2 weeks in December. Now that I have let go, I am actually excited for her. She is going to learn and see so much. It will be a life altering experience.

The next few months will be a lot of preparation as she gets a handle on school and works ahead in her studies. There are lots of things to think about with supplies to be packed and clothes to be made. Paying for the trip will be a daunting task since we have nothing extra to play with. Pippin and I are working up a sponsorship letter to send out to family and friends and we know that if God wants this then He will provide the means.

Kampala, Uganda, Africa......I never would have thought it part of our happenings.

I am so excited!

David at Authorblog recommended this post for Post of the Day. How it blesses me when I sit here at the keyboard to bear my heart and others are blessed by my ramblings.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Touring Thru a Portion of the Columbia Gorge......

One of the many things the girls and I did while I was away from blog land was take our visiting Hawaiian friends on a tour of the old scenic highway in the Columbia Gorge. It was definitely a day of giggles, sighs of awe, and adventure.

As I pulled down into my mom's driveway to pick up our guests,
my Rosie girl said, "Hey Mom look at those sun flowers.
They look like Mickey Mouse!"

Our first look-around was at the scenic Vista House.
Locals around here affectionately call it Crown Point.
This photo is a shot looking east.
The Columbia River is the state boundary line with Washington
on the left and Oregon on the right.

Our first waterfall hike was one of my personal favorites
called La Tourelle Falls.
There is my group headed towards the sound of falling water.

Amazing isn't it?
I pointed out various features to our friends concerning the moss, falls, and
the geology of the basalt rock while my girls hiked all around the water area
looking for treasures.

Indeed a treasure was found. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Pippin took pity on this little guy. She found him close to the water and decided
that he was so chilled by the water that he didn't even have the energy
to hop away when she got close.
So, into her warm hands he went until his temperature perked up and
she set him free in some warm moss.

Our next stop was a short mile hike to Bridal Veil Falls, another of my personal favorites.
This is the bridge one must cross at the bottom of the hike to get to the falls area.

Here is the lower portion of Bridal Veil Falls.
See that speck of a person sitting on the left side of that big rock? That is my Pippin.
Every time we go out to this area, my girls love to climb all over the rocks
and soak in the beauty.

I couldn't resit putting up a couple of pictures of our dear friends.
Left to right is Lilly, myself, and Mary. These wonderful ladies are precious sisters
and always full of so much infectious joy.
Mary first became a part of our family years ago when she and my mom
met and attended school together in Japan.
We are so grateful to have them in our lives.

Our last waterfall of the day was to visit Multnomah Falls. We shot some pictures, gasped and awed and the splendor, and then sat down for well deserved ice cream cones.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

School Days....

I still have many more things to share while I was away from blog land......but today I will wait and instead say this.....

After home schooling for 12 years, it is now day 2 of my girls being in high school full time.
How do I feel? That is a good question. A question that I don't know if I am ready to answer.

I believe whole heartedly that even though it is a very overwhelming adjustment for them...they will be just fine. Adapting to crowded halls, angst teens, and multi tasking schedules is all part of the "right of passage" to growing up. In a short amount of time, those crazy schedules will be old hat to them and they will know all the secret short cuts around what I am told is the biggest school in Oregon.

As for me.....I am getting my walking in (I did 4 miles this morning) so that feels good. I was able to blog visit today and that is an accomplishment. And I am doing little projects around the house.

But I don't feel that I am really here. It is like I am not thinking and just watching me next to myself.
It will take me a while.

It is funny because I have a few well intentioned friends that have posed the thought, "Hey now that you have all this free time we can go for coffee, lunch, shopping, you can volunteer for this, and I need...........blah blah blah.

I have skirted around it all and not committed to a single thing. I don't want to be busy. I don't want to obligate to anything. I don't want someone else to plan my time. I know that I will eventually become busy...but those are my choices to make.

Don't worry. I am not angry. I just feel a small voice rising in my as I write this wanting to say, "Tout le monde!" (is that right Kitem?)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mirror Lake...

Here is something I wanted to share....

Two weekends ago my hubby and I figured that we had better get in one more exploration hike before the weather changes and our fall schedules try to run amok. Our goal was a small little lake up on Mt. Hood called Mirror Lake. The weather was perfect and the scenery was breath taking. Here are just a couple of the shots that I took that day.

This was one of the first bridges we had to cross after we left the highway.
I was amazed at how quickly the noise of the highway
was dimmed by the dense tree growth.

The 1.5 mile short trail was very well maintained.
As we climbed in elevation, we encountered friendly chipmunks
looking for handouts and rhododendron bushes everywhere.

This bridge connected us with our end game.....the beauty of Mirror Lake.

Amazing! We walked all the way around the lake. Along the way we came across many people with their dogs going for a swim. There were also lots of people harvesting bucket loads of crawdads for their dinner.

I love this shot.
Do you see the tip top of Mt. Hood between the trees?
It was such a wonderful day.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm Back!......

Ah! A heavy sigh and a smile of contentment crosses my lips as I find my way back to blog land tonight. Thank you for being so encouraging as I took some time off to attend to things. Much has happened over the last several days and it will take me a few posts to share it all. For now, I will give you a glimpse of some of the laughter.

I have so enjoyed being around our dear friends from Hawaii. We have shopped, hiked, taken in the sights, and eaten until we couldn't even move from the table.
My husband laughs at me whenever we all get together because I am a sort of ...well chameleon I guess.
What do I mean by that? Well, when I am around our Oregon friends....I speak carefully in dialect. However when I get on the phone with my father in Texas....instantly my southern drawl comes out. Funny, I can feel it even as I type these words. But even more so, the change that comes over me when I get around the table with my family and our Japanese/Portuguese/Hawaiian heritage leaks everywhere as we talk stories......."oh bradda my English get all broke up wit island slang and da kine talk".

Last week after church we all got together for Dim Sum left overs around the dinning room table. Oh it was all so "ono" (good beyond belief). I grabbed my hubby's cell phone to shoot a couple of food shots before we ate it all.

With Hawaii being such a melting pot of culture and diversity, we have ended up having multiple names for many of the foods that we like to eat.
There is something that we all love that we have always called "ricee". It is a sponge type sweet cake that is steamed and strongly resembles white rice hard pressed together. I could eat it all day long and be so happy. After much research I have just discovered that it is really called Pak Tong Koh. It has taken me a few days to look around online but I have found some recipes that look easy and promising. Maybe after playing around a bit with the recipes I can get it to look something like the picture below.

Another favorite of mine. In Hawaii we can it Manapua but many also know it by the name Humbou (I know I am not spelling that right). It is a sweetened steamed bread with a pork meat filling on the inside. Again I could eat THIS all day and be so happy.

This was new to me. It is a fried Ponko batter on the outside and taro root on the inside. It was very good and the warm taro coated my tummy nicely.

Taro root always makes me smile. When I was a baby, I was very small at 4 pounds 9 ounces. We were stationed in Tachikawa, Japan and then later in South Dakota during those small times for me. As soon as the doctor said I could have food, my mom had Nana ship over boxes of jars of poi for me to eat and build up my strength. How I wish it wasn't such a precious Hawaiian commodity. Even today at 37 years old, I still have times when I crave a nice thick bowl of poi to fill my tummy.
Yum! Oishi! Or as we joke around the Hawaiian table "Ono-licious".
And if there is something that one person doesn't like, we all say, "Mushfeeka!" That means "good then more for me."

This is Mochi Sesame Balls. Mochi is a brown sweet bean that is used a variety of different ways. Mostly you will find it mashed and put into the center of a ball of some sort of bread as a sweet dessert.

There, have I made you hungry? There were many other things on the table as well but I always go for the carbohydrates first. After all, a girl has to have her priorities.