Category Archives: Family

Adventure


Back in August of 2010 I began the three year adventure to Nurse Practitionerhood. I am extremely pleased to report to you that this morning, with a swift click of the ‘send’ button, I have completed my program. On time. Two weddings and a funeral did not halt the march toward this goal and I think Mom would be proud. Sure I cried, kicked, and screamed at times but for the most part my way was paved pretty wide and easy. My National Health Corps scholarship enabled me to decline some hefty loans and be a full time student and my husband has paid our way through the last year. Thank you, sir.  I got to volunteer, study in a rural clinic across the country, and take on extra clinical hours. And now I am so ready to report for work.

After I pass the board exam, get licensed, and move to FLORIDA.

A smidge to the east of here.

That’s right. We are adventuring back to the motherland. Well, my motherland anyway. It’s time to repay Uncle Sam with two years of service in a medically under served area. Although Hawaii is sorely under served, God in his sovereignty shut some doors here and flung open the doors in Florida. It took some attitude adjustment on my part to even begin the interview process but after visiting Florida with Roger and receiving a few job offers, we fell head over heels for the idea. I will be working in a fantastic community health center in Brevard County (AKA, the Space Coast, previous home of the space shuttle and me!). I was thrilled with their orientation program for new graduates and the team they have serving the Brevard area. We have extended family all over Florida and Roger has been day dreaming of boats, fishing, wildlife, and about ten different jobs that he is perfectly suited for. We couldn’t be more excited about this new adventure.

All that stands between me and earning my keep is one more (huge) exam. I like to think of this whole process like American Gladiator. I’ve done the pyramid, I did the hang tough stuff. I got through the snapback and the joust. Now it’s time for the gauntlet…it’s time to break through and conquer baby. Final season, final event. Just wish I had the awesome leotard because I think it would really help on exam day.

I might need this soundtrack for studying.

I hope you are living your own adventure today. God is good and he has exciting plans. If you need a leotard or a soundtrack to remind you, go get it.

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Just Keeping It Real


I started this blog to share life and encourage myself to do it bravely. I hope it encourages you to do it bravely too. But I have a confession to make. Something came up in my life that scared me and I couldn’t write a word. Roger and I want a baby.

We thought that’d be pretty easy. I mean, first comes loves, then comes marriage, now all we need is the baby carriage. We agreed before we got married that we weren’t getting any younger and we wanted an average to above average size family so why wait too long? Sure, I’m in full time graduate school and about to start full time work. Sure, finances are tight. But we put it entirely in God’s hands anyway. Wasn’t that nice of us? And as a month or so went by, I planned my adorable baby blog. I’d announce it with something akin to the photos flooding Facebook these days: baby shoes and chalkboards and what-have-you. But as the next couple of months went by, I got anxious.

I told my sisters and a few friends but didn’t broadcast it because I didn’t want friends to awkwardly avoid the subject of children. Hearing about babies and pregnancies brings HOPE and JOY. Keep those baby shoe photos and chalkboard announcements coming! But honestly, who wants to hear that a couple is “trying”? Ew. And then there is the uncomfortable feeling that as soon as someone knows you want a baby, every day you aren’t pregnant you are failing at being a woman. Pleasant conversations about starting a family and having babies suddenly sound accusatory and insulting.

Loving Friend’s Actual Comment: So are you two going to start a family soon or wait a little while?

What I Hear: Is there something wrong with your 30-year-old uterus or are you too selfish to have children?

Twisted. I know. But I have a feeling this may resonate with someone out there. I have the wonderful blessing of being in a community of loving and supportive friends and family who ask loving and supportive questions.  But when it comes to producing what an entire community is waiting and watching for you to produce, the pressure can be a little mortifying. Just keeping it real.

So as the months have clicked by, I have had several panicky prayer sessions. My husband came to the rescue. He told me in no uncertain terms that we would have a family because that is one of the main reasons God brought us together. He also reminded me that God was entirely in control and knows the timing of our family perfectly.

He helps me stay brave.

He helps me stay brave.

And a few amazing things have changed over the last year. First, I have grown to love and respect my husband more than ever, due in large part to the way he has led me out of fear and into faith. Secondly, the Lord has sharpened our calling as a couple and deepened our desire to serve the Lord in any way he calls us. And I have deep peace with the plans He has for us. Lastly, I have been convicted to write about something pretty tough.  I realized that while I can write about mom’s cancer and death, my struggles and fears, love, engagement, and marriage, when it came to this, I was terrified. I didn’t want to share such a vulnerable fight of faith, a fear of failure in an area that should be so natural. I mean, just take a look around, babies happen! But they aren’t happening quite like we thought they would for us. However, I named the blog eb does life. Not eb fakes life. I can’t shut it down because I’m not producing the perfect results here.

So, let’s be real. Life doesn’t unfold the way Pinterest pins it, the way Instagram chronicles it. It unfolds the way God Almighty says so. If you are fighting to believe today, I am right there with you. If you are afraid to tell people that life isn’t going according to your Twitter feed, just remember what this pastor’s kid just told the whole world.

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Being Merry and Bright


Since I have finished my semester, I have been able to fully embrace Christmastime. I am not sure what will happen when I am no longer finishing exams and papers right before Christmas. I think when I am working as a Nurse Practitioner in the grown-up world, I will expect everything to come to a halt around December 14 so that I can focus on decking the halls and strolling the malls. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen though so I better enjoy it while it lasts.Here are a few photos of the merry-making around here.

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We bought our very first married people Christmas tree. It is very small. But spirited. The little guy is already loaded with ornamental memories.

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We lit up our little cottage with all kinds of festive things scrounged from Dad’s garage over Thanksgiving….

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The Aussie toured his first Honolulu City Lights. I LOVE the City Lights.

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I’m practically a Dremel spokesperson these days.

We are obviously having a very Merry Driftwood Christmas. ‘Round about the day after Halloween when I began to get the holiday gleam in my eyes when I passed anything tinsel in the stores, I saw Roger get nervous. So I  promised him I wouldn’t buy a single Christmas decoration. All those long walks on the North Shore in the fall yielded some pretty great driftwood hauls.

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Roger even did some decorating of his own.

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And we, of course, hosted a White Elephant gift exchange party. This little tradition is something Roger sort of married into. I believe I have hosted one every year for about 6 years now and this Christmas was the first time I stopped and asked myself if I was the only one who liked these things. The answer was maybe and I did it anyway. Every year there is a good story. There was 2009 when Darren proposed to Stel with an engagement ring wrapped in the last present (It took skills to organize that one). Then there was 2010 when a certain unitard was received…and fought over…and tried on by some very merry men. Then of course, I can’t leave out 2007, the year in which I received Joseph Zephaniah the Beta Fish and best friend Lindsey and I began a year-long saga of beta replacements. So, the White Elephant tradition will continue.

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We also decked the dogs with ribbons and bells. That little guy is Bear. Jasper’s only dog-friend here on Oahu. He’s a bit of a grinch when it comes to making friends.

I hope you are all making merry, loving your friends and family, and worshiping the Savior who is constantly merry over his children!

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Remember the Rush


So, as I’ve mentioned before,  I am darn near crazy about holidays. Love them. The older I get though, the more I realize why adults get stressed over the winter months and for some it is a crazy time of laboring under expectations and fighting for joy.  The more I see this trend, the harder I try to buck it. And to do that, we have to be brave.

I know it may not naturally be the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, but it should be merry and free. After all, these holidays are all about freedom: we are free to worship and not worship as we please thanks to the voyaging of the founding fathers. And we have the ultimate freedom through what happened on that night in Bethlehem when God pierced this hurt-filled world with the most thrilling hope ever. That piercing, freeing, miraculous, rush of a night. But round ’bout this time, complicating factors steal the rush.

The Aussie has been on the Big Island for work this week and I go over in a couple days for Thanksgiving week. He took the Porky Terrier with him so that the whole family, dogs included, would be together for Thanksgiving. So, missing my little family, I went and spent a few nights with friends Zan and Matt and their massive hound Harley.

There is something about spending a night or two away that simplifies your life. I think that is why I love hotels so much (well, also the puffy robes and room service with the metal covers on the plates). I like the fact that I can get by with two sets of clothes, a toothbrush, a few books, and my laptop. I am more productive with studying (as evidenced by this blog entry) and I’m not surrounded by half-finished projects and distracting tasks like laundry and dishes. It’s been refreshing to sit and study over cups of coffee with Zan and take breaks to listen to her sage marriage advice or dream about the rural health clinic we will open one day.

These few days have made me look forward to joining the whole family with a simplified mindset for the first round of holiday cheer. It is undeniably a season requiring bravery. It is only our second round of holidays without Mom. And we have elected to spend them at home instead of in a memory-less vacation house. I know a lot of you are steeling yourselves for a fresh wave of grief in the coming months. But remember, these holidays are about new life and freedom. So be free to grieve. Don’t steel yourself against it. Just make sure you have people who love you close at hand and keep it simple. If we don’t belabor the minutia, keep from emphasizing expectations, and focus on a free and purpose-filled future, it can and will be a hap-hap-happy time.

Let’s all buck the trend and remember the rush.

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Hopes Raised


Well, we are still married. Just in case you were wondering. I mean, I think my grandmother still wonders sometimes. During those few minutes when Roger and I were dating, I would get a Grandmomie Voicemail once a week. “Hi Erin, just calling to say hi and I love you. So, are you still dating that Australian? Just checking. Love, Grandmomie.” You always wait for the sign off because she always signs off and that’s how you know it’s authentic. So I try to keep her updated regularly now that we are indeed still married. And since my blog has gone woefully silent, I thought I should just let you all know too.

The past month has been a rough one in some ways. Jobless, car-less, and bordering on hopeless on the worst days. I kept trying to think of ways to put a cute spin on it but would inevitably circle back to the fact that we still had no jobs, our car was smashed on the curb with threatening neighbor notes attached, and sometimes entire days were used just trying to remedy those things. But after stressful days of studying, job-hunting, and car shopping, we have still been having fun. We walk the beach, we play with the dog, we cook, and lately, we have been enjoying our new favorite show, Raising Hope.

My childhood friend, Kelly Metcalf Wilkes, recommended it to us and it couldn’t have come in a better season. The Chance family, struggling to make ends meet, dealing with their collective idiosyncrasies, and loving each other fiercely, has us belly-laughing every time no matter how many lemons we test drove that day. When Burt Chance struggles with understanding politics, I sneak glances at my Aussie husband. And for some reason when the demented MawMaw dances around the house with her clothes on backwards, Roger sneaks his glances. Which is weird. Because I don’t do that often. The thing we love most about the show is how much Burt and Virginia Chance love each other. Through it all.

So we’ve been trying our best to love each other fiercely but sometimes we just remember the fiercely part. These little life hiccups of not having a car or a job kept leading to arguments. Our arguments have been pretty spectacular as most newly wed spats probably are. My parents did their best to train me out of my temper but sometimes I take the attorney part of my father and the spitfire side of my mother and take arguing to legendary levels.  Thankfully Roger hasn’t learned too many arguing strategies beyond keeping his cool and ending them reasonably (amateur) and I wear myself out pretty quick and learn valuable lessons. Monday was a great example.

We had just pulled our borrowed car into its rightful garage to return it to our friends after a month long loan.

Roger: [Turning hose on inside of garage] Let’s give it a quick spray.

Me: [With frantic look] No, no, no! Don’t wash it in the garage!

Roger: [In a slightly more irritable voice than I deemed necessary] Ok, move the car then and hurry up.

Me: [With a haughty silence that we both know I can never keep up for long] You can wash the car yourself! Something unreasonable! And rude!

Roger: [Manly silence that we both know he can keep up for as long as it takes]

Me: [While dumping soapy sponges down his back in a more Angry Housewife way than Desperate Housewife way] And wash this! I’m going to study at Starbucks.

Roger: [After washing and drying the car by himself and coming to find me and buying me my favorite Green Tea lemonade]: Reasonableness. Unnecessary apologies. Good husband stuff.

And that’s the kind of guy I am dealing with here! I know, so hard. He makes me better every day. But our difficult times have made it really hard for me to translate into cute blogs. I’ve been discouraged that my prayers for an extraordinary life that changed other lives had been reduced to “let us get through the month” prayers.

But this week we have had our Hopes Raised. We found a fantastic deal on a beautiful little 2003 Jetta and we bought it on Saturday. Which is the reason we returned the car and then after our Car Wash Explosion, Roger was called in for a job interview. He starts next week. God answered our prayers. And this morning I had a conversation with someone very important to me about God’s plan for her life. We talked about Jesus’ fantastic love for us. And she lifted my eyes to see the goodness of our Savior in the good and the difficult.

So here’s my encouragement to you, whether you are newly married, oldly married, or single: Take Hope. It’s not always about looking extraordinary to the onlookers, it’s about never losing hope that the extraordinary will happen. Despite of tempers like mine.

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Aussie Aussie Aussie


I have found recently that I don’t have long stretches of time for blogging like I used to. I used to come up with sentences in my head that sounded SO good that I just had to share them.  Now, I just say those sentences to Roger. Sometimes he responds by telling me how awesome I am and how life-changing my words were. Other times he continues building a bookshelf or fixing the car or cooking a gourmet meal and only “hums” and nods at my brilliance and I realize I should start doing something a tiny bit more useful. But today, I finished a midterm Pediatrics exam and have two hours until my next useful task and I can tell you about our most recent adventure.

I’m hooked on this place.

A few weeks ago Mama Leanne called to chat and asked when we may be able to take them up on their wedding gift of tickets to Australia. The conversation went something like this: New Years? Sister Samara will be in Europe. Christmas? Papa Paul will be in Africa.Thanksgiving? Leanne and Paul will be in Perth. Ok, this family does some serious traveling. Wait, what about next month? It’s crazy but it could work. Hang on, tickets are a lot cheaper next week. Booked, done, heading to Australia that Tuesday! It took a few days for it to sink in that we were going on an international trip….I felt very American and inexperienced. Who knew I needed an online visa? Not me. And a passport? Yep, dig that up in Kona and have it expressed over! Roger even made an appointment with immigration to make sure he would get back in the country. I didn’t think of that either. Good thing my husband is so international. This also means that he is still getting used to the right side of the road. A fact he insists had nothing to do with totaling our car the night before we left (stay tuned for more on that little episode).

We hopped on the plane happy with some upgraded seats and 10 1/2 hours and 6 episodes of BBC Sherlock later, landed in Roger’s Homeland. We spent twelve days with Mama Leanne and Papa Paul, Brother Bruce and Perin and kiddos, Sister Samara and Heath and baby, and Sister Tiffanie and John. We ate fish and chips at Byron Bay, explored Surfers Paradise at night, toured around the countryside, and saw all manner of Australian animals. I “pumped yabbies” and caught more fish than I’ve ever caught in my life (like five). Some of my favorite days were spent on the water in the Beasley’s 83 year-old boat, the Coranto. Think African Queen minus the mosquitos. Absolutely gorgeous.

Although I loved being a tourist, the best part of our Australian Adventure was falling in love with my husband’s history. Basically, I have eight new best friends. His family is legitimately awesome and I now know my husband in a completely new way. He fishes and boats because the WHOLE country fishes and boats, hee builds things because he was raised with a garage FULL of building materials and he knows wildlife because it lives in his backyard. His sisters talk like him, his brother laughs like him, and his parents cry like him. He teases his sisters like he teases me, he walks around barefoot like his brother, and if anything is broken, he can figure it out just like his dad. His mom looks into my eyes like she is reading my thoughts (and she usually is) just like my husband does. He just makes so much more sense.

And I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gotta have the Rain to Make the Rainbows.


When one does not write a blog entry for several weeks, it always helps to have something life changing happen to get the writing back in gear. On Saturday, sister Megan married Shaun Mitsuda. Three cheers for marriage, rainbows, and adorable Caucasian-Asian babies one day.

Megan planned the most excellent wedding ever (photos to prove it coming soon) and then let us take it from her visonary hands the day before the wedding as we forced her to be the pampered bride. Don’t get me wrong. she was no bridezilla. She was gracefully and happily calling, erranding, and directing and would have given J-Lo a run for her wedding planning money but we insisted she prepare for her walk down the aisle. And she did, beautifully.

A team of expert friends and professional family readied the ceremony site into a garden walk and the reception site into an evening garden wonderland, exactly according to Megan’s dreams. There were hanging potted plants, 200 bottles of garden roses and ranunculus, a photo booth, a dance floor rimmed in large bulbed lights, and individually wrapped matchboxes waiting for the sparkler exit. And then, at 5:25, it rained. A lot.

Sara and I sat in the car with Megan that was to bring her around for the beginning of the ceremony and as the rain beat harder and harder on the windshield and Megan became quieter and quieter, I thought about Mom. I haven’t been angry about it for a long time but sitting there watching Megan fight the emotion of a possible rain-out, I felt the anger rise up that God didn’t let Mom stay for our weddings and that now he was letting it rain.

My prayers in my head began sounding the same as when Mom would be hurting and I didn’t feel like a calm nice prayer. I felt like shaking my fists and reminding God of what we were all going through and that he was in charge of it. In that rainy car, I couldn’t say anything but “Jesus” because I knew the fists would start shaking. And then Dad knocked on the window and squeezed in to the backseat with us and he prayed. He told God how good he was and how thankful we were. He told God how much we loved him and trusted him. And he asked in Jesus name for a beautiful wedding. I watched Megan praying silently and not allowing her emotions to overcome her. And I was filled with a huge joy to be part of our family and gratitude for the roads we have walked together. The rain relented to a shower rather than a downpour. And we were a go.

Somehow in the space of 25 minutes, Sara and I had a few last moments of sister jokes with Meg, Dad found a beach umbrella to walk her down the aisle with, and Shaun and Megan pledged their lives to one another under a beautiful double rainbow. And there was not a dry eye in the garden. Or a dry anything else either. But it was perfect.

The rest of the night was a 400 person party complete with luau food, the greatest best man speech I have ever heard (followed closely by the maid and matron of honor speeches), and some seriously good dancing. Yes the bride and groom have moves but my fiance also made a pretty lasting impression on the extended family with his line dancing skills. And I was grateful once again for the man I get to marry.

And it only took six hours to clean up. Let’s do it again in two weeks.

No really, we are.

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Showered


There’s been a few things going on like final exams and traveling far and wide but my favorite? Anything wedding. And last Sunday evening Megan and Sara gave me a bridal shower with lots of lovely ladies. A lawn party complete with croquette, hats, and iced tea in mason jars was turned into an inside soiree with the rain began dumping approximately 30 minutes prior to go time. The sisters flew into action, relegated me to downstairs, and transformed our upstairs into an indoor event that would have give Gatsby a run for his money.

Some of my favorites. They wore hats for me.

The modern lawn party look.

One of the stunning hosts. Good dress right?

The other gorgeous sister. Who finds time for everything. I don’t know how.

Pretty Alyssa.

The shower included a surprise visit from The Fiancee. We had to interview for a greencard. Can you see the nerves?

They showered me.

And they prayed for me. Which I LOVE.

And all of this because I get to marry THIS GUY!

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Modern Living


This week was Sister Trip week. In honor of Megan’s upcoming wedding and 25th birthday, the three of us (plus Baby Sawyer) spent 72 hours in Honolulu. We shopped, we ate out, and best of all – we stayed in a hotel that beats the pants off any other I’ve stayed in on Oahu. Bear in mind, I do not stay in five-star-500-a-night places. So, The Modern beats the pants off of any other relatively affordable places on Oahu. This place had a 1960’s vibe with a Coastal Living twist. The staff was attentive, the pool and garden terrace were unreal pretty, and the rooms were super chic. It is located on Ala Moana Blvd within walking distance of the mall and overlooks the marina. But when you are inside and at the pool area, you feel like you could be anywhere. Like in a James Bond film for example.

We have all inherited Mom’s delight in hotels and fun places. She would have LOVED The Modern. She also would have loved picking out Megan’s wedding dress with us. Guess what? We didn’t cry a single time on Sister Trip so you better not start now either. We had a blast as Megan tried on stunning gowns and the staff all raved over her as the perfect wedding dress model. Good sales tactic perhaps but we all agreed it worked. Dad purchased the dress for her long-distance and she now owns the Most Beautiful Wedding Dress Ever. Sorry everybody else.

We found the dress on the first day before dinner. So the rest of the trip was spent leisurely shopping and vacationing and pretending to be the Vacationing Mainland Sisters everyone thought we were (“You’re from Kona?! You don’t look like you’re from Kona.” Umm, thank you? Or no thank you? I’m confused). Brother Sam came by the hotel between his crazy class schedule and work hours for Megan’s birthday breakfast and it was great to have all the siblings in one place. Even Sawyer got the staycation memo and was the most chilled out six-month-old you have ever toted along for wedding dress shopping.

We got home yesterday, on Megan’s birthday. Her fiance had created a sushi extravaganza that rivals Hayashi You Make the Roll magic and Roger helped with Mochi icecream and Mojito making. Sister Trip resulted in some Husband Ryan, Fiance Shaun, and Boyfriend Roger time. Turns out they make pretty good brothers.

So, now I am home and grateful for my sisters who love some finer things in life, my mom who showed us how to love those things but not serve those things, Dad who is generous and wise, and the newly forming brotherhood of Other Halves.

And it’s back to Pharmacology and Health Assessment presentations…I miss The Modern.

 

 

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Roger


It has been almost five weeks since the magical sushi day and they’ve been good weeks. In honor of 33 days of knowing him, I will use his name in my blog.

Roger.

Ok, now we are official. Due to the rather speedy nature of our meeting, falling for, and dating one another, I have hesitated to wax eloquent. But this is a big deal and if I can write about my mom dying and my family fighting for faith, my fears, my dog, my studies, and my dramatic fallings apart, then I will write about Roger. Because that’s his name.

Roger is from Australia. That is all of the sudden a really amazing continent. I’m sorry I never wrote a blog dedicated to Australia. Now I know better. Roger has approximately 317 job skill sets. He is one of the most capable people I have ever met. He comes from a family of four kids and everyone knows that families of four kids are amazing. He’s not a twin but I won’t hold it against him. His family has two dogs, one of whom resembles the Porky Terrier Jasper, so Roger may be the first male who has successfully pretended to prefer Jasper to the Black Lab Ben. I actually believe him.

Aside from being the kind of straight-up cool that makes friends everywhere he goes, he fits me. Yes, in the cheesy, romantic, all-the-songs-make-sense-now kind of way. If that can happen with someone from another hemisphere, another culture, another career…you know it’s fairly super-natural. This means that as happy as I feel about this whole situation, I am pretty sure that God is happier about it.

Like everything awesome and worthwhile, it won’t always be easy. But that’s the great thing, God’s already been with me for times that are not easy. Life is awesome and worthwhile and crazy hard. But God is singing over all of it.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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