Category Archives: The Usual

Save The Chickens


I’ve never really thought of myself as an animal-lover. I figure those are the folks that wear screen printed T-shirts of endangered species and send monthly checks to PETA.  They love animals en masse. The nameless, the herds, the hungry, the hunted.

You know the ones….

I am sure I would love them too but I would need to give them names. As soon as it has a name, I get kind of emotional about it.

We bought some baby chicks a few months ago. There were about 30 little chicks running around at the feed store, cheeping and pooping on each other. They were pretty cute but smelly. Nothing to get attached to. We picked out a few that we were assured would be “good layers” (chickens are a whole new world, let me tell you) and then they threw in a couple wild ones for free. Ok, we said, why not. Three chickens are good, five is better. More eggs. We took them home and gave the “layers” some unfortunate names: Drumstick, Beaker, and Chicken Little. Not our finest moment but the names stuck. The “wild ones” took longer to name because we didn’t know if we would keep them but eventually were called Chilli and Left Eye. Hopefully they are female and sound just as pretty as their TLC namesakes.

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They enjoyed staring at one another. Drumstick’s the gutsy one.

And now that they are all named, I love them. I talk to them, I make sure they have poop-free water and nice food and turn on their heat lamp on cool nights. They are bigger now, more chicken then chick, a little less cute, but I am quite attached. I had to leave Jasper at Dad’s place in Kona because we have some travel coming up and I refuse to leave him long hours for someone to let out twice a day (PETA would be proud), so in a teeny tiny chickeny way, they fill the animal void.

Let's be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Let’s be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Hopefully they’ll start being “good layers” and Jasper will get used to having them around when he returns but regardless, they will stick around. Because they have names.

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Return of the Nerves


Well it’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 weeks since I last wrote which likely means that it’s been about 6 weeks since I had anything freaking me out to the point of writing about it. But, never fear, I am back and armed with some nerves. I am preparing to take my Board exam in 6 months and start working as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I am thrilled. But there have been days recently when I listen to the wrong folks, read the wrong articles, and start fearing the start of the best career I can imagine.

So, here’s what you can do. Pick something you are scared of today. Or worried about. Or mulling over. Or crying in the rain about. And let’s talk through the Who, What, When, and Where of this.

Who are you listening to?
Listen to the people that know you, love you, or encourage you. Sometimes that’s not all the same person. But if it can be, listen up. They are the good folks. They may not say easy things all of the time but if all three of those things are in place, it’ll be worth considering. If you are listening to unhappy people, bitter people, or jealous people, you’ll be afraid. Or crazy trying to live up to some sad standards. But don’t blog about specific people that get you down. That would be gossip. So I won’t do it. Oh man, it’s so hard.

What are you doing with your time?
Let’s be real, if you’re worried about an exam, study. If you’re still worried, stop studying. If you are worried about exercise, go running. If you are still worried after a few miles, stop running. We need to figure out the right way to spend our hours and commit time to the work God has given us. Excellence takes time. But we also need to commit to rest. Because sanity takes rest. Work and rest. And repeat.

When are you doing your meltdown, worry-fests?
Figure out your patterns and commit to praying and reading some Scripture when you feel it coming on. I had a great guest lecturer this week talk about kidney failure. “You’ve got to prevent the onset or you’re chasing your damn tail.” So, in his brilliant words, let’s not chase our damn tails.

Now what?

Where are you looking?
Google is like today’s crystal ball. If you ask The Google every hour if your stomach ache is cancer or your salary is competitive or your house is depreciating, The Google will probably show you that you will die of cancer poor and homeless. Don’t look at The Google. Or the people who are better or worse than you. Stick your gaze straight in front, pick yourself up, and carry on (unless it’s time for a rest, then that’s fine). If you can’t see your way, stick to the last known direction until the fog clears. It will.

In summary: listen to the good folks, work and rest, don’t chase your damn tail, and don’t ask The Google.

I hope this helps you be brave today.

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The Margins


I am presently a full-time graduate student. This means that I am taking four graduate level classes and am in charge of my own schedule. I don’t have a boss telling me when to take a lunch break or anyone looking over my shoulder to make sure I use my time wisely. This is both marvelous and dangerous. Marvelous because yesterday I learned how to suture wounds and I have the time to volunteer, keep a sparkling home, and study my heart out.

My new favorite thing.

Not actually my house. But sparkling.

Dangerous because I also have time to lie on the couch and watch fulls seasons of Castle.

Which I haven’t done. Yet. But the danger lurks. And sometimes I am frightened by my free time. Like it’s out to get me.

This week’ sermon out of Living Stones Church was an exhortation to live life with forward motion – to get UNSTUCK. The all-star pastor included this statement that is still ringing in my ears:

The space between your current pace and your absolute limits is the margin of your life. It is in the margins that you will see change. Without margins, you are stuck.

Now, this goes against everything my inner over-achiever believes. It is certainly anti-Crossfit ethic and even the opposite of how some Christians have told me to live. “Go, go, go! Get up, you can do more! If you aren’t beat up and puking by the end of the day, you haven’t sacrificed!” And now I am supposed to believe that wide margins effect change? Ok, I am listening. And as I listened, it made sense. If I live in a flat-out run, when do I digest what God is doing? The things that I am supposed to absorb?

Don’t get me wrong, I know full well that there are seasons of life that require a break-neck pace. I don’t have to try very hard to remember that season just a couple of years ago. I was working, I was going to nursing school, and I was helping to take care of my mom with the rest of my family. There were days that included 8 hours of clinical on one floor of the hospital and then sleeping in my mom’s room on another floor of the hospital  before waking up, washing my face and going to class before I worked that night. Mom had crisis after crisis in her last year and our family learned to live with zero margins. I remember days of concentrating on things like breathing, scheduling when I could cry, and running for miles to feel something other than that all too familiar wicked cosmopolitan of emotions – selfishness, despair, anger, overwhelming grief, and fear. And through this season, we were sustained. I was sustained. We did what needed to be done and we loved each other through it all. Mom came home for a peaceful last two months and now she is really home in overwhelming joy. And my life has margins again. And over the last year I have absorbed what I was learning during that break-neck pace.

I am no longer running flat-out and I am grateful for my margins. I am grateful that I can take time to learn – to learn how to be a wife, how to be a Nurse Practitioner, and how to practice what God is teaching me. I know that there will be times coming up that my margins will narrow. Eventually I will work full time. Hopefully we will have children one day. These things will pick up the pace. But I will need to do what I can to maintain space to absorb. If we don’t have margins, we are stuck. We are running and going nowhere.

If you are flat-out today, I hope you can find some margins. Then we will really be running…upward and onward!

30 Ways I Plan to Make 2013 Superb


Photo: Love my twin:)

We had our first twin birthday party in years.

Happy January. Christmas is behind us and the new year before us and most importantly, I am now 30 years old. Ok, maybe not most importantly but this is the part of the holiday season that sticks with me the rest of the year. My new age. At this time last year, I was fresh off a break-up, decided to cancel a big move, stayed home and made my dad listen to me cry into my coffee cup every morning. My dad loved January last year.

Oh how much can happen in 365 days.

This holiday season was joyful. It was the first married merry Christmas for both the Beasleys and the Mitsudas. Sister Megan and I both enjoyed showing the husbands how the Barley family does Christmas. We aren’t big during-the-year-gift-givers but when it comes to Christmas, there’s no Secret Santa business. We’d rather spend less on each person than limit our shopping to one person. It’s a whole lot of fun. I also experienced more joy this year than last as I remembered Mom and missed her in a less overwhelming way. But there was still a giant missing piece and that will really never change no matter how many spouses and kids join the family.

Now, back on Oahu and jumping into work and school, Roger and I are looking forward to 2013 with hope, joy, and love. And, in honor of our mutual age of THIRTY, this is a list of 30 ways I plan to make it a superb year in big ways and small ways.

1. Learn to love those around us and each other in purposeful and practical ways.
2. Grow a hydroponic garden (that’s mostly Roger but I’ll be helpful)
3. Read the entire Bible.
4. Make new friends.
5. Show Roger around Florida.
6. Move to the North Shore.
7. Run.
8. Begin a saltwater fish tank (again, I’ll be helpful).
9. Graduate as an official Family Nurse Practitioner.
10. Pass the boards as an official Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner.
11. Work as an official Nurse practitioner (Yikes).
12. Do something at our new church besides show up.
13. Go see our Australia family.
14. Spend at least a week with Lindsey Evans somewhere on the globe.
15. Save someone’s life.
16. Get a puppy.
17. Stop white lying (I told a cashier yesterday I had been married 4 months when I’d been married six because I thought it sounded better. Why did I do that?!)
18. Collect handwritten recipes.
19. Assist with a birth.
20. Go to every wedding I’m invited to…in Hawaii.
21. Go to every funeral (It means a lot and I never ever knew that until last June).
22. Read a lot of books.
23. Talk about Jesus to friends and strangers.
24. Save someone else’s life (I figure I could do that twice).
25. Think of new ways to be an awesome wife.
26. Host dinner parties (I have to throw in a few easy ones, right?)
27. Go to the beach once a week (That one’s hard. Really.)
28. Pay credit card bills on time.
29. Vacuum (I hate it).
30. Enjoy every day of being thirty and look forward to every year after it.

Happy 2013 everyone.

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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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Do Not Be Confused


My plan was to post photos of our great Christmas party and discuss White Elephant antics but I can’t bring myself to that point quite yet. Something tragic happened in Connecticut and there is nothing Christmasy about it. There are tragedies that happen daily causing no direct effect on my life, but, I am sure you agree, this one is lingering in our hearts. With a feeling akin to September 11, I fought the urge to weep all weekend. My husband pointed out the overwhelming nature of this event lies in the overtness of the sin. The plain evil. It is crushing. And it can also be confusing.

As I washed dishes on Friday afternoon, I turned on worship music to battle the sadness. Halfway through the dishwasher loading, my iPod shuffled to talking instead of worship. I walked over to hit the skip button and stopped when I heard my mom’s voice. I hadn’t heard her strong voice, her “I have something to tell you people” voice in years. I’ve been wanting to hear it for so long. And all of the sudden, on a sermon file stuck in a random iPod mix, I hear it. She spoke for two or three minutes and I wept through it, of course. And then replayed it to actually listen to what she was saying. Oh, and it was good.

She had just returned from a trip to California with my dad. God had blessed her and refreshed her and given her words of hope and she was sharing them with Living Stones Church. And she said it in her “Let-me-tell-you” voice that I love.

“You know, it’s really simple, but I didn’t know this. God is GOOD and the devil is BAD. God shuts bad doors. He doesn’t open them but he is the shutter of evil doors. And it is such an amazing thing …and we just need to praise Him to the heavens today because that’s what he wants to do. We get so confused. We think he may not want to shut this door. But God is good and the devil is bad. He is good today. That’s what we need to remember. GOD IS GOOD. Let’s not get confused! And praise God I’m not confused anymore! God is good….”

I listened to this several times over and then I did praise God to the heavens for reminding me that he is good. My mom is not confused on that issue anymore. Sometimes I ache for that clarity and that face-to-face assurance of Jesus that she is basking in every day now. And I know there are parents and families in Connecticut with that same ache today. They know the overwhelming desire that everything be set right, for God to obliterate these evil doors that are open once and for all. We, the nation of bystanders and onlookers into this tragedy, should have hearts full of tenderness and compassion, but not confusion. God is GOOD. Jesus came to take on our tragedies and thank God that one day, all WILL be set right.

This Christmas, don’t be confused. Celebrate that God is good. And come alongside the people in your life that can’t quite see the goodness through their own tragedy just yet. God is good…Praise him to the heavens.

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Health Snob


So as I have mentioned before, the Aussie and I have jumped on the Crossfit bandwagon. Our new crew of fit friends are taking part in a 9-week “Look Better Naked Challenge”. While we won’t be getting naked, we will be taking before and after (mostly-clothed) photos and setting fitness goals. This includes eating Paleo for nine weeks. Cringe. Up to this point we have been resisting the Paleo plunge. Most definitely Non-Paleo. NP for short. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good and we love the idea of going healthy. It’s just the snobbery of fads that I can’t stand…but it’s so alluring… I start doing something that I find cool, and feel the inner snob start to come out. It’s happened before. I just can’t keep up with what I am supposed to be snobby about!

Elementary School: “Oooh, you eat American cheese and white bread? With cheetos? AND a Squeeze-It drink? With Twinkies for dessert? My mom packs me peanut butter and jelly on BROWN bread, sometimes with  raw veggies. And snack crackers and Capri-Sun. And Sweet-Spots for dessert. But that’s ok. You can still come to my birthday party…and maybe bring some of those twinkies.

Middle School: “Ooooh, you eat McDonalds Big Macs and Li-Hing Mui powdered gummi worms? I eat Wendy’s Quarter Pounders, SO much fresher. And PLAIN gummi worms. Let’s go get dropped off at the movies.”

High School: “Ooooh, you eat anything? I eat air. And sometimes ice. I’m so full today from my celery stick. Let’s go for a run.”

College: “Ooooh, you eat hot meals and fresh vegetables? I’ve totally been living on Cheez-Its and Stagg Chili. Isn’t it so fun to be super poor college kids? Let’s go shopping at American Eagle!”

Five years ago: “Ooooh, you eat meat? I guess that’s good for people who are big-boned. Have you tried this tofurkey? It’s Ah-mazing.”

Last year: “Ooooh, you know that’s not actually organic right? You might want to grow it yourself to be sure. Can’t ever trust that USDA stamp. Let’s go churn some butter.”

Now: “Oooooh, you’re NP? That’s ok. Let’s go lift something.”

Being healthy is GOOD. Being snobby is BAD. I have definitely been guilty of both.

Thankfully, we have found a Crossfit with very un-snobby Paleolyths so maybe my inner snob will stay reined in. Our challenge begins in a week. We have been easing ourselves into it but have this loaf of incredibly delicious bread and this stick of really yummy butter that just needs to be taken care of. So, this morning I made the best toast of my life, smothered in the Aussie’s favorite spread: Orange Marmalade. Now, I have never been a marmalade fan. Some fourth grade snack experience involving a Paddington Bear skit and saltines with marmalade ruined it for me a while back. However, there is something about someone else’s extreme enjoyment of something that makes you give something a second try. I have fallen hard for Marmalade. I can’t believe I convinced Roger to buy the cheaper brand. Because if there is something that could improve the orange heaven sitting on this slice of bread, I would gladly spend another dollar to find out about it.

I hope you all have a healthy, unsnobby day. Encourage someone who needs it!

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Protecting the Peace


I often have very clear dreams about my mom. They are usually happy and I wake up glad and go about my day per the usual. But other times I think I must dream about her without remembering because I will have a lingering nostalgic sense of her in my day. Last week I had one of these days and thought of calling her to tell her some news. Twice. Not the usual “I wish I could tell mom about this” but two times during my day I actually thought “I should call mom and tell her this”. Don’t worry, I’m not crazy and I don’t believe in communication with the dead so put your theology back in your holster. I think that must just happen. Something great comes along and you automatically want to tell the person you have always told. Even if they’ve been gone for over a year. So, I usually pray through the sadness until God restores my peace. And then call Dad and chat his ear off.

What has happened that is so great, you may ask? Roger has started his first American job. That’s right, before you know it I’ll have this guy pledging allegiance to the U.S. of A.

Last week we came home from Kona after a gorgeous Thanksgiving and immediately stopped giving thanks and started asking questions. Should we move? Should Roger apply somewhere we haven’t thought of? Is that even possible? So, unbeknownst to me, the Aussie set aside a morning to pray some serious, down to business prayers. And that very day, he got a call for the best job we could have chosen for him. And we started Thanksgiving all over again. It has been four days and I think my husband is the happiest I have seen him since we moved to Oahu. He bounces out of bed and comes home dog-tired but I have a new found understanding of what work means for the male gender. He is operating on all cylinders now and deliriously happy to be doing it. And trust me, four months, even four years later, he will have the same grin because this guy truly does “do all his work as unto the Lord” and I LOVE it.

So, as the Christmas season traipses along, we are settling into a new routine and I am working to protect my peace. We haven’t landed ourselves solidly in a church community yet as we alternate between our North Shore church and our Kailua church. I have written before about my college friend Todd who preaches up a storm at Kailua Baptist and his wife Natalie. There is something so down right comforting about being around folks who have known you for over ten years . These two have been an encouragement to us. They remind me of college and long conversations over coffee about Jesus and the church, about which plate lunch place made the right color chicken katsu and how to put just the right spin on the ping pong ball.

For the record, that’s the right color.

It was during this time that I memorized the verse Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. I was reminded of this verse again this morning as I listened to my dad’s sermon online (Yep, I’m gettin’ sermons from all over the place!). He challenged us to protect our peace during this season by avoiding robbers of peace and trusting in God’s pardon, protection, and provision.

So, no matter what is going on – happy news, nostalgic moments, stressful days – keep your mind stayed on Him. He WILL come through. He WILL give the victory. He WILL bring encouragement. And He WILL keep us in perfect peace this Christmas.

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Crossfit and Corrections


First, a few minor clarifications to yesterday’s blog: 1) My grandmother LOVES Roger. Especially after he cooked her a lamb dinner.  2) Roger has work. Not his dream job. So keep the connections and suggestions coming our way.

The Aussie and I made a pact when we were engaged that we would exercise together until death did us part. We actually said we would exercise every day but that has quickly spiraled to include things like taking the dog out to pee or sweeping the floor. Although I did finally run my first Dekatriathon in September, we haven’t exactly been disciplined.

So three weeks ago, we went along for a trial class at Crossfit Destination. This class is conducted in Kapiolani Park and gives Crossfit a good name. Noah and Greta are the nicest, fittest, crazy head trainers we know.

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That is Roger and NOT me. That’s one of our trainers, Greta. She’s the female half of the team that kicks our butts three days a week. (Photo compliments of http://www.goteamwolf.com)

Our friends Matt and Zan have been raving about Crossfit for a while now and my Super Runner friend Audrey goes too. The workouts are different every day, the people are encouraging, and the scenery can’t be beat.

We jumped on the band wagon and now we are too sore to jump off.

It Was a Good Day


As promised, an embarrassment of photos. You have my permission to scroll quickly. It’s just another wedding blog. But it was MY wedding. How crazy is that.

Mom’s dress from June thirty-one years ago. Perfect fit.

Last minute choices from a dainty array of heirlooms.

My something blue from Grandmomie Carol…little sapphire earrings.

I won’t devote the rest of my blogs to wedding reminiscing but I will say that I unashamedly reveled in the best day of my life.

We had a wonderful little cottage on the ranch to use for the ready and waiting spot.

One of my favorites with my favorite sisters.

Joining the marrieds.

They were the best bridesmaids I could have asked for. A twin sister, a little sister, a hair-dresser best friend that gave me any sense of style I may have today, a best friend from 1st grade, a pen-pal from middle school that turned into a real life best friend, and a missionary roommate that prayed me through nursing school.

I tried to enjoy every moment but at this point I was close to sprinting down the aisle.

One of my photographers had this fun idea. I think she’s good at what she does, what do you think? http://www.rebeccaarthursblog.com

The boys had some fun getting ready too. Please note the Aussie pose. Without fail.

had no idea how deliriously happy and exhilarated I would feel. It felt like a combination of winning a contest, taking a bow at the end of a Broadway musical, and having a surprise party thrown by all your best friends in your honor.

Papa Paul – the best man. Rog comes from a long line of handsome and good natured.

Sam and the final brother-in-law.

Australian-American Lesson #59: Boutonnieres are put on upside down. Both ways looks pretty good. Also, for the record, Mama Leanne is a former model and is positively stunning.

The Maid of Honor definitely found those yellow ties the day before the wedding. Lindsey saved the day about 500 times in one month. That’s like 16.6 times a day.

Saying yes to this guy was a breeze.

It was perfect. Sunny and misty.

We used one of Mom’s songs for the processional and Sara and Ryan sang some beautiful hymns during communion.

Sister Sara’s daughters were my flowergirls. Sometimes I stare at this photo and wonder how it is possible for kids to be this stinking cute.

Merry Married Mitsudas.

I know I should have expected my wedding to be great but I was surprised by the level of greatness. Seriously. Heaven celebrated with us. I’m not making that up.

Roger’s crates that we feminized. Also, can you believe those flowers? Those are thanks to Maid Of Honor’s Mama Linda.

Photographer Eric captured many of these images including this promise over our celebration. http://www.efrankevisuals.com

Worth. Every. Penny.

And this guy was the one who got me here. Had me, raised me, prayed me through the wait, paid me through the wedding, and remains the best dad I could ask for.

And this is the one I get to spend the rest of my days with. Happily Ever After.

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