Tag Archives: Australia

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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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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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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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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Register…as what?


When Roger and I became engaged, we were very happy. I think we were happy for the same basic reasons: we had found the spouse of our dreams. We were going to start a life together. We were going to live together. Things like that. But I believe we also had some secondary reasons for bliss that were unique to each of us. I think Roger’s secondary reasons included visions of me in fishing waders reeling in a catch just like he taught me.

Glorious.

Or other similar camping scenarios. I’m cool with that. But the fourth or fifth thought that I had after engagement was, “We get to REGISTER.”

Now, I am not an extremely materialistic person and, believe it or not, I’m not a shopaholic either. I freeze up with too many choices (remember? Click here.) But for the past two years I have had a growing urge to set up house. I have set up a couple apartments but have always resisted making them TOO homey because I didn’t want to collect too much stuff. As it is, I have a storage unit half full of stuff that I found at garage sales and on the side of the road. Hey, they still work with a coat of paint. I used to tell my friends that I was going to register for grown-up household goods for my 30th birthday. I’m not sure if I was joking so I am SO glad I don’t have to follow through with that. Roger’s response to the whole registry business was classic.

“We have to register? As what?”

After explaining that we did not have to go on an American Master List of Engaged Couples, I asked if the registry was a thing in Australia. Apparently it is. And that is when I realized that there will be things that I assume “aren’t Australian traditions” when in actuality, it’s just not a Roger tradition. It will be fun through the years to see how this unfolds. This reminds me of the famous Entree Conversation.

Entree

Roger: Girl that I’ve only dated a week and want to impress, Brent wants to have us over to eat some fish he caught.
Erin: Okay, man that I am so nervous around that I can’t quite look in the face yet, is there enough fish for four?
Roger: Well, we can eat the fish as an entree and something else for the main dish.
Erin: Now I can look you in the face because you said something very silly. Entrees ARE main dishes.
Roger: No, girl that I am still trying to impress, you are being silly. “Entree” means “to enter”, it is the starter.
Erin: In my family, we settle this kind of thing with a dictionary.
Roger: Yikes.
Erin: “Entree: Definition #1 Main course to a meal.” Something smug.
Roger: Ok, is there a definition #2?
Erin: Oh. Yes. “In a fancy meal, entree is an appetizer or starter.”
Roger: (Smiles devastatingly handsome smirk)
Erin: But it was definition number TWO.
Roger: Yes, in the American Heritage Dictionary.
(Dispute settled.)

Now that we have been engaged for three weeks, we are older and wiser and don’t have knowy-pants disputes like that anymore. No, really.

So last night we walked the aisles of Target with a Powerful Ray Gun.  And Roger decided he does like registering. He only had a few brief Boy Moments in which he used outer-space voices and aimed the gun at several unpurchasable humans but I chalked that up to male nerves and reassured myself with the fact that at least he wasn’t running in circles bonking his head and yelling like younger versions of his gender do when confronted with something completely new and slightly overwhelming. Like linens. Plus, he’s fun and I started the Ray Gun game anyway.

We are having a small wedding in Waimea. The registry is not the most important thing. The important thing is that I am marrying the best human I have ever met and if he knew everything about dinner settings and thread counts, I would be worried. Thank you Jesus for a man with patience and an excellent sense of humor. He’ll need it with a knowy-pants like me.

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Jess is my Hero


Today, I was given the honor of being in the room during one of my dearest friends’ home birth. This is baby number 3 for this champion mother and amazing dad. They hold a special place in my heart. Jess and I have been friends since we were 13 and a number of years ago she married an Australian man named Dave. Their romance was rather quick and they have created a beautiful marriage since then. I have often asked Jess for advice and for encouragement while I waited for my own story to unfold. About two weeks before I met Roger, Jess texted me and told me she was praying for me. She told me my story was going to happen and that it would be beautiful.

So today I watched this team bring a new life into the world. They showed me a pretty amazing reflection of Christ and his church as they loved one another and encouraged one another. Jess had a peace that radiated through the room and I know that Dave and was a big reason for that. This is what marriage was made for: to shout the love of God. His goodness was so evident in that room. And we all celebrated over a wonderful healthy little boy.

Once again, I am thanking God for my unfolding story. I am part of something bigger than myself as I look around at the community I live in, the family I love, and the man I get to marry. To God be all the glory.

I think I am going to explode with happiness. Time for a run.

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To Make a Short Story Long


I think of myself as an average 29-year-old who has waited a little longer than average to meet the man of her dreams and fall in love. But nothing makes one feel quite so fascinating as when blog-reading friends make multiple requests for a blog-posting. I’m pretty much the most interesting girl in the world. If you were just being polite, thanks anyway and too bad because here’s the story. You asked for it.

It’s really quite short. But I will make it long. The one sentence version is at the very end so skim if you are in a hurry.

Roger Moves to Kona: Roger is an Aussie. He moved to Kona in November to work with Water For Life and to meet me. But he only knew the first part when he packed his bags.

 Roger Meets Me: Our mutual and wonderful friend, Dr. Andrew West, had talked to both of us about our respective cool factors and was fairly convinced that we were a perfect match. Even though I was unavailable and Roger was Australian. No offense, Continent, I just always figured I would marry intra-America. So we met and that was all. “See you around hot Pastor’s daughter.” “Catch ya later hot guy that Andrew works with.” Except we didn’t say that out loud.

Dr. Andrew West of Discovery Channel and Living Stones Church fame.

Roger Finally Uses the Phone Number He Asked for Awkwardly: Roger was in possession of my Facebook friendship, my e-mail address, and my telephone number for two weeks before asking me to lunch, which I will admit, I was not used to. For reasons that became obvious later, God had told him to wait. And I had told myself a lot of creative reasons for the two week silence. But I’ll keep those a secret. The important part is, we did have our magical Hayashi’s lunch date on January 21st.

Highly recommended.

Roger Sweeps Me off My Feet: It only took a few days before we were quite literally crazy about one another. I kept trying to figure out when the weird nervous feelings would go away. My family smiled smug smiles. Still are actually. We talked about life and goals and values and all of those important things. But over-arching all of the commonalities and attractive qualities, was the general sense of “Finally, it’s you.” Mom always told me it would feel like coming home. Yep.

Adventuring

Roger Proposes: Six weeks after we began dating, Roger took me to Baptism Bay where we had spent our first afternoon together. He had several sneaky stories for why we needed to go there and, sorry Rog, I did not buy a single one. But it was a valiant effort and I pretended beautifully. Until I saw the table with flowers and dinner set out in a garden by the beach. And then I began to cry un-beautifully until he asked me to stop so that he could propose. I did and he asked and I said yes. And then began snotty crying again. After a tearful and fun dinner, we headed home where Sara and Megan had arranged a surprise engagement party with forty or so people. The perfect night.

Absolutely.

Roger Remains Awesome: We have been engaged for almost three weeks and, after hyperventilating for 72-ish hours, I can now say that I am settling into the life of a full-time fiancee. Roger encourages me in every way – school, wedding, life.

A Word on Wedding Planning to Close:I started out the wedding process wondering what the big deal was. We are having a small wedding in Waimea. We already have a venue, a guest list, my dress, a photographer, and a caterer. All well within a budget.

But, then I skimmed some wedding blogs.

I DO NOT know how people remain engaged for longer than six months. And no, not just because of The Body Boundaries One Does Not Cross. Because of the Wedding Blogs. They are herniating, terrifying, inspiring, and nauseating all at the same time. If you are a Wedding Blogger, please, for the sake of every bride including yourself, STOP. I am going back to pre-Pinterest days when one did not know how every married female in the whole world decorated her tables. I hereby ban the blogs. So that I have time to brush my teeth.

Thank goodness it will only last three months. That’s right, the wedding is in June. Some of you are sighing in romance and others of you are shaking your head and telling me to slow the heck down. And the rest of you are skimming to get to the end. The important thing to me is that I get married to the man God has given me and that I am the wife I am meant to be for him.

The wedding is one day – one awesome party with friends and family to celebrate answered prayers and the start of something incredible. We want to show, share, and love Jesus better because we are married. And that will fill up a whole lot more days of bravely doing married life. So stay tuned.

(As promised, the one sentence version: Roger came to my church and asked me to lunch and we fell in love so he proposed six weeks later and we are getting maaaaaarried.)

Check out the next post for more engagement photos...by the talented Eric Franke.

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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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