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Gulches, goatcheese, and gifts

Without being too melodramatic (just the right amount of melodramatic), I would like to tell you that I had a harrowing experience and I need you to fully appreciate it. Yes, yes, see the last blog post.

I am a cautious person by nature. Okay, I am a fearful person by nature. But, like the sidebar says, this blog is about leading a brave life. God is using the scary things of life to teach me and giving me risks to take to train me. There is a difference between what God uses and what God gives. It’s fairly simple: He uses everything and he gives good things.

Let me use two examples.

Example #1.

This weekend little sister and I drove to Hilo. Originally it was for the purpose of going to see her coach a soccer tournament. This was cancelled due to flooded fields (which you would think happens every other weekend given the location. The rainiest city in the U.S). However, since we had already planned to visit the Farmer’s Market and the mall, we decided to drive the 250 miles anyway. I went to college in Hilo and I felt due for a little blast to the past. There is also a very nice Starbucks in the beautiful ranch town of Waimea at the halfway mark. So, that kind of sealed the deal.

It poured rain the entire day but we loved it. Even the Farmer’s Market downtown was a fun memory lane experience. We bought these for way too cheap.And some stinky Puna goat cheese for way too much. But it’s delicious.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon in the mall eating junk food, shopping, and watching Tower Heist. I recommend it. Junk food and the movie.

And then we got on the road, heading home to the dry side. Now, between Hilo and Hamakua there are three horseshoe turns around some rather high gulches. Somewhere in the frightening neighborhood of 500 feet. I drove around these gulches countless times when I was in college and every time my palms would sweat. It was worse if I was the passenger peering down to the waterfalls below. We were happy to see that the state has begun installing mesh over the rock faces due to years of rockslides and boulder damage. Check it out here.

On Saturday we cleared all three gulches when all of the sudden, coming out of the last turn, our truck started to fishtail. This startled me. And then the truck slid completely sideways into oncoming traffic. This scared me. And then the truck turned around and slid towards the gulch drop off. This terrified me. We hit the rock wall once and bounced back and then hit the one section of wall that was already gone. In its place was a temporary barrier filled with water. That thing busted open, spilling water everywhere. And then we stopped, without going over the edge. We were done screaming by that time and hyperventilated some prayers out as we crept up the road and over onto a shoulder. The police came, the report was filed, and we were able to drive the mashed up truck to Waimea going approximately 30 miles per hour with every muscle in our bodies tensed for action. Megan’s boyfriend-worship-leader-barista (baristo?)-hero met us in Waimea and drove the rest of the way home.

And that is something scary that God USES. Because now I am not scared of the gulches anymore. Because I will never drive around them again.

Example #2.

I don’t know where I am going to live in January. But I have to move back to Oahu for a class. Home is comfortable. Home is easy. Home is great. But I gotta go. I’m making plans and I have no job and I have no apartment. Just a storage unit full of stuff and a registered nursing license. And a God that has good gifts for me if I just keep moving along.

And that is an example of a challenge God GIVES. Because I am not afraid of being homeless or jobless.

So, take stock of the scary things in your life today. Any harrowing experiences you need us to fully appreciate? God will use it. Any challenge you are avoiding? God may be giving it.

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So long Summer(reading).

Today I moved back to Kona. Finally. I’ve been packed and stored and in between places for long enough. I’m here and ready to settle in for some serious work, research, and who-knows-what-else. Although I have begun to hit the textbooks again, I have not quite relinquished my summer reading. During my two week vacation I read:

– The Confession: John Grisham’s newest. It’s quick, it’s suspenseful, it’s Grisham.

Circus Shoes: This is a children’s book by Noel Streatfeild written when children’s books were GOOD. And I have an original copy that looks nothing like the creepy cover on Amazon.

A Million Little Pieces: The semi-fictional book by James Frey or what I affectionately called my “F-word Book”. I tried to skim them but it was impossible.

Our Hearts were Young and Gay: written by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough in a time when the last word in the title didn’t make you raise an eyebrow at the fact that two women wrote the book together. It’s about a tour of Europe that two young friends take. One of the characters can’t find her way out of a paper bag and thinks the ship is sinking with every loud noise. So of course that character cracked me up. Because I crack me up. This has hit my top ten book list and I wanted to tell Mom about it so bad that I asked God to find her a copy.

– The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This is my current read. I don’t typically buy trendy books, especially if they have been made into movies. And extra-especially if Oprah has her O anywhere near the front cover. But, when I was in Daytona, best-friend Lindsey and I went to see The Help with my grandmom. It was a great film but my favorite part was the loud commentary from the 80-year-old woman who had help when she lived in Florida in the 1950s. That’s right, I got to interview my own white grandmother on her own black help once we left the theater. The film also inspired me to go ahead and grab the next glossy copy of the book that I saw and I have been immersed ever since. My favorite part of the movie is the fact that one of the black maids repeats to her boss’ chubby little white toddler: You is kind, you is smart, you is important. And the cutie says it right back in her Mississippi drawl. I have taken to repeating this to my dog Jasper. He is chubby too. And he needs affirmation.

Next on the list: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse, and The Huge Intimidating Book I Need to Finish in Order to Pass the Nursing Exam. I am setting up study camp in our garage apartment because for some reason I study better if I walk out the front door and go anywhere. If I crank down the air conditioner and brew a pot of strong coffee, it’s like Starbucks without the weird music.

I talked with another medical professional today about the upcoming semester, possible clinical rotations, future employment, and finances. And it was enough to make me want to go work on my tan again. What is making you want to run to the beach or hide under the covers in the air conditioner? Anything Big and Scary waiting for you this week? Or just boring and stressful?  We CAN do it! Because God is big and good. And also because…you is kind…you is smart…you is important. Jasper believes it so you should too.

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I’m in the homestretch. Thank you for every form of encouragement that has come my way in the past two days. I must have worried a few people with my last post. I’m doing okay, folks…make-up intact, hopes high, and in the homestretch of this academic adventure of a year.

It doesn’t seem like long ago that I got a voicemail calmly congratulating me on being accepted into the University of Hawaii’s Masters Entry Program into Nursing. I very uncalmly called my mom to tell her I knew exactly what God wanted me to do for the next three years and I couldn’t say it without crying. Of course. I had to walk back into a Biology lab all happy and snotty.

And today I had my last lecture with my great little cohort of future Advance Nurses and current world-changers.

These 28 people are pretty amazing

In three weeks we will all go our separate graduate class ways. My way will lead me back to Kona for six months.


What is it about this tropical little town of Kailua-Kona that calls for periods in the wrong places in my sentences? Well, let me share.

Photo by Eric Franke. Check out more Kona shots and other amazing work at his website. http://www.efrankevisuals.com

The Top Ten Reasons I.Can’t.Wait. for Kona

1. To share a room with my sister again…complete with sundeck, garden, and room AC. Yes.

2. To do all of the things my four-year-old niece lists on the voicemails she leaves me…”when you come back from Wahoo, we can color and play and eat candy and bake cookies and watch movies and go to the park and eat hot dogs and pizza”…basically we will eat.

3. To go on twin dates (with my twin. Not dates that are exactly alike)

4. To stop downloading sermons and hear Dad for real.

5. To see faces I’ve known for more than half my life. Including the bank tellers that hug me, the grocery store clerks that ask about the church barbeque, and the one lady at Costco who always remembers my name.

6. To go to the drive-through Starbucks.

7. To have a porky little terrier named Jasper follow me everywhere.

8. To come home from church and fill up the couches with people, put on a DVD, and do a crossword puzzle.

9. To go to the Kona Brew Pub (best beer and ranch dressing you’ll ever find) , Jackie Rey’s (I seriously feel like an important person there), Peaberry and Galette (click gallery, featured artists, scroll almost to the bottom. But the crepes are also good), and  Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.(all those good looking people in the ads are my friends and family. No really. Go look.)

10. To work and play in the place my family calls home. Together.

You can come home to Kona too, if you want. I will share Living Stones Church with you and the drive-through Starbucks, maybe even park days with my nieces. But the porky terrier probably won’t follow you. Sorry.

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