Tag Archives: love

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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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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Hello From a Brave New World


And I’m back. In an abundance of words, thoughts, and happenings, I froze. But the blogging hiatus is over.

The Perfect Day (the next blog will have an embarrassing amount of photos so get ready.)

After a storybook wedding, a honeymoon in paradise, and three months of Mr. and Mrs., I am now writing to you from the tropical land of Married People. It’s a pretty great place to live but here’s the thing, I kept waiting for the Super House Wife phase to set in so that I could make my blog look really good. You know the kind: Polaroids of aprons and cookies. Homemade decorations. Lunches packed in eco-friendly ways as my husband traipses off to his perfect job. I could even change the name of the blog. Something like “EbdoesPerfect”. But it’s been three months now and I’ve made one batch of failed cookies, my decorations are barely out of storage, and we are still waiting on Roger’s Green Card so he usually packs my lunches for school.  We are hilariously happy and stupid in love but, I have had the epiphany that most of you Married People have all had: Marriage is the ultimate test of bravery. Yes, it is.

I started this blog as a way to stay brave as described here. I am naturally fearful but I don’t like being afraid. God has led me through some scary times including quitting a good job, starting a career I never knew I wanted, taking care of my mom for a five year fight against a truly terrible cancer, figuring out how to live without her, and watching friends marry off and reproduce as I tried to hold it together. All of these things took a brand of courage one only gets supernaturally and, although I have a fantastic family and incredible friends that were in it with me, I was still alone. Now, I am finding that joining my life to another human being is wonderful, comforting, exciting, and essentially, pretty terrifying. No, really. He would agree. It’s straight up scary.

Here is the scary truth: we moved to Oahu with no jobs, one car that’s been giving Herby-esque farewell hints, and definitely no idea where we were going to live. For two weeks we established home-base in a friend’s guest bedroom where I would be alternately reading every single post on Craigslist or breathing into a paper bag as landlord after landlord asked us pesky questions like “How will you pay rent?” Details. It was in these hyperventilated moments that my husband came through, because he is a champ, and prayed me back into shape. We were in it together. I had the responsibility of encouraging him and respecting his decisions and he had the responsibility of lovingly scraping me off the floor every time I melted down. All I wanted was to pack him a lunch but we didn’t have a kitchen and he didn’t have anywhere to go. So I had to be a different kind of awesome. A brave kind of awesome.

Today, we live in a delightful house on a Kaneohe hillside with super neighbors and a landlord that loves to give Roger construction projects. The place is so cute these days that I may have to take some polaroids soon and show you. Our car has even been starting regularly and Roger has some job leads that look very promising. As for me, school continues to truck along and I am in a pediatric clinical rotation that I love. So, the scary truths aren’t SO scary. I still have the brave responsibility of encouraging and trusting Roger with my well-being and he has the courageous duty of loving me through my fear and pulling me back into orbit when I start to whirl away.

We are figuring it out a day at a time and almost every morning I wake up and realize that there is a human being who will always be there. ALWAYS. This is both weird and wonderful.

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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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K-Town


This week I began my rural rotation with the SEARCH scholarship program. This is a short-term experience offered (AND funded) by the Health Resources and Services Administration to give health care students the opportunity to decide if they want to work in rural health. Before I received my National Health Corps scholarship, I never knew so much about government health departments. Now I feel like they are a rich great-uncle I never knew I had. It’s almost enough to make me a Democrat. Whoa. Sit down, I said almost.

It’s Day 2 of the program and if I didn’t already want to work rural, I do now. I am living in an apartment in North Carolina with some other students and driving 45 minutes out to “K-town” (I don’t think privacy policies apply to entire towns but it feels better. Besides, it reminds me of British books where the characters lived in D-shire and traveled to B-ham). K-town is a small farming town that boasts a pretty river, a rich history, and an all-out fantastic community health center. The population is a poor one and the patients seen in this clinic often cannot pay, have limited transportation, and face multiple health risks.

Community Health Centers like the one in K-town accept patients with Medicare/Medicaid and also offer a sliding fee scale to match the patient’s income. But if the patient still can’t pay? They are still seen and treated. The facility itself has been recently renovated and offers family, pediatric, and OB-GYN services as well as dental and behavioral health services. This means that a lot of referrals are done in-house and consults are as easy as a knock on your neighbor’s door. I had the privilege of shadowing a very talented Certified Nurse Midwife as she examined patients from all sorts of backgrounds…and all very different from the Hawaii demographic. In some ways rural is rural. In other ways, they are worlds apart.

I left one side…

And a mere 17 hours later, I arrived on the other.

I’m enjoying the combination of a visit back to my southern roots and a taste of future practice. Before I left, my thoughts were fairly wedding centric. The day I flew out, we had a  wonderful Friday of Father-Daughter trousseau shopping (yes, Daddy Bill knows what a trousseau is and yes, he let Megan and I go into certain shops alone. But he was very helpful at the decent stores). And after a full day of flying, it was great fun to be with Lindsey and Whitney for a night discussing all things bridal. But the work I am doing now is turning my eyes to the future. Roger and I are excited to start life together and then find out where we will invest two years of that life! There is one rural community out there that God has our names on…and we can’t wait.

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Very Engaging


We had our engagement photos taken in Waimea by our friend Eric Franke. He is very clever and talented and this is is website. I am extremely self-conscious in front of the camera and so these are a few in which I look the least awkward. Mostly because my face is not showing in a lot of them. Roger, on the other hand, looked fantastic in every single one.

We had a great time taking these.



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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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Speechless


I haven’t been able to find a really good way to say this.

I have met a man that I want to spend every day with. Good thing he seems to want that too.

I can’t explain it. The timing has amazed some, stunned others, confused all. Definitely me. In a super fun way.

I don’t deserve the favor that the Lord is showing me. I wasn’t patient or good or “satisfied in singleness so God can bring someone” like the perfect married authors seem to insist upon.

God just busted out his big gracious love.

I can’t wait to see where this adventure goes. It’s scary, like most things are to me. But I’ve gotten braver lately and there’s a crazy peace that’s following me around. So I think everything will be all right.

Ok, so I guess I’m not ever totally speechless.

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