Tag Archives: parties

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.


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


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

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


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.


Roger even did some decorating of his own.



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.


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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What are you waiting for?

These are a few of the things that kept me busy this week:

Foam and wood block!

With all the hip blogs out there, I still find the best ideas in Living Magazine. Hard copy baby.

Sister's engagement party!


They're so great.

Last week I kept myself busy with all kinds of crafts and baking and even threw an engagement party for sister. Being a stay-at-home mom without a husband or kids is super easy! But then on Wednesday, I baby-sat my two-year-old niece. Zoe is awesome. She didn’t pitch fits, cry, or get injured. But I still once again stare at my twin sister in hero-worship awe and pray that one day I will be able to brush my teeth and take care of children.

During these un-busy transition seasons in life, I sometimes get cranky waiting to figure out my next step: where do I live, where do I do my next clinical location…but if I didn’t have to wait, when would I listen to God? When would I exercise my faith? It’s in the wait that the process happens. It’s in the wait, that I sit down on the inside and trust my good God.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth and didn’t see the fulfillment in his lifetime. Anna and Simeon waited in the temple of Jerusalem until almost the very end of their lives before they saw the Messiah-child. But they all waited and they all believed because it was going to be EPIC. God still has epic plans in the works and my little life weaves into that somehow. Totally worth waiting for.

If you are waiting for something, maybe something that didn’t happen for you this year, keep your head up. Your life weaves into God’s epic plan too. Stay busy but sit down on the inside and trust our good God.


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The sun rises

I have spent a week in a past life. It’s been a good vacation but I think a true vacation means a city you’ve never lived in where you walk about in anonymity. This week I was staying in my grandmother’s condo on one of the world’s most famous beaches – Daytona. It is a beautiful wide stretch of beach with reefless waters teeming with an array of ocean wonders.

It is also teeming with childhood memories. It is the back drop of my parents’ love story. It is where I learned to swim. It is where I played “Odd or Even” counting pelicans. And this week it is where I missed my mom so much I could hardly stand it. Proudly, I only cried once (I might tell you the scenario later. You’ll cry too.)

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great trip. I had a variety of extended family including six cousins aged 18 and under, my best friend, and my Dad all there at different points through the vacation. We all pulled off a pretty smashing 80th birthday party for Mom’s mom. I can’t quite do that party justice.

Have I told you I love decorating?

I can’t adequately describe the mix of elderly guests not quite sure of where they were, the minister who asked me if I was a drinker, my mom’s high school best friend and her husband regaling my dad with tales of mutual friends and the Lives They Lead, the 95 year-old who was quite deaf and quite the sharpest mind at the party. She could take the NCLEX for me.

Dad and I took long walks down the beach and talked about Mom and life and marriage and love and family and heaven. Lindsey and I read books with chairs positioned perfectly in the shallows every morning. The cousins and I watched pelicans dive bomb and manta jump (they jump!) and dolphins play and even found a bed of sand dollars under our feet. Grandmom and I talked family history. And shopped. And shopped. So I had good times. But first my dad left, and then Lindsey, and finally I was left without ties to my present. I was with family who loved me but I felt alone. I was hearing stories of my grandparents’ past and my parents’ past and these are valuable stories. But I have decided that the past is not as valuable as the future. You can argue me on that, I’ll gladly listen. But I’m right. The past is good to know like a book. You read it, it adds to who you are. You might read it again. But maybe not. The future gives purpose and hope like a living thing.

The times I felt true peace this week is when I got up to watch the sunrise. In case you didn’t know, the sun rises over the ocean over here. Pretty trippy. Like a reverse sunset. I sat and I watched the light sneak up and I thought about newness and purpose and eternity. I thought about the future and I thought about how God is really good to give us sunrises.

I thought about those things again as I flew out of Daytona at 6 a.m. and saw the sunrise from above the clouds. There are times that I lean against the window of the airplane, bravely viewing the countryside and contemplating life. And then we hit a bump and that stops. But it lasted long enough to miss mom in a good and hopeful way. I am on my way home to the new. I can’t wait to set foot on Hawaiian soil again. Well done, God. Well done, Mom and Dad. You have made that place my home and my heart and my future. Look for your sunrises and look to your futures. God is so good to give us both.

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Ready, Set, Relax.

It was a sprint-marathon-long-jump-discus throw to the end but today I finished with my very last day of clinicals. I am all set for a weekend of festivities and two weeks of vacation. If I can get off the couch. But that will happen because the alternative is sitting here looking at a strategically packed mess as the temple next door celebrates Bon season with PokeMon karaoke into the wee hours. I’ll get off the couch.

After Moving Day tomorrow, I get to dress up with little sister as my date and go to a graduation dinner. It’s not a real graduation since there will be no degree conferred until six semesters of graduate work is completed. But we have earned registered nursing licenses, so that deserves a party. On Sunday, we will celebrate Sister Style with all three Barley girls at Kailua Beach Park. If you didn’t get an invitation, it was lost in the mail and you should come anyway. There will be candles and food and other pretty things as we celebrate the grace of God and the love of family and friends bringing me through this year.

But with vacation coming up, I have a very serious decision to make. I need good books in my life. Please advise! What was the last great read you experienced? Please see the guidelines below.

YES List
-Cute children
-Good books
-Current events

NO List
-Nursing text books
-Boring books
-Grief counseling
-Comic books
-Anything by Danielle Steele

All suggestions will be taken into serious consideration.

I am going to get ready to leave the couch now. Let’s have a good weekend.

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Try again tomorrow.

This morning I listened to a man talk about hope when life hurts the most. He called suffering the megaphone of our faith. It was beautiful and I was inspired to live large and courageously. Also to write a beautiful blog entry.

This is not it.

After I was inspired, I cried a lot. And then I needed to reapply all of my make-up and pull together a last minute going-away lunch for a friend. It was a surprise and surprises are really fun but also involve lying and conniving and general brainy deception to make sure 20 friends don’t tell 1 friend the secret. It worked and I was minimally bossy and crabby. Then I went and got a pedicure, courtesy of Roommate Erin’s mom (this was a treat since my budget strategy for the rest of the semester is simply: don’t buy it).  The pedicure worked too. It looks like a party on my toes. Then I worked on a clinical project for three hours but got frustrated and quit and went to a romantic comedy that made me cry a lot which was silly because Mom would not want to be compared to Julianne Moore, especially in the part she played tonight but it made sense to cry at the time. But it was night time so I didn’t have to reapply all of my make-up. I could just go home and get ready for bed.

So, this is not a beautiful and inspired blog entry. This is one of the days that I was not super brave. I’m okay with that for one day. I’m not okay with that for life. So, if you didn’t reapply your make-up today, it’s ok. We can try again tomorrow.



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