Tag Archives: vacation

Modern Living

This week was Sister Trip week. In honor of Megan’s upcoming wedding and 25th birthday, the three of us (plus Baby Sawyer) spent 72 hours in Honolulu. We shopped, we ate out, and best of all – we stayed in a hotel that beats the pants off any other I’ve stayed in on Oahu. Bear in mind, I do not stay in five-star-500-a-night places. So, The Modern¬†beats the pants off of any other relatively affordable places on Oahu. This place had a 1960’s vibe with a Coastal Living twist. The staff was attentive, the pool and garden terrace were unreal pretty, and the rooms were super chic. It is located on Ala Moana Blvd within walking distance of the mall and overlooks the marina. But when you are inside and at the pool area, you feel like you could be anywhere. Like in a James Bond film for example.

We have all inherited Mom’s delight in hotels and fun places. She would have LOVED The Modern. She also would have loved picking out Megan’s wedding dress with us. Guess what? We didn’t cry a single time on Sister Trip so you better not start now either. We had a blast as Megan tried on stunning gowns and the staff all raved over her as the perfect wedding dress model. Good sales tactic perhaps but we all agreed it worked. Dad purchased the dress for her long-distance and she now owns the Most Beautiful Wedding Dress Ever. Sorry everybody else.

We found the dress on the first day before dinner. So the rest of the trip was spent leisurely shopping and vacationing and pretending to be the Vacationing Mainland Sisters everyone thought we were (“You’re from Kona?! You don’t look like you’re from Kona.” Umm, thank you? Or no thank you? I’m confused). Brother Sam came by the hotel between his crazy class schedule and work hours for Megan’s birthday breakfast and it was great to have all the siblings in one place. Even Sawyer got the staycation memo and was the most chilled out six-month-old you have ever toted along for wedding dress shopping.

We got home yesterday, on Megan’s birthday. Her fiance had created a sushi extravaganza that rivals Hayashi You Make the Roll magic and Roger helped with Mochi icecream and Mojito making. Sister Trip resulted in some Husband Ryan, Fiance Shaun, and Boyfriend Roger time. Turns out they make pretty good brothers.

So, now I am home and grateful for my sisters who love some finer things in life, my mom who showed us how to love those things but not serve those things, Dad who is generous and wise, and the newly forming brotherhood of Other Halves.

And it’s back to Pharmacology and Health Assessment presentations…I miss The Modern.



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The Barley Family Does Christmas.

It was epic, it was quick, and it was messy. But we did it.

First, we all played a part in hosting 1,500 people at the Living Stones Christmas Eve service. Some of us played big parts and some small parts. Ryan just did all the music and worship and Dad just preached a rocking sermon. The rest of us had big jobs but I’ve forgotten what they were.

Next, we ate a lot of delicious food on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t stop cooking all week.

Then, on Christmas morning Dad, Megan, Sam and I drove to sister Sara and family’s house and did the fastest Christmas morning you’ve ever seen. It was a flurry of wrapping paper, “thanks, I love it so much”s, toys, treasures, and “Get in the car!”s. We were out the door and heading for the airport, Home Alone style, by 9:00 am. Kauai bound! Dad had planned the whole thing and even got us great rolly carry-on bags for Christmas. Yes, I do feel very cool rolling it. It’s silver and awesome.

And we didn't forget a single person.

Flying with the nieces was perfect. No time to worry about turbulence.

We spent an unforgettable four days on Kauai going to beaches, relaxing at a blessed and beautiful vacation house, playing games and enjoying the family. I have also discovered why all outdoor movies seem to be filmed there.

I could live here.

Or here.

Candlelit dinners on the lanai were my favorite.

Waimea canyon was a once-in-lifetime experience. So I’ve had my one time and I won’t be driving that car sick wonderland route again. It’s breath taking, so go at least once. And if you enjoy puke-inducing mountain roads, drive it again and again.

We were the two happiest people to be done driving.

Barley men

Well, the parents might have been happy the drive was over too.

We also went bike riding for the first time since 1993 and got a kick out of ourselves. We certainly rode in the same order as before: Stand-up Pedal Adventuress Sara blazed the way, I Can Too! Megan followed close behind, and Wait, I Can’t Make Right Turns on This Thing Erin brought up the rear.

But we ALL looked cool.

Even this kid.

It was a successful Christmas. We missed Mom. We celebrated Jesus. We had fun. Well done, family.

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I’m not quite done being Thankful.

I may be a little behind but I can still be thankful.

After all…I have a lot to be grateful for.

All week I was grateful for a wonderful wintry Waimea get-away with the Evans family.

I am grateful for sisters and cozy nights.

I'm grateful for twin sisters that look good in stripes and fireplaces. Both very cheery.

I'm grateful for all of these people. And fireplaces still.

I'm grateful for best friends near and far.

I'm grateful for a whole lot of eating. And a great kitchen.

I'm grateful for these amazing kids and their talented parents.

I'm grateful for sunny days and long walks.

I'm grateful for brother and nephew and naps.

I'm grateful for our expanding family - an engaged sister!

And I'm grateful for a Dad that still loves to take us exploring "around the next bend".

As we leave Thanksgiving and barrel toward Christmas, I am grateful for every single person who has made the last five months bearable…even happy when possible. If you are reading this, thank YOU.

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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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Vacation from my Problems

Every family seems to have their quotable movies. My family has an inordinate amount of quotes floating around in our interactions. So much so that at times you may need some kind of decoder ring to follow along. The art to quotes is weaving it into conversation in an appropriately subtle way. I don’t do subtle but little sister is really good at this and cracks me up all the time. Some family standards: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Man Who Knew too Little, Princess Bride, Goonies, You’ve Got Mail, Miss Congeniality, and What About Bob. Bill Murray has provided a lot of quotable fodder for conversation. Lately, I’ve been thinking about taking a “vacation from my PROOOOOblems” just like Bob.

When I have a mainland trip approaching, I save up decisions and things I need to pray about. I always think of the plane flight as a forced 10 to 12 hours to be alone and think through life.  I will arrive in the motherland with issues resolved and decisions made and ready to relax. What really happens is right around the point in the flight where the plane starts taxiing down the tarmac, I remember how nervous turbulence makes me and I watch four movies in a row to forget that I am 30,000 feet in the air. So, this time I am being realistic. I will solve all of my problems by the pool and on the beach in Daytona.

Really, I do like getting away during transitional times like these. It’s like getting a bird’s eye view on my life. I can look around and see where God wants me to invest my time and what I am going to do differently when I get home. It doesn’t solve my problems. It just makes them not so problematic. I get a strategy going. I give myself a pep-talk. I say things like “You ARE going to pass that NCLEX exam without vomiting. You ARE going to pay your loans off with a great Nurse Practitioner job and it will be before you are 72. Maybe even 42. You ARE going to run that half-marathon. But you might vomit. You ARE going to make good choices. You ARE going to raise a family like your mama did. Now, turn over and tan that tummy, stat!” It’s a great way to vacation from my problems.

So, if you need to get away, face your fears, or just get some perspective, do it! Even if you have to tie yourself to the mast of the boat like Bob did, it will be worth it. God will meet you there with pep talks and encouragement that you CAN do life and you can do it bravely. “You’re sailing!!!”

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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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