The Magic of Aloha – My Hawaii

Windward side of Oahu

I have spoken so much of Hawaii over the years, that I felt it was time to dedicate a post to one of my favorite places on earth.

I heard it said once that Hawaii will take your heart and never let it go. Oh, how true that is!  If you can fall in love with a place, then I would have to admit that I fell in love with Hawaii.

Windward side of Oahu

Windward side of Oahu

I was fortunate enough to have lived in this enchanting place for 2 1/2 years. Seldom a day went by that I didn’t pause to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of these islands. As I would drive along the Windward coast, there were moments I just had to stop and take in the awe-inspiring views from the Pali lookout or dip my toes into the warmth of the gentle waters on Kailua Beach.

The Pali Lookout

The Pali Lookout

Almost every time I rounded the bend into Kaneohe, tingles would course through my spine as I looked at the vista of a stunning clear ocean, graceful mountains and glorious sky spread out before me.

Lanikai beach

Lanikai beach

But it is not just the captivating scenery that surrounds you, for there are many beautiful places on this earth. It is the magic of Aloha that envelopes you.  It radiates from the smiles of the Hawaiian people, from the gentle dance of the hula, the power of an ocean wave, the wind washing down the Koolau mountains, a rainbow after a passing rainstorm, a shower of flowers as the breeze shakes the branches of the plumeria tree, and the “mana” of the ancient gods felt in the powerful chants.  It’s almost as if the islands are imbued with a spirit that whispers to you.  Standing on the Pali, Aloha is carried in the very breath of the wind.

Children of Hawaii

Children of Hawaii

But to explain Hawaii in words is useless. It must be felt to be understood.  One must feel the cool ocean breeze on a hot day, smell the sweet scent of the leis, be wrapped in the healing waters of an aqua-colored ocean, and feel the aloha of laughter and beauty. It can be explained in no other way.

Oahu sunrise

I end my post with a video of Hawaii.  It contains my favorite Hawaiian song “These Islands” by Danny Couch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GeUH787WMk  Listening to this song still gives me chills.  There is tenderness, love, and magic in the lyrics and the music.

Sunset on the North Shore

Sunset on the North Shore

And that is the real meaning of the word Aloha…love.  I can think of no better term to describe Hawaii than as being wrapped in the very spirit of love.

Aloha oe my Hawaii and until we meet again…

The Strength to Change

I believe I hold the Guinness Book of World Records for the most moves in 25 years. (Ok, just a little sarcastic humor for you, I don’t really hold the record…I think.) What I am saying is that if anyone knows about change, it is me.

As we begin another New Year, most of us start contemplating our lives and we begin to take stock of our current situations.  Our we where we want to be in our lives?  Have we accomplished everything on our “bucket lists”?  I imagine that most of us will answer “No.”  Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are all about?  We dig deep into our lives and unearth what is wrong and set about what it will take to make it better.

Yet to make things better, we need to incorporate change in our lives…and let’s be honest, change can be scary.  No matter how badly we want something, the steps that we need to take to get there can be daunting to say the least. It takes courage, faith, a sense of adventure and yes, a great deal of strength to change.  Whether you are changing your place of residence, your relationship, job, or simply changing something about yourself you don’t like, it takes a strong person to change.  It takes strength because it is uncomfortable at best, painful at worst.

A friend of mine wrote the following beautiful description on her blog, speaking about a current situation she is going through:

“Surrounded by a growing city of stacked cardboard boxes, I’m pretzeled on the sofa, staring out the window, watching it pour. I had to do this, start building this city of boxes. I cry my heart out to the storm-wet streets and weeping trees, not because I wanted to find someone else, but because I needed to find myself.  And maybe that sounds more like selfishness than salvation.  But the streets and trees, bearing witness to my many a tearful walk, know better.”

http://thewordpirate.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/rain/

bird in the rain

One of the most painful changes we can make is ending an unhealthy relationship. I would know as I’ve been there.  It took the death of my mother to open my eyes to my own life.  Just days after her death, I pondered my relationship and how unhappy I was. I realized that I didn’t have that many years left to live and I thought “Am I going to spend the rest of my life being miserable?”

I had grown comfortable in my misery.  It was easier for me to accept the status quo than face the unknown of being alone.  I wasn’t sure if I could muster the strength to take a leap into the darkness, because I knew I would face loneliness and pain…and cause pain.  Was I being selfish?  Or was it more selfish to stay together and continue to make each other unhappy?

As I pondered these questions in the darkness of the night, I fell to my knees and poured out my heart to the heavens.  And somewhere in the darkness, I found my strength…and I moved forward with my life.

Please understand that I’m not advocating divorce.  I think marriage is one of the most beautiful gifts that any man or woman can experience.  I believe that real love exists…I know it does.  I believe that sharing your life with someone who truly loves you can be a little bit of heaven on earth.  And I still hope for that kind of relationship for my own life.

But oh…if I could shine a light on anything, it would be this: sometimes you have to sink to the depths of sorrow to rise to the heights of joy!  The sweetness of learning to love yourself again, of finding laughter free from all pain, and above all, finding love that builds you up instead of tearing you down…all this waits for those who take the step into the unknown and find the faith to change.  And maybe that step into the darkness will ultimately be a step into the light.  You won’t know until you try.

Don’t be afraid.  You won’t do it alone.  Here…take my hand.  We’ll take that step together into the light…

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Unity and Good Amidst Evil – Je Suis Charlie

I am not a political writer and I seldom ever discuss world issues, because I do not feel myself educated enough to take on these problems. But I am a writer. The terrorist attack on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo was an attack on the freedom of speech.

As I watch the headlines pour out from Paris and around the world regarding the Charlie Hebdo attack, my heart is torn between aching for the atrocity of murder and pride at watching how the world is reacting to terror.

France Newspaper Attack

I watch the people of Paris gather in the Place de la Republique and I feel a strange sense of unity with those holding up their Je Suis Charlie signs and pens. I am reminded of a day…September 11, 2001.  I will never forget as I stood in the kitchen getting ready to run to my bus at 6:20 am, watching the second plane fly into one of the Twin Towers and hearing the newscaster stumble and say in awe “I think we are under attack.”

But more than this, I will never forget how it felt the following day when the people of Seattle poured out onto the streets at 12 pm and were united by holding hands as we shared a moment of silence.  I linked hands with total strangers who were linking hands with thousands of other total strangers in a moment of pure love and unity.  It was a silent demonstration of resistance to evil.  I have seldom felt more pride in my country than I did on that day when we all banded together and told the terrorists “We are not afraid and you will not win!”

Unfortunately, over the years, the terrorists of varying countries have had their small successes, but when I see 10,000 people pour into the streets and hold up their pens, I know that there is still more good in this world than evil. It is horrible to think of those who lost their lives, those who were injured and their loved ones.  I send up my prayer for them with millions of others around the world.

Yet, what happened today is creating a ripple effect around the world.  I see the world uniting for freedom and good and I can’t help but feel myself joining in the fight against evil with them.  We’ve had enough!!  We are all metaphorically holding up our pens and linking our hands. We fight with silent united strength, with penned words, with art, with voices raised and if necessary, with physical means. But we fight!  So here I am, metaphorically holding up my pen and standing with the world against evil.  I might just be one voice in my small corner of the world, but one voice united with billions of others becomes a roar that will not be silenced.

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” ~Dylan Thomas~

Je Suis Charlie

 

The Peace of a Quiet Christmas

The spicy aroma of Christmas cookies baking, feathery snowflakes falling outside in the gathering twilight, candles are burning next to me and quiet Christmas music is playing.  To me, this is perfection in winter.  I love all the seasons of the year for their different reasons, but there is something so wonderful about the quietness of winter.

Though there are often more parties, events and errands to attend to at Christmas than at any other time of the year, the peace of winter lies all around us.  Animals curl up and sleep away the cold months, the songbirds grow quiet, all of nature hushes as the silent snow covers.  It is a reminder to grow still…to listen to silence.

cozy christmas

One of my favorite winter memories was while walking alone on a quiet, snowy night. The only sounds were the little puffs of dry snow my feet made as I walked…pouf, pouf, pouf.  Even the wind barely stirred the soft snowflakes as they landed gently on my cold cheeks.

quiet-winter-night-winter-wallpapers

I paused for a moment and looked around me.  No one else was out on that cold night.  No animal nor human stirred.  I reflected on the calm and the peace and quiet of it all.  It was beautiful and sacred. I whispered “Silent night, holy night, all is calm…” and felt the magic of the Christmas spirit wash over me.  I felt cleansed, refreshed and full of a warm and peaceful love.  I swear I could hear the hushed echoes of angel voices join me in the “well-known refrain.”

Yes, listen to the silence. For it is often in the silence when the sweetest moments of life come.  When peace pervades our being as we hear a faint song from the heavens reminding of us our real home.

Merry Christmas my dear friends!  Peace to one and all!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men…”

YosemiteWinterNightPacholka950

First Book Published!!! Hope- A Collection of Prose and Poetry

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, here it is…MY FIRST BOOK!! Yes, it’s just a compilation of poetry and essays, but still…feeling proud to hold my first book in my hands. Here is the link to purchase for the U.S.A.

 

Here is the link to Amazon UK:

And I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on a radio show about the new book, so if you want to listen, here is the link to that.  My part starts at 39:15.

Best to you all dear friends!

Feeling a bit down? Listen to interview with Mike Alvarez, Rugby expert:http://rugbynation.com/ share his passion & Melissa Coppins, share about her new book, Hope: http://radiorecast.com/…/2014%2012-02%20Interview%20Mike%20… Talk about a perspective changer.