Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Forest of Banyans

Our oldest is now 18. She is passionate about her family, her friends and her faith. In coming to Hawaii, we entered into a new phase of life, the next season, so to speak. She is not a little girl anymore. Having graduated from high school a year early, she was ready to put some feet on her faith and find out what she should be doing with her life. When we first arrived, she was lonely, but God provided friends and she wanted to get to know them. It was scarey to send her out into a world we knew nothing about but we knew that she needed to know we trusted her. We have never set curfews. We only reminded her to wisely choose when to come home. We have never had a list of rules about what she can and can't do. We only asked her to consider whether what she was doing was honoring to the ONE who made her. We never told her that she had to have a certain number of girls or boys in the mix when she went out. We only asked her to be wise and careful at all times. One rule we did have, don't forsake family or faith for friends. Our reasoning was this: We always experience a tension between time away from family so learn to balance it now. And with regard to faith, we were made for a purpose and we won't find it by winning a popularity contest. If we keep our compass pointing to true north, we won't lose our way, our life will be fulfilling and fruitful. The question for us as parents is: with this lack of top down rules, would she make it? Had we provided enough structure for her new freedom? I guess, since she's only 18, the jury is still out...but so far, we are grateful for the way that she is rooting herself. Like the banyan tree, she is sending out aeriel roots and allowing them to firmly embed into the ground. I hope that we will see these roots grow and strengthen. I've heard that when banyans are cut down, extra care must be taken, for the roots, when cut, will snap back and kill you if you're not careful. Imagine a whole forest of banyans, rooting and spreading like a living, unstoppable fortress. That is my prayer for all my children, firmly rooted and unstoppable.

A Paraphrase of Psalm 1

"Blessed is the young adult who does not listen to foolish advice or hang out with those who love to do nothing but mock others and get into trouble.

This person's delight is in God and knowing Him deeply.
They think about His Word and apply it to their lives. Because of this, they are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield fruit in time.

No one needs to be afraid of what they will do or become, for their roots are drinking from the fresh water of the Word of God.
Whatever they do prospers while those who love foolishness and the things of this world can't seem to get anywhere in life.
The Lord watches over these wise ones and blesses everything they do but those who don't know Him are frustrated."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Night Terriyaki Burgers

It has become a Thursday night post-game tradition to have terriyaki burgers for dinner. There is a local company that makes them and they are just as moist and tender, and flavorful as can be. The convenience of firing up the grill in January adds to the sweetness of the deal. The only drawback to the burgers is that the terriyaki sauce drips excessively through the grill. I have watched grill masters maneuver around this, but I am just a basic griller so my grill smokes. So much so, that the smoke pours in through the adjacent kitchen window, the kitchen door and into the house where the over-achieving smoke alarm stands ready to tell the neighborhood that "It's Thursday night and the Collins family are having terriyaki burgers again!" Surely, you think I am exagerating. Can my whole neighborhood hear this wailing smoke alarm? In Hawaii, the cars we drive have thicker walls than our houses. (Who needs insulation in on a tropical island?) When my smoke alarm fires off, there are at least 8 houses that are hearing it. I know, because when they play their music, even I can hear it (and I'm half-deaf), and when their dogs bark, we all hear it. When their babies cry, we hear it (and there is nothing worse than hearing a baby cry unconsolably). And when our smoke alarm goes off, it doesn't want to stop. We, the renters, are not permitted to dismantle it. In Hawaii, little annoyances that are often minimized by distance and insulation are not minimized here. The only way my neighbors can keep peace is to choose it. They must choose to overlook my lack of grilling skills, overlook my loud music and my loud children just as I must choose to overlook their annoying dog, annoying parties, or annoying remote controlled cars. Overlooking doesn't mean that the offense isn't there; it just means that we're choosing, for the sake of peace, to look over it instead of into it. We choose to bear the burden ourselves instead of throwing it back at our neighbor. Tonight our terriyaki burgers were especially crunchy, the flames were especially high, and my neighbors were especially gracious, bringing even more meaning to the words: "Love thy neighbor."

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11

Love...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My skirts were getting tighter, my energy was lower and my belly was fatter. I wasn't happy. At first I blamed it on my clothes... something was wrong with them. Or I assumed the doctor's scale was not right. But the truth is the truth. I knew what the problem was and I knew that I no longer had the time or space or even the energy to push myself to work out in my living room with a DVD. So, I joined the YMCA, actually our whole family did. On my break I challenged myself to take 2 or more classes daily to jump start some weight loss while I had the time. My eating habits are pretty healthy so I knew that my gain was due to lack of exercise. Well, after Zumba (think African, Indian and Salsa dancing), Kickboxing, Aerobics, Yoga, and Weight lifting, I've lost about 4 pounds and 2.5 inches. Just about 6 more pounds to go! And like so many other things in life, the problem and solution were both entirely up to me. When I am in a bad habit in life, I don't really want to notice it. In fact, I might think, "my clothes must be shrinking" or "this scale is off" but rarely do I say right off, I'm gaining weight because I'm not burning enough energy. How many other habits do I have that I make excuses for? Habits that undermine my health, spiritually and physically? What am I waiting for?

The sluggard craves and gets nothing but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Proverbs 13:4

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hanauma Bay

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air,and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! " from Psalm 8

We went to Hanauma Bay for our last hurrah before heading back to school. It was fun to be able to show our local identification and not have to pay the tourist entrance fees. It was amazing to swim right next to such beautiful fish. Because it is a protected area, the fish have no fear of man. The water was a bit chilly, so Laura stayed in the sun and in the shade soaking in a good mystery. I agreed with her on the chilly water verdict, going out once but happy to wait until the spring for the water to warm up. The purple areas in the water are all coral reefs; the fish swim in and out showing off their colors without a hint of fear.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

We finished our Christmas giving on New Year's Eve. It was quite a night. For dinner, we enjoyed Terriyaki Burgers on the grill (prepared in shorts and sandals) and then headed to Yogurt Mama's for Daniel's Christmas treat. What an experience. We got to choose from several kinds of yogurt and then add our choice to a seemingly endless supply of toppings. With yogurt in hand, we walked to one of our favorite beaches and walked barefoot on the beach under the full moon. It was beautiful. Fireworks were going off everywhere along the beach and in the neighborhoods that we could see from the shore. We had to turn around at one point, the Secret Service didnt' want us getting too close to the President's house. Then we headed home and stopped off by the side of the road to see the fireworks on the bay. Warm breezes and colors filled the sky. Once into our neighborhood, we had to wait as fireworks were being lit on the street. This was a sign of things to come. I can honestly say that I have never see so many fireworks go off in my own neighborhood. These were the big kind, too. It was like a professional fireworks show minus the parking hassles. At midnight there were numerous Grand Finale's. The booms sounded and felt like they were on our roof. And it lasted until 1:30. It didn't matter, we were so tired that most of us fell asleep anyway. (Left: Laura is watching fireworks while standing on a garden wall and resting her foot on the roof of our house.)

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. " Psalm 90:12
I try to read this psalm every New Year. It's pretty profond. It speaks to the heart of living life with the Kingdom of God in mind. My days are numbered. They are a gift from God. My purpose on this planet is not to grab all the gusto I can, accumulate stuff, or get my kids into college so they can get good jobs. My purpose is to build His Kingdom through relationships, through sacrifice, through teaching, through love and to teach my children this purpose, too. For if we live according to our purpose, we find our greatest happiness. But I like this second excerpt, too: "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. (vs. 17)" Without God's favor, our work won't be accomplished. Only by His strength and blessings can we accomplish His purposes. Moses wrote this psalm. I don't know at what part of his life, but God certainly blessed the work of his hands. I pray that same blessing for us. May God bless your New Year and establish the work of your hands. May He give you a heart of wisdom so that you can use your time on earth well.