Today I’m grateful for the wonderful rain and the wind. The rain that falls strong and wet, filling the world with that beautiful scent of life and refreshment. And for that wind, strong and clear, that reminds me that God’s Spirit is near. And I’m grateful for shelter from that rain and wind, for dry clothes, a dry office, and dry apartment to live in. For all the green plants given to us as food, nourished by that rain, for those who sow, and those who reap, for those who care for soil and sky, and those who dedicate their life to toil under the sun.
Today I’m grateful for a Sabbath rest, for time to think and to pray. A phone call to a friend, and more cuddles with Diva. For the shining sun on the side of a building, for the gentle breeze in the leaves outside, for friendly smiles, and kisses goodnight, for character-covered sheets, and shadows from night lights. And I’m grateful for those who work to provide our electricity and water, and those who work though this night to do so.
Today I’m grateful for lots of sleeping and feeling slightly better (it’s a cold, folks), Julia taking care of the kids during sleeping, for Diva our beautiful black and white cat, for her cuddles and licks to make me feel better, for her dedication and gentleness to our family, for her companionship over the past six or seven years, and for all companion cats who bless our lives with their own.
Today I’m grateful for the ability to catch up on more sleep, for homemade Mexican food, for a kids movie watched with family, for time spent staring up at white puffy clouds and the air dance of black birds, for wavy palm trees and majestic monkey pod trees, for the routines of buses in the street, and joggers of the sidewalk, for brown paper bags, and fresh cut lime, for cushions and pillows, and for the all year round spin of ceiling fans.
Yesterday, Friday, I was grateful for a sleep in and no alarm, a buffet breakfast treat, for iPads and other technology, for more driving, for indoor trampoline centers for kids, for time to chat and talk story, for time to process and think, for leftover vegan pie, for a date night with Julia and wonderful Mexican food, for quick lights out for the kids at the end of a long day, and glasses of cool, clean water.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I was thankful for a staycation, for uninterrupted time with family, for the beauty of sand and ocean, for my favorite vegan mock chicken dish, for the ability and means to drive, for the freedom to drive without worrying about checkpoints and harrassment, for crisp white sheets, for fresh fruit, for freedom to dance and sing to which ever songs I would like, and for those who make music and theatre.
Today I’m grateful for my immediate family: for Julia and her amazing willingness to go where a life of ministry leads (in good times and challenging times); for Phoebe and James, my children, for their beauty, laughs, wisdom, patience, and innocence, and for everything they teach me everyday. And for the Episcopal Church in Hawai’i, my Diocesan, Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, for his support of me and my family, and for my lay and clergy colleagues in the Diocese who love and encourage us. For food and clothing on wet and windy days, for vegan apple pie and those who generously go out of their way to make it, for last minute child-minders for Phoebe and James, and for pastors of all denominations, especially those with a sense of humor.
As an expat, who is many years from citizenship and the right to vote, I’m reminded of the great honor and privilege it is to be able to cast a vote in a free and fair election.
I’m reminded of the many countries in which this continues to be a reality which is far from home. Of the countless people who have lost, and are loosing their lives, for the right to choose their political leaders.
To my U.S. friends: your vote is your voice! Despite all that has been said and done, pleasant and unpleasant, fair and unfair, just and unjust in this election cycle, please do not give up on the process, please do not give up your voice.
Please vote on behalf of all those who cannot vote, for all those throughout the world persecuted and killed because they dare to do so. And please vote for peace, for hope, for freedom, for love, and for justice for all this coming election day.
I’m just about to leave Australian soil after a seven night trip here, my first time back after relocating overseas with family in January 2015.
There is something funny about being home, but being away from home, of knowing a country is so much a part of your life, but only one part, of being separated from your motherland by thousands of miles, but knowing your mother still lives in your heart.
However, this trip, when you set aside the wonderful friends, the great hospitality, and the beautiful landscape, this trip has taught me, or perhaps reminded me, of a deeper longing.
This longing is for a place in the middle of the Pacific, miles from nowhere, on a foundation of lava and sand. This land is a land of pineapples and coconuts, macadamias and plumeria. At its heart beats a spirit of aloha, a breath-filled life which is unique and unmistakable.
Hawai’i, you have entered my aching heart, hugging and kissing memories and foundations built in Australia.
After fifteen months of gently loving me, you have given me more than I could ever have asked for, renewing and transforming my past, and encouraging my new future.
So, Australia, I still call you home, and you are, as always, in my heart. But you’ll have to get used to sharing that space with the most complicated, broken, beautiful place that I’ve ever known. That land of aloha across the seas.
It’s coming up on 11 months since Julia, Phoebe, James and I moved from Australia to beautiful Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Much learning, and translating! has gone on during this relatively short time.
I’m happy to report that I can now write the date in the U.S. format (MMDDYYYY) without having to translate in my head first.
However, it’s always small steps when it comes to ingrained, learnt-from-childhood behavior.
This morning at the Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi, having finished my monthly plasma/platelet donation, I was speaking with a born and bred local who identified as a Chinese-Hawaiian (her father was Chinese, her mother Hawaiian).
The woman shared with me that East, West, North, South were so unfamiliar to her (even though they are obviously taught at school) that they have no relevance or meaning (on O’ahu the geographical reference points are Diamond Head, Ewa, Mauka and Makai).
I was lost in thought about this conversation moments later, and found myself waiting for a bus on the wrong side of the street! My autopilot was set to the Australian direction of travel!
But all is well – I’m on the bus, heading back to my neighborhood of Makiki, wondering what other wonderful, conversation-based learning (and distraction!) will be gifted next.