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Aloha and Welcome

Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. And as you do it, you’ll say, “Give thanks to GOD. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation!”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭12:3-4‬ ‭MSG (emphasis mine)

I have always felt the desire to start a blog but never quite knew how or when to start it. A lot has happened in my life, and I want to share my stories and the lessons I have learned with anyone who wants to listen and a blog seems like the best way to do that. I won’t always be sharing serious life lessons, but also stories of our adventures here on Maui!! However, it just feels right to start off with a serious life lesson since that’s what made me finally start this blog, so here you go:
This year marks quite a few milestones for me and my family: February marked one year since my dad passed away, at the end of April I turn 30, in June my husband turns 40, and in September our oldest daughter will be 10!
All these milestones got me thinking: life doesn’t seem to be slowing down, in fact, it seems to be flying by faster than ever. Then I started to wonder what I’ve done with the time I’ve been given and what do I want to do with the time I have left…
When my dad first passed away a friend shared the analogy of grief being like the waves of the ocean: big and overwhelming at first, but eventually getting smaller and less frequent. I was pregnant at the time of his passing so I couldn’t seem to handle those big tidal waves of grief and so I tried to keep myself distracted. Distractions come easy when you have kids, but I found myself using an unhealthy distraction as well: social media… Living on a tiny island in the middle of the pacific ocean, social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. But in that season of grief, I used it as a way to check out and numb my mind. At first it was a coping mechanism that I told myself was temporary, but before I knew it almost an entire year had passed, and I decided I didn’t want to waste any more time, so I signed offline for a while and began reading the bible and journaling whenever I felt like just “checking out.” I read various blogs, devotions, and books and began unpacking my heart of all the emotions I had stuffed deep down so that I couldn’t feel them, and filled it back up with the truth of God’s word and the wisdom from other believers. (Aside from the bible, Kate Merrick’s book And Still She Laughs, provided the most healing. Maybe I will share more about it in another post soon, but if you are grieving a loss of any kind, I cannot recommend her book enough!! You can find out more about it here). I am still limiting my time on social media which is a big part of why I felt the need to start this blog so that our friends and families on the mainland could see what we are up to.
So welcome, and mahalo for sticking around and reading this post: my very first post!! There were a lot of doubts, questions, and fears that went into sharing this, so the fact that you took the time to read it means a lot to me. Please feel free to leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. Also let me know what part of my story you’d like to hear about next!
Aloha,
Colie

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Daisy Leilani


To be completely honest, I was terrified about my pregnancy with Daisy from the day I found out I was expecting! 

I would think things like, “We’re so far away from our families, how are we going to do this?” And “how can we afford another baby?” And mostly, “I can barely handle the three kids I have! How will I possibly handle a fourth?!” 

But then, like he always does, God showed up in big ways: providing community here on Maui who helped us out and brought us meals when Daisy was born, and who love our little girl like family; providing for us financially, and most of all, giving me so much love in my heart to love on this baby girl more than I ever thought possible.

 The verse he gave me during my pregnancy was Matthew 6:25-34 which says:

““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:25-34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/mat.6.25-34.niv

So Daisy girl, you will always be a reminder for me of those flowers in the field that God cares for (even though they are here today and gone tomorrow) and how much more he will care for us. 

Dealing with Anger in Parenting

Yesterday I read an article about anger in parenting, specifically during the summer when dealing with fighting children, and it made me realize I wasn’t alone, and that maybe that I wasn’t as crazy as I thought. So  I decided it was time to share my journey and some of the things I have learned.

I’ve always struggled with my temper. I’m a stuffer, so I stuff my feelings and then I explode. I’m also a bit of a control-freak which is also not good trait to have as a parent because guess what? You can’t really control children!

So here’s what I’ve learned:

It’s not an anger problem, it’s a heart problem. So I needed to identify what was going on in my heart that was making me react in such anger when my children misbehaved. 

“But the words you speak come from the heart…”

Matthew 15-18



The article I read yesterday included this quote by Adam McHugh from The Listening Life, “Anger comes from a hurt which comes from an expectation which comes from a need.”

And it’s true, our anger comes when we our hurt. We react in anger because it makes us look powerful, rather than addressing the hurt because that would make us look vulnerable. But you know what? 10/10 times my children react in a positive way when I am vulnerable and address the hurt, rather than when I react in anger, and I bet yours will too. So identify when you are hurt and why: what expectation is not being met? What do you need? 

Here are some simple steps I’ve come up with for dealing with my anger:

  1. Confess/Repent: I have to confess that I reacted in anger, and ask for forgiveness, not only from God but from my children and/or my husband.
  2. Examine my heart/identify my need
  3. Be vulnerable and speak that need out loud.
  4. Indentify your triggers and find possible solutions. (Example: I tend to be more likely to lose it when my house is messy because things feel out of control. But if my house is clean I feel like things are in order and I am much more patient.)

Confession is a huge part of breaking the anger cycle. Admitting that you have a problem and apologizing to the ones who have been hurt by your anger is an important step. When we bring these things to the light, they lose power over us. And being humble enough to apologize to our children and admit we did something wrong teaches them that we are all human and we make mistakes, and that we aren’t too proud to say we’re sorry.

Some tips when you are feeling angry:

  • Pray: this shifts your focus from whatever the problem is back to God who will give you self control.
  • Breathe deeply: taking some deep breaths will help you calm down.
  • Exercise: the endorphins produced while exercising naturally help reduce stress therefore making you less likely to react in anger.
  • Clean: I tend to do the dishes when I’m feeling stressed. It’s a small task that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, and also gives me a few minutes to quietly think and pray about what it is im angry about.

And last, know when to seek help. If you have some serious heart issues going on that you just can’t seem to get control of, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes speaking to a professional is the only way to identify what is going on that is causing you to react in anger. So whether it’s a pastor or a professional counselor or even just a trustworthy friend, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Do you struggle with anger in your parenting? Please comment below and remind me that I’m not alone in this. And if you found this useful or know someone who would, please feel free to share. 
Aloha

A Good, Good Father

Father’s Day is coming up and it always seems to stir up a mix of emotions for me. I’m assuming I’m not the only one, seeing that statistics say 1 out of 3 kids grow up in a household without their biological father. 

So if you fall in the category of having an imperfect father or maybe you never even knew your father, then this post is for you. 

My Dad in Jamaica back in the 80’s
 

My dad and I had a rough start in life. He made some poor choices and my parents split up when I was young. Our relationship was pretty rocky to say the least, but of course I always loved him.
In the years before I moved to Maui, our relationship had grown a lot. I had let go of a lot of hurts I had, turned my head when he made bad choices, and continued to love him through his addiction to prescription pain pills. He was the biggest supporter of us when we decided to move, as he had had the same dream of living in Maui but had never followed through with it. When I was feeling doubtful he would tell me things like, “You’ll never know unless you try.” And, “You can always come back if it doesn’t work out.” Once we moved he would call me on a regular basis just to check in and see how we were doing… he was always so excited to hear about our life here. (I really miss those conversations.)

The biggest change in our relationship came with the help of a song by Chris Tomlin called “Good Good Father.” While I had forgiven my dad for the choices he made that destroyed our family, I still held on to some bitterness and resentment that I didn’t have a picture perfect childhood. God really spoke to me through that song and reminded me that my father was only human- a human who didn’t have a good example of what a father should be either and had his own pain from his childhood that led him to make those choices. 
Suddenly I was able to see my dad through God’s eyes, and all of the bitterness and resentment turned into empathy and love. 
I was blessed enough to tell him all these things just a few weeks before he passed away. I couldn’t sleep one night and felt like God was telling me I needed to text my dad even though it was around 2am his time. I told him I had forgiven him and that I loved him, and that even more importantly God had forgiven him and that He loved him. I will never know what was going on with my dad that night and why God wanted me to tell him those things, but when he passed I was reminded of that conversation and I have so much peace, knowing I had truly forgiven him and that he knew it too.

So how is your relationship with your dad this Father’s Day? Do you have some bitterness and resentment you need to let go of? I know it’s hard, and I know it hurts, but I pray that God will soften your heart the way he softened mine. 

If your heart is hurting this Father’s Day, I encourage you to go listen to the song I mentioned above. Close your eyes and really listen to the words and know that they are true. And remember, while your earthly father may not be perfect and you may feel unwanted or unloved by his actions, you have a Heavenly Father who IS perfect, and who loves you and desires a relationship with you. 

And lastly, HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the men out there being fathers! And a special shout out to my husband, who is an amazing father to our precious children, to my step dad who stepped up and was a dad to me even though he didn’t have to be, and to my dad up in heaven, who did the best he could with what he knew. I love you all very much! 

Greg and the kids last Father’s Day
My Stepdad, Bryan, and the girls
My dad, Paul, and the girls
Greg and Daisy

Faith Conquers

Photo by Jess Johnson

I’ve been working on a blog post to share Faith’s story, but seriously there are too many amazing pieces of it to share it all in one post. (Unless I wanted the post to be a thousand paragraphs long, but I try to keep my posts short for all my busy, distracted mama friends!) So I figured I would just share what’s going on in her life right now.

This kid seriously never ceases to amaze me. She just received the “Dolphin of the Year” award (aka student of the year) for the second year in a row! She has her second surf contest next weekend(just a fun local contest, nothing serious but still, so fun!). And she may get to be a special guest at Walking on Water surf camp again this summer.

Could she be any cooler?! And how did I get to be so lucky that I get to be her mom, and get to do all this awesome stuff with her, and watch her grow and inspire people?!

Surfing at Ian Walsh’s Menehune Mayhem Photo by Josh Johnson
Faith and her trusty Sushi board she used to surf at Menehune Mayhem
With Ian Walsh and her brand new KAZUMA short board she won for sportsmanship!
Before the Menehune Mayhem at Hookipa, Faith had never even surfed on the North Shore! It’s bigger and more powerful over there, and even though she’s been surfing for a while, she’s still very much a beginner. She was really nervous and knew she would be competing against girls who surf there every single day, and even girls with coaches, so she knew she didn’t have a chance at winning, but we kept encouraging her and saying, “it’s not about winning, it’s about going out and having fun!” And she decided to give it a shot! (The awesome goody bags and the excitement of her friends may have helped to convince her a little too, but I’d like to think it was all me…)
She went out and lost, but had such a good time and she really was proud of herself for getting out there and trying! When her and Greg went to turn in her jersey, someone pulled him aside and said to be sure we stayed until the awards ceremony. We thought she would get some kind of cool little prize and recognition, but what she got was so much bigger than we could’ve imagined! She won a brand new KAZUMA short board (a popular shaper here on Maui). She was so surprised, and honestly so were we!! What an amazing lesson she learned that day, to go out and try even when your scared, or even if you know you aren’t going to win, and then to be rewarded with something like that!!!
She’s been so stoked on that board, she’s been out quite a bit on it, pushing herself to surf new spots and bigger waves than what she’s comfortable in, and she’s been having a blast!
So this weekend she’ll be surfing at the POHAI NA KEIKI NALU at Launiupoko Beach, and although she knows there are a lot of girls who are a lot more advanced than she is, she plans on getting out there and having some fun!!!

Is God asking you to do something way out of your comfort zone? Well, where is your faith?! Step out and do it, however scary it may be, and He will reward you!!! This is the lesson He has taught me over and over again in the ten years since becoming Faith’s mom, and I hope her story can encourage you too!!


Also, after the contest Saturday we will be participating in a Surf Marathon for our friend Bryan at Walking On Water! So if you would like to sponsor us, you can do so with a donation of any amount here, we’re over halfway to our goal and are hopeful we will exceed it by Saturday! And if you’re here in Maui, come down and join us!!

 
Here are a few photos from the last surf camp we attended back in 2015. If you live in San Diego or Orange County, I can’t say enough good things about this camp!! Go sign your kids up now!!

The Road to Hana

The road to Hana is my favorite place on this beautiful island. Actually, it is quite possibly my favorite place in the world. Have you been? If not put it on your to do list right now!! There’s a reason why Charles Lindbergh said he would rather live one day in Maui than one month in New York when he was diagnosed with cancer and refused to go back to New York for treatment.

Wailua Valley Lookout mile marker 18.9
My husband and I do the Road to Hana quite a bit with our kids. We joke that it’s the closest thing to a date that we can get right now, because they all tend to doze off in the backseat, giving us time to have some uninterrupted conversations. Whenever we’ve had a stressful week, we usually head out early Saturday morning to Hana side and spend the whole day over there.

The Road to Hana is our number one must do thing whenever we have guests or when people ask for recommendations when coming to Maui, so I thought I would share some of our kid-friendly tips. (Did I mention the Road to Hana was our first outing when I healed from my c section? Daisy was only 6 weeks old!!)

The first few times we went to Hana, we used The Road To Hana Gypsy app. It’s a virtual tour guide, and I HIGHLY recommend it! We would just cruise through and only stop at his “must stops” which quickly became our favorites too. Now we usually head out and do one or two of those stops, and spend a few hours at one of Hana’s amazing beaches. On the way back the app gives you a history of the islands and being out there, surrounded by so much untouched land, you can almost picture it all as he is speaking.
Our favorite stops are:

  • Keane Peninsula: We like to just stop here quickly to stretch, use the restrooms, and take in the breathtaking views. We usually take turns getting out of the car with the big kids, and leave the littles in their carseats (they’re usually still asleep, but if they’re awake we’ll give them a snack and they’re happy). You have to go check out the lava rock church at least once though! It is over a century old, and in 1946 it was the only thing left standing when a tsunami hit the peninsula.
  • Waianapapa State Park: Get the whole family out to do down and take some pictures on the beach and explore the caves!
  • Hana Farm Stand: Grab some fresh, organic soda and snacks (don’t pass up the Hana Gold Chocolate)!! And on Fridays and Saturday nights they have an outdoor clay oven pizza place that is amazing!
  • Koki Beach 
  • Hamoa Beach
  • Kapahulu: The bamboo forest hike here is a must do, at least once!! Kipahulu is a great spot for camping too as long as the weather cooperates!

Now for some tips specifically for all you parents wanting to do Hana with little ones:

  • Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. When the kids start to complain about the long drive just give them a snack!
  • Bring a warm change of clothes or even pajamas to change into for the drive home
  • Bring blankets. Believe it or not it can be a little chilly over there, and your kids will be more likely to doze off if they’re snuggled up in their favorite blanket!
  • Make a few short stops to take some pictures. Like I said, we usually leave the little kids in the car and just take turns taking the big kids out to explore.
  • Make one long stop, either for a hike or to play at a beach. Koki and Hamoa are our favorite beaches over there, they are both kid friendly and insanely beautiful!

I think that’s it. I hope this helps some of you who may be planning your first trip to Hana with little ones. Don’t be intimidated! It is so much fun, and the kids will love it too!!

And now for a few photos from our recent Hana trips:

Daisy and me at Koki Beach
Koki Beach again
Somewhere along the back road (not allowed in rental cars!!)
If you get your pizza from Hana Farm stand’s clay oven pizza to go they wrap it in banana leaves!
The sunsets are gorgeous too, but the road is not fun to drive at night, so try to head back fairly early!

 

If you’ve done the Road to Hana before, I’d love to hear some of your favorite stops or tips for making the trip even more fun, so comment below and feel free to share this with your friends! 
Aloha!  

A Little Life Lesson from Disney’s Moana

I was talking with a friend recently who is going through a difficult time and she was telling me that she knew God was going to use her story to comfort others in the future, but right now she is hurting and she just doesn’t want this to be her story.

My heart broke for her because I have been there before. Parts of my story are painful and I remember at the time wishing that they were not my story.

If you’ve seen the movie Moana, you might remember the scene where Moana gives the heart back to the ocean and says, “choose someone else.” I’m not gonna lie, I tear up every time I see that part… How many times have I had that conversation with God? “You chose the wrong person. You have to choose someone else.” 

I’m sure some of you can relate.

But then, her grandmother comes to her and reminds her who she is, and why the ocean chose her, and she dives down, takes the heart back and continues to follow her calling, and ends up saving her people.

I believe that it’s ok to admit, “I don’t want this to be my story.” But don’t give up. Remind yourself who you are: a child of God, called for a greater purpose, then dive down and take hold of that purpose and follow your calling. Because God chose you!! It might be painful and uncomfortable at times, but He chose you for a reason, and you are the only person who can fulfill the calling He has for your life.


Have you ever learned a life lesson in an unlikely place (like a Disney movie maybe)? If so, please share in the comments below!! I’d love to hear them!!

A Thank You from My Future Self

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I read an article years ago that talked about doing things your future self would thank you for. I always thought it was an awesome concept but never really put it into practice in my own life.
Then last month my husband got an opportunity to make some extra money at work. The catch? He would have to travel off island Monday through Friday for a few weeks (possibly months)!!! My first thought was, “Sooo I am going to be alone, with four kids, 5 days a week for how long?!?” Nope! Been there. Done that. Not worth it!!! (You see, my husband used to travel a lot for work and that’s part of why we moved to Hawaii, but that’s a whole different story, I’ll share another time…)
But then I started to think of all the things we could do with that extra money, and the virtually free trip to Kauai we would get to take for my birthday if he did it, as I did I began to think of my future self and how thankful I would be a month later, sitting at a beachfront resort, watching my kids play at the pool and the beach. And as I did I realized a pattern in my life: I am too focused on the NOW. Sometimes it’s a healthy perspective to focus on the here and now, to be present in the moment and not worry about tomorrow, but sometimes I get an unhealthy perspective of the now and it’s all I can think about. I focus on the hard work it’s going to take, the missing my husband, having to take care of four kids by myself, instead of the reward at the end of it all.
Another example going on in my life right now is my health/fitness. I had a little extra weight I put on before I got pregnant with our fourth baby I had been wanting to lose. Between the stress of moving to Hawaii in 2015, and the fun we were having living like we were on vacation when we first got here, I had a little “food baby” before God placed an actual baby in there. I’ve been back to my pre-baby-number-four weight, but I still did not feel like my best self. So with just a month until my 30th birthday I decided to do something about it. I’ve struggled with body image issues and obsessive dieting in the past so I prayed a lot about this and realized this was a healthy decision for me; it wasn’t about hating my body and wanting to change it, it was about loving my body and wanting to take care of it and feel good about it. I wanted to be comfortable enough in a bathing suit to play at the beach with my kids, rather than worry about what’s gonna pop out of my swimsuit if I turn the wrong way… the first two days were hard, all I wanted was a burger and some fries! “Is it worth it?” I thought, “Can I do this? Can I stick with it?” Then I thought about my future self again, the one at that beachfront Resort in Kauai. I thought of how thankful she would be for sticking with this and making these healthy choices as she laughs and plays with her kids in the pool and at the beach! So I pushed through those first couple of days (with a whole lot of prayer and encouragement from friends) and it felt so good!!
Fast forward to today, and here I am, back from that Kauai trip, my husband coming home tomorrow with no more weeks away planned, reflecting on our trip… I felt happy, healthy, and carefree the whole time, not feeling insecure, thanking myself for pushing through the discomfort of my husband being away, and of clean eating and exercising more last month.
So I will continue to remind myself each day to make choices my future self will thank me for, regardless of the pain or hard work that it might take in that moment. From small things like doing the dishes or putting away the laundry, to big things like saying yes to my husband taking on a big project that requires him to be gone 5 days a week for a little while. Because sometimes great things require a little sacrifice and hard work, and if all we focus on is the sacrifice we could miss out on the reward!

And now some of my favorite photos from our trip:

The view from our room at the Kauai Beach Resort
Daisy and Me at Hanalei Bay on my 30th birthday!
Offroad sunset drive down Polihale Beach
Faith at Waimea Canyon
Waipo’o Falls on the Waimea Canyon Drive
My keiki and me at Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate Park again (forcing my kids to pretend that they like eachother for a photo)
Hanalei Bay again on our last day