2016

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15181558_10211120388068471_7451412631042333516_nThis year has been a journey. I started off the beginning of the year having lived 2 years on Maui and having just accepted a job. It was a company I was excited to have an opportunity to be working for, I remembered wanting to apply while I was still in college but knowing they require a degree for the position I wanted. That job made me realize that I HAVE to be a part of a company that I’m proud of. I don’t like to sell things in general, however believing in a company and the product made selling easy. I also realized that having managers, supervisors, and trainers that were focused on developing their employees is rare and I relished the learning opportunities that presented themselves, even flying to Oahu a few times for training. That job ended up not working well for me, however I have gained new friendships and still am very proud to have worked for them. In fact, I think that if I had been living in a different state and had applied right out of college I might have been able to make it a career… but life is funny like that. I ended my career with them having one of the most sales in the state my last month and was invited to a fancy dinner on Oahu. End it on a high note, right?

Then, I interviewed with a company that I’m sure some people questioned after they found out. Shave ice isn’t glamorous, but I was thinking that there might be a future business ownership possibility. On my interview I was given a full tour of the facilities and I was amazed at the level of detail that goes into a cold treat mainly comprised of ice and syrup. But not all shave ice is created equal and I’m very proud that I worked for them. It was the most strenuous job I’ve ever had, but the employees were hands down the most fun crew I’ve ever worked with. And customers – working in the customer service industry, I think out of the entire summer, I experienced one customer who wasn’t thrilled. Ululani’s has created a sensation where people willingly wait 45+ minutes and are happy to do so. It will always have a special place in my heart.

In the middle of September, Tom and I took a memorable 5-years together anniversary trip. We rented a big house in Sun River for 3 nights with his children, my siblings (except the oldest 2), my mother, and my grandparents. It was a very special bonding time with fun adventures to the nearby water-park and a stunning hike along a river. Good homemade food was made by all and it was a great time for both sides of the family to spend getting to know each other. After that, just Tom and I took our first trip out of the country together and we explored Vancouver in beautiful British Columbia. It was hands down our favorite trip so far. We slept in a high-rise condo, and took public transportation, gorging ourselves on seafood that we can’t get in Hawaii, and doing the typical tourist activities like biking Stanley Park and taking the aqua taxi to Granville Island Public Market. Canadian’s friendliness was definitely shown and we made fast friends while relaxing at the beach. We can’t wait for our next trip to that great city, but we didn’t mind too much going home to Maui.

In the end, moving to Big Island was always the plan. While we love Maui, its beautiful sandy beaches, striking landscape, friendly people – it felt so busy, and just wasn’t a place where we could feel like we could retreat to our home after a long day. Living on a busy street with tourists honking their car horns at all hours of the night, neighbors on either side with thin walls, people high on something wandering the streets yelling profanities… it wasn’t what we were looking for.

Then something amazing happened. A prestigious job position that Tom had desired for many years opened up in his hometown, and he was instantly offered it before it was even posted. I know it was tough for him to leave his position at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Ko Restaurant had been a challenge for him, but as a manager and a person he grew and learned valuable skills in that position because others invested themselves into him. He ended his term with them with a Manager of the Quarter recognition as well as an excellent colleague engagement score, and his restaurant as the top place to eat in Wailea according to Yelp and Trip Advisor.

Tom accepted his new position and I resigned mine and then ensued the crazy moving process and we moved at the end of the month.

I was able to find employment quickly, actually, I was offered the position at the first interview I went to. This job has it’s challenges, but also quite a few perks like a monthly signing bonus and the chance to stay in one-of-a-kind cottage 20 feet from the ocean. I’m more a supervisor than I ever was before and I’m learning how to embrace the issues that come with a smaller privately owned company, and having a few people that I’m managing. I’m hoping to stay at this job at least a while after unfortunately bouncing around on jobs a bit for the last year and a half.

We have been truly blessed to be able to live in an actual house, not apartment, townhome, or condo in Waimea just 3 doors down from Tom’s mom, on almost a quarter acre with multiple fruit trees and a beautiful view of the green upland valley. Our landlady is gracious enough to let us get a puppy, a long-time dream of mine. Until he moved in with me, Tom had always had at least 1 dog, so this felt like the right time.

One of Tom’s coworker’s dog had just given birth to a litter the day before Halloween, and from the time they were 3 weeks old, we were visiting them at least once a week.

December is usually an epic month for us, as it contains both of our birthdays, as well as Xmas, and the busiest time for our jobs. For Tom’s birthday, we were able to stay in the most private of the cottages I run, and have a great dinner on the sand listening to LT Smooth perform Hawaiian tunes. For my birthday, Tom surprised me with riding boots, and a private horse-back ride. At the halfway point of our ridge-line trail, overlooking a dramatic valley with the plunging Hi’ilawe Falls, an almost 1500 foot tall waterfall on one side, and a beach and the Pacific ocean on the other, with green farms in the valley, he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. It was the most private, picture perfect planned proposal that beat all my childhood dreams and I said yes!

Half a week later, we brought home our 7.5 week old pit-bull, bull mastiff puppy named Conan. It’s been a delight raising a puppy and learning with him. He brings lots of smiles and laughter at his puppy antics, and peaceful snuggle time when we chill on the couch together talking and watching TV. It feels like he’s been with us for forever, and he’s definitely mama’s boy.

2016 hasn’t been easy, but it’s been fulfilling. I feel like I’ve grown personally and discovered new aspects of myself. I want to continue becoming a better person in 2017 and be more diligent about making goals and accomplishing them. We’re living on Big Island and I want to put down roots and do the homemaking things I learned in my childhood. And I will. With my fiance holding my hand and my dog at my side, nothing is impossible!

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Quick Administrative Note

I took a pic of this penguin “Mario” this last weekend while I was staying at the resort where he lives in Maui. This suited fella is almost 30 years old – older than me!

For a couple years in my high school years, my family and I attended (but were not members) of a church. Shortly after I turned 21, I moved out of my family’s house and ceased attending Beaverton Grace Bible Church. This church and especially its paster (Chuck O’Neal) caused me emotional stress, especially when about a year later, they sued me and others for what they called defamation. They lost their case against me and especially ever since, they seek to discredit me and my reputation. There are blog(s) that exist authored by Chuck O’Neal and his followers that take what I have written since and try to turn it against me, or what other people say about them (most significantly my mother). The blogs read like tabloids in their unprofessional nature and unwillingness to even attempt to get my view. All I want to say here is that I have never been asked or consulted by them. Chuck has not once, even before the lawsuit, reached out to me personally to try to mediate or resolve any differences.

My writings should be taken in the manner in which they are written. My blog posts may not include every single little detail. I, as a writer, decide how I want to write my blog.  Just because I don’t include every single detail doesn’t mean that other factors may have been in play, or that what I did write about is fictional because I didn’t tell the whole and complete story. Honestly, that’s just common writer’s license that most people are aware of. I have publicly requested that Chuck stop writing blog posts and twitter comments about me. If anyone has any questions they want to ask me, either about what I wrote, or about what others (including Chuck) have written I’m more than happy to converse. Just put a comment under this post or email me and I’ll get back to you.

I don’t expect to write any more about what happened 8 years ago. It’s my past and I’m looking forward to my future. I have more important activities and people in my life than people who seem to have a personal vendetta against a girl who once attended their church almost 10 years ago.

A Homeschool Alumni’s Hope

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Every parent wants what’s best for their child(ren). They invest countless aspects of themselves and their freedoms in order to raise their offspring. It is a natural feeling to want to protect them and wish them the best, and have a grand idea of how you hope your precious children will turn out. I get it. I was raised in the homeschool movement were we were taught that we were going to be the movers and shakers once we became adults. Our parents hoped we’d be positive impacts for our future employers, in our community, and in the world. I personally was homeschooled all the way through my senior year. I am proud of being a homeschool alumni.

There comes a time, however, when we come adults. Our parents have little to no say on the person we choose to be, or how we choose to live our lives. They hope we follow the line they’ve drawn in the sand. When we don’t – we hope they understand, many times it’s not because we don’t love them anymore, it’s because we’re all individuals. We’ve found our own path. I was not the most obedient daughter, my infant nick-name “Birdie” proved to be quite apt as I was a bird – and I frequently flew off – not always in the direction my parents wished. My mom wrote this a few years back about me: “We would tell her to stick with us and she would for a while, but then would venture off again.” No, I know I’m not the person they originally hoped I would be. However, they are proud of the person I am. They’ve grown and changed just as I have. They were the ones who helped me be who I am. They had “given me the tools” for life as my parents often remarked.

The reason I’m writing this is homeschool alumni (particularly Homeschoolers Anonymous) have been raising their voice. There have been abuses that have gone on in our lives, and we do have a right to blog or post or tweet about them. I get that it’s easy to try and dismiss us – we moved out of your house a few years ago, we were children then and weren’t allowed to talk-back. It’s not, however, being disrespectful if it’s telling our story. It’s not being rebellious when we find a scandal and try to have it addressed by those who were involved. Sweeping allegations under the rug, avoiding the tough questions, or ignoring us is not how you taught us to be. You are the ones who raised us. We are adults and we have a voice. We ask you listen to us. If we express that you have harmed us in someway – apologize. Take responsibility. We want reconciliation, we want those relationships restored.

Trust me, we want to share the joys, the sunny days, the happinesses in our lives more than the storms. But we all should face those storms irregardless of whether we want to or not. Do you have the courage to help us make this a better world?

Photo credit: me

Triggered by Religion

I know today’s a big day that means alot to many people. For most of my life, it was one of the most important holidays. Growing up fundamental Christian, my family wouldn’t hide candy in the eggs around the yard, they would put articles that related to Good Friday and the Resurrection (ie, 3 dimes for thirty pieces of silver, a nail, piece of cloth). Then after all the articles were found, the story was able to be reinforced in our minds. I haven’t set foot in a church in probably 4 years. I left my family’s house when I was 21, and I went to a couple of church services in the next two years, but I never felt comfortable or that I belonged. It used to be my history, my identity, how I viewed myself and the lens that I viewed the world. Not anymore. I was going to drop of a boy for his baptism, I walked into the chapel – not even a church, and it was on a college campus, no less. But I couldn’t do it. I got a creepy, oppressed feeling. The back of my neck was crawling, and I felt literally sick. Couldn’t do it. No way. It was a strange feeling. My life has moved on, religion is no longer a part of my life. I’m happy with my life, and the way it’s going. But I don’t think organized religion or even any religion will ever be a part of it. I had to tell the boy’s family that there was no way I could sit through it, that I felt way too triggered, and it just wasn’t for me. They were very sympathetic. No offense meant, I have no issues with those that love that, find a sense of wholeness, or think that that is the only way to live their life – kudos to you. Go for it. But I realized today, that I have some major issues with it, and it does not make me feel comfortable. 

Blue Skies and Happy Days in PDX

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Anyone who knows and loves Portland, Oregon knows that when we have a blue sky – it makes us instantly happy. All of a sudden, everyone is outdoors, enjoying the sun and the fact that the sky isn’t some sort of white or grey color.

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See? Proof! Everyone enjoying spring’s first blossoms, Portland Saturday Market, and the Waterfront!

My days personally have been looking up recently as well. I found a new job – was actually not expecting to find a job so fast since I wanted to be far pickier about accepting a job offer. I wanted to make sure that it was the right fit, not just monetarily, but personalities, job description and duties, company environment, etc. And I think I found it. My new job is night and day from from old one. I’m happy at work, smiling and laughing more during the work week. Even though it’s more demanding, I’m thriving in the environment. I feel empowered and able to suggest and make changes. I’m back working with several different departments and back talking to my customers. It’s been happy blue-sky days!

Optimistic

IMG_1055I’m feeling optimistic about my current job search. I’ve had acouple of interviews under my belt, a couple more scheduled. I have references ready, and am getting better at articulating what I’m looking for in a position, as well as explaining my previous job experiences and skills. Today I got the letter in the mail from the unemployment office advising me that I’m eligible to receive unemployment benefits, and the check has been cut and is on it’s way.  I also recently had an idea and went out and bought a spiral-bound notebook so I can jot down pertinent interview information. I’m going to try to keep in next to me this weekend, so when I have a question I want to ask a potential company during an interview, I’ll have all the questions handy, as well as the interviewer’s name  and contact info. I love my lists and writing important ideas and tasks down helps me keep focused and on track. 

I can’t say that I’m not enjoying being able to sleep in a bit every morning. I enjoy not having many time pressures, or work stresses. But currentlyI’m working on networking, building relationships, and finding new friends. I know my next job is out there. I know someone will be glad to hire me, and I’m excited to soon be able to put my skills and experience to use, and hopefully gain new ones. 2014 is going to be a great year!

Photo: Taken by me at Pittock Mansion Jan 2014