Sunday, December 4, 2016

La'ie Finding Refuge From the Storm: Pearl Harbor and Beyond

As part of my service at the Polynesian Cultural Center, I write blogs for the website. This helps to preserve culture and history. It also brings people to the website, which is a great thing. We want the world to know about the Polynesian Cultural Center and the wonderful island nations we celebrate.

My latest series of blogs have been a particular honor to put together - as it led me to meet and work with three wonderful kupunas (honored elders) of our town. In honor of December 7th's remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, I'd like to share these short stories with you - my friends and family. I hope you gain some wisdom, both of the effect and fortitude experienced by our islanders back in 1941, and the beauty of family, faith and sacrifice told in these stories...... Just click on the first link to start reading.


God Bless America!
-----------------------------------------------






In  remembrance of the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II, we hope you enjoy this 3 part series describing the events of December 7, 1941 and the ensuring war years from the eyes of three local La’ie/Hau’ula residents, Gladys Ahuna, Joseph Ah Quin and Laverne Pukahi.
SEGMENT ONE: La'ie Finding Refuge From the Storm - http://shop.polynesia.com/blog/12-7-1941
SEGMENT TWO: La'ie Under Martial Law; The Military Takes Charge - http://shop.polynesia.com/blog/Laie-and-martial-law
SEGMENT THREE: Mixing It Up in La'ie - http://shop.polynesia.com/blog/Mixing-it-up
We are proud to share their memories and to honor the brave soldiers and citizens of Hawaii, as they faced war in their own backyard.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Imagine, if you would........

I wish, more than I could say, that I was a great painter. It is my passion, and the fact that I have no skills in that vein is a cruel joke on my ego.
That said, I envision a picture. If I could paint it, I would But I'll simply have to use words as my brushstroke.
Imagine, if you can, a tree - a shining white tree - as described in 1 Nephi 11: 8




"And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow."
I see this beautiful tree, laden with fruit just in the background, a little elevated from your level, as if you (the viewer) have to climb a bit to get to it.. Just in front, I see me. I am walking with great urgency towards the you, my arms outstretched. My face is filled with such joy at the very sight of you. Just a few steps closer is my Beloved bending towards you, with one arm outstretched, prepared to lift you up and onto the level of the beautiful tree.
I'd hope everyone could enjoy and gain peace from such a picture, but it would be no surprise that first and foremost, I would want this to be a reminder that we are here, and will always be here for our family. Dear family, we are here...just like when you were little - Dad helping you climb that seemingly impossible cliff. Me just wanting to hug the stuffin' out of you when you were safe home again. Being a parent/grandparent never changes. We are always seeking our loved ones, calling to them, welcoming and helping them to partake of all the blessings Heavenly Father has to offer.
We are far from perfect - so very, very flawed, in fact - so we can only hope that we are found worthy enough to share this amazing message. We truly find comfort in the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves all of you as much as we do - and MORE! In a world of sorrow and pain, this is the one great truth - love really does ultimately conquer all!
What a wonderful feeling, having this much love to share. I wish I could do this great message justice. I especially hope that whenever we come to mind, it will be this picture that our family sees. We love you so much. We rejoice in you, pray for you, cry with you and ache to know that you truly understand how much you mean to us.
That is my Sunday thought - simple, gushy and really, truly heartfelt.

So, can't show you the picture in my head....but, I love THIS message a lot too


Friday, May 27, 2016

BACKSTORY: The Once Secret Recipe for PCC's Famous Pineapple Bar Recipe!


One of the fun aspects of my service in the E-Commerce Dept., at the Polynesian Cultural Center is helping with the on-line social outreach. I get to work with Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs, and internet sites.

So it was no surprise when I was added as a member of the I Love BYUH (Hawaii) Facebook Group. It has become wildly successful. Alumni and current students and employees alike are busily posting and reading about past and present happenings, memories and pictures. I have become quite involved in answering fun questions, such as "who is in this picture" and "does anyone have....."

What I find really fun is how much our alumni miss the great food they ate while working at the Polynesian Cultural Center. "Does anyone have the recipe for Chicken Long Rice from Prime Dining?" "How about Panipopo?"

Each of these recipes were easy to find and post. But the most requested recipe proved to be the hardest one......a wonderful treat called "Pineapple Bars"

We have it, of course, because we serve it every day. But since we are just starting to enter the busy summer season, it took a few weeks for Chef to find the time to send it over. I opened up the email with great excitement, and then ran into my first hurdle. Let’s just say, if you ever need to feed 100 or more people, I’ve got the recipe for you!

Obviously I needed to reduce quantities. Luckily, there are some awesome apps for that. But I didn’t want to simply trust those measurements, especially since I needed to round off quantities when converting from multiple gallons to measuring cups.

So I decided that I would have to test the recipe first.

Here is where I ran into my second hurdle.

There were no instructions. Zilch. “I’ll just have to figure it out”, I decided.

My third hurdle came in the form of two mystery ingredients.  The first mystery ingredient was ‘modified starch’. That turned out to be cornstarch…..easy enough! The second ingredient is simply called macaroon mix. There is no macaroon mix at the store. I did find a number of macaroon cookie recipes online. They usually call for shredded coconut, egg whites and sugar. So, I made enough cookie dough to equal the required 4 cups, and kept on going with my great, experiment.

Needless to say, my first attempt bombed royally. My pineapple bars came out more like a gooey candy. My husband, however LOVED it and gobbled them up quickly. Still, they weren’t the PCC Pineapple Bar that we know and love, so it was back to the drawing board.

Chef invited me to come down to Food & Beverage to watch them make the cookies. This proved invaluable. For instance, I discovered that the Macaroon Mix is dry. So, putting the egg whites in is the main reason my first attempt failed so badly.

Now I was ready to return to my humble kitchen and try it again. But first, I had to solve the Macaroon Mix dilemma. It turns out that King Arthurs Flour carries a dry Macaroon Mix. Sadly, it is not stocked in any grocery store on Oahu.

So, I went to the King Arthur’s website, where I was able to look up the ingredients listed for their Macaroon Mix. I discovered that it contained shredded coconut, corn starch, sugar and DRIED egg whites. Finding them was a bit of detective work, but easily solved by going to the wedding section of Walmart where they actually stock powered egg white.

I didn’t have any measurements for putting this dried macaroon mix together, of course, so it was back to the kitchen.

After my fourth attempt, and numerous taste testers, I can confidently present to you the TRUE PCC Pineapple Bar recipe. And don’t worry, the experimentation part may have been a little challenging, but the actual recipe is EASY!


·         NOTE: Pan – I suggest a 10 x 15 baking sheet, at least 1 ½” high. I actually ended up using a roasting pan – I know…but it’s what I had and it measured out perfectly.


     --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PCC Pineapple Bars
 Yield 32 pineapple bars


Crumb Mix

4 cups of coconut macaroon cookie mix (available from King Arthur Flour)

*see below to make your own mix!

4 cups of sugar

1 cups of bread flour

2/3 cup of shortening

Place all crumb mix ingredients into a bowl and mix on low until it resembles fine crumbs. Place to the side.

  
      *Make Your Own Macaroon Mix  

(use if you weren’t able to find Coconut Macaroon Mix):

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup dried egg whites (can be found in the wedding section of Walmart)

Stir until all ingredients are well combined. 



Pineapple Filling Mix

2 large (20 oz) cans of crushed pineapple – drained thoroughly

1 ½ cups of sugar

1 cup of modified starch (cornstarch)

Mix all the above ingredients together, set aside.



DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 320o 

I suggest a 10 x 15 baking sheet, at least 1 ½” high. I actually ended up using a roasting pan – I know…but it’s what I had and it measured out perfectly.

These pictures show how PCC get's the job done! 
Pineapple Bar - step 3


Fill pan up ¼ of an inch deep with approximately 2/3 of the crumb mix. Using a piece of sheet pan liner (wax paper), press down on the crumb mix firmly to make it even.

 Pineapple Bar - step 2

Spread the pineapple spread evenly over the crumb mix.


Pineapple Bar - step 4

Top with remaining crumb mix. Using wax or parchment paper, pat down gently, but thoroughly 


Pineapple Bar - step 1

Bake at 320 degrees for forty five minutes. Cool. Cut into fourths length way, and eighths width way.

Pineapple Bar - step 5





Monday, March 28, 2016

Peeking Into Paradise - In Pictures

Beloved and I went for a walk on Friday, which in Hawaii, happens to be Prince Kuhio Day - a lovely little holiday honoring the last prince of Hawaii, who was never allowed to claim his throne, and so, he became a statesman and represented his people in the Hawaiian Congress.

So, we ended up at the Valley of the Temples. For those of you who have not been there, it's a very large cemetery on the leeward side of the island (about 16 miles south of us). This particular cemetery boasts a sea view (well, if you look just over there to the left.....you might just catch it).


So, do you see it? We were literally at the top back corner of this extremely large cemetery, and that's all we saw.

Doesn't matter, the place is still gorgeous.

The most famous section of the park if the Byodo-In Temple. I wrote about that a while ago. It is an exact replica of a famous temple in Japan. It's a lovely place to visit.


One of the charming aspects of Valley of the Temples are the many faith based or family based memorials, mausoleums and chapels.


One way or another, everyone was represented.









Some of the more unusual markers











 Two tributes really touched my heart. I hope you take a moment to read the sentiments:

"In response to the promise of liberty, opportunity, justice, and freedom of religion, we left our native lands which we loved so dearly and, coming from the farthest corners of the world, we arrived in America. We fished her waters, farmed her fields, worked in her factories, sold her produce and realized that here in this beautiful land, we had fulfilled our hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children. Now united as one people, we work toward our goal of living as equal Americans.

God bless America and the good people who made her strong.

Such an excellent point. Most all of our citizens came from somewhere else. It is our ancestors who dreamed of freedom, and longed for dignity. They came and worked hard, sacrificing even their loved ones back home to partake in the bounty offered in this new world. These are our people, and we are theirs.



First Resurrection

Dedicated to the memory of those members of the Iglasia Ni Christo (Church of Christ) who  have steadfastly and unwaveringly labored and served in the name of our Lord Jests Christ and almighty God, for they shall take part in the first resurrection:

...and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God, they had not worshipped the beast, or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years, and this is the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy are they who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years (Revelations 20:4-6 - NEV)


What better place to honor the knowledge that we will all be resurrected than this sacred place of rest for so many loved ones?





I felt such peace and love here. Months ago, on our first visit, Beloved and I saw families who were litrealy having a b'bq with Grandpa. An elderly Asian woman was set in a comfy old beach chair next to her husband's headstone.  The son cooked on a portable grill. The wife and children tended to the gravesite, weeding, changing out the flowers, .... and they were laughing, and loving and enjoying their day. No sorrow - because they knewthat they would be together again.

I'm so glad we came here this weekend. It has made the resurrection so alive and real to me. I have no fear of death. Why should I? My Heavenly Father loves me, and will welcome me to paradise with open arms when it is my turn. I have great confidence that my family is there too - all of them. Because they are good people. Because they also are children of God. Because he loves them as much as I do. I miss them, but I no longer grieve for them, because they are still my family exactly as they've always been. How grateful I am for that knowledge and that comfort.

So, to round up my little tour of the Valley of the Temples, let me tell you about an added bonus. There is a dear little section for one's beloved pets, which considering what we discovered next, got me to wondering.

You see, the cemetery is literally overrun by cats.

Dozens and dozens of cats!


Kinda creepy, kinda fun, kinda stinky.

A woman was walking around the spacious grounds with a large container of cat food, pouring a little here, a little there. None of them looked like they were starving.

I don't suppose they get to use that pet section when they head off to kitty heaven but they sure seem to be having a marvelous time while they're still alive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thoughts on "Fun, Happiness and Joy"

The following are my thoughts on the difference between Fun, Happiness and Joy and the significance in each. I have been working on this thought for years and hope it provides you with some opportunity to reflect on the beauty and importance of the Gospel of Christ in our lives.

Have you ever noticed when a child does something funny, that they want to do it again....and again ... and again until, it's no longer funny? They liked what happened. They liked how it felt. They want to feel it again. Much like a lab rat trained to press a button for food, stimuli, or medication.... people who prioritize 'fun' prioritize immediate needs.

1st Corinthians 13:11 reads: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.



Fun is a childish thing. It's the playgrounds, the funny movies, the trips to Disneyland. It's a double-dare, seat of your pants type of experience. Fun can be selfish, it can be rude and insensitive. Fun can also be relaxing, entertaining and lighthearted. It can form bonds or throw up walls. It all depends on personal preferences and values.

I love to have fun. I love to laugh, to play, to have a great and enjoyable time. But people cannot sustain themselves on 'fun'. Fun is temporal and temporary, and is never satisfactory in the long term. In fact, fun is best in doses, a break from normal life. Otherwise, it becomes commonplace and worse yet, expected.


Happiness

For many people, achieving happiness is mistaken for the lesser goal of 'having fun'. They become convinced that having more 'fun' will make them 'happy'. But I have discovered that happiness is neither immediate nor based solely on pleasure. Rather, it comes from obtaining a level of satisfaction from a job well done, a perfect moment in life, a beautiful site or condition. Happiness feels secure, and in this crazy world, security is everything.

But even happiness is ultimately temporary. That new car will not always be shiny. The adorable baby may become a moody teen. That spouse will pout or yell or get angry. That perfect house will someday be old and worn down.




And then?

That depends on your attitude and your ability to adjust to change and challenges. It also depends on where you focus your priorities. As we move away from selfish pleasures, we move towards genuine happiness. The type that actually sticks to your ribs, so to speak.

I have met people in Peru living in the most dire of situations who found happiness in their hard work, their daily devotion and most of all, in the people they love. Conversely, I have found people with great wealth who never seemed to know a day's happiness. I'm not saying that there aren't people with money who are happy, even very happy. But it's not based off of what they have, but rather, who they are and what they cherish most in life. Happiness, I have discovered, comes from one's ability to appreciate and own who they are, and where they are going. Happiness takes work, especially the ability to live beyond the focus of here and now. 

Yet even happiness has limitations. I believe that this is because happiness is an emotion - one that can change in a flash, simply based off of what is happening in that moment. So, happiness, while wonderful, is still somewhat short-sighted for followers of Christ. Let me illustrate:

When Moses went to the Mount to learn of and bring back the higher law, the newly freed Hebrews, fearing they had been abandoned, built images of the gods taught to them by the Egyptians. Through these actions they proved that they were incapable of understanding the depth and purpose of the higher law, which was the law eventually introduced by Christ during His mortal ministry. 

The Hebrews saw their circumstances as diminished, because they could not keep site of the ultimate goal, which was to be reintroduced into their true position as 'the chosen people'. Great rewards awaited them, but because they could not see themselves as 'free', they turned back to what felt comfortable and easy, hoping that it would address their fear and bring back some physical safety..

And yet, God was merciful. Rather than 'punishing' the Hebrews, Heavenly Father actually showed great patience.  He recognized that the Hebrews were incapable of living the higher law given to Moses at that moment. So he gave them the lesser or Aaronic law instead. This law spoke of truth in a way that they could understand, where there were consequences to one's actions, and where good behavior was rewarded and bad behavior was punished. It worked off of the basic formula that 1+1=2, and where doing "this", while not doing "that" would bring you happiness. Therefore, we see that happiness is conditional.





Happiness is a gift, something to be cherished and sought. But I see it more as a classroom, training us when we're ready to seek even more for ourselves and others, which is the ultimate source of happiness.....

Joy

According to the LDS Bible Dictionary, joy is "a condition of great happiness coming from righteous living."  I agree. True joy is an eternal principal.

Joy is based on a noble desire to serve the highest law, which the Lord, himself provided for us. It is a desire and focus of serving and loving others beyond the instinctual attitude of 'what's in it for me'. It is the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate reward. It is love in it's purest form.

Think about a time when you felt true joy.

I know of one particular experience that brings me great joy to this day. I am a convert to the LDS faith. That said, I had a wonderful childhood, filled with loving parents and great experiences. I joined the Church as an adult, where II learned that families could be united forever through temple ordinances. I was the only member of my family, but I longed for the same experience as families raised in the faith - one of eternal vision and ties. I worked to build that type of family with my own husband and children. But I found myself wishing that I had come from such roots, and that I had the knowledge and (quite honestly) the courage to offer those eternal bonds to my parents and siblings. Luckily, I know that Heavenly Father loves and blesses all His children. I know that He provided a way for everyone to have the chance to hear, and decide for themselves whether they could know and follow the Savior of the World. This news gave me much joy when I first learned about it back in 1976 and comforts and guides me to this day. Heavenly Father is a God of love, forgiveness and equity.....and, He honors and upholds family bonds. 


2011 was a particularly rough year, as both of my parents left this mortal existence. I love them and miss them greatly to this day.

But in 2013 I received a great blessing. I knelt at an altar in a temple of the Lord with two of my children and my husband and were sealed to my parents and a sister who proceeded them into immortality. On this day, I felt a deep connection to the family I love so very dearly and miss so very much, and I felt pure joy.

As my husband, children and I entered the Celestial Room of the temple afterwards, I looked up and saw a beautiful depiction of two loving parents and their daughter sitting in a beautiful, and obviously heavenly, garden. I could not contain the tears, knowing that this now was my legacy - my hope for the eternities. 


Again, I was enveloped in pure joy, and it was wonderful, glorious, and beyond description.

I have decided that, given the choice, I want to learn how to always choose joy. Notice that I said "learn". Being human, I am certainly not there yet. But I also know that I am - as are we all - a child of a loving and powerful Heavenly Father, and that from that truth, I have all of the keys necessary to achieve the eternal happiness offered through the atonement of Christ.




I have broken these thoughts down into a table format - which always helps me when I'm working my way through a complex thought:

Feeling
FUN
HAPPINESS
JOY
Focus
Operating from a physical condition -
Carnal/Temporal
Operating from an emotional condition - Emotion based
Operating from a God-like condition (pure and selfless)
Eternally based
Duration
Momentary
Conditional ("This happened, so I feel happy")
Eternal
Pro
Easily obtainable (at first)
Satisfying. Sanctioned by God.
Leading to eternal progress.
Eternal - the ultimate goal
Con
Short – even addictive in nature. 
Difficult to maintain long term as temporal beings ("That was difficult, so I am no longer happy")
Unusual even to achieve (at first). Takes study, faith, trial and error and commitment. 
When obtained
Based on physical/temporal gratification
Based off of a simplified view of God's law - “Do this to get that”
Based on eternal principals - Sacrifice, mercy, charity, faith.
Scriptural base
Mosiah 3:19  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ……
2 Nephi 5:27  And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
2 Nephi 2:25  … men are, that they might have joy.



Friday, February 12, 2016

Faith Can Open Doors, Or In This Case, Airport Gates

Sonatane Falevai is someone special. I’ve shared stories of many amazing people, but Tane (as we call him) is a step above almost anyone you’ll meet. It’s almost impossible to convey how humble, faithful, kind and hardworking this young man is.



Tane is from Tonga. He is a man of many talents. He graduated from BYU-H with a degree in Fine Arts. He is a sculpture and painter. He carves beautiful pieces at the Wood Carver’s house next to the Aotearoa Village in the Polynesian Cultural Center. He is a graphics artist for the Marketing Department. And, it just so happens, he is the star of our evening show, Hā: Breath of Life. He plays Mana. No kidding. This guy is amazing….and busy. Really, really busy.

Tane came in last week after being gone for a little over a week and told us the tale of his latest adventure.

In order to stay in the States, our foreign workers must renew their Visa from time to time. For Tongans, that needs to take place in Fiji, So Tane headed out to renew his visa. Just this December, Tane married the beautiful Lauren Benson from California. You might think he no longer needed to worry about visas. You would be wrong.


As long as I’ve worked here at the PCC, it seems like trouble brews every time one of our kids head over to Fiji to renew their paperwork. It seems that red tape, miscommunication and arbitrary decision making run rampant over there.

Turns out that Tane’s experience was no different.

“Oh my goodness,” he said, the day he returned to the office. “I didn’t think I was going to make it back.” That grabbed all of our attention (he shares an office cubby with 5 of us). We all whipped around and peppered him with millions of questions. He took a deep breath, again said “oh my goodness” and then told us the most amazing story.

When Tane got to the visa office in Fiji to renew his paperwork, he sat down at the official’s desk. The woman was reviewing the documents, and had his passport opened next to her. At one point, she lifted up a stamp – one that said “cancel” and was about to stamp it down on the front page of that passport. She was literally holding it inches from the page. Tane said he couldn’t breathe.

For some reason, she put the stamp down. She looked at him and told him that his application would not be approved. “You will need to go back home for a year or two and try again”, she told him.

“But I just got married!” he explained.

She just repeated again, “try again later.”

So Tane gathered up his paperwork and left. The miracle, of course, is that his passport did not have a big, ugly CANCEL stamp on it. But the paperwork was denied. This was a big, big problem.

Tane said that for the rest of the day – he would see people. They would talk to him. He couldn’t hear a word they said. He decided he needed some guidance, so he went to the Fiji temple – which had just completed renovation and is now open to the public before it is rededicated. He sat in the Celestial Room and poured his heart out to his Heavenly Father. He felt the need to obtain a blessing, so he asked a temple worker for help. He was determined to listen to the Lord’s instructions and to exercise his faith. He gave no background to his needs, knowing that the Lord would guide the prayer.

If he was told to go home, he would go home. I laughed as he said, with a shrug “I would feel sorry for my wife, but I will go home”. That is real faith. Not many men would be that brave.

The counsel given during the blessing told Tane to leave the island. With that input, he decided to simply get a ticket and go. He tried to avoid telling Lauren anything, knowing that it would frighten and upset her, but at one point it was the middle of the night for anyone in the US and he had to get some information from off the computer. He called her and asked her to open up a file, and then – he said – she started to cry. Clearly, the official paperwork indicated the dire situation. He did his best to reassure her that everything would be alright, and that the Lord has always taken care of them, and would do so now.

Lauren’s parents quickly obtained tickets for Tane, and he went to the airport. As he went thru Security, he said that the officer scanned his passport once. Nothing. He scanned it again, and again, and once more. No clearance. Tane said to himself “oh, this is it. I’m staying here for two years”.
“Hold on a minute,” the security officer said. I’ll just show this to my supervisor.” Tane prayed. In fact, he said, he hadn’t stopped praying for days. His great faith helped him to keep an open dialog throughout this challenge. “Please help me to get back home,” he asked Heavenly Father.

The officer came back, handed him the passport and said “there you go, have a nice flight”. Tane couldn’t believe it, but he was so grateful. He passed the first hurdle.

Tane had been on the island of Suva. He now flew to the main island, Nadi. He went thru security again. And again, once, twice, three and then four times, the passport did not clear. Off the officer went to check with his supervisor. “Oh no, I will be stuck on THIS island for two years.” But the miracle came and he was again cleared to go.

Upon arriving in LA he then had to go through Customs. As he was funneled through the lines, he saw that he would be with one of two agents. One was a younger Polynesian man. Tane thought to himself, a Poly guy would be good. But he noticed that he was taking his time with each person. The other one was a grouchy looking old fella, but, he was processing the passengers quickly. He spent the whole time in line praying and hoping that he would end up with the right one.
He ended up with the old dude. And…..he made it!

Now that Tane is back on Hawaiian soil, he has had time to reflect. He and Lauren decided that their life has been so blessed that the Lord decided that they needed to learn more about faith and patience.



One of the most miraculous and wonderful blessings of the Polynesian Cultural Center is the fact that they are molding the world leaders of tomorrow. They hit the jackpot when Tane came here, and he struck gold when Lauren became his eternal companion.

Since Tane is currently, the face of the PCC, there is quite the library of photos and videos. Click on the picture below to see a fun and quick little video showcasing Tane's fireknife skills.


"There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember--David did win! Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one's coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve." - Thomas S Monson, Prophet, Seer and Revelator.



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Don't Be Jealous...

I am really trying to be low key about the fact that this June, Beloved and I are heading out on the vacation of our lives. I honestly don't know that we will ever be able to achieve this again - and I worry .... and I mean WORRY .... that we're being greedy here, but we've scrimped and saved and come June 15th, we are flying to Europe. From there, we will jump on trains and go to exotic lands, and meet amazing people, and see things I've up to now, only dreamed of.

Since this IS our blog, it seems like the right place to talk about this journey. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.....jealous curves ahead (blush)

There is other excitement that I want to mention first. We will fly to Sequim, WA to report back and be officially released from our mission (sniff, sniff) the first weekend in June. Friends of Sequim, please mark your calendar for June 5th (Sunday evening) when we will present a Fireside detailing our amazing 2 year adventure (and counting....) More details later.

After that we will fly to North Carolina to see our two girls and their family, Veronica and Trina. One week of heaven there!

Then, onto Europe (I still can't believe it)

So, here's our route (Yes, it does look like a big question mark - CRAZY!)


And here is what we will see along the way:

Rome, Italy:




Our apartment in Rome, Italy


Down to Sorrento, Italy



The famous Blue Grotto of Capri


Plus a scuba dive along the Amalfi Coast...

And our B&B (which is a converted barn - AND it's over 200 years old) 



Back thru Rome and up to Florence, Italy



Pisa, Italy



Cinque Terra, Italy


A fishing trip for Beloved on a real fishing boat - and then some kayaking and snorkeling



Milan, Italy



Grimmelwald, Switzerland


Beloved is doing the next part. I'm taking the tram.....



Bern, Switzerland




Colmar, France


The yellow building is actually our B&B..... (squeal!)


Bacharach, Germany


Heading up the Rhine to Koblenz, Germany



Versailles, France




Paris, France



So, that's it. In a nutshell. A big, gorgeous nutshell.

Three times we will actually be staying with LDS families - saving $, of course - but more so, meeting people from other lands and making friends. That is really exciting to me too!

We then fly back to Salt Lake City, and then it's time to see the Western kiddos, Mike and Clan and Audra and Clan. We've rented a house in a tiny little town in Idaho - of all places!) 

Then - back to Laie, where we will be converting to volunteers and otherwise letting life go on as usual.... for the next year, at least.

Then - who knows? Life sure is an adventure!

Thanks for joining us on the journey!