Friday, December 31, 2010

Lessons on Closure from Fern Hill

We watched the movie Fern Hill the other night. It got me thinking about the importance of finding closure after the death of a loved one. The movie portrayed a 13 year old boy and his 3 buddies who joined him in his search for closure. His father had been killed in a plane crash when he was 5 years old but no wreckage and no body had ever been found. Although the story is mainly about his search for closure, 2 of his buddies are also in need of closure in a different way. One had a father who walked out of his life, leaving him, his mother and his little sister when he was 12. Now at 13, he was an angry young man who blamed everyone including himself for what his father did. Another one of the buddies had a father who didn't even notice he existed, heaping all of his attention and praise on his brother instead.

So the 4 boys set off for Fern Hill in search of clues, although they aren't really sure what they're looking for. They find the wrecked plane, but more importantly, their adventure changes all of them. Through helping their friend find closure, they all find out what is really important to them and are able to move on with their lives in ways they wouldn't have been able to had they not gone.

Perhaps facing their fears and confronting what seemed to be the worst possible idea - going to Fern Hill, a place shrouded in mystery, intrigue and danger, was exactly what dispelled those fears.

It's not just after a death that we need closure. There are many other situations that require it. Are you facing one of those? What fear or dread do you need to face in order to get beyond that situation and move forward into your destiny and calling?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finding Closure After a Loved One Dies

Finding closure after a loved one dies is never an easy task. If you're a parent who loses a child, it's even more complicated because the death of a child is contrary to the normal course of life. When that child or loved one is missing but presumed dead, the task of finding closure becomes monumental. That was what we faced when our 22 year old son disappeared on a hike 11 years ago. Our book, Aloha is Forever, tells the story of our journey of hope. As we found hope in the midst of the deepest despair a parent can face, we share the story so that you too, can find hope no matter what situation you face that has brought you to the brink of despair.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oranges in Stockings and Other Christmas Trivia

The other night we were talking about Christmas stockings and my daughter mentioned that she always thought it was strange that she received an orange in her Christmas stocking when she was a child. She's now 35!

It's amazing how we receive and pass on our Christmas traditions from one generation to the next. I hadn't realized until then how important it had been to me to get an orange in my stocking each Christmas when I when I was a child. Apparently it wasn't important to her. And then after she became a teenager, we grew oranges in our yard so we could eat them just about anytime during 6 months out of the year. So that orange-in-the-stocking tradition was no longer important!

Do you have any traditions you received from your parents and passed on to your children?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Son is Inspiration

As my husband and I were finishing up writing Aloha is Forever, our second son informed us that he was writing and that his goal for November was to write 30,000 words - or was it 50,000. In any case, it seemed like a great goal. So it inspired my husband to start writing our second book and now by mid-December it is halfway written. Since it took us eleven years to write and publish our first book, this in nothing short of miraculous.

We often find that our children inspire us to deeds beyond what we thought was our capacity. Hmmm...wonder what his book is about anyway!

In what ways have your children inspired you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Traditions

After a shopping trip yesterday with my grandson, I remembered that most of my "shopping" for Christmas as a child was done through the Sears and Penny's Christmas catalogs. We would fight over those catalogs as soon as they arrived and we'd study them until they were dog-eared and opened automatically to the toy section.

We could each pick one item to put on our wish list - all the other things we could expect on Christmas morning would be clothes, socks and other useful things.

If a toy didn't come from the catalog, we might expect it to come from cereal boxtops. Each company offered a baby doll more desirable than its competitors. More than once we all held our breath in hopes that the baby doll that was to go to one of my younger sisters would arrive in time to be under the tree on Christmas morning.

It seemed that another tradition was to get sick with the stomach flu right on Christmas Eve. It was the dreaded scourge of the Christmas season - one that prevented indulging all sorts of wonderful special and tempting treats or perhaps caused by them.

But our traditions have changed - gone are the Christmas catalogs with their special world of enchantment. Now we scour the internet for those hard-to-find gifts while sitting beside a cozy fireplace. Or we haunt the corridors of Walmart, Big Lots, the shopping malls and the Dollar Stores.

The mere idea of saving boxtops and sending them in for a baby doll seems ludicrous in this "give it to me now" society we live in. Wouldn't you agree?

Yesterday I walked the aisles of Walmart as my 4 year old grandson's secretary, noting down items on his Christmas wish list. When we got home, he posted the list on the refrigerator. Unfortunately, I had already gotten his gift - and it wasn't on his list!

Enough rambling! How have your Christmas traditions changed since you were young?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Book Update

Aloha is Forever; Finding Hope in the Midst of Despair is finally back from the printer. And the website is ready to take orders. It has been a long time coming, but we're happy to announce that we'll be able to ship our book out in time for Christmas.

So if you have a friend who has lost a loved one during this past year or if you know someone who is still grieving their loss, give them a gift of encouragement. Although our book tells our story of our search for our 22 year old son, we also deal with some of the deeper issues of life, grieving, faith, hope and eternity. Our book may help someone you know get over that "hump" by giving them a new perspective.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We watched a movie last night, Prince of Persia, that made me start thinking about "destiny." Is destiny up to fate or God or is it up to us?

I've been wrestling with that question today. And when our son was lost in Hawaii we also struggled with it.

There are some things, I believe, that are "destiny," especially for a child of God. The scriptures are full of declarations of our destiny. Ephesians 1 says:
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."

Romans 8 says:
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son."
The Bible is full of declarations of destiny. In fact, at the memorial service for John, we sang a song by Michael Jernigan titled, "This is My Destiny." In his song, Michael pulls in many declarations of destiny pulled from throughout scripture such as: servant, warrior, redeemed, chosen, bride-to-be, cleansed, a new creation, overcomer, victorious, crowned and many, many more.

So on the one hand, while there is a sense of destiny that includes eternity for each and every person who makes Jesus his or her savior and Lord, I wonder how our choices affect the destiny we live out here on this earth. We know for certain that our son's choices enabled him to live a life of integrity while pointing others to the eternal hope and eternal destiny that awaits us.

What do you think? Is our destiny beyond our control or do we make our own?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Update on Aloha is Forever book

We decided about a year ago that we would get a professional editor to do the final editing of our book before publishing it. So we put it on hold, found an editor, got the estimate and haven't been able to come up with the funds to pay her.

So we were talking and praying the other day and decided that we would print a run of about 100 books in the current version and then maybe do some more editing before publishing again. In this wonderful day of "print-on-demand" printing, we can do that.

Now to carve out the time to do one last read through ourselves before we send it off to the printer.

We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


A friend of mine posted this quote from Albert Einstein as her status on Facebook the other day. It generated quite a flurry of philosophical comments. What do you think?

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Grandson Edited the Book!

I just recently picked up the book Beakie; The Amazonian Wonderdog to read to my grandson. I had been saving it until he could really appreciate it because it was written by a dear friend and illustrated by the son of another dear friend. It's a gorgeous book - not one to be left in the hands of a small child without supervision. The book is also special because I knew Beakie. She even stayed in my home with her dear, sweet owners.

So I've been reading the Beakie book to my grandson for several days in a row but today when I went to read it he told me right up front that there was one page he didn't like and he wanted me to skip it. grandson, the editor.

Interestingly the page was about Beakie's first bath and since it's written in first person, and Beakie didn't like his first bath, I guess that's why my grandson didn't like it either.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why I Gave Up Reading...

I hope that title didn't shock you too much especially coming from a writer!

The other night my daughter saw an ad for a fiction writing contest and said, "Hey Mom and David, why don't you enter this contest?" My son's reaction surprised even me. He said, "Mom...enter a writing contest?! I'll bet she hasn't read a book in about 18 years!"

Actually, he didn't realize it, but he wasn't too far from the truth. It's been probably about 28 years since I made the decision that my family and my work were more important than reading fiction. You see, I used to be addicted. I would get angry and lash out at anyone in my path if they interrupted me at a crucial point in whatever book I happened to be reading. As a youth, many a night would give way to the dawn with my book still in hand. I would get an hour or two of sleep and then rush off to school - only because the book (fiction) I was reading was too interesting to put down. I was a hopeless addict.

I don't remember all that led up to the decision to put my addiction aside, but I'm sure God had something to do with it. It's not that I haven't read any fiction since that day many years ago, but my escapes into fiction now are limited to vacations or trips involving long airport layovers. Fiction definitely keeps me awake much better than non-fiction.

And once I made that decision, it was easy to keep "on the wagon." I still had non-fiction I could and did read avidly. But non-fiction didn't keep me from being the mother, wife and productive person I really wanted to be. It also helped me eventually come to terms with my explosive anger and pretty much give that over to the Lord, the only One able to handle it.

Later the other evening, as my son was cleaning up the dishes and loading the dishwasher I explained all of this to him. I could tell he was trying to process it - since he is also an addict! And I hope it also made him realize just how great my love is for him and the rest of the members of my family.

BTW - the most recent fiction book I have read was The Shack - read mostly of course, on a recent vacation trip! So it really hasn't been 28 or even 18 years since I've read a book.