Being Present and Finding Joy

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve gotten back from the bachelorette weekend for my sister in Florida and her wedding in South Carolina. 🌴 What a week!! So much to do, so much to plan for, and so much to celebrate. 💐

My sister and brother-in-law said their vows to each other, surrounded by people that loved them dearly. 💍 As I listened to those vows yesterday, and watched the father-daughter, and mother-son dances, my heart filled with emotion for so many reasons. I was reminded of God’s love for us and His desire to see us happy, loving each other fully and following wholeheartedly after Him. I was also reminded that my husband and I made these same commitments to each other five years ago.
Much has changed in our lives since then, but one thing that has remained unchanged is God’s love for Josh and I. And it’s been because of that love that we are always working on our relationship together, and doing our utmost to always extend grace and love to each other as Christ does to us, His church. 💒

Knowing that my husband will be leaving for a deployment in four short months, has been, frankly, overwhelming. I haven’t known how to process it. Apparently I’ve been holding too much inside, trying to be all, “Oh, that is just part of army life” because it all came out in waves during this past week of wedding prep and festivities. I’d cry at the drop of a hat the moment anyone talked about his upcoming deployment, or anytime I spoke of our plans for this year. 🌧

JOY and PRESENT Those were the words I chose for this year. To find joy in everything I can, and to be as present as possible in the moment, not looking back and not trying to rush to the next future thing. This year, those words will be very challenging to me, but I trust God has a plan. His ways are better than mine, and yet again I must remind myself to, “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you”. Psalm 116:7

PCS Trip: South Korea

At 2:00am last week on a Wednesday, our little family of three, left the States for Seoul, South Korea.
We drove for 45 minutes to the airport, boarded a couple hours later, and flew on a 2.5 hour flight to Dallas, Texas.
Ava did pretty well and enjoyed being entertained by the stewardesses.  You can’t see them in the picture below but they were having fun watching her walk the back aisle and then collapse on the floor for a couple minutes before getting back up again and waving at everyone. 😉
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Once we arrived at the Dallas Airport, we had a few hours to kill before our last (16 or so hour-long) flight to Korea.  My husband took us to the USO, which was the best decision of our day. 🙂  We were warmly greeted and our 20-month old was given a little kitty beanie baby, which she was thrilled about.  They had all sorts of drinks and snacks, a playroom for Ava, a little theater room, small library selection, and a computer room, as well as free toiletry items in the bathrooms and free diapers and wipes!
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This was the setup for the last flight, which I boarded early to set up Ava’s carseat and get everything situated.  It was right next to the bathrooms which is a good and bad thing.  Good to be close for when you need it, but bad when you need to sleep and everyone else needs to use it.  It tends to be louder near the bathrooms (those things are loud when they flush! haha).
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Thankfully the seats had movie screens and a great selection of movies.  The flight was exhausting and sometimes felt like it would never end, but honestly, Ava did very well all things considered.  I used some Plant Therapy “Calming the Child” essential oil on her and it was a big help.  She slept twice on the plane for a few hours each time–praise the Lord!   The second time she woke up, she was so groggy, that she just quietly sat in her carseat, hugging her Hello Kitty blanket and watching 3 or 4 episodes of her favorite Disney show–Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 😉  Towards the last couple hours of the flight, I ended up injecting myself with all the coffee I could find. Haha!
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Once we landed and went through customs, we got to the far corner of the airport where our bus was to be and realized we had missed it by 5 or 10 minutes, which meant we had to wait for 2 more hours.  We boarded the bus finally and I honestly don’t remember how long the ride was because I dozed off and on for the whole trip.  It was at least an hour I think?  We made it to Dragon Hill Lodge and got set up for the night after my husband had to attend a couple meetings, but I remember feeling a huge sense of relief that night, laying in the most comfortable hotel bed in the world (or so it felt after a 20+ hour travel day!) and thanking God that we made it safely to the country that held the next big adventure for our family.  PCSing (with a toddler) is never easy, especially when moving to another country, but it’s worth it!  Can’t wait to share our adventures with you all in the near future!

A Few of My Favorite Things About Living in Hawaii

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Aloha Fridays
Everyone’s living for the weekend in Hawaii!  Locals love to set up tents and camp by the beaches, often for the entire weekend.  Plus, there is even a song dedicated to this day…”It’s Aloha Friday, no work ’til Monday…”.  Look it up, it will get stuck in your head. 😉  Saying “happy Aloha Friday!” to someone is absolutely a thing, and I love it!
Hawaiian Food
Oh my goodness…Kalua pig, sticky rice, mac salad, haupia, lomi lomi salmon, poke, taro-flavored desserts, malasadas (it’s actually a Portuguese donut but you have to try them hot from Leonards Bakery…mmm).
God’s Creation
If you dont like the outdoors and beautiful mountains, sparkling ocean, sandy beaches, jungles to explore, waterfalls to swim in and spotting rainbows almost weekly
…Hawaii is not for you.
The Culture and Language
I love the beauty of the Hawaiian culture. I feel privileged when I get to watch the men and women perform the hula and sing in their musical language.  The simplicity of the native Hawaiian life is fascinating, especially in today’s fast-paced way of living.  “Ohana” is a word you won’t be able to forget when you leave the islands.  It means ‘family’, yet at the same time, so much more than that.  You dont truly understand it until you’ve lived here and then have to leave.  I will miss Hawaii so much.
So Much to Do!
Like to shop?  Oahu has you covered on that one.  World’s largest outdoor mall (the Ala Moana) or downtown Waikiki is a good place to start. 😉  And for flea market-type shopping, check out the Aloha Swap meet.  Like to lay out on the beach?  Well…you picked a good place to visit/live then.  Like to hike?  There is no end to trails and amazing views.  Sea turtles?  Whale watching?  Discovery?  Adventure?  Nothing about Hawaii is boring so long as you get outdoors and explore!
Keepin’ it Casual
It’s a more relaxed and casual lifestyle in Hawaii.  You can dress up for a night on the town in Waikiki but mostly people dress casually during the week, in athleisure, shorts and tee shirt or cool and comfy dresses.  And nobody goes anywhere without their ‘slippers’, aka flip-flops. 😉
The History
Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, Battery Cooper at Kuoloa Ranch, the WW2 pill boxes all over the island… The island is rich in history and it’s fascinating to learn about!
Hawaii has been my first overseas (OCONUS) duty station and it has been a fantastic experience.  If Hawaii is your next duty station or in the possible future, congrats!  I hope you have as wonderful a couple years as I have.  Aloha and happy PCSing!