God has us on a journey. One of adventure. Of learning. Of battles. Of love. Growth is this journey realized. So here is our story.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A tribute to the present

Blogging is a really good test for me in my issue of perfectionism. It bugs me when I haven't posted for several weeks, and then when good stories, trips, and pictures pile up I feel like I have to blog about it all before my life can feel settled. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But I know many of you know what I'm talking about. A need--albeit somewhat neurotic--to have it all together, in real life...and online. So before I blog about the highlights of our winter break, I am going to stop and pay tribute to the present (i.e. mindfulness...a big topic for another blogging escapade...).This weekend I came face to face with Arizona's quiet beauty. Quiet, because we were literally out in the middle of nowhere. Brandon's mom and stepdad have a cabin up in northern Arizona that is off the grid and tucked away in a juniper field on a bumpy dirt road. You don't hear or see a soul while you're up there. It is an eerie silence--one that makes you feel isolated, alone, lost, and then at peace. And while you're wondering just why anyone would want to hang out in such a desolate place, you suddenly notice the way the sun hits the weeds around you and makes them glow a warm yellow. You feel the crunch of rocks and dirt underneath your feet and feel a sense of grounding. You feel the chilling wind blow across your face and thank God for the fire burning inside. And then the sky is suddenly ablaze with brushstrokes of pink, orange, purple, and red. A glorious masterpiece is created right before your eyes and you feel as though you've won something you didn't deserve.The desolate wilderness was a gift to me this weekend. I had just finished up my first week of this new semester and my heart was already racing with thoughts of future papers, readings, and clinical hours. Without any bit of my conscious effort, Arizona's quiet beauty reminded me of the present. Because, see, I can experience that same subtle desert beauty here in Phoenix, each and every day. I don't have to wait for the cabin escape...I just have to follow the sun's rays, feel the earth beneath me, listen for the wind, and keep my eyes open.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka!

What a merry Christmas we had in Maui this year. We rotate Christmases between our three sets of parents, so every third year we get to spend a relaxing, warm Christmas in Hana, Maui with Daddio and Vicki! (Also known as Pop Pop and Grandma Wiki:-)Oh, the simple fun...like trying out starfruit and hunting for papayas in the front yard...
...picking tomatoes with Grandma Wiki...
...and hiking down to the tidepools below the house for a quick dip.
We always love to get in our favorite non-tourist hike--what we like to call Mumu Land.Soren couldn't get enough of climbing on all the lava rocks!
One of the things we love about staying with grandparents is free babysitting! So we snuck out to the Hotel Hana-Maui for a little date night:-)
One morning we all happened to wake up around 6am and got to witness one of the most incredible sunrises I have ever seen!
You could even see the volcanoes of the big island!
If you look closely in this picture, you can see us standing on the gazebo. WOW.
And then there's our favorite beach in the whole wide world--Hamoa.
Bran and I had a blast playing like kids...Here I am boogie boarding right next to Bran body surfing.

Our naked, happy, free boy...
...and his little nudie friend he made on the beach!

Lucky for us, we only had two rainy days on our whole trip. Playing Pop Pop's drums was a fun indoor diversion for Soren.

I might have mentioned before that Soren is a bit of a flirt. Well, here he is with his much-older Hawaiian girlfriend Gracie who he was completely enchanted with!
Of course, the Sawyer boys had to have a project going in the woodshop--this time it was making Bran a bedside lamp out of Hawaiian milo wood.
On Christmas Eve, Bran, Soren and I took off by ourselves to do another favorite hike--Seven Sacred Pools. We were blessed with an incredibly beautiful day. I don't know if we've ever seen Seven Pools in full sunshine!
Then we finished off the gorgeous day with a sunset session at Hamoa.
Mele Kalikimaka!
Soren's most special gift was this handmade tractor by Pop Pop.
The boys spent Christmas afternoon golfing a private 9-hole course in the jungle.
Nothing beats breakfast on the deck with a beautiful view and fresh papaya and starfruit.
Every trip to Maui we always have to do something touristy. So we rounded up our last day on the island with a sunset whale watching excursion. It was amazing!! One whale dramatically surfaced 20 yards from our boat!
Thank you Daddio and Vicki for an awesome Christmas vacation!