Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

I'm comfortably nestled on the couch, listening to songs singing me back in time to things I do not want to fade as this year closes.  This year was the year of the water Dragon, the year of the last repetitive date until January 1, 2101, a year of transition and movement.  Whatever you believe about 2012, for me and my family it was the next step in our growing up. For us, it was the year of the letter M.

This year, Utah lost a great man: my Dad, James Hanamaikai.  After living in Utah since August 1981, Dad was offered a position in Arizona.  When I found out he was moving, I sat on the couch and cried.  Ian told me that it would be okay, but at the time it was hard to imagine how anything would ever be alright without Dad less than 3 miles away.

First Dad moved, then a couple of months later after as much of the family business and organization and etc... could be settled, Sheri moved down to Arizona as well.  I feel like our family appreciates each other more due to this change.

I'm grateful that after all of the years he spent watching out for us as adult children, that Dad finally got a chance to have a great change for him and his wife :)  I love that for the first time ever, those two will get to explore life as a couple, without all of us kids and grand kids and one great grant kid clambering through the place.  Now is their time :)

Last weekend, my Mom moved as well.  She and my Step Dad, Jeff, moved from the home they had lived in for more than eight years.  Although her move was approximately 2 miles from her last home, it was still difficult to imagine that she would not be at that place anymore.

In that home, Mom had held dinners and birthdays, had grown immense gardens, had fire pit family nights and had been a place where some of us kids would stay during our own life transitions.  That house was a blessing to our family.  I'm grateful that Jeff takes good care of Mom.  I'm grateful that they will have a spacious new home that over looks the valley.

Both moves are great for our parents.  It is as if the year ended, and an era ended.  The era of their lives and their dreams, their homes and own spaces are now in place.  Moving and moving on.  All of this is very good.

This year was the year of babies.  If babies are a sign of house hold good luck, we experienced a down pour!  Five to be exact, with one on the way.

In June, Kekoa and Melissa had Kiana Elizabeth Kuulei Danner, my little grand daughter.  (Insert laughter here haha) Ian's Dad and Step Mom had a beautiful baby girl in July, his Aunt Rani had terrific twins, his cousin Colin and wife Kearsten are expecting, hoping for a New Year's Day baby.  My step brother Daniel and wife Brooke had a sweet son too.  Babies everywhere!

When I hold Kiana, I remember Kekoa as a baby.  All of the tenderness of being his Mother is rekindled and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for him.

When Kiana squeels and bounces/dances to crazy rap music, I'm reminded of a butter ballish Koa who used to hold himself up on the couch and bounce to the beat of his Father's music.

When Kiana smiles, I remember my boy when he was also toothless, wide eyed and the world was full of wonder.

When Kiana snuggles into me and falls asleep, I remember the reason why I loved being a Mom to Kekoa, to Ikaika and now to Madisen. I remember the thought I often had as I watched my babies sleep, here in my arms, you are safe, my Love...stay as long as you can.

These little ones have brought joy and love and life into our family this year.  I know it may be somewhat far fetched, but I look forward to them growing up and being best friends, bound together within our family who loves them all.

After months and years of wanting to raise Madisen and have her in his home full time, Ian was given that responsibility in March. It was not under the best circumstances for the M, but we are grateful that she is with us now.

2012 meant no more anxiety about whether or not we'll be able to visit her, no more fear that when she goes home she'll be taken care of, no more tracking, reporting, writing letters, making phone calls, going to court, pleading with others to listen and help; no more waste & destruction.

The M is home now.  She lives in a pink palace of a room, crammed from floor to ceiling with toys.  She's a Mine Crafter, a Level Two pianist, an Aunt to Kiana, a niece to her baby Aunt M, a step sister to two older brothers she simply adores and best of all, she's safe.

I met Ian through his best friend, Chris Perry, and his brother, Kolby, back in February 2009 when I started working at PMI.

We had a lengthy friendship that was tested by our choices, where we each were at that time in life, the possibility of other relationships and the general not knowing where we were going individually. But after weeks, months and years and life changing experiences together, I like to think we found our feet as "Ian and Kuulei", boyfriend and girlfriend, now husband and wife.

I wrote this to him about how I feel with him back in 2009.  It's still as true today as it was then: " In that moment, when you take me under your arm and have me close to you, I am not afraid. I can stand there and embrace you and let that feeling of "you're so wonderful" seep out and it's okay."

I read Ian our instant messaging conversations of days gone by. No one will ever get to read all of them, but here is an ironic one from Spring of 2009 about how we were skeptics on marriage:

Kuulei says:
"If Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates and You Never Know What You're Going to Get, Then Marriage is Like Running the Gauntlet, You Never Know How You're Gonna Get Taken Out" - Kuulei Hanamaikai in FML (2009)
ian law says:
"Marriage is a good way to not get laid."
-Ian Law in FMD (2009)

I love this man. He and I were an unseemly match at first, but now, we are fairly inseparable best friends, counter balances to each other and happy Frog and Toad :)

All in all, these were the happenings of the 2012 year.  I am grateful to have been so blessed to be where I am today.  I look forward to all that 2013 will bring us.  Happy New Year to everyone :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm Getting Married Today

It's early. I couldn't sleep much last night.  Thoughts of what needs to happen today and what has happened thus far crowded the stage all night long.  I woke up to my phone alarm, in the middle of a dream about a client meeting, then the silly app wouldn't close down so I had to take my phone battery out.  Sigh.

Deciding to get married, announcing the engagement, planning the wedding and executing it was not supposed to be so stressful! Okay...go ahead and insert laugh here.  Yesterday, I sat on the couch, a pile of conflict about work, still needing to go last minute shopping and other people's feelings...just generally miserable :/ 

Defeated is not a usual state of being for me, but yesterday, my positivity glass was 9/10's empty.  While I sat there on the verge of tears, Ian looked at me and said, "Be happy. You're getting married tomorrow." and he smiled at me.  Relief...

I cannot explain to you what its like to have someone in your life who says, "You come first. You are important. You matter. And now, I'm going to remind you."  He is so good to me, without the strings attached or guilt trips or immature "now you owe" me that has made me shrink from trusting most to anyone in life.  He just gives me a place to stand, and he stands with me.

Ian loves me...ME, a high strung workaholic stress ball who sometimes can't let go of trying to please everyone despite how awful it may make me feel.  He takes care of me by putting things in perspective for me when all I can see is the cage of unending "to do" on the list.  He puts me first and reminds me that is important.  He makes me laugh so I won't cry.  He is the strength that rushes in to support my weaknesses. And he lets me do the same for him and he appreciates it and says so.  He is my match.

For everyone who we didn't and couldn't invite due to the rush of this whole event and the guest limit, I'm sorry.  I am grateful to know that I have more friends and family who want to be with me on my wedding day than I could invite. I have been so well loved by many. Today I thank you for helping me get here.  Any love or support that you've been has helped shape me.  I send you thanks and love today and want you to remember: although you may not be at my wedding, you are certainly not forgotten. 

This morning, I am crying because I'm happy.  Yeah, I have 45 lemons & limes to slice, table covers to make sure arrive and 3 lovely red pimples in the shape of Orion's belt on my chin, but you know what else I have: someone who loves me like no one else ever has before. 

Its going to be a beautiful day. "And then we got married..." Let it begin.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Can Whole Heartedly Recommend to You

Reading through old journals and life journey entries, I came across a lot of concerns and introspective situations in my life.  In 2010, a dear friend of mine reached out with questions about belief. I had to think a lot about what I felt and it was a good exercise in remembering why the fires of my soul burn so brightly J

2012: the year of “I’m all grown up”
So, in light of my birthday tomorrow, I would like to share what I wrote to her; it’s a list of some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  

These are the types of things that I hope my children will remember about me, what my family will see and know me as, and that my friends, acquaintances and others will feel when they interact with me. 

What I Can Whole Heartedly Recommend to You:

I am a huge fan of lifelong learning. You will find principles of success and happiness in leadership books and often in religious texts. 

As you expand your mind and your understanding, you begin to lift away from the mundane and "what has always been" - as you read and learn, you ignite your mind and you access your power of choice as a human being - you will find yourself as you read and feel good about the fact that you control what goes into your mind, for better or for worse.

Write down what you feel, write down what you struggle with or love. Write down what you do and the rewards or consequences that come to you as a result of your choices. Writing clears my heart and mind when I'm confused, so I write every day. I find that clearing myself of those concerns or putting those feelings on paper (or in my enormous online journal haha) that I can dissect what I'm thinking or feeling and come up with a plan. 

I also love to look back on my life in my writings and see how far I've come as a developing person. I cultivate insight, gratitude and learning in my writings and I learn who I am by the words that I save over time.

Live your life - if you have dreams, nurture them, hold them close to your heart, breath in the energy of the hope they give you. Embrace the joy and excitement that resides in knowing that good things are always coming to you because you believe in yourself and your dreams. 

Know that things won't always turn out exactly the way you expect or may want, but glean from those experiences what you can for your own good. If you want to learn something, go do it! 

Don't let other people's cynicism or lack ever tear you down to the point that they or their opinions rob you of your life. In the end, your life is your own.

Live it in such a way that when you look back, you will have lived it the way you wanted, in a way that you can be proud of, for you, for your sons, and for all of the people who love you.

There is nothing in the world like love to me. I have kept this heart of mine open, true, loyal, giving, grateful and loving all of my life. It has brought me many special friendships and people who I've shared wonderful times with. Dare to's not something many will do, it's so much easier to hate or to shut down the love of one's heart. 

The love you feel elevates and enriches every cell of your body; it elevates all of humanity and those who come in contact with you. It is something that you leave with others long after your association with them ends. It is the gift of who you are and that is in and of itself is priceless.

My whole point is to find your way, what you want to be about, and then live it. Successful happy people do not lives indulgent lives or become admired or joyful due to destructive thoughts, habits or choices. Successful happy people make mistakes, but they learn from them and forgive themselves and do not let others destroy the sacred nature of who it is that they see themselves as.

I believe that I have a purpose everyday that is in line with reducing suffering, bringing more joy and being love to all those that are around me. I want to do good and to have good things, so I attract those types of things and miracles seem to present themselves, but I am always watching, with the intent of seeing that life is beautiful and that I am a good person.

I wish for your happiness. I hope you will see all the wonderful things that you are and that you will have your dreams my Love.”

Happy birthday to me tomorrow. If you remember me on my birthday, thank you.  It means so much to me that I have a place in your memory and in your friendship and love. 2012: the year of “I’m all grown up” haha I’ve got nothing but love and gratitude, today and every day of my life, that will be the fire that burns in the hearth of my soul. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"In order for there to be a new beginning, there has to be an end"

"In order for there to be a new beginning,
there has to be an end."

“The hardest part about ending a relationship is admitting that it’s over.” It was a moment of unavoidable truth for me. It was a truth that I wanted to share, so I did.  But without context, that post did not communicate all that I felt or realized in the moment. So, here begins the unraveling. 

I did not make time to consider what New Year’s resolutions or dreams or wishes I’d make for 2012.  I did not begin to think about it until the drive to work on Tuesday morning.  I dreamed and let myself want my dreams.  

I thought of the gym of course. I thought of that wicked adorable bathing suit I bought last year, just in case I made it to Hawaii or California AND made good on my gym schedule promises. 

I thought of taking up Kung Fu for the sake of building up a foundation of confidence in my ability to protect myself if I ever needed to do so - that's just something I feel is lacking in my skill set.  I thought of the dance classes, the orchestra possibilities and the singing opportunities as well.  I laughed to and at myself...the things I think up.

I thought about finishing the books I've mostly written. I still believe in the idea of if one million people bought my book for a dollar that I'd be a millionaire haha I decided my life is missing meditation too and tried to remember the teachings I've studied about aligning my energy and being right inside :) I let my thoughts float up and connect to my joy.

My "resolutions", dreams and wishes turned to my dearly held want for family, for togetherness.  My thoughts turned to marriage and having babies and buying my first home where my dreams of love and happiness would live and thrive.  It was like someone unearthed my heart and let it breathe.  I felt alive and incredibly happy.  I felt excited and unconquerable.  I felt gratitude and anticipation.  I lived. 

And then, there was an invisible choking that took hold of my thoughts.  It was an inner restriction, a pain that came up and fenced off those dreams, with a disdainful reproach that those things are not for me.  It was a sad and terrible change.  I was suddenly alone and disconnected from all that had bloomed in my heart.  I felt the utter despair of “no” and stuck.

Where does this life sucking mechanism come from? Well, I’d have to attribute it to my history of prolonging terminal relationships for the sake of not yielding and accepting its death or knowing people for who they chose to be and not what I hope we can be. The "STOP" came from learning by example that "we" give, "we" take last, "we" work hardest, "we" do the most and "we" make the world beautiful, even if that means "we" don't ever go after what "we" want.     

Now it’s not a bad thing to be someone who will compromise or to be someone who seeks the happiness of the ones you love and care about.  However, after years and years of that behavior, there are times when like good old George Bailey, you feel like you’re standing on a bridge on Christmas Eve, ready to jump because in that despairing moment, all you feel your life is worth is the life insurance money. 

Like good old George Bailey, I felt like I was standing on the edge, ready to give up because I can’t imagine how so many years of my life have gone by, in good service, but to the waste of my own dreams because of the choices I made: to stay behind and to try again when there was no reason to try.

I see the results of the good choices I’ve made.  I see how they’ve made a difference in the lives of others.  I see how my support has helped someone else’s dreams happen in certain circumstances.  I see how the lives of those I’ve loved and love, are moving on and away from me because I am not part of their future plans.  It’s hard and it’s sad and that is when I thought, the hardest part about ending a relationship is admitting that it’s over.

Relationships can and do end without either party ever voicing that they know it’s over.  People can stay  in stagnant, habitual, "comfortable" relationships, friendships, jobs and lives for years.  But if they had the insight or the courage to take true inventory of the situation, they’d know something was not right because these lifeless "relationships" drive people away from their own dreams and passions. It is a form of death. 

Where does that leave me? I don’t know or perhaps I don’t want to look.  Something’s got to change or nothing will change.  I will not look down another birthday on the edge of “if only”.  If the dreams or the desires of the ones I love take them off onto a different life horizon, I will accept it and keep moving in the direction of my own dreams.

Someone once told me, "In order for there to be a new beginning, there has to be an end." Be it an end of denial, an end of lies, an end of the unspoken, an end to waste, an end to uncertainty, an end of control, an end of waiting or an end to fear of the unknown, regardless of what I choose to end, there must be a new beginning.