Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Hawaii

Gabe and I enjoyed the rare treat of spending Christmas in Hawaii with extended family this year. We had been planning the trip for the last 5 years with my parents and siblings. We stayed in a beach house in Laie on the island of Oahu. Most of my siblings were able to come with their children, but my brother Michael and his family had to stay in Vermont to take care of the Bed and Breakfast that they own. Here are a few pictures:

Shark Encounters

One of the most exciting things we did on our Hawaii vacation was to dive with sharks. We went to the North Shore and took a small little boat out to "shark infested waters." We jumped into a little cage with snorkel masks and watched intensely as raw meat was tossed into the water for the sharks to gobble up. The longer we were in the water, the more curious the sharks seemed to be and they would swim right up to the cage and look at us. It was a pretty thrilling experience to have sharks swimming under and around us!

We saw about 4 of these sandbar sharks. These sharks are about 7 feet in length. (This is a picture from the dive website.)

We saw a couple of galapagos sharks. They are described as aggresive and dangerous. They can grow to be 10 feet long.

The pictures we took above the water just don't do these animals justice! If I went again, I would buy an underwater camera.

Side Note: Gabe also got to scuba diving during our trip. He loved it! He went to two separate dive sites and got his Nitrox certificaiton.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beach Baby

We're enjoying an awesome trip to Hawaii this Christmas with extended family. Here are a few preliminary pictures of our little beach baby. It's been fun to see her experience the ocean for the first time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fire Update

After spending half the day without water yesterday, our water is back on. We still aren't sure how the apartment fire started. We do know that it happened on a deck, so it could have been a cigaret butt. I spoke with our neighbor about the evacuation, and he couldn't believe that we had slept through everything. He told me that our building was barricaded and people were scurrying in and out carrying boxes of personal possessions! They've set up a red cross station at our ward for those without a home, so we will be meeting at another chapel this Sunday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Narrowly Escaping Disaster

Last night, the apartment building connected to ours caught on fire. Apparently, they tried to evacuate our building as well, but Gabe and I were too zonked out to hear the pounding on our door. We didn't realize anything had happened until we called the apartment manager this morning to complain about our water pressure! The manager probably thought we were idiots and very insensitive since her home was in the building and she was currently homeless. Interestingly enough, I got a cryptic text from some neighbors across the street at 1:00 a.m. asking if we were o.k. It woke me up, but I figured that they had sent a text to the wrong person. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the fire. I shudder to think what would have if it had been our building as well.

Lights on Temple Square

We braved the traffic and took Persephone to see the lights on Temple Square last night. She seemed to enjoy the exeperience and kept looking intensely at all the people and lights. She was most mesmerized by the flashing lights of a cop car and by the kilt wearing, bag pipe playing Santa. It was a fun evening!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Truly Growing Up"

Even though I am Christian, I have always enjoyed studying other religions. I find myself particularly drawn to Zen Buddhism. I found "Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up" a very thought provoking and timely book for me. The author discusses what it means to truly grow-up, pointing out that just because one gets old doesn't mean they've gained spiritual maturity. I've considered this subject quite a bit since becoming a mother. Here are a few thoughts that I enjoyed from Fischer's book:

"Maybe true maturity is finding a way of keeping questions alive throughout our lifetime. For when there are no more questions, we stop maturing and begin merely to age."

"Each of us has a place in this world. Taking that place, I have come to feel, is our real job as human beings. We are not generic people, we are individuals, and when we appreciate that fact completely and allow ourselves to embrace it and grow into it fully, we see that taking our unique place in this world is the only thing that gives us a sense of ultimate fulfillment."

"Consciously or uncounsciously, every moment you are choosing your life, and that choice is always decisive, never trivial. Your choices always have important consequences for the future, whether you can see them immediately or not."

"Forgiving our parents is an important step in the direction of maturity. It is astonishing how many people fail to take this step, choosing to remain, in effect adolescents throughout their lives. . . Peacemaking never depends on the other person. Peace is made in our own hearts and nowhere else. . . If we are fortunate enough to have our parents' cooperation in the peacmaking effort, so much the better. Bit if not, the work goes on anyway."

"To really love someone is to recognize that they are not us, and that they have needs, aspirations, and lives that do not belong to us and that we cannot control. Can we appreciate and give ourselves to them without fixating on what they will give us in return? Can we allow them their freedom and autonomy? Love like this may be the highest form of the practice of nonposessiveness."

On anger:
"Anger is in the end a marker of our weakness, not of our strength, and this is why it is so useful. . . Anger always flares up precisely in the places where we are most vulnerable. . . Using our anger well, we can pinpoint our weak points, our personal narrowness."