Gatherings (Hawaii Journal)

So far on this vacation journal, we’ve talked about a few key elements related to what it takes to make a good trip: fun, togetherness, experiences, and sights.  (Those all overlap in one way or another, but there’s distinctions in my own mind.) Like a good recipe, you need these “ingredients” to make a tasty dish.  Also like a recipe, they need to combine and interact with each other in certain ways for the end result to turn out well.

But to me, there’s nothing more important on a vacation then to take time away and reflect. As a family, we do this by having Family Gatherings every morning.  For 1 hour+, after every breakfast, we did a Bible Study on what it means to be a family, and how God influences the family.

Of all the things that could benefit this family (that’s everyone, including myself) on this vacation, I can’t think of anything that has the potential like these Gatherings.  Ideally, these Gatherings are to the heart & spirit what a workout is to the body.  They build solid habits of the spirit, and orient the emotions towards the community and, ultimately, towards God.

At one point during a Gathering, Evie told me “I’m BORED” (she said it with a lot of emphasis).  I can understand that she’s bored; I would expect her to be.  But I believe boredom to be one of the best signs of building mental and spiritual stamina there is.  Just as a muscle signals pain when it has been stretched, so do our ‘attention muscles’ signal pain by telling us that we are “bored”.  But, also just like a muscle, if you expose yourself to that pain with enough regularity, you will become stronger, and you will be able to focus your attention on things for longer periods of time.

And of course, there is nothing more important to focus your attention on than the BIG THINGS.  While Evie is bored, she is also noticing 20-30 people around her talking about Big Things, telling each other they love each other, and that they take their actions towards each other seriously.  Evie notices that her Aunts, Uncles, Granparents, and cousins all have to confront the tough stuff of life, and wrestle with how to act well.

Finally, she notices that everyone has to confront God on his/her own. As we say a lot in our family, “God has no grand-children”.  He has to be addressed on an individual level, and no person can do it for you.  Evie has to figure out how she relates to God, and I can only pray for her as she does.  But it helps that she is surrounded by such good examples, who live it out in front of her.

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Hawaii: Activities

It’s tempting to not want to do anything other than sit in the sun and feel the breeze here.  Eric, my brother in law, remarked yesterday while we were at the beach how perfect the air quality & water temperature were: “if you had weather controls at your fingertips, and could manipulate each exactly, you couldn’t make it any more comfortable than this!”

that being said, the Big Island is a pretty amazing place, and there’s an amazing amount to explore.  To balance that with relaxing, we’ve had a few strategic excursionsn (see pictures, below):

  1. Mauna Kea summit: the top of the Big Island is (one of) the best places on earth to view the stars.  For this reason, ~15 countries have put high-powered telescopes on top of the mountain to view celestial activity.  It is also one of the few places where you can drive to the top of a 14K mountain (similar to driving to the top of Mount Rainier).
  2. Snorkeling on Kealakekua Bay (Captain Cook Monument): the place where Captain Cook died is also a pretty amazing place to snorkel.  Apparently, much of the coral reef at the beginning of the movie Finding Nemo is based on this area.
  3. Dolphins swimming at the Hilton
  4. YWAM Worldwide Headquarters: we’ve long been fans of YWAM, and know many people who have been a part of their work around the world.  So it was a special pleasure to visit their main world campus as ~500 new students came in from around the world the night before.

 

 

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Hawaii 2: the house

Well, we are here.  and it’s nice to be here.  This is my (and Abbey’s, and Evie’s) first time to Hawaii, so let me just say: it’s as nice as everyone makes it out to be.  I understand why people want to come here, and feel like it relaxes them.

That being said, the thing that makes the biggest impression on us, so far, is the house.  It’s an impressive accommodation.  Honestly, it’s so big that it feels like a really cozy hotel, except the hotel and its staff is entirely devoted to your family.  The house is the private residence of the guy who founded Cirque du Soleil.

Like most unforgettable places, the pictures will do no good at all.  They are a mere shadow of the “real thing”, and you have to experience it in order to know what I’m talking about.  That being said, here is a slideshow from the house’s own web site.  And below are a few pictures I took from today.

 

Living Room

You can see the Cirque du Soleil books at the bottom of the coffee table. And you can see our song books on top of it.

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lunch!

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this is how we watched the March Madness games today.

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And, we’ re off!

The Impola family- all ~30 of us, are off to Hawaii for Spring Break.

Abbey & Evie have now flown enough that they are not at all scared, and in fact quite excited, to be on the plane.

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Evie quotes (while skiing)

Me: ” this is one of the most difficult runs on the mountain”

Evie: “you mean one of the FUNNEST runs on the mountain!”

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After church pancake lunch (treat of Oma & Opa)

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Evelyn: “hey, I just noticed something: we are all wearing pants!”

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