I’m going to take the lazy way out and share in point form instead of attempting to craft well written paragraphs. 

Pictures!




It's tricky putting flippers on.  If you put them on while on the beach, it's hard to walk in the shallow surf.  If you wait until you're in the water, the waves bowl you over.

In her natural element.

Beauty.

Not sure what's up there.

I love the plumeria tree that grows just outside our condo.  The flowers smell heavenly.


Some things I’ve learned in our 6 days on Maui so far:


1.       Rash guards are a necessity.  Long sleeved rash guards are even better.  Even when using spf 50, there’s a limit to how long we can spend in the sunshine before burning.  Being able to swim without worrying about burning is a wonderful thing. 

2.       Chemical sunscreen does strange and inconvenient things to my body (read hormones).   I can only use sunscreens with zinc and titanium oxide.  I’m not fond of the white cast it leaves on my skin, but it’s better than either of the alternatives.

3.       We still manage to get tanned even though we’re using sunscreen and rash guards.  I like to play count the sunburns as I walk by the people tanning by the pool.  Ironically, because they tried so hard to get tanned, they’re now going to have to spend the next week avoiding the sun while they heal.

4.       It really does take 4 days to relearn how to truly relax.  We’re on true vacation time now.

5.       Snorkeling still makes me nauseous.  Grrrr.  I'm not letting it stop me.  They sell a handy, less drowsy, anti nauseant over the counter here.  It works well.  Before someone steps up to suggest ginger, yes I did try it. While it didn't help me while snorkeling,  I found that for the flight over, 1/2 a dose of Gravol plus two ginger pills was a magical combination.  It was the best I've felt while flying ever.

6.       It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts.  The first day I was here, I sweat rivers.  Now I barely notice the heat and humidity.  Apparently it’s been unseasonably hot here in Maui.  Unseasonably meaning low 30s (Celsius).

7.       Our family vacation style is extremely low key.  Our condo has a small beach and pool.  Most days we’re content to stay here.  Sightseeing is best in small, small doses and if that means we “miss” out on something, that’s okay.  We’re relaxing.

8.       Our debit card doesn’t work at cashier debit terminals.  It does, however, work at ATMs.  Weird. 

9.       While flip flops aren’t the healthiest for feet, they are the most convenient footwear for sandy beaches.  Washing sand out of anything else is a royal pain.

10.   Our kids are very, very funny.  I love them.

11.   Nail polish is pointless on a tropical vacation unless all you’re going to do is shop and sunbathe.  The sand wears it off your toes and getting in and out of water all day ensures it doesn’t last on your fingers either.

12.   Waterproof makeup isn’t swimproof.  Don’t even bother.

13.   All kind of bodies wear bikinis without self-consciousness here.  While I don’t wear bikinis, I do find this strangely liberating. 

Other highlights:


Turtles!  There are two Sea Turtles that hang out in the waters in front of our condo daily.  At night, one of them climbs up on the beach to sleep under the beach chairs.


 

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” – C.S. Lewis

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV

I was lukewarm.  As in total spew-worthy.  (See Revelation 3:16)  I knew it and was too spiritually lazy to do anything about it.

Fortunately I have a Heavenly Father who wasn’t content to leave me in that state.  One way I can be sure that He loves me is that He cares enough to chastise me:

“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” – Hebrews 12:5-7 NIV

I was stubbornly self satisfied and deceived myself into thinking that I was okay where I was at.  Of course I wasn’t.  My spiritual life as a follower of Christ was so stagnant that it was beginning to rot my soul and I couldn’t even smell it.  I never, ever want to go back to being that way again. 

My Lord has done amazing things in my relationship with Him in these last two months. He’s renewed my love for Him and has met me as I sought Him.  I often get so excited about what I’ve read in my devotional time that I talk Lowell’s ear off about it that night before we go to sleep.  He says he doesn’t mind.

Yes, right now my family is in the middle of a difficult time that could get even more so.  But I also know that human nature has a way of carving out a new normal from any life circumstance.  It’s a drive.  We feel a strong need for equilibrium.  A way to get through our days with a minimal amount of effort.  And from that state, we grow lukewarm.

Lord willing, if we all come out the other end of this and begin to move on with ‘normal’ life, I desperately don’t want to lose what I’ve regained in my close walk with my Lord. 

There’s this song that we used to sing at camp wayyyy back when:

Pierce my ear, O Lord, my God
Take me to Your door this day.
I will serve no other gods,
Lord, I’m here to stay.
For You have paid the price for me
With Your blood You ransomed me.
I will serve You eternally,
A free man I’ll never be.

Copyright © 1980 Dayspring Music, LLC

It’s based on a passage in Exodus:

“Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing … But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” Exodus 21:1-2 and 5

I don’t want my ‘freedom’.  What I had was simply a slavery to my own stinky selfish desires.  I want to serve my Heavenly Father forever.   I want to follow Him hard in the good times and not just come running when things get rough. 

Because I felt a strong need for a permanent reminder, I got my ear pierced.  A single piercing on the top of my left ear.  (Left=nearest the heart).  Every time it hurts as it heals, I’ll be reminded of His presence with me in difficult times.  Every time I see it in the mirror or brush against it with my hand, I’ll be reminded of the One I really want to serve. 

“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” – Psalm 84:10

Actually, all of Psalm 84 is just perfect right about now.

pierced