For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on Earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.
DH and I began
our Thanksgiving Day by remembering family and calling home.
DH's parents were home, while Mom and my step-Dad were out, likely
DH gave my sister Joan,
island of Maui, a ring, thanking Mitch and her for gifting
That's Sam to the
left, and DH to the right, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel Poke
[pronounced poh' keh, “Hawaii’s soul food” of sliced or cubed fresh fish, marinated, raw, seared or cooked]
For his birthday, Joan
and Mitch sent him his chef-hero's latest cookbook, Sam Choy's
Sampler, with "easy-to-follow, delicious recipes from his restaurants and TV
of Sam's site.
He handed me the phone,
and to hear my "little" sister and I go at it, you'd never guess that I'm not
at all a phone
thanked her for their birthday gift to me: a matching collection of writing papers,
message pad, notepad, shopping list and post-its with borders of yellow and
white plumeria, my favorite blossoms.
I got caught up with her
life. She is now working six hours a day as a
teacher's aide, with two afternoons a week working one-on-one with a
blind young boy "with the most beautiful eyes." Partially
autistic, he listens well, she said, but only speaks when emotionally
aroused, when he is either extremely happy or extremely angry.
My sister, Joan, is the
kindest person, most gentle person I know. She is one of this young child's biggest blessings. If
anyone can reach a difficult-to-reach-heart, it is Joan. She is
gifted with the patience of Job and is up to the task.
A high integrity person,
committed to live a meaningful, fulfilling life, she has
made courageous, uncommon choices. With a degree
in business management, she was in upper management at two of Hawai`i's most prominent
hotels in Honolulu and in Kona, where she
met her future husband, Mitch, a business graduate from the University of
Redlands, originally from Glendale, CA..
In 1983, Joan and Mitch
were married on Kiholo
Bay's secluded shoreline
with a lovely, ancient fishpond fronted by palm trees, located on
pristine oasis surrounded by by lava fields and accessible only by 4-wheel
drive. I was her matron of honor and they gave us the best
wedding gift: they invited us to join them on the Southern California leg
of their cross-California honeymoon.
They introduced us to the
peacefulness of cabin living in serene Big Bear, where Mitch had spent
many childhood summers on the lake and later, ski weekends in winter at his Aunty
Hazel's cabin on Boulder Bay, just across the way from the North
Estates peninsula, where we now live.
After Alana K, their
first and only child, was born, they moved to Kula, Maui on the
slopes of Haleakalâ. She commuted down the mountain to the coast and
back, working at one of Maui's most luxurious hotels.
Her Kula to Makena commute was circuitous, sometimes
treacherous, and always long and wearying. In time, she made the decision to
leave the business world to devote time and energy to
her family and immediate community.
What a positive difference she is making
with her life! Not only for her family and herself, but now
for this precious little boy with the unseeing, beautiful eyes. She
will help him see with his heart, of this I am certain.
I am burstingly proud of
my "little" sister, who is taller than me and always five
years younger. Listening to her heart, she is remaining true
She and her husband Mitch have raised a beautiful daughter, Alana K,
who grows more beautiful with the years. Recently, she opened
herself up to the spiritual world. Those spiritual genes are
expressing themselves, it seems, and without the slightest bit of
prompting from her parents.
Alana K is a junior
in high school and is seriously considering coming to the mainland for college. Right now, she's considering UCLA
(where a 4.2 GPA is par for admission),
UCSB (Santa Barbara), Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and possibly
a smaller school in Arizona with her cousin, Hope, who lives there.
of Alana K on her Sweet 16 birthday
disciplined student, Alana K is also well-rounded with music talent
(playing the flute) and volunteer work as an after-school Big
Sister. She says she wants to follow my professional footsteps, and
our conversation revolved around these future plans.
I'm off to enjoy my
Thanksgiving dinner with my adopted family here in California, while
Joan, Mitch and Alana K are off to Kula Lodge for theirs.
But before I do, I take
a moment to remember President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a father, a
brother, a parent, a child, a friend on Earth, who enjoyed the
joy of human love on many Thanksgivings, as we do today. He lost his
Earthly life, leaving beyond a young widow and two children, on this
day in 1963.
Today, I remember this
great soul who is now a friend above. I thank him for going beyond
Today, I also wish
my dear friend, Cia, and my college buddy, Norma Sue
"Suzie" Owen from French Lick, Indiana, a happy
birthday. God danced when you two were born.
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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