Thursday, April 7, 2011


A few hours before catching my flight from Hilo to Honolulu, I took a short walk to Coconut Island.   This “island” is close to the hotel and is where I have enjoyed watching people fish from the shore; where I have seen a little toddler enjoying the water, wearing the same “outfit” he had on at birth; and where I can look in the tide pools for fish, listen to the sound of the water and feel close to God.   

Hawaii is a place of beautiful surroundings and beautiful people. I love the Hawaiian people.  I love their culture, especially their sense of “ohana”.  I love the Hawaiian word Kama'aina that means native-born, child of the land.

My father, a career Army soldier, was stationed in Hawaii when I was four. I attended kindergarten and first grade in Hawaii – wearing “slippers” (aka flip flops) every day, learning how to hula, and spending lots of time at the beach with my mom, dad and three sisters.  I experienced the beauty of Hawaii at a young age.  

I have very clear memories of celebrating May Day when I attended kindergarten when living in Hawaii.  It is Lei Day and to this day is celebrated.   Is May Day even celebrated anymore on the mainland?  I am mesmerized watching hula dancers, whether young or old or male or female.  The stories told with their hands and facial expressions; the gracefulness and at times the boldness of the dance.    The sweet sound of the ukulele . . . Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.   Hawaii is a beautiful place with beautiful people with a beautiful culture. 

So while I don’t have Hawaiian blood “or coconut” flowing through my veins, I live vicariously in the Hawaiian culture.

There is a small church I attend when here.  The doxology is sung in Hawaiian, the pastor is barefoot, the sound of the traffic comes through the open windows entwined with the sound of the birds, ukuleles join guitars, the truth of God’s Word is shared and I celebrate my Christian culture with other believers from various places and various stages of life.    This is a culture I chose that day in 1981 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior.   This is a culture to which I belong  and a culture in which I actively participate.  This is the culture I claim! 

Mahalo Jesus!


  1. Beautiful post. This IZ version is one of the first songs Tom put on his Ipod and now it's played in the car every time we're driving together. Glad to be part of the Christian culture with you!

  2. I forgot about May Day, but immediately some of the songs I learned in elementary school to sing in honor of that day came to mind. May Day is almost here, Happy May Day !