Old is New

April 2nd, 2014

Do you have stories that never get old? Something, that, no matter how many times you experience it, always grabs you? No matter what you're going through, not matter how you are feeling, there's magic. There's the intangible quality about it that transcends the world around you. It becomes your world.

Every summer, I work alongside the Wolfhounds of Schofield Barracks 25th infantry division on Peace Bridge, NPO, on the longest standing post conflict relationship in the entire history of all armed forces combined. This is the story of the Holy Family Home in Osaka.

Every summer, the Wolfhounds and Peace Bridge bring four children from Osaka to enjoy Hawaii, spending family time in the homes of the Wolfhound families. Each winter, the soldiers play Santa and deliver gifts to each child. This started under the loving guidance of Hugh O'Reilly Sr, a regimental Sgt in the US Army. So moving is this relationship that there's a film titled "Three Stripes in the Sun" that documents this love story of a woman and her country's children.

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Different today, was these were children that missed the annual visit in their designated year. This week is their chance to catch up on a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Hawaii. There's no cliche to that statement. This, for some, is one of the highlights of their lifetime, coming from a background of no parents and family. So we kick it up and become family, even if only for a week, and these kids become the focus of all our Aloha.

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They toured our shop as I manned the grill outside. No fancy fare here, just good times and what they love - good ole American fare; hot dogs and hamburgers. What they didn't realize is that we had a surprise waiting for them....

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While they were touring, we pulled the "switcheroo" on them, replacing all of our sale products with ukuleles engraved with all their names on them.

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"Waitta minute....something's up", those were the stares when they returned to the showroom. The mystery didn't last very long, especially when you see your name on an instrument. But something wasn't quite right, not just yet anyways.......

I saw the look on the faces of the host family children as the kids from Japan got their ukes, and I knew what we needed to do. Every family got an ukulele as well. No Child Left Behind sometimes has a positive meaning - political pun intended.

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Here are the beautiful children of the Holy Family Home. Like I said, this never gets old for me. In fact, each group is like it's all brand new, all over for me, every single time. This is not a story of our generosity. It's about mission. We all have a purpose in life, and this is mine. To give.

"Give until it hurts. May it never hurt to give" Amen

For more information or to make a contribution
We are also part of the CFC campaign, Pacific Region

Love is.....

February 3rd, 2014

Remember those little cartoons with the two nekkid kids? "Love Is" was the recurring theme of them and they were sweet little toons that reflected on the simple acts that can help define our love for one another.

I'm a twenty year veteran of wedded bliss, but quoting Harabeoji from the K-drama that I'm watching, "I'm over 80 years old and I learn something new every day." I've spent time in training, almost became a minister, yet there is so much that God shows us in the world around us about love too. Inspiration comes from places, sometimes hidden from view, until you look with your heart to compliment what your eyes take in.

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Every day. Every single day. It's been over a year since my friend's wife has passed, yet she keeps him company each day with every meal he eats. When I first saw his posts on FaceBook, it passed me by. Then, I saw them everyday and when I realized what he was doing, it brought me to tears. Reminds me of Joe DiMaggio. Not many people know that after the the passing of Marilyn Monroe, he would leave a single rose on her gravesite everyday.

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Guava tress, kiawe trees, not the easiest wood to cut. In fact, pretty darn hard. Factor in being in your 60's and the task becomes almost impossible.

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Then if that's not hard enough, try having a three acre property. As far as I'm concerned, my yard would be a nature preserve and I'd let those trees run wild. Only a bulldozer would change that, definitely not me.

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While a picture paints a thousand words, it doesn't always tell the entire story. This isn't just about clearing trees. It's about dedication and love.

My wife's aunty was diagnosed with cancer. In her recovery process, it was good for her to get exercise. To keep her comfortable since she lost all her hair, her husband cleared a personal trail for her in their property. He took down those kiawe and guava and graded the lava rock all by hand.

She was able to enjoy the track he made for her that extends way past where this picture shows. Aunty was a really strong woman and this was her second round with cancer, but her body gave it. Though she's left all of us, the path still remains. I make it a point to look at it each time we visit the house. It reminds me of how I should view my life and how I treat those around me.

I'm not here to preach. Just to share the beauty that resides in the hidden places. These two men do and did, with no fanfare. I guess that kind of celebration isn't required when it's really about love.