Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Beef With February

I hate the month of February.


As far back as high school, I can remember lamenting the awfulness that is known as February.

It's just a horrible, sucky month that - other than Valentine's Day, with it's promise of chocolates and roses and such, really has nothing else going for it (with apologies to anyone who happened to be born during this period). Seriously, knowing that it was such an awful month, even God got into the spirit, by only giving it twenty-eight days, as even HE knew that we couldn't suffer through this month for one day longer.

There's no football on Sundays anymore…and baseball has really yet to begin. I'm in full-blown sports withdrawal right now, and try as I might, the NBA games or college basketball games will just not cut it. I want something that's played outside - on a field…not on a court, inside an arena.

The days are getting temptingly longer, but it's still just too darn cold to be outside to enjoy them. During these snowy and frosty mornings, I have to run indoors, on the dreaded treadmill (or "dreadmill", as some call it - for good reason.) My feet are itching to run on pavement, while my lungs breathe in fresh, clean air….

We're at that point in the winter season that it seems to have taken a permanent hold, tightening it's grip on Mother Nature, keeping the trees bare and the grass dormant and the flowers hidden…spring seems so tantalizing close, and yet…so far away.

The lake outside my window seems to have permanently frozen over, and I catch myself checking it every morning, hoping against hope that I'm seeing signs of a thaw…but not yet. Not this week. Not for a few days to come, perhaps.


All I know is…March can come in like a lion…or like a lamb…I don't care, just as long as it comes, with it's promise of spring, sunshine, birds, warmth…and baseball.

Yes. I need those things.

And life will be good.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Hilo Farmers Market

Let's talk Hilo today!

As in beautiful Hilo, Hawaii…located on the eastern side of the "Big Island" - the newest, and most interesting (in my opinion), of the Hawaiian islands. After slaving and toiling and sweating for several long, exhausting days (can you see I'm milking this?) on our recent mission trip, it was time to put down our tools and jump in the van for some much-needed respite from our physical labors.

We spent the morning at the very diverse, and very festive Hilo Farmers Market…a conglomeration of approximately 200 booths with such offerings as fruits, flowers, crafts, clothing and jewelry. The Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, beginning at 6:00 am and lasting for most of the day - or until the vendors are either tired themselves or sold out. I had visited this same Market back in 2008, and I remembered it as being one that requires careful exploration of everything it has to offer.

It's located right along Hilo Bay, in historic downtown Hilo…there's nearby parking, but a suggestion would be to arrive early, as the parking will quickly fill up. After securing our van, I quickly crossed busy Kamahameha Avenue, and decided to first explore the "food & flower" side of the Market.

There were TONS of fruit and vegetable vendors, with a virtual cornucopia of vegetarian delights…most of which I COULD identify:

…such as pineapples and bananas (cuz I'm smart like that)…but some of which I had NO IDEA what the heck they were:

…such as these sea urchin-looking spiky things. I'm sorry, but these…thingies…could be the most AWESOME tasting things on the planet, but when something looks like it can HURT me, I tend to stay away from it.

Most of the vendors were very willing to let you sample the wares, so I would suggest going hungry. Besides the produce, there were lots of baked goods, hot sauces, and flower booths - an explosion of colors, sights and smells, with dozens of frenzied shoppers all scurrying here and there, elbowing each other out to get the best deal on the best product.

I eventually crossed Mamo Street, which then found me in the Crafts, Clothing and Misc side of the Market…and I first approached a booth that offered jewelry. Duh. Where ELSE would the Drama Queen head to, if not looking for free food samples? Bright, shiny objects are my second love, so it was a no-brainer. The young artist here, Kristof, showed me her hand-made wares, which were really unique. I think half the fun in Farmers Markets is chatting with the vendors, especially the artists - as I love to hear their stories on how they were inspired. I eventually purchased this set:

Oh, how I wish you could reach through your screen and touch these…because the little black "pearls" are very soft and fuzzy. In fact, Kristof's booth is called "Velvet Jewelry" ( - as she makes her pieces from the mgambo seed, which is known as the Hawaiian Pussy Willow. I love pieces that are unique and remind me of the places I've traveled, and I think this set is perfect for that.

After finishing up my purchase, a couple from my mission team walked up and asked me if I had discovered the gluten-free bread, that was being sold back over in the Food side of the Market.

Wait, what? Gluten-free bread? Ack. I had missed this little delight, but promised that I would make my way back over there soon to discover it.

Moving on, I found myself surrounded by a multitude of t-shirt booths…but I was looking for something unique, once again…something that not every other tourist on the island would have. I found it at a little booth tucked towards the back, where I met this gentleman:

Meet Ken Iwata, an artist who hand paints t-shirts, therefore insuring that no two t-shirts will ever be alike. After admiring his wares, I ended up purchasing a really cool shirt, and asked him to sign it for me, which he willingly did:

All of this conversing and shopping (but mainly conversing, go figure) had left me thirsty, and I was in luck. There's a little food cart tucked away that offered up a delicious smoothie with kale, pineapple and banana…just the ticket for a hot and sunny day in Hilo. Gah, I wished I'd taken a picture of the cart, because it was a little hidden oasis, and I would most definitely recommend it for future Market visitors.

Strolling through the Craft market once more, sipping on my little delicious piece of delicious, I ran into another couple from my mission team. They immediately asked me if I'd seen the gluten-free bread that was being sold back over in the Food side of the Market, and I once again replied that, "No, I'd missed it" - but promised, again, to head back over there to find it. I loved how my mission team was taking care of me.

Walking along, I found myself approaching a table that was offering a book. Just one book…but it intrigued me. I ended up chatting with Colonel Chuck Sanders, aka Bishop Dr. Charles E Sanders DCCom, Drk, PhD, and author of the book, "Life After Vietnam, When Chucky Comes Marching Home."

Colonel Chuck was really interesting, and he was gracious enough to sign my book for me:

About this time, another couple from my mission team saw me and started approaching, so I immediately said, "Ack! NO! I didn't see the gluten-free bread, but I'm heading over there now!!!!" They looked at me like I was crazy, so perhaps I jumped the gun in assuming that's what they were going to say to me. Oops.

It didn't take long to discover the little bakery that was selling the gluten-free bread, and I must tell you, Dear Readers, that the entire trip/cost to Hawaii was worth it once I got a taste of this delight. EEP! Oh heavens, it was FABULOUS!

I haven't had bread this good since…well…since I gave up bread! This bread had layer upon layer of different and subtle flavors, perhaps due to the variety of flour that was used in the mix. It was TO. DIE. FOR. Nom nom nom.

I was now a very happy camper, what with my unique purchases, my interesting conversations with the locals, and my bread…so I ambled my way back over to the parking lot, to await the return of my fellow team members. Along the way, I snapped some cool pics of the trees near the market:

The Monkeypod trees are found all over Hawaii, and are rather unique. A single stalk and branches that grow into a HUGE canopy, the grass is ALWAYS greener under them, as their leaves release nitrogen that fertilizes the soil under the tree. They make GREAT sitting-in-the-shade and chillaxin' trees. Just don't sit under one during a rainstorm, though, as their branches tend to break off - and that could kinda' hurt.

I also discovered this really cool Banyan Tree:

I see a lot of these in Florida, but they're always fun and always cool…they remind me of a Sheepdog, for some reason…especially as seen from THIS view that I snapped:

So…the Hilo Farmers Market…a MUST-SEE if you're ever visiting the Big Island, on a Wednesday or Saturday. Take your time…soak up the ambiance…talk with the vendors…enjoy the free samples…

…and DON'T MISS THE GLUTEN-FREE BREAD, or you'll NEVER hear the end of it.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Socks

It began innocently enough.

Well. As innocent as it can be, when one clearly has a severe case of Pink Sock Envy.

While on my recent mission trip to Hawaii, I happened to notice one of the ladies wearing a GORGEOUS pair of bright, neon-pink socks. I couldn't help but notice them, actually, as they were so bright, so PINK, that they were all but glowing in the dark. They practically screamed, "LOOK AT ME!!", and since that's sorta' my personality, I couldn't help but admire them. So, I complimented Miss Lark on her fabulous choice of footwear that morning:

"Those pink socks are AMAZING!" I said, adding, "I can't help but think that those pink socks would look fabulous on ME!!!"

We both giggled, and moved on with our day….

As it was one of my responsibilities to do the group's laundry each morning, I couldn't help but notice the socks as they came through the wash room the next day. I dutifully washed and folded them, and added them to Miss Lark's laundry pile…but I couldn't resist teasing Miss Lark later that evening.

"Hey, Miss Lark…you know those pink socks of yours that I liked so much??" I asked, innocently…and not waiting for an answer, I added, "The dryer may or may not have made them mysteriously disappear…."

We all laughed, but who would have guessed that the game of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Socks had just begun??

Early the next morning, I stumbled out of bed at an ungodly hour, and while still in the dark, so as not to disturb my roommate, I made my way to the restroom for a quick shower. Afterwards, I headed back to the room to quickly make my bed…but imagine my shock when I discovered Lark's pink socks…under my pillow.

"WHAH???" I jumped back in horror. "How the heck did THOSE get under my pillow??!!!" My brain (which wasn't quite awake, mind you) quickly tried to deduce how a pair of pink socks had ended up in my bed. Did I put them there? Accidentally? Was I a secret Pink Sock Kleptomaniac without even realizing it?? How would I explain to Lark that I had (inadvertently, mind you) swiped her pink socks??

Then…reason set in.

If you have spent any time with me at all, you know that the children's classic, "The Princess and the Pea", was clearly written about ME. Yes. True. Heck, it doesn't even take a pea in my bed to make me toss and turn all night - it can be a grain of SAND in my bed that will DRIVE. ME. INSANE. all night long…so there was NO way, NO how, that a pair of socks were under my pillow during the night while I slept blissfully unaware. Nope.

Which meant that Lark had somehow gotten my roommate in on this and was now playing a game with me. Well. Two can play at that game.

So…the pink socks made their way back to Lark's room that day…hidden in a super-secret place, that must not have been so SUPER secret after all, because they then made their way back to MY room, and then back to Lark's room, and so on…and so on…and so on. The rest of the mission team got into this game, and every so often, someone would sidle up to me and whisper, "Where are the socks??" And I would reply, "They're in Lark's room." And they would say, "Are you SURE??" And I thought I was sure…but maybe I wasn't so sure.

Drat. I have to go find the socks.

I seriously spent HALF OF MY FREE TIME hunting for Neon Pink Socks. Gah. No wonder I never had time to blog.

The trip was soon coming to a close, and I thought I had once and for all given Miss Lark back the Neon Pink Socks…hiding them in her suitcase so deep and buried that she would NEVER find them until she was safely back home. Imagine my surprise when I opened my OWN suitcase on our last day to this note:

"Wear in good health - thanks for everything. The Sock Fairy"

…along with several pairs of FABULOUS neon socks, that all scream, "LOOK AT MEEEEE!!!!!"

…and all just happen to coordinate nicely with my running shoes, perfectly!!!

Lark wins.

There was a good reason that I loved the pink socks…they not only matched my running shoes, but they also match my favorite Super Pink Spiderman Running outfit:

When I said that I like clothes that say, "Look at MEEEEEE!!!" - it's not necessarily about being narcissistic. It's about being safe. When you're a runner…and you're running along dark lake roads in the dusk…any edge you can have to get a driver to sit up and take notice…can keep you alive and well.

And Neon Pink Socks will do that.



P.S. The group leader of the team got into the action, as well, by gifting me a few pairs of MORE pink socks that will ALSO match my favorite outfit:

Thanks, Dwayne!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Miracle at LAX

A ticking time bomb…just waiting for someone - anyone - to light the fuse….

This was me, late Tuesday night, as I sat in the crowded LAX airport, waiting for a midnight red-eye flight to Chicago.

Mechanical issues had once again come between me and my return home from a long trip to Hawaii, and I was fed up. Furious. Frustrated. And exhausted. Ready to fly off the handle at anything - anyone - for whatever reason.

After enduring a long - and rather rocky & bumpy - flight across the Pacific from Hawaii to Los Angeles, our mission team had discovered that our next flight, which was to have been to St. Louis, was now delayed until the next morning, due to something "broken" on the plane. A morning flight would result in me missing my connecting flight to Kansas City, so it was at this point that I had to separate from the group - my temporary family, as it was - so that I could make separate arrangements with the airline to get home. After standing in a "customer service" line that moved nowhere for over an hour, and patiently (??!!) waiting while an airline representative clicked and clacked away on her keyboard, jumping through every hoop in the book in order that I would get home, I then had to suddenly - and unexpectedly - say goodbye to the group I had been with for over two weeks, as they went to make their own arrangements.

Afterwards, I was suddenly left alone…with a few hours to spare for my midnight flight. The first order of business was to charge up a quickly-dying cell phone, which can be rather difficult in LAX. For such a large airport, trying to find an electrical outlet is equivalent to trying to find a clean pair of matching socks in a teenage boy's messy bedroom. In other words - next to impossible.

I took up the challenge, and after a long hunt, I miraculously managed to find an outlet somewhat hidden…and pulling up a chair, I plugged in my device and sat down to wait. The outlets at LAX will charge a cell phone at the blinding speed of 1% every 5-10 minutes…so I knew I had a good hour or so to sit…and stew…and have a huge old pity party for moi as the guest of honor.

Little did I know that the true miracle was not in finding an unused outlet…but in what happened next.

Shortly after I had sat down, a young man appeared and asked if he could share the other half of the outlet. He looked to be about 25 years old - with longish brown hair, a scruffy beard, and big, blue eyes that seemed to pierce my soul. (I would later find out that he was 42 years old - a little older than I had first thought!)

"Sure," I replied. "But you'd better pull up a chair. We'll be here for the next hour, so you might as well be comfortable."

So he pulls up a chair, plugs in his device, and we began to talk, awkwardly, but politely, as strangers are apt to do when faced with circumstances that throw them together in close quarters. The young man wore hearing aids in both ears, and his speech cadence was different, which made it difficult initially for me to understand him.

It came out that Chris is a pastor, with a church in the inner city of Detroit…a far cry from where he grew up in rural Idaho. He ministers to the population that society has somewhat ignored - the homeless, the druggies, the poor, the forgotten. He's traveled all around the world to spread the message of Christianity, especially in Morocco, as he speaks Arabic. And he was quite the story-teller.

He took words and painted pictures with them, creating images so vivid that I felt I was there. I sat, mesmerized, as he told me of people he's encountered on his travels…and I found myself laughing and spellbound as he weaved his magic. I also noticed that my frustration and stress seemed to melt away, and a strange sense of calm and peacefulness claimed my soul. The stories he told reminded me that dealing with travel issues is very much a 1st world problem…and that there are MUCH bigger situations in the world that I could be suffering from.

All too soon, an hour had passed, and I was surprised to see that my phone was fully-charged. I reluctantly said good-bye to Chris, so that I could give up my outlet to the next poor soul who had been waiting impatiently for me to move on. He told me he would pray for me, and I knew, in my heart, that he meant it…and it felt good, knowing that.

I walked away, and then hurried to finish up a few more errands before they called to board my flight. A quick stop at a store to buy some bottled water, and then a brief stop at the ladies' room…and as I was rushing back to my gate, I happened to see Chris, who was calmly walking towards his own gate. He sees me, and he gives me a brief smile and nod.

And again…a sense of peace settled in my soul.

They say that Jesus sometimes takes on the form of man and walks the earth "in disguise" - and after my encounter with Chris on Tuesday night, I have to believe that this is true. I can't explain the feeling of peace that was now upon me…almost as if I had truly been blessed.

If I'd had any doubts, it was what happened afterwards that sealed it for me. The long flight from Los Angeles to Chicago was extremely rocky and turbulent - which would normally send me into a full-blown panic attack…and yet…I was calm. Cool. Collected. At peace, the entire flight. No panic. No heart-squeezing, pain-inducing fear coursing through my veins. No rapid breathing, no thoughts of the plane disintegrating in the sky….


This strange and foreign feeling of peace and relaxation lasted through the next two flights, as well…Chicago to St. Louis, and then St. Louis to Kansas City…and both of these flights were as equally turbulent.

I don't know the difference…I can't explain it…but can anyone?

All I can say is…thank you, Chris. Thank you for that hour on a crazy and frustrating Tuesday night.

You restored my faith and soul.



Friday, February 7, 2014

Camp Mekokiko

I really AM working.


I can't help that it's in the tropical paradise known as Hawaii.

For those of you wondering what the heck I'm doing, I've been here at Camp Mekokiko for the last few days, and I SWEAR I've been working.

Camp Mekokiko is the only camp and retreat property owned by the Hawaii District United Methodist Church ("Mekokiko" means "Methodist" in Hawaiian.) The camp is a 36.5-acre mountain site on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea at the northern end of the Hamakua coast on the Big Island. Located on the windward (east) side of the island, the camp is lush and green, with over two miles of walking trails, with an elevation of 1,800 feet.

The main building…we've got five men sleeping here, but it also houses our kitchen and "living room/dining room"….Our central meeting point.

The "duplex" - four small bedrooms, each sleeping two…we have seven ladies here. I think it's the nicest accommodations I've ever had on a mission trip!

Each morning, I have about a half-mile walk from the duplex to the main lodge…but what a beautiful walk it is!!!

We have a group of twelve…from various parts of Missouri (and one Oklahoman - she can't help it)…and we are doing various projects all over the camp. We might be spending any given day weeding the bountiful fruit orchard, or laying new cement, or building new BBQ sites. Surrounded by a virtual tropical rain forest, the work is taxing, but rewarding.

I've always thought the coral flowers were the prettiest flowers EVER. Seriously, if there could only be ONE color of flower in the world, this would be it.

There's fresh avocados in the orchard, but we have to get up early and "race" the wild turkeys to get them. Usually, the turkeys win.

Fresh oranges…

…that we pick right from the tree….

Throw in some Surinam Cherries, and we'd have a delicious fruit salad!!!

Besides being surrounded by tropical plants, foliage and flowers, we are also sharing our camp with a variety of wildlife…including pigs, turkeys and frogs - especially the small-but-loud coqui frog.

When we're not working, we're trying to soak up as much scenery and culture as we can possibly squeeze in…we may drive to the Hilo side of the island, for a visit to the Farmer's Market - or a trip to Volcanos National Park…or we may drive over to western side, to visit church and visit with the locals.

We've visited Pu'ukohola Heiau, a National Historic Site that was extremely fascinating. These are the last major Hawaiian temple ruins, and it was built by King Kamehameha I in 1790.

It's built right by the ocean, and we could spot humpback whales off in the distance, which was pretty cool. In fact, the name of the temple means "Temple on the Hill of the Whale."

I'll add some more photos of our activities on my next post…because it's now time to get back to work!!!



Monday, February 3, 2014

Chinese Unicorns

In my defense…I was very tired.

(And you KNOW it's going to be good when someone has to start out with, "In my defense….")

I haven't quite adjusted to Hawaiian time, and my body was simply exhausted…which surely explains what happened last night.

To set the scene, there were six of us in a minivan…traveling around the Big Island of Hawaii after a long day of church and sightseeing. I was in the very back seat, which is ALSO part of my defense, should I ever be called to testify. It was raining, and the sound of the pitter-patter on the car, combined with the car noise, meant that I simply couldn't hear.


One of the women in our group, Lark, was talking about something or other, half of which I couldn't quite hear, and the other half I was simply too tired to make sense of. My brain was pretty much mush. Until, that is, I heard Lark say, "So, anyways - we checked the labels, and the unicorns were made in China."


This perked me up.

I mean, seriously? Chinese unicorns???!! I was now fully alert.

Not quite believing what I'd just heard, I said, a bit wondrously from the back seat, "The Chinese make unicorns???"

A stunned silence followed, and the rest of the group immediately shouted, "UNIFORMS, Sherri! NOT 'unicorns'!!!" And then they all busted a gut with laughter.


I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed - believing for just a second, that perhaps, unicorns really DID exist - thanks to the Chinese.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cruising Hollywood in a Stretch Limosine


Greetings from the Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawaii…I'm somewhere between Kona and Hilo, up on the north side of the island…on a remote church camp up in the mountains. This will be my home away from home for the next two weeks or so, where I'll be spending the bulk of my time building the camp.

Fun times!!!

It was certainly an adventure getting here - mainly because of some unexpected "mechanical issues" with one of our airplanes…but it all turned out well.

Yesterday morning, we faced an all-day unexpected and unplanned layover in Los Angeles…and rather than sitting in a hotel room all day - or an airline terminal all day - staring at the walls - we made lemonade out of lemons.

We had a wonderful concierge at the hotel, who hooked us up with a limo driver…and for a mere $20 per person (there were 9 of us), he took us on a 4-5 hour tour of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive.


Some highlights!!!

Our ride for the day!!!

First stop, up to see the famous Hollywood sign:

It was WINDY!!! But awesome!!!

And a view of the Los Angeles skyline, with the Hollywood Bowl in the lower corner:

We then headed down the famous Sunset Strip, which was interesting with the various architecture, shops and restaurants:

We then headed down Hollywood Boulevard, where the driver let us out for a bit so we could walk down the Boulevard and check out the various sites. Here are some of the famous celebrity hand & footprints embedded in concrete in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater:

Clark Gable had BIG feet….

I LOVED Jimmy Durante's signature!


HAD to take this photo - this was my major crush in the 70's!!!

This is my current crush. Squee.

It was so cool to look at all of the handprints and footprints - I took millions of photos, but I won't share them all here. It was also cool to see the "stars" along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After this, we then cruised down Rodeo Drive.


I mean, seriously - how often, in your lifetime, will you ride down Rodeo Drive in a LIMO???!!! It was never on my bucket list to do this, but it should have been. I felt like a rockstar.

Trying to be cool about the whole thing, but not succeeding!!!

It was a great way to spend the afternoon - and it made our unannounced layover much easier, since we were now going to miss out on a day in Hawaii. This was called - doing it in style!



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hawaiian Adventure???

When I set out to have a Hawaiian adventure…this is not exactly what I signed on for.

I envisioned a quick and easy flight that would whisk me off to a tropical paradise…and yet, here I sit in a Holiday Inn in Los Angeles, using what meager supplies I have in my carry-on baggage to get me through the day…until I can board a plane tonight, exactly 24 hours late, to whisk off onto that adventure.

The original plan had me flying from St. Louis to Dallas, with a short layover before flying to Los Angeles, with a two-hour layover before the final flight to Kona, Hawaii. As our group (there are ten of us) was getting ready to board our flight in St. Louis yesterday morning, the gate agents suddenly shut the door to the gateway and announced that there would be "no more boarding" - due to "mechanical issues."

Uh oh.

So, we sat back down. And waited. And waited. And waited. At least half of us were in the terminal area, with access to drinks and restrooms…the other half of the passengers were stuck on the plane, where it was cold, and benefits were limited.

Eventually, they opened the door back up for boarding, got the rest of us on the plane, and then we…proceeded to wait. Again.

A long story short - by the time we finally took off and arrived in Dallas, we had long missed our connection to Los Angeles. Pretty much all 180 passengers on the plane missed their connections, and so we had to stand in line - behind approximately 150 of them - as ONE SINGLE SOLITARY GATE AGENT at the airport tried to fix things.


We stood in that line for close to two hours.

I wanted to throw myself down on the floor and have a screaming temper tantrum, but I withheld…only because there was a mother and her two-year old daughter right in front of me, and I didn't want to set a bad example. Actually, that toddler handled it better than any of us did, happily playing with her iPad and sipping her juice and munching her Cheerios. And there you have it. Juice and Cheerios can make all the difference - the airlines should pass that stuff out next time to those of us standing in lines, and our frustration levels would go WAAAAY down.

We eventually made out way to the top of the summit front of the line, where we were told that our only option was to catch a later flight to Los Angeles, spend the night there, and then catch a 5:45 pm flight to Hawaii.


I've actually never had to get a voucher…never. In all of my traveling around the world, I guess I've been lucky - or not - depending on how you look at it - in that I've never gotten a voucher. And not just for a room at a Holiday Inn…but $19 for FOOD!!! (Which, I am sure, will go FAR in Los Angeles. Squeeeeeee.)

It's interesting…before I left on this trip, I had told my husband that my goal was to work on my patience. If you know me - you know that I don't always adapt well to changes in my well-laid plans. I can sorta'…flip out. I have to say, I'm doing remarkably well so far, and I've had no flips. Yet. But the trip is young.

So…anyway…today, I should finally be back on my way to paradise. Once there, our group will be camping at a Methodist camp near Hilo, Hawaii - where we will be doing a lot of manual/physical labor at the camp. Landscaping, building walls, tearing out stumps, pruning the fruit & nut orchards, laying pavers, sanding/painting camp walls - we'll spend the next two weeks doing labors of love. Throw in some sight-seeing, and it should be an awesome trip.

If I can ever get there.

Peace (and patience).