"...They will tell you life is sweet, in spite of the misery..." - Natalie Merchant

This is us. We live in a bus. A blue bus, in Hawaii to be exact. Some days it's wonderful, and some days are really hard.... but any time I call the cell phone company or any other company to pay a bill or say that I moved they say,"oh, Hawaii eh? That must be rough". So, somehow we missed the memo that if you live in Hawaii your life must be perfect. Well, hopefully this blog will set you straight:) Our life is not perfect by any means. But it IS full of adventure, which is just what we asked for!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

little wahine

This is what I nick-nameed the "journaling room" in the place we are care-taking right now. There are lovely rich cushions and pillows on the floor, and you can't see it in the picture but there are the most beautiful huge wooden bowls, filled with journals and writing. What a lovely place.

What a dreamy life... to wake up, do some stretching, make tea, flow into beautiful journaling room to sit,meditate, pray, and be inspired. A beautiful home, plenty of time, "enough" money, lovely weather and views, and a wonderful family in the mix. There would probably be a pretty turqoise kimono and some other nice clothes in there too somewhere, if I'm gonna dream.

The funny thing is, I still prefer my sweet little house. It's easier. It's simpler. It's enough.

What do I want...What do I need... what do I already have?

Is it weird that I constantly ask in my subconcious these questions? I can't get off this kick lately. And I have to say, I'm not sure if I am just set up in prime conditions or what, but I feel pretty damn well satsified with what I have. It's the most earie feeling. Even the lacking, the part of me that is constantly craving, I even love that. It's the part of me that is always hungry, always looking for life and for love and beauty.... then discovering the sweet truth that it abounds.

I was going to write this blog with descriptions of the unique and beautiful experiences I've been having, but feel that it wouldn't do this feeling justice. I don't want to paint the wrong picture here.... just believe me when I say that my life is not perfect. I really have such trying moments...where I swear under my breath, or snap at my kids, or just feel so tired of wiping up Gabe's poop. But see... Even that! That is part of it too! I'm realizing that life really will never be perfect. I can break it down into some simple basics:

1. If I think stuff will make me happy, I will never have enough, and I still won't be happy.
2. An act of love is usually staring me right in the face.
3. If I don't just start trying now to overcome my weaknesses, my life will just get worse.
4. there is breathtaking beauty all around me, if I just take a look
5. Challenge myself to things that scare me
6. work hard, from my heart.
7. Give myself room to be human
8. Make sure to put my energy and love into things that matter.
9. Love deeply, let it make me cry in the middle of the farmer'market in empathy for someone I don't even really know.

I feel silly suggesting this, but could you try saying this list out loud to yourself and let me know how it makes you feel. If you think of a few more things for my list, please let me know.

I talk about you often. Sometimes I miss you so much it's the strangest feeling, I want to watch you blossom, mature, grow older. I have known you and loved you during all my remembering years. I wish we could have long converstations... hard to do from across the ocean, but here is my blog in honor of you. I love your spirit, your heart, your beauty, your light!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fevers and tangerines.

It’s been forever since I have made time to do this… but miraculously time was made for me by forced conditions. Lily and Gabe are sick, lethargic, achy, coughy and feverish, so we can’t leave, we have no internet, and we live in a bus. I have cleaned, read, cleaned more, made breakfast, made tea, made snacks, read books, and now that I have run out of things to do, I am forced to blog. Or at least write a blog that will possibly never be uploaded because who knows when I will find internet to make that happen?

So, the truth is that this blog intimidates and overwh
elms me because I am so far behind…. How would I ever be able to catch up on what has taken place since Christmas? Ha! You know what? I’m not going to do it! I’m just going to talk about today.

I was just washing the dishes and thinking about how living in a bus might be making me crazy. OR, it might be making me strong, adaptable and content. You see, it can change every 30 minutes. THAT is how fast things can get better and worse when you live in a small space. To anyone out there who has done it, do you know what I’m saying? It’s a struggle to keep my perspective right, it feels kind of like when I was in labor. But when I push through these hard, hard moments, I feel amazing, and I want to do it again. Just that battle inside, where I want to lay down, give up, cry and feel sorry for myself, and then this stronger woman is right in there too, challenging me, urging me on… I love it when that girl wins. But it takes a lot of humility, meditation, intention and prayers for her to win, it really does.

What I keep thinking about today, is that this is where I get stronger. I tossed and turned a lot last night, Johnny sleeping on the couch to make room in our bed for feverish kids, who cried and coughed all night long. I seriously feel like I was praying all night. I don’t know what to do, both Johnny and I feel overwhelmed right now, where to live, where to work, how to MAKE things work….yet I feel some deep inner peace that it is all going to be amazing, and I just need to keep my head up, do my best and watch beauty unfold. It takes a lot of patience to do that. It’s taking my children being so sick that we are bus-bound, for me to just slow down, think, and just be. I know I can make things happen, I know I could go find us a great little house, and I can always find ways to bring in money and be a super hard worker…. But it’s not the time for me to do that. I really feel like I need to wait, hope, love, and be happy in the meantime.

So here’s how I’m doing that today….

I’m taking such good care of my sick babies. Pau d’arco tea, essential oils, Echinacea, ginger, tumeric, colloidal silver… and IBU profen when it’s bad. I cleaned this bus and organized yet again, and have to say, it’s a cozy little place. Yesterday was so hot I felt crazy, sweaty and grouchy in here, totally hopeless and little depressed…. So today, I opened all the windows, got a breeze going, and lit some candles. I have a lot to be thankful for. Panoramic windows all around with green things growing right outside, birds calling, clean air.

My friend Ann-Marie made the day even brighter by dropping by with fresh avacado and a big bag of tangerines from her back yard… all sliced and clean! Fresh vitamin C for all, and they are SO delicious, I just stood over the sink just pounding tangarines til I had my fill!

So there are always breezes and tangerines in your day if you look for them…. And living in a bus can be just awful, or a grand adventure depending on which way you let your mind take you…. Believe me, I go back and forth many times a week!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.

My new friend Kelly asked how the blogging was going... and I told her I stopped. She said I should start again. And now that we have internet (3 days now!) I feel like maybe I will. Blogging is turning out to be harder than I thought.... to be honest, it feels really vulnerable. Many of the things I would blog about involve or include interactions with other people, and it feels so personal to share things that anyone could read. I'm realizing it doesn't have to be a journal or diary.... but a blog. See that? I can evolve.

So. What do I want to tell you about tonight. Maybe I will make you a list of all the things that make me happy about our life here in Hawaii.

1. We are making really great friends. Kellie, Jesse and their boys live right down the road from us, and we can walk to their house. We have plans to build a dwelling on their land. Like Johnny said, you can see whales jumping from their porch. We already feel like we've known them for much longer than a month. Jesse and Kellie, not the whales.

2. Yesterday, I took Lily and Gabe on a walk, and on our way we picked our snacks right off a tree. Tangerines! They were delicious. I love that Lily and Gabe get to eat food right from the source.

3. Today the rain came down so hard it was hard to hear each other talk. Gabe opened the door, walked right out to the edge of our patio and just stared. He seemed so mesmerized, not scared, not excited, just in awe. I stood in the door and watched him for a long time. It woke something beautiful inside me. I love rain. I love Gabe.

3. We have a tiny christmas tree. Johnny got it from a lady he did some work for. It's a little charlie brown pine, in the pot. We'd like to plant it on our friends' property and watch it grow. The best part is that we decorated it for less than 2 dollars... between gifts, thrift store finds and second hand tinsel.

4. As you probably know, I love feeling (palpating) bellies with babies in them. God must know that too, because there are a quite a few pregnant mamas who are happy to let me feel their babies. It's been really fun to do, just for fun.... so relaxed and happy I am to be in this phase of enjoying. (I think that sounded like something yoda might say?)

5. Lots of good reggae on the radio here.

6. We have plenty of work.... more than enough actually, we have been turning down a few jobs even. Our days are super full all of a sudden, Johnny and I piecing our schedules together and taking turns being home with the kids. Whoever is at home can walk to the park, store or library. Or do laundry. The kind of work we've been doing: we are both doing part time office work for a local Dr.who practices natural medicine. Johnny's been doing handyman work, as well as window washing, which could be a full time business. Cleaning vacation rentals when we have time. It's pretty laid back work, but it's physical too, which feels good.

7. We've heard that Kohala (especially Hawi and Kapa'au) has some of the cleanest air in the WORLD. I believe it. It's amazing how clear and clean the air feels. The breezes here are lovely. Tradewinds are something I never knew I loved so much. Such an amazing feeling to have a breeze blow right off the ocean into your window. Speaking of which, our windows are always open! I love that.

8. I feel inspired here. Music is integrating into my life again. I've played with quite a few people, just for fun.... or at the Kava bar in town. I've really missed playing the past few years. I wrote a new song a few nights ago.

9. Every Saturday is the Hawi farmers market, under the banyon tree. Everything from Kohala greens, which are so delicious, organic and cheap, to used clothing and handcrafted jewelry. Its everything I have ever wanted a farmers market to be. People just pull up in their truck, and sell their produce right off the back. No snobby farmer's market fees and prices. Things really are affordable, and all the vendors make a kind of circle around the grassy area, and the kids all run around.

10. Since it's a small community here, Lily knows just about every kid she sees now. So every outing we go on pretty much guarantees that she will see a friend. I love that.

11. There's not a single stoplight or chain restaurant for 20 miles.

12. Avacados grow on trees. and you can just pick them right off and make guacamole.

13. Wherever I am, things are never absolutely perfect, and I keep learning more about love. Which is all I need.

Love, Dani

Friday, December 3, 2010

The last member of our family has arrived!

Our truck arrived, I was so happy, it was a little piece of home that we brought with us and seeing it, driving it, was such a comforting feeling. It has not only alleviated the stress of needing to find a dependable car, but it has also made us some friends. Dani took the kids to the beach one morning and there were some guys that were surfing. When they came in they started talking to Dani, the subject being our Toyota. One of them lives down the road from us, and recognized the truck, even though it only arrived three days before. They were commenting on it and began talking, come to find out one of them has 27 acres of nearly ocean front property just down the street from where we are currently living. Furthermore they have a bus they have been wanting to add on to and turn it into a livable space that they can rent to supplement income. If all that wasn’t enough, they love God and have kids Lily and Gabe’s ages. In the next couple of months I will be working for them and instead of paying me all the money that I might earn will go directly towards future rent. I get to build my family a home, for who knows how long on the Big Island. We were there for dinner the other night, sitting on their porch talking about details when a huge eruption of water shoots out of the ocean, the Hump Back whales were jumping. I love this place!

- Johnny

Whale watching and window washing

It seems that everyone here has a very different mentality when it comes to work. I have yet to meet someone who has a nine to five job that gives them forty hours of work in five days. Most people in fact have multiple jobs, all the while spending lots of time with their families. It seems that the population is pretty split; there are the older folks whose kids are mostly grown and out of the house and then there is the younger generation who are just starting out their families.

So far I have been a plumber, electrician, mechanic, window washer, and for about two hours I was cleaning houses. There has been a lot of interest in my finish carpentry skills and I just dropped a chunk of change on black Friday to get all the tools I need, so hopefully something will come of that. This week I have a lot of landscaping work, which should be fun. The hard part is that there is a lot of driving involved, at least thirty minutes each way, but if there was anywhere to have to commute the big island is the place to be. The 20 minute drive to my landscaping job is breathtaking. It is winter here as well, and even though there is no snow and cold, there are still signs to tell us that it is winter. The signs here are far more delightful, at least for me. First there is the winter swells, waves get huge in the wintertime, so big that they close down beaches and don’t allow people to surf or swim. Another is that the whales are returning. It seems mystical that these mammals of prehistoric size are swimming just a few miles from us off the coast. I have seen a couple already, but my first was the most amazing. I was driving home from a window washing job and looked over at the sun starting to go down over the ocean when I saw this spout of water shoot up out of the ocean six or seven feet high, and then again, and again. I couldn’t believe it I wanted to turn to someone in the car and shout, but I was all alone, I even looked in the review mirror and in front of me to see if I could signal another car to see what I was seeing, but I was all alone in the car and on the road. It was as if this whale had appeared just for me. It got me thinking about the experiences I have had on this island. I have seen and been so many different places thanks to the type of people that we are meeting on this island, and I realized that anything is possible. I don’t need a lot of money, or a fantastic career to be able to experience the amazing things that this island has to offer… it is available to everyone. Not to mention that even the wealthy folks that live here are very down to earth. They shop in the same grocery stores and farmer’s markets that we do and go to the same community events. We have met many new friends who have large pieces of land, and we have gone to their homes for dinner and to see what they are doing. Yurts, solar panels, windmills, huge gardens, mac-nut farms, outdoor showers… the majority of people we meet here are living unique and exciting lives. The fact all this is available to us, it is really exciting, I have never felt like so much was at my fingertips ready to grab.

Yesterday we went to church with some friends that we are going to work on their land in trade for a place to stay, there are some awesome details surrounding that but that I think is for another post. Anyway it was an old Baptist church that I think it’s maximum capacity is maybe 75, that might be standing room only. There were around 30 adults and 20 children. After worship all the kids are invited to the front where they have a little Sunday school lesson while everyone in the church sits and listens, then the kids go outside and play while the pastor delivers the sermon. Did I mention that everyone is barefoot in shorts and t-shirts? We were lucky enough to hit the last Sunday of the month and it was the Sunday that they had potluck so we got to fellowship over food, which is always awesome. To top it all off a tall elderly Scottish man in the circle with all of us holding hands blessed the food. It has to be the most unique church service that I have ever attended and I loved it. The whole morning I was reminded over and over the simplicity of who God is...Love. My kids were so loved and my family was so welcomed. I was nearly brought to tears more than once in the morning, thank you God, I am so loved.

- Johnny

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Incredibly Nutritious – all about food.

Many changes have been taking place in our lives… one of them being the way we eat. We tried to eat healthy before, and thought we were doing alright, but our stay with the folks at Gentle World exposed us to new ideas. I really like learning new ways to prepare food, so we bought one of their cookbooks when we left, because I wanted to try some of their magic in my own kitchen. During our few days in their community, eating strictly vegan, I began to feel really different. At first really tired, I think I was definitely de-toxing. Not just physically, before we left I was running on crappy food, a fair bit of stress, and not much sleep. I think we were a pretty sorry lot when we arrived. Anyway, something really cool started happening for me physically after the first two days…. It was while I was sleeping. I would feel really light, and have dreams that involved floating or flying, and when I woke up in the morning I felt really clean and clear and…. well just light I guess. I’ve been thinking that eating animal products is a pretty heavy thing for your body to take on. So back to my mission here, I wanted to share some recipes from the cookbook. BTW, here is their website if you would like to buy one for your own kitchen. http://gentleworld.org/

This Banini Shake is really great. I had it for breakfast the other morning and felt pretty spoiled to be eating what seems like a milkshake so early in the day. As Birds (one of the guys from Gentle World) says, “it tastes just like a malted”. Freeze your overripe bananas (peeled and bagged) for this treat.

Banini (or Vanilla Malted) Shake

1 cup ice cold water

4 bananas – frozen, sliced

¼ cup tahini

1 T maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

In blender, start with 1 cup of ice water, add remaining ingredients and blend. If too thick, add more water.

Banana Bread- so yummy, and you would never guess that is sans dairy and eggs. We used applesauce in place of the oil.

1 cup dry sweetener

3 bananas mashed

½ cup oil

2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ cup walnuts (chopped)

½ cup raisins

mix wet and dry ingredients separately. Combine and mix nuts and raisins into the batter. Pour into oiled/floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-60 min.

Pancakes – Johnny has always liked making us pancakes for a special breakfast treat, so we were pretty pleased to find this vegan version. Once again, you can replace half- or even all – of the oil with applesauce.

Fluffy Pancakes – yields about 8 small pancakes

1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

2 T. dry sweetener

½ tsp. vanilla

1 ¼ cups soy milk

2 T oil

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls then combine and make like you would any old pancake.

We have also been creating a lot of meals ourselves out of the yummy veggies and fruits that are sold locally at the farmer’s market…. They are SO delicious, fresh and affordable. Here’s one of our favorites, our own version of something our friends Sam and Hannah made up:

Bean Bowls

Quinoa – cooked and seasoned with braggs and herbs – then cooled.

Beans – either black or pinto – cooked then cooled. Or you can use a can.

Fresh chopped greens – Kale, Bok Choy, Spinach, Arugula, you name it.

Fresh diced tomatoes

Artichoke hearts, sliced olives (both of these are optional)

A sprinkle of something spicy, like Tabasco or Creole seasoning, or whatever you have.


Vegan Sour Cream, made by “Tofutti” – try it, you will like it!

Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl and enjoy. J

The vegans have been really kind to us in letting us buy food from them since they buy in bulk. Here are some of the new ingredients they have turned us on to:

  • Daiya shredded “cheese”. It looks like cheese, and melts like cheese. I can’t say it tastes just like cheese, but it tastes kinda close and it’s really tasty. When we picked up the cheese Summer gave us the idea of making mini-pizzas…. So we did that night, with our flatbread buns and they were really tasty little pizzas! Pretty cool that there is such a thing as vegan pizza.

  • Tahini- LOVE this stuff. Remind me to post the recipe from the vegan cookbook for French toast using Tahini. We bought a gallon from them and I am loving it. It’s awesome in salad dressings too.

  • En-er-gie Egg Replacer- for cooking or baking. This stuff is great.

  • Vegan chocolate flavored syrup – made by santa cruz.

  • Vegan Cookies – these are kind of pricey, but we have bought a few and they are so tasty. They are the big ones, individually wrapped, made by the Alternative Baking Co.

The vegans also have been sharing their home-grown avocados with us, which we are really thankful for… they are so delicious. In truth, the people at Gentle World have been incredibly kind to us, (in addition to be incredibly delicious haha), we are so thankful for all the help and resources they have provided us with. Really, they are amazing, sincere and gentle people, with an admirable vision.

I have more exciting things to share, like we may be converting a bus into a house for us to live in, but that will come later. Much love and Aloha, until next time.