Counting my blessings

Among the wonderful blessing of  simply living in Hawaii is that there are a lot of  rainbows. It gives me even more joy that there is a special blessing in Hebrew just for the rainbow. I love it that I get to combine the two on a regular basis.

I have gotten into the habit of snapping a photo of them with my iPhone. Here are few of my recent favorites.

I saw this rainbow on Sunday evening when I was leaving the Kukui Center after a Kids Hurt Too Hawaii Board of Directors meeting.

This rainbow graced our presence last month when I was waiting on the top-level of the parking lot at the Neal Blaisdell Center to go to the Kamehameha Schools 92nd Annual Song Contest–and our first.

This is the double rainbow I saw outside our hotel room window in December when we were at Turtle Bay Resort celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary.

I can’t help but count in my blessings the opportunity to count these blessings every day.

Chag Sameach from the North Shore

We tell our kids all the time, “Chanukkah is not a major holiday in the Jewish tradition. It’s only a festival.” It is a wonderful celebration of bravery and miracles and light, but it has nothing to do with presents. Americans added on that part because of Christmas.

Then we spend 8 nights lighting candles, playing dreidle, eating more than our share of fried food and giving them too many presents. I can’t help it. I love picking out presents for them.

This year we ended up sort of practicing what we preach. We were not together as a family for the first few nights. We have celebrated from different shores. We haven’t given them any presents…. yet.

Not only is this the holiday season, but it is also our wedding anniversary and my birthday. Yes, we got married on my birthday, December 26.

When Chanukkah falls during the later part of December, all of these celebrations converge. My husband and I like to celebrate what we call our “Birthaversary” each year by getting away alone together for a few days. Since we were expecting his mother to arrive next week, we celebrated early, thus missing the first few nights of Chanukkah with our daughters.

The younger girl has spent 5 glorious days at Camp Erdman in Mokuleia. We packed her and some dreidles and some chocolate coins and dropped her off last Sunday. Our teenager stayed with her  grandmother on the West Side enjoying family and going back and forth to wrestling practice in Kapalama.

Husband and I packed our own bags, plus an extra one filled with snacks and drinks and hit the road for the North Shore of Oahu to our favorite getaway destination, Turtle Bay Resort.

It has become a tradition for us to celebrate together in this beautiful vacation spot. Before we were married, he was deployed in Iraq from 2004-2006. He came to Hawaii to spend a week of his R & R leave with me at this very place. We have come back every year since that romantic week in 2005.

It was just as romantic this year. What I love about the Turtle Bay Resort is that it really feels like being away on an outer island without the hassle or expense of getting on a plane or renting a car.

We only spent a few days on the North Shore, but it was enough to relax, disconnect from the demands of daily life and reconnect with each other. I consider that a great way to celebrate a holiday and a minor miracle in and of itself.

We enjoyed the secluded beaches to the North of the resort, walking for a few miles along the coastline, dipping our feet in the water, picking up sea glass and coral and embracing the sun and salt air.

Wednesday morning greeted us with a double rainbow right outside our hotel room window. Talk about a blessing.

Add to that some time for my husband to surf in the challenging waves that side of the island has to offer, while I embraced a relaxing moment in the jaccuzzi, then topping it all off with a dazzling and romantic sunset moment, I have to say that it made for a wonderful holiday celebration.

We returned to Kapolei relaxed and refreshed and began to gather our children back at home for a family Chanukkah weekend (and a few presents.)

Tonight we will join some of the local Jewish community at Pearl Harbor’s Aloha  Jewish Chapel for Erev Shabbat and Chanukkah services, latkes and song. Others will celebrate at Honolulu’s Temple Emanu-El, but we can’t be at two places at once tonight.

Chag Sameach to you and your family and may it’s light and miracles brighten each of our lives on this 4th night of Chanukkah.

Happy Birthaversary Darling…

Not only is the day after Christmas my birthday, but it is also our wedding anniversary. This is not by chance.

I married my wonderful, handsome husband three years ago on my 45th birthday (go ahead, I’m sure anybody can do the math.) I always say that it was the best birthday party I ever had. Not to mention, the smartest choice I ever made.

He chose the date and I agreed. He always says that it is so he won’t forget, but I don’t believe him. I just think he knew it would be a good idea and he was right.

I love our celebration every year. He is careful to make it special for both reasons and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate being alive than celebrate being married to a wonderful man.

Okay, enough kvelling about him.

So far, we have gone away each year to celebrate this special day. The first year the whole family went to the Big Island and stayed at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Last year we spent a few days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

This year he made reservations for the night at Turtle Bay on the North Shore. We did not bring the rest of the family. It was just the two of us for 24 glorious hours of romantic relaxation.

He picked an ocean view room and we made excellent use of the comfortable lanai. We watched the surfers catch waves, this kids play in the pool and the sunset take over the colorful sky.

Happy Birthaversary Darling, and I’m looking forward to years and years and years of more wonderful celebrations.