Big ol Canyon

Waimea Canyon

Who doesn’t love exploring? I always feel like I’m on an adventure when traveling around Kaua’i. There is so much to see and do and experience.

I camped recently near the canyon and every morning I would get up early so I could see the sunrise over it. It was absolutely magestic.

“No bad days”

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Doppio a day keeps the doctor away

Serving up the best double espressos in the city

Java Kai in downtown Kapa’a Kauai “Drink coffee or die”

One of my favorite books on the topic of coffee The Joy of Coffee calls a double shot of espresso, “six sips of gold” and I very much agree.

Often when traveling I want that perfect doopio espresso, it’s my number 1 simple indulgence. However, I use it more and more to slow myself down in the Hussle and bussle of my days. I find that I go through a week without fully slowing down to look up. Yes, I have my morning reading time and I often drive with no music on to sort of reset but I’m talking about going some place nosey to get quiet.

Do you find yourself able to listen better when it’s just loud? I do.

As an aside here are a few tips when looking for a good double espresso on vacation:

  1. Look for a good espresso machine not some cheesy off brand little home machine.
  2. Look at the person pulling the shots, I look for some meticulous. You are paying $4 for 2 ounces of liquid. Judge the book by their cover! I look for some who takes pride in how they present themselves. How tight is their comb over, how waxed is his mustache, does she keep her kicks clean? I will say this, an apron wearing barista is half way there (assuming it is not part of their required work attire ie. Do they choose to wear it vs. being forced)
  3. Are the cups hot on top of the machine ready to go?
  4. Are they proud of their coffee/espresso? If you have to hunt for who makes their stuff, move on. As a barista, I’m proud of the coffee I use. A proud barista=quality pull.
  5. If the shop is making sandwiches, pizza, pastries and they also sell Cokes, they are clearly doing too much. The chances of them actually training their team to slow down and create the perfect pull is 50/50.
  6. Back to the topic of cups: if they don’t have real porcelain cups, they aren’t worthy of your time.
  7. No Starbucks EVER! (Sorry, it had to be said)
  8. This has nothing to do with judging if they will pull a perfect espresso but one thing I look for is a good high bar or some place to stand while I sip my espresso. It takes less than 2 min to finish it. I like standing and sipping. It’s a stupid small little cup, I feel like I’m playing tea time with my niece sipping imaginary tea when I sit down at a proper table. A real man sips while standing and under two minutes. It’s basically syrup at that point and might as well be thrown away.
  9. Happy Sipping!

A Grandmother’s Love

Saturdays at Birkolms Bakery in the heart of Solvang, Ca

Saturday morning tradition.

This photo is from a beautiful summer morning in 2014. I picked MorMor (Danish for mother’s mother) in my old truck and we made our way to downtown Solvang for coffee and pastries at our favorite bakery: Birkolms. It was part of a long standing family tradition and how we have spent Saturday morning since my youth. Normally it is crowded with more than just her and I but this morning was special, I got her all to myself.

I remember thinking to myself how important these moments were as she was almost 90 at the time and she was in the hospital every 6 months for some ailment or another. None of that mattered now, this was our time to go for a drive, fill up on sweets and treats and laugh together.

I will always cherish my time with this sweet woman, she taught me so much of life’s best lessons and did so with such grace and class.

I miss you MorMor.

With!

Christmas Day at Chicken in a Barrel 2018

Pastor Mike, owner of Chicken in a Barrel, gives the best hugs. When I first moved to Kaua’i, I was pretty lonely and beat up. I remember going to Calvary Chapel North Shore to a Wednesday night Bible study and after he prayed with me and gave me a hug. That hug and those prayers set the tone for my tenure on this island.

Author and US Consul to Uganda Bob Goff speaks of the word With often. It’s one of his favorite words to describe how we are to carry out our Faith. He has abandoned Bible studies with his crew of guys and replaced with Bible “doings”. He believes that Jesus calls us to be WITH each other and to serve alongside each other.

I think the word ‘with’ perfectly describes our walk as a follower of Jesus. We are to walk with Him and we are to walk with each other, serving the King and our bretheren.

Pastor Mike has been a central figure in my compass over these last three years. ‘With’ serving doesn’t always means doing Bible studies, seeing someone weekly, or knowing each other’s darkest secrets, but it does mean being there when things are messy and holding that person and praying with them. It is usually never a convenient moment but it is paramount that we forgo our own needs in those moments to be With our brother.

A smile that forever changed my life.

A kind heart and a warm smile

About ten years ago I made my way to Tijuana Mexico for the first time on a multicultural missions journey. I call it a journey and not a trip because it was not a singular event. My heart was searching for a journey and the Lord placed this young smile in my path.

We made our way South about every other month for the first few years so our trips we’re frequent and our relationships grew quickly. My Spanish was being used and it was on the tip of my tongue. Those were the days.

On the first adventure, this young boy of 8 made his way to me, I can’t remember necessarily seeking him out other than his smile has absolutely pulled me ever since. We hit it off from the start and I have watched him grow, become a leader and a big brother to so many other kids at the orphanage he was raised at. He takes care of his little brother and so many other kids. He has a dream of joining the military.

My dream is that one day I could afford to have him and his brother live with me and send them to community college near my house. I pray for the Lord’s guidance in how best to remain in their life and have sought this direct for more than 6 years now.

I don’t see him nearly as often but my heart still has him embedded in my smile. He loves Jesus and we are brothers.

Interbalistic Missile hoax ~ a reminder in love

Sunset in Koloa

Missile induced Sunset

Kealia beach

Cup of coffee and a warm winter breeze

[False Alert] A year ago this morning I called my family to share with them the message of a missile threat about to hit our island. Oddly enough it ended up being one the best days of the year. I spent the morning at Kealia and then on to my men’s bible study only to receive the Alert. That evening I made my way to the west side of the island for sunset lathered in prayer and reflection.

It was a pivotal moment as a son and brother to express my love quickly to my parents and sister/brother in law and really opened my heart to more. I’m very thankful for a simple thing like a false Alert as a reminder to love more, love often and love bigger the ones God has placed in our care.
Tomorrow is not promised.

I hope I don’t need more missile alerts to remind me of this but I have a feeling by Jan 13, 2020 I’ll already need another kick in the pants to open my eyes and heart again.

This is the day the Lord has made

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24 NKJV

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