1. Mike's home and life is good. It's funny how everything is instantly better when you have your "person" with you. There are obviously the things that i was looking forward to again, like sitting beside him in church, having some kind of human touch/contact every day, waking up in the morning and him being there---but what has been even better are all the little things i didn't realize i missed, like just the sound of someone else in the house and how secure that feels, not always riding by myself in the car, getting that smile and hug that will instantly calm me down when i am irritated or anxious... Obviously, we can live on our own--life goes on, we can function separately and even have good times apart--but things aren't near as fun, as beautiful and as meaningful as they are when we're together and I am thankful to God that I know this and don't take for granted the time we are given to be with each other.
2. Our lesson during Children's Church yesterday was on Daniel and the Lion's Den. I asked how many of the kids knew the story (ages K-5), and there were about 4 kids out of 16 who had never heard the story before. What a blessing, and yet a huge responsibility it is to be the one teaching these children for the first time the stories from the Bible and building their biblical foundation. It's so easy to take for granted the way so many of us grew up--knowing these stories by heart even before we could really speak, and being saved while still children. Here in HI, one of our 50 united states, there are still so many children who never hear Jesus's name. They don't know the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and Moses. In our adult bible study, where i am the youngest member, there are just as many if not more people who have just been saved in the past 5 years as the amount of people who have grown up the church. I believe as a result of this, the Christians here really know what it means to be a Christian and how truly God has changed their lives because they have lived so much of it without Him. They praise the Lord louder and more passionately than any church I have ever been apart of even the 80-90 year olds, they are genuinely thankful for everything in their lives--even their trials, and most importantly to me--they genuinely care about every person who walks into that church--they get beyond the surface and really want to know how you are, what you are struggling with and they pray for you continuously and you never feel like you are an unwelcome or don't belong. These people don't just stand still singing hymns from a book while really thinking about something else, and they don't just go through the motions week after week reciting verses and prayers. They study theology and what exactly they believe and then they question things when they don't understand. I am blessed to be a part of them, to have been taken out of the church "box" i grew up in and see the way that I believe God meant for us to be.
3. I am re-learning the joy of cooking. I have always found cooking fun and relaxing--that is until i had to just do it just for myself everyday. Then i decided it just wasn't worth it, and because of that I ate the most peculiar things for the past 15 months. But now that Mike is back, i am going back through the cookbook and trying new things again, and i am really enjoying it. So I gained back a hobby, and i am certainly eating healthier because of it!
4. Yesterday we spent the afternoon with our "gang"--4 couples, 2 halves of couples (still deployed other halves) and 2 singles. We spent the afternoon riding waves at Bellows and then we all went to eat at Chili's. Sitting at the table there were 12 of us, all talkin' story and laughing, and I just had to sit back and smile at the family God has created for us while we are on this island and it's ever growing! Just like a biological family, we are all very different but also very similar, and together we work, we just fit and when one person is missing it's just not the same. God is so sufficient, He gives us everything we need, even a huge family on the most isolated set of islands on Earth.