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the story of the trees, part 15 ( this one is long)

with our vacation over and the perspective that this week brought both of us….and the kids, we decided to start praying about a date. ok….we didn’t pray at first. we looked at a calendar. bad mistake. with both of our schedules, our cumulative kids’ schedules, we were up a creek….hitting the wall…how ever you could describe it. i was kinda looking at that as a sign we weren’t to be married…yep, i was still looking for all kinds of boogie bears to jump out. this really has shown me some of the bondages i still struggle with today…..

we were getting angry with the situation and frustrated…THAT’S when we decided to pray ;)….so sorry to have to admit that. but its the truth. so. a couple of days went by….oh, first i have to say that chuck was wanting to get married in the fall. i didn’t want to leave the children during the school year and put that responsibility on someone else to make sure all the school work done. i felt like summer was the time, and if we needed to wait till the next summer, i was ok with that.

so we prayed. this is such a cool thing, too. i prayed one morning and god gave me a day to look at…actually a weekend….it was a weekend when the kids would go with their dad and it would start the 2 weeks out easier…..i looked at my calendar and saw the date….the 24th. that same morning, chuck sent me a text and said, i have been praying and god gave me the date of the 24th, would you look and make sure that is a date that will work for us. NO LIE.

so. we had our date. now. to the details….i looked online at a place that looked like a honeymooner’s paradise …. (it was)….we figured we could probably find a place for that date anywhere on the island, but didn’t want to make flight reservations until we had it secured. we called the place…5 hours time difference made calling a bit of a challenge, but we managed 😉 . we spoke with the husband of the couple who owned these little bungalows….he said no problem…i will book it. yay. that was easy. we booked the flights. as soon as we got off the phone with the airline, the lady called and said she was so sorry, her husband didn’t know but she had already booked the bungalow for 5 days–in the middle of our stay. it was the only one large enough for an extended stay. you could feel the tension fall on us like a hot woolen blanket. we said ok and hung up. we prayed…for god to continue to direct us and that if this wasn’t the place we were to stay, to show us….and that we KNEW he gave us this date….so to show himself strong on our behalf…no sooner than we said ‘amen’ did chuck’s phone ring…it was the lady….she said…she is not sure what happened, but she felt like she needed to cancel the other couple and give the reservation to us. wow. we were elated….and i took a deep breath, knowing that god WAS going before us.

chuck had asked the kids if he could marry me. he told them to keep it a secret until he had a ring….he had ordered a ring with 11 diamonds in it….1 for each child, and one for us. I LOVE IT. one afternoon, chuck came over and reagan asked him if ‘he had it’, he was like…shhhhh…..and she looked at him and whispered really loudly…well, when are you gonna ask her??????? it was so sweet!

as soon as my ring came in, he came over and proposed to me. once our wednesday night dinner friends found out, the kids were completely covered for two weeks. we had friends volunteer meals, weeks of staying with them, some taking them to their homes, etc. it was awesome! we even had a friend come over and make cookies with them the first day. so precious.

we had looked up all that needs to be done in hawaii to get married. i wanted a hawaiian ceremony and he wanted a christian ceremony. we were kinda at odds about this, but i knew i needed to let it go. he called one day so excited…he had found a hawaiian assemblies of god pastor who does a combined ceremony….pastor jeremiah hoaeae. don’t ask me to pronounce it….i found a photographer, we ordered flowers and we had our clothes. we found a place to get married….its hawaiian name is Pu?uhonua O H?naunau.  its english translation (we didn’t find out until later) is the place of second chances. we were set….i was planning on taking all my camera equipment to capture as much of hawaii as possible. chuck was so sweet…it all weighs a TON and we had to pay for that at the airports!

well. we had to be at the airport at 4 am. i was going to carry on my camera equipment so that it was safe. i was exhausted and nervous and just generally antsy. i was leaving my kids for 2 weeks…a first. and as a mom, i tend to get a bit nervous leaving my kids for no matter how long…but this one was a stretch.

at the ticket counter in the airport, we were told that all the overhead bins were taken and all my carry on bags would need to be checked. the man promptly took my bag and THREW out of an opening at the gate to the tarmac–on top of all the other bags….i didn’t even have time to pack it appropriately. and as he did this, he told me the airline did not insure anything that had to be added at the last minute…..my throat closed up and i was stuffing tears as hard as i could. we were in our seats and i just burst into tears….i was thinking i must’ve been nuts to agree to these shenanigans. i took a benadryl and tried to sleep…..i hardly spoke to chuck the whole entire trip out there. i am sure he was just about thinking the same as i.

as we approaching kona, we were making a game plan on what we would do. see, we were on a tight schedule. we HAD to get married that. day. no exceptions. we were not going to sleep together until we were married and we couldn’t get a second room at this place we were staying.

this was our plan: get off the plane ;), pick up our flowers, i would get the luggage (and check my cameras for any possible damage). chuck would get the rental car and we would head straight to the marriage license office (since we landed at noon and it closed at 4–it was a stressful situation). we didn’t know at that time they took their last appointment at 2. we would take our license and run to the bungalows and get dressed, meet the photographer and head to the beach to be there at 6 for our ceremony.

we get to the licensing office and this lady was a beast. (chuck wanted me to make sure put this in…it traumatized him 😉 –she had this sign on her desk that said ‘blood makes us sisters, prozac makes us friends’ .) so hateful and not helpful at all. she told us we didn’t have all our documents and she could not give us our license. we showed her the information we got online from her office and that we brought all the documents it said to. she said she was going to have to make a call to honolulu to get approval…whatever. she hung up and said we had everything and she was issuing our license to us. we took it and ran…before she could change her mind. chuck tells me now…that this was the most stressful time of the whole thing…this lady 😉

we got to the B & B we were staying at, got our bags in the bungalow and before chuck got out of the shower, the photographer was there….a bit early. we got dressed, took pictures and headed to the beach.

the ceremony was amazing. and short 😉 . we were excited and exhausted and ready for sleep. we had been up for about 20 hours by that time and were a little weary. and hungry. and old.

as soon as we got back to the bungalow….we sat on the bed and prayed….it was a very sweet time. and then…..the most precious thing happened. we looked at each other and said how amazing this whole experience had been….we both teared up as we both grieved…the loss of our marriages…our spouses…our future as we were expecting it….and cried in gratitude for how God had redeemed our broken hearts and loss…..it was the most amazing time.

i will close this post with this….the next morning, i woke up thinking ‘what in the world have i done?????’….chuck was still sleeping.  i went and sat on the lanai with some wonderful kona coffee. i looked out and saw the beauty of the morning…and the place we were.  i studied the flowers all around and listened to the birds singing and smelled all the tropical air….i asked God…did I hear you? Can I hear you???? I have a little devotional book i brought along that i had been reading…i opened it up to the 25th and this is what it said…..

as you listen to the birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures.  There is no limit to the variety of ways i can communicate with you.  your part is to be attentive to my messages, in whatever for they come.  When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence.  You can find Me in not only beauty and bird calls, but also in tragedy in faces filled with grief.  I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.

search for Me and My messages as you go through this day.  You will seek me Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being.

Can you believe it????  from that moment on, i have had a peace about this decision like i have never had before–in my whole life….People ask me if it has been easy…..NOOOOOOOOOO…..I will write more about that…….but i always come back to this….this story of how God brought me to this place.

here is a slideshow of a few of the pictures from our wedding and trip.  if you have seen them on Facebook, they will be a repeat.


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