Monday, March 28, 2016


Dear Life,

I am so very very thankful that I have a family, that I am surrounded by family, that I have friends that are family.
I am so blessed to have five amazing boys and one beautiful princess to care for on this earth.
I am beyond blessed to have this man with a heart of gold, with the patience of Job, and the strength of a thousand men as my eternal companion.
He and I have been through many things in our almost 22 years of marriage.
Through all of it all, our children have stuck together through thick and thin.  
Through the example of my dear Jensen Ohana, my mother in law and father in law, my kids have learned that family is EVERYTHING.

When we sent our Kekoa off to serve a 2 year mission for our church, we knew he would learn and grow.
We didn't know he would be teaching us at home, and giving his brother wise advice from afar as he battles mental health struggles.
Every week, Kekoa has sent an email encouraging our tall one, teaching him, and believing in him.
This week, we received a letter that he is struggling.
And my tall one wrote a letter back to him, telling him that last week he wanted to give up, but that mom talked him through.  He told him they could get it through it together. 
As each of them struggle in very different ways, they grow closer to each other, and closer to God.

I am so thankful that I have these boys who are teaching me. 
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for the love of a Heavenly Father and our Savior.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spina Bifida....a boy just being a boy

Dear Life,

I haven't posted much about Kumaka and his life with Spina Bifida.
The reason?
Spina Bifida has not reared it's head in quite awhile.
He has been so healthy, so happy, and growing and learning and doing his thing.
He has been going to the skatepark regularly, surfing, and he even went skiing for the first time.

He is training for a ten mile "run" for his relay part of the Challenged Athletes Foundation triathalon in San Diego.

In short, he is being a kid.

He was so blessed last November to go to Costa Rica with his dad, his brother, as well as his BFF Hunter and his family and his other friend Joey and his family.  Ocean's Healing Group is an amazing organization that takes a few families per trip to the Shaka Surf Camp in Costa Rica.  The families surf every day, they ride quads, the zip line, and Kumaka had a blast.  Ricochet the Surf Dog helped raise money for the flights.  

We never imagined in a million years that we would go years without really worrying about Spina Bifida.  
We never imagined such a life for him.
We are so grateful for every day we have, and every healthy day we have.  
We are so grateful for the many friends we have made that also travel the Spina Bifida journey.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Be the Team

Dear Life,

As I have written about my tall one's battle with anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, I have thought long and hard about how very blessed we are to have the people we have on his side. He has a multiple faceted team that works to help him in various aspects....a county program specializing in young people dealing with the beginning stages of schizophrenia (that is where he gets amazing therapists and psychiatrists who know go beyond what other mental health professionals have when he can't get out of the car because his anxiety is to high, they come to him); a school program that has smaller classrooms and teachers that are well versed in dealing with anxiety and depression and have ways of being creative so that students can eventually move towards full day attendance;  a basketball program that cares deeply about our boy as a person, and has believed in him from the beginning; and church leaders that have never judged him for not going to church; instead they have come to our home and just LOVED him and taught him.   Put those four programs together with the love of a family, parents who seriously had to fight hard to keep him home during the hardest of times, brothers who stayed by his side, other family members who understood his need to sometimes be in quiet rooms during family gatherings; that is how our boy is coming thru this battle.  It has been the hardest of battles, and we have had to be patient when we didn't have patience left. We have had to believe in him when he didn't believe in himself and when we didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Every group on his team has fought hard, fought for him, next to him, and sometimes with him to get him in a place where he is finally moving forward.  It was and still is a daily battle.  Any day he could have a setback.  We have to prepare and always believe in him.  Believe that his life is worth saving, that his life is worth living, and that his life is worth it all.  

Other people deal with mental health issues.  It is not always as easy as it looks, and not everyone has the amount of support that others do.  EVERY LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.  It is so important that people understand the need for mental health awareness; that people learn tolerance; that people educate themselves about the various disorders; that people learn to love others regardless.

Being on someone's team is sometimes as easy as caring, calling, checking in, not allowing that person to feel alone.  It's when you're alone you sink to the lowest of lows.  Everyone deserves a chance to LIVE.  No one wants to live with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bi polar disorder, or any of the other mental health disorders there are.  Think outside of your comfort zone, because no one living with these disorders is comfortable either!