So… a funny thing happened on our way to building a fairly successful little blog… we fell head over heels in love with a 9lb 9.5 oz “little guy” named Samuel and our slower paced, island style life had an overnight makeover.
Our last personal post was dated 5/11/11 and exactly six months later on 11/11/11 our lives were forever changed by his arrival…did I mention we were besotted with our joy boy? I guess that’s what happens when you endure 22+ years of infertility and find yourselves so blessed by a later in life addition to the family; though I'm pretty sure every new parent holding their child for the first time feels the same! Needless to say we took a hard look at everything we were doing that was not intentionally focused on our newly expanded ohana and we gave ourselves permission to just check out. No offense intended, but we pretty much dropped off the radar unless you were an immediate family member.
Fast forward through baby’s first holidays, teethe, words and steps and a little over a year and a half later our little family is growing, changing and stretching toward a whole new life, as I’m sure many of yours are. We have been reexamining our priorities, talking a lot about what deliberate, intentional living means in light of raising children, researching how we can invest our lives more fully in our family and in others… we’ve come to a few conclusions, made some adjustments and are redefining what the slow life means to us.
We are now laying the groundwork, the foundation of a sustainable way of life where we choose where and how to live. Some of our decisions will seem mundane, some unorthodox. No matter how others perceive them we want to begin again to share where our hearts lie, what lessons we are (still) learning and where we are headed.
We are still not in a hurry…there is joy in the journey and it is never a good idea to rush joy, it should be savored.
Stay tuned…good things are headed our way and yours!
Aloha to all of our curious and patient readers. We have had a rather life altering bit of a development in the last few weeks that quite frankly stood our world on its end. We shared last week with our decidedly smaller subscription readership and a very few online friends what we are still wrapping our minds around.
I had a really bad season physical health wise for a couple of years before getting to the bottom of the diagnosis, having surgery and subsequently taking my health back here in the islands; by working out, living out of doors at every possible moment, swimming, hiking, bicycle riding etc. It was this health scare that led us to reevaluate everything about our lives and realize we felt a ‘call’ to simplify, minimize, and relocate to the islands full time. We are still so grateful we made that change that words usually fail us besides to say just that; we are incredibly grateful.
Back in January of this year a few old symptoms cropped up out of the blue, slightly rattling us, were my troubles back? How would we handle the exhaustion and lack of energy, not being able to feel like I was living again? We held our breath to be honest, prayed for another miracle (back when I underwent surgery I went in with a cancer diagnosis and came out without the doctors being able to find any trace!) We took a wait and see attitude through February and March and quickly discovered that even working from home the blog and writing for travel publications and a couple guest posts here and there were really taking a toll. Slowly I added more guest posts here and cut back where I could to survive.
April arrived with no real changes except another couple of pesky symptoms that frankly had me stumped. We decided some tests were in order five tests later we discovered that not only was cancer or thyroid problems not to be blamed but after 22+ years of miscarriages and infertility we were in fact, going to be parents!
Most of you who read this blog know we advocate a Go Slow kind of life where you slow down, savor your life and really live it instead of live on a treadmill of speedy existence only living. Well to say we took the slow road to parenthood would be the understatement of our lives. We had three miscarriages and were both informed at various times that we weren’t going to be able to have children.
Whatever your belief system I can tell you honestly that only our faith in God and a sense that He was still in control kept us moving along. Fast forward another fifteen years and we had made peace with being Uncle and Auntie to a wonderful group of nieces and nephews, to some ‘adopted’ family friend’s children as well, and not parents of our own children.
We moved on, lived as full a life as we could still mindful come Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, really at every holiday, that ours was a very different life, one that we realize some people choose. It’s a little different when it’s not your choice. We grew immune to friends and family bemoaning that we would make the best parents, we looked into adopting a child from a troubled family only to learn the hard way (twice!) that the system still favors the parents at all cost even when it puts the child in harm’s way. After that final second closed door, we were simply done.
Quick on the heels of that revelation came my mounting health problems and that brings us back full circle to where I sit today; at the beginning of my second trimester.
We’ve known for three weeks now. The first week was a numb, overwhelming, ‘we-are-in-shock’ experience. We progressed to awe and giddiness week two. Week three has brought us the comfort of an ultrasound where we saw our little miracle kicking, moving their head to tuck behind his or her arm and we both saw and heard the 150 beats per minute heartbeat. Each of those firsts was more than we can describe as we usually found out we were expecting via a
miscarriage. Needless to say we went back to a combination of numb and awe.
My body, while more fit and stronger than in probably my entire adult life, has nonetheless been high-jacked by a little baby. I am at once amazed and slowed even further. We waited to share with family on the mainland and now here on our blog until we had the confirmation of a better due date and visual proof to share over the miles. We should be welcoming our little keiki (Hawaiian for children/child, sounds like cakey) late fall just in time to enjoy our first holidays as a family of three. Our hearts are fuller than we can really express.
What does this mean for Ha Nui Loa? Well first off, be assured this is not turning into an all baby all the time blog. We live on island time for a really good reason. We’re minimalists for other really good reasons. We look forward to keeping the whole baby experience simplified and more minimal, if we discover things along the way that speak to family style minimalism we might pass it along. On the whole though we will be still focusing on simple, minimal, island style living and slow travel.
There are a few interesting things we are discovering about expecting in the islands that we would never have thought about before. Maternity clothes in the islands are nearly nonexistent so I am trying my hand, slowly, at sewing a few sundresses and simple baby things. As my energy further perks up in the second trimester we’ll be back to a more normal schedule around here. I look back at me being under the weather in February and March and realize now it was 'with child' not under the weather, still that did slow things up around here. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.
Mahalo for your patience, we hope you will all rejoice with us and if you have struggled with infertility, know that we feel your pain and lived with it for 22 years. Our story is unique and still unfolding but we offer it up as hope not to give up hope.
If you join us next year for the Go Slow Summit, you’ll get to meet our addition to the Ha Nui Loa family. You can expect a pretty laid back kiddo already as hooked on sand and surf and island life as we are. :)
Aloha and Hugs from Hawaii from a couple overwhelmed by the gift of life!
He or she was hanging out upside down so we spun this to share :)
Editor's Note: Mahalo to our readers for being patient with us as we are dealing with some radical new developements in our Go Slow-Island Style-Minimalishtish life. We'll be sharing all about what we've been up to very soon, we've noticed a few of our other fave bloggers are going through various stages of change; that is what life is all about, so while we are rolling with a few fun life *punches* we'll be updating you all around the first of next week. Until then we are only too happy to share a guest post by Jenny McCutcheon of ExConsumer; a favorite blog of ours for Jenny's down to earth, family friendly take on life, minimalism and finances. Jenny genuinely makes all of the above fun to tune in to! We're sure you'll enjoy her thoughts on minimalism and life priorities:
I was excited to write this guest post for Jeff and Gena
-- Hanuiloa is my favorite oasis when I'm feeling frazzled and need to become calm and centered. The writing here always helps me realign my priorities and focus on what truly matters in this life. Hanuiloa gives me permission to slow down
and relax.Before my husband and I decided to head down the road
toward adopting a more minimalist lifestyle, we were focused entirely on our finances. With two young sons to provide for, becoming financially fit was a top priority for us. What we have found along the way is that a simpler, slower, freer life sounds like exactly the life we are looking for.What started as a quest for financial independence
quickly became a springboard into a non-consumerist, simpler way of life. We discovered rather quickly that the less we need and owe right now, the sooner a life of freedom would be ours.When I say a life of freedom, I mean a life where our time is our own.
A life where we don't need as much money to live comfortably, and we work on things we're passionate about -- regardless of the level of pay.By cutting our expenses, and paying down our consumer debts
as quickly as possible, we're setting ourselves up to need much less monthly income than before. This means during times that our income is higher, we can save and invest like crazy. And during leaner times, we'll still be just fine.So, what does a simpler life look like for a family of four?
The following list illustrates some of things
we're regularly doing to simplify and frugalfy our lives (What? You mean frugalfy
isn't a word?).
These things don't make much of a difference individually,
- Eating dinners at home.
- Enjoying free entertainment whenever possible.
- Packing school and work lunches.
- Limiting extracurricular activities for our oldest son.
- Selling the crap we don't need to accelerate our debt repayment.
- Cutting expenses (cable, water and utility usage, etc.).
- Saying no to invitations sometimes.
- Washing our dishes by hand.
- Putting every single penny we can come with (above and beyond our retirement
savings and monthly commitments) towards our debt
but combined, they've completely transformed our budget and our lives!The more we cut, the more we find we can do without and not even miss.
The more money we save, the more we realize how much we were blowing before. The more unnecessary items we prune from our lives, the cleaner and less cluttered our very existence becomes.Without all the noise and excess, it's easier to focus.
It's easier to dream. It's easier to live.How has minimalism changed your family’s finances?
Aloha everyone, we are excited to feature a guest post from Ted Hunter; author of our recent book review selection; Money Smart. Stay tuned for the winner of our first contest here at Ha Nui Loa; though all of the entries were so great we're considering a Hawaiian treat for everyone who entered, we'll need addresses for those of you that we don't have as yet so pop us off a connect form. We also want to let you know we will have a major and very exciting announcement in a couple of weeks that will explain our recent slower posting schedule, worth the wait as is the post we're working on for the big reveal. We appreciate all of our readers and want to thank you for being patience as we get a couple of kinks out as well as get these new ducks in a row. Till then we have another great guest post next week and a Go Slow Summit update planned for the first week of May. We'll be catching up on blog reading and connecting with you all soon. With no further delay here is Ted!
I want to thank Gena and Jeff here at Ha Nui Loa for inviting me to do a guest blog.
Being a fan of their blog and a fan of the slow life, I connect strongly with the choice of simplicity and the desire to shape a life you truly value. It is from that place I was motivated to write Money Smart.I have seen money mismanagement destroy lives.
I have witnessed many people work endlessly toward creating a life that they, sadly, never achieve. I wrote Money Smart
because I believe anyone can create financial freedom for themselves no matter what their situation. I know this from experience, because I have made millions, lost it all, lived out of a suitcase, and fully rebuilt myself from the ground up. One of the important things I learned from that experience is that money isn’t
the most important thing in life—living the life you truly desire is. I wrote Money Smart
to give people the tools to manage their money
, create their own financial freedom and build the life they want to live now.To me, financial literacy begins with a question.
What are your hopes and dreams, your goals and desires? You might think this is a strange question to ask if you desire financial freedom. It’s not, and in fact, it is probably the most important question you need to answer if you truly want to take control of your financial life. What in your life matters most to you? Is it spending time with family and friends? Traveling the world? Designing a dream house? Living simply in your current community? Eliminating debt? Retiring sooner?Take the time to answer the question. Really answer it.
Identifying hopes and dreams can be difficult, but you are not to get the things you wish for unless you first identify what they are. Every expenditure you make is a trade that requires you to give up something else. Is an impulse buy at the electronics store more important than saving for a family vacation? Is taking that higher paying job worth the extra hour commute, costing you time away from your family? It's critical to become consciously aware of the trades you are making. Only after you have clearly identified what it is you want from your life can you make good decisions regarding money and the role you want it to play in your life. Everything in life is a trade.
Once you learn to manage your money
you can achieve financial freedom. Don’t make the mistake of trading away the things that matter most. It’s just not a trade worth making. Life is too short not to live the life of your dreams.
Ted Hunter is the author of Money Smart; a native of the New York City area, he now lives in Davis, California, with his wife, Suchit, and their daughter, Kat. He is also the proud father of three adult sons: John, Dave, and Dan.
His real world experiences and success over 60 years have given him insight into the myths, and, in some cases, the outright lies told to Americans seeking financial advice, and the conviction that they can and must manage their money themselves. He wrote the book Money Smart
to share his knowledge and help people take control of their money and create financial freedom.
Drumroll please: Congratulations to Elle Dougherty who submitted the tip to watch both the small and large expenditures in life. Money is money whether we overspend on a small item or large ticket item, sometimes it is in the larger items that we forget to do our due diligence and just accept that that is just what things run these days. We'll connect with you Elle the first of the week to get details squared away. Thank you to the rest of you who took the time to share your ideas, we're sure other readers appreciated your insight! Mahalo, Ted, for making this contest possible! It is most appreciated! Now all of you might want to hit Ted's website or hit up Elle to borrow the book when she's done! ;)
Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Travis Pizel, we would also like to remind you to comment and enter to win a copy of Money Smart by Ted Hunter, we want to bless our readers with an opportunity to get their hands on an amazing resource of personal finance info as well as some great Hawaiian goodies; coffee, chocolate and macadamia nuts anyone?
It's Saturday afternoon,
and the phone rings. Our good friends ask if we want to go out to dinner and a movie that evening. We had an unexpected automobile expense during the week, so my wife and I had agreed that this weekend had to be an inexpensive, stay at home weekend. But our friends are going to our favorite restaurant, and there's a new movie out that we really want to see. What should we do?
Obviously the right answer
is to decline due to lack of funds. Just a simple, “We'd love to go, but it just isn't in our budget this weekend,” would suffice. They would certainly understand.But why is that such a hard thing to say?
People are often defined by how much money they have,
or how much money they are perceived to have. If a person is perceived as not being able to buy and accumulate material possessions, they are viewed by many as a failure. This kind of pressure can make someone feel embarrassed and inadequate if they cannot spend what they want, when they want to.
, wrote a great post recently discussing the collision between her digital world, and her physical world.
She described what some of the people in her life think of her new lifestyle, and it wasn't all positive.
We are so excited to share a book review with Ha Nui Loa readers
and I’m going to jump right in here and announce that this is our first print book review on Ha Nui Loa and you can win the book that has inspired us to revamp our financial management plans by submitting your own favorite money smart tip. If you have a financial tip that happens to speak to simpler living, even better! Just submit your tip in the comments section at the end of this post, we’ll continue to link to this review and will use a randomizer to select a winning entry. The winner will receive the signed copy of Ted’s book and a couple of Hawaiian goodies from us. April is Financial Literacy month
and we couldn’t think of a better way to acknowledge that than to revisit our own level of financial savvy by digging into Ted Hunter’s Money Smart. We also want to share that to round out this month’s guest posts (in addition to Suzanne Cramer’s excellent earlier post
) we’ll be featuring Jenny of ExConsumer
and Travis Pizel of Debt Chronicles,
and then to cap off the month and reveal the winner of Money Smart
(these are not affiliate links) we have Ted himself sharing what we’re sure will be a wonderful post delving further into a subject that can seem murky for too many people: money! Without further ado here is our review of Money Smart by Ted Hunter…Billed as ‘A better approach to personal money management’
that reveals some of the destructive myths that have dominated personal money management for decades (from the back cover); Money Smart is in our estimation all that and more. We are big fans of Dave Ramsey, Larry Burkett and J.D. Roth and have read more than our fair share of personal finance books and blogs. We had previously checked out Ted’s website www.moneysmartonline.com
and felt we would be in for a comprehensive treat, and we were. When he saw that we were discussing possibly holding a contest to share Money Smart with our readers, Ted very graciously sent us a signed copy of his well written 365 page (including worksheets and glossary) book. We were quite excited to dig in and see if this was just another pass at personal finance as a topic or was there something new to glean here. We’ve been gleaning, I can tell you!
Aloha everybody, it is a very late Friday night here in these islands and we've missed our typical Friday morning/afternoon post due to lingering storms last night and the intermittent electricity and offline internet they brought us. Since we have friends in two states that experienced major Spring storms and tornadoes last night, I simply can't complain. Such is life, we take the good and the bad and we choose to move on in grace toward ourselves and our scheduling difficulties. We’ve shared in our only other post this week that sometimes we all must move with the opportunity and go with the flow like our friends the honu, shifting things temporarily to make the best use of time and those same sometimes fleeting opportunities.
I’ve noticed around the net and blogosphere this week, via a snatched glance, hastily read post here and there a recurring theme of people needing a break, a rest. Some are even considering closing down a blog or not posting for the foreseeable future.
People are genuinely tired. So much pulls on us these days and if you make the mistake of tuning in a news channel or site you’re liable to feel utterly defeated before you tune out. This is not healthy or a good use of time and precious energy…if you haven’t thought of it before I would like to suggest a media fast. Maybe only for a weekend for some or a week, others are so consumed by what they consume of the news that a month might be more in order. I know Leo Babauta has disconnected himself from the news cycle and friends keep him filled in on the pertinent or emergency level information. Would that be so bad?
During times of weather crisis, some unfolding natural disaster or world stage event we often all become near news junkies. We stay plugged in, clued in, discuss the latest developments and can’t help tuning in to watch like looky-loos craning their necks to catch a view of a traffic accident. Where does this need to know stem from?
Life makes enough demands on families, professionals, and people just trying to survive in a damaged economy. We all deserve a little self-protection. We need a bit of permission to check out from the entire onslaught and simply slow down the flow of intel, media and entertainment overload. I’d like to propose we all collectively give ourselves that go ahead, that pat on the back that says ‘You’re valuable, overworked, overtired and in need of a break, why don’t you take one?’
Choosing a Go Slow Life was the theme of our last Go Slow subscription letter, we’re still answering emails on that one but having sent that letter out into the net, off to our subscribers still left us hashing out and talking through various aspects of our day to day, week in, week out lives and we thought we’d share a few of those thoughts with all of you.
First up is this is our first post of the week, which may or may not beg the question, “Where have you been, on an island or something?” Ok, I added the island part for a little tongue in cheek irony, but that would be a fair question and it deserves an honest answer.
We’ve been faced with making a few decisions this week on how best to use our time, how to choose to go slow and still do the things we really want to and need to. Sometimes in life; especially when we want to live more authentically a life that is aligned with our values and desires; a more deliberate way of life makes you make judgment calls. What makes the cut in a temporarily tightened schedule? What hits the back burner to be reexamined at a later date?
Fair questions all, and not necessarily easily answered.
It is a day in day out choice to live simply, more authentically and more slowly than we have lived before. We are not immune to the vacuum of time that is so easily filled with the dust of busy days. We choose to look at each opportunity to the best of our ability and make a decision we can live with. With only so many hours in the day and days in the week, some weeks the priority of blogging on a schedule or spending a lot of *free* time (a misnomer if there ever was one!) lazing around a beach gives way for accomplishing a more pertinent task, meeting a deadline, or connecting with people.
We have a couple announcements before we go into our normal Blog Aloha this week that we hope you'll enjoy. If you missed it we were also featured as a guest post over at A Life Set Free
this week so pop over take a peak and check out what Marianney is up to. We are excited to have just received Ted Hunter's signed copy of Money Smart
and we will be reading and reviewing this for you in the next couple of weeks; we're giving you a heads up so you can put your thinking caps on as we will be holding a contest for the best simple living/financial tips, it's Financial Literacy Month so we want to put a great book in someone's hands along with a couple of Hawaiian goodies, so start thinking of your personal favorite smart money/simple living tips (we find that simple living and being smart about money go hand in hand!) and we'll keep you posted as to when to share those, how to vote for your favorite tips and who the winner is. We also want to encourage you to go see a movie
this weekend that looks to be a great one and was filmed here on Kauai as well as inpired by the true story of a young woman who lives here with her family; the movie is Soul Surfer
. It has a great cast, incredible story and amazing scenery, a can't miss. Even though there is some dramatic themes it looks safe to take children I would say seven or eight and up, though if you have a particularly mature younger child, or a sensitive older one, you'll have to make the judgement call. Check out the link we provided for more info.We’re choosing a little of a Go Slow theme for Blog Aloha
this week so we can spot light our 2012 Go Slow Summit mascot; the honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle). We’ve actually learned a bit from watching these guys in their natural habitat and thought we’d share a few honu life lessons with you for a little Go Slow fun.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Suzanne Cramer, after you enjoy her great article on decluttering and pocketing a little extra cash for you efforts, head over to A Life Set Free for our guest post on making a difference, we are excited as it's our first guest post on Marianney's great blog!
If you blink too fast you may have missed the subtle signs of spring in the northeast where I live, as the extended forecast is calling for snow showers and the temperature never seems to rise above 40 degrees…brghh!
Even though it’s hard to believe warmer weather will soon be upon us and for me that always means taking stock of closets and creating a new sense of order. Last year I made the life changing decision to attempt a minimalist lifestyle, my closet however did not seem to get the memo. So this year I am taking another stab at scaling back my closet to mirror the changes I have made in other areas.
My new philosophy, “In closets, as in life, less is more.” Every morning I stare blankly at the disaster that is my closet and have come to the realization this is NO excuse for the clutter in my closet, it’s time to make a change!