Aloha! And why we came back.

beach boardwalk on Kihei beach in Maui |
If someone were to tell you that they were going on a very long vacation, would that make you jealous?

I’d be the first to say a big fat YES. It would! Who wouldn’t want to venture off to far off places, with the promise of new adventures around every palm tree?

I get it. Like, you have no idea how much.

And that is why I did something about it. We are back for another long stretch on the beautiful island of Maui, and an additional short stint on Kauai this round too. And I can barely believe it! The hurdles to get back here have been enormous.

But know, this trip is about so much more than the pretty pics you’re about to see on occasion.

portable desk of keyboard, phone and kona coffee in maui |

I think it’s pretty safe to say, everyone has a story. But for those that have a tough time, sometimes hearing about good things others experience is… well, hard to hear at times. 

To be a little more transparent, life in our household has been a little tough going. Parent things, and other issues have all come knocking, threatening to crash a few doors down.

But something happened last year when we came to Hawaii for 6 weeks. I won’t say everything wrong was magically made right again… it wasn’t. But coming here did open up this time slot of reconnection that I can’t seem to achieve the same way in our own back yard.

beach shoreline in Maui |

It also taught me to do things differently at home. Some of those things I did put into practice, such as my bike riding tours every evening with coffee in hand. Thank Maui for that habit! And others, I have yet to tweak.

Thing is, vacations are just different than real life. Our day to day duties are dropped, some habits broken, with the opportunity for adventure, and more focus on each other.

But, we almost didn’t return. I’m writing this 6 days after we landed, and I’m JUST starting to feel like I’m here, because I kinda talked myself out of this trip. Some new heath issues at the eleventh hour have threatened my immediate family, knocking the only wind I had left out of my sails.

Our Daily Bread - A Remote Location

But when I got THIS in my email on the day we were to depart, I knew we were suppose to go.

Basically put, the writeup showcased our prayers are indeed heard and answered anywhere we are.

And, I mean, that PICTURE… if that wasn’t a shove out the front door with suitcases packed, I don’t know what is! 🙂

So… we came.

That said, I’d love it if you could keep my sister Wendy in your thoughts and prayers, as she begins her tough new journey through radiation treatments. She had to cancel delay her own Maui trip this fall due to this. And if you have a spare prayer for a healing time for us also, thank you!

I’ve also been attempting to come up with some meaningful way to share this trip. I’m feeling more inclined to share what’s beyond just the pretty pictures. But if there’s anything you’d like to hear about or see, feel free to chime in.

tropical leaves and flowers from Maui |

I’m also getting hungry for creativity, so I’ll be touring the local thrift stores and the Maui Flea Market, and finding natural resources to create with. I even brought a few stencils along in case inspiration hits!

I’m also sharing sunset pictures daily on Instagram, and video streams on Snapchat under funkyjunkdonna.

So… we are indeed back.

And Wendy… Maui is anxiously awaiting your healthy return… so this one’s for you.

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Categories: Junk Drawer, Travel
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45 thoughts on “Aloha! And why we came back.

  1. My daughter (34 years old) has just had major surgery for cancer and we will be adding your sister to our prayer list.

  2. I wish you the best vacation ever, and I truly will keep Wendy in my prayers. May this trip heal your spirit and replenish your creative energy.

    • Thank you Laura!

      I’m still in writing, busy mode as vacation mode hasn’t truly set in yet. But I can feel it coming. Today felt like a tiny bit too much effort to pack up the laptop and bring it ALL THE WAY TO THE PATIO. Summer coma here I come… 🙂

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister, Donna. You and your family are in my thoughts. I hope you’ll find some lovely junk that inspires you to create something and gets you distracted.
    Sending you a big hug,

    • Thank you Julia!

      I finally found some thrift stores AND beautiful home decor stores just yesterday. You can bet I was snapping pics like crazy! Now looking at the thrift store pics, I think I need to go back for a few things… haha

      Will post about that very soon!

  4. Prayers for Wendy and your family. May God be with each of you as new challenges appear. Enjoy Maui! Please keep posting your adventures as they gave new ideas for my last Maui trip. We enjoyed Coconut’s Fish Cafe in Kihei, and right across the street is Maui Pies…….great places. Rest, relax and enjoy!

    • Oh you know I will, Pat! Coconut’s Fish Cafe is opening their 2nd location in the heart of Kihei late 2016! Yes! I also found another fab place for the best iced coffee I’ve ever had… they also make acia bowls AND shaved ice… all walking distance from us. Coming soon!

  5. Looks positively blissful and calm and healing and just about perfect. Wish I was there! Best wishes to your sister.

    • Thank you Jordi!

      I’m not sure what it is about this place, but you can have your feathers all ruffled in all the wrong places, but a short walk later, you forgot what it was even about. I need to learn the technique at home… as soon as I figure it out! LOL

  6. Definitely will keep Wendy in my prayers. Oh, how my heart longs for Maui….. Please post lots of pictures and enjoy your stay. :).

    • Thank you Becky!

      My phone and camera travel with me everywhere, I have it down to a fine science. Take pics on both, in horizontal and vertical for the appropriate social medias… haha! Every exceptional sight requires steady determination for a few moments!

  7. Hi, my heart goes out to you & your sis. Did you know there is a big new on line summit on women’s cancer teaching all the latest findings? Look for And I have a collection of interviews by Ty Bollinger that really educates. Check him out, he interviewed experts from around the world. There is so much more out there than just the standard cures offered by main stream medicine. Hoping this helps. Very much enjoy your work, Ruth PS I am 73 and maybe not your typical follower…..thought you might like to know you appeal to a wide audience.

  8. Thank you for sharing, not only the beauty that is Maui, but your heart too! Life is a funny and strange journey… All of us are on borrowed time, we all have an expiry, regardless of being diagnosed with something or not. Finding your joy and your Bliss is what this journey is about, for those of us that think we know what the end date is and for those of us that have no idea. You see having gratitude and happiness in your heart is so important, it’s not in a place or a in thing, it’s from within. Slowing the pace and stopping to enjoy the fallen flower pedals… It’s not the pedals that are important (while they are gorgeous) it’s the stopping to appreciate the beauty that is right there in your here and your now that matters. Again, thank you for sharing your journey, it’s giving me great gratitude that a friend is finding the comfort that such a beautiful place has to offer. Hugs and healing thoughts to you, your family and your sister! ?

  9. Donna I hope you and your son have a wonderful time and you are able to bond even more. Your sister and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. It is a scary time not knowing what lies ahead, everything is in God’s hands and he never makes a mistake and he never fails us, we may not know it at the time, but he has a plan so just turn everything over to God and he will guide you.

    I’m so jealous you are in paradise and I am stuck here in this hot mugy place and no beach to spend long hours on searching for shells and shark’s teeth and enjoying that beautiful water. I look forward to your beautiful pictures and seeing whatever inspires you.

    • Hey Patty, thank you for your prayers.

      I know all too well what it feels like being stuck in HOT. I was just walking along the main road yesterday, with humidity hugging me and sun beating down as the palm trees blew in the tropical winds thinking, “Why is it never uncomfortable here?” It must be the ocean breeze. The air is only still in the evenings right around sunset when the heat of the day has left.

      Whenever those tropical breezes hit (they can be sudden and fierce!), we shut off the air conditioning and open every condo window and door possible. It’s like this wonderful air tunnel storming through the condo… I wish I could replicate this at home!

      Ok, plus, there’s a pool and ocean steps away. One dresses so you can run into it then continue on with your day. What a concept! 🙂

  10. Donna, yes I will say a prayer for Wendy for God to give her the strength and courage to get through this journey to healing! I can’t believe you are back again! I know you will enjoy your time there and can’t wait to live vicariously through your trip 🙂 Have fun!!!

    • Haha, I can’t believe it either! Truly! I didn’t allow myself to mentally prepare at all. I blinked and we were here.

      I also chose not to blog about it beforehand because I didn’t know if it would become a reality.

      But, I will admit, this place felt like home. When we first stepped off the plane, the air and fragrance changed immediately. Nothing was unfamiliar, right from picking up the rental car and finding the condo.

      And finally opening the condo door? I just spun around with the biggest smile on my face, because this truly does feel like we are in our ‘summer home’ again.

      Dare this be a long term habit? Hmm…

  11. Donna we will be praying for Wendi. And I am so happy to see you in your special place where you can regroup. Sometimes a radical change is just what you need to get out of those routines that seem to be counterproductive. Looking forward to your journey and pics.

    • Hey Mary, yes, you get it! I was after a radical change in order to trigger more conversation again. We grill at the pool for dinner then swim until it shuts down. The pool by far is the best thing on earth.

      We need a pool… ok, maybe hot tub! 🙂

  12. Oh how I would love to be there with you. I just want to see the beautiful sand meet the clear blue water. I don’t travel much and have never made it to any part of Hawaii. I have, however, taken a couple of cruises and captured sand and put in my backyard so that when I was ready to remember the fun relaxing time I had at a beach, then I would sink my feet into the sand and feel refreshed.

    Enjoy your time and will be saying lots of prayers for your sister and all of your family during this time of need.

    Have a great vacation and safe trip.

  13. I have to live vicariously through you so please enjoy every minute of it! Your writing is so personal I feel like I know you – so anything you write about is appreciated!

    Good luck to you and your son. These are the tough years but you will make it through! I will keep you guys and your sister Wendy in my prayers. 🙂

  14. it has taken me all day to find the words…your post stirred up my emotions. I have your sister in my thoughts and prayers.

    sounds like you have found your second home…enjoy

  15. You should sell at the flea markets! I once sent a bunch of driftwood hangers for a pal to sell there. But if you don’t want to “work”, remember that life is more about the journey…it’s ok and it’s rejuvenating to take a break and wander. Wander = wonder.

  16. Donna, I’m happy you’re able to be in Maui for awhile! Let your mind, body and emotions slow up and even out. Breathe in the fresh air and let the sunshine and beauty of the land wash over you. You and your sweet sister, Wendy will be in my prayers. You are special to all of us. (your readers) 🙂

  17. Prayers to your sister Wendy, I have been through radiation myself. I know she will be fine. This too shall pass. Enjoy your vacation, and yes I am jealous! Ha,ha…..chin up and remember what Dory always says, “just keep swimming”! 😉

  18. Donna, I always appreciate when you share More than pretty pictures….that is the thing I love most about your posts….your heart, your thoughts and views. The pretty pics are next and for me, the building of things can trail along behind. It is nice, but all the former is what is fresh and becoming a rarity in the blog world. Your creativity with words is insightful, heartfelt, and so helpful as we all try to make our way through this journey called life.
    Prayers are on their way.

  19. Donna, I went thru radiation on my neck/head for the dreaded C word 1.5 years ago. I also joined Inspire Health and am teaching the therapy journal there now. (I volunteer my time and the books and supplies) I must say that Inspire Health has been the leading centre for helping me be in the healthiest state to deal with all of this…emotionally and physically. And once you join, you (and your support) have access to all sorts of free help from acupuncture to cooking classes, to one on one with doctors, to nutritionists, to art therapy and laughter yoga. If Wendy would like, I’d be most happy to talk to her and tell her everything and pass on as much info as I can. Also, my whole 37 radiation treatment experience is recorded on my blog in one post. Tell her to search the word cancer and she’ll find it. Also on my blog is info how I made my therapy journal for anyone who might find it useful.

    Big hugs Wendy, you’ve got this.

  20. Hi Donna

    I think I can hear what you are saying between the lines, though our situations and issues are probably not truly the same, I feel your purpose and goals. I am a mama to two teenage boys aged 15 and 17 – I am divorced from their dad and have a new partner. But the parenting thing – it’s been tough! I love my boys (young men) to bits and we have a pretty good relationship but there are times when I am tearing my hair out trying to keep the peace, raise them right and prepare them for life in the world. Vacations do cause a positive shift in all of us – the chores are different/less, school, work, sports games and training, music lessons…. They’re all left at home giving us time to just BE. Time to think, communicate, relax, contemplate and make changes.
    I will admit, there have been a couple of vacations almost ruined by fiery attitudes, but we have persisted, refusing to give up, and it’s working. The peace and harmony that I crave has slowly returned. We have not been fortunate enough to get away for 6 weeks, but we do take at least 3 trips a year. We recently returned from 12 days in Fiji and it was very hard to come home to South Australia where we were heading into winter (now in winter and very cold, so I’m enjoying your holiday pics). We are getting closer to the time when my eldest won’t want to come with us when we go away – not looking forward to that day.
    I hope your stay is a wonderful time for you both and you achieve what you are aiming for. I also hope your sisters treatment goes smoothly and she is well again to enjoy her own Hawaiian trip. x

  21. Donna
    as a twice survivor i can tell you my and everybody’s motto f*ck cancer
    tell it to go away the mind can heal the body and is very powerful!the Dr gave me 6 mo to live that was 30 years ago! sending prayers and white healing light for your sister!

  22. Sometimes you just have to go where your heart takes you. It’s meant to be part of your journey, so I hope you and your son enjoy an amazing vacation and re-connection time. I’m sending Wendy a big dose of healing energy too and I hope that she is on the road to recovery real soon.

  23. While it certainly is true it doesn’t matter where you are when you pray, getting away from your own backyard frees up your mind from worrying about little things that aren’t all that important in the bigger picture anyway.

  24. Prayers for your sister and you and your son. One of my mantras when I was raising my kids was “This too shall pass”.
    Have a great trip!

  25. My prayers for you and your sister are on their way! Just remember that you are a strong wonderful woman and God is walking right next to you; lean on him if you need to!

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