A Slow Process for Good Results

Many of you know that Emily has Chron’s disease. About 1.5 million people in America have been diagnosed with Chron’s disease or something similar. My guess is that many more are out there undiagnosed.

After seeing a nutritionalist we learned that our nutrition is much more complicated than we thought! One big culprit is GLUTEN. When we first learned about this, there weren’t many gluten free products out there. Remind me to tell you about the gluten free, dairy free pizza we attempted to make when we first started. Not good. Now, you can find gluten free products in just about any store or restaurant. Products that were already gluten free boast on their packaging that they are GLUTEN FREE.

During our trip to California this summer we picked up some pastries to take to a friends house. They were pleasantly surprised by it and informed us that the pastries from this bakery are made with a wheat that was processed the “old-fashioned” way and many people who are intolerant to gluten can eat it without problems.

So I dug deeper. Turns out the early days of wheat production was stone milling. This process took a long time and was pretty involved. Over time, like many things, a new way to process wheat was discovered. A faster and more efficient way. Turns out faster is not always better. For the sake of efficiency in time and shelf life, certain parts of the wheat grain is thrown out and additives take their place. This is believed by people in the medical profession to attribute to many digestive issues.

So wheat is villainized, as is rice, but I’ll save my rice speech for another day. Turns out the process is the problem. Looks like we are to blame. Perhaps there are other things in life that require a slow process for good results.

For our children, we want them to have an advantage in life, be well-rounded, grow up quickly. I have heard from some educators that the expectations for reading in Kindergarten is too much. It’s wonderful to have an early reader, but it’s not the end of the world if your 5 year old can’t read well. Sometimes significant milestones of childhood may be passed over to get ahead. Perhaps this is where compassion is lost. The recognition of our society is redirected toward a focus on personal success.

When I went to college my parents handed me a savings account that they had started when I was a kid. It wasn’t a lot, but I felt grateful. Now, it is the norm to pay for your child to go to college. A popular mindset is to provide for them so they can focus on school and not have to work. I can’t help but wonder if that good intention is disrupting the process. The process that tells you nothing in life comes free. The value of the dollar is gone. Entitlement is the diagnosis and after college I hear from high school and college counselors that the “work your way up” mindset is rare.

My parents tell me of their start in marriage. Homemade dinner table, sardines and rice for dinner, twin mattress in a tiny apartment. They did what they had to do to get on their feet and build their family and earn all that they have. Now, most couples want to make sure they have a home before they are married, or at least a nice condo. They want their careers to be established and finances to be comfortable before they begin their journey. I wonder if more couples worked together to build their lives as a team, would divorce rates be lower? The process of working together is replaced with two established individuals just living together. It’s a lot easier to part ways when the going gets tough.

What other areas of life have we skipped the process for the sake of efficiency? We save on time and resources, but we might be skipping over some very important foundational byproducts of the process. Our world is fast paced. It has never changed so rapidly day-to-day in the history of our world. It’ll be easy to skip out on the process of so many things, but we need to step back and evaluate what we might be missing out on for the sake of efficiency. Sometimes we need a slow process for good results.  -jason


Good Things Up Ahead

My morning commute is pretty amazing. At the edge of Hawaii Kai I pull up to the Kaiwi Coastline. The early morning sun rises through the scattered clouds and makes them glow. Waves playfully crash upon the sandy shores. As I make my way around the hill near Makapu’u I descend upon breathtaking scenery. A couple tiny islands are scattered across the glittery ocean. The Eastern shoreline makes a sharp transition up the majestic slopes of the Ko’olau Mountains. Occasionally a rainbow dives off the sheer cliff’s into the ocean below. God’s beauty is overwhelming.

The awesome scenery continues along the shorelines of Waimanalo, but you can’t take your eyes of the road for too long, because you never know when you’ll need to stop. Anyone who has made the commute through Waimanalo knows exactly what I am talking about. One road in and one road out. If there is anything that stops the traffic, your commute gets set back a little. Many things could cause a stop in traffic, but commonly I’ve noticed cars stop to let other cars turn in from the side roads or parking lots. It’s an expression of ALOHA that I noticed in a unique way in Waimanalo. While drivers can have a lot of ALOHA in Hawaii, drivers in Waimanalo seem to be on the look out for people trying to turn and make an intentional effort to stop.

It may set me back 5-10 minutes, depending on the day, but I’m okay with it. If positive gestures of kindness and ALOHA require a little extra time, it’s worth it.

I don’t always know what is causing the back up and traffic, but knowing that these acts of kindness are common here, it’s given me a better perspective. It’s helped me to be a little more patient.

Perhaps you are stuck in traffic. I’m not just talking about sitting in your car. Maybe you are waiting on a job. You could be close to retirement. It might be a child that is not quite at the place you were hoping they’d be. Your plans could be delayed for one reason or another. You are in a place that you don’t really want to be, you really would like to be a few more miles ahead. It’s frustrating.

Remember that there might be good things happening ahead. Isn’t it worth it to wait if your expectation is that there are good things happening ahead? We don’t know sometimes, but if we put our hope in positive things, it makes the wait more tolerable. 

As a Christian I know there are good things ahead. I don’t really know what it looks like, but I know I’ve experienced the glory of God in my life and it will be so much greater later. So I wait, in traffic, but I wait in patience. Romans 8:25 says: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

On a smaller scale, there are good things happening all the time. We may not see them, but they are happening. There are gestures of kindness and ALOHA along the road and sometimes it’s necessary that traffic gets backed up a little. Be patient. Believe that there are good things up ahead. -jason


Wea U Stay?

When I lived in California my ears would perk up when I heard someone speaking pidgin. Talking with friends over the phone would frighten some of my friends that aren’t from Hawaii, but it would transport me back to my island home. Often the conversation would begin with, “Wassup? Wea u stay?”

Even though I am back home pidgin still has the same effect on me. Seems pidgin is phasing out of our society because it is frowned upon so I don’t feel like I hear it as much. 

When I started this new job it felt a little weird. It’s not quite your place and you are stranger to everyone. One person made me feel welcomed. She is the custodian responsible for the building I am housed in. She is a sweet local woman that is always smiling and joyful and speaks some serious pidgin! There’s all kinds of pidgin, as some may not know. Her’s is this soft, warm pidgin, reminds me of the Uncle on Rap’s Hawaii feeding his chickens. Makes me feel at home.

What makes you feel at “home”? With so much going on in our lives we are running from place to place. We can sometimes be strangers in our own world and sometimes we just need to return “home”. Living in Hawaii I meet a lot of transient people. People are led to the islands through the military, employment opportunities or just adventure. Often I hear them mention that certain things remind them of home. When they catch the smell of a certain flower, taste a certain food, or hear a certain accent from back home, it’s like they are transported. You can see the escape to joy on their face.

No matter wea u stay, you might need to return “home” for a bit. Talk to a childhood friend, listen to a song that transports you to a happy time in the past, take a lunch break and eat something that reminds you of the good ol’ days. Wherever you are, take a break today and return “home”, if even just for a few minutes. Escape to that joy of home. -jason



Regular Maintenance

Most people hope to own a home someday. When we moved back to Hawaii the housing market left us feeling hopeless. We were fortunate that my parents offered to have us build our home on their property. It’s nice to have a place to call your own. Except for all the home maintenance things that pop up regularly!

Things you don’t think of, things you don’t see. One thing is piping issues. You don’t realize something is wrong until there are back ups and overflows. A few months ago I had to snake our kitchen drain pipes. Not fun. Last week I noticed the washer was leaking. I removed all the hosing from the inside of the washer and the drain tube was clogged with major build up. Disgusting. Then the kids bathroom sink was not draining well. When I pulled out the drain stopper I discovered a sticker and some tape along with a bunch of unrecognizable gunk. NASTY!

It’s around this time that the Lord was showing me that I was starting to overflow. The bitterness that had been building in my heart over the last few months over a particular situation was creating a clog and build up in my “heart pipes”. All the junk was not draining properly because of this one major blockage.

Immediately I turned to the Lord in repentance and shame for my wicked heart. It was overflowing into all areas of my life. The internalized bitterness was even having physical affects on me. I needed to “clean out” the bitterness that was blocking the flow of everything else. The words of David in the 51st psalm came to mind. When Nathan called him out on his sin with Bathsheba, David cries out to the Lord in repentance. Within this chapter of repentance comes the lines many are familiar with: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

If we are a temple of the living God, we must make sure we are conducting regular maintenance of the home which His Spirit dwells. The “heart pipes” get clogged easily by hate, resentment, jealousy, anger, bitterness and so much more. When we are not aware of it, we don’t process everything else very well, the good and bad. Then we overflow into the lives of others. Be sure to seek regular maintenance. Time in God’s Word, times of contemplative prayer, awareness of the Lord in all areas of life and trusting, intimate relationships with others, these are things that we can do on a regular basis for maintenance of our lives. -jason