The Beginner Photo Challenger

One of my dreams came true this past Christmas when I received a camera from my husband and mother-in-law. I have been spending a lot of time getting to know this complex machine.

It’s like having a new baby. I have to take it with me wherever I go. Just like how I used to have to pack a diaper bag for the baby, I need to make sure that I have a back up battery, lens covers, and cleaning kit. I haven’t even introduced myself to the tripod and filters yet. I have become that person…I have a new bulky accessory. It’s a bit heavy and it protrudes out of the front of my chest. This is my new boob job. And I’m okay with people staring at it. I’ve fell asleep with it in my arms and I’ve cradled it carefully, but very clumsily as I do not dare want it to fall out of my grasp. “Why don’t you just put the strap around your neck Moooom!?!” Mehana suggests with exasperation. And that I did and life became easier.

I really wasn’t expecting this new friend to just show up in my life and I do indeed remain grateful. There is so much to learn, new terminology and many ways to step out of my comfort zone.

I follow a photography blog: DPS: Digital Photography School where they offer great tips on everything that I need to know about photography. On a recent post called Your First DSLR?-now what?! by Daneilla Bedall, I read that ISO and aperture and shutter speed, are some of the many things that I really need to understand. I still need to take the time to soak it all in because my excitement to click-click-click away is getting the best of me. The pictures that I’m seeing on my screen are just enough for me to be in awe but I know that I can even improve them more once I know more. Furthermore, the post offered even more great links like Tips for Beginners and it led me to a whole new other world of information! So to eliminate confusion on my part, I know that I’m just gonna have to focus on one thing at a time. I can’t do my best when there’s just too much information handed out to me at one time.

Next up: Photo Challenges
To prevent my new camera friend from being lonely and dusty, I’ve looked into some photo challenges available on DPS and daily and weekly/prompts on WordPress. Also, it’ll help inspire me to post on a regular basis.

The Burning Bush

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Love and Blessings….
Mrs. Halpern

God Makes Things New

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There is a different feeling in me this time around on New Years Eve. I am usually anxious and rushing around trying to get things done and organized before tomorrow. Or before 12am. But there is none of that…it is a feeling of peace. Is this the peace that I’ve longed for and prayed for? I have no unsettling or uncertain feelings. Is it because the bills are finally being paid off and I’m finally getting my finances organized? That’s still in the works. Is my laundry all caught up? No. The laundry is as constant as Lily’s shedding fur finding the corners and edges of the hallway. Did I go to the rubbish dump today? No. I can do that on Thursday.

My worries and priorities constantly change every year. Healing is evident as we make changes and let go of past hurts and sorrows. Forgiveness is the key to letting go. If forgiveness is not made in the heart, then all sorts of ungodly traits can take root and become overgrown, which in turn may block the view of obvious blessings from nature, from the people that are in my life, or from unexpected moments and encounters. I guess I’ve learned to accept the good and the bad with a grace that I can’t really explain. I refuse to be moved by things that attempt to take root in my heart in an unhealthy way. Let not my thoughts be entertained by self pity and wasteful drama. My overly dramatic traits have taken the back seat as I reflect on why my heart feels so calm and collected at the moment. As I write this, I am on my bed and the twins are using the back board as a jungle gym singing Lorde’s Royal. I just had to put in a slight glare as Hulali’s heels whap at the small of my lower back. Am I numb? Or am I well rested from being on Christmas vacation? No. No. Am I aging? Yes. Gracefully? Hopefully lol.

I’ve seen my children change and mature in ways that made my heart skip and sink at the same time. I’m so happy that they are growing and achieving milestones but at the same time I am sad that time has no patience for any human being.

The people I’ve known and the people I’ve just met do add flavor to my life. How can I learn new things when I’m around the same kind of people? Each person in my life has contributed to who I am today whether it was a good or a bad encounter. We can learn from each other in many different ways. And yet in some way, it can totally change my direction to my future.

My happiness thrives on the many unexpected moments that I encounter every single day. I love those moments. I love the moments that God has intricately planned for me that all I can really say is nothing but, “Thank You Lord.” Or “God, I love you.” Or “Praise God!” Or even: “Forgive me Lord.” Or “Lord help meeee!” God uses each and every moment of my life to seek Him and to use His grace in it. He doesn’t even need any words. God wants me to be in constant awe of Him.

Revelation 21:4,5
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write these down for these words are trustworthy and true.”

As each year brings new joys and sorrows, my heart shall be set on God’s promises. In everything that we encounter, God has the power to make everything new. Love every moment you have with each person. If you look for good things, you’ll find it. If you look for bad things, you’ll probably find that too. It’s a person’s choice to choose which one to magnify. Enjoy the time given to you with each person. You never know when it’s someone’s last hour and you never know when someone’s gonna change. You just don’t know.

Time with people continues to be important to me. People I know, people in my family, and people whom I meet through people I know. I guess I’m a people person. But as much as I am a people person, my alone time is just as important to me as well. Achieving balance continues to be something I want to achieve as well. I’m NOT even gonna label that as my New Years Resolution!!! But it is something I long to obtain.

Here’s to a new year. Aloha 2013. Thank you for being good to me. Thank you Lord for the memories. Welcome 2014!!!
Love and Blessings always…
Mrs. Halpern

December Memories 2013

Behind the Scenes at the Craft Fair

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Lily and Me

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Happy 27th Cassie!!!

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Winterball 2013

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Happy 83rd to My Aunty

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Taking a Break at the Playground

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Hula Ministry Christmas Party

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Mehana’s Soccer Games Rain or Shine

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Mommies and Children
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Antipasto with the Coleman’s

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My How Urban Has Grown!

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Christmas 2013

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Good Times with the Kloningers

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Cleaning Up For the New Year-Rainy Town

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Out with the old and in with the new! Welcome 2014-we have been waiting for you!

Someone’s Having Fun

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas…it’s been a whirlwind of shopping, get togethers with family and friends, too many holiday goodies, and the constant house and children upkeep. Thank God that His peace is always available to us even in the midst of a perfect storm.

Last night was stormy with thunder and lightning with hail on some parts of the island. The aftermath of a heavy storm causes a marshy yard and puddles in the back of our house. I let our 6 month old puppy out to enjoy the sun and this is what I get!

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Love this puppy~
Love and blessings always….

Old and New Friends

My friend Ali from Long Beach came to visit the Big Island. I met her husband (Gehan) and her husband’s cousin and wife from Atlanta Georgia and our dinner party got bigger as they reconnected with a young couple from Long Beach who now lives on the Big Island.

While I was out picking up my order from Grapes a Wine Store, they were having lunch at a nearby eatery called Hapa Mamas. The Grapes owner was hosting his weekly free wine tasting when I walked in. The twins and I ran and dodged a passing downpour as we made our way across the street to meet Ali and the gang at Wilson’s by the Bay to satisfy the twins’ and Ali’s shave ice snack cravings. Even on a rainy day, shave ice from Wilsons by the Bay hits the spot.
Reuniting and Meeting New Friends at Wilson’s By the Bay

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After the shave ice stop, we walked over to Grapes so I could introduce them to the owner. They had some tastes and Gehan’s cousin purchased a red Brunello. Then they left for their volcano sightseeing while I had the kids do their homework, shower, and I proceeded to prepare dinner for them before dinner at Cafe Pesto. I quickly made a pizza with a store bought focaccia, a pizza sauce made from a can of tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I didn’t have any Italian spices on hand but it’s okay. The kids can live without strong flavors.
Easy Kid Pizza
Ingredients:
1 ready made store bought flat focaccia bread
Pizza sauce
I cup shredded smoked mozzarella
Pepperoni

For pizza sauce:
I can tomato paste
Salt and pepper
4 TBSP Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Combine and set aside

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place focaccia on non-greased baking pan.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over bread. Add pizza sauce over cheese. Generously sprinkle last 1/2 cup of smoked mozzarella. You may add more if desired. Top with pepperoni. Bake 10m. Take pizza out of oven and let sit 5minutes. Cut into squares, serve, and enjoy.

Here are some pictures from our dinner get together at Cafe Pesto in Hilo:
We started with an Ahi Poke Bowl (chopped and seasoned raw tuna over rice) with a side of ‘ulu (breadfruit) chips. Have it separate or top ‘ulu chip with a chunk of poke and enjoy the added crispiness to the raw fish
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I had the Blue Ceasar Salad with a bowl of Carrot Fennel Soup.

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20131212-093820.jpgOther entrees ordered that evening was the Wok-Fired Shrimp and Scallops, Mango Glazed Chicken, Cheese Pizza, and the Fresh Catch Salad.

Good Times, Friends Old and New, Good Food and Laughter, Sweet Local Live Music

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A Hui Hou (goodbye until we meet again)
Love and Blessings Always…
Mrs.Halpern

Thanksgiving Memories 2013

Morning Run

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To Nana’s House-Volcano

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We also met up with Greg and Gail again from Earth Matters Farm and they always bring over some homemade kale chips. They are devoured by all in a matter of minutes-SECONDS! Here is the kale chip recipe that I promised to post in my previous blog:

Gail’s Kale Chips
Ingredients:
1-1/2 to 2lbs kale (despined)
Olive Oil
A pinch of Cajun seasoning
A pinch of salt
1/4-1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast

Directions:
Depending on oven type, preheat oven to 355-365 degrees.
Dry leaves completely by air drying or dabbing gently with paper towel or a clean towel.

Place kale in a large bowl.
Drizzle a little amount of olive oil on leaves tablespoon by tablespoon and turn leaves until oil is well matted. Do not drench the leaves. Add Cajun seasoning, salt, and nutritional yeast and turn leaves.

Line baking pans with parchment paper and place leaves side by side rather than overlapping.

Bake 15 minutes or until leaves are crisp. You might need to do several test batches before getting it right.

As always I find myself full of dinner to completely enjoy the many tasteful desserts that were served. However, I look forward to breakfast the day after when I can savor each morsel without feeling forced to finish a whole piece of pie. Paired with a favorite tea or coffee, breakfast is the best time time to enjoy Thanksgiving dessert!

The Christmas season is well upon us. And as usual, I haven’t started my shopping yet or my Christmas cards. I always tell myself that I need to get started at least in July…o_O Never happens! I’ll let you know when it does haha!

As I I write this, Mehana is having the time of her life with the Hilo Sunrise Athletics running club. She ran a cross country race this morning at the Foot Locker West Regionals at Walnut, CA. She came in 51st out of 104 in her heat. There are over a thousand participants and about 14 different races. I watched a bit on the website early this morning and I take it that it was a hilly course with steep inclines and switch backs. Also, the runners start out fast paced and they don’t slow down.

The younger kids spent the night at Nana’s house last night to help her decorate her tree today. It’s almost time to go pick them up. I look into my bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano mint chocolate cookies and there’s two more layers full. Mm-hm…cookies last long when the kids are not home! 😉

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Love and Blessings Always…
By Mrs. Halpern

Aloha November and Great Moments from October

For me, October is usually a month that doesn’t stick around. With both my birthday and the twins’ birthday, fall intercession, the end of season island and state-wide championships for high school cross country, Halloween, wrapping up the twins’ U6 soccer season, from driving to and from Waimea for HYSA soccer games and kicking into high school soccer tryouts, and of course, the anticipation of the holiday season right around the corner…..it takes much more effort to find the time to relax and slow down.

Once Halloween was over, I had a bit of an emptiness in me and I really needed to shift my focus and look forward to the joy of entering the next season. I’m sure that I can rely on God’s promises to keep me from feeling lousy and empty. Here is an encouraging scripture that I came across on the K-LOVE Morning Show Facebook page:

“The Lord will continually guide you giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.”-Isaiah 58:11

Every season is beautiful in its own ways and great moments come to an end much like how a water-main is suddenly shut off. Sometimes, it’s hard to be still when it’s quiet all of a sudden or when I’m really busy and then I’m not busy anymore. But I am able to accept the end of great moments when God shows up in a shining sunrise, an encouraging friend, an upbeat song, a good read, or even from a heartfelt ‘I love you’ whispered through little puckered lips wanting to be kissed. When I open up the bible, the word of God provides nourishment and strength which allows me to stop expecting more than what I already have.

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”-John 4:13,14

How foolish of me to be thirsting for more than I already can bare. I must respect this time to relax and enjoy the little moments that God has so blessed me with. It’s a peaceful and quiet place that blares and speaks volumes of love, warmth, security, and gratefulness.

November. Thanksgiving. What is a more better time to be grateful? It is now, today, and everyday. Being thankful is not reserved for Thanksgiving Day. It is something to be every single day of the year.

Here are some mini and big moments from mid October to the beginning of November:

An Amazing Tasteful Broke da Mouth Dinner with the Stevens at the new Full Moon Cafe

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A couple of memorable appetizers that we had at this dinner was the ehu and opakapaka sashimi.

2013 BIIF Cross Country at Kamehameha School

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Big Island Finishers: Carmen in 2nd and Mehana in 4th and Proud Mom & Aunty

The New Saddle Road

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Kaua’i STATES Cross Country 2013 at Island School

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State-Wide Finishing in 9th (Carmen) & 11th (Mehana) and a Proud Aunty/Mommy

Mini Shopping Fix at Kukui Grove Center

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A Hui Hou Kaua’i!

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Sunday Loco Moco Breakfast Service with my Hula Sisters

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Halloween 2013

20131104-154027.jpgLeopard, Pink Butterfly Princesses, and Minecraft’s Enderman

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Halloween at the Mizuba’s

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Black and White Night 2013

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AYSO End of Fall Season 2013
Pink Barbie Princesses

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Mehana’s After Practice Sunset

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Love and Blessings Always….:)

Happy Labor Day Weekend 2013

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Cross Country season has begun. The first meet of the season was held at HPA. Mehana finished in 2nd in 21:51, right behind her running partner Carmen. Their team took second place overall,16 points away from HPA. Her finishing time is the fastest she ran on this course. In high altitude, hot, dry, and cold,windy, dusty weather, this course is deemed the most difficult out of all Big Island courses.

Stampede!

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Team! 2nd Place

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