One of my most embarrassing stories is humorous only because it ended well. When we lived in Hawaii, Mike deployed for long periods of time, so I sought out new ways to entertain the children. Once day, we headed to the beach and decided to rent a floating bicycle. As I pedaled along buoyed by the huge tires, the view was breathtaking. The trouble arose as our 30 minute rental period concluded, and I turned to pedal back to shore. The trade winds had begun for the afternoon, and no matter how hard I pedaled, I could not get any closer to land. My difficulty was compounded by the fact that neither of the boys with me could reach the pedals. I tried and tried but realized it was futile.

Deciding to swallow my pride, I waved my arms in distress to catch the attention of the lifeguard who quickly swam out and towed us to shore. The reason this was funny and not perilous was that we were only about 50 yards from the beach, and the water was probably less than five feet deep. In fact, I could have walked back on the sand bar. Since the second boy was my neighbor’s son,  it seemed wiser to call for help instead of us all jumping overboard. As she watched this unfold, the boy’s mom had considered swimming in herself to pull us out, but the lifeguard beat her to it.

As we were being towed in, it was reassuring to hear that this happens quite frequently. Not wanting to repeat my folly, I used the experience to gain a couple of spiritual insights.

*Don’t try to pedal through life alone.

*When you realize you cannot make it own your own strength, don’t delay, call the Lifeguard!

In case you were wondering what an aqua cycle looks like, here is one from google images…..


Learning from an Opihi

When we lived in Hawaii, there was a delicacy called an opihi, a limpid which attached itself to rocks in the ocean. Since the demand for opihi grew exponentially, enterprising businesses decided to commercially farm opihi in saltwater tanks filled with rocks.  What they found was a great disappointment. These opihi were puny and unmarketable. What went wrong? Being fed the perfect nutrients in a protected environment did not produce growth. Waves were added to the tanks to simulate the ocean – success! Their strength was obtained by clinging to the rocks as the strong waves buffeted them day after day.

Meditation on God’s creation provides a spiritual lesson for me. I desire a problem-free life and sometimes believe being in a safe, protected environment will optimize my spiritual growth. Similar to physical muscles growing through strain and stress of exercise, my faith and spirit grow stronger when challenged by life’s circumstances.  The opihi give me the secret to success when the waves of life keep crashing upon me. Cling to the Rock.

 Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge.

I learned about opihi from two different sources. Pastor Rick first shared the lesson with our congregation at Mililani Community Church. Later, my friend, Crystal gave me a children’s book featuring the story which is pictured below.