Redeeming Sunday

After what I would call “hell week” I didn’t think too mutch could redeem the week and make it an over all good week.  God has a sence of humor!  Even though I couldn’t make the disc golf date that Chad had made with a couple from church it had been good and they were up for joining us for lunch after church.  We found out that it was their routine to go out for lunch while doing their laundry for the week at the laundry mat next door.  A lot of people here live off the grid if not completely at least partially.  The house we are staying in is mostly off the grid.  Most of the appliances are gas and our water is rain water that is caught in a catchment which looks like anything from a large round above ground swimming pool to a shorter metal silo.  It catches the rain water, it goes through two filters one UV and I don’t remember what the other one is.  It is drinkable out of the tap and actually taste pretty good.  It rains so much that we do not really need to be too cautious about how much water we use.  Here is a picture of our catchment.  


All that to say that our new friends live completely off the grid.  They have paid for their lot in cash and paid as they went building their own house with help from friends over the last year and a half.  They have not yet put in a washer and dryer and they have a guaranteed date time each Sunday so no rush.  After lunch they invited us up to see their place and it was SO COOL! We are totally amazed and jealous 😀.  Thank you Jesse and Isabel you guys are awesome! 

Like our house it was up a dirt road though it had a lot less pot holes it had bumps from  the hard lava rock underneath the gravel.  A lot of the houses here are build up off the ground I’m not sure why that is but I like the look especially on some of the ones that are way high up.  Jesse and Isabel’s place is in between and very cute.  


They have two solar panels and two batteries for electricity with a generator for backup (they have only needed it when running power tools otherwise the solar panels and batteries are sufficient to keep the house all powered up). And for just the two of them they have a much smaller than ours catchment.  

 We also loved the landscaping and Jesse’s hydroponics experiment where he is co-growing taro and tilapia.  

           After a short tour they asked if we would like to stay and roast marshmallows so we all pitched in to get the fire started.  The wood was damp due to humidity so it took a while.  

             The kids started playing in the mud while the adults (guys) took turns blowing on the fire to keep it alive.   

           When the fire came alive the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa while we sipped on tea.  Eve decided she knew something that was even better than roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate separate and that was eating them together.  Before we could intervene she had dipped hers in and stuck the whole thing in her mouth.  Hannah had to try it out too it must have been good because they were pretty pleased with it.  

        Grandma Brown, whose face is this? Eve has to get this from someone.  

   Hannah made “Lava Marshmallows”  

  It started to rain so we moved the shelter from over the hydroponics pond to by the fire pit.  



Isabel made quesadillas for dinner, we hung out in the house and helped her while the boys kept the fire going.  


What a blast!  We came home late but with full hearts.  I have made friends at work and Chad has made friends with neighbors and at church, but this is the first time in the last year that we could just relax and hangout and enjoy the company of new couple friends.    

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Travel Tax

We have been nervous/dreading doing our taxes as a traveler ever since we started contemplating making this job change.  The idea of having to submit state taxes to every state we have worked in seemed daunting, but also with rental (from our roommates) income and housing stipends, had we kept all of the receipts that we needed, had we missed something that would come back to bite us.  Well we finally got our taxes done choosing to use a tax preparer who specializes in travel allied health taxes.  Called Travel Tax http://www.traveltax.com.  As a former medical traveler Joseph Smith knows what being a traveler is like, and was very thorough, and made the process easy.  We submitted the required forms and then set up a phone call where he could ask anyadditional  questions.  Few, it all went great and we won’t be at all nervous next year. Thank you Joseph!!! 

He had a blot that I noticed on his website that I plan to check out!  https://traveltax.wordpress.com

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Our one year traveling anniversary

As I look at the pictures from one year ago today I can feel all the emotions that I felt that day.  Our car was all loaded up with everything we thought we might need having really no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  Had we just made the biggest mistake of our lives and now be jobless far away from home with three precious little lives dependent on us?  I doubt you guys will believe me when I say it has been a hard year.  It has been totally worth it, but has required so so much more than waking up and showing up.  We have by no means finished a race or completely accomplished a goal, but we have completed our rookie year.  As many other travel nurses as there are out there who travel with their families maybe it isn’t that great of a feat, but I feel like I did when Suzanne and I cross the finish line of our century (100 mile bike ride) together.  Tears well up just thinking about it.  





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Reflections on our first year

No, it hasn’t been exactly a year because Easter changes days each year, but last year Easter (4/20) was our last day at home.  We soaked up every second of our family time.  At church we tried to catch people that we had not yet said goodbye to for that last hug.  So many unknowns and fear of failure.  So much excitement for the adventure and eagerness to be obedient to the call. 

Our first assignment brought us to New Mexico and the Navajo Indian reservation.  This assignment was our favorite for the number of national parks, variety of landscapes, and loads of cool history.  The work was good too, I enjoyed working with the midwives and what I could glean about Navajo Nation history and tradition.  

Our second assignment was Neenah/Appleton Wisconsin.  It was our favorite for the rich green color in every direction, the beautiful Great Lakes, so many new clinical experiences, two hospitals, GYN surgeries, having a NICU, high risk antepartum, and the time spent with family we would have otherwise never seen. 

Thanksgiving brought us home to a family reunion and turkey dinner with our third assignment just south of our home in Southern California where the nurses had big hearts and amazing team work.  We saw a few awesome national parks, and a few theme parks (Lego land and Disney!!!!) but mostly this was our favorite assignment because we were able to take advantage of every spare minute to spend time with our California family.  

Knowing that we wanted to be close to home come summer and didn’t want to go way out east for only three months we decided to go with the kids pick of Hawaii.  Initially hesitant because of rumors of inadequate pay to cover bills and the cost of living for one person let alone a family.  I am sure that travel companies has a lot to do with it that and this is my recruiters home town.  God has provided every step of the way where there was an open door.  We are now one month into our assignment in Hilo Hawaii.  The first month is the hardest as the learning curve is straight up.  It has been a cultural experience, geographical (way out here in the middle of the pacific), geological (hey we live on a volcano), climate, food, plants, animals, ok so much is new and we are learning as much as we can. This has been our favorite assignment because of the awesome beaches, coconuts, and our little vacation home in the jungle.  Frogs and geckos chirp us to sleep each night with the pounding of the rain and the chirping birds wake us up each morning. 

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Green Sand Beach

There are only four green sand beaches in the world.  It I s supposedly colored by a precious stone called Olivite created somehow under the perfect volcanic induced circumstances the crushed by the strong waves.  It’s particles mixed in with the black sand from the lava rocks pulverized by the same strong waves make for a dark green color to the sand.  We couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves, that and it was just time for a long hike.  The wind greeted us as we got out of our cars at south point.  That and several other locals asking if we wanted rides out to the beach for $75 for the five of us.  It was a three mile hike in the sun, but the hike was part of the experience.  The breeze was perfect and kept us from feeling like we were baking in the sun.  The path was rough and we were slow.  It took us about two and a half hours to get the whole crew that far.  Several people stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride, we thanked them but declined.  We stopped and ate lunch as it was around 1:30 and the kids were hot, hungry and tired.  

The destination was definitely worth the time and effort.  The beach was more steep and the waves more strong than the other beaches we have visited which made me nervous with the kids.  But we made sure they didn’t get too deep and kept a really close eye on them.

We knew we couldn’t stay too late if it was going to take us another 2.5 hours to get out so we cut it short about 3:30pm.  A guy who had offered us a ride in offered us a ride out and this time we took him up on it.  He was a life saver as we were all hot and tired.  We got home I time to have pizza for dinner.  Thank you nice man.  We apriciate you so much.

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Life on the big island

I got sent home on call on Saturday night so we were able to make the most of my one day off on Sunday.  Church was good as it has been every week so far.  They are just finishing up a servants heart type series where leaders of the different ministries in the church tell their testimony and how they became involved.  It has been rich with verses and has helped us to get to know several of the church leaders through their messages.  After Church we headed to the Maku’u Farmers Market to get lunch, some Easter dresses, and stock up on fresh produce for the week.  The girls got little tattoos for a dollar each.

Which they are still going strong and we are nearly to midweek.  

The market closes at 2:00pm so really there was only time for a quick dash through. Then on to snorkeling at Kapoho Tide pools about 40 min. From our house.  It is made up of lots of different separated pools with a whole rainbow of colors and types of coral and loads of fun fish.

 We swam until late.

 The little jungle monkeys at our house.  And at work yesterday I got to try a new fruit that was as awesome as it looks.

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Nice rest on the beach

 With working 5 days this week we can’t afford to waste one of my days off sleeping.   I took a short rest while the kids did their school work then Chad got me up and we headed to the beach.  This beach has a rock jetti that protects a pool that had steps down into it and is all the perfect depth for Eve to play in being still able to touch pretty much everywhere.  I was cold from being over tired so I pulled on my sweater and curled into the kids pile of clothes they had taken off.  It was a perfect location for a nap and the kids had a blast just being kids and playing.  They made several friends and are already asking to go back.

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Panaluu, Kalae, & Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau

I am disheartened after writing quite a bit of this post just to have it deleted so hear goes round two most likely more brief.  When we woke up this morning we really didn’t have any kind of plan for the day but we know from experience that three months isn’t long enough to really waste any time and still see the things we hope to see while we are here.  We thumbed through the guide book and decided to see another one of the national parks that just happened to be near Kona on the other side of the island.  We were driving along just minding the GPS when we saw a sign for a black sand beach.  Although we have seen black sand we had not yet been to a black sand beach and it was on the top of Hannah’s most want to do in Hawaii list, so we turned and checked it out.  Panaluu County Black sand beach was a hit.  The smell of BBQ was in the air.  Hammocks hanging on the coconut palms. 

From there we kept on towards the west side. Then Chad made a turn off the main road…where was he going?  I don’t usually ask right away because often it becomes obvious, but the GPS kept chirping directions at us so I asked if Chad wanted me to turn it off.  It was a small one lane road. And the scenery was perfect.  

We had talked about seeing the green sand beach at breakfast, but it requires a hike and it was lunch time and we hadn’t packed a lunch.  That is not where Chad was going he was taking us to the most southern point in the United States!  Yay so fun! A whole bunch of people were there.  Not to say they had been to this point, but to cliff jump.  It was kind of fun to watch them.  

 That was a fun detour!  

Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park was surprisingly awesome.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect and we were a little grouchy and hungry it was 2:00pm and we still had not had lunch, there aren’t that many places to stop for food on the drive around the southern tip of the island.  We got in on the 2:30 ranger talk which was hilarious and gave us the jest of the history of this historic park.  It was a safe haven called by many “city of refuge” a reference from the Bible. Where people could go to find sanctuary if they were guilty of breaking the sacred laws (kapu).  

I could live in a bungalow here. 

A day of fun surprises! 

Categories: Fulltime, Hawaii local attractions, National Park, Road Trip | 2 Comments


We slept in this morning until about 6:30AM.  No alarm set, but the beautiful sound of hundreds of chirping birds coupled with a now established early routine had me and the kids bright eyed and bushy tailed earlier than planned.  Pancakes, peaches and coffee to fuel us for the road then we were off.  Instead of taking the Saddle road that goes around the island we went strait up over the mountains between Maunta Loa and Maunta Kea who both had snow on their peaks. 

We were headed over to the Kona side of the island where hopefully it would be warm and condusive to a fun first snorkeling experience for the kids.  Kahalu’u Beach Park was touted in our guidebook as the best place to snorkle with a big reef where beginners and intermediate snorklers alike would have fun. 

As much as I would love to claim that it was love at first sight of a beautiful bright colored fish. That would not be telling the whole story. The kids have not really done any swimming where their heads have gone under in salt water before.  And this whole allowing yourself to breath with your face in the water doesn’t come too naturally either, with some practice, and mask adjusting, and some tears we got it all worked out.  Hannah is not too strong of a swimmer so she panicked a few times and tried to drowned me.  It’s a good thing the water really isn’t that deep.  By the end of the day the big kids had the snorkeling down and were excitedly discussing all the fish they had seen.  Eve got so far as putting her face in the water with the mask and snorkle on and making friends with everyone on our side of the beach.  All in all it was a good and successful day.  We had a late lunch at Costco and headed back over the mountains towards home. 

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Breaking & Eating Our Coconuts 

We stopped on our way home from work yesterday to pick up a machete at Sports Authority and before I even had time to change out of my uniform we we were elbow deep in husks.  It was pretty fun.  The kids were good about staying clear while dady worked. 

The green one had soft flesh, clear water, and was pretty easy to break into.  The meat was quickly gobbled up and we saved the water to drink with dinner.  The dry husk of the brown one on the other hand proved to be quite a challenge.  

It had sprouted….

The water was milky and sweet, but had a more rancid aftertaste.  Caleb liked it better than the water and drake it right up.  We donk know if you are supposed to eat the ball inside, but we did eat it also.  It was sweet and airy, and we are still all alive this morning to tell about it.  I am sure though if Chad comes across more coconuts that are just laying beside the road he will pick up the green and leave the brown, just sayin.

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