This is my little Mele who loves the lights on the tree. Photography by my very talented husband, Peter Liu.
There are hundreds of reasons I love living on Maui. Each day we have beautiful sunrises and sunsets; if I miss them, I just take a look at Instagram or Facebook to see what I missed. Each day I see that beautiful blue water – the healing source for the soul. I find that there are more inspiring Maui moments than anywhere else I’ve lived. Occasionally, there is an event that touches deep down in the core of my existence.
Last Saturday, I was blessed to attend the 1st birthday party for Henry Koa, the 1st son of Joseph Imhoff and Sara Tekula. Henry has got to be one of the most social and photographed kids on Maui! It is fairly common in Hawaii to have a big celebration for a first birthday with fun kid things like blow up animals, jumpy castles and clowns. Held at the Protea Gardens of Maui in Kula, this event was WAY beyond your classic kiddy party.
From an event perspective, there was a blow up cat, the imu pit, lots of ono grinds, the face painter, the fairy, the balloon clown, the yoga circle, a rock band followed a great DJ! The event was topped off with air-guitars for everyone rocking to “You Say It’s Your Birthday” as the sun disappeared. The variety of the hundred or so people attending was amazing – all ages from every background you can imagine.
That all makes for a fun event, but that isn’t my story. This is the story of building a future – a future for little Henry Koa and all the young people of our world. Joe and Sara are the founders of the Plant-A-Wish Foundation. They have traveled to all 50 states planting native trees. Joe has been on a quest to plant a native tree every day since January 1, 2013. He planted one in my backyard a few months ago. They planted a tree when Joe and Sara were married at the Protea Garden and it continues to thrive. So do think it would be appropriate to plant a tree for Henry Koa’s first birthday?
Not just one tree. We planted over 180 native trees and shrubs on the hillside. From the bottom was what appeared to be an amphitheater but I suspect it was terraced for planting by Native Hawaiians hundreds of years ago. The rest of the hillside was very steep with a few trails but mostly just steep, weed covered areas. Someone said there had been a fire a few years ago.
I was one of the 30-35 people who were sprinkled across the hillside planting trees. Those of us who were planting, weeding and occasionally sliding down the hillside all share a special bond. Hopefully in 10, 20 and more years, we can return to see this special place covered in beautiful canopy of native trees. We look forward to returning for Henry’s future birthdays to see that we made a difference. Planting a tree — a living monument that will grow and may live for hundreds of years is humbling. What a wonderful way to celebrate!
Joe and Sara asked all guests to write a wish for Henry. As I planted each tree, I thought about this and gave each one a special wish. I never quite got around to writing anything down before it was too dark so here’s my Wish for Henry Koa.
Henry for you and all the children of the world, I wish for an Earth that can continue to provide sustenance and beauty for both people, animals and plant species. I wish that that science and nature can work together to find solutions for the very serious issues we face. I wish that you are healthy, well fed, have adequate housing and a peaceful social culture. I know it will be a very different world than when you were born. I wish that you can walk on beaches, swim in our ocean waters and see beautiful coral reefs that are being rebuilt instead of dying. I wish that there are forests to walk through and rivers to cross. I wish that the nations of the world have come to cherish these natural treasures and preserve them for people to enjoy. I wish that global warming is turning around; that each year we are seeing fewer huge storms and drastic climate variations. I wish that you are educated and can choose a career path that inspires and fills your soul.
I wish that everyone, takes small steps everyday to create this future for Henry Koa.
If you have a wish for Henry and/or the 1 year old’s in your life, please share them below. Also, share those small steps that you are taking to make the world better for our future generations.
Photos are all from my best friend, husband and fabulous photographer Peter Liu. Here is the entire event set.
Visit the Plant A Wish facebook page and follow them and make a small donation. Or go plant a native tree.
Can you tell that I love living in Maui!
- Our almost annual trip to California Wine Country in January. Great friends, great wine and too much food! Leaving the island is always fun but I love returning too!
- TEDx Maui 2012 – Most inspiring day all year. Looking forward to next year’s event on January 13.
- Started my morning journal… someday I’ll start collecting some of my random thoughts to blog articles.
- Monday mornings spent snorkeling and doing water quality testing.
- Whale Watches! Educating people about these magnificent mega-fauna!
- Grow Some Good – New name and logo! But truly the best part is each minute spent with keiki at our school gardens! Changing the future!
- Work and Learn Days in the garden – I love sharing but I always get more than I give! Friends make weeding fun.
- My real estate practice – Helping people get into great homes and/or moving on with life.
- Trip to Minnesota for Uncle Bob’s funeral. I was blessed to spend a few very special hours with Aunt Joyce. Amazing love between them. He will be missed.
- Spending time with immediate family. It was great to see Karin, Kev and Doreen, Corky and Stacy and of course Mom and Dad.
- Spending time with my cousins after the funeral. Amazing to see that 50 years later, we are the same people. From generation to generation it is amazing how similar in personality, disposition and values we are. Why do we fight who we really are?
- Loss of my Grandma Stoner – at 99 she lived a long life; taught me just a few lessons;-) Love You Grandma!
- The excitement of talking to new prospects – I love helping people attain their goals.
- Fabulous fundraisers for Grow Some Good – we have amazing chefs that support us from Capische?, Spago and Ferraro’s. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to hear about more fabulous fundraisers.
- Maui SMUG and WordPress meetings – I group them together because they are so many of the same people. My social media peeps! Love gathering for focus and new ideas.
- Ka’anapali Fresh – 3 day weekend in Ka’anapali with great food, great music and lots of friends. I just wish Peter didn’t have to work so hard and could enjoy it more!
- Eating fresh and local produce and eggs supported from our weekly CSA box from Kula Fields.
- Using Vitamix almost daily for a green smoothie fresh from my garden, enjoying mountains of mangos, daily pumelos and the papayas that never stop!
- New Bosch Dishwasher – LOVE LOVE LOVE. Lesson is to not be afraid to spend $$ on things you use every day!
- Best books of the year: Still Alice – about early onset Alzheimer’s. So similar to my cousin Glori’s story; I missed seeing her in Minnesota but she doesn’t handle groups. I also loved the Lei Crime Series by my friend Toby Neal. I also loved The Hunger Game Series though I enjoyed that through Audible! Right now I’m re-reading SoulSpace -about creating environments you love and deserve! The one thing that has changed this year is that most books are either Kindle (read on my iPad) or Audible (listened to during gardening, walking on the beach or car trips!).
- Diets – I started they year with the Game On Diet (create friends support system) and then moved to Paleo. I loved the Game-On Diet but most my friends lost interest. But Peter had started Paleo so I gave it a try. I started off the year at 163 and down to 142 and a little bit up from the holidays where I didn’t totally follow!
- Pilates – I started last year but this is my first full year doing Pilates once a week. The results are amazing. Even though I’m not at my goal weight, at 55 I’ve got ripped abs, no arm flab and the tightest butt ever! Check out my friend and instructor Arlene Salomon.
- I can’t finish the list without mentioning the joys of each day I get from my furry family. Truffle loves her “Red Bug” – laser toy so much I ordered a bunch with my name/number on them to give away to friends. Let me know if you’d like one. And sweet Mele who yells daily because she wants loving, catnip, people food or to have her teeth brushed. (Really!) Mele likes “Red Bug” too but gets frustrated because she can’t catch it. Truffle thinks it’s just a really cool electronics game to play with Dad!
Next up – Plans for 2013 or maybe I should do my 2012 Year in Review for the Real Estate Market.
I love Maui mornings! Every morning this time of the year, I go out to pick mangos, pumelos and papaya. I’m always happy to live here. But today, there is only one other place I’d like to be and that is with Dad in Florida (or Minnesota). My parents are enjoying traveling a lot lately. My Dad has always been there for us kids. Steadfast and rarely changing, he blesses us with the shadow of his knowledge and values. Over the years I’ve come to realize what a true blessing my Dad is. Families change and go through lots of dramas. We share joy and sadness. We are thousands of miles apart but still close. Our communication methods have continually evolved through phone calls, emails, instant messaging, blogs, FaceBook and Twitter…what is next!
I think this photo was taken shortly before (maybe after?) Dad went off to Vietnam. That’s my little sister Karin (she’s the natural blond!) and I was about 11. I’m pretty sure this was in Minnesota.
A while ago, a friend told me that I am a rock…steady and always positive about what will happen next even in the worst of times. My first thought when she said that is “I’d rather be fun and exciting”; I always want to be better! My second thought was “I get that from my Dad!“
Here’s to my wonderful Dad…and to all the other Fabulous Dad’s out there!
This is a slight revision of a post I wrote for Father’s Day back in 2008.
Many of you know that in our family, the traditional roles are – very different. I do all the house projects and yardwork. Peter does almost all of the cooking. Tonight, as he was leaving for a social media gathering, he said “Are you sure you are ok for making dinner?” Thanks hon, I think I can survive!