ALOHA Okamotos

Our One Almighty God speaks in our hearts daily.  When we choose to look, we see He silently supports our efforts so long as they align with His will.  Often, what we think is going on in our lives… is a mere part of  the whole picture.  Apart from our daily duties, a quiet knowing  of what to do next… is the call for responsible action.

Our wrong turns in life are made good because God loves every human created as much as He loves you.  No matter the strife between us on earth, the lesson is ALOHA, Always Love One Heavenly Almighty.  Our temporary journey on earth provides the passage to heaven…

Our story is more involved than what I am about to say an in time, I will address more.

Son Douglas pointing to the sky to photograph the likeness of a mountain’s silhouette… yet, behold!
A heart!

In short, due to health issues prohibiting my husband to continue to practice medicine, a decision to purchase a property to run a bed and breakfast we could eventually pass on to our sons, placed us in a precariously unforeseen legal situation.  We were shut down by the county of Maui, Hawaii.  Our investment was not to be our gain.  After four years on the market, at closing, the new owners requested an additional amount of money that set us further back financially.  Not even in a position to negotiate, we left the island.

However, God knows our 1198 Pulehu Road home held a labyrinth of prayers lifted for many who stayed even for free while we gave all we could with open hearts.  We lived, and live Aloha.

The farewell carved a crater in our hearts yet the Lord filled it with sunshine, just as He does Haleakala, The House of the Sun.

Friends who also left Maui with shattered dreams of surviving by working a bed and breakfast, enticed us to move near them  in Hemphill, Texas, where we could grow lemons and peaches and eggplants and roses bloom year long.  After a year in Idaho trying to assess our limited options, we made our way to Hemphill.  The pine lined road welcomed us, and we saw the population sign for the city: 1198.  I remember it as a foreign gift one accepts without knowing its purpose.

Almost everyone I know knows someone who has battled the dis-ease of cancer.

My husband was plagued with it since 2004.  He had a mastectomy at Maui Memorial Hospital where he was also treated with chemo, and joined the happy survivors of ten years.

However, a small cell Lymphoma was discovered at MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston, Texas.  The treatment was extended to the Cleveland Clinic for seven weeks where he had two bone biopsies…  He returned to be followed at MD Anderson, and opted to be considered for stem cell transplant at the discovery of the large B Cell Lymphoma.

The hospital aims to eradicate the ailment, and is staffed by remarkable professionals.  Only God can name them one by one though there is a staff directory including its vast maintenance personnel.  Overall, the care provided is much like God’s water and air for the hopeful.

Their support extends.  Fifty years ago, a devout, wholesome-hearted physician from this hospital, while attending a church Bible Study nearby, noticed a division with tarps in the big room with cots on either side.  He was told of the hardship some people endured who could not afford to stay for the medical care, and how the church provided the best they could.  Dr. Joe Hightower was the founder, leader, and inspiration of the Hospitality Apartments.

A gate I painted years ago at 1198 Pulehu Rd on Maui depicting my quote” The sky can never have too many stars; there is room for everyone to shine, including you”__ Nicoleta I Neagoy

The God led birth of this facility provides respite today.  The waiting list honors people in need, and just as everything unfolds for us who seek help, the blessing is given.  The sunshine lifts patients and caregivers standing on common ground made sacred by volunteers who properly oversee the maintenance of nearly fifty apartments.

Cleanliness is a given with sensible rules to be obeyed, including quiet.  Coffee is present.  Churches unite to deliver a meal once a month.  Bible Study of the book of John is kept on Fridays.  Communion delivered by nondenominational pastors on Sundays afternoon can be celebrated.  A quilter volunteers to teach and shares stitches of love.  Girl Scouts leaders delivered Halloween treats to our doors…  The list of possibilities provided is akin to what Families do for one another when a loved one is in need of a wheelchair, a cookie, and a safe, clean home to rest… without the challenge and burden of despair.  Respects shines here.

At the moment, all I can give in gratitude is a written thank you.  The stars are out each night; by day many can be seen in the depth of a well…  Time marks defining moments we keep to sew the seeds along the path we tread.

The OKAMOTO’S smiles…and Ed’s endearing SHAKA wave…  meaning all that is good…  gratefulness.

A few days ago, familiar, friendly faces said hello on the second floor of the Hospitality Apartments’ open corridor; they were looking to see which apartment they were locating to…just next door to us, actually, and were eager to see the renovations they heard of… as they had been housed across the way in an older apartment.  We struck a conversation and the rest…rests in God’s assignment, once again. Joanne and Ed Okamoto from Kauai are our new neighbors…  Friends recognize each other’s hearts from the start.  Love never leaves.

From the Hospitality Apartments calling card upon the Heart painted card by 10 year old pediatric patient, Caroline, of MD Anderson Cancer’s Center, crab and sticky rice , Colleen Weimer’s card,our old neighbor from Kula, the seaweed for crab cakes, the bean, rice and sausage soup from Joanne and Ed, and dear Cindy’s pocket mirror with Hula dancers…from Cindy and Paul Schumacher of Kihei…

The photograph to the left, sets love threads for all who have read thus far… to understand the value of humanity as God intends.

For us, the gifts of every piece in life… comes together to complete a puzzle, just as Ed Okamoto told us the first night we spoke in our W25 apartment.

He spoke of a dream where he laid his head on the lap of Jesus, and he experienced a peace unknown.  His Aloha heart ails.  Today he has a lung procedure to drain fluid also deterring his desire for a stem cell transplant.

His wife Joanne offers care with angel wings; she prepared bean and rice soup with sausage like in Hawaii one night and yesterday gave us a bowl of crab cakes with sticky rice along with the seaweed wrap.  She baked banana bread and dear Dan’s comment was it only missed the local apple bananas of Hawaii. He remembers our patch on both Likeke Polynesian pole house, and Pulehu Road, both in Kula.  Joanne Okamoto’s gentleness fills us with her light.

I asked to photograph them that I may write as I am inspired to do… and they agreed.

The syringes filled with saline now to flush the CVC lines is a daily caregiving duty for which I have been trained. It is simple once performed repeatedly… Thanks be to God.

Back in our apartment next door, I realized a card had come from our first old neighbor from Kula, Maui. Colleen and Sam were like family as their Family carried my Mom in her wheelchair to their home and it was Christmas Eve…  Mele Kalikimaka was in the air…

The bundle of love warmed my heart and as I looked over, my dear husband Dan sat after a day of tests with a pillow embraced by a case hand sewn long ago by our friend Annabeth also of Kula; it represents the cherished Monstera leaves on bushes in our yard at the time.

Dan’s second delayed admission for stem cell transplant to relieve him of the large B cell Lymphoma throughout his bone marrow, is due to the pseudo gout complication in the knees.

All the little pieces in life come together.  I love friends of long ago whom I think of daily though only God knows.  It is what we do as humans.

We are united as children of God on earth to live.  Our uniqueness is due His will.

If our will is to align with His, we shine to serve our best.  When we don’t, the cost is a lesson learned.

Always, Love One Heavenly Almighty to know the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.  Trust.  Look for the signs and hear His word.

In fellowship, we honor Jesus’ response to the Sadducees and the Pharisees who questioned Him about the greatest commandment in the Law:

” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbors as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ ” __ Matthew 22:37-40

Aloha Joanne and Ed Okamoto…  with gratitude for your neighborliness…Always Love One Heavenly Almighty…


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