Thursday, February 19, 2009

Presenting my daughter, the Sophomore Class President!!

Tuesday was a very big day in our family. Three out of the five of us had exceptional things happen:

1. Alissa was officially elected Sophomore Class President for the 2009-2010 school year.

This year she has made friends with the Class of 2009 President, some "hunky dude" (her words) named Jordan (said with a swoon). She became determined to run for class president of her own class. So, she did. She submitted the paperwork. She endured the election. And she won!

My kid is a rock star!

2. Abigail learned how to ride a 2-wheel bicycle!!

This is VERY big news. To my knowledge, Abby has never even been on a bicycle before. So Tuesday night I leave home for literally 90 minutes for an Army family meeting, and Jon comes home to tag team and " help the kids with homework while I'm out." Instead, Abby learns a new skill. I am literally here 24/7, and the 2 hours that I'm gone she learns how to ride a bike? And, as you'll see in the video (that thankfully they shot so Mom wouldn't miss this momentous occasion), she does it with no one holding onto the back of the bike.

My kid is a rock star!

3. On Monday (President's Day), Jon and a colleague, with 20,000 others, ran in the Great Aloha Run.

It's an annual 8.5 mile run/walk for charity. On Tuesday, we found out that he placed in the top 1/3 of run times for his age group. He ran in 1:18:xx, which is an average of 9 1/2 minute miles. He was so proud, and I am so proud. Here's a picture of him crossing the finish line...

My husband is a rock star!

He is fairly addicted now. He has already signed up for another race, this one 6.5 miles, in early April. And, I am considering signing up too. (I can't run as fast as Jon, and I won't even try, but the idea of completing a race is sort of exciting to me. I think I might actually be able to do it...)

So, Alex and I didn't have any life-changing events of our own that day. But, we will have some in the near future, I am certain. And we are certainly proud of our family members for their feats.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It's so easy to get bogged down in the minutae of life. The bills, jobs, kids, dishes, daily tasks that seem endless, tedious, mundane. It's so easy to forget to take time to be with the people that mean something to you. I have a very bad habit of knowing that my friends are there, but not remembering to tell them how much they mean to me.

I have always had trouble in the friends department, as long as I can remember. I want everyone to want to be my friend. I am afraid of rejection and disappointment, of not being good enough or PC enough or "... just enough". I forget to remember that it isn't about the number of friends that you can list, but the quality of friendship that you share with each person on your list. It's about feeling good when you're with those friends - not because you feel that they accept you, but because you know it. You see it in their eyes, their laughter, their expressions. You matter to them. There are few better feelings in the world than true, blessed friendship.

When you move as much as we do (or at least as much as the Heffners have over the last 15 years), you meet many people but have such a short window to make friends. Not acquaintances, but people who will find a corner of your heart and nestle there for the long haul. People who you can let find a corner of your heart and settle in. People that you can share your feelings, your days, your stories, and your secrets with. (OK, that last one I'm still working on, but I haven't given up.) It's always been so hard for me to let people into my life knowing that someday we'll have to say goodbye (well, at least in person). It's hard for me to let people into my world, and really let them take this journey with me. Let them see my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and my sorrows. I always worry that those things will end up either hurting me, or driving potential friends away.

For Tania and Nicole, thank you for reminding me why this leg of my life's journey led me to Hawaii and to Paiaha Place. Thank you for your laughter, your tears, your hugs, and for just being there. It is a rare and beautiful thing to find friends who don't just watch your children or loan you a cup of flour, but those who capture your heart and remind you of your blessings, your worth, your happiness.

I had a fantastic time not watching the movie that you chose, Tania (but I'm sorry, too, that we didn't get to watch it). Nicole - I always enjoy conversations with you so much. I think that you are truly one of the greatest storytellers that I have ever heard.

I hope the 3 of us can have another "movie" night very soon! (I just have to remember that I'm getting too old to stay up so late on a school night!) :-)

Thank you ladies, for a blessed ending to an otherwise regular Monday.


Friday, February 13, 2009


As I've mentioned in recent posts, the last couple months have been off-again, on-again rainy for Oahu. The first 9 or 10 months we lived here, the weather in Leeward Oahu was always sunny and cloud-free.

Then the rain came.

And, two days ago, there was a tornado. Literally across the street from our house!

You can see in the photo above that the tornado hit the golf course, which is directly across the street from where we live. (Photo is courtesy Calvin Santiago, who I assume is a local resident, who posted it on the local news station website),


At the time, I didn't even know it had happened. As I was preparing to leave to get Alex and Abby from school, the rain started pounding. I could see that the rain was coming because of the dark sky, visible from the sliding glass door that is just inches from the desk where I spend my workday everyday. But, there was no warning for what the rain brought with it.

When I got to school, I saw Alex right away. The school had released the older car-riders a couple of minutes early so they could warn their parents of the tornado. Alex was in a panic, crying and shaking. I guess the school has a tornado procedure, but because this tornado was literally just yards from the school, everyone panicked a little, causing Alex to totally lose it.

I got her calmed down enough to hear about the tornado and go get Abby. We picked up 2 other kids that were already planning to come home with us that day (another story), and got home. I heard more and more from the kids about this tornado, and then on the news Wednesday night it was the top story.

Tornados are not very common here, and when they happen they often happen with very little or no warning. Because we live on a relatively small island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, the weather patterns change so frequently that it is near impossible to predict when a weather system will come, and what it will do, unless of course the system is very large and hurricane-like. The last tornado to hit Oahu was in 2005.

The tornado was an F-0, the lowest rated tornado on the Fujita scale. There were some high winds, and the news says that the tornado died down and dissipated within 10 minutes of forming. The Golf Course sustained some damage, but only one person was minorly injured. It wasn't anywhere close to being nearly as bad as those in Oklahoma, and my heart goes out to those who lost their homes and/or loved ones. But, here in Hawaii, our tornado was quite a story...

Coverage of the tornado on our local NBC affiliate: