Monday, January 31, 2011

Celebrations: Epiphany on Kauai

All Saints Episcopal Church, Kapa'a, Kauai
Sundays on vacation are always fun because we never know what church we will end-up worshipping in. Sometimes we find a church with a familiar name like we did while visiting Maui… There we shared in Sunday worship a St. John’s Episcopal Church, connecting us that day with The Free Church of St. John in Philadelphia, PA.

This particular Sunday we chose All Saint’s Episcopal Church, in Kapa’a, because the time of the service happened to work well with our plans for the day - I know not an very “spiritual” way to choose a church or service. But, I’ve often found that God uses those “random” moments in life to speak to us, we only have to be quiet enough and willing to listen.

Inside All Saints
Pretty much from the moment we arrived at All Saints that Sunday we knew this was where we were suppose to worship that day. From the greeters at the door, to the sermon, to coffee time afterwards it felt like home, even All Saints Hawaiian motto is “Ka Ohan ‘o Ke Akua”  (“The Family of God”) which describes the purpose of the parish… to share with each other and all people, the “Good News” of Jesus, and to live the Good News as a Christian community and family; speaks of being a family and living in community.

Fr. Ben Nelson gave the sermon that morning. A sermon different than the one he had originally planned on. He ended up changing his sermon in response to the shooting at the shopping center in Arizona. His sermon reminded us via the Baptismal Covenant that when baptized into the family of faith we are called to interact with the world (and each other) in a whole new way. And he challenged all of us to stop playing the blame game (which does nothing to help an already broken and hurting world) but to start stepping up to the plate and living as children of God, to be really living the Good News in our communities... to live in a whole new way... a way that offers love, grace, healing and community to those who are hurting, lost and broken. I wish his sermon were saved in a format that I could go back to, and listen or read again, because it continues to resonate with me…

God, how do I live as your child, your disciple in this world?

How do I respond to all that is going on around me – from inside my home to around the world in a way that pleases Him?

As a work-in-process, one who is herself hurt, lost and broken live in such a way that reflects love, grace, healing and community?

All Saints Episcopal Church, Kapa'a, Kauai
After the service we had some time for coffee and conversation. The parishioners at All Saints were so welcoming and friendly and easy to talk with. It was also fun connecting with other visitors to All Saints that morning. During the coffee time we were also able  to browse through the church’s gift shop… Hale Lani Christian Store located in the All Saints gym. For a small shop they have a wonderful selection of books, music and gift items. I bought several bookmarks made from Koa wood with a scripture verse engraved in Hawaiian and English. The craft person who makes these beautiful bookmarks uses the Koa scraps left over from the ukuleles that her father makes.

A quick history of All Saints’ Church; it was founded as a mission of the Episcopal Church in 1924, at Kealia, four miles north of Kapa’a, by the Ven. Henry A. Willey. In 1962, the mission achieved parish status under the leadership of Ven. Charles T. Crane.

A little about the town of Kapaʻa. Kapa’a literally means "the solid" in Hawaiian. The famous "Sleeping Giant" or Nounou Mountain overlooks the town. Agriculture was a big industry throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sugar cane was grown along with the largest pineapple fields on Kauai.

Link to All Saints Episcopal Church, Kapa'a, Kauai 

Email for Hale Lani Christian Store 

Link to St. John's Episcopal Church, Kula, Maui

St. John's Episcopal Church, Kula, Maui

The inside of St. John's, Kula, Maui

A view from St. John's pulpit
The Free Church of St. John, Phila., PA

The Free Church of St. John, Phila., PA

Saturday, January 29, 2011

3 Bags in less than 1 month! Bag #3

Bag #3, the last bag of my bag purchasing spree was found on our last full day in Kauai. It was a stormy day and so we were seeking inside activities… which consisted of mostly shopping.  As we were driving around  Līhuʻe (which means "cold chill") trying to figure out what to eat for lunch, we passed the Kapaia Stitchery shop. The shop was so visually inviting from the road, and the write up in the travel guide was equally inviting…

Lonely Planet review for Kapaia Stitchery
"Nirvana for folks who sew, with a wide selection of tropical fabrics, Hawaiian quilt and pillow kits and needlepoint designs. Custom-made aloha shirts and other handmade items on sale for those who can't thread a needle."

... Well, we just had to stop (thankfully there was a Koa woodworking shop a few steps away to serve as a diversion for Steven and Roberto).

Inside the shop truly was a nirvana for anyone who loves needlework, and even if you don’t, there are so many wonderfully handcrafted and fun gift items to peruse. The fabric selection was certainly Hawaiian in flavor, but there was also a heavy Asian feel as well, along with lots of great staple and blending fabrics to choose from. The shop also has a few “signature” batik fabrics unique only to their store. 

Since I’ve been on a hiatus from quilting, I couldn’t justify any fabric purchases (even if there is no such thing as "too much" fabric to a quilter), but… there was this lovely satchel style purse made from fabric with a very “vintage” Hawaiian feel to it. I also really liked the design of the bag; it is in essence a bag within a bag, creating a drawstring center for a bit more security, yet outside pockets to stash a book or anything else you would want quick/easy access to. The best part, the bag was handmade on Kauai by Mailelani’s.

For anyone visiting Kauai who is even remotely interested in needlework, fabric, or Hawaiian Quilts, then Kapaia Stitchery is a place you MUST stop and visit! Leave your husband or boyfriend at the pool or beach, because you won't want to be rushed. Browsing the many beautifully crafted items, quilts, patterns, books, kits and fabrics is truly a feast. The people who work at Kapaia Stitchery are equally as delightful,  very friendly and helpful.

Unfortunately neither Kapaia Stitchery or Mailelani’s currently have a website. but here is contact information for Kapaia Stitchery:

               3-3551 Kuhio Highway
               Lihue, HI 96766
               (808) 245-2281

I was not able to find contact information for Mailelani's, but I'm sure the kind folks at Kapaia Stitchery could point you in the right direction.

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 Bags in less than 1 month! Bag #2

I came across bag number two in Hanapepe Hawaii on the garden island of Kauai. It was our first full day on the island, and we were out for a drive… just trying to get a feel for the island and the lay of the land, when Steven decided to take a turn off the main road, and we found ourselves in a sleepy Hanapepe.

Hanapepe means “crushed bay”, and is on the southwestern side of the island. Hanapepe once liked to call itself the "biggest little town in Kauai." Established in the mid to late 1800s by Chinese rice farmers, the town once housed numerous opium dens - some of which survived into the 1930s. Hanapepe’s uniqueness on Kauai was probably due to it being the only non-plantation town on the island.  It was also well known for its swinging river bridge and its rowdy bars. Hanapepe's decline started in the late 1970s. In 1992 the town was particularly hard hit by Hurricane Iniki (as was most of the island), even now the town is still in the process of recovery. Today the town is a bit of a curiosity; and it remains a captivating and quirky place with an "old west" sort of feel, Hawaiian style. A few shops and art galleries have begun opening in "old town"; it is an interesting and easy diversion while exploring the island.  

The first thing we did in Hanapepe was to cross the famous swinging footbridge (built in 1911, and rebuilt in 1992 after Iniki) over the Hanapepe River. It was a fun, and simple sort of thrill. The guys had blast making it swing, buck and sway. Afterwards we decided to explore the stores and galleries of Hanapepe. 

While I was browsing in the Banana Patch Studio I came across a number of beautifully woven baskets and bags in various shapes and sizes. While not Hawaiian made these baskets are commonly made in Indonesia. Woven from atta (I’ve also seen it spelled with one “t”, ata) grass, which is a vine that grows in the forests there. It favors wild places and is a kind of spora spices and spreads wide by roots. Once the vines are woven, the pieces are then smoked over a delicious-sounding fire of coconut and honey, giving them a rich glowing color and a soft sweet smell of fire and smoke.

The Banana Patch Studio is probably best know for its Hawaiian pottery and ceramic tiles that are hand-painted using lead free glazes. Their original and well known tiles "Mahalo for removing your shoes" can be seen on many Hawaiian lanais reflecting the tradition of removing your shoes before entering a Hawaiian home. My favorite tile was one of a dog wagging its tail and holding plastic slippers (aka: flip-flops) in its mouth and it reads, “A wagging tail massages your heart with Aloha”.

One thing we missed while visiting Hanapepe was sampling some famous Lappert’s ice cream (which BTW is not the same company as Lappert’s Hawaii).

Hanapepe trivia: The town was used in the films “The Thornbirds” and “Flight of the Intruder”, as well as the inspiration for hometown of the main characters in the Disney animated film “Lilo and Stitch”.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

3 Bags in less than 1 month! Bag #1

Acquiring 3 bags in a months time may not seem all that unusual for many people, but... I've been know to go 3 years between handbag purchases.

The first bag was purchased just before Christmas, and became a Christmas gift from Steven... how else could I justify it's purchase??? After all, back in October, I had just treated myself to a new Vera Bradley Bowler bag (which BTW I absolutely love its design) for my birthday. But here I was standing in the gift-shop of a small art museum in Chestnut Hill Pennsylvania, lusting after this bag. My first encounter with a Maruca purse... it's fabric design and texture so visually pleasing.

My little beauty is called "Cupcake".

I've learned that Maruca is a small design house in the foothills of Boulder Colorado. They made their first handbag in 1991 with a commitment to being 100% U.S. made! They work with U.S. textile mills to manufacture their jacquard woven fabrics. Twice a year they create a new fabric line which they then handcraft into Maruca handbags.

I've visited their website several times now, checking out their fabric and handbag line from the fall (which my bag is from) and the bags and fabrics to come in their spring line. Not only are their bags beautiful, well crafted and made in the U.S.A., they are reasonably priced.

Maruca Design Link

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"War Dances" - One Book, One Philadelphia 2011

I've picked up my copy of of Sherman Alexie's "War Dances" and have already begun reading it. I love the idea of a community (city, school, neighborhood, etc) reading a book together. I really believe it helps to break down the walls that separate us and provides opportunities for us to see what we share in common. Heaven knows, we've gotten really good at tearing each other apart... to good at it.

Here are a couple of links providing more information on Philadelphia's One Book.

This year's selection is a staggering work of beauty and melancholy — with a dash of humor.  Philly Magazine

The War Within...  For One Book, One Philadelphia author Sherman Alexie, writing is remembering.  The City Paper

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Favorite Kind of Ice

The sun it out this morning and the temperature is rising, already in the forties. Yesterday's ice is melting!

Black ice was a real problem last night and this morning.

Speaking of ice... I much prefer "Shave Ice" to freezing rain.

Somewhere over the rainbow... the sun is shining and it's in the 70's

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Want to Go Back to Kauai

Adjusting to life back in the Northeast... Expecting snow turning to freezing rain tomorrow.  Current temperature at Lihue airport 75.9 degrees

 Looking up at Poipu Beach

Ke'e Beach

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome 2011 ! ! !

We’ll I've done it! I've taken my first baby steps in creating my blog. I can now check that goal off my 2011 New Years Resolution List... not a bad way to start the new year.

I still need to take some time and think about what else I want to put on this years list of Resolutions. One really BIG goal I have, is to do the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk, but I'm not sure I have the guts to move it from my "Bucket List" and make it a goal for 2011.