Somewhere Over the Rainbow
"You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment." ~ Ecclesiastes 11:9
Our firstborn turns 25 today. This is quite something for me to behold, for I was 25 when she was born. Bailey June is a precious gift, as are all children. These days Scott and I have been learning the art of being parents to adult children--for this is a whole different ballgame than the days when they were in a front carrier or asking for the car keys.
Badana'd Bailey June, a month old, with her Daddy on her first trip to the property in Paris, Michigan
I’ve written about the incredible joy of first becoming a mother (link HERE). I loved being pregnant, growing a human. I had a big change of heart while gestating with Bailey—no longer did I want to keep my full-time job and maintain an egalitarian household where both of us worked and relied upon childcare. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, caring full-time for our children. Scott agreed.
The job was exhilarating and exhausting. I had decadent hours to dote on Bailey June—unlike with baby two, three and four. Time with her seemed to stand still for longer moments. And yet, we were quickly on the go, traveling to Cape Cod, Albuquerque and Phoenix before she could walk and England, Scotland and Northern Ireland shortly thereafter.
Bailey visiting Nanny in Hartford, Connecticut ~ September 1995
Bailey visiting Uncle Eric, Aunt Amy and Grandma Sharon in Mesa, Arizona ~ November 1995
International toddler traveler, Bailey June jaunts the British Isles with Mom & Dad, to celebrate the wedding of friends Andy & Janet in Northern Ireland; look at that sweet baby face...Bailey's cute too
Bailey has a knack for making her siblings laugh ~ at home with Jacob, Aaron & Bella ~ 2014
So, it really isn’t any wonder to us that this feisty, tow-haired babe transformed into a confident and carefree world traveler. After finishing a year of her undergrad at a local university, she decided to hit the road. Though her triple-threat talent in musical theatre had fueled desire to perform, she wasn’t sure a four-year degree in it was worth her investment.
After doing some homework on gap year options and committing her plans to the Lord, Bailey decided to join Youth With A Mission (YWAM), which has discipleship training programs around the world. She set her sights on Kona, Hawai'i and set off for the Big Island in September 2014.
After a few months of training, she travelled to Egypt with a small group of other mission-minded individuals. She experienced the Middle-East in a very unique and personal way, living and working among Egyptians. My mom and I were blessed to visit her in Hawai'i before she embarked on her journey.
Grandma Bonnie visits Bailey in Kona before she leaves on her mission to Egypt ~ December 2014
When she returned from Egypt, instead of coming back to Michigan, Bailey had pre-arranged an internship on an organic tropical fruit and coffee farm on Maui. She slept in a tent and eventually a little shack, trading her labor for room and board—rice and all-you-can-eat mangoes, avocados and you-name-it right off the trees. It was a gritty, delicious arrangement with rich on-the-job learning.
She discovered that she loved to care for plants, dig in the dirt and watch things grow. She made a lot of friends, locals and others like her from around the world who came to Maui to do the same. In fact, this was the first of many WWOOF-ing experiences for Bailey.
Her wanderlust blossomed, and after turning 20 in the North Pacific (for the first time away from any family on her birthday) she saved up and hatched a plan over the next year to travel the world. Shortly after her 21st birthday, we took her to Toronto to catch her flight to London.
Over the next nine months, she walked and WWOOF-ed, hiked and hostel-ed her way through the United Kingdom, North Africa, Europe and India. Her stories are rich and varied. I tried to find the on-line blog she kept, but it has since been taken down. Maybe she will write a retrospective to appear here at a later date?
This was the message she shared as she concluded her travels and returned to Maui:
"March 1st will be the longest day of my life. Literally. I fly out of Tokyo airport at 9pm March 1st and will arrive in Honolulu 9am the same day. I will be returning to Maui exactly nine months from the day I left. Fourteen countries later, I have seen and experienced all I could take in and process for this season of my life. I set out to discover other's "normalcy ", to peer into the lives of those cultures and traditions that might never peer into mine. My heart is full and satisfied with what I've seen, tasted and heard. It's time to set myself down and put to practice the knowledge I've gained from the farms I've helped on and the wise people I've shadowed. For everything there is a season.
My heart is full and satisfied with what I've seen, tasted and heard. It's time to set myself down and put to practice the knowledge I've gained from the farms I've helped on and the wise people I've shadowed.
It's time to sleep in the same bed for more than one week. Time to unpack my backpack and put my boots on the shelf. Time to give back. Invest in the community I had just begun to feel I belonged to, when I left. Time to repay the hundreds of times someone saw a lonely or lost American girl and decided to help, asking nothing in return. I would not have gotten by but for the generosity of strangers. I feel I have no choice but to repay these kindnessess every chance I am given. Thank you to all who have loved and supported me through this journey. I'm so grateful for the love and opportunities I have been given and continue to receive."
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
Bailey has always been bold and adventurous, giving us thrills and chills along the way. Like when we got a harried phone call from her at midnight and she was stuck in Dubai trying to get a flight to India but her debit card was not working. Or the time, near the end of her travels, when due to foggy thinking she decided to ignore her Indian coffee farm hosts' pleas not to leave the compound for a jog, but she did anyway, in the middle of an elephant corridor that also happened to be home to large water buffaloes with enormous horns.
We did a lot of praying those days. Always have. Still do. It is the foundation of our parenting, trusting the Lord with our children, asking for lots of mercy and the grace to also give it.
🤙 Maui is now her home. She continues to learn and grow. Bailey is a budding botanist, enrolled full-time at University of Hawaii--currently muscling her way through organic chemistry. She gardens and surfs, and lives in a small beautiful community that all of her immediate family has had the privilege to visit. She is learning Hawaiian and blending in as well as any girl from Waterford, Michigan ever could.
Aloha! Happy Birthday Bailey June, golden hair, eyes of blue, we love you!
Jacob was the first to visit Bailey on Maui, for his high school senior trip in 2016
Aaron met Bailey on Hawai'i his junior year of high school, making a college visit to U of H Hilo ~ 2017
My best friend and I visited Bailey for a week in early December 2018--here we are deep in laughter on a sailing trip off the coast of Ka'anapali; notice the rainbow between Suzi and Bailey's head
Hiking through the crater at Haleakala National Park with my girl ~ December 2018. My boots fell apart two miles into an 11 mile hike which made for slow footing on lava rock
Bella with big sis Bailey on the Pacific Ocean in Kipahulu, Hawai'i ~ December 2018
A Green Christmas with our girls~Scott and I enjoyed the hospitality of the O'Connell Family ~ 12/25/18
Cousins Rochelle and Lisa visit Bailey in Hana ~ June 2019
Grandma Bonnie takes cousin Liam on his graduation trip in August 2019
Aaron made his second trip to see Bay Bay, learning how to surf ~ December 2019
Friends Tracey and Steve visit Bailey and her boyfriend Dege in Hana ~ April 2020
Time to give back. Invest in the community I had just begun to feel I belonged to, when I left.
Bailey and Dege harvest kalo/taro
Dege loves to fish...he recently caught this 50 lb. ulua and broke his pole in half in the process of a 40 minute struggle!
Thank you to all who have loved and supported me through this journey. I'm so grateful for the love and opportunities I have been given and continue to receive.
Bailey sang this song for Dege's grandma's 90th birthday celebration in February 2020
We always enjoy hearing Bailey sing and/or play guitar or ukulele
Olelo mai la ke Akua ia Noa, Oia ka hoailona o ka berita a'u i hoopaa iho ai mawaena o'u a o na mea io a pau maluna o ka honua. Genesis 9:17 from BAIBALA HEMOLELE
So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth." Genesis 9:17 from New International Version
"Dass wat God wen tell Noah: “Da rainbow, dass da sign fo da deal I wen make fo eryting dat stay alive on top da groun.” Da Start 9:17 ~ from Da Jesus Book
(A translation of the Bible by Wycliff translators and linguists in consultation with Hawaiian speakers of Hawaiian Pidgin English, which is an English-based creole language spoken in Hawaiʻi. Although English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the state of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Pidgin is spoken by many Hawaiʻi residents in everyday conversation.)