Friday, February 26, 2010

Meant To Be...

This Movie is how I received my Birth name.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


original movie poster by Frank McCarthy
Directed by Howard Hawks
Produced by Howard Hawks
Paul Helmick
Written by Harry Kurnitz
Leigh Brackett
Starring John Wayne
Elsa Martinelli
Hardy Krüger
Red Buttons
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography Russell Harlan
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) October 6, 1962
Running time 157 min
Hatari! is a 1962 American film directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne. The title means "danger" in Swahili, which was mentioned in the film as well. Portraying a group of hunters, the film presents an interesting if antiquated portrait of Africa still dominated by non-Africans. The film is extremely popular because of the dramatic wildlife chases and the magnificent backdrop scenery of Mount Meru, a dormant volcano.
Hatari! was filmed on location in Tanganyika, (in what is now northern Tanzania). Many scenes were filmed near Arusha, Tanzania on a hunting ranch, Ngongongare Farm, owned from 1960 by actor Hardy Krüger. The final chase through town was filmed in Nairobi, Kenya.
The film gathers its several characters from different parts of the world: Sean Mercer (John Wayne), Pockets (Red Buttons), Anna Maria 'Dallas' D'Allesandro (Elsa Martinelli), Kurt Müller (Hardy Krüger), Brandy De la Court (Michele Girardon), Charles 'Chips' Maurey (Gerard Blain), Luis Francisco Garcia Lopez (Valentin De Vargas) are, respectively, from USA, USA, Italy, Germany, France, France and Mexico.

I was inspired by another blog to discuss how it is I have the name Brandi.
The blog that inspired me has such an elegant story. 

Me , not so elegant!!
It is kind of Funny, My parents went to see this film in 1962 and my Mother loved the name Brandy from a charachter in the movie. She was a an attractive woman , and my Mom really seemed to like her.
I have seen the movie and it was ok, but I was not drawn to it for an on-chore?
I was born in 1963, August and clearly the movie stuck with my Mom. She changed the spelling , but kept her decision to name me Brandi.

As a small child in 1st grade, I can recall the mean kid in the class taunting me calling me Whiskey and Scotch. I did not like the teasing or the demeaning comments attached to my name. Children can be so cruel can't they? And what 6 year old knows all the alcoholic beverages??? Anyway,
After first grade my parents decided to move to Southern California from the Bay area, so I inquired of my Mother to please allow me to go by my middle name Ann at my new school. She was agreeable and hence , I was known by Ann all through elementary and middle school. Thats me with the bow in my hair, celebrating my birthday 6th birthday! I did not like short hair.

It was strange to be called Ann at school and Brandi at home.
By the time I had reached High School I had decided to go by my given name and reclaim myself.

I felt very powerful inside by making the decision to use my name correctly and fully. It was a turning point for me and I really needed that sense of identity. It was a long time for kids to get use to me going by my first name and not "Ann."After a while I really disliked hearing my middle name used.

I was just in my early thirties when I had the awakening as to why I had those struggles as most of us do in our teen years. I realized that when my Mother allowed me to change my name and go by my middle name, she was giving me permission to hide from myself and others as to who I was.My given name was not something to change, or be ashamed of. I clearly at the age of 6 did not want to be associated with alcohol or anything negative! who would? but I never told my Mom why and she didn't really mind either. When I told her later on of my experience of figuring out why I had my issues, I asked her why she let me change who I was? She said in that era, nicknames were popular and people often went by names other than their Given names, you  remember, Buffy, Bing, Red, all 50's slang.She never thought it was an issue of concern.I understood, I wasn't looking to blame her, I was looking for enlightenment and understanding.

I came to realize at that time in my early thirties that because I had been allowed to change my name, I was given permission to be less than I was, I had been hiding out since I was 6?. This was huge for me!! I know that my life would of been different had my parents told me to be proud of my name and of who I was!! So interesting how something that seemed of such little consequence created dramatic results.

My teenage years were pretty typical for a teenager who had parents struggling to keep a marriage together, the pressures of the unhappy home life certainly motivated me to socializing with my friends and probably not the best choice of friends either. My Mother was active in our Faith but I wavered and decided I wasn't interested in going to church either, how could I be good enough to be around these girls in church when I wasn't even able to own my own name?.These decisions of mine were all stemmed from not knowing who I really was.I was lost and it would be a 18 years from that 6 year old moment of decision before I would find my way home.

At the age of 24 and fully owning who I was in name and Spirit, I knew I had been missing so much in my life. I was a Hair Designer and living on my own ,really wanting and needing more. I decided I wanted to have a family and  raise my children in the Faith that I was raised in. It was an excellent environment and I wanted good values for my children, so I needed to change the fast paced life I was living. I made the decision to end a bad relationship I was in and move home to live with my Brother for a while.I knew my way of living was not bringing me happiness and I wanted to see if God would be interested in taking me back? I had been on my own to long, but would he want me?I had to find out , I went back to church on my own and made promises to God and myself that I was "all in" and that if he could make me happy, I would serve him forever!!.

I quit any and all bad habits immediately and I have never looked back! This was in the early part of  March 1988. I met my husband on a blind date the following month through a mutual friend at church.
We dated and were engaged in September of 1988 and we were married the following February 1989.We were married n the LDS Temple in Los Angeles, it truly is Happily ever after...

My husband had never been "part of the crowd" when it came to bad habits, not that he didn't make mistakes, but he had a strong sense of who he was and so he never smoked, drank or did any drug of any kind.
I asked him how it was that he never got caught up in those wrong choices as a teen? He said he just didn't? I still had continued to struggle with why I had been off track with my choices?

And, so on that quiet morning when I had been on my morning walk, the light came on in my mind ,spinning back to the decisions I had been allowed to make in regards to changing my name. It had impacted my spirit and belief system, that I needed to be something different than who I was to be accepted. I spent that day with my Mom in tears of sadness for that little 6 year old who was looking for relief and a safe harbor from ridicule and tears of Joy for the relief and gift of enlightenment , to see the path clearly and understand the answers and reasons for my altered journey.

I don't regret my journey, it makes me who I am today. It has made me a stronger, more insightful Mother. I can tell you that I chose names for my children that had very little options for taunting at school. Lets face it school is a jungle as it is!Some things never change!
This experience has  also motivated me and challenged me to seek out opportunities for conversation and communication with my children.
I am so grateful for my Mother in my Life, she has stood by me and loved me unconditionally all my life.Mom has lived with us since 1996 on my Husbands invitation, we have enjoyed the company of Nana. My kids have grown up knowing Nana as a part of their Family life and it has been special for us all.

The sweetest part for me has been sharing our spiritual relationship.My Mom was also raised in the church and so I know her prayers for me were answered as I found light to my life and a desire for happiness.
Being a Daughter of God and knowing who I am was just " Meant to Be"


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday Dinner

We are California natives and so the love for Mexican food is in grained in my family food of favorites.
The tradition began with my parents, as we lived in southern California about 2 hours from the border of Mexico , we would often take trips across the border, we camped on the beach , fished and enjoyed the atmosphere of Mexico. This was in the early seventies, things were much simpler and safer then , but the food has remained wonderful.

We would travel to a small village one hour south of the border called Puerta Nuevo. It is a small fishing village. They would sell Lobster dinners, complete with all the beans, rice and tortillas you could eat and the entire dinner, $5.00 a plate. These restaurants were made from peoples homes, if one filled up the next door would open. It was a memorable time for me as a kid. My dad would pitch pennies with me against the wall of the house outside ,while we waited for a table.  He was so generous and always let me win,
back then you could still buy penny candy!

Throughout my youth into adulthood, we continued the tradition of making the trek to Puerta Nuevo for the famous Lobster dinners. Now, as it is a part of my Family traditions, the plate goes for $13.00 to 15.00 dollars. It is now in remodeled buildings and complete restaurants, about 6 of them, but the original is in the first building that they now call the Newport. always a line out front ,first come first serve and they open promptly at 11:15?
I always thought that was funny, but we waited our turn and so has our kids. They have fond memories of going on the journey to this little village across the border for the delicious goodness of fresh grilled lobster with all the trimmings and cold soda from glass bottles and the girls would have their hair braided and they would swoon over the turquoise and silver bracelets calling out to them as they would drag their Dad from stand to stand and the boys would have high hopes of a kool trinket, like bull horns or a leather slingshot or a miniature accordian to torture us with on the long trek home, slowly moving in the neverending stream of cars awaiting the signal to cross over into Freedom.

           The poor children and adults would walk in and out of the cars, trying to sell their wares ,men carrying blankets and statues,children also barefoot and dirty trying to sell chiclet(GUM) for change. young mothers would walk to the window with paper cups begging for change while the babies would be wrapped in material around the backs of these women, inhaling the car fumes and barefoot on the hot, dirty,  asphalt.
These images are seared forever in my mind . I remember my parents as they would give to the street vendors as we waited our turn to cross the Border to journey home.I think I had an accordian from one of those long line moments and I'm sure it drove them crazy too. As my kids had these experiences, I would engage with them in specific conversations about gratitude for the blessings in their lives and to be more mindful of them as they see these other children juggling golf balls, for entertainment to the massive lines of cars, jetting infront of cars for a solo performance in hopes of  a monitary response. I remember my husband gave this boy a larger bill for his willingness to entertain us, but that he wanted to share his talent not just beg and you could tell he was happy for the gift of his talent.We talked about him all the way home, so many have  exploited their children to do anything they can to survive,  it was all very sad and heartbraking to watch it as it unfolded all around our vehicle , the glass seperating us from such devastating levels of poverty.The pounding on the windows with kids wearing multiple sombreros one on top of the other hoping for a sale.Their faces dusty and sweat lines dried on their cheeks...we were penniless by the time we reached the Border, we dug for every cent we had to give  even in the ashtray and under seats with what we could...but it never, ever seemed to be enough to feel like we gave in some small way, they are just so poor!

By the time you reach the Guard at the border and declare your purchases your elated  and somehow you exhale with a huge sigh of relief that you are headed for safe passage to the comforts of home.But the images of these people and their struggle doesn't  dissappear, the ride home is quiet, the kids fall fast asleep and we both ponder our family day in Mexico....

And so our Sunday Dinner was tasty Mexican food with memories of our trips to Puerto Nuevo and the days of our youth. It is so great to have memories that are generational. I wonder if my children will ever take their kids to the little village of Puerto Nuevo that is a part of my childhood and a part of theirs too.

No Lobster!! darn it!! on Sunday, but we did do the traditional beef tacos, homemade beans and rice with chocolate cake . It was loved by all, hope you enjoy it too!

This recipe is super easy!
follow Duncan Hines Chocolate cake box directions
adding 1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 large bag of powder sugar or 2 boxes
1 stick butter room temp
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
add cream a little at a time until frosting is perfect consistency
try 1/4 cup of cream little by little, add more if necessary.
frost cooled cake and serve
you will LOVE IT!!
the instant espresso powder is the secret...shhhh...
it makes it so chocolatie that everyone will FLIP!!
I promise you will not be dissapointed,
just promise you will share the recipe with those you love...
All My Aloha

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This is my oldest son Travis, today we are celebrating him as he has been called to serve a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Spokane, Washington , Spanish speaking Mission.He will arrive at the MTC in Salt Lake City on April 28, 2010. He will serve for 24 months and will be serving in the areas of Northeast Washington, Northern Panhandle of Idaho and Montana and parts of the Canadian border.
Travis is extremely thrilled for his call to serve.
We couldn't be happier, prouder and anymore grateful for this wonderful young man of 19, who has the desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are searching .

Travis finished High school  in 2009 as well as achieving his Eagle Scout.Travis works full time for a local construction firm. Being outside, building things and getting dirty is in his top ten of favorites, he will miss the surfing and of coarse his friends. In his spare time he coaches Cheer for BYU Hawaii 2010. Travis plans to return from his Mission and attend the school of his choice , play football and look to his future to share it with someone special. I am Happy to report he is leaving very single!!
We are so very glad he has his goals set and that he is open to all  of his possibilities. My heart is tender for this young man in my life. He reflects all the qualities that are important to me .I can only hope and pray that I have given him the tools, values and spiritual desires to face life with courage, integrity and a knowledge of who he is. I am honored to be his Mother . I love you Travis, my son.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Deep end of the Pool

I have to say that I use the analogy of a swimming pool in reference to life's issues that I experience.I have to dedicate this post to my dearest friend Holly M. She shared this gift with me for Valentines Day and I must say it left me with a desire to dog paddle a little longer in the deepest part of my pool of life. This book is not for those who hang out in the shallow end of the pool, although it may help you to have the courage to swim a little deeper!

She sent me this book, a true story of a Breast Cancer survivor...written by Kim Rives and found on
This true story is really thought provoking and certainly gives hope to all of us, especially those who have to walk the path of Cancer. I hope you will take the time to read Kim's story. I emailed her and told her that there was no way I could repay her for the knowledge of hope and Faith that she shares in her story, but that I would honor her story by sharing it with those I love.
I like to keep my word, so here it is
 this is my gift to all of you fabulous friends that share my blog world out there.I hope you take the opportunity to read about Kims experience with life and near death. It is life changing...or at the very minimum thought provoking!

All my Aloha

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rules We Try To Live By

This hangs in my dining area where we gather daily.These rules have been in force in our Kingdom  as  long as I have been married and we just celebrated 21 years on Feb 3.

I'd like to say that these rules are read everyday by every member of my Kingdom, but they are not...
I think they are visible to everyone, but they are not necessarily read line by line as they should be, for a reminder of comfort and peace. 
I can say that when any issues arise that are adversarial, we go straight to the rules of the kingdom. If the parties involved have broken more than 5 of the rules, the phones are turned into the Dungeon for a full 7 days and grounding to the castle accompanies the seven day sentence. This may seem so lenient...5 broken rules before the 7 days, but if you notice , the majority of these rules are closely connected, so if you have broken 1, you may very well be guilty of several.

I also can report that when the guilty parties are reading over the rules after a poor choice has been made and then asked which ones apply to their issues, it is very interesting how tenderhearted they become when they have to identify the broken rules out loud.

How to keep a spirit of Love in our Home has been the greatest test above all others for me as the Mother or" Queen of  my Kingdom". My entire family would probably tell you that I, "THE QUEEN" have the hottest temper and that I roar the loudest. I am fierce and true to my reflection of my Leo nature. It does not always serve me as well as I would like. In keeping to my Lioness attributes, I am very protective of my cubs.

I love to watch them play with each other and enjoy  family time together. Now, in their teenage years it seems they want the normal independence of me, trying out their worldly adventures and always expecting triumphant returns. If only life worked that way.........licking their wounds is just part of the healing process, but it is hard to watch from my seat on the Throne. How will they learn if I do not let them try?

I can say that my prayers are filled with hope for strength and guidance to know what is right as their Mother?
That they will make better decisions than the day before, be a little kinder and judge a little less, be a good friend and say "I LOVE YOU" sounds easy enough...doesn't it?? ah only if it were so easy, than Life wouldn't be so HARD!
It seems that we only have today...and the promise of tomorrow...

I am so humbled in gratitude, that the promise of tomorrow brings me the hope of strengthening my weaknesses and it gives me another chance to endure faithfully.

I do hope that they will be forgiving of me when it comes to my weaknesses, and that they will know always  that my eternal love for them resonates above all else.

How I pray that they chose these rules to live by for their own Kingdoms someday.... 

Home Rules courtesy of
PHOTOS courtesy of
freaking News .com
jungle walk .com
castles from google

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


 This is my girl!!! I owned her for two wonderful years!!
Of all the cars I have owned, this one is my favorite. she drove like a dream...
As you started her up,she would growl with her deep rumbling pipes, preparing you for an assured adventure on the open road. 
She was flashy and always attracting a positive energy. It was often that I would get a thumbs
up as passing cars would give there salute of admiration as a kind of payment for a glimpse of her beauty.  I think I would of loved a lot about the 50"s!!
She just screamed kool!! 
I felt wonderful behind her wheel, timeless, classic and just pure style.... 
I gave any and all who wanted a spin in her a ride , I felt very generous with her, I knew she was a blessing and
I am all for sharing the JOY!

My Husband drove this 56 Chevy Truck,
he did not let anyone drive it!

This was his favorite too! It was a time of "Sweet Rides" for the both of us.
My eldest son took both cars to the high school for the year book photos.
He somehow felt like they were his too!! at 16 who wouldn't?
These cars went with our new Business!
We bought this building from a local bank and remodeled it from an old mexican restaurant
to  a very kool Diner!

We lived another dream opening this restaurant...
but we worked so many hours that our family time was gone.
None of my children miss the business, they also worked  and lived it with us.

We lived up in a canyon during our brief stay

in Idaho, so driving her along the country roads was truly are a few pictures of our home on the hill.
This is our country cottage on 3 acres in Sugar Creek
out in Cub River, Idaho

This is Sugar Creek that runs through the base of the property.
We only lived here  just under 2 years. 
We really do not miss the cold, but it was beautiful.
Nothing like the living in the country, I do miss my horses and the easy breezy country days.


It was fun to give it a go in the restaurant biz, I think we miss our cars the most!!
My Caddy went to Belgium on sale through Ebay and Al's truck sold to Colorado .
We knew that Hawaii was not a place for classic cars with all of the salt air!.
Moving everything to Hawaii was very expensive, so we said goodbye to the cars.
There is a season for everything, if I have learned one thing it is that "THINGS" come and go
but "Families are Forever".
people have questioned us for moving a few times in the last 5 years. Aren't we worried about the kids?
How  will they adjust? and the questions kept coming?
We felt that we are willing to take risks as long as we are in sync as a family.We never made decisions
without a family council and lots of prayer.

We are California natives,we are both from Northern Cal, but I was raised in Southern Cal.
When the Real Estate slumped in Calif in 05, we relocated to Idaho to try a new business in a new
climate and a better economy or so we thought?. It just was not for us, but we did follow through with our goals and the finished product was very desirable. It was through our blood ,sweat and hard cold cash that we knew we wanted something else!!
Isn't that always the way, only after hard work do we come out the other side knowing what we do and do not want  ?
We knew that we did not want to live in the snow! We knew we wanted,
preferably the warm sun, ocean water and if we had to do any struggling, let it be in Paradise!
Many lessons were learned from our move to Idaho.Our best friends moved their as well. It was hard to leave them since we had never lived in the same town before. They have found a peaceful life there
and we are so happy for them. We also  still have family that is sprinkled all over Cache Valley.
It was a memorable experience and it is what catapulted us to Hawaii. For that I will always be
grateful for our "RIDE" through Idaho and ALOHA!!



Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Strongest Weakness....Patience

The Parable of the Chinese Bamboo Tree...   

This was posted by  she is one of my favorite people in this whole world!!! of course I love this and I hope you do too! Thanks Traci

"In everything you do in your family, keep in mind the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!

"Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and you invest time and effort, and you do everything you can possibly do to nurture growth, and sometimes you don't see anything for weeks, months, or even years. But if you're patient and keep working and nurturing, that "fifth year" will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place.

"Patience is faith in action. Patience is emotional diligence. It's the willingness to suffer inside so that others can grow. It reveals love. It gives birth to understanding."

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey (pp. 22-23)