It is winter on my skin and in my bones.  I am bundled from the top of my head to my wool-encased feet. The plunge from eighty degrees to twenty degrees was abrupt and challenging.  The first question we've been asked during the past couple weeks in Seattle and Portland, in Baltimore and now in northern Virginia is:  "Why are you here in the winter?" We are here in the winter because that is when folks choose to come out of their caves to attend book events, to listen to the itinerant speaker - to invite us to share our story.  In the summer and autumn they are traveling and active in other ways.

Right now I am looking out over this Virginia solitude at three bald eagles soaring very near.   They are not our Island albatross, and that is different.  I am looking at the bare skeletons of maples and oaks and poplars - not the silhouette of coconut palms.  That's different.  Tonight, to celebrate New Year's Eve, we will dance to old rock and roll - not hula.  That is also different. 'Iokepa 'Imaikalani and I have come to love these differences.

In the next three months we will traverse the east coast from New England to Florida.  When the leaves begin to bud, we'll head across the country's deep South, up the west coast, and back again across the far north.

We have left the Islands that we love: the pristine ocean beaches, the sweet smelling trade winds, the flowering ginger, the visible Southern Cross. 'Iokepa and I are celebrating every minute of this departure - of the differences.  But then, readers of our books know that we are a couple who value the differences, who yawn at the expected.

And so, we welcome the New Year 2014:  an entire new year full to the brim with the completely unexpected.  I am searching for a concluding message, for just a couple of sentences,  and I think this is it.

Don't waste a single minute fearing that unexpected.  What we don't know will more often than not excite and thrill us, challenge and make us more of who we might yet become.  My message:  Accept this year and every single minute it delivers - and live it absolutely.

May 2014 prod each of us to grow more fully into who we were born to be.  Aloha.