Merry Christmas From Heaven

I’m not even sure his parents and siblings knew this, but Dave loved Koalas! It’s weird because he was so adventurous, fearless, energetic and koalas are so mellow, slow moving and sleepy. When I told Sierra when she was around seven years old that her dad loved Koalas, she chose one to add to her Webkins collection and she named her Koala, David.

Today, Christmas Day 2016, Sierra got a special gift. I’ve heard that sometimes messages from our loved ones who have passed on, come through other people. I believe it.

When Sierra opened a Christmas gift from her friend My-Linh, I got that message as soon as I saw it. A Koala ornament.  I had to text My-Linh to ask how she came up with the Koala ornament to give to Sierra. Here’s her text response and pic of the cute Koala ornament which came all the way from Australia:



I’ve been posting about how much we miss Dave after 10 years of him being gone, but I think maybe he’s trying to tell us he still around and wishing us a Merry Christmas. Before he died, I didn’t believe in any of this stuff. Now however, I truly do believe that those who have passed on leave us little signs here and there to let us know they are still hanging out with us. We just need to be aware and open.

Merry Christmas from the Castles Family: Dave, Lena, and Sierra. Wishing you all peace and pennies from Heaven.

New SoCal Friends

Ok so this is like Stalker Mom status but whatever! Lol! I still think this is a trip and that Dave must be helping his girl out 🙂 Check it out….

This move from Maui to California has been super hectic and exhausting, but after living in a hotel with all our stuff, we finally got to move in to our apartment home on August 7. Yay!!

On our 2nd day in the apartment, we finally got a little break and Sierra and I went to the pool/hot tub to chill out a bit. I was very much looking forward to some much needed relax time.

We had planned to get there earlier, but got tied up waiting for AT&T to install Internet service for us so we got there much later, around 6:45pm. The delay turned out to be a good thing! After around 1/2 hour just before we were getting ready to leave, two teen girls entered the pool area. As soon as I saw them I thought, “Yes! New friends for Sierra!”

Long story short, I got out of the hot tub and left the pool area to give them space. In just a few minutes, they were chatting and exchanging Instagram info! I peeked out of the workout room window next to the pool area, sneaked around like a weirdo and snapped these pics 🙂

New friends 1

New friends 2

So….that’s all pretty cool and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that this was happening! But, THIS is the trippy part!! Turns out one of the girls lives in our apartment complex and the other is moving in soon. In addition, both are going to be freshman at the same high school Sierra will be attending, both are going to be taking Spanish as Sierra is, so they may be in the same class AND one is a soccer player! The other plays volleyball so she’s an athlete too. Awesome!!

Sierra has lots of friends thru her Arsenal soccer teammates, but they all live pretty far from us. One of the things I REALLY wanted to happen when we moved to California, was for Sierra to make friends who were in our area and would be going to her new school before school started. I thought, “How can I make that happen?!”  Well…I guess we lucked out!! What are the odds of this happening?! We chose a small apartment complex in an area of about 80,000 residents and on the 2nd day here Sierra makes 2 new friends, same age, same interests, living in the same apartment complex!!

Monday, August 11, 2014, marks eight years since we lost Dave. However, I believe he’s around us wherever we are whether Maui, California or anywhere else. He’s doing his thing to help his little girl out and I know he’ll keep watching out for her…

Eight years….can’t believe its been that long. She’s doing great, Dave. Thanks for being here for us.


Our New Adventure

“It’s an adventure!” Whenever we went out and did something new or different, that’s what Dave would always say. Taking Sierra on her first trip to Disneyland, going to a restaurant for the first time, even a simple trip to the grocery store sometimes became an adventure! On a trip years ago, can’t remember where, we had an unexpected ride on an airport apron tarmac in a little shuttle bus. I remember being tired, annoyed and wondering why we had to ride around in this crowded hot van rushing and weaving thru luggage carts. I looked at Dave and he just smiled and said, “It’s an adventure”.

With Chip at Disneyland

With Chip at Disneyland

Learning to drive at Disney with Daddy

Learning to drive at Disney with Daddy

The three of us at Disneyland in 2003

Fun cab ride at Disneyland

Fun cab ride at Disneyland

Even with his busy schedule, Dave always kept a good balance in managing his time and created many adventures with Sierra and me. And we didn’t have to go somewhere far away, it was all about making the most of any activity, anywhere…making it into something fun…whatever it was.

Dave and Sierra at Kamaole Beach, Maui

Dave and Sierra at Kamaole Beach, Maui

And now, the time has come for us to set off on our biggest adventure! July 28, 2014 marks a new beginning for Sierra and me as we leave our island home, where we’ve both lived our entire lives. At first I thought about how sad it would be to leave the home Dave and I built where we raised Sierra. It felt like we would be leaving so much behind. Then I realized that wherever we go, we take all the wonderful memories with us and I know that Dave would want his daughter to get out there and be the best she could be. I also believe that Dave will be right there with us every step of the way….including being there as she plays her favorite sport. #soccer

It’s a big world, full of opportunities and we welcome all the challenges, new friends, and new experiences.

Photo of Sierra and Lena at sunset

Photo of Sierra and me at Kamaole III Beach taken by Brad Starks in January 2011.

A hui hou Maui. You will always be our home.



Santa Who?

Even when I was a kid, it was never about what I got for Christmas that mattered.  More so today because I know that there are so many people, so many kids that don’t get gifts because their families can’t afford them.  When I was a kid, we didn’t have tons of money and my parents were always cautious about spending.  They never spoiled us and bought expensive things they couldn’t afford.  And I’m grateful for their wise choices.

The memories I have of Christmastime as a kid are not about Santa and gifts, but more about family.  I remember that our Christmas tree was always ugly! Hahaha! Yep! Our tree was not beautiful like those you see at Macy’s. Why? Because my mom and dad let us kids decorate it!! AND we used those hideous silver icicles which you don’t see in the stores anymore….I wonder why!!  If you had any of those silver icicle things on your tree, no matter how carefully you placed them, there’s no way your tree would be pretty!! I wish I had a pic to show you, but I don’t…just memories of what our ugly tree looked like. The thing is…although our tree was not a pretty site, it’s still a fond memory and will always be one of the things that made Christmas special when I was a kid.

I also remember one more thing.  This memory was actually about presents. Again, what we got wasn’t important…I really don’t remember exactly what we got. This memory is about the giving side of the presents. Every year at Christmas, my sister, Terri, would have gifts under the tree for each of us.  She was the only kid in the family that planned gifts for everyone.  There would be these little kapakahi (Hawaiian for crooked, uneven, messy, disorganized) wrapped presents under our ugly silver icicle covered Christmas tree…one for each of us.  I don’t even know how she got them, if she bought them or made them…just that those little kapakahi wrapped presents were there under our hamajag (same meaning as kapakahi) tree. That’s a special memory and I’ll never forget it.  Thanks for the memories Terri!

With Dave, Christmas was always special because he made us laugh.  He used to say that his mom, Marilyn, would be out shopping for Christmas gifts and forget to get him something. He joked about her standing in line to purchase other people’s gifts, and at that point she’d remember she still had to get his gift and would just grab something as she was in line at the checkout counter. He would jokingly complain about the gifts he got from everyone. He would open something up and look at it with a puzzled expression and say something like, “Oh, you got me this?!” and he would throw it on the ground, then start laughing and everyone would laugh with him.  I think his family started getting him crazy gifts just to see what he would do when he opened it. 🙂 The holidays were always full of laughs…special memories to cherish forever.

Christmas 2003

Christmas 2003

What’s the true meaning of Christmas? It doesn’t matter if you have an ugly tree like Charlie Brown did. It doesn’t matter how many gifts you got or what you got. It’s really the thought that counts…what you do for someone else. If Sierra cleaned her room without me asking her to do it (Sierra are you reading this? 🙂 ), or randomly wrote a sweet little note to her mom, or did something thoughtful for someone, anyone…..that stuff means more to me than a store bought gift ANY DAY! Christmas is about doing something thoughtful for someone…showing someone you care….

For those who are missing family and bummed about the holidays…create your own special memories. Do something special…no matter how small…for someone else.  I promise’s the best feeling in the world and you’ll be creating memories to cherish always.

Mele Kalikimaka to all….



Birthday Bear

I did not want Sierra to be born on October 13th because it happened to be on a Friday that year. Friday the 13th was a bad luck day right? I know. It’s just silly superstition. Labor lasted many, many hours but I was fine with that because Sierra was born in the wee hours of Saturday, October 14. Yay!

Dave had a particular trade show that he attended on the mainland every year during Sierra’s birthday, beginning with her first birthday. Due to those business trips, he was unable to be home for his little girl’s birthday for the first four years. After a job change, Sierra’s 5th birthday was the very first that he was able to celebrate together with us on the actual day. It also ended up being the last.

For Sierra’s 1st birthday, Dave brought home a gift from his trip. It was a cute, colorful teddy bear with a little “Happy Birthday” button. Sierra loved it and although she had quite a few stuffed animals in her room, this gift from her daddy was always her favorite. After we lost Dave in 2006, this teddy bear became even more special and we ended up giving him a name. Daddy Bear. Daddy Bear has been great comfort for Sierra whenever she needed it.

Daddy Bear

One of the things I did to help me through dealing with my loss was to write. I kept Dave’s email address and would write to him about what I was feeling…all the emotions and all the cool spiritual things I had experienced. Writing helped me tons and also made me feel like I was communicating with him.

I also wrote poems, including one I titled “A Chat with Daddy”. It mentions “Daddy Bear”, Dave’s birthday gift to Sierra that will forever be her favorite. I’m sharing it with you on a day that will always be a special day to me because its the day that the most important person in my life was born. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIERRA!!! I love you more than ANYTHING and I know Daddy is also sending you his birthday wishes from Heaven.



Dave & Sierra after her 2nd bday party opening gifts