Aloha from Hawaii!

If you don’t happen to follow IBC across social media (which I understand because social media can be the worst sometimes), you might not know that I’ve been on the island of Maui in Hawaii since last Friday.

Aloha! |

As I alluded in my most recent “What’s the Tea” post, I booked this impromptu vacation as a little escape. With money I’d saved and airline miles I’d accumulated, I was able to arrange everything just one week before I left. Kind of crazy, right? I know. I had my doubts, too. However, after being here for a week, it was the best decision I could have made.

Why the need to get away? Well, as you might know (if you’ve been following IBC for some time), I’ve always struggled a bit with life. Not only do I tend to worry too much, but I often feel stressed and anxious, and I don’t sleep well. Sounds fun, right? Ha! Well, about a year ago things seemed to really hit the fan, and the past six months have been incredibly challenging. Saying all of this, I sort of feel like a jerk because a huge chunk of my life is pretty darn amazing. I’m in Hawaii after all! It’s a place some people only dream of visiting. So, I’m not complaining – just explaining.

Aloha! |

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty, because that’s not what IBC is about. However, the deaths of two close family members, the loss of several important friendships, and an overwhelming feeling of being alone sort of got to me. I’d hit a wall and realized I had no idea who I was. I’ve spent so long trying to be all of the things I thought people wanted me to be that I completely lost Michael. Does that make sense? For a long time, I’ve been waiting for someone to come along and fix things for me. However, lately I’ve come to realize that I’m the one who got myself into this mess, so I’m clearly the one who needs to dig myself out.

Even after being here for a week, I still have no idea how to move forward or what my plan is. However, I am feeling more empowered to tackle whatever life throws at me. Before I left I could barely face the day. That’s half the battle, right?

Aloha! |

I hate to get overly personal here on IBC, but I felt I owed you an explanation. I’m not whining. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me, I’m just being honest. And yes, I did create Behind the Charm (BTC) for these types of things, but I decided this post needed a more prominent place on the blog. I’ll be writing a bit more on BTC as I continue on this journey post-Hawaii, so stay tuned for more there.

I certainly hope this all make sense.

Aloha! |

Also, you might be wondering, “Why Maui?” Well, for years I’d dreamed of going to Hawaii. Plus, a few people in my life who were just here were singing its praises. Other than that I don’t know why I had to make this trip. It just seemed like the thing to do. Maybe it was a sign from above? I was also drawn to Maui because Donna of Funky Junk Interiors was staying here. While this trip was a chance to get away, I figured having a friend nearby couldn’t hurt. And following a recent trek up to the Haleakala Summit with her and her son, I couldn’t be happier to have her close by.

So that’s that. Here I am. In five short days, I’ll return home to celebrate my 33rd birthday, and life will carry on. I’ll be sharing more about Hawaii here on the blog in the coming weeks. I’ve already taken more than 2,000 pictures so I will have lots to show you, including some of my Maui favorites. In the meantime, feel free to say hello on Instagram or Snapchat (inspiredbycharm). That’s where you’ll find most of my adventures.

Aloha! |

To end this post, I have a poem by Mary Oliver. I just learned about her via a friend’s Instagram post that I read on my flight over here. After a quick web search, this was the first piece of her writing that I found. How’s that for fate?

Aloha, my friends.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Aloha! |

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  • Sandra at

    I appreciate that you shared your current reality with us, your readers. It reflects a willingness to trust your followers with your heart and soul. I have struggled to do what you’ve done, share parts of me that are not so ‘felicity’. Your post was lovely and sweet and courageous!

  • Catherine at

    That poem is exactly where I am at. Thank you for your courage to share it.

  • Anonymous at

    “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
    Jesus loves you and these words are so comforting. He will be our friend till the end if we follow him!

  • Lisa at

    Oh Michael, I have been where you are now and I’m sad for you. I do hope it was healing for you to share a bit of what you have been experiencing. You have such amazing gifts and talents and you will find yourself. Even in your darkest days, try, though it may hurt, to be optimistic and positive. What you exude unto the world is what you receive.

  • Centsational Girl at

    I love that poem Michael! How lovely that you’re in Maui, aloha to you! I’m headed there next week can’t wait! The island is therapeutic I hope you find some answers there 🙂 xoxo Kate

  • Laura at

    I just found that poem this last week to, it shook me to my core! In a few short days I will be looking at the date that I lost my husband 4 years earlier. I hardly recognize my life any longer. I realize that what you’re going through May not be only grief, that’s not all I went through either, my last child had just graduated from high school, I was going to be an empty nester, I left a long time job, my whole world felt like a bomb hit In the middle of it. When we experience that kind of trauma in our life, we shift, some things are clear, some are not. We loose our north. But hear is what I have found out, give yourself some grace, be kind, love on yourself and give yourself the gift of time if you can, we’re like bouy’s we bobble back up. I went to Hawaii for 3 weeks and stayed in Kihei, it’s a healing place. I’m glad you were able to go.

  • Deb at

    Good for you! Sometimes we need to get away from situations to figure out our lives. You seem to be a wonderful young man. Hang in there and just enjoy life! Praying for you!

  • Julie @ trysmallthings at

    Thank you for sharing your struggles, Michael. You’re helping more people than you know, just by talking about it.

  • Marie at

    You need to pat yourself on the back now because I think you’ve handled everything really well. You might not be feeling perfect at this moment but instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself and moaning you picked yourself up again (not easy when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders) and took yourself off to Maui determined to get through this time in your life while still being upbeat and positive. Job well done. Job really well done.I love your blog and all those fab photos.I hope you feel better very very soon. Aloha☺

  • Debra at

    You are so talented, both in writing and decor. Life sends us a bushel of crud every now and then, doesn’t it? But I see you’ve taken a step toward peace by both your vacation and expressing your dilemma in writing. I hope your vacation will bring you the rest you need and the courage to tackle the other bits with confidence. We’re cheering you on!

  • Nancy at

    Thank you for having the courage to be real with us. I hope each day will be a better day for you. Smiles

  • Laila Santana at

    You need to give yourself a high five. You’ve confronted your sorrow and hurt, which is always the hardest part. Now that you’ve taken that first step the rest will come, but don’t rush it. Give yourself time to heal and feel all the ranges of emotion. You’re brave and honest, which are awesome qualities. I can feel that good thints are headed your way! Take good care.

  • Sue at

    Michael, I’m so sorry you have lost members of your family. The loss of friends,is the pits. When you invite your readers into your life and home,we begin to feel you are family. Remember,you can tell us anything and we won’t judge,just love. Hope this vacation is doing the trick.

  • Nancy P. at

    Michael, I am so inspired by your beautifully written heartfelt words. There have been several times in my life where I thought I would love to take off and get my thoughts in order and basically escape my life for a short while. For many reasons, this never happened, the biggest one being that I don’t think I had the nerve to just pick up and go.(that and three kids). So I applaud you for taking that leap of faith! I’m sorry for the losses you have experienced and hope that after this wonderful journey you’ve taken you feel renewed and ready to tackle your life back home.❤️

  • Karen at

    Sending prayers and positive thoughts. I totally get it. Your struggle is my struggle and thank you for being so honest. Please know you are valued to people like myself…I don’t even know you but am so glad I found your blog. You are not alone and hoping your trip did give you new perspective and although life is hard and sometimes harder than you think you can handle, the alternative is NOT easier…for those touched by you. Love the poem…it is very powerful. Please…..enjoy your birthday.

  • Cindy at

    Hi Michael, I have tried a few of your recipes and they are all winners. I understand what you are going through and I sympathize. Three years ago when I turned 50, my younger sister, my best friend, died of cancer. At the same time I lost another good friend because that relationship turned out to be nothing but a lie. I was working at a job where I was enduring a hostile environment directed at me. I was so depressed. But I pulled myself up from the pit of despair and determined I was going to change my life. I have a much better job now with new friends. The pain of losing my sister is still with me but it is a little duller. Give yourself some time, decide what you need to change in your life, and just do it. Don’t look back and you can find the happy life you deserve.

  • Lisa at

    Maui is the perfect place for you to be now. Deep breaths… The poem you stumbled upon is an amazing gift. Do you see that your last photo in this post is a path – a path leading upwards – towards something. You’ll figure out that something when you’re supposed to. Give yourself permission to feel bad – for however long it takes to feel good again. All these strangers care about you and are sending caring thoughts your way. Be at peace with yourself. Deep breaths…

  • Lisa at

    P.S. A good strong Mai Tai can’t hurt 😉

  • Michelle Vincent at

    Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing! You’re a creative and talented person, your blog is one of my most favorites.

  • debra at

    Have you returned? Breathing easier now? Looking forward to your relaxed next post! Here’s a challenge. How does one translate Hawaiian spirit into fall Midwestern decor?
    Well, yeah, you don’t but it does give pause for thought, doesn’t it? Lol. Be well, Michael!

  • Linda Franzen at

    Love your blog, your recipes, especially the drink ones, and all your crafts & ideas. Hope your trip gave you the inspiration you needed. Can’t wait to get inspired by your next blog posts.

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