Growing a Self-Sustaining Ministry: Surfing the Nations

Entrepreneurship, Spirit

This morning, I got the chance to chat with Tom Bauer, who founded Surfing The Nations with his wife Cindy

The Thruster Model

The first time I visited Surfers Coffee, the cashier shared a little with me about the three-pronged approach that this coffee shoppe in Wahiawa had. I got to chat more with Tom Bauer, the Founder of Surfing The Nations, about The Thruster Model. The model of work is based on the revolutionary design of the “Thruster” surfboard. This surfboard was created in the 1980’s and changed surf history forever with its three fins, perfectly representing the threefold DNA of Surf The Nations (STN). The Thruster Model is comprised of:

  1. A BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP,
  2. A NON-PROFIT, and
  3. A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP.

I love the idea of growing the influence of Jesus through business and community. With a focus on humanitarian efforts and serving individuals, The Bauers continue to equip the next generation to pursue a radical lifestyle of selfless service and meeting needs in communities globally.

I didn’t get a photo of my aesthetic dirty chai this morning, but here’s an old photo of a faithful Waialua pourover ❤

Self-Sustaining Ministry

Tom hopes to inspire other Christians to create businesses that ultimately develop the character of the lives they touch. What started as something small, has grown into an organization that employs over 60 people and operates a coffee shop, antique store, and residential housing.

God is continuing to grow The Bauers’ stewardship in Wahiawa, as they recently acquired a century-old hotel that will be restored. Tom is an avid collector and attributes his business’ success and growth to the generosity of the community and people around him. I love supporting this faith-based business, which is the perfect stop on the way to the North Shore!

Redemptive Growth

Probably the most inspirational part about the story is the redemption that this development provides the surrounding community. The location of Surfers Coffee actually used to be a strip club. Additionally, the residential housing, that now houses students, was once a brothel. When STN first opened up in Wahiawa, they operated alongside a porn store and a liquor store. Eventually, those businesses offered to sell their spaces and they were subsequently converted. I love the way that they have spruced up the place & it’s amazing to see how God turns graves into gardens!

STN is definitely an inspiration to EHK and we look forward to seeing what’s next for them! Thanks for the amazing coffee talk and inspiration, Tom!

Don’t Be Afraid to Rest

Mind

If there’s one thing we learned in the last year, it’s that sometimes we need a breather!

Waimea Valley, Hawaii

I feel God telling me: don’t be afraid to rest. I’ve been working on my next book, as well as a number of different projects and I wanted to share a sample from my book:

There are a lot of people who idolize working and exhaustion. There really are many people who need to take a break. Maybe COVID forced it on you. I felt like that was me, in a way. We are going to also need to reevaluate how we balance rest with the rest of our lives. Leisure has many benefits and we have not been allowing enough of it. People work best when they are more refreshed, and I hope to see more workplaces offer unlimited time off.

I was reading the Bible and found that before the series of plages in Egypt, Pharaoh hated when the Israelite slaves were idle. 

But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given unto you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. 

Exodus 7:17-18

 I think it’s so interesting that this culture of working and a focus on daily tasks is called out by God. The Israelite people wanted to serve God. I really felt this because trying to devote myself to this ministry hasn’t been easy. Lots of people have told me that I should go get a job and make this my side thing. But I don’t want a side thing. I want the only thing. I want to be all in! I wish that more of us could go all in, more often. It would really change the potential of our world. Because going all in requires just that mustard seed of faith. So whatever dream you have, keep pursuing, believing, and preparing for God to do something big in your life. I believe that we are called to live healthy and in order to do so we cannot be exhausted so make sure that you are taking care of yourself. We need to have energy, we need to be ready to move. 

Happy Girls’ Day!

Arts

Hinamatsuri, or the doll festival, is observed on March 3 to celebrate female children and pray for their continued health and happiness.

During the holiday, also known as momo no sekku (peach festival), families display dolls dressed in the ornate, decorative robes of the ancient imperial court. 

In Hawaiʻi, girls are given red or pink diamond shaped mochi called chichidango. The colors represent peach blossoms and other flowers, with white signifying snow or purity, and green symbolizing growth or fertility.

Seasonal Traditions

March 3 marks the observance of the hinamatsuri (doll festival), one of five sekku, or seasonal festivals, celebrated through the year in Japanese culture. Together known as gosekku, these events took shape as a result of Chinese philosophy and were first observed by courtiers during the Heian period (794–1185). Ceremonies were conducted and special dishes prepared and eaten to ensure good fortune. The festivals fell on the first day of the year’s first month, the third day of the third month, and so on—dates considered to be highly auspicious due to the coupling of odd numbers for the month and date. On the modern calendar, they are celebrated on January 1, March 3, May 5, July 7, and September 9.

Over time, the March sekku took on aspects of a broader tradition involving the making of simple paper dolls called hitogata. These dolls were common toys for children of aristocratic families as well as serving as katashiro, or emblems used in purification rituals. The hinamatsuri gradually became a time to give thanks for the health and development of young girls, thanks to the influence of a traditional form of doll play called hina-asobi.

March 3 is also referred to as momo no sekku, or the peach festival. The blossoms of the peach tree, which according to the lunar calendar bloom around the beginning of the third month, are not only prized as harbingers of spring but are traditionally thought to ward off malevolent spirits. These aspects, along with their beauty, have combined to make them an essential decoration of the hinamatsuri.

Peach Blossoms in Sapporo, 2017

Imperial Court Dolls

The most mesmerizing part of hinamatsuri is, naturally, the intricately crafted dolls. These are displayed on a red-carpeted, stepped platform called a hinadan. On the top step are the central figurines of the festival, the male odairisama and female ohinasama. These figures, said to represent members of the imperial family, are waited on by the sannin kanjo (three court ladies), gonin bayashi (five musicians), and other attendants who sit, along with such court regalia as sake cups and elaborate chests of drawers, on lower steps. The dolls and regalia together are known as hinakazari. They can vary from simple to elaborate, multitiered displays. They originated in the court culture of Kyoto and first began spreading across the nation in the eighteenth century.

In the days leading up to the festival, households with young daughters displayed the ornately dressed figurines prominently, where they can be admired by family members and guests. However, once the festival is finished, custom dictates that dolls and decorations be quickly packed away, as it is believed that leaving them out too long will harm a daughter’s chances of marriage.

Families often buy a new set of dolls when the first daughter is born, while others pass down hinakazari from one generation to the next. In the past it was not uncommon for new brides to take their set with them when they married. Undoubtedly, the hinadan represented one of the most splendid and valuable possession in the home and was cherished not just by girls, but the entire household. Many old hinakazari still remain and hold importance to broader society as cultural treasures.

Setting up, taking down, and storing the hinadan requires time, patience, and space. In recent years, simple, compact sets of dolls prearranged in glass cases have grown in popularity. Many families are also choosing to forego purchasing a full set in favor of one featuring only the odairisama and ohinasama, a type of display known as shinnō kazari.

The crafting of dolls is still a vibrant industry and one famous center of doll making is Iwatsuki in the city of Saitama, which boasts over 50 shops selling various types of figurines.

A Celebration of Femininity

In the days leading up to March 3, it is common for children to celebrate hinamatsuri by having parties and enjoying treats like hina-arare (multi-colored sweets made from rice and sugar), chirashi-zushi, clam soup, and red and white rice cakes called hishi-mochi. Traditionally, sprigs of peach blossoms are displayed along with dolls at these gatherings.

In certain regions, the ancient tradition of the nagashi-hina is still observed. In this custom, which predates the hinamatsuri by centuries, spiritual impurities are transferred to paper dolls. The dolls are then discarded in a river and allowed to wash away in the current. I love this idea of washing away our impurities because that really is what Jesus does for us!

In the past, a festival dedicated to the celebration of girls was a rare event among the broader culture dominated by men. However, as the country works to bring women to the forefront of society, the hinamatsuri has taken on new aspect as an event celebrating not just the young but all womankind.


I hope you enjoyed learning about my culture with me! I am hoping to return to Japan once COVID blows over and they open up travel again.

Why I Love Vintage

Fashion

My love for vintage started when I wanted to find looks that I wasn’t seeing in malls, or even boutiques. I enjoy having one-of-a-kind or unique pieces in my wardrobe. Now, I have a lot of fun finding gems during my travels or on my spare time.

Additionally, there were a few Instagram stores that I garner inspiration from and that I watched grow in the last few years. @highendhippie & @spacedoutmama have been my favorites!

In college, I also learned about the extremely detrimental impact that fast fashion has on our environment and psyches. Since, I’ve looked for quality pieces that will appreciate in value as I really do believe that the clothing market will become a collector’s market very soon. Cause they just don’t make em like they used to 🤍

2021 Spring Break Lookbook

Fashion

For I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.
Jeremiah 29:11

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:32

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-4

Brunch at Hau Tree

Food & Beverage, Hawaii

It was a nice morning at Waikiki Beach for a business meeting!

I wanted to to try Hau Tree for brunch, after enjoying my dinner with Clay there a few weeks ago. It was splendid! I had the Irish coffee, which was honestly my favorite ever! I also had a really filling avocado toast, topped with an egg, tomatoes, and radishes.

Raquelle decided to order a mimosa and fish sandwich. This week, Raquelle joined Miya as Chief Marketing Officer. We are so excited to have her on board and wanted to quickly touch base. She will be working on content creation, social media, and event planning! Check out her recent takeover to learn more about her.

It has been a really busy week/month. I look forward to taking some time off today to relax. What are your plans this weekend?

Faith Over Fear

Spirit

I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend Arise!

I am so thankful for such a great second night of Arise Conference where we got to hear from more amazing speakers. It was my first time hearing Pastor Lisa Bevere speak, though I love her books and audiobooks!

It was just so powerful to see how God uses other women in our lives to help us to grow and mature so that we can be complete in every way, and lacking in nothing. Generations really are a beautiful thing, as we are able to help sharpen and uplift one another.

I’m so grateful to all of the pioneering women leaders that have come before me, and for such an amazing spiritual experience. I feel so blessed to be living in a time like this where there are these empowering spaces and communities. Although I didn’t meet anyone at conference (I’m shy), I was really glad to just feel the energies of other women in the room. It’s funny that being in a room with other people is something to get excited about post-COVID, but I really believe that we are meant to have that human connection.

As Hawaii reopens, I’m glad that we have been able to hold on to the one thing that is real, that is steadfast, and that is good – God’s love. This last year, I have experienced and witnessed so much growth and I just know that God is so real and is so present. I hope that I can learn to be more present this year, to really sit with the challenges I face instead of running from them, and to stay disciplined in faith.

Blessings!

Elise

A Nob Hill Night

Food & Beverage, Portland

Reminiscing of a nice night in Portland…

I’ve been told that I dress like a granny (or nun) at times. I love this look, though! It’s so cute. The boutiques along the main drag in Nob Hill are really nice with a lot of boutique home & clothing stores, as well as eateries. Some of the stores were closed when I walked around at night, some were just lit up, and some were open.

The real reason I went to Nob Hill, though, was to try Salt & Straw. I’ve seen so many people post their ice cream cones so I wanted to try it. I absolutely loved their vegan coconut flavor 🙂

Staying in the Alphabet District, this is was a fine evening walk – after which I caught a car. The area does change a little at night so it just depends how comfortable you feel. It was actually getting a little bit cold, too.

A tip that I have for solo female travelers is to stay cognizant of your surroundings and err on the side of caution. Traveling alone can be scary (and some would say dangerous), but there are definitely ways that you can be proactive about your safety. One tip I have is to arrive at a destination before sundown so that you have time to respond to any unexpected hiccups in your travel arrangements.

See more from my time in Portland…