Malia Golden Akinaka Blog bio picture
  • Aloha!

    My name is Malia Golden Akinaka. I live on a hill top in Hawaii, 4 wheel drive required! This blog is a patchwork catch all for simple things I want to share and preserve.

    I have a heart for cultivating simplicity and rhythm in all aspects of our lives. Though my activities mostly consist of keeping up with my kids activities I love photography, the golden hour, to be in the kitchen, at the beach, living my faith and with my family.

    One of my favorite simple pleasures is to open up and go through a freshly developed roll of film (or nowadays digital pics). I take TONS of pictures to try to document and preserve. But there are many sweet moments when my arms are full... I am in the moment... I am loving my life... and I take a picture with my heart.

    Bio photo credit (taken with film): Eveline Wunder

Preparing for Hurricane Iselle

The air is still and warm.  The islands wait.

No school today, Thursday August 7th and tomorrow, Friday the 8th in anticipation of Hurricane Iselle.  The kids are stoked to have this break after only four days back!  They have been happy to help us prepare.  Hawaii is about to experience “an extremely rare and unprecedented event”.  Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio are back to back and heading our way.  Just received word from my family on the Big Island that Hilo is experiencing the first rains of Iselle now.  Currently it is expected to hit them tonight.

The past few days I have pondered upon the parable of the 10 virgins from the book of Matthew in the Bible.   All of Hawaii has been admonished to prepare themselves this hurricane season but it is so easy to get comfortable and complacent.  There is only so much that can be done last minute.  If we are filled with the light of Christ and are spiritually prepared we will know how best to physically prepare.  Our vessels will be full.  Because life is so distracting that isn’t always easy!  We face so many choices between good, better and best.  With the guidance of the spirit we can know what is best for our families not only in times of disaster but also in the simple mundane decisions of our every day lives.

Though I make it my goal to have a “house of order” and be ready both spiritually and temporally it doesn’t always happen that way.  In this case we have prepared by having a full pantry of food, candles, batteries and toiletries, a stock of 5 gallon water bottles outside, tubs filled with water, laundry done, cars filled up with fuel and have a little cash reserve saved in small denominations… just in case.  All we can do is rest easy knowing we have done what we could for now.  What gets me is that I know I could have done better if I had more closely headed the promptings that  I have had and have shared with my husband these past few months.  It is easy to talk about doing better but what really matters is the doing!  Whatever the outcome from these storms turns out to be I will strive to carry this prayer in my heart… “it is well with my soul” and take comfort in this scripture… 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 7:”For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

There are two things that I would have a hard time losing due to disaster and devastation… my family/loved ones and the memories we have preserved together in pictures, journals and videos.  All of a sudden I am super motivated to get at least some of that backed up and posted online.  That is just impossible.  I have a ton but thought I would just start with now.

Photographs below show a little glimpse into the past couple days.  Doing a little here and there to batten down the hatches.

Yesterday Kalena and Soana came home from school with a plan!  They got out their folder, drew plans, gathered materials and got started with out saying a word to any of us.

They call this their “Storm Fortress”.


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It’s better to error on the side of caution so I gathered all of our empty glass jars.  The whole family helped fill them up with water and gathered them on the island.

Many hands make light work!

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We then moved them onto the counter.  I couldn’t help but love the way the water and the jars were catching the light so of course I took a few more unnecessary photos.  😉

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Grandpa has Parkinson’s disease but he still works hard to take care of what needs to be done.  He enlisted the help of his grand kids.

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There is no way Grandpa could get onto the roof so thank goodness for these two happy and willing hard workers!

They cleared the clogged gutters on both our house and on Grandma and Grandpa’s house!

(Don’t worry… they were super careful, had adult supervision the whole time and because of the sloped lot the roof is super close to the ground!  See last photo…)

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I don’t often sit at the computer.  It is not my favorite thing to do, by far.  I would rather be experiencing life outside on an adventure or even just daily face to face with family and friends.  But blogging and social media such as Facebook and Instagram are great ways to preserve our memories in the event that something happens to destroy the physical copies or even the electronic devices we have them on.  My excuse is that I am super busy and barely get enough sleep as it is.  But if nothing else maybe this hurricane warning will be a good wake up call for me to balance my time better.  Maybe I will get on the dreaded computer and just DO it?!!

The photo below is from earlier this morning but it is an incredible perspective showing Hurricane Iselle, Hurricane Julio and Hurricane Genevieve.

August 7th Hurricane Iselle Julio and Genevive

We are praying hard for all and hope that everyone is able to sufficiently prepare and be safe!

In the words of my good friend Robin as she awaits the storm on the Big Island…

“Prepare for the worst.  Hope for the best!”

JessicaAugust 7, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Good job malia!! Love your jar collection :)

Keli’i and Megan Wedding

Keli’i Crabbe and Megan Akinaka got married!

Here is a little glimpse showing the essence of their beautiful, love filled day.

Welcome to the family, Keli’i and ohana…:)

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Emily Alice-Holshouser Twilling GrandmotherJune 19, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Very beautiful people!

BrookeJune 19, 2014 - 6:37 pm

wow. so beautiful You sure have an eye for this. I loved every one of them.

Ezra Eyre



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Baby Ezra.  Baby number 5 for my good friends, Jonah and Aja.

I love his name… Ezra Jonah Eyre.  There is a REALLY cool story about his first name.

You can read about it on their blog here:

I came by to take photos of this mellow little guy one day.  You can see his cruiser disposition in some of the photos but he wasn’t in the mood to sleep peacefully and pose.  So I just snapped away capturing their real life moments.  I think that is my favorite thing to do.  These small moments are what make up his daily life for now.

Potty training since birth.  It works.  It’s amazing.

Nursing.  Burping.  Sleep smiling.  Sibling man handling.

View from mama’s chair out the window jealousies as she nurses.

Time with dad and more…

Capturing the real, organic, simple yet beautiful of the everyday.

vance akinakaApril 15, 2014 - 8:59 am

Loved those pictures of a beautiful family. They are such good people and Malia, you have the eye for capturing beautiful moments. Aloha

Kaimana in Hilo

My massive chunk of love nephew, Kaimana…  My brother’s boy.  19 months old on 2-14-14.  Brilliant.  Sweet.  Almost weighs as much as my 6-year-old son.  He was charming his aunty (me) during my visit back home to Hilo.  Cruising here with my brother, Luke, sister, Anna and sister-in-law (Kaimana’s mama), Tiffany.  I really do love my family and feel so fortunate that we are so bonded, loving and close.  We always have a good time filled with fun, music, hugs, deep conversations and lots of laughter.  I was going to bring home this American Girl Doll bike for my girls.  Kaimana had other plans for it. He is so busy…

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My little bro, Luke is just 18 months younger than me.  He enjoys surfing and playing music.

Click YouTube link below to see the video my bro made with a GoPro camera of him and his son surfing when Kaimana was only 11 months old.

My bro Luke is singing one of his original songs (written for Kaimana) in the video.

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My little sister, Anna is a labor and delivery nurse at Hilo Hospital.

She is hapai!!  (hapai =pregnant in hawaiian)  We are so excited.

Her kids can’t wait for their baby sister due in August.

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My sister-in-law, Tiffany has many talents but devotes her days to taking good care of Kaimana.

What a lucky boy.

They go to the beach almost daily as a family.

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vanceMarch 14, 2014 - 3:27 pm

What a baby monster he’s going to be…. Wow!!Cutie for sure..

12-year-old Birthday Tradition

Family traditions are like spiritual and emotional cement in the foundation of a happy home. They create fond memories, and these memories bond us together as nothing else can.  Traditions give children a sense of identity and of belonging.

I started out with a natural, deep sense of love and desire to care for my children’s need and to protect them but I was a bit naive to anything more than that.  It took me awhile to catch on, but through trial and error, a lot reading, having my own experiences and watching others I see how important it is to be INTENTIONAL when creating our own family and home environment.  You can’t just sit back and let it happen.  I needed to make it happen!

Lanea is our oldest daughter and therefore, she is also our guinea pig.  😉  In our church 12 is a pretty special age as that is when the girls transition from the Primary program to the Young Women’s program and start to work on their “Personal Progress”.  The boys at age 12, make the transition from Primary to the Young Men’s program, have the opportunity to receive the Priesthood and develop themselves in many ways as well.

As the oldest child, Lanea not only gets to be the guinea pig but she gets to set the standard for the rest of her siblings!   When Lanea turned 8 and chose to be baptized we decided to celebrate that by instilling a tradition that would continue for the rest of our children.  So… in this household for the 8-year-old birthdays we buy the child their own set of nice, leather scriptures, make them a baptism binder filled with baptism keepsakes and special family testimonies, take them to dinner with just our little family after their baptism and to a hotel for their actual birthday!  Man!  We set the bar a little high with this one but the kids know it is tradition and look forward to it now.  At least we have 2 years between each kid to save for the next one.  😉

My husband, Nalu and I wanted Lanea to always remember this special 12-year-old birthday and time of transition.  At the same time we wanted to keep it more simple yet still meaningful.  We have been in awe watching her change and blossom into herself.  We wanted to celebrate her, to let her to know how much she is loved and to truly feel that we are there for her on this journey.

So… in this household for the 12-year-old birthday tradition we chose to get a babysitter for the other children, take this child alone on a special date with mom AND dad, let them chose where to go to dinner and then afterwards let them pick out a nice outfit to church that they can wear on the Sunday they transition to Young Women’s or Young Men’s.


I have read a TON of parenting books in the last 12 years as a mother.  But because I love simple and practical truth that resonates and testifies to my spirit and my motherly intuition, I only have a select few favorites.

In one of my all time favorite parenting books called Three Steps to a Strong Family, by Linda and Richard Eyre, they say: “…the reasons to work at family traditions–because they offer opportunities to create memories, share love, and build strong bonds between family members.  They will not only help your family life be more peaceful and rewarding, they will also give your children memories they can draw on no matter where they go or who they grow up to be.

Gah!!  Lanea only has 6 more years of “childhood” officially left in my home.  I hope that when she leaves the nest to spread her wings she will have a solid sense of self, a wealth of special childhood memories (where life’s trials pale in the shadow of the good), as well as a firm knowledge that she has a family who loves her, cherishes her and will ALWAYS be there for her.


Though this 12-year-old tradition does include some spending I am convinced that meaningful traditions do not need to cost any money at all.  This is encouraging to me as I prepare for future family plans and traditions.  Sure now and then it might be nice to save for an special event or dinner out etc but that is not the point.

Like habits, traditions are formed intentionally. They are not automatic, but require preparation, planning, and a combined effort…  we would do well to recognize the energy and preparation it will take—realistically considering just how much we can commit ourselves to…

…don’t let the effort dissuade you from creating any traditions at all. Elder Richard L. Evans counseled, “Oh, parents, we would plead, give good and happy memories to your children—not pampering or overindulging, not satisfying everything they take a fancy to—but memories of love, encouragement, of peace and harmony and happiness at home—memories that will bless and lift their lives wherever they are, always and forever.” (Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, p. 128.)


Of course I didn’t make it into any of the photos.  I need to better at doing that.  But I was there.:)  These father daughter photos were taken in Lahaina.  Lanea chose to go to Kobe Japanese Steak House for dinner.  She had never been and loved it!  We ordered sushi from the sushi bar as well and had the teppanyaki.  The garlic fried rice is a must!

Fortunately it was a wonderful night.  Of course nothing goes exactly to plan but we are pretty go with the flow in our family so it’s all good.  I am comforted to know we as a family are not bound by our traditions.  That if they work out great but circumstances change moment to moment, year to year and no matter what happens our love for each other remains , we all understand and we can try again next time.

As important as the establishing of any tradition, no matter how creative or enlightening the event itself is supposed to be, parents must never lose sight of the spirit in which the activity is conducted. How easily we overshadow the beauty of any special occasion when we allow force, anger, or impatience to intrude. If the children are not perfect, the food cooked just so, or the decorations quite what you had imagined them to be, remember how much more important it is that you are all together sharing this sweet tradition. And prepare a little better next time.” (Ensign Article, Mar. 1986, Traditions Worth Keeping.)


Raising a family is not always easy.  I know that by putting Christ first in my life His plan for my family can develop.  We can find joy in life’s ups and downs and look forward to being together for time and all eternity.  But I must partner with Him and do my part!

Since “no other success can compensate for failure” here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.”-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 “It’s not so much the major events… as the small day to day decisions… that map the course of our living.“-President Gordon B. Hinckley

Now, going out to dinner is always nice.  And buying  a new outfit is fun but that is not what this tradition is about.  It’s about the bonding!   My favorite part was letting Lanea take the lead in our long conversations in the car rides to each location and as we ate or walked through the mall.  Not having her other siblings around we could really get a glimpse into what is going on in her heart and mind.  We also took this time to talk about and hopefully instil some values and eternal truths.

The most important traditions are connected with the way we live our lives and will last beyond us as our children’s lives are influenced and shaped.” Cheryl C. Lant

Moments are the molecules that make up eternity.“-Elder Neal A. Maxwell


I look forward to doing this tradition 3 more times with my younger children.  But though these kinds of traditions are important and fun I realize that we still have to live out the rest of our 365’s.   Every day needn’t be grand.  We can live purposely in our simple every day and choose to see the magic in the mundane.

We would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes and truly see the things that matter most…  Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light it comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most…  Diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world.“-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(These inspirations and collected quotes are some of my favorites that I keep with me as reminders.  Maybe they might be encouraging to someone out there as well…  Opening quote from an Ensign Article, Mar. 1986, Traditions Worth Keeping.

aloha, malia

BrookeJanuary 27, 2014 - 12:26 pm

She is so beautiful and grown up!!! I love this tradition. where did you get that quote? That is my new favorite quote!!!! Hugs to Lanea. I love her smile and her spunky little personality.

JessicaJanuary 27, 2014 - 2:43 pm

Oh i love this! You are a real inspiration Malia. Lanea is so lovely. The Eyre’s are my very favorite parenting authors, great quotes too.

vance akinakaJanuary 27, 2014 - 4:33 pm

Lanea you have been given one of the most cherished gifts that any person could ever hope for, that special gift is to be born of goodly parents. We only have one time around on the merry-go–round of life. God gave his “Only Begotten Son” so that in this journey we would have a chance to come back to him after this life is over. He knew our journey would be filled with strange and tempting things for us to try, that we would all make mistakes to some degree. That is why he sent his Son. To give us the right example and teachings, to make our lives happy. He gave some people special parents and Ohana’s that are filled with love and kindness. You are very fortunate to be one such person. Why you? Because you have a very important life to live, and bless the lives of others. I am so happy to be a part of your Ohana. Mahalo and Aloha. GPops

ChrisJanuary 27, 2014 - 7:44 pm

Malia, I loved reading your blog, you are a wise mother to understand the importance of tradition. When I look at the photo of Lanea blowing out her birthday candle, I see so much of your face & features, as well as your Mom’s. Thank you for sharing!

Emily Alice-Holshouser Twilling GrandmotherJanuary 28, 2014 - 1:32 pm

For Lanea’s 12 year old birthday, and transition from childhood to “young woman” : From the perspective of Lanea’s grandmother (Lanea is my very first grandchild), I have a very deep and wide appreciation of Lanea. I love her mom, my daughter, Malia, and I love Lanea too. I see a sweetness. I see a sadness. I see a wish of being there; I see a gratitude for her mom and dad in Lanea’s life. I see a blessedness of Lanea knowing she is so special in the eyes of God, her parents, and her grandparents. I see a loss too knowing I, as her grandmother, will pass on before her, missing a closeness as she goes through her life. But I also see a deepness of love, that travels in spirit, and the sense that we will always be with her. I see a hope for Lanea’s future. And I see the love and grace of God. I see LOVE. God bless you, sweet Lanea. Love, your Gramaly xxxooo

Emily Alice-Holshouser Twilling GrandmotherJanuary 28, 2014 - 1:36 pm

P.S. LANEA, you are so BEAUTIFUL! both in your sparkling face, and your glowing heart!