Candy Canes and Coke, a Memoir (Book 1)

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About the author

Momi Robins-Makaila

Aloha! I am Momi Robins-Makaila. You can find me on my website at

I am: a native Hawaiian woman; believer of Christ; wife; ex-wife/divorcee; mother; special education and autism, public school teacher; public speaker, entrepreneur, and writer. I embrace all of the “labels” one can attach to my name, as each and every one has brought me to this beautiful place in my life. 

I believe we all have rich and meaningful experiences, that when shared with the world through our unique stories, emboldens us all to cultivate our God-given emotional power, be contemplative, reflective, and make informed decisions, leading us to our own very best lives. Even when we cannot relate to specific experiences of the characters to whom about, we read, we can love and embrace them. We grow into better versions of ourselves through the blessings of their stories upon us. 

While you read my stories, whether in my Christian Romance novels, middle grade, or my own memoir, Candy Canes and Coke, (book 1) and Rescued by A God I Didn’t Know (book 2), I hope five (5) truths ring resoundingly in your minds and hearts: 1) that love conquers all; 2) If he/she can, I can; 3) we all deserve love, grace and mercy; 4) we all get second chances; and 5) that we are here in this world to make better, ourselves and each other. 

As a native Hawaiian, I believe the connection to ‘ohana (family) and place is eternal. I’m not sure how other ethnicities embrace this concept, but as a Hawaiian, this belief directs, to a large degree where you live, how you live, who you serve and how you serve. Sharing stories of overcoming obstacles to inspire your journey, whether through books or in my daily walk, is my life’s purpose. 

I grew up on the west side of O’ahu in a rural town called Wai’anae; a place many others venture NOT to come. It’s a running joke in Hawaii that if you go to Wai’anae, your car might get stolen, or you have to watch out for the locals. In some cases, that might be true, but nevertheless, Wai’anae is where my heart will always belong. I share this because I grew up in an environment where #thestruggleisreal. Wai’anae is a place where many of our people struggle to survive. Making ends meet, and navigating lives, hit hard on the daily, with social and economic challenges, can wear on anyone, even the strongest of us all. 

That’s why sharing and consuming stories of overcoming obstacles to inspire your journey is of utmost importance. A resonating story has the power to inspire us to live our best lives and to celebrate our truths. We can lift ourselves up with one good story!

A little about myself…I have more than 22 years of experience teaching public school as a middle school special education, autism, and middle school math teacher in Hawaii (20 years) and in Chandler, Arizona (2 years). 

In 1991, I graduated high school (yes, that long ago) from The Kamehameha Schools, the most prestigious and wealthiest Hawaiian school in the nation. It was at Kamehameha (and because I grew up in Wai’anae) that I learned of my obligation to contribute to the world as a Native-Hawaiian, American, living in what seemed a double-bind situation, in two incompatible worlds—the Western world and the Native-Hawaiian world, feeling like two people in one person. I have sought to understand this meaning for myself, my entire life.

In Hawaiian, Momilani (my full Hawaiian name) means heavenly pearl. I never much liked my name. The kids at school teased me ‘Momi-lomi’. Of the beautiful Hawaiian names there are to be had, I couldn’t understand why my Grandmother would punish my mother, who then punished me. Ironically, both my daughters have that name. I began to love my name even more, once I learned how pearls are formed.

A pearl begins to form when a parasite or something foreign lodges its way into an oyster’s inner body. With no way to rid itself of the intruder, the oyster begins to excrete a substance called calcium carbonate; this is the oyster’s defense mechanism--the way it protects itself. Over time, the calcium carbonate creates a beautiful barrier around the intruder. From the discomfort, comes the pearl--beautiful, rare, fine, and valuable.  

I hope that readers of my books will see the pearls in themselves and the pearls in others.