Friday, June 22, 2012

Hawaii: Amazingly Beautiful, Zero Chaos! =)

I am so excited to share about the unbelievable opportunity we had to go to Hawaii last week.  Months ago, Mark had first found out that he had earned an exciting trip for the two of us to go to San Diego this summer, and we were thrilled and thanking God for the chance to have a paid vacation and some needed time alone.  We had not been alone in 6 years!  But a few months ago, our really close friends in Austin, Chris and Tommy, called to tell us they wanted us to go to Hawaii with them in June.  Because they are travel agents, they had the flights and hotels covered.  We were completely overwhelmed with gratitude and began seeking the Lord for Him to take care of our kids.  My mom agreed to keep them for half the week, and a precious friend named Lindsey was able to keep them the other half.  So God completely provided and took care of everything.  We knew our home and kids were in safe hands, so off we went. 

We had known for a long time that we needed some rest and relaxation.  But I must say, until you truly experience it, you don't even realize how much so.  At least, that was the case for us.  For years we had been dreaming of seeing a tropical landscape.  We had been pointing out to each other various beaches and scenes in movies, magazines, etc that we longed to see one day...not knowing how or when we actually would.  Mark would often joke about others who were on vacation, saying "yeah, they're probably on a beach somewhere drinkin' a mai tai....sigh"  Over the last couple of years, I started responding by saying, "I don't know how or when, but one day, you and I are gonna be on a beach drinking a mai tai...God will provide it!"  (and i didn't mean Galveston, lol) 

I didn't do much research on Hawaii before the trip, which those of you that know me, know I research everything!  But I wanted to be surprised.  And I'm glad I didn't, because I was so completely blown away by every sight and sound there.  When we got off the plane and headed out of the gate, we saw that the airport had half walls, with not even windows so you could see the hills and feel the breeze.  So our first site was lush, green mountains ahead of us.  I was so awestruck I started crying.  Haha.  Little did I know that was nothing compared to what was to come!

We headed off to the first hotel...a gorgeous villa at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui, fit for a celebrity's stay.  It was gorgeous.  The resort itself was just amazing.  We walked down to the private beach area and it was the first time I had ever seen teal/blue water splashing onto golden sand that felt like the consistency of baby powder! I had also never seen a beach line that didn't stretch in one giant line along a was contained between beautiful rocky cliffs and plants.  Across the water you could see Molokini Island in the distance..I had no idea when we went that we would see other islands in the distance, so that just blew me away!  I love this picture of Mark seeing the water for the first time...

The first night we had an awesome dinner at a restaurant at the resort.  They seated the four of us at a great location where you could look out ahead and see the pools, and palm trees, and water in the distance.  As we were catching up with our friends and dining on exquisite food, I looked up and noticed the sun setting.  All I can say is I have never seen anything like that in my life!  I elbowed Mark and said, "Look!  Oh. my. gosh."  This is one of the shots I took... *note: if you click on the pictures the colors are more vibrant...

The next day we took the road to Hana.  Tommy rented a jeep and we took the top off, so that helped us really take in the views.  I was so overwhelmed by the thick, lush, tropical plants, flowers, and canopying trees.  The views of blue oceans around winding cliff sides and waterfalls were just amazing.  I could have stayed there the rest of my life. 

The biggest adventure on that drive was when we decided to go off the beaten path in search of some waterfalls.  We parked the jeep and made a treacherous hike across rocks and streams, till we came upon this site...

One of our dreams was to swim under a waterfall, so that's what we did! Ice cold but so refreshing and wonderful!
Moving on, we stopped at one of the famous black sand beaches.  This was one of my favorite sites.  The color contrasts of the plant life, blue water, and black rocks was beautiful.  I especially loved the arched rock formation out on the water...just the type of thing we had been wanting to see sometime! Here are some of my favorite pictures from that beach...

It was so cool to learn about how volcanic activity had formed the black rock when lava flows hit the water over many years' time.  It made me think of how beautiful it is when nature's chaos transforms into something so beautiful over the years, and actually becomes a sanctuary and place of inspiration to those that encounter it...hmmm...sounds like what the Lord does in our lives too! =)  It is so confirming to my heart to see the way God moves in His creation and in us, making all things new and beautiful in time, and more captivating than without the changes and transformations!

There were so many other amazing sites on the Road to Hana, but this post would be quite long if I were to record them all! 

The next day we snorkeled out at Molokini Island.  It was so beautiful.  We took a really neat boat called Four Winds and the crew did a great job showing us around and serving us lunch.  The water was so clear, the fish beautiful and the reefs so colorful.  We had never done anything like that before.  Here are a couple of shots...

Another day we had lunch at a famous place called "Mama's Fish House" was situated near the water at a beautiful beach, so we got some good pictures there too...

We also loved the green hills everywhere around the island.  It all reminded us of one of our favorite shows, "Lost"...

We took another snorkeling trip, this time to the island of Lanai.  It was beautiful too, and was the first time we ever saw sea turtles =)

The guide told us that he wasn't sure if we would see dolphins, so I didn't get my hopes up....but because apparently God was in the mood to show off even more than He had already, literally dozens of them appeared out of nowhere!  They were jumping and spinning and moving so much it was hard to capture pictures, but I did get a little video =)  (note: the pauses are when i snapped a picture)
Such a wonderful experience seeing so much of God's awesome creatures in their own environment! 

We also went ziplining one day at Kapalua...Chris and I were SO scared at first!  My heart was beating so fast before that first line...i mean, throwing yourself off a mountain side is just so counter-intuitive!  But we made it and the views and wind in our face was worth it! 

On Thursday evening we moved to another great hotel, the Hyatt Regency Resort.  It had amazing views of the beach, an awesome pool with waterfalls and water slide that the four of us totally enjoyed like kids!  Haha it was soooo fun!  I wish I had pictures of each of us on that- it was really funny watching each other come out of the chute at the end! 
We also witnessed the absolute best sunset ever here.  Mark and I were walking along the beach and noticed the sky colors begin to change.  The pictures I got with my Canon Power Shot just blew my mind.  I didn't touch these up in any way!  God's painted sky just as He created it!

That was our view to the right side, here is the view to the left...

More beauty developing as the sky continued to transform....

We went to our first luau at the Hyatt.  It was great fun.  Loved the real hula girls and guys, the food, the scenery, and getting to share it with our amazing friends.  And, we finally had Mai Tai's on the beach!!!

I also loved the penguins that were at the hotel...I wished Landen could have seen precious!
We had such a phenomenal time.  We can't wait to go back!  (There are more pictures on my Facebook page if you're interested)  All of the food was outstanding and the people there were so inspiring.  They really do live with an "Aloha spirit" that we seem to lack on the mainland.  I would love to take Landen and Bethany one day.  I feel that the culture there would embrace Landen with open arms.  Thank you to our wonderful friends who let us share the joy of such an unforgettable experience!

Chris and Tommy
Meanwhile, Bethany and Landen had a great time with Lindsey and my are some pics from their week...
running errands with Lindsey
Bethany and Landen
on the way to Nana's house
with Lindsey =)
on carousel at Kemah

Next stop: San Diego!  Mark will have a couple of work meetings/award ceremonies, but we should have some decent time together.  Will post pictures from that trip when we get back...=)


  1. So happy to read and experience the joy you felt through your writing. I've never actually read your blog (I know, I know...)but I found myself so drawn in to the whole thing that I sat here and read the whole thing. The progression of how God has moved and provided in your lives is beyond is a testimony to God's faithfulness and his desire to shower out his blessings in the most fun ways! How great for you to have gone to Florida with such an open spirit and HAD to be great! So glad that God blessed you this way! Thanks for sharing the journey! Renee

  2. Did I tell you how HAPPY I am for you and Mark?! Thanks be to God! Love you so much Jessica!!!!

  3. Jess, I nominated you for the Leibster award! Go to my page to see directions, love you!