{five things xxvi • the hawaiian edition}

January 26, 2013 0 Comments

I just got back home this week after a blissful seven days in Hawaii. Growing up, my parents shared a timeshare condo in Kona with my aunts and uncles, and so I grew up visiting the Big Island regularly with my family. (Yes, I do realize now that I was completely spoiled.) My mom still vacations there fairly regularly– usually annually– to relax and recharge. Until this month, I hadn’t been back to Hawaii since my early teens roughly twenty years ago.

After a pretty intense 2012, my mom decided to head back to Kona and invited me to come along. We were able to find a great deal on airfare and so the plane tickets became my Christmas/Birthday/Pretty-Much-Every-Upcoming-Holiday-for-the-Next-Several-Months present. Bryson took vacation time from work on the days that he could, and tended the kids while I was away– along with my mother-in-law, who cared for them on days that he had important meetings to attend.

For this week’s Five Things, I thought I’d share my top 5 loves from the Aloha State– in no particular order.

– one –


The coast– whether on the sandy beaches or rock shoreline is simply stunning. While we were there, the trade winds blew in– which made for some fantastic surf. Swells were topping ten feet high for a few days. It is pretty much impossible to get a real sense of the size and majesty of the waves from a photograph, especially from my phone camera that I didn’t want to chance dropping in the Pacific.  I did try, though.  We spent most of our beach days at Hapuna, which is our family’s favorite.

Another amazing spot is the hike at Upolu Point, located at the northern tip of the island. The trail takes you from the clifftops down to the black sand beach below. As you can see from the photo, walking the trail is like stepping into your own picture postcard. The teal water offset by the rocky coastline and black sand is truly breathtaking. Navigating all the switchbacks of the trail was totally worth it.

On the other end of the Big Island, another stunning vista awaits. Kalae Point, the southern-most point of the United States is much more stark in landscape, but the water!!!! The water. Let me tell you, it is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else. The water is literally sapphire blue. Not turquoise like you typically imagine when you think of a tropical locale, but deep, sparkling sapphire. I didn’t use any sort of filter or enhancement on this poor quality phone photo, and you can (kinda) see what I’m talking about.

Here’s a little video too. Say hi to my beautiful mom!

There are few things that make me feel more in awe of the glory of God’s creations than the beauty of the ocean.
– two –


One of the things that sets the Big Island apart from the other Hawaiian islands is all of the volcanic activity. Where the other islands have become dormant as far as eruptions are concerned, Hawaii is still going strong. Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, is continually adding new acreage to the island, and volcanic rock decorates the landscape every where you turn. I love the black rock.

My favorite perk of all this volcanic rock is the black sand beaches. I adore Punalu’u beach in Naalehu. The sand is soft, and it is a favorite spot for sea turtles.

Of course, we also had to pay our respects to Kilauea– which native Hawaiians consider sacred ground, the center of creation. While the more active eruption was quite a way from the center crater, you can see it smoking from the overlook. At night you can see the red glow of lava from this same spot, but we didn’t stay through the evening.

– three –
During our trip, Mom and I decided to get out of our comfort zone and go ziplining. This officially qualifies as the Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Done. Up in the tree tops of the Kohala forest, we zipped down 9 lines, crossed 4-5 swaying suspension bridges, and repelled twice down from the trees.
Being that I have a pretty solid fear of heights this was huge for me. But once we made the choice to let go and trust our guides we had an absolute blast.
I decided to rent a GoPro camera for the excursion and video taped the experience. Maybe once I get the chance to upload it to my laptop I’ll share a snippet.
But if you ever get to Hawaii, I highly recommend these guys. Our instructors Jeremiah and Chris were top notch, and the experience was wild but completely worth it. I was really proud of my mom and I when we finished the course!
– four –
For my fourth favorite of the trip, I can’t decide between the sunsets or the flora of the island, so I’ll just post a whole bunch of photographs of both. They pretty much speak for themselves anyway. 🙂










– five –
And finally, but certainly not least, was interacting with the wonderful members of my faith in Kona. We attended the temple during the week and Sunday services at the adjoining chapel, and I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the Spirit that was there.
At the temple, we were warmly greeted by the matron with an embrace and kiss on both cheeks. On Sunday, we were given a beautiful yarn lei that was made especially for visitors by a sweet little elderly Hawaiian lady in the congregation. Even before Sacrament meeting began I started tearing up, there was such a strong Spirit there. I wept through much of the service. The saints in Kona are such a lovely, humble people. There is no pretension, only simple, honest love.  It was perhaps the biggest highlight of the entire trip.
• • •
I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to take a rare trip like this. When you’re a mama of five, these experiences are certainly few and far between. But I’m so thankful for my mom & dad’s encouragement to go, and for Bryson’s supportive nature and selfless sacrifice to use his vacation time so I could enjoy this special time with my mom. I came away so restored, body and soul.
Thanks, Heather, for hosting our regular blog hop! Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful weekend!
January 26, 2013
January 26, 2013



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