It was a 5 hour adventure through the jungle, including kayaking and hiking through streams and muddy paths with a beautiful waterfall as our reward! Our guide, Blake, was a wealth of nature information, including these honeysuckle type plants that taste like ginger in the first picture below, and then swiping the earth with his foot while whistling to call this beautiful bird in pictures 2 & 3. When we arrived at the waterfall Tim took the first plunge of our group, and then came back to convince me to go under the waterfall. Why not? YOLO! The water was SO COLD, but it was truly a lot of fun! I can check 'standing under a waterfall' off of my bucket list (um, I don't think it was actually on the list, but I can cross it off, nonetheless!). We came back to our room and got a wonderful nap in that felt so refreshing (especially since we missed a nap yesterday!). We nibbled on leftovers for dinner and then right around sunset we took a stroll on the path that runs right outside of our window called Ke Ala Hele Makalae which is Hawaiian for "The Path that Goes by the Coast". It is a 7 mile paved path on the eastern coast of Kauai. We ended the night flipping back and forth between a Hallmark movie and NBA basketball (how romantic!). Tomorrow is our last full day, and I think we're going to take it easy during the day and end our last night with a Luau. Until tomorrow!
I have never been ziplining before, and I hope it won't be my last, but I can't imagine a better experience! Our guides, Sierra and Connor, were awesome - they just made an already incredible event even that much more fun! This was an 8 leg, 3 hour course! What?? Amazing! They took pictures the whole way and then shared a link with our group so we could download the pictures for free - what? They didn't charge an extra $50 for 1 photo? This place was the BOMB! These pictures below were taken right after we suited up and then discovered we were next to a scary dinosaur!
Most of the rest of these they took for us but I included a couple of photos I took, too:
We left there and went to a local fish market for some ahi tuna poke (for me) and Hawaiian Laulau (for Tim). We then took a lovely drive to the Hawaiian Grand Canyon called Waimea Canyon - check out these views on the way there:
And then, after a very twisty and windy road (Tim was loving driving it), we were there! Here are some pictures from there, including some dragon fruit we bought at a stand there (along with some papaya and banana lumpia we didn't get pictures of), but check out these views! Oh - side trivia note - people put locks on the fence there at the top with their names and dates - some even planned ahead and have the locks engraved as the one you'll see below. Just thought that was interesting:
We then went to a bird sanctuary at the recommendation of a family we met at the Canyon from Dallas. There wasn't a ton of wildlife - a few birds - but we took a very peaceful walk around the sanctuary which was a nice break from our go-go-go day! We then drove to a park on the ocean we had seen on the way up to the canyon so we could watch the sunset over the island of Ni'ihau, which they call the forbidden island because it is off-limits to everyone except relatives of the island's owners and a few other special people. Here are a couple of shots from that:
Finally, it was dinner time. We have some friends who, when they found out we were going to Hawaii, slipped a $100 bill in my hand and said we have to go to dinner at Roy Yamaguchi's restaurant on Kauai. So tonight was the night! Tim had the Hapa Burger which consisted of Makaweli beef and wild boar (it was the best burger either of us have ever had!) and I had the blackened island Ahi with buckwheat noodles. It was amazing! The hostess had asked if we were celebrating a special occasion, so we let them know we were here on this trip celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. When they brought us the dessert we ordered (the chocolate souffle) it was accompanied by another dessert with a Happy Anniversary message in chocolate! Nice touch!
Tomorrow is kayaking day, so I'd better hit the hay! (Hey, I'm a poet and don't even know it! Lol!). Until tomorrow!
The resort charges a whopping $4 a day for snorkels & masks, and we don't have to return them until 5pm tomorrow, so really for 2 days! So today we went on the hunt for snorkeling spots. We drove up to the top of the island based on the recommendation of one of the tour companies, but the surf was definitely too hard to be able to snorkel peacefully. The views were amazing, so we enjoyed those while we stopped by Anini Beach first, and then on to Hanalei. We would have liked to have gone further, but the roads are closed because of Hurricane Lane which swept through here almost 2 months ago! Thankfully, we were able to view the area from the helicopter yesterday (Hanalei and the surrounding area is the 18th picture I posted yesterday). Like I said, absolutely gorgeous, but too rough for snorkeling today. While we were up there we found a juice bar and got some freshly juiced carrot juice - Yum! I went ahead and google searched 'best snorkeling sites in Kauai' (probably should have done that BEFORE we left - lol!) and discovered a place that was only a couple of miles from our resort! But I'm still glad we drove up to the top of the island. Anyway, we drove back down and went to Lydgate State Park, and it was perfect! There was an oasis created by rocks that kept the surf from battering us, and we enjoyed snorkeling all around it for over an hour! We didn't see as many fish as we did at Hanauma Bay in Oahu, but we enjoyed swimming around with several different varieties of beautiful fish, especially the Blue Tang - they were awesome and pretty big! As we left there, we noticed a sign for a waterfall, so we drove the 2 miles off the main road for that - it was called Opaeka's Falls and it was spectacluar! Then it was back to the ranch for a soup and salad lunch and then a nap! We're getting used to this nap thing! My mom used to say that when the USA was taking on other cultures as we were forming ours, why didn't we include the siesta??!! For sure!! Tonight was home made chicken and rice and watched the movie Christian Mingle - very cute. Tomorrow, it's ziplining, baby!! Here are some pictures from today's adventures:
Wow! This morning we went on an incredible helicopter ride around the island! I guess either 2 people cancelled or they booked our group with only 4 people, but Tim and I both had window seats on a Whisper Star Helicopter so we were able to snag some great pictures! The only downside was that our pilot mumbled the whole time so we couldn't understand what he was saying. I caught phrases here and there, and I think one of the things he was saying was that he was pointing out different spots of where various movies were shot on the island (like a waterfall from Jurassic Park, Gilligan's Island lagoon, a movie I think he said that is currently shooting here with Dwayne Johnson, the old TV show Fantasy Island), but regardless of not being able to understand him, the views were spectacular and breathtaking and his pilot skills were fantastic, so a lot to be thankful for! When we were being shuttled back to our resort I snapped a picture of a McDonald's with the word Aloha above the entrance - lol (see below)! After arriving back at our room, Tim made a wonderful salad which we consumed out on our beautiful breezy balcony. All this excitement was so taxing we just had to succumb to a luxurious nap. It's been rough! Lol! After our nap we took a long walk along the shore and then came back and grilled steaks on one of the resort's gas grills (didn't get any pictures of that since we devoured it so quickly!) It was so yummy! Below are some pictures from our helicopter ride and lunch. Tomorrow we're planning on driving up to the north shore and going snorkeling! Can't wait!
Apart from this picture taken from our room of the sunrise this morning, we didn't take any other pics today. We went to an orientation this morning and signed up for some excursions that we will do this week, then we rented a car from a 'rent-a-wreck' type of place that rents used cars. We have a lovely Toyota Corolla with only a mere 99,880 miles on it! It's a fraction of the price of rentals from all the other car rental places and even will allow us to drive it to the parking lot at the airport and just leave the keys in it and text them to let them know where it is. We did a 'rent-a-wreck' 25 years ago in Montana and had a great experience, so hopefully this will be like that! We then went to the grocery store and stacked up on groceries for the week. After the price we paid for a meal out last night I had even more incentive to get stuff from the grocery store - lol!! We were going to play croquet, but ended up getting some ping pong in instead, with me leading the entire game until the very end when I did my usual choke, so Tim won. I'm so happy for him (argh)! Lol! Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow!
Before I talk about Kauai, I have a few random things to share about our time in Oahu. First, one thing I forgot to mention about our drive around Oahu was that after it got dark Tim and I felt so happy we sang some praise songs, and with the top down it felt like we were singing straight to heaven - it was pretty cool! We also drove a couple minutes out of our way to drive by the Dole plantation, and even though we couldn't see it we could definitely smell the pineapples! As we drove into Honolulu that night we drove by a building that caught my eye, so Tim turned around so I could get a picture of it. Isn't it beautiful?
As it turned out, after we turned back around some fireworks started near us, so we were able to pull over and watch them. If we hadn't turned around to get that picture we would have driven past the fireworks before they started, and then we would have been surrounded by a bunch of tall buildings that would have obstructed our view, so we felt thankful to be able to see them. They only lasted about 5 minutes, with the last 3 minutes being like a grand finale! Very cool! It was the perfect thing to cap off such a perfect day!! The place we turned in our car was next to the Trump tower, so I took a picture of the entrance, and then the next morning on our walk we happened to walk by there so I snapped a clearer picture of it just for trivia's sake:
We sadly left our hotel around noon in an Uber (loved, loved, loved where we stayed - already gave them a 5 star review on Google!) and made our way to the airport. When we arrived at our airside I was surprised to see the airsides forming a triangle around an open air atrium. You can see our airside in the middle of this picture on the other side of the atrium:
Birds were walking around inside the airside - it was kinda crazy! I took this picture of us on the plane, and then snapped this picture of a runway at the HNL airport as we took off!
We have another wonderful room, this time right on the ocean! I promptly took a walk after arriving while Tim was talking a shower and took this first selfie below. The rest of the pictures are of our room - not too shabby!
We took a short walk to an originally named local restaurant called 'Local' because they locally source everything. I had an amazing salad and Tim had Ahi Tuna dip with homemade Okinawan (purple potato) chips (shown below), and then he also had chocolate habanero chicken strips with hollandaise sauce and cole slaw. Yum Yum! I'll leave you with a photo of us at the restaurant:
Tim asked me yesterday to pinch him to make sure this wasn't just a dream. It has been amazing so far! Thursday we went to Pearl Harbor in the morning, then to the grocery store to get groceries after that, and then hiked Diamond Head in the afternoon (that was quite the hike!). We met the cutest couple from Denmark on their honeymoon on the way down from the top of Diamond Head (wish we had gotten a picture with them) and even rode the bus together back into Wikiki. Here are some pictures from Thursday's adventures, including the fabulous dinner we made (it was yummy!) with some of the groceries we bought:
Yesterday, we rented a car and drove around the island. We went to go pick up our 'standard' car, and they gave us a convertible mini-cooper!!! You know we put that top down and breathed in the sights and sounds of Oahu! Our first stop was Manoa Falls, where the chickens promptly perched on our car (good thing it was a rental! jk - they didn't hurt it):
The hike was less strenuous than Diamond Head - just more slippery and muddy (but not horribly so). It was SO worth the hike! Warning - I didn't do anything with my hair yesterday, including the fact that I didn't put any temporary color on it - so you'll see how gray it is actually getting (not a pretty sight - but hopefully it will be ok once it is all grown out). Concentrate on the beauty of the waterfall and how lush everything is!!
From there we drove to Hanauma Bay to go snorkeling, at first walking to the top and looking down on the bay that was a crater created by a volcano, and it is stunning. But once we got down to the bottom we discovered there was a $7.50 entrance fee to the beach, and then a $12 snorkel rental fee (both per person!). Plus, I forgot my bathing suit bottoms!! We almost didn't go, but we went ahead and paid the fees and Tim lent me his extra pair of shorts, and it was SO worth it!! The fish were absolutely spectacular!! We saw most of the fish in the picture we took below with the Guide to Reef Life. Amazing!!
From there we just drove from beach to beach seeing more spectacular views. It kind of reminded me of when we went to Kruger National Park in the 90's after a missions trip we did in South Africa. There were so many amazing deer-type of animals that we were quite taken with and wanted to know all their names, but by the end of the day we would just point them out as another 'deer-thing'. It can be almost overwhelming! Plus, it started raining so there wasn't much point in stopping in the rain. But we still really enjoyed all the views. And then I realized if we didn't stop we could make it to the top of the island and then around to the western side just in time for the sunset. It wasn't raining that far north of the island and we just made it there right after the sun went down in time to enjoy the beautiful colors. The first 3 pictures were taken at a beach called (appropriately) Sunset Beach, and the last one was taken at 'Ehukai Beach:
Today we are going to walk on the beach this morning and then fly out to Kauai later this afternoon for the last 7 days of this trip! Stay tuned for my next post from Kauai!!
So, it's been a month since my last update, so I thought I'd do a little synopsis. First, my brother came and stayed with me over the weekend of Sept 13th - 16th and we had so much fun! I think that's the first time he has ever stayed with me that I can remember! He got a job in Tampa, so since that was his first week working at that job he decided to stay over the weekend instead of incurring the expense of flying home to Dallas. We had lunch together at Macaroni Grill, and then went ballroom dancing Friday night, and then he worked on a project in our house with Tim on Saturday installing light bars in the kid's bathroom. I thought I had a picture of it, but I can't find it - ugh! Anyway, we went to a couple of movies, and really just had a great time hanging out together! Then Monday Tim and I drove down to Port Charlotte for a pastor's conference with the group of pastors we went to New York with earlier this year. We were able to stay with my dad and sister, and Dan actually drove down after work so we could all have dinner together! That was pretty cool! When we got home on Thursday we were welcomed to 4 cute kittens!!
They're so little!! We were only home for about 15 hours, because then we left Friday morning for Winshape to help with another host couple training! This one was really special because all the couples who were on our sailing adventure this past summer were there! And again - no pictures!! Well, no pictures of that. There is a statue of Truitt Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, sitting on a bench, so I sat down and snapped a picture with him:
We arrived home Sunday the 23rd, and then Tim hopped on a plane on Monday the 24th and flew to Denver with one of the companies he is consulting with. He was with them for a couple of days, and then took a little retreat time in northern Colorado at an Abbey for a couple of days. He then flew to St. Louis to help our friends, Trevor and Christina, move into their new home there, finally coming home on Sunday the 30th. The first week of October was fairly routine, but then Tim's spiritual father whom we visited in August passed away. So he hopped on a plane this past Monday and arrived just in time for the funeral that afternoon. He flew home on Tuesday and then guess what? We both got on a plane yesterday morning and flew 5 1/2 hours to San Francisco, and then 5 1/2 hours to Honolulu Hawaii to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary!! Our anniversary isn't until November 5th, but the place we wanted to stay at on Kauai was only available Oct 13-20, so we're celebrating early! We have talked and planned and saved and planned for literally years for this, and I can't believe we're actually here! Honestly, when Hurricane Michael reared his ugly head I was holding my breath trying to ready myself for delays or cancellations. But our plane took off on schedule and even arrived here like 30 minutes ahead of schedule yesterday!
We're staying here in Wikiki for 3 days before heading to Kauai, and we're super happy with our hotel room! They even sent up a bottle of wine and some chocolates when I mentioned it was our 30th anniversary!!
Not too shabby, eh? We took a stroll down to the beach and watched the sunset, and I just have to say, the emotions I felt were so strong I was literally in tears! I kept thinking about that line from the Chicago song, Saturday in the park: a real celebration - waiting for a song. Another way to describe it is that verse - a longing fulfilled is a tree of life! My picture didn't capture the beauty of the sunset, but I think it did capture our happiness!
Well, I must get ready as we are visiting Pearl Harbor this morning. Stay tuned for more updates!
Nicholas had quite a big day today. He had his first exam of the semester, for which he got a B! And then he had to give a speech in another class, which he felt he did pretty well on that (the grade hasn't posted yet). And then Nicole took him to get his driver's license! He's driving to work tomorrow morning, so just a warning to those of you who live near us to be on the lookout - lol! Congratulations, Nicholas!!
So, the first thing I want to talk about is a picture I took of Tim 2 days ago taking a nap that sparked a walk down memory lane. When the triplets were born, they were all put in an incubator together, and Nathan had one hand out of the blanket and on his face like Jack Benny the old comedian used to do. So here is a picture of Jack Benny, and then Nathan, and then Tim. Quite the resemblance of all 3, don't you think? :-) Oh My!
The nap was after a wonderful trip to the beach we took Thursday morning with our dear friends, the Perrella's. I just want to say I was severely outvoted as to the time we went to the beach. I ask you, if you were planning on going to the beach and you basically had the whole day to go, what time would you go? I've been asking people that question since our little excursion on Thursday and most people, like me, said they like to go around 10am or 11am. So what time did the Perrella's and Tim want to go?? 7:00AM!!! What the heck? So I had to drag my butt up at 7am to go to the beach (wanna give me some cheese with my whine?). I was slightly appeased when the Perrella's showed up with bagels and coffee. I'll tell you what, we had our pick of parking spaces, that's for sure! We decided to go to Pass-a-grille Beach, and it was really lovely. I was a little concerned about the red tide, but we didn't see any signs of it while we were there, thank God! Here's a picture of the 4 of us, and then one I snapped of Lee & Marie - aren't they the cutest?
We walked across the street for lunch at the iconic Hurricane restaurant for their famous grouper sandwiches - yum! We're so grateful to have the friendship we have with Lee & Marie. As I mentioned in a previous post, the 4 of us lead the marriage ministry at our church on Thursday nights, so we can find ourselves talking 'business' a lot, and this was a deliberate effort to put all that aside and just go and have fun together, and we definitely accomplished our goal!! As they say, a great time was to be had by all! :-)
When we last left off, I was sharing about our incredible sailing adventure we took with WinShape Marriage July 7-14. Just a couple weeks later we headed up to the WinShape retreat center July 27-29 to be the host couple for their Courageous Hearts retreat. It was such a blessing to be there again!
The next weekend we drove up to the Cincinnati area to be with the guy who led Tim to Christ on Tim's 16th birthday many moons ago, lol. He is suffering from ALS, and when we first arrived both his head and his spirit were down. We talked and prayed with him throughout the weekend, and when we left on Monday morning he told us he felt like a new person and that he felt like something had literally fallen off of him (can you say a spirit of oppression?). While we were there we met up with a couple we had met the weekend before at the WinShape retreat who live in Cincinnati. It was definitely a divine appointment as they shared how alone they had felt in their marriage and their struggles, and through the grace of God we were able to remove some of that aloneness and provide hope. It was an amazing time together.
Mid-August saw the kids all heading off to their 4 separate colleges. Nicole and Nicholas are still living at home and commuting to college, while Nathan and Noah moved into dorms at theirs! Nathan enjoyed moving into a brand new dorm at Trinity College, while Noah is enjoying a private room (within a quad) at Polytechnic.
I was taking Nicholas to college for his first day of his first class that started at 8am in St. Pete, about an hour away. It was about 6:45am on August 15, and we were about 5 minutes into our journey when bam, someone hit me! After the phone call to Tim to ask him to reschedule with his corporate client so he could come and get Nicholas and take him, he actually arrived on time (whew!). The damage doesn't look that bad, but my car was in the shop for 2 weeks (thankfully, the guy's insurance paid for a rental for me during that time), and I just got it back yesterday!
August 22-24 saw us heading back up to WinShape to be facilitators at a Host Couple Training. We reunited with one of the couples from our sailing adventure who were at the training and the wife actually works for WinShape! It was a very sweet time and again, just a blessing to be there with all the wonderful people and all the deer! We were invited to do a testimony of our WinShape Sailing Adventure, so if they post that to their website, we'll let you know!
Today wrapped up our marriage conference at our church, and it was probably one of the most smooth conferences I've ever been involved in at our church! There was a date night last night with food trucks and a comedian, and then this morning was the teaching time. Tim and I did a breakout session on Fighting Fair today, which is basically about communication tools for better connection in our marriages, and we really enjoyed ourselves and received great feedback. Our facilitators from our marriage class did an AWESOME job as the volunteers for the event, which I think was a main reason every thing went so smoothly! Actually, I think it was mainly a huge answer to prayer. There was a lot of unity and camaraderie, and we are hoping and believing it helped provide many couples with the hope and help they were looking for. It is SO cool to be doing something the Lord told us years ago we would be doing. There's nothing like it!
Finally, I think I want to talk about my hair. I don't remember if I've even mentioned any of this in any of my previous posts, but last fall my hair started falling out (oh, I just got that pun - last fall it started falling! lol!), due to an autoimmune response I had to the clinical trial drug I was on last year. It got so bad I started wearing a wig in February of this year, just about the time it (thank God!) started growing back. It took a few months to get long enough for me to feel comfortable ditching the wig, which happened around May. Since then, I decided to grow out my gray hair since I already had a 3 month start. It is actually all white for about 3 inches of the new growth in the front, and then salt and pepper for 3 inches everywhere else. But to avoid that awful line of demarcation, I'm using a temporary spray color to cover up the worst of the demarcation. I'm a little over 6 months into the process, and I think I have another 18 months to go!! Argh!! I went to get a trim this week, and my hairdresser cut it way shorter than I expected because she said the colored part of my hair is going to eventually need to be cut off anyway as it is not going to magically become my natural color. True, but I've had long hair as far as I can remember, so this short stuff (as you can see how short above) is taking quite a bit of getting used to! Eventually, I plan to ditch the temporary color, so don't be surprised if one time you see me with dark hair and the next time I see you I'm a lot whiter and grayer than the last time!
Well, I think that's it for the random ramblings! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend, and I wish blessings to you all until next time!
Tim & Jodie