Kauai: Day 4 (Our Sailing Adventure)

On Sunday we enjoyed the sunrise (a daily occurrence) and then headed to Gaylord’s for brunch. The old sugar cane plantation has been remade into an amazing destination. The old plantation house contains a gorgeous restaurant with an upscale brunch buffet.

Wendy and I really enjoyed the experience at Gaylord’s. The brunch was wonderful. The plantation now contains orchards which contributed fresh fruit to the buffet and to the incredible Mai Tai I enjoyed. It was stellar.

It was Sunday and we retired back to the room to enjoy some Sunday football. It’s a little strange with the time change. Games Wendy and I would rush home at noon to watch start at 7:00 a.m. The mid-afternoon Bronco’s game (which Court was most interested in) had already started by the time we got back to the room around noon. We watched football and relaxed during the afternoon.

When we were getting ready for our Kauai vacation I had one specific desire for me and Wendy. I wanted to sail on the ocean. I wanted Wendy to experience sailing for real. I didn’t want the commercial “herd 100 people on a huge ‘Sailboat’ and feed them Mai Tai drinks from a plastic pitcher” sailing, but a smaller experience on a real sail boat owned by a real sailor. I scoured the myriad of websites by all the tourist minions and eventually found a total gem named Stephanie.

I e-mailed Stephanie and, long story short, we circumnavigated negotiations with a local and found ourselves on a 36 foot catamaran with a young sailor, his girlfriend, and three other passengers. We headed out from Hanalei Bay at 4:00 p.m. We sat out on the front of the boat to the sound of nothing but the wind and the waves. We  experienced dipping below the ocean swells until they felt like they would swamp you and then got soaked from the waves crashing over twin hulls.

Our host shared about his journey on the sailboat from San Francisco to Hawaii. I can’t imagine the arduous task of sailing a 36 foot boat across the Pacific. He shared his dreams and desires of cleaning up and outfitting the boat for a sail to the south Pacific. I enjoyed thinking that we could contribute to his dream even as he made one of my dreams come true.

sunset-rainbow

We sailed northwest out of Hanalei and then sailed back as the sun set next to Bali Hai and the Na Pali coast. It was an amazing evening of sun, salt water, and wind. The rain began to fall even as the sun set. To our right we could see the blazing sunset and to the left was a gorgeous rainbow.

We returned at dark and drove the 30 minutes south back to our temporary home. Beck, Court and Wendy enjoyed a video but I was bushed from the day and retired to our room to read.

Kauai: Day 3

Day three of our Kauai vacation started with watching the sunrise. The weather here is strange. It rains virtually every morning, so the sunrise is often masked by a blanket of gray clouds. The sunrise was really anti-climactic the first two mornings here. We’re all typically up before dawn since our bodies are still trying to get used to the time change. We’re five hours behind so sunrise in Kauai is nearly lunch time back home. The entire crew has been getting up around 5:30-6:00 a.m. each morning and sunrise is about 6:30.

This morning there was a nice break in the clouds just as the sun came up and it made for a gorgeous, dramatic sunrise. I went out to take pictures and the rest of the crew eventually joined me.

The farmers market in Hanalei is a little different environment than the farmer's markets back in Iowa.
The farmers market in Hanalei is a little different environment than the farmer’s markets back in Iowa.

It was Saturday morning and we headed to the north side of the island and the town of Hanalei. There’s a farmer’s market there that Becky wanted to visit. It rained the entire drive there and the terrain changed as we drove. There are many movies and television shows filmed in Kauai because of the beautiful terrain which seems other worldly at times. I began to appreciate this as we drove. I felt we were in Jurassic Park at one moment and under the jungle canopy of Avatar the next.

We arrived at an outdoor shopping mall in Hanalei, parked and made  a b-line to the shelter of an awning to escape the rain. We visited a few shops an within about ten minutes the sun came out. It continued to rain with a bright sun shining for several more minutes before the rain finally gave way. We shopped for postcards and gifts and Wendy enjoyed visiting the Kauai Nut Roaster’s shop for some Macadamia nuts.

This ancient, run down set of post office boxes was just sitting out. I imagine that at one time this was Hanalei's mail system.
This ancient, run down set of post office boxes was just sitting out. I imagine that at one time this was Hanalei’s mail system.

We walked a block or two along the highway to the Farmer’s Market that was nestled at the base of the most gorgeous tropical mountain scene. Mysterious clouds hovered over the peak and steep waterfalls fell along the sides. In the valley below were the tents of local marketers and farmers. The variety of fruits were colorful and amazing. Our feet squished in the mud as we walked around the market. I grabbed a few limes for evening cocktails and Wendy got an avocado. Becky bought some Basil that was so pungent it seemed to fill any space it was in.

We made our way back to the car and headed to Hanalei Bay, which is known as a popular destination for sailors and surfers. It’s nestled on the east side of the Na Pali coast. We took some pictures on the beach and watched surfers waxing their boards. Out in the bay you could see surfers catching waves. We stood and watched for a while, but the clouds were gathering and the next wave of rain was clearly about to break.

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We made our way back towards Kapa’a and stopped at Kilauea where there was a bakery where Becky and Court wanted to grab lunch. We dined on the patio. Lydia was beginning to tire, as was evident with the increase of whining and willful disobedience.

Market in Kapa'a
Market in Kapa’a

After lunch we made our way back to Kapa’a. Becky wanted to grab ice cream at a place they’d visited in previous visits, but we found that it was temporarily closed for renovations. So, it was back to the room where we enjoyed ice cream we’d gotten at the store the day before. Becky, Court and Lydia headed in to take a nap while Wendy and I walked to an ABC store to get some Macadamia nuts. We stopped a local market set up on the grounds of a church and viewed the wares before walking back to the room.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in a combination of relaxation and work. Wendy needed to capture and assign some calls for a project. We sat out on the patio and listened to the surf. Wendy worked and I read a book. I made friends with a little pigeon who was brave enough to eat from my hand.

I grilled up some chicken for us and we enjoyed a nice meal together before retiring for the night.

Related:

Kauai Day 1
Kauai Day 2

Kauai: Day 2

Our second day in paradise dawned, and every one of our crew seemed to remain in our zombie like stupor. I know my body and doesn’t seem to recover from jet lag as quickly as it used to do.

Wendy at Java Kai coffee.
Wendy at Java Kai coffee.

Wendy and I walked to Java Kai coffee first thing in the morning. It’s a cut little coffee shop a couple of blocks from our room. We enjoyed coffee and pastries and reading as the the village of Kapa’a eased into its morning bustle.

By the time we returned to the room the rest of the crew were ready to head out for breakfast. We all walked to one of their favorites, called Hemingway’s. It was a really cute restaurant with an art gallery on the second floor. Wendy and I enjoyed cafe americano and split a croissant with aged gouda cheese. It was heavenly.

Things were getting hot as we walked back to our room. We went to the concierge desk at the resort to book our reservations for the things we wanted to do during week.

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The ladies had a list for Wal-Mart. I drove them back to Lihue. There is basically one road that winds around the island of Kauai and it is generally always busy and moves at a slow pace. Drivers are mostly courteous to pedestrians and fellow drivers. There’s a “we’re all in this together” kind of mentality. I enjoy getting the “hang loose” gesture when letting local drivers cut in and began returning the favor. 🙂

It rains on and off in Kauai non-stop and it rained as we made the 30 minute trek to Wal-Mart. We always joke in the midwest about how quickly weather can change, but on Kauai this is literally true. The ladies got what we needed for the rest of the week and it was sunny and got by the time we headed back to Kapa’a.

It was early afternoon by the time we returned and we all decided to go to the pool. Wendy and I wanted to read and enjoy the sun. The pool was crowded with fellow guests and among them was a boy in his early teens. Lydia caught sight of the boy and became enamored with him. She made quite a spectacle of herself as she stood by the side of the pool staring at him and refusing to do anything else. It became quite obvious to everyone at the pool and there was a lot of laughter when Lydia would say, “I want the boy!”

It clouded over after a while and the wind picked up. We went back to the room, showered, and cleaned up for the evening. I noticed that there were some para-sufers taking advantage of the brisk winds and I went out to take some photos. It was fascinating to watch. I would have loved trying that when I was younger.

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Evening came quickly. Court and I grilled up a package of turkey dogs and we dined in fine style. The evening was really laid back as we played with Lydia and hung out in the room. Everyone was still pretty tired so we called it fairly early and headed to bed.

Wendy always has a sound machine playing ocean waves at home while we sleep. It’s been fun not to need the sound effects app on our cell phones here in Kauai. We just open the window to our bedroom, feel the ocean breeze waft in along with the real sound of ocean waves. It did not take long for the two of us to drift off to sleep.

See also:

Kauai Day 1

 

Kauai: Day 1

Wendy’s sister, Becky, and her husband Court have a time share in Kauai. They invited Wendy and me to join them and their daughter Lydia for a few days in paradise this fall.

Whenever Wendy and I travel somewhere beautiful and warm, we have historically faced difficulties that parallel the seven seals of the Book of Revelation. Delays, cancellations, re-routing, and “you can’t get there from here” type obstacles are all par for our course to paradise. We’ve begun to simply expect it.

Part of the "fun" of getting rebooked on a flight is ending up in middle seats across the aisle from one another!
Part of the “fun” of getting rebooked on a flight is ending up in middle seats across the aisle from one another!

Wendy woke early on Wednesday to find that United had cancelled one of our three flights and rebooked two of the three legs of our journey. Only we had to take off an hour EARLIER. Those who know Wendy well assumed that she freaked out at this, but she really approached it with zen-like calm. We simply dressed quickly, threw our bags in the car and headed to the airport.

Instead of DSM to DEN to LAX to Lihue, our route was now DSM to ORD to LAX to Lihue. Our flight in Chicago was delayed with mechanical problems (another seal on the scroll of travel tribulation) and so we had lunch and the Berghoff in Concourse C and listened to the polka band playing and watched one couple dance. The delay out of Ohare trimmed our three hour lay-over in L.A. down to about an hour, but things progressed without a hitch from there. We arrived in Kauai about 7 p.m. (back home it was midnight), stopped at Wal-Mart for some staples and then drove to meet Court, Becky, and Lydia at the time share. So, our travel from home to time share was roughly 18 hours. After a few bites of pizza and unpacking we collapsed into bed about 9:30 p.m.

We woke about 5:30 a.m. Everyone was still pretty zombie like, so this morning so we took it pretty easy. Our room is a first floor walkout that is about 20 yards from the ocean. We’re on the east side of the island so we get to watch the sun come up. Well, we would watch the sun come up if it wasn’t so cloudy. By the time we finished up some breakfast the sun had come out and we went to an orientation by the swimming pool where we got to hear about several different options for activities on the island. I’m glad there was free coffee. I was still pretty wiped.

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No one in our party was very ambitious. We hung out in the room all morning and I took an hour nap. Becky, Court and Lydia headed out to a market while Wendy and I worked for a couple of hours and made ourselves some lunch. We walked about three blocks to a sports bar to see if we could watch the Cubs vs. Brewers game, but the inebriated owner couldn’t find the game. So, we walked back to the room, pulled the game up on our computer and watched it as we napped.

We walked to the Olympic Cafe for dinner. It’s your basic bar and grill on the second floor of a retail building. It’s wide open and we sat and enjoyed the sea breeze blowing through as we ate. There was a full moon tonight and it was a gorgeous walk back to the room as the full moon rose over the Pacific.

I think it could be a day or two before our bodies are over the jet lag and time change. It’s been wonderful and relaxing just hearing and watching the ocean waves outside. Looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

The Latest 09-14-2016

Summer 2016 wound down with a beautiful 12 days at the lake with family and friends.  A full autumn schedule has begun. Here’s the latest….

Wendy and I spent relatively little time at the lake this summer in comparison to previous years. We were, therefore, ready for some sun and fun in August. We headed to the lake on August 25th. That weekend was the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, an annual speedboat race that is centered out Captain Ron’s, the resort in our cove. The timed runs take place on the main channel outside our cove. It’s a big deal at the lake and makes for a crazy weekend with a lot of activity around our place. Wendy and I usually avoid that particular weekend, but we’d planned all summer to try to get Madison there around that time.

As things turned out, we weren’t sure Maddy Kate was actually going to make it. She had a few issues with her car at the last-minute. She ended up driving but splitting up the trip, stopping in Nashville to stay with a Pella native who was happy to help her out. Madison arrived on Monday. The weather that week was a little rainy, but we still found time to get out on the boat, go out to eat, and enjoyed some family movie time in the evenings. With school back in session the lake is very quiet, which affords us the opportunity to spend more time on the water.

Our little 18′ runabout, Apollonia, doesn’t do well when things are choppy on the lake, but it was quiet enough that we were able to  take Madison to Ha Ha Tonka State Park by water. Wendy hiked with us to the natural spring there, but opted to stay with the boat while Madison and I hike up to the top of the ridge to visit the ruins of Ha Ha Tonka Castle. It was a gorgeous day, and on the return trip we stopped at The Nautifish for an afternoon cocktail from Buff, our favorite bartender at the lake.

It was so fun to spend four days with Madison. She’s doing well with her budding career at new community in South Carolina. We’re proud of her adventurous and independent spirit. On Thursday night we all went to Captain Ron’s for dinner and she took off for home early on Friday morning.

A few hours later, on Friday afternoon, our friends the JPs and the VLs arrived for Labor Day weekend. Both families had been there earlier in the summer, but this was a weekend for the adults. The JPs brought their boat and we enjoyed a weekend full of the nicest weather Wendy and I experienced at the lake all summer, beginning with a late evening cruise on Friday evening after dinner.

On Saturday we took the boat all the way to Shady/Lazy Gators which was a long (over an hour) ride in very choppy water created by heavy lake traffic. Wendy and rode in the front on the way there which was a bit like riding a mechanical bull that occasionally sprays you with water.

We had lunch and hung out at the pool for a while before heading back. We made a brief stop at the Red Head before determining it was too busy, and then proceeded back to the Playhouse. The JPs have a water mat that we threw out off the dock and enjoyed floating and enjoying each other’s company. We grilled out and had an amazing steak dinner that night.

On Sunday we went back to the Red Head by boat, but made it there early enough to beat the crowd. We enjoyed hanging out in the pool, having lunch right there in the water. Sun, fun and conversation before heading back to the Playhouse for more fun and frolicking off the dock. We returned to find a number of large yachts tied together at the back of the cove, with everyone floating off the back enjoying the sun and water. We enjoyed a meal of appetizers and wine and settled in to watch Hail, Caesar! (though not everyone stayed awake). On Monday morning we went to Chances R for a local greasy spoon breakfast before packing up and heading back to Iowa.

Wendy and I started rehearsals for The Christmas Post immediately upon our return and I had to make a business trip to MN/WI. I also had my first meeting back at the helm of Union Street Players.

Taylor finished up her time in Scotland working at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She had a ball and I so loved seeing the joy on her face in all of the Snapchat, Facebook and texted photos. Unfortunately, Wendy and I didn’t get to actually see Taylor before we headed out to Kauai on vacation. But, more about that later.

More, Faster

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
James 5:7 (NRSV)

The culture I have known my entire earthly pilgrimage is one of instant gratification. In comparison to my childhood, the world I now experience on a daily basis is instant gratification on steroids. Things just keep moving at increasing speed. This is not the musings of an aging man, but the realities of a culture rebuilding Babel with Cat-5 cable and DNA strands.

When I was 5 I received an “electronic football” game for Christmas that was nothing more than a vibrating panel with little plastic men moving chaotically around the bouncing cardboard panel. Sometimes the “running back” with the magnetic ball on his base would spin around in circles. Sometimes he turned around and vibrate to the opponents end zone for a safety. I was, nevertheless, mesmerized by the experience.

When I was 10 I was playing a hand-held “Mattel Electronic Football” game that was nothing more than little red blips on a tiny screen which would switch on and off representing players (see featured image). I played it for hours, those red blips transformed by  my imagination into the Minnesota Vikings winning the Super Bowl.

When I was 30 I was playing football as a video game on my home computer. The black and white, heavily pixelated graphics seemed revolutionary. Now the computer could simulate actual players, teams and leagues and keep track of my stats across an entire fantasy season.

When I was 40 I had a gaming console playing a much more sophisticated and realistic video game version of football allowing me to play the game as a player, coach the team, or run an entire team franchise including roster moves and salary caps.

At 50 I can play electronic football that looks like a real television broadcast complete with commentary, and I can play against virtually any person, anywhere in the world from the comfort of my man cave.

This is just a trite example, of course. Yet, I can expand this example to almost everything I do during my day. I am growing increasingly used to getting what I want, when I want, and how I want it.

How is this affecting my spirit?

source: singularity.com
source: singularity.com

Throughout God’s Message we find example after example of people who waited. Noah built the ark and waited for years before it rained. Abraham and Sara were promised that their descendants would number like the stars in the sky, then waited for decades before their first child was born. Joseph, as a child, received a vision of his brothers bowing down before him then lived a lifetime of struggle, slavery, scandal and imprisonment before it was ultimately fulfilled. David was promised he would be king as an adolescent boy, then spent thirty years on the run with a price on his head before it would come to fruition.

I have learned along my journey that God’s sense of timing is not our human sense timing. Following Jesus and fulfilling our God-given purpose requires patience, waiting, and perseverance. These qualities are increasingly rare in a world in which I can order virtually anything I want from the palm of my hand and have it delivered to my door step within hours or days. Why on earth would I believe in a God who wants to groom me to accomplish His purpose for over 40 years when I can have my 15 minutes of fame on YouTube right now?

This morning I’m thinking about purpose and patience. In a world that keeps speeding up, I am realizing how critical it is for me to choose to slow down, breathe deeply, and be patient. God’s creation is about the ebb and flow of time and seasons. Humanity’s creation is about more, at increasing rates of speed. If I am going to embrace the former, I must consciously address the latter.

chapter a day banner 2015featured image source: dcjohn via Flickr

Getting to the Root of Things

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?
James 4:1 (NRSV)

The further I get in my life journey, the more I have come to understand that I, as a human, am led by my appetites and cravings. The institutional churches I have attended my entire life do not talk much about this. There are the behavioral prohibitions (e.g. “don’t do [fill in the blank]”) but we don’t talk much about understanding and addressing our underlying appetites, and I find it both tragic and fascinating.

Appetites and cravings are actually Theology 101. They were there in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden when the whole thing fell apart:

So when the Eve saw that the tree was good for food (appetite to fill our basic physical desires), and that it was a delight to the eyes (appetite to covet & acquire what delights our eye), and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (appetite for power and elevation of status) , she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to Adam, who was with her, and he ate.

Looking back, I can see the parallel to my own journey. When I sit down and give consideration to the rotten behaviors which have continually tripped me up in my pursuit of Jesus, when I trace those behaviors back to the branches of wayward thoughts, to the trunk of ill begotten desires, I will eventually dig down to find them all rooted in rotten appetites:

  • The appetite to indulge natural human appetites to excess.
  • The appetite to crave what others have and acquire what I do not
  • The appetite for god-like power and control over others

This morning I’m thinking about the ways I need to make positive changes in my own life. If I’m going to address the rotten fruit that plagues my life, then I have to dig to the appetites in which they were rooted. If I don’t allow God access to dig out the root appetites in my soul, then I can’t expect to see a change to the fruit that is evident in my day-to-day behaviors.

chapter a day banner 2015