Greetings from Kauai!

I thought I would write a couple of posts while I was here, but honestly, I’m having too much fun to be on the computer (besides cramming in a bit of homework in the early mornings. We’re still on mainland time, which means we’re waking up between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. in the mornings, lol).

Before I share pictures and details from our trip (so far), I wanted to alert you to a special sale on Loving the Wind that starts tomorrow. DO NOT MISS THIS SALE! Sign up for my newsletter HERE and I’ll email you tomorrow so that you can read the story of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan at a discounted price (plus, you get a different free book!).

Here’s a quick recap of our trip so far. We traveled all day on Tuesday to get here. All. Day. Seriously. We left the house at 5:30 a.m. California time, and arrived at our condo around 6 p.m. Hawaii time. Added up, that’s about 15 hours of traveling (and a lot of sitting). We were spent! But we arrived just in time to see the sunset from our lanai. It was well worth the wait. Because we couldn’t wait, we hiked down to the beach and took an evening swim in the ocean. The water was warm and refreshing, nothing like the freezing ocean in Northern California!

Wednesday, we woke up at 2:30 a.m., and after an hour, it was clear there would be no going back to sleep. So we got up early and got our busy work out of the way, had breakfast out on the lanai, and enjoyed the early morning before anyone was awake. Then we took a drive out to Hanakapi’ai for a 4 hour hike. This hike was 2 miles to a beach, with lots of steep hills, slick mud, and rocky trails, surrounded by stunning views, greenery, and tropical smells. I seriously used up half my breath just smelling the air. It was heavenly. It was also a really tough hike. It wasn’t so much the uphill climbs (though some of those were brutal), it was the downhill slippery slopes that did me in. I managed to stay upright the whole time, but took everything I had.

We reached the beach and chilled for a little while, enjoying the surf (which was intense) and the sun. Then we hiked the 2 miles back. At the last 1/2 mile, Shawn (my husband) stepped down wrong and twisted his ankle. We had already passed one woman who had hurt herself and was being helped by her family to make the trek back. Without help, they’d probably reach the bottom of the hill in about 8 hours. Luckily, we found out she was getting heli-vacced (sp?) out of there. When I saw Shawn go down, I was worried it would be the same for him. afraid he had broken his ankle. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, just twisted or sprained. A Good Samaritan happened to be near us at the same time with a First-Aid kit that had an ice pack. We found out they were from San Jose, California, just south of us, and were transitioning into retirement on Kauai. What a good life….

We made it to the bottom with hands up in the air, our muscles reminding us we weren’t the 20-year-olds who practically sprinted the slick trail. Nope, we’re seasoned human beings who tackled a difficult hike with battle wounds as our bragging rights. We made it!

On the drive back, I told Shawn to stop at a place called Sushi Girl, which I had learned about through a cool Instagrammer that shares Kauai food posts. There, we had some of the best ahi poke bowls the island has to offer, plus a shared bowl of miso soup. We had used up so many calories, this food was SOUL food. I swear, nothing has ever tasted better.

The rain started as we got closer to our condo. It had been sunny the whole morning, and we realized just how fortunate our timing had been. By the time we got to our condo, it was pouring. We chilled at the condo, reading and resting as the rain served as our soundtrack. For dinner, we had grilled ahi and steak, our own surf and turf made by my talented chef husband. Then we went to the resort’s hot tub and soaked in the hot water in the rain. It was a perfect end to the evening.

This morning we slept in until 3:30 a.m. Lol. Both of are feeling our old, tired muscles. I have no idea what’s in store for today. We had an itinerary, but the plans we had kind of fell through. We see this as a blessing in disguise, as we can now create our own adventure depending on our mood. I can still hear the rain outside, so today might be a shopping and sightseeing day.

I don’t think I’m ever going to leave. 🙂

Here are a few pictures from our trip so far.

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The first sunset seen from our lanai.

Watch out for falling rocks! This cave was pretty cool.

Seriously, that view.

The hike was brutal, but how can anyone complain when it was this gorgeous? I couldn’t get over the sheer beauty of our surroundings.

Preparing for the next uphill battle.

If you are ever in Kauai, check out Sushi Girl. Food to die for!

My new favorite food is ahi poke bowls. Seriously, this is all I’m going to eat from here on out.

Two very tired hikers and our healing miso soup.

 

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Aloha ʻoe!

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The pool where we’re staying

Life has been a bit busy this week, which is why I’ve been a bit quiet for the past few days. I’ve been working on a research paper that took up most of my time, giving me a glimpse of what it will be like to write for NaNoWriMo and do well in school at the same time. As NaNo gets closer, I am working on building up grace for myself. I hate to project a loss this year, but I am. This will be my first year since I started that I won’t write 50,000 words in a month. However, I will start my novel in November, so that’s exciting!

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The view from our room!

At any rate, my research paper isn’t actually due until Nov. 2. However, tomorrow we leave for Kauai!!!! I did not want to stress over this paper while on vacation, so I put my nose to the grindstone and worked it out here. There may still be a few tweaks needed for the intro, but other than that, it’s DONE. This is somewhat of a miracle since I have Kauai on the brain. Even now, I keep interrupting my blog writing to check out things near where I’m staying (Princeville, btw, if you have any suggestions!).

A few things I want you all to know:

  1. My husband wrote a book! After 3 years of hard work and digging deep, he has finally finished his memoir, Beyond Recovery. The book tells about life before and after his father left his family, his struggle with alcohol addiction, his journey into recovery, and what life looks like after giving up alcohol. I loved being one of his first readers as his editor, book formatter, and cover designer. The book will be available Nov. 11. Follow him at shawnlangwell.com.
  2. One of my friends just got back from Mexico, and he took Loving the Wind: The Story of Tiger Lily & Peter Pan with him so he could finish it. He told me he couldn’t put it down, which is music to an author’s ears! I’m telling you this because I will be having a special sale on the Kindle version at the end of this week, and I don’t want any of you to miss it! Please sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out. If you have read it, I’d be so appreciative if you’d leave a review!
  3. While I’m in Kauai, I’ll be working on the outline for the next book after The Road to Hope. I am itching to work on this novel! It’s been a whole year since I’ve written any kind of book. I really needed the break to just recollect myself (and to also recover from the awesome experience of writing Loving the Wind). But now I’m ready to get back into the game.

That is all! The next time we talk, I’ll be in Hawaii! Aloha!

End of a pretty dang good year

Today I feel all warm and gushy inside. It’s the last day of 2013, and I can’t help feeling like I really lucked out in the good year department.

I entered this year as a newlywed, coming off the high of marrying my best friend and blending our smorgasbord family into one. Then I published my very first book, which led to two more published books after that, and two more drafts that will be published in the coming year. We introduced a puppy into our family, which has been both a blessing and a curse. And I said goodbye to my Wine Country Mom column – also a blessing and a curse (the ego has a funny way of making you want to hold on to something you don’t really enjoy anymore…).

This year also saw a few human moments.

My daughter moved away. It took all my strength to let her go and not force her to stay. And then she moved back home. (YAY!) And I believe we’re closer than ever.

My dog broke his leg a few weeks ago (in more of a canine moment than a human moment), and we spent more money than I ever thought I would spent on a pet (BOO). As a result, we had to postpone a trip to Hawaii we had planned for the whole family this summer. But our hearts were warmed as friends we knew, and some we didn’t, donated a total of $500 to help towards our puppy’s recovery.

Side note on the puppy: in the two weeks of his recovery so far, he has torn apart two cones, his cast, his replacement bandage, his bed…. And he has relieved himself on the carpet more times than I want to count. And still we love him to pieces. Go figure.

Also this year, my mom discovered she had breast cancer. And then she beat it. Now she is recovering from a knee replacement, a procedure that has stripped her of all control over her life on the way to something much better.

It’s almost a metaphor for life. Sometimes we need to journey through the pain, through the complete loss of independence, through the muck of all things horrible so we can get to the good stuff on the other side.

I see this in my own life. There was a time when my life was on the darker side of the spectrum. I suffered through a horrible marriage, and then struggled in life after divorce. It’s a dark place to be. When I could finally get on my feet again, the kids and I experienced an exhilarating form of poverty. We were only scraping by, but we celebrated in it. It was ours. And we made the best of it.

Now, we are more blessed than ever. I’m in a good marriage, we live in a good home, our community is wonderful and prosperous, and life is easy, comparatively. And now more than ever, I feel honored that God put me on a path where I got to experience both sadness and joy, poverty and blessings, heartache and love, meekness and courage, loneliness and friendship….

These are the things that make us human, the things that help us grow, the things that help us get to the good parts of life and appreciate them when we get there.

I loved this year. And I loved the one before that, and the one before that, too. And I can’t wait to see what happens in the next year.

Thank you everyone for all your support and love this year. I feel blessed having connected with many of you over this past year, and I look forward to even more friendships and connections in 2014.

Hope your New Year is filled with love and blessings, and that you see each one that comes your way.