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  • Writer's pictureAdrea Tilford

A Promise for Rest... Kauai Photo Essay 2022

This fall has proven to be among the busiest I've had in awhile. In my efforts to build a platform, produce a podcast and blog and to work on a book project I've found myself struggling to manage these passion projects alongside the work I've committed to as an educator. Still, Sam and I have committed to keeping Sundays for Sabbath and working rest into Saturday for the weekends in which I'm preaching. Even so, the break that our last week created could not have been more timely.

Not only did I take the week off from my school district job, I took a break from all things writing and speaking as well. A full week of Sabbath. Saturday evening to Saturday evening. A full week to relish God's incredible creation. A full week to connect with my husband, my children and my in-laws. Oh how my soul needed the rest.

Enjoy the photos from our trip to Kauai.

Day 1: Travel Day

Up early and on the plane in GJ.

We like to get 3 seats together if we can so that we bother no one else on the flights.

The San Francisco Airport had this cool tornado simulator. Just in case you travel through there.

We didn't realize the severity of this sign. Every morning a wake up call from one or seven of the neighborhood roosters. I have a new appreciation for HeiHei. He clucks everywhere.

Day 2: Recovery and Discovery at Lawai Beach

Up early with the time change. We headed straight to the beach.

Two Colorado girls fall in love with waves.

Fans of sand? It depended on the day. Sometimes they were rolling in it. Sometimes they were screaming to be free from it. Sand and saltwater showers were our norm.

We rented snorkel gear and started off in the pool practicing.

Lawai beach just across the street from our resort. We had no idea the magical world woven beneath the waves. Tropical fish fluttered around us and made our day of recovery a magical one indeed.

My first beach drink. It was delicious!

Day 3: Waimea River and Secret Falls

Morning snuggles with my early riser were one of my highlights of this trip.

We started our kayaking adventure in the pouring rain. It quickly dissipated and produced a rainbow to launch us off. Mia and I were paddle buddies for the first 2 miles of the trip.


We learned about the phoenix flower - the Hibiscus. In the morning it blooms yellow, in the afternoon it turns orange and by evening it turn red and falls into the water. The girls enjoyed collecting the fallen flowers from the water as we paddled.

Then we hiked 1.5 miles.

Our guide Mason called this little guy to us with some bird chirps. He then dug up a worm from the base of a tree and Mia held the worm out to the bird who gobbled it up in thanks.

Mason carved Nella a pineapple birthday cake. She even got to blow out a candle after our tour group sang happy birthday to her.

This is a place where queen's bathed. So naturally I took a picture in the queen's bath!

The mountain lake at the base of the falls was definitely cold. It's been awhile since I've held both girls at once!

Romantic water fall pics. Mason asked Sam how we kept a connection between each other alive after so long! Working at it still my friend, working at it still.

The falls were loud and cold. It felt like we were being pelted by hail as we stood underneath. One of the coolest experiences of my life.

Nella turned the 2 mile paddle home into a race between team USA and team Germany. She didn't stop paddling once. My arms burned from the pace. We ended up second to reach the meet up point. Sam and Mia had a more difficult paddle back with the headwinds picking up the front end of his boat.

Jim and Karla met up with us at the end of the tour. They grabbed some lunch and I had my first shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. Ummmm.... I can't even... it was so good.

Day 4: Poipu Beach, sea turtles, monk seals and fancy breakfast & Boogie boarding at Hanalei Bay

This girl can snorkel! We didn't capture them on film, but we swam with two sea turtles this day. It was incredible.

This grandma turtle hung out on the beach all morning - snoozing.

Monk seals reminded us of Xena dog. We wished we could snuggle them, but you aren't allowed to get within 10 feet. They are endangered.

Mia gave snorkeling her best shot, but ended up preferring to simply look through her goggles and come up for air instead of breathing through the tube.

I could have stayed in the ocean all the live long day.

Fancy breakfast at the Red Sand restaurant.

For the foodies: I ordered these pineapple soufflé pancakes. They were good, but we all agreed I wouldn't probably order them again. Soufflé isn't my favorite and I'm glad I tried something new.

We stopped by a lighthouse on our way to Hanalei Bay. There were many seabirds. A storm came in quickly so we didn't stay for long.

And then the favorite beach spot of the trip. Hanalei Bay.

Paddle boarding joy.

The mountains held the storms. The views were breathtaking.

A double rainbow helped us bid the day good-bye.

The water remained shallow even far into the ocean. What an incredible feeling to be so far from shore and still be able to touch.

The final shot of the night. This was our only trip to the North Shore for the week. We loved it, but the traffic made it hard to want to jump in the car again.

Day 5: Nepali Coast Catamaran Tour & Kids finally stayed up late enough to watch the sunset on the beach

Snorkeling in the deep deep water. Nella took off like a fish.


Pretty guys.

Watching the dolphins! There was a momma and her baby that swam right alongside the boat. So beautiful.

This is as close to the Forbidden Island we got.

The mountains of the Nepali Coast. The pictures don't do it justice.

Getting ready to snorkel.

This is just funny. We experienced many fails with our water safe cases - especially when snorkeling. Screen shot is just as good right?

Once we turned the boat around Mia started to feel good enough for some smiles. This was not her favorite adventure, but she did a great job making it through.

Had to wait til all kids were ready to leave their seats for this picture to finally happen.

Look at that smile.

Sam and I snuck away for a couple of hours when we got back. The girls watched some TV, Grandmother and Granddaddy could help if needed, and we walked across the street to The Beach House restaurant. We sat on the lawn and watched the ocean. It was beautiful and fun to connect for a relaxing minute with Sam. We tried fancy drinks and fancy appetizers.

We walked back to the room and grabbed the girls to watch the sunset.

Day 6: Happy Birthday Nella, Spouting Horn, Poipu Beach Snorkeling & Luau

Sometimes your birthday happens during a vacation. Can't believe she's 11.

We started the morning at Spouting Horn, watching the sea turtles play in the cove and the ocean escape through the hole in the rock.

People carved their initials in these leaves.

We returned to Poipu Beach. Another seal was on the shore.

A turtle swam up as Sam walked by.

After some morning skittles, salt and vinegar chips and starbursts our birthday girl came around to wanting to play a bit more.

We found ourselves in a swarm of fish later in the morning. I took about a million pictures, only to find out when I went to look at them that I had taken a total of 2. Neither of which had a single fish in it. Yikes. Sometimes a memory is meant only for our minds.

Smith Family Luau for the birthday dinner.

Feeding the birds.

Digging up the pig. Nella did not like this part.

Birthday dinner. Our girl who doesn't love meat ate mashed potatoes, salad and a whole lot of dessert!

We didn't get pictures of the show, but watching the native dances and the amazing tricks with fire left us all feeling in awe of Hawaiian culture. Nella's favorite was when Pele rose up from the volcano and Mia loved watching the dancers use the native props like gourds and rain sticks. My favorite was the ladies swinging the balls made of fire!

Day 7: Final Full Day, Surf Lessons and Watching the turtles come to shore

Nella got surfing lessons for her birthday. She asked me to join last minute so she would have some "comic relief." (or some mom support) Talk about an upper body workout! Yikes - I'm still sore today! Nella rode the waves like a champ and her old mom even made it up and to shore twice. I'll take it! It was super fun.

We went back to Poipu after a yummy dinner so that we could watch the turtles come in for the evening.

There were over 20 on shore by the time we left.

And then the sunset.

What a wonderful trip.

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