I've had the privilege of watching an innumerable amount of sunrises and sunsets over the years. I've witnessed them from mountaintops and valleys, and while stuck in traffic in the middle of a sprawling city that had yet to go to sleep. A few times it was even when I had yet to go to sleep, and once it was because I'd been locked out of a hotel room (accidentally) and didn't know what else to do but sit by the pool and wait for morning. I've been in awe of almost every single one, because everything about it - the way the clouds moved, the way it crept over the tops of skyscrapers, the way it almost seemed as if I could reach out and touch it if I tried - made it seem like the most beautiful thing the world had ever seen. Maybe even the most beautiful thing the world would ever see. And we were lucky enough to witness such beauty twice a day, like clockwork and without fail. But then I sat on a beach, on a balcony, at a table in a restaurant that was right beside the window and overlooking the ocean, and had the opportunity to witness the way the sun and the moon traded positions in the sky overhead with you by my side and I realized that the beauty I had witnessed before paled in comparison. Maybe it's because we were in Hawai'i, or maybe it's because there is no one else in the world I want to share these experiences with. And maybe it's because everything about my life has felt so much more amazing since you became a part of it. Whatever the reason, I wish we could have stayed in that blissful bubble for just a little while longer, because every single second of the time that we were away was more amazing than I could ever put into words. Not even pictures could do them justice.

Pele is often portrayed as a wanderer and sightings of the familiar and popular goddess have been reported throughout the island chain for hundreds of years, but especially near volcanic craters and near her home of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In these sightings or visions she appears as either a very tall, beautiful young woman or an unattractive and frail elderly woman usually accompanied by a white dog. Those well-versed in the legend, say that Pele takes this form of an elderly beggar woman to test people – asking them if they have food or drink to share. Those who are generous and share with her are rewarded while anyone who is greedy or unkind are punished with their homes or other valuables destroyed. And there are many other stories equating Pele's wrath, usually stimulated by jealousy or someone's arrogance, to volcanic eruptions or destructive lava flows. In fact, the Hawaiian word pele means molten lava. However, no human sacrifices were ever made to Pele, just red berries in ancient times and gin or brandy in later days. For Hawaiians, respect, if not worship, for Pele has lasted longer than that for any of the other old gods. Visibly active power has a strong influence on hearts and minds.

Music is a language we can all understand. It's a language that transcends culture and politics and distance. One that everyone can find something to relate to, tucked in between the lyrics, harmonies, and beats. So it's no surprise that it was the music that I immersed myself in first, from the moment we arrived on the island, until we left again, I listened to nothing but the music that had been created right here.

Anuhea - Mr. Mellow
Common Kings - Alcoholic
Kolohe Kai - He'e Roa
Justin Young - Lose This One
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - In This Life
Rebel Souljahz - Nothing To Hide
J Boog - Let's Do It Again
Kimie Miner - Shame On You
Sudden Rush - In Ya System
Ekolu - She's Music To Me
Pau Hana - 2 Years 2 Eternity

INGREDIENTS: 1 package yellow or strawberry cake mix · 1⅓ cup guava juice · 3 eggs &miiddot; ⅓ cup vegetable oil · 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened · ⅓ cup sugar · 1 teaspoon vanilla · 1 small package cool whip, thawed · 2 cups guava juice · ½ cup sugar · ¼ cup cornstarch

DIRECTIONS: Bake cake according to package directions, substituting guava juice for water. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat in. Slowly fold in the Cool Whip and refrigerate until ready to use. In a medium saucepan, bring the 2 cups guava juice and sugar to a boil. Make a paste out of the cornstarch and a small amount of water. Remove guava juice from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring back to a boil and boil for one minute. Cool in refrigerator.

ASSEMBLY: Thickly ice the cake with all of the cream cheese mixture. Glaze the top of the cake with guava gel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If there is one thing I"m certain of, it's that I didn't truly understand what the meaning of forever was until I met him. I knew how the dictionary defined it, and what the concept of it was in terms of relationships. Who wouldn't? Dreams of watching brilliant sunsets, moonlit strolls on the beach, gazing at the stars that weren't impeded by the too bright lights. Hand in hand, heart in hand, the idea of forever close enough to touch, to grab, and to hold. But it's a dream. The ideal. Until it isn't, because it's happening, and I say this a lot but I never knew that this was the way love was supposed to feel until he came along. I never realized that it could be this amazing until I had it. There is something to be said about toes buried in sand and the laughter that rings out in the air while chasing tiny crabs along the beach just to watch them scurry away, or standing in the middle of a lava field and knowing the beauty you're witnessing was borne from destruction. And there is something to be said about being able to share those experiences, and so much more, with the person who makes every adventure feel like The Greatest Adventure in the World. Even when we're just wandering through one store or another, perusing menus at a new restaurant where half the items are dishes I can't pronounce correctly, or studying a map trying to figure out where we are. And especially when we're only sitting on a porch, wrapped up in blankets to protect us from the breeze blowing in off the ocean, talking about the day we had while his hands are pressed to my stomach in anticipation of feeling the little kicks against his palms. Because we haven't quite reached our greatest adventure yet. That one is still eighteen weeks away.