Does anyone want to come over and watch a 6-hour slideshow? No?

Well darn! That’s about how long it would take to show all of the pictures from my family’s recent trip to Hawaii. In short, it was everything I hoped for and more and fascinatingly different.

When I pictured Hawaii, I always imagined an aqua blue ocean, cloudless blue sky and billowy palm trees swaying in the breeze. And that’s true!

But Hawaii is so much more than perfect beaches. In fact, we stayed on the Big Island, where part of the terrain is volcanic rock. You’re driving through this landscape and thinking, Am I on another planet?  We even got to visit Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world. (The Sinclairs are living on the edge, people!)

One of my favorite places was the Pololū Valley. We hiked down a steep trail of mud and finally reached the black sand beach at the bottom. It was gorgeous! The waves were incredibly powerful, crashing against the rocks like they wanted to knock down the island. On the other side of the shore was the ever-calm Pololū River, which wandered into a valley, surrounded by lush fields and grazing cattle. The two contrasting environments in such close proximity was fascinating to me.

Another impressive aspect of Hawaii’s natural beauty is its plants and animals. On the rainy side of the island, you can find wild avocado trees, mango trees, palm trees, coffee bean trees, and more. The flowers come in all shapes, gargantuan sizes, and colors so bright that look like they came out of a Sharpie highlighter. I felt like I was a character in a Dr. Seuss book or Carmen Cortez in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams.

As for the animals, forget watching out for deer! Hawaii has wild horses, donkeys, and cutest of all… goats. (Sidenote: check out the picture of my brother, Andrew, with the 17 cats of A Bay. Yes, he’s talking to the cat lady who takes them to the vet and feeds them. They have an official FB page here.)

In an effort to keep your attention, I’ve decided to list the events of rest of the trip in six words or less.

  • Macadamia nuts good. SPAM flavor bad.
  • “Rachel falls at the falls.”
  • America’s steepest road. Sketchy van, oneway.
  • View from above was worth it.
  • Hawaiian royalty: Queen Anela, King Kona.
  • Helicopter ride was incredible beyond words.
  • We hula’ed at a luau.
  • (Most) local Hawaiian food was delicious.
  • Surfing was fun and surprisingly easy.
  • Diamondhead hike was tough but rewarding.

Click through the slideshow below to view corresponding pictures. If you STILL want to hear more, let me know so I can pull out the projector and the popcorn machine. Also, look out for the next blog, “What God Taught Me In Hawaii,” coming soon to a social media site near you!

 

 

As Wicked flew out of Birmingham on Sunday night, I got a chance to sit a spell with the actors who bring the life (and a little magic) to two of the most infamous characters in Oz–Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba) and Stuart Zagnit (The Wizard).

Mary Kate met and exceeded my expectations in her role as Elphaba. Thinking back to the scene of “Defying Gravity” nearly gives me chills! Aside from her spectacular vocal performance, Mary Kate clearly communicated the character of Elphaba through her every expression, movement and interaction with another character. This was my third time to see Wicked, and I felt that Mary Kate truly tapped into Elphaba’s character by bringing a young and fresh perspective to the beloved star of the show. Here is my Celeb Sit Down interview with Mary Kate!

MARY KATE MORRISSEY (Elphaba)

RS: What is your favorite moment in the show?

MKM: The Ozdust Ballroom when Glinda and Elphaba become friends.

RS: Why?

MKM: Because I think that’s when the show starts. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a show if they didn’t come together.

RS: What’s your favorite part about your character?

MKM: That she’s the underdog and she triumphs. She stands for a lot of people who aren’t necessarily in privilege. She can stand for whoever the audience needs her to be.

RS: If you could be any character for a night, who would it be? I know this is a hard one for you!

MKM: I know (she laughs). I would want to be Elphaba every night!

RS: That’s a great answer!

MKM: I think for one night I’d want to be Glinda. Just for fun.

RS: Is it hard to fly in the harness and sing? (during “Defying Gravity”)

MKM: No. I’m standing on something, so it’s not a harness. I’m standing.

•••

MARY KATE MORRISSEY is currently the Standby for Elphaba in the Munchkinland Tour of Wicked the musical. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2011 with a degree in musical theatre. Her past theatre experience includes Hair! (national tour), Tamar of the River (off-broadway) and Lizzie: The Musical (regional). Keep up with Mary Kate on Twitter at @maryspacekate.

 

The interview with Stuart Zagnit (The Wizard) is coming soon! Follow @1RachelSinclair for updates.


Independence Day Quiz!

4th Quiz

This trivia will test your knowledge with fun facts about one of America’s most beloved holidays–the 4th of July! From history tidbits to firework finances, this quiz will test your brain (and possibly your patriotism!). Good luck!

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The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

I. LOVE. This. Book. Kathryn Stockett knows how to bring a character to life. Her writing style is so spot-on, you feel like you’re having coffee with the characters instead of reading about them. I saw the movie first and thought, “Is it worth it to read the book since I already know the story?” The answer is yes! You won’t be disappointed.

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Miss Brenda and the Loveladies (Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell)

Talk about eye-opening! This story recounts Brenda Spahn’s improvised journey of ministering to women fresh out of prison by inviting them to live in her home. Now a nationally-recognized program, The Lovelady Center in Birmingham, Ala. has helped hundreds of women rebuild their lives and find hope in Jesus. The book is an easy read, packed with heartbreaking and inspirational stories.


Her Mother’s Hope (Francine Rivers)

Gather ‘round, all you historical fiction gu-ru’s. This is your dream book! Get ready to walk through a mother-daughter heritage, beginning in Switzerland in 1901 and continuing to America during World War II. A few years ago, my mom and I both read this book on a family vacation. We ended up sitting side-by-side on the couch with the book flipped open, each of us reading two different sections of it! So don’t share this novel with anyone, unless you want to end up as literary Siamese twins. It’s that good.

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Holes (Louis Sachar)

Isn’t this a children’s/young adult book? Yes, yes it is. But it’s great. My friend Catherine is an elementary ed major, and she told me I was missing out if I hadn’t read Holes. She was right! Sachar uses all the good literary stuff—symbolism, mystery, motifs, foreshadowing, suspense… I could go on and on. Don’t let the 4.6 grade reading level stop you—it only makes binge-reading that much easier!


A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David (Beth Moore)

You know the books where you want to highlight every line? This is one of them. Dive deep into the rich, complicated life of King David with the incredible Beth Moore. A man who experienced both triumph and tragedy, David is a prime example of a flawed human who sought to glorify the Lord and walk with him in everyday life. The book is divided into 9 sections with a total of 52 chapters, making it the perfect format for a daily Bible study.

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