I know I’ve already told the story about how I was shy as shy could be in the beginning of high school.

Oh how I clung onto that older sister of mine as she tried to detach her arm from my grip after she had shown me where the dance room was for my first class as a freshman.

And gradually, over those years at East High school (yes, High School Musical, my claim to fame, ha!), I found friends (or maybe they found me), who helped me find myself.

It didn’t help that my family packed up and went to live in England for that second semester of my freshman year.

But you know what? Those friends were still there when I got back.

And we were joined at the hip.

We learned so much together, trying to maneuver our way through grades and boyfriends and college applications and all kinds of adventures.

And then we all graduated and went our own ways.

Which is sad, right?

But really not so sad because we have stayed in touch over the years. We all gather any time we can in Utah (many of them have stayed and others come in town for holidays or summer, so it works).

There is always so much to catch up on, but we meet up and pick right up where we left off.

SOOOOO, this year, since this is the year we all turn the dreaded FIFTY, we decided we better do something more than a quick lunch.

It just so happened that one of those friends has access to a condo on Maui and offered to have us gather there.

And she didn’t have to ask twice on that nice offer!

And then suddenly there we were, on the Bamboo Hike, like no time had passed at all.

(Oh we sure missed the few who couldn’t make it, but were so glad so many could.)

But ok, I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to this gorgeousness:

And how I arrived first of everyone else and got to go visit my parents who were there:

…and my brother and his family too.

Love them!!!

Then I met up with those good high school friends and those next days were filled with wonder that I get to have these friends.

We went on a sunrise whale watch, surrounded on every side by mother and baby whales flipping their tails.

The sun coming over the mountain across from us creating such gorgeous light, a mother and baby poked their noses out of the water directly in front of where we were standing on the deck of the boat, and it was incredibly beautiful to see the outlines of their bodies under the water.

One of my friends, Maureen, is such a great photographer so I’m including a few of her pictures (above). Check out more of her stuff HERE, she is so talented!!

They put an underwater microphone down in the water and gosh, it sounded like aliens (and a little like a horror film to be honest) but how crazy is that full-on other world that parallel universe under the deep blue?

We went on power walks through grand neighborhoods every morning in the rising sun.

Those hanging flowers are appropriate for a picture with Al since she has become an amazing florist (check her out HERE).

We sat on a couple different beaches and talked through the world. Marriage, kids, church, politics, life and where it has taken us. (And watched breeching whales in the distance.)

We ate at Kihei Café and reveled in macadamia nut pancakes, ate way too many macadamia nut chocolates, drove to Kaanapali one day and watched the sunset from the side of the road, sat in the hot tub, stood in long lines for fresh banana bread and hot scones.

All the while talk, talk, talking.

We went on the bamboo hike, light filtering through all those towering bamboos basking in the glory of nature.

Sam and I ventured up this ladder a little further while the others hung out and talked.

We walked the little town of Paia eating ice cream and cookies:

We watched kite surfers in humongous waves:

On our last night we reveled in the sunset:

…and ate Thai food and stayed up talking.

I am just so grateful for those women (as well as the ones we missed!). So grateful that we all love each other so much. That we are so different yet think the same in so many ways. That they are so responsible for so much of how I think and act and how my life has turned out.

Love you ladies forever!

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