Star-light by Lava-glow


Our favorite vacation spots are America’s National Parks. The daughter of a Park Ranger, I grew up exploring these wonderlands and was determined my children would have the opportunity to do the same. Thankfully, having a husband in the teaching profession has afforded us plenty of vacation time to indulge this dream. Of course, this same profession has also afforded us an extremely limited budget that really only allows for the kind of rustic adventuring these parks and other wilderness areas have to offer. I must say we have become quite the masters of low-budget adventuring. Money (or rather the lack of it) has never been something we let stand in the way of showing our boys God’s amazing creation.
When we moved to Hawaii I rather thought we would be giving up our wilderness adventures. But that’s because I didn’t know all the Big Island had to offer. Our favorite family outings here are definitely those made to Volcano National Park, especially if we have the opportunity to stay overnight and witness the lava-glow by star-light. This past weekend provided the most spectacular display yet.
I’ve told many people that the hike from the Kilauea Military Camp to the Jagger Museum Lookout along the crater rim is the best kids night hike in the world. As long as you STAY on the trail! The path, which follows the edge of the crater (which is why you want to stay on it lest you plummet to your death!) is relatively level most of the way and starts out in a clump of rain forest which quickly gives way to vast openness with nothing but darkness on one side, the glow of lava from the crater on the other side and a vast expanse of night-sky stretching over the black Pacific over-head. It’s a great hike in the day-time too, but not nearly as adventurous!
Friday night was foggy but we thought we might get a glimpse of the glow anyway so we all (including Oma and Opa) set out with flashlights through the trees. Pretty soon we couldn’t see the rain forest for the rain. Our fog had turned into a cold, dense drizzle and there was no glow in sight. The boys were eager to keep going though, so we thought we’d just continue on to the little overlook about half way up the trail. The only way to find the overlook in the dark is to look for the trail crossing our path and turn left on it so we kept our eyes glued to the ground for most of the last stretch till we finally saw the crossing and walked out to the railing. The presence of the railing by the way, is the only thing that makes this an official overlook. The rest of the crater rim is wide-open, just beckoning some poor-unsuspecting soul to fall in. We all stood there looking into the thick wet cloud and seeing nothing but a thick wet cloud when we heard a sound like distant thunder, and then another boom and another and another. It was the volcano! We couldn’t see it but we could sure hear it! Pretty cool and definitely worth the hike!
The next night was foggy again so we skipped the night hike, but when I woke up at 2 in the morning, it was a clear, star-filled night overhead and the whole sky toward the crater was ablaze in orange. Great star-gazing AND lava-glow at the same time was something I couldn’t resist pulling the boys (and Dad) out of bed for. Of course, Oma and Opa heard the ruckus and being the troopers they are, came with us. This time we drove to Jagger Museum which was deserted this time of the night and we had the whole viewing platform to ourselves. The stars were insanely bright and bountiful but it was the more terrestrial glow that had us riveted. And there was that volcanic sound again! Only this time it was constant, like the roar of the ocean. Truly awesome and even a little terrifying for our 3-year-old.
The whole time I kept repeating to the boys, “Imprint this on your brains. Never, never forget this moment, and never, ever forget the Awesome God that made this.” Thank you Oma and Opa for making this memory with the boys and for being good enough sports to leave your cozy beds at 2 AM to go stand on the rim of a volcano and join in the Doxology to our Creator with us and not even complain about it the next morning! You two are great!

14 thoughts on “Star-light by Lava-glow

  1. Thank you Julie! The memories of those sights and sounds will remain forever!
    Thank you Titus, Joel, Nathan and Sam for the time with all of you!!


  2. Hi Again Julie, Tom and boys . . .

    Today I woke up early. The time there in Kona was filled with the sights and sounds of 4 little boys. Their fun adventures and daily activities consumed our time. The planned visit to Volcano National Park (I love how Sam says “Volcano NashunALL pAHrk”) was greatly anticipated . . . my ‘blog’ of this adventure . . .
    As David and I get older the ‘night watches’ (and the repeated change in sleep patterns) we noticed the light peering from under the door. In the family room of our quaint-rustic-vintage-rental-cabin there was stirring from where Tom and Julie slept in the hide-a-bed. A little knock on our door and Julie explained that the glow of the lava from the Volcano beckoned her to add another ‘adventure’ for their “quiver” of 4 little boys.
    We dressed, wrapped the boys in blankets, loaded the car and headed for the scene. It captured us. We were enraptured with the new sights and sounds as we gasped at the glow of the lava and the serene brightness of the star-lit sky, edged with the plummeting smoke from the volcano. In silence we listened and gazed. We witnessed this isolated from any other visitors – – 2:00 A.M. explains why. An amazing night, and Julie’s continued statement to ‘never forget this’ enveloped by the singing of “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creators here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.”
    This morning, the little devotional I read was for Psalm 127 which states that “Children are a gift (heritage) from the Lord”. These verses reflect that each child born into this world has potential. The traits that children need to guide them in their future come through diligent and godly parenting, not by accident.
    God’s Word says to point children to Jesus. In Mark 10 Jesus emphasizes this truth. Deut 6 expresses that we are to instruct children in God’s ways. Proverbs 19:18 states to discipline your son while there is hope. The thoughts of knowing that our grandchildren are being taught godliness, truth, faith and complete trust in our Creator who is also our Redeemer brings “no greater joy”.
    Thank you Julie and Tom for revealing God, His Gospel, and the Truth to a new generation to influence the world to also “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”. I love the “quiver” that God has blessed your with!!!


  3. If I could “like” this post more than once, I would! What an awesome God we serve! What an amazing, once in a lifetime (maybe?) glimpse at a part of His creation that most of us will never hear or see! What a memory for your family. For those of us not in Hawaii (“Thou shalt not covet, Shannon!” 🙂 ha ha) we will get to enjoy it through your post! We will be here on the farm finding the Extraordinary God in the seemingly ordinary. 😉

    Leven’s favorite movie is Pilgrim’s Progress, (no, we haven’t read the book.- just the picture book version) and we’ve been reading through Proverbs at breakfast. Daily we have discussions of paths… staying on the path, paths of uprightness, walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous, ponder the path of your feet, and on and on and on…. As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about the path you wrote about, about it’s difficulty and the necessity in staying on it! But what glory you beheld! 🙂 (Not the point of your post AT ALL, I know.)

    This is amazing! So glad you shared it!


    1. I love the path analogy! Another great book on the topic is “The Hedge of Thorns” from Lamplighter publishing about a boy and his little sister and the dire consequences of not keeping to the path. Get it soon! You’ll love it!


  4. Got the book ordered! Looking forward to reading it, and I enjoyed browsing Lamplighter’s website! Good stuff. I had no idea you’d ever even thought about living on a farm. It’s been great for the kids… lots of room, lots of dirt, and a house that’s “older than the Titanic!” as Leven says. 🙂 I am thankful indeed, but Hawaii would be fantastic!


    1. Before moving to Hawaii we lived in the mountains, surrounded by National Forest, gobs of dirt, bears and mountain lions, the works. But that’s not farm life. For one thing, I couldn’t make a single thing grow in those woods and abundant predators made keeping chickens and goats and other farm animals impossible. So while I loved the mountains and love the beach and have seen our boys thrive in both I still have this dream of a real live farm with gardens and the useful-kind-of-farm-critters rather than the watch-out-or-they’ll-eat-you-kind. A house “older than the Titanic” would be icing on the cake. 🙂


  5. You guys are so adventurous! We don’t have any useful-kind-of-farm-critters yet. Chickens and a goat or cow would be our first choices at some point. We do, however, have lots of nuisance-kind-of-farm-critters! Think opossums, armadillos, rabbits, and SKUNKS! 😉


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