“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Bilbo Baggins from the Fellowship of the Ring
Two years ago we took a journey on our winter break, to celebrate our new love and life together. Our honeymoon ventured us to the Island of Roatan, Honduras, but something felt different about this trip from the moment we stepped on the plane. Having just finished Eugene Cho’s book “Overrated” on the flight over, we were looking for more than just a typical Caribbean adventure. Within hours we were eating dinner in the home of two missionaries, our now dear friends Bob and Debi Cowan. They didn’t know us from Adam, but God had plans a million years ago to bring the four of us together. It was a week like I’d never dreamed, and we came back refreshed and ready to conquer the world. God challenged us on those three foot long docks of the Sea Dancer, and within days Melanie took a new role at work, and I made the announcement I was leaving the wireless industry after twelve years. These moments in Roatan created the vision for the future of our family of eight, and we have truly never looked back.
Last year’s story landed us on the Island of Culebra, and took us to a place of much needed respite and adventure. We snorkeled with frighteningly massive rays and sea turtles aplenty swam by. We rested on the beaches of Flamenco, Zoni, and Tamarindo as we swam, snorkeled, rested, wrote, and read. We ate at Zaco’s Taco’s and had the best crème cheese breakfast pastry I have ever had the pure joy of indulging. We visited the coolest little, big store on the planet called Milka, which is like their Walmart in a building smaller than the average 7-11. They truly have everything you could need. We hiked, studied the culture and history of the island, and took pictures by the tank our country left sitting on the shores of Flamenco Beach. Frankly, it was weird. During the days of the World Wars our country used this island as a testing ground, recklessly shooting off high powered weapons, and risking the lives of the people who call this island home. Still, the beautiful people of Culebra love their visitors, and have a sweet and simple way about them. It’s like visiting a small town in Tennessee, only it’s an island in paradise. I read two great books that week, The Year of Living Like Jesus by one of my heroes in this life, the late Ed Dobson, and Whatever the Cost by my friend David Benham, and his brother Jason. Both books led me, instructed me and ministered to my soul. The highlight of the week, was the quiet moments I spent with the human I admire most, my best friend Melanie Jean. If there was ever a gift to our world, it is her, and I still have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t admire her. It was an amazing week with the best person I know.
Saturday takes us on another adventure, heading back to Culebra yet again. This will be an exciting time to refresh, rest and re-energize ourselves. We are spending one night in Old San Juan, and then it’s off to Culebra the next day. The book I was supposed to read while there, Scary Close by Donald Miller, was too good and I finished it before this trip even begins. I’ll keep my ears open for something, and if you know of any great books I should read, please comment below. My favorites are always Christian books, the ones with real stories from real people, from authors in the realm of Miller, Goff, Niequest, and Ed Dobson. Anything inspiring will probably work.
But there’s something else. I can’t explain it, but I feel God’s leading in a certain direction, so I will be doing something a little different each day while I’m sitting in the sand, diving into the waves, and walking the through the open streets of Culebra. I will blog about it daily, and keep myself accountable to be part of a story God is already creating inside of me and on this island. Who knows where this adventure will lead us this year, but we are grateful for the time we have and the journey we are taking.