|Post-Workout at CrossFit Vida|
|Looking forward from the putting green back aft|
|Downtown Miami skyline from aboard the Victory on a 100% overcast day!|
Day 3: Key West: We stopped in Key West on the 2015 cruise so we knew our way around...bonus! After sleeping in and grabbing breakfast, we opted just to walk the town and eventually enjoy lunch before returning back. The weather started out gloomy but quickly turned to a breezy, sunny, low 70s day...perfect for walking around town. We found our way to the pier we stopped at last year, chilled out a bit by the beautiful water/landscape and then moved back towards town, in search of lunch, but away from the main tourist trap called Duval St.
|White St. Fishing Pier, Key West|
Dinner was great again as we set sail from Key West and for the main session on Wednesday, an off-the-chart word was brought by Pastor Bryan Lorritts, the son of well-known Crawford Lorritts. The theme was forgiveness which struck home for so many as it was talked about the rest of the week. Afterwards, we went to see Harris III, a master illusionist. He gave a little teaser during the main session so we definitely had to see him. We saw 321 Improv again, too. The great thing with improv is that it's always different!
Thursday: At Sea: We slept in again (this became normal and was easy due to our pitch black room and absolute silence) and enjoyed some breakfast together before I decided to get a little workout in. Up forward and high up, they had a jogging track...or more like a hamster wheel. It was a rubberized track and in 11 laps, one mile would be covered. In true CrossFit fashion, I decided to make a workout out of it: 3 rounds of 1 mile, 20 pushups, 30 burpees, 40 air squats then 2 more miles (or 22 more laps). It was a great workout and interesting in the high winds and moving ship, especially during those bloody burpees! Afterwards, I fell asleep in the sun on the aft end of the ship next to my bride...and enjoyed a few bites of calamari. :) At 1:30pm that day, another men's session was taking place with Jeff Kemp so I went to that and my wife headed to hear author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst. She spoke really highly of that session and Jeff's didn't disappoint, either. It was more focused on the Stepping Up event that I've led twice before. We got in some rounds of rummy (our long-standing tradition when we cruise) before dinner again at 5:30pm. For the main session, Dave and Ann Wilson talked on conflict. If you haven't heard of the Wilsons, they are awesome! We saw them last year and they never disappoint. Powerful, hilarious, and always super relevant. They teamed up with the husband/wife drama team called "Acts of Renewal" to really bring it all home. Dave Wilson has been the Detroit Lions chaplain for over 30 years. Afterwards, we got in line super quick for the 2nd-most anticipated concert of the week for me...Sanctus Real. Little did I know, the lead singer was leaving the band and last fall, they did their farewell tour. This concert was going to be the last time he performed with the band he founded some 20 years ago in Toledo, OH. All week, I wondered if Sanctus Real was even going to be there and if so, who would be the lead singer? It wasn't until the concert that it all came together. The icing on the cake? In a most classy move, he introduced his replacement near the end of the concert and they played their first single as the "new" Sanctus Real. After that, they all came back on stage together for a standing ovation.
Friday: Nassau, Bahamas: Well, you know how the day begins by now and after that, we decided to just walk. In a nutshell, the Bahamas don't offer much, in my opinion, except for the lush Atlantis Resort that is as expensive or more than getting into Disney World. Back some 12 or 13 years ago on a cruise, we went there and were able to walk through much of it, including the aquarium. Well, we walked the 2-3 miles there but upon arrival, none of that is free anymore. We didn't stay long and began our walk back but via a different route. Now, if you want to snorkel, snuba, scuba, etc., they do offer excursions but not much else. As soon as you step off the ship, you'll instantly be immersed in a tourist trap. By the time we left that day, there were FIVE cruise ships docked. Yikes. We were back on the ship by 1pm...almost 4 hours early. I got some rays on the sun deck...my bride caught a nap. At dinner, our final dinner, we caught up on the week and before heading to the final session, grabbed this group photo. Daniel and Cara are on the right and our newest friends from just outside Denver, CO, Ken and Amy are seated. Meeting new friends, sharing a little bit of life with each other and our journeys are definitely major highlights of the Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise. You just can't put a price on it!
So after dinner and saying our goodbyes, we headed to the final session where Dennis Rainey, Founder and CEO of FamilyLife spoke. We also got an update on the woman who fell ill. Due to confidentiality, not too many details were given except for what the family released: "Something" happened on Tuesday that forced that medical staff to put her in a medically-induced coma. They transported her via helicopter to Miami upon docking at 2am in Key West on Wednesday and as of Thursday night, she remained in the ICU in the same condition, with her husband at her side. Bob Lepine, who was the MC all week on the cruise, led us all in prayer for her. Afterwards, we stayed for the 10pm concert where Selah performed. WOW!!!! That was incredible. Amazing voices! At 11:15pm, we headed to the pool deck where two things were going to happen. For one, Dennis and Barbara Rainey led us in a Vow Renewal Ceremony. Just like at the altar some 23+ years ago for us, we stood there amongst hundreds of others, holding hands and facing each other and spoke vows again to each other...once again, sealing the covenant we made long ago. It hasn't been without cracks over our years so any chance to re-affirm it and seal it up is an honor not to be passed up. "I love you, Babe!" Soon after, the farewell concert took place where several of the artists sung two songs a piece. It's hard to see in this photo, but they stood on the raised deck to the right. The captain of the ship was nice enough, too, to steer the ship in such a way so the winds weren't blowing us all around topside.
Back to our stateroom, packed and in bed. The 2016 iteration of the Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise was a wrap. We didn't book the 2017 cruise like we did last year. I highly recommend it but for us, we've decided to take a break and will most likely do something different and as a family next year. We'll definitely be back, though. It really is a cruise like none other and one we have come away from being stronger together and "on mission." Much thanks to Dennis and Barbara Rainey and their incredible team at FamilyLife. You can bet we'll continue to use your resources as we raise our family and reach out to other couples around us. Till next time!
Below is the compilation "wrap up" video of this year's cruise that they showed us on the pool deck before the Farewell Concert. Enjoy!!! (The couple kissing at the very very end is Daniel and Cara! Celebrities!!!) ;)