Michael and I just got back from an early-anniversary cruise.

I like cruises because they’re almost like going on a technology and internet detox.

The second day we were at sea I ran over to the gift shop onboard and ended up buying one of those grocery list note pads with magnets on the back to journal (it was all they had and I forgot my own journal). Then we spent the day outside, watching the ocean, reading, talking, and journaling.

It was good to just have some intentionally restful time. And it made me realize I need to be better about placing myself in environments of quiet and in nature on a regular basis.

On our Alaskan cruise last year, there was an onboard naturalist who acted almost like a tour guide, narrating over the ship’s intercom at various times. During one of his lectures he said studies have found that the further man gets away from nature, the more prone he is to psychological disorder. I don’t know if that’s actually been scientifically proven, but there is something about riding my bike through a wooded trail, or walking barefoot through the grass, or sitting quietly on a boat in the middle of the ocean that completely restores my soul.

The first stop was in Roatan. I booked an excursion separately from the cruise beforehand to spend the day on a privately owned island named, Little French Key. We we’re picked up outside the port gate along with another sweet, older couple who were also spending the day on the island. They were actually American expats living in Saudi Arabia. Being expats at one time ourselves, we had LOTS and LOTS to talk about on the car ride there. For the rest of the cruise, anytime we ran into them they’d say, “How are our kids doing?” Hah, so sweet.

Little French Key was perfect. The beaches were pretty and quiet, hammocks were everywhere, and they had a small petting zoo with jaguars, monkeys, and tropical birds. You could ride horses around the island, snorkel or just hang out at the bar all day.

The coral reef nearby is part of the second largest reef barrier system in the world. I bought this waterproof case for our camera so I could take pictures underwater while were snorkeling: DicaPac WP410 (10.5×16.0cm) Small Zoom Alfa Waterproof Digital Camera Case with Optical Lens (Clear). Best thing ever. Worked great while we were under the water.

Our second stop was in Cozumel. Six years ago, we spent our honeymoon in Rivera Maya and Playa Del Carmen. Cozumel is about a 45 minute ferry ride from Playa Del Carmen. We didn’t visit the island during our honeymoon though, so this was actually our first time there. Through the ship we booked an excursion to swim with dolphins and manatees!

Ok, so I’m a happy cryer. I get weepy during all those little special life moments or when I see things that are really beautiful. Like when Michael and I got married, I cried. When I saw my niece for the first time on the ultra-sound monitor, I cried. When I finally saw the Taj Mahal in person, I cried. When I saw dolphins bouncing around through the water literally right in front of me, I totally freaking cried. Like Hootie-And-The-Blowfish-“even-dolphins-make-me-cry” cry.

These are such amazing animals. We worked with a trainer and an eight year old dolphin named, Luke. Luke pushed us from behind our feet on a boogie board, pulled us through the water doing a belly swim, played patty-cake, gave kisses and did a ton of other tricks.

Ok really ya’ll… I know I’m an animal freak, but in heaven, I’m totally going to have dolphins at my place. Such, such beautiful animals. I just love them! <3 <3 <3

We had really awesome table mates during the evenings [that I failed to get pictures of]. There was one couple from Puerto Rico, a son and a mother from Switzerland, and another gentleman who escaped communist Czechoslovakia on foot with his three year old son back in the eighties. That’s one of my favorite parts about traveling, you get to meet so many incredible people and hear so many incredible stories.

Sadly, vacation ended pretty abruptly after we returned. We got a call from Charlotte’s boarding kennel the morning we arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale. She had a bit of a nasty run in with an older, grouchier dog. They took her to the vet and put on antibiotics for the two wounds she received during the scuffle. Not happy about that at all… Actually, it’s the exact reason why I dread taking her to a kennel in the first place, but the facility has continued to handle it well. Just feel guilty for putting Charlotte in a situation where she was hurt 🙁

So we’re back now and I’m re-learning that rest IS DEFINITELY intentional and I can’t just veg out if I want to really, really process what’s going on in my heart. Still do not have all my health stuff figured out at the moment and I have more appointments scheduled in the following weeks, but I did get some perspective and feel hopeful I’m headed in the right direction. More on that later 🙂

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