“Nights and days came and passed
And summer and winter and the rain.
And it was good to be a little Island.
A part of the world and a world of its own
All surrounded by the bright blue sea.”
― Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Island
Our family vacation, not "travels," to the west Caribbean island of Roatan. A vacation because it was full of bumming around, wearing swimsuits all day, fresh fruit, lounging, talking our hearts out, falling asleep in the breeze, and... not filled with an itinerary of all the places I "had" to eat at/photograph/witness. It was also a dream vacation because it was a prize. Yes! We won an all-inclusive trip! Here's the story:
Last year, around the time Summer was born, a video of Caleb playing "The Prayer" in Washington DC started getting shared frequently (I think it ended up with over 10 million views?). As this was happening he was getting more messages and emails than we could keep up with, but he tried to sit down once a week and get through as many as he could. Lost in this sea of messages were a couple from a guy named Joseph Natale. A friend of his had seen the video and passed it on, knowing Joseph would love it. He did, and wanted to get in contact with Caleb.
A couple months had gone by and his messages to Caleb had gone unanswered so far, but one day... as he was sitting in Santa Barbara eating dinner with his family... Caleb's twin brother, Daniel, walked up to play violin. Immediately Joseph "recognized" Daniel, but also knew it wasn't Caleb yet knew they HAD to be related. This interaction led to Joseph writing Caleb one more time, having no idea where in the country Caleb was. Joseph was hoping to get both of the twins to play at a fundraising event he was doing. Dan wasn't able to because he was waiting for his first son to be born, and Caleb? Well, we just so happened to be in San Diego in this season of life. And we just so happened to have made plans months earlier to meet friends in Santa Barbara... on the EXACT same date (in the middle of the week) as the fundraising event!
Caleb and Joseph were both amazed at the "coincidence" and Caleb made plans to be there. Joseph invited our whole family to come, so the kids and I did. One of the activities that evening was a raffle for an all-inclusive trip to Joseph's resort in Roatan (a raffle he insisted we enter) and...lo and behold! He pulled our ticket out of the hat!
Aside from the beautiful, restful family time, we were extremely moved to get to know Joseph and his wife, Glenna. Their stories... oh their stories. Endless and, well, they know just about every form of pain this world can offer. And yet, they've spent the last 30 years investing in this small island. We got to hear Joseph's vision for his career-training center, so students can move into professional management, business, and hospitality careers and educations. He's participated in building over 150 homes. Everywhere we went he knew everyone, and they knew him! If people saw him coming there were shouts, smiles, and running hugs.
Nothing short of incredible to see the impact of compassion, action, a broken heart, and love for decades. There were a couple moments of this trip that will especially stick with me. I will never forget what happened and what was said. Caleb had the joy of playing two performances: one in the poorest part of the poorest town on the island. There aren't words this side of heaven for how music unites and connects the most diverse strangers. People become kindred in seconds.
We wanted to make sure we publicly thanked Joseph for all his kindness and effort to make our trip one to remember! And to Glenna, for being a powerful mix of strength and tenderness. We love you guys! And we hope we will be as generous and inviting to others as you were to us. Thank you for be living proof of God's grace.
With that said, here is a quick blast through our week... happy happy happy!
We celebrated Summer's first birthday on this trip! And this was her birthday day photoshoot. One for the memory books!
^^^ Roo took these himself, on his own, without me knowing. I can't stand it.
Things We Enjoyed Absorbing + Discussing
- Part Two: Ways To Fund Your Relationship (Click here for part one of the two part series. We enjoyed both, but REALLY loved the second one. It might be my favorite "article" about marriage ever.)
- Coincidences on "This American Life" Considering that we ended up on this paradise vacation by a "coincidence," we were especially drawn into this episode!
- The documentary called "Embrace"... lots and lots more to say about this, but that will have to be a whole seperate post. But we both had very distinct "light bulb moments" that changed our foundation of thought on this topic.