Aruba

For our 14th wedding anniversary we decided to take a last minute trip to Aruba. We could not decide between the Dominican Republic, Coast Rica, and Aruba. We eventually selected Aruba because we found an extremely good deal,  the island seems to offer a lot of amenities and diverse experience.  Also, we wanted to use our passports, travel somewhere not many people that we know had traveled, and we wanted to go to an area of the Caribbean we hadn’t visited before.

When we travel, we like to get away from the tourist areas and activities.  We try to experience life like the locals. Eat where the locals eat. Relax like the locals relax. We were able to do a little of this in Aruba but not as much as we would liked too. So to capture our travels to Aruba, we decided to make a list of 14 things to remember about our visit to Aruba.

1. Favorite Beaches: Eagle Beach & Baby Beach

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2. Favorite Non-Beach Water: Mangel Halto

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3. Favorite Experience: Sunset Dinner at Passions on the Beach (a little expensive, but very nice setting) & Cuba’s Cookin (live music)

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4. Favorite Restaurants: Hopi Bon Grill & The West Deck

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5.  Favorite Dessert: Gelatissimo

6. Favorite Animal: Flamingos on Renaissance Island

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7. Best Food Deal: Food Truck on Eagle Beach

8. Activities we didn’t get to do: Submarine Tour.

9. Recommended Tour: UTV Tour that includes Natural Pool.

10. Most surprising: The island is extremely windy. There are a ton of loose dogs running around.

11. Pleasant surprises: Very good drinking water. There are only about 18 inches of rain fall in Aruba per year, and we were there when it rained. We won a free vacation from Divi Resorts.

12. Unpleasant surprises: Food is very expensive.  There are more flies on the island than expected.

13. Recommendations: Stay at least 4 days. If you are adventurous, rent a car.

14. Be adventurous and explore the type of travel you like. Aruba offered a lot of amenities on a tiny island- beaches, water sports, all-inclusive resorts, high-end shopping, flea market shopping, hiking, bird watching, lots of food options, local & westernized experiences, history, and culture.

We enjoyed our visit to Aruba and would go back in the future.

 

Valley of Fire

A fast trip thru the Valley of Fire in Nevada, just north of Las Vegas. We took a business trip out to photograph this amazing and breathe taking natural wonder.

When struggles come…

Facebook Status: My wife and I always share our love, our good times, roses, but we think it is also important to share our struggles and challenges in order to have an effective & transparent witness. In sharing our struggles we hope to show that marriage is not always roses, how to handle struggles, how to move beyond issues, and how to love in the mist of disagreeing. Later I will share a struggle we recently had…

 

To some our marriage looks amazing, and it is, but to some it appears to be flawless, but that is not true.  We have struggles, conflicts, challenges, and disagreements. So I wanted to share a recent struggle that we had.  Most, if not all of our conflicts are about food or money.  What, where, and/or when do you want to eat?  As for money, she wants to spend and I want to save and stick to a budget.  The money has become less of a struggle because she has warmed up to the idea of a budget.  The food issue is a biological problem, when we wait to long to eat and we try to make food decision when we are hungry we end up getting into a disagreement.  So it is best to already have meals planned out or have snacks that can hold us over. But when we don’t do what we know to do, conflicts arise…

 

Friday is Date Night–Before we got married we were told that making time for one another is very important and that we should have a date night, so we took that advice and we have Date Night every Friday.  Some Date Nights are more exciting than others, and some are just to keep with our tradition, but even those end up being meaningful.

 

It was a Friday, and I wanted to go on a Date with my wife.  I wanted to go out to eat and sit down to talk and listen to one another.  My wife on the other hand wanted to go pick something up and go back home.  Can you see the problem coming? I wanted to do something nice with my wife, I wanted to wine and dine her, I wanted to focus on her and not get caught up in front of the TV, eating, watching a show, and not focusing on each other. We hadn’t really taken any great dates lately, so I thought I was doing something to show her that she was special.  On the other hand, my wife was tired, didn’t want to be out with a bunch of people and noise, and really just wanted to relax at home.  How could she?  I was doing her a favor to take her out on a date but she didn’t care.  So you know what, I was going to be the “LEADER” and I told her lets go out to eat, I know you don’t want to, but you will like it when we get there.  So she got in the car and we drove to the restaurant.  When we got there she said that she didn’t want to get out of the car and go in.  I got out of the car, went around to open the door, and she was almost crying, and was saying I really don’t want to go in there, can we just go to Chick-Fil-A, I have a coupon at home.  Pause.  My wife is a little spoiled and reclusive, so sometimes I have to pull her out of her shell, but this was not one of those time, but I thought she was just being difficult, I obviously misread the situation. Back to the story.  So I am mad, I can’t believe she is being so selfish and childish.  When in reality it was me that was being selfish, because this date was really about me and how great of a husband I was for thinking enough about my wife to take her on a better date than we had been on recently.  So I get back in the car, mad.  I start driving differently than I normally do on the way back home, because I wanted to let her know I was mad, without saying anything.  She was half-crying saying, I don’t want you to be mad at me, lets go back.  But I was fed up by that point.  We got home and I said, get out and go get the Chick-Fil-A coupon.  She went in and got the coupon, when she came out she was crying.  She got in the car and as she was crying she said, I don’t want to go to Chick-Fil-A.  Are you serious, I am about to loss my mind.  So we start driving to find us something to eat.  I drive one direction and ask do you want this, and she says no, then I go a different direction and I say do you want this and she says no.  So I get on the highway and start driving.  At this point I am so mad.  I mean– I am mad.  I just keep driving.  As I am driving, I am saying to myself, why are you so mad?, this is stupid, you shouldn’t be mad, you should apologize,  but my flesh, kept being mad, it wouldn’t let me open my mouth and apologize. It wouldn’t let me stop being mad.  No matter how much I tried to stop being mad, I couldn’t, so I kept driving.  As I was driving I started praying.  Lord please let us find something to eat.  She asked me where are you going?  All I could say was,” I don’t know.”  So we kept driving and I kept praying.  The more I am praying the more my spirit and all the Word of God that I have read started ministering to me.  I stopped being mad, but I still didn’t open my mouth to apologize.  By the grace of God we found a place to eat.  This time we picked up the food, and went to the park to eat.  We talked. We laughed.  We enjoyed ourselves. While there, we even found out about some “night in the park” events that we can attend on Fridays and Saturdays for future Date Nights.  It turned out to be a great Date Night.  I got to spend time, talking, and listening to my wife.  It might not have been how I planned it, but it fulfilled my hearts desire.  Most times we have to step out of ourselves, out of our plans, our ways, our will, our wants, and step into oneness.

 

So what are the lessons to be learned from my sharing of this? Do what you have learned, which for us is, “do not try to figure out when, where, or what to eat when we are already hungry.”  If we would have ate a snack and properly fed our bodies,the whole situation wouldn’t have been a situation.  One of the reasons why I couldn’t stop being mad in the car was because I was hungry.  If I wasn’t hungry, I wouldn’t have stayed mad after we got to the house.  I don’t hold grudges or stay anger long, so being mad that long was out of character for me.  Disagreements will happen but the real trouble can come about based on how you handle the situation.  There were so many different ways the situation could have been handled. You have to learn to be flexible.  When my wife sad that she didn’t want to go out to eat, what she was saying was that she didn’t want to be around a whole bunch of people.  She wouldn’t have had a problem if I said lets go pick something up and sit by the water, or at the park. My wife could have made the situation worse, by verbally complaining, or by nagging me, or making smart comments, but she didn’t.  She asked me one time were I was going, other than that she let me drive, think, and pray. Another lesson is to control what and how you talk to one another.  There are a lot of things we could have said to one another, but for the most part we kept quite, but they real key is that we stayed together even in our anger we never left each others side.  Why is this key?  Though we were angry, we never spoke in anger toward one another.  The tongue is very powerful.  If you can learn to control you tongue in what you say to your spouse you can keep a situation from going from bad to worse.  Secondly, when you leave each others presences, you generally allow yourself to be absorbed with yourself and your point of view of the situation.  For this to work, each spouse needs to learn to control their tongue.  It is difficult to stay in each other presences when one of the spouses keeps saying stuff, even if it is tell me whats wrong, or talk to me, or why are you mad, or anything.  If you are not going to say I am sorry and I love you,  then it is better to be quite, until you can say that.  But until that point be quite and within each others presences.  Lastly, we can never forget that there is a spiritual warfare going on.  There is a war between the spirit and the flesh in every saved person and when you get two saved people together you are bring together to wars.  Each person is waring with their own flesh, while at the same time waring with the flesh of another person.

 

Someone reading things may think, this is not that big of an issue, and you are correct.  Different issues are different problems for different couples.  What may drive one couple crazy, may be a non-issue for another couple.  Any disagreement, conflict, challenge, or struggle is as big as you make it.  At every moment you have a opportunity to change the situation.  I could have changed it as soon as my wife said she didn’t want to go out to eat.  I could have changed the situation when we got to the restaurant and she wouldn’t  get out of the car.  I could have changed the situation when we got to the house.  I could have changed the situation when we where looking for another place to eat.  At any point, I could have humbled myself, I could have apologized, I could have more clearly communicated, I could have etc.

 

Things that come up in a marriage have nothing to do with the other persons actions, reactions, they have to do with your actions and reactions.  Stop looking at the other person and what they could change and start looking at you and what you could have done differently.  How could you have humbled yourself?  Don’t seek to be right, seek peace and joy.  If you find yourself always looking at the other persons faults, I can guarantee you that you are not doing what you are suppose to be doing based on what the bible says.  I used to always look at and point out my wifes faults, because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.  When I started reading and studying God’s Word, and began putting into practiced what he had commanded me to do as a husband, I stopped looking at my wife and blaming her, and I started looking up.

 

Women are powerful, but I will tell you this.  Men you have the power and responsibility to determine what kind of marriage you have.  If you have a bad marriage it is your fault.  If you want an amazing marriage it is your job and responsibility.  I promise you if you dig into the Word of God, pray, and live that which you have learned from the Word of God, you will have an amazing marriage.  This is going to sound harsh, but good medicine sometime taste nasty.  Husbands if you have a bad marriage it is your fault.  This does not let the wives off the hook, but I think too many men are not taking responsibility for their marriage.

 

Comments are welcomed and appreciated.  Feel free to share your thoughts, advice, and experiences.

 

Keys to an amazing marriage-

 

Ephesians 5: 25-31 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

 

Colossians 3:19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

 

1 Peter 3:7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered…

 

Philippians 2:3-8 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

1 Peter 3:10For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.

 

James 3:5-10 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

 

Proverbs 15:4A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.