Six big life lessons learned from the deck of a very big boat

Last Thursday I stepped off of a Celebration cruise ship and onto dry land. I stepped from the relaxed atmosphere of ocean breezes, casual conversation with friends, into the frenzied world of canceled flights, missed connections, and last minute appearances on stage.

Somehow, I miss being on the ship. No, I take that back. I miss the relationships I got to enjoy while I was on the ship.

Finally I am home and this is my first opportunity to reflect on the lessons I learned on the #recreatecruise

1. Relationship is everything. Make time for it. Fight for it. Defend it. Nurture it.  Imagine five days with no e-mail, no tight schedule, no airline connections. Now imagine being able to, without interruption, play and eat and talk with friends you care about and meet new friends of like mind. That is the essence of a #recreate cruise. I am so thankful for great moments with Danny and Betsy De armas, Jerry and Gina, Derrick and Jennifer Huckleberry, Matt Baugher, Mike and Gail Hyatt, and Randy and Chris Elrod, .
Remember that “Cyber friendships” are made whole when you take time to meet face to face. Tweet and meet!!!!

2. Listen to the stories of others. Creative people can speak wisdom into your life. Randy Elrod, Mike Hyatt, Pete Wilson gave presentations that I will never forget. In addition, I gained valuable insights from hearing the personal stories from new friends I had never met before. I met so many new friends Sam, Lesa, Matt , Jerry, Alice, Erica, Chris, Paul,  just to mention a few.
3. Share your own story. I am so grateful for the response I have received from scores of people who were impacted by my presentation on living “Fully Alive.” I am more convinced than ever that all of us need to live fully alive and share the experience with other people.  You don’t need a stage, you only need a cup of coffee and some time.
5. Never jump into the air while riding on a small boat in rough seas. I jumped up just as the boat dropped about 15 ft. I stayed in the air long enough to think I might be on my way to heaven and came down hard enough to think I might be on my way to heaven.  I’m not sure where my back is going to end up!
6. Carve out the time to do all of the above. (number 5 excluded) If you can be on next years cruise, DO IT!  If you can’t, then plan some unscheduled time to build and discover relationships.

Some of my favorite moments on the cruise were spent with Anderson, a young man who cannot speak. He cannot give a presentation. He can only express unconditional love and smile.

My cruisin buddy, Anderson

Meeting Anderson began with responding to a tweet from his dad.
Do you agree about the value of finding time to nurture relationships?   Love to hear your comments!



  1. Ken, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! I’m so thankful for the gift of you & Diane on our inaugural cruise. It was a delight beyond my imagining!

  2. Ken, precious thoughts! I learned so much from you – I have another blog I’m going to write, about the ‘take back your health’ portion of your talk. I so loved meeting you guys – you made me laugh ’til my sides hurt! Love ya’ll.

    1. Author

      Be sure to let me know when you write your new blog. I will look forward to reading it.

  3. That is one cute little boy! He’s got good genes 🙂

    So great to spend time with you & Diane. The whole week meant so much to us.

  4. Ken, I loved reading this and I agree that the cruise was such a wonderful blessing from God for all of us. I only wish that I had the courage to come and speak with you and the other speakers. I enjoyed your talk so much, I cried three times, it truly touched my heart. I met so many wonderful people on the cruise that I hope will be life-long friends. My only regret is that I did not get meet more of the amazing people in our group! I look forward to cruising with you again and hope to see you all next year.

    1. Author

      Heather! You can speak to me any time. No courage required, only words. I am honored that you would read me blog and comment. Next cruise be sure to say hello. In fact don’t wait till then. I will look forward to your commments in the future.

  5. Hey Ken, did you read my post on the cruise? I talked about you quite a bit. May have misquoted you as well. If so, you can sue me for libel, or whatever, and I’ll give you all of my cardigans and perhaps my freedom as payment.

    1. Author

      Loved your blog and I love your writing style. You WILL be published, I’d bet on it. Re: misquotes etc, my lawyer will be contacting you soon. (-; It was great to meet you. Live!

  6. Hi Ken,
    My biggest lesson from you is the need for fathers to mentor their sons, and with the change of the industrial revolution our culture lost the art of father mentorship. Now we have to be purposeful in mentoring our sons. Thanks for that and your honesty.

    It was an honor to spend the brief time with you. Know that you gave me a little something (check that a BIG something!) that will become part of my family’s legacy – generational change.

    Looking forward to next year!

    1. Author

      Thank you for your encouraging comment. It was so great to meet you and I look forward to keeping in touch.

  7. I still remember your talk on living fully from re:create. Powerful stuff that I continue to try and live out daily

    It seems that I should have went with my gut (speaking of guys, l I need to lose my gut to go on a cruise) and went on this cruise.

    What makes social media worth it to me is the opportunity to turn connections into community.
    I moved to nashville because of social media. i have a business because of social media. And I have found mentors because of social media.

    I do think nurturing is so important. Spending time together is a must and I honestly wish there was more time for it. But it makes the time I get with others that much more valuable.

    1. Author

      I am so honored to have met you and appreciate that you have joined the conversation on this blog. Look forward to this friendship continuing.

  8. You taking time to sit down and share an afternoon meant the world to me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, showing interest, and investing in my life. I can’t thank you enough!

    1. Author

      You are welcome. It was a pleasure spending time with you. I have checked out your blog and loved the perspective video.

  9. Ken

    My wife Celi and I loved your presentation on the recreate cruise. It was such an honor to meet you and witness first hand the annointing on your life. I have been blessed to see people in my life such as Chris Tomlin and Francis Chan through which you can immediately see an annointing on their lives and witness how God moves through them. You are now added to that list. God Bless and hope to meet you again someday.

    Curtis Turner

  10. Love the post but am wondering what happened to lesson four…
    Still ‘up in the air’ on that one???

  11. Ken,

    Thanks for your post! I have read many blogs from those that were part of the cruise….some great stories! Sure made me want to be there! Thanks again for your insights, but the best part was seeing Anderson’s smile. What an adorable little boy!!

    Blessings and Prayers Always!

  12. Ken this is wonderful! I just got back from my cruise with Teresa (Muse Cruise) — I didn’t jump (that’s too funny only because I can actually see you do that.) but I did take away how hard it can be to find your footing on a ship that is pulling out to sea. That’s my season. The kids are grown and I’m between lives in a lot of ways. I’m trying to find my footing in a sea of change. I also took away the fact that SPF 30 doesn’t work well in the Carribean Sea. I’m crispy.

    I found a love for cruises for the very reasons you wrote – time, real uninterrupted time, with friends.

    Blessings. D

    1. Author

      Glad you were able to enjoy the cruise. Good to hear from my Crispy Critter friend.

  13. Ken
    I was on the ship also. Where your back ends up depends upon whether you tether yourself to universalism, annihilationism or fundamentalism…

    My dear friend (deceased) EV Hill was fond of saying “there is a lot of ISM’s that ought to be WASms!” But I digress.

    To your blog, Eugene Peterson sums it up best: Unlike raw facts, truth, especially personal truth, requires the cultivation of unhurried intimacies.”

    Here’s to more unhurried intimacy with family & friends.

    1. Author

      It was a pleasure getting to know you. Look forward to further interaction with you. Thank you for your comment. E V Hill is one of my heroes.

  14. Ken, You inspire many people. My husband is one of those people. He has learned that it is ok to be dyslexic and hyper. He’s learned it’s ok if he doesn’t know everything. Most of all, he’s learned to laugh. Thank you so much for teaching my husband these important lessons so that he can live with joy.
    We have taught youth groups for going on 30 years and we need to laugh as well as cry with these young ones.
    God bless you!

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