Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cruise Blessings

Timmy and I had the unexpected treat of going on a last-minute cruise.  We dropped the younger kids off at Meredith's for "Camp Hammer" and drove to Miami to board a ship headed to the Bahamas.  It was such a refreshing time for both of us.  This is what made it special....

~Sampling international foods prepared for the diverse cultures represented by the passengers
~Having our bed made for us every morning while we were at breakfast
~Waitresses so kind and serving with excellence and cheerfulness
~My own delicious creations of yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and fruit all mixed together
~Finding the ship restaurant with the best ice cream
~The stateroom attendant who prepared our room for the evening and left us with a towel critter creation

~Falling asleep to the gentle rock of the boat
~Sailing all night to arrive at the next Caribbean beach
~Finely chopped coconut in freshly baked macaroons
~Overhearing "Happy Birthday To You" being sung to a passenger by a crew with heavy foreign accents
~Smiles exchanged and fellowship enjoyed by passengers and workers alike, all with different skin colors, accents, and backgrounds
~Eating at a variety of incredible ship restaurants

~Daydreaming on the white sandy beach while enjoying the distant sound of bongos being played in a nearby island restaurant
~Islanders carving conch shells so they make a loud, honking sound
~Purchasing a honking conch shell of our own.  Now, when it's lunch time, we can either ring the bell or blow the shell.

~Telling Timmy a toenail joke that made him laugh out loud
~Pausing from reading on the ship's deck and noticing that the view matches the cover of the Coastal Living magazine I'm enjoying
~Sound of children playing in the ship's baby pool
~The always smiling staff
~Eating ice cream creations on the 12th deck, sitting in the sun
~Hearing not one cell phone ring for 5 days in a floating city of almost 3,000 people

~Vibrant flowers blooming on the tips of tree branches
~Being in the company of couples celebrating 50th and 57th wedding anniversaries
~The familiar sound of Michael W. Smith's praise music playing on a radio in a Bahamian shop
~The also familiar sight of a speeding ticket being issued but to our island taxi driver
~Apricots, lamb, curry chicken, prosciutto with melon, glass noodles - in abundance
~Sea gulls circling as we eat on deck

~A late night snack of brie with figs and grapes on rye
~Entering a world where everyone is on vacation
~Being mistaken for Germans because of our light hair; being asked if we wanted our dinner menus in English
~Riding in the elevator with an excited staff member just weeks away from his return to his wife and nearly one year old baby after ten months on board

~Elderly man appearing to be in his late eighties, obviously excited about the port where we've docked, walking eagerly with the help of a cane to get on the boat headed to the beach  
~Small boat rolling over waves as we're tendered from the cruise ship to the island
~The foresight of an adventurous husband who bought snorkeling gear that we've used more often than I ever imagined possible
~Clearly visible rippled sand on the ocean floor six feet below the water's surface
~Muffled sound of a fellow snorkeler encouraging everyone to come see the stingray he just discovered right below us
~Swimming alongside a school of vibrantly colored fish

~Time to think and pray
~800 staff serving 2000 passengers
~A middle-aged grandmother's impromptu voice accompaniment to a staff member playing "La Bamba" on his guitar as we arrived at the breakfast buffet
~Watching a joyful mother feeding cheerios to her fair skinned, dark haired Asian toddler
~Deciding which restaurant we'd like to eat in for each meal

~Praying over the fifth meal of the day
~Offering to take a picture for a couple holding a camera at arm's length pointed at themselves
~Everyone dressed up for the evening meal
~Beautiful music being played on a baby grand piano
~Finding salmon on the menu nearly every night - enjoying it smoked, seared, grilled, or with crab meat
~Inventing creations of coffee mixed with hot cocoa and cream, late in the evening

~A much needed overcast day to give our red, sun-kissed skin a break
~Recognizing a familiar Christian hymn on the ship's overhead music system
~Walls of glass windows overlooking the ocean
~Answers to prayers for insight; recognizing areas in need of change through God's grace

~Reading in our cozy cabin while the rain poured outside
~Seeing Timmy encouraged about the farm while reading one agricultural magazine after another

~Sea gulls -- their caw reminds me of so many happy memories made over the years at the beach
~Only ocean as far as the eye can see

~Couples on the bow of the ship, overlooking the ocean and enjoying their last evening on board
~A completely worry-free week knowing our younger children were in the absolute best care in the world - a big sister who loves them so much
~The challenge to display in my work as cheerful an attitude as the cruise staff who work ten hour days for ten months straight with not even one day off
~A husband who loved me enough to take me away from my work for a while
~Celebrating the friendship that has been created in these almost 28 years of marriage
~Overhearing a conversation on the eve of disembarkation of a southern-accented, older mother saying that she told her family if she comes home to a messy house, it will ruin the whole vacation

~Grown sons who cheerfully carried our load of farm responsibilities so we could enjoy time away
~An extra day after the cruise to get caught up on computer work
~The familiar and luxurious accommodations that Disney provides; a washer and dryer in our room to launder all our cruise clothes; one last towel creation to enjoy


Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you for sharing your cruise with us! I've missed your family updates. Many Blessings, Jo

Connie Leis said...

Sounds wonderful-I'm hoping that I get to go on a cruise one of these days, hopefully before I am a senior citizen (and that is approaching quickly!). I'm taking it that it was a Disney Cruise?
Thanks for sharing the pictures and comments!

Rachel (Cynthia) Heffington said...

That sounds like amazing fun! :) I love to travel and just hearing all of your little snippets of culture brightened my day and made me feel as if I'd actually been away from home. :) <3