Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Cruise.. Carnival Magic


   We just got back from a great week aboard the Carnival Magic.  We went, just the six of us, over Thanksgiving break.  We've been wanting to take the kids to the Caribbean, but haven't been able to decide where, and were not excited about paying for 6 flights, two hotel rooms, and lots of food for all of us, so we opted for a cruise.  Boy, was that a great decision.  Now, let me make it clear.. this was in NO WAY a time alone with my man.  We were in close quarters with 4 kiddos, and LOVED IT.  You see, while you are out at sea, there is no WIFI, no texts, no business calls.. NONE.  You just can't imagine the drama and frustration that is removed when no one can take calls or receive texts.
   This ship is one of Carnival's newest and largest and was designed with kids in mind.  They did a great job.  My boys were so excited to find a putt putt course, a ropes course, numerous pools, a water park which included two large slides, foosball, ping pong.. you name it.  One of the most fun things for the kids, all of them, was Barman.  Barman is a table artist aka, close up magician, who traveled around tables and did special "magic" tricks.  He also had a show a couple of nights during the week and the kids loved watching his tricks. The kids also enjoyed getting to meet and talk to all of the international staff.  Everyone is from a different country and is excited to answer questions from the kids. 
    The food on the Magic was just ok.  Let me be honest, we eat out ALOT and are probably restaurant snobs and just didn't know it.  We don't frequent the Golden Corral.. EVER.. but this cruise, the buffet seemed very much like the GC, so we opted for the sit down dining room, which was a great time each evening and for brunch.  Our kids sat at the table with us, with no phones, remember? and talked with us.  It was truly beautiful.  They also loved the all day and night ice cream.  Super fun while you're on vacation.
    We visited several beautiful countries this week.  We did Zip lining, in the pouring down rain, on Wednesday in Honduras.  We also shopped and visited a very beautiful, but wet beach.  On Thursday we snorkeled off a private island in Belize.  The weather was gorgeous and the beach was perfect.  On Friday we visited Cozumel where we swam with the dolphins and definitely made great memories.  The ports were all highlights and fun experiences for the kids.
     I'll be honest, I was a little concerned about going on a cruise.  I thought the kids may get bored, I thought we'd be surrounded by drunk people, I thought the ship would scare me with kids, but none of that was the case.  We had a GREAT week.  There was always something to do. The kids read, played cards TOGETHER, rested, (the rocking of the boat is very relaxing), laughed.. all of that great stuff.  The ship was full of nice families and I honestly didn't see ANYONE drunk the entire week. We watched big screen movies late into the night on the Lido deck, and we enjoyed dressing up and having elegant dinner nights.  To top is all off.. the last day the ship sponsored a fund raiser for St. Jude's.  Pretty sure I was the only mom on deck with tears in my eyes as I watched the droves of people line up to donate money and buy tshirts.  Blessed this momma's heart!  All in all,we had a BALL and I would recommend this trip to any family!
     Most of all, we spent great time together and made lasting memories.  I spent a week being pampered by excellent staff,  leaving all of my worries behind, focusing on what was right in front of me.. and loving every minute of it.  Now, back to reality.. 4 kids.. 4 campuses.. let's go!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

But everyone's doing it....

 Wow!  It's been a long time since I've visited and shared on this blog.  This is my original blog that I started years ago to keep some sort of a family diary and share pictures.  Life got busy, Clayton got cancer, and this blog fell by the wayside. Well... I've just had some thoughts on my mind about life and our walk as Christians and feel compelled to share them.  I know we all have a different perspective on life based on what we've been through.  We've all been raised differently, had different experiences, good and bad, and are dealing with different conflicts even now... but one thing remains.. Jesus is the SAME God for you as He is me...

    I'm just floored lately as I really sit back and look at how "we" are living IN the world.  We are all about giving Grace and Mercy... acceptance and tolerance. Exactly as we should because it is what the Lord calls us to do.  Micah 6:8 "What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".  But with that said,  showing Grace and Mercy does not mean that we are to agree and comply with the ways of the world.  It doesn't mean that we become OF the world...

    A few nights ago I was having a discussion with my teenagers about language that is used over texts.  I asked them what WTF means? Of course, I knew what it means, and I know my girls hearts and I saw a conflict here.  After they both told me what I meant, I asked them how they can be okay using or reading such an acronym.  Immediately they both said, " Everyone writes that.  It's what everyone does.  It's not like you're SAYING it".  Oh.. but it is.  Just because EVERYONE is doing it certainly does not mean we have to. OR better yet,  when asking what is up with the unacceptable grade made on a recent test.. her response, as I am sure you have all heard at your house, was " EVERYONE did terrible on that test".  Guess what.. I doubt the college admissions board is going to take into consideration that EVERYONE did poorly.  They will be solely looking at HER records. That leads me to Jesus... and our day of accountability with HIM.  I guess for me, death on Earth and life in heaven has become very real, as I have met and dealt with so much sickness and lives ending far too quickly recently.  It has reminded me that I am going to have a one on one time with Jesus.  He is going to see me, question me and pass judgment on me.  He's going to do it for all of us.  He is NOT going to care what EVERYONE else was doing in 2013, what was acceptable, what the world thought of my sin.. HE is not going to consider that I lived "better than Sally Brown"  He is just going to see ME and MY sin.  I will be accountable for MYSELF.

   In the same way, I would like to remind us all that we have no right to pass judgment on anyone else.  Our father in heaven will do that. We are , however, OBLIGATED to speak the truth, love with the love of the Lord and represent Him to the absolute best of our ability.  Accepting gay relationships,  sex outside of marriage with either sex, obscene movies, terrible language, etc... is us allowing the world to define who WE are.  "Well, it's just how things are these days"... That's so sad.  That does not mean we change what the Bible speaks as truth just because the world is so so lost.  It means we work that much harder.  It means we LOVE all people, but we don't have to change our profile picture to the red equality symbol to support their sin.. we don't have to sit in the bar and get drunk because they are.... it does not mean that we have sex with random people because it's the "cool" thing and our spouse is "boring", and to step on my own toes here... it doesn't mean that we gossip and bad mouth those who wrong us.

    I'm just wanting to remind us all that one day EACH ONE OF US will sit before the throne of God and answer for ourselves. God has the final word with each person.  The same Jesus that died on the cross for all of my sin, died for those around me too.  I'm so thankful that there is grace and mercy and forgiveness for our fallen world. Let's Just live IN the world but not OF it!