Thursday, January 29, 2015

Caribbean Cruise, Part 2

Leaving a trail. Photos are clickable.
My stateroom.

The atrium.
 ...and so we looked forward to wonderful warm and sunny weather during our two days at sea, headed toward Maya, Mexico. The ship had plenty of attractions and entertainment to keep everyone occupied. I was mostly content to just simply watch the ocean go by and see the clouds go by, too.
One of our happy servers. His wife and two sons surprised him with a welcome visit at one of the ports. He was so thrilled to see them.

The ship reported a full capacity of 3,600 paying passengers and 1,200 staff. Even though there were that many people on board, it never seemed crowded and we never waited for any service, including dining. Everything was smooth and stress-free. The crew was always very friendly and passengers were also fun and helpful. They were from all over the world and mostly spoke English. I was fascinated with the employees' who work about 9 months on the ship and return home for a couple months vacation before they sign up for another 9 month tour. They had remarkable stories of their life style and were always entertained by their adventures. Our head waiter, Francisco, has worked for Princess Cruises for over 25 years and he told us he had a family that he watched grow from his few months at home each year.

The theatre had nightly shows that were entertaining after supper (or dinner, as they call it.) The staterooms were comfortable and I really enjoyed relaxing on the balcony watching wildlife, water, other ships, etc., go by. The sound was also relaxing and was a good sleeping aid.

By Tuesday night, everyone was excited to reach our first port at 7am Wednesday, which I will talk about in part 3.
On a side note, I enjoyed reading Judy's observations of her new camping rocking chairs. Not expecting my own local Walmart to have it in stock, I ventured out and sure enough, there they were so I tried their display model and was sold on it.
Ozark Trails rocker. From Travels with Emma.

Hydrolic rocking. From Travels with Emma.

It has removable padded arm rests and a drink holder.

Sturdy and solid, I am sure it will be the last rocker I buy because it seems that well made. They also had a regular camping chair that also seemed rock steady for $28 but I chose the rocker instead ($49) and find myself using it at home on my patio. Thanks, Judy, for the review!
My Devotional Today:

"The breeze of divine grace is blowing upon us all. But one needs to set sail to feel this breeze of grace."  - Ramakrishna

God is able to make all grace abound in you. ~ 2 CORINTHIANS 9:8

Monday, January 26, 2015

Normans of the Caribbean

HEADING INTO PORT (photos are clickable)
My awesome older brother and his wife have long wanted to take the entire family on a Caribbean cruise before time slipped away and we lost an opportunity to spend quality family time together. So, he paid for all of our cruises, including my 91 year old mother.

We had 3 balcony staterooms for our trip on the Emerald Princess.
We headed out of San Antonio last Sunday with an 12 noon arrival time in our Houston port for our Emerald Princess ship. Embarkation was smooth and trouble-free and we were on board and in our stateroom by lunch, which was spectacular.

I am not a cruise enthusiast because I like my feet on solid ground but it did not take me long to settle into an enjoyable and stress-free cruise. We left Houston port by 5pm and it was smooth sailing all night. Supper Sunday night was excellent and the wait staff were professional and friendly.

Sailing away from Houston.
This was only a taste of things to come as we had 7 nights on the open seas. My brother is not awesome because of the trip he is treating us with; he is just awesome all by himself.

To be continued...

Neighborhood Bluebonnet Watch:
In the 2 mile loop I walk in my neighborhood almost every day, I often take a look at the progress of the bluebonnet sprouts coming up this time of year. We have had some decent rains this winter, and an especially wet January has really been healthy for the sprouts. Here is what I saw today.

I will report back with periodic reports on the bluebonnets and I expect a really good crop of beautiful photos to share with you by the end of February, I hope.

My Devotional Today:

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ HEBREWS 11:1
 I've certainly enjoyed reading all of the bloggers reports from the Quartzite roundup this year, especially the first annual blogfest reunion that is going on. What a great time you are all having. I have ambitions of joining the festival some winter in the future.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


My home is a small patio home on the edge of town. Over the years I've tried to fill my outdoor property with trees. I love trees. I've planted cottonwoods, Arizona ash, ponderosa pine, crepe myrtles, oaks, maples, and Laurel oaks. They provide great pleasure and even homes for some of the birds and squirrels and whatever other animals take refuge there.

My next door neighbor was an arborist and helped me plant the right trees in the right place and the trees have done really well. He also introduced me to this poem by Joyce Kilmer:

119. Trees
I THINK that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast; 
A tree that looks at God all day,         5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 
A tree that may in summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain.  10
Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree.

- by Joyce Kilmer {1886-1918}


Okay, no more poems. For a while. I'm no poet but sometimes a poem can make a statement or create a feeling that regular words cannot. So, I hope you may enjoy poems, too. Some of you may even write them but I have not tried.


My Devotional Today:

How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves. -Thomas a' Kempis

Love your neighbor as yourself. ~MATTHEW 19:19

Monday, January 12, 2015

In the poet's corner, here is an intriguing story about someone you may know. It was written by Robert W. Service {1874-1958} long, long ago. It caught my attention one day and I thought you may enjoy reading it because all of us can relate to the man (or woman) that just doesn't fit in.

    The Men That Don't Fit In

    There's a race of men that don't fit in,
     A race that can't stay still;
    So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
     And they roam the world at will.
    They range the field and they rove the flood,
     And they climb the mountain's crest;
    Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
     And they don't know how to rest.

    If they just went straight they might go far;
     They are strong and brave and true;
    But they're always tired of the things that are,
     And they want the strange and new.
    They say:  "Could I find my proper groove,
     What a deep mark I would make!"
    So they chop and change, and each fresh move
     Is only a fresh mistake.

    And each forgets, as he strips and runs
     With a brilliant, fitful pace,
    It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
     Who win in the lifelong race.
    And each forgets that his youth has fled,
     Forgets that his prime is past,
    Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
     In the glare of the truth at last.

    He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
     He has just done things by half.
    Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
     And now is the time to laugh.
    Ha, ha!  He is one of the Legion Lost;
     He was never meant to win;
    He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
     He's a man who won't fit in.

My Devotional Today:

"Hardship makes character." - Unknown

My power is made perfect in weakness. ~ 2Corinthians 12:9