Cruising Part 4: Mexico

Our last port of call was Cozumel, Mexico.  We were quite excited about getting to see the Tulum Ruins.  Both Lyssa and I are history nerds so we knew it was the perfect trip for us!

Cozumel is actually an island off the Mexico mainland so we had to begin our journey with a ferry ride.  Lyssa was less than thrilled about this because she fights sea sickness, but she did GREAT 🙂
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I expected the ferry to be pretty scary, but it was was nicer than I expected.This is me on the ferry before it was so hot that I almost died of heat stroke…

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Look how happy I still look.  and calm… don’t I look calm?  There was air conditioning on the ferry.

After the forty minute ferry ride we  were guided to buses and got to ride those for another hour!  Thankfully they were quite nice and they had air conditioning too!  We even got a shopping stop.  I finally have my very own Mexican hammock, but I have to convince my dad to build me a stand for it.  I just have to quit having other things for him to fix, so he has time to build it for me.

The Tulum Ruins are an amazingly well preserved set of Mayan ruins.  They were absoluely beautiful.

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In school this year, the kids studied Mayan civilization, and it was so neat to see this up close and have history right before my eyes. The guides talked about the same things we studied this year.

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The skill of their architecture was amazing, and the way they were able to build so accurately in sync with astronomical cycles is mind boggling.
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The building in the left of this picture looks crooked compared to all the other buildings but truly it is built so that the sun is visible through the different windows and doors during the summer and winter solstices sand spring and fall equinoxes.  What a feat!

One of the fun things (I thought) was all the iguanas!  They were EVERYWHERE.  I took a lot of pictures of iguanas.  By the time we were done, Lyssa was little tired of iguanas, but I still was snapping pictures.  They liked eating the hibiscus that were there.

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The beach there was amazing, but Lyssa and I had not brought our suits out that day, and so we did not go swimming at Tulum.
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The water seemed to have its own special color.

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If it wouldn’t have been so STINKING hot there that day I could have sat and looked at this view all day long.

After the whole amazing thing, we took a TROLLEY back to the BUS which took us back to the FERRY…..

and then they did not even take us back to the pier where they got us!  They took us to downtown Cozumel where we had to find a taxi to get back to the ship.  So I took this oh so lovely picture of us to commemorate the occasion of our Mexican taxi ride.  I was HOT.  We were TIRED, and we were dumped in the middle of downtown where we did not want to be!

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We survived the taxi ride, and  he took us to the right place! We made it and had a GREAT day in a beautiful place.

Cruising Part 3: Bonus Laugh AT Tancy

So, I am noticing that I am having more… um… senior moments.  I do not think it is fair, considering I am not even forty, but I don’t seem to be thinking as clearly as I once was.

I recently lost a whole set of keys and after waiting six weeks to make replacements, accidentally threw the replacement away in the outside garbage.

The cruise did not seem to be an exception. I was really hoping that all that relaxing was going to return me to my mental pinnacle, but it did not seem to help.

I locked myself out of my stateroom on more than one occasion.  I had to go get a new pass key once because of it.  I just LOVED having to traipse into the “Royal Promenade”  in my swimsuit and cover-up and announce that I was the  idiot who went to the pool without a thought of how I was going to get back into my room.  Thankfully the next time I locked myself out of our room, our steward was right there to let me back in.  I will not confess how many times this happened.

On one particular evening our little group was running about the ship, and I decided I needed to run to my room for a few things and I would meet up with everyone in the agreed upon meeting place.  We were in the elevator  carrying on about something and when the elevator got to floor eleven ( my floor) and the rest of the elevator occupants got off.  I ,of course, was too busy being ridiculous to think about my exit until the elevator was moving again.

It was decided that a little walk wouldn’t kill me, and I would exit at floor twelve.

I hurriedly made it to room 624 – my room- and stuck my key in the door.

It didn’t work.

I tried again.

It still didn’t work.

I knocked on the door, ya know…JUST in case Lyssa had gotten there before me, and could save me from getting ANOTHER room key.

No Lyssa.

I was fuming.  My feet hurt  because I was wearing dumb shoes that may of looked great, but were killing me.  I was slightly sunburned,and I am thinking I might have been a tad cranky.  So I stormed down the hallway and grabbed the steward.

It was not my regular steward, but he would do.

As I was dragging him to the door explaining my predicament, it hit me…

Yes there is a reason a key card won’t work in room 624.  When you are on the wrong floor.




Cruising Part 2: Fake Haiti

When I found out about our cruise itineary I was most excited about the opportunity to go to Haiti.  I have always had a fascination with Haiti.  I was really hoping to be able to explore a little while we were there.

However, my dad made me promise I wouldn’t do anything dumb and I would stick with the tourists and stay safe. 

Well, I did not really get a choice.  We did not get to go to REAL Haiti.  We went to fake Haiti. Cruise lines like to lease islands or certain areas from local governments and make their own paradise for their clientele, and that was our Haitian stop.  We stopped in Labadee, Haiti.

Lyssa was in charge of booking excursions (which she did a fantastic job!) and she booked up for a walking tour in Labadee.
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This was our guide.  It was an interesting tour to say the least.  We were never quite sure how much he was paid to say, how much he was made to say, and how much was true.

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According to him, he is thrilled to have the cruise lines there because of the income for Haiti.  He has a job that can provide for his family because of it.  At our first three stops on our tour he told us that Haiti was NOT that poor, and at the last three stops he told of of all the things that other people had done that made the people of Haiti poor.  Like I said, it was INTERESTING!

The thing that blew my mind was the wall.  There was a nice concrete wall surrounding the area for the tourists.

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I, being ME after all, wanted to see what was beyond the wall.


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Real Haiti was beyond the wall.  Our guide had to come to work from his village by boat!  Haitians were not allowed in the tourist area unless they had a job there.  In the …however many years the cruise line has been coming there, there has never been an incident of crime within these borders.  It is just hard for me to wrap my mind around.  It is gorgeous without a doubt.
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But it isn’t real.  It is the prepared canvas that they want you to appreciate.  I long to go back. My lifelong desire to Haiti has only strengthened.  I want to see REAL Haiti.  I want to see the real people.  I would love to go on a missions trip there.  It would be amazing!

Cruising Part 1: The Ship

I am not even quite sure where to start in writing about my recent travels.  I have had SO much fun in the last couple weeks that there is NO way I can do it justice.

Just in case there happens to be anyone who does not know that I went on a cruise recently, I just returned from 7 days in the Caribbean.  This trip was a earned my my sister-in-law Lyssa from her company Stampin’ Up.  She is quite talented and works VERY hard, and her husband could not go this year due to graduation.  SO I GOT TO GO!!!!  What an incredible gift!

We set off on the amazing Allure of the Seas.
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I still can not believe this ship!  This ship is the largest cruise ship in the world.
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I am pretty sure I never saw the entire ship.  It was huge!

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The ship held nearly 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew. The ship was so large, I did not feel waves until the last day at sea when we encountered rougher waters.

 photo cf1ff0ed-a83b-49c0-839f-2bf33d40a68a.jpgThese beaded dresses that were hanging between the two banks of glass elevators on one end of the ship.  They were our favorite elevators so we spent a lot of time looking at these amazing dresses.

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My favorite part of the entire ship was Central Park.  I could have spend my days there.  I do not know who thought of putting a giant park on a boat, but they were genius!  It was beautiful!

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Our room even had its own balcony!
 photo b1ca6db7-0ef0-4cee-a805-63c356cdecdb.jpgAgain, I cannot express how grateful I am for the chance to go on this trip. I honestly have been able to do so many interesting and fun things the last couple years because of other people’s generosity.  My parents (and J.S.) made Disney possible for our family two years ago, my in-laws took our entire family on a cruise to the Bahamas last year, and now this incredible trip!  I still cannot believe that I went!  God has been SO good to me!  People have been so good to me!


Betty the Beautiful Blue Beast

I do not know why I ever doubt.

We serve a God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, and I yet I limit Him in my own mind with my worry!

In the last few months we have faced some serious financial obstacles. It has seemed like there was a constant drain on budget with large unexpected obligations.  After an insurance deductible, broken cars, broken water heaters, etc.  when the transmission went out on the white van it was the last straw in my mind.

The poor white van does not owe us anything.  We have had it ten years and it has over 240,000 miles on it.  It is tired, and has finally given up. It has been a good car, but honestly putting a new transmission in it was not a wise financial decision.  So I started praying. I had no answers.  I was praying JP would not buy a convertible while I was on the cruise! The only insurance I thought I had was that I was pretty sure no one in their right mind would give us a loan on a convertible!

Upon my return, a friend, who prefers to remain nameless, asked me if JP was still interested in a 15 passenger van.  I have told JP for years he could not have one, but he has always wanted one.  The friend told us that they had an offer we could not refuse and we should come over and look at something.

We went over to “Just look” on Tuesday, and that “offer” was a gift.   They have given us Beautiful Betty the Blue Beast —   a 1992 Ford 350 Econoline Van.

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Betty is in fantastic shape.  We had to get her a new battery, and maybe she might need some brake work and tire work. We have to work out some kinks from sitting out for that long.  And look at this odometer!!!
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That is ORIGINAL miles.  That is a mere 180,000 less than the car it is replacing! Ain’t God GOOD????

So, I may just giggle a bit when I climb into the giant blue van, and I am going to refer to her as “Vintage.”  BUT, this is my vintage gift from God.  I am so thankful that He blesses me despite my lack of faith.  I am so thankful He has placed people in our lives that listen to God and are obedient.  I am so thankful that He shows me daily He is at work.  I am so blessed.