“To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless…” (Psalm 18:25).
According to my heavenly Dad this morning, faith erodes doubt which encourages praise, which tame fear, and it all begins with heavenly Dad.
Last week I shared about my doubts and fears and then how heavenly Dad became vocal through music, reminding me I am here for a purpose. Then He sent me on the cruise.
I experienced all kinds of “news.” The boarding process was crazy and scary, but what isn’t the first time you do it? Once aboard, the vessel looked like an enormous 3 story mall. After a moment of awe, I was off to find the conference rooms. There I met all new people with only one familiar face. After the introductions I found my way to deck 8, port side, toward the stern and finally my cabin. I was blessed with far more than I imagined when I opened that door. It was an exterior cabin with a balcony! I was shocked.
My luggage wouldn’t arrive for hours so no unpacking could be done. Before I returned to the conference rooms, I perched myself on the balcony and watched as the ship left the dock. The land disappeared being replaced by a watery horizon. Back to deck 3, hooo!
The first afternoon was mostly settling in and meet-n-greets, then off to our assigned dinner time. Dinner is an EVENT on a cruise but the first night was casual dress. Thereafter appropriate attire consisted of casual dressy or formal ware.
I must admit, the food was amazing! Since Archie was allergic to beef and shell fish, neither had been on my dinner table for nearly 20 years! The variety and quantity of food on board was near mind boggling! I will try just about any food once. Long ago I said all but bugs. The new me (depending on how they were cooked), however, might think about it before I said no, depending on how hungry I was.
I tried just about anything and everything. After the first two days I learned to order dessert first! By the time dessert came at the end of a meal, I was too full to enjoy it. Besides, if I died at the table, at least I could say I had dessert before I was gone. My mom gave me that perspective quite by accident, but that’s another story.
My first class was during an “at sea” day where we were sailing toward our first island. Teaching aboard a ship is completely different then on land. First, the attitude of the students is more or less “vacation” mode. The ladies come and go for appointments in the spa or dinner reservations. What would normally be a two hour class took over 5.
Another contrast was our adhesive. Glue dries very quickly on land. On sea, not so much. It was a learning curve but we were all practicing our attitudes of patience while waiting for our petunias to dry. It was a fun day and everyone seemed to love their cards, even the newbies who had never before shaped flowers. One student created her very first hand-made card in that class! We oogled over what a beautiful job she had done.
We made three stops to different islands. At the first I got off all by myself, walked through the entry point (having to show my passport) and out the building. I took one look at all of the little stands from the locals and listened as they were trying to get tourists to purchase their wares, so I…turned and walked back into the building. I thought I could say I was there (good enough!) but it wasn’t that simple. Though I was out of the building for no more than two minutes, the metal detectors didn’t like me and I had to get patted down. Really???
Stop number two I disembarked with a couple of ladies from class. There were a total of five and most had been to St. Thomas before. I was excited as they told me I would be able to call or text Taylor, as it was a US territory. Alas, no can do. Disappoint and silence ensued.
The ladies wanted to revisit their favorite restaurant on the island. I was game, as I love experiencing local foods. I laugh now for two reasons: They chose a pizza place and do you see anything wrong with this sign?
That’s right, NO Coffee or Wifi–WHAT?? I know, “What were these people thinking?” right? I digress… .
It was a beautiful outdoor seating area with authentic centuries old brick/stone/pottery/anything they could find at the time, walls. I adore history and architecture so I had to take pictures of the walls:
Yes, that is a picture of a chocolate store that we put on our “Have to visit” list, but it was so tiny it took us all of 3 minutes. None of us purchased even a sample.
The remainder of our time on the island was in “support” roll as the ladies’ only goal was to visit jewelry stores. I quickly learned the islands are “THE Place” to purchase gems. I tagged along while one of the ladies was having a nicotine craving and had to venture into one “convenience” type store for her fix. I “dutifully” went with her and in so doing, purchased my key chain souvenir. In case you don’t know, I purchase cheap key chains to use as Christmas ornaments. Post cards get bent in traveling and then are misplaced when I get home, pins are something Arch and I used to purchase but never got around to getting a hat to put them on so I have no idea where they are. I came up with the key chain idea because it’s cheap and once a year I have an excuse to remember the year heavenly Dad wanted me to travel. It’s a two-fer!
The last island we visited was St. Kitts. That was a real eye opener. Crafter’s Therapy Cruise arranged for a tour of the island. There was the extreme poor (like the man sitting in his house with the door open, but his floor had caved in and he was sitting at the bottom of the “V” as if that were normal). Often you could see the out houses in front of the houses. Other villages were also poor but the buildings better maintained with brilliantly painted colors. It was explained that not all residents could read so they could not recognize addresses. If the houses are painted bright colors, everyone would recognize the “Purple and yellow house with the red flower pot on the porch, on top of the hill, in the village of _____.” I’m glad I don’t work for THAT postal service.
We made several stops to see the breathtaking views and listen to the water crash on the shoreline.
Though I look at the photographs and the key chain from the excursion, that is not what I remember most. It is the conversations that took place on this trip and island.
It’s funny because, believe it or not, I do not like to talk about myself. I love to be with people and hear their stories. I have learned to never judge a book by it’s cover and these wonderful ladies were no exception. To give you an idea of what I mean, I’m going to give you the Live we did on board. If you can, please ignore me but listen to the amazing people I met and just a couple of the stories I heard (we talk about Heartfelt and crafting first):
Crafting Together on the High Sea
Posted by Heartfelt Creations on Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Now, I did not talk in the live to the wonderful and amazing woman who was sold by her mother to her stepfather at the age of five. Later she lost a beloved daughter just when the daughter’s life on her own was beginning. We laughed and cried together. She is the one who said, “Tracy, what are you going to do with all of these stories?” I wasn’t writing them down. I was just listening and crying with them.
Every story changes me. I hear their struggles and they remind me that whatever I am facing, someone else has endured as much, if not more. I have no right to not move forward, if they have.
Faithful He, our heavenly Dad is. He knew why I needed to be on that cruise.
According to Merriam-Websters, two of the simple definitions of faith:
having or showing true and constant support or loyalty
deserving trust : keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do
I’m going to break it down into how I understand it: always doing what you say you are going to do, constantly and being loyal and trustworthy.
Wow. How do you measure up? Me…I come up lacking, again. Heavenly Dad? He nails it. He is always there through the good and bad. He proves time and again that He still honors the promises He made in His word DAILY. He brings people into our lives, if we let Him, that can teach us how to live this life (with Him) in spite of the difficulties the world throws at us.
Two more pictures. I get distracted. Do you? Even on a ship where people are suppose to be relaxing, I get caught up in all of the “have to’s” and am not really “there” even if I am “there.” Do you know what I mean? I focus on making sure everybody has their questions answered (I did not touch on the other 3 classes that were taught), their projects complete, and feel secure with the thought of doing it again when they get home. I forget to enjoy where I am and what I am doing. I literally had to force myself every morning and every night to stop and sit on the balcony. I had to remind myself where I was and what an awesome blessing I was given:
I hope you are not as hard headed as me.
Until next time: Blessings!