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AuburnChick Goes Cruising

Hi all!

I’m back…not that you knew I was gone thanks to the handy-dandy feature in WordPress that allows users to schedule posts to appear whenever we decide.

For safety reasons, the Mr. asked me not to put some cutesy saying like, “AuburnChick can’t come to the blog right now because…”

He was worried that some savvy computer person might do something wholly undesirable.  So, instead you got my rather lame (yet honest) little “thankful” posts.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

While you were tucked into your homes stuffing your bellies with turkey and dressing, Your’s Truly was cruising…

On the open seas…

It all started early this year when Grand Pooba and Coupon Queen, Master and Mistress of the Seas, decided to commence on yet another journey.  Ever since Grand Pooba retired, they’ve been leaving their beloved children and grandchildren behind a couple of times a year while they explored vast lands.

Only this time they decided that they would invite the rest of us along.

So, they booked passage, generously paying for all ten of us (them included), to take a ride on Holland America’s Eurodam.

This is a beautiful cruise ship that routinely travels to the Eastern Caribbean.

Being the good blogger that I am, I took pictures so you wouldn’t feel left out.

This is the first of eight posts (hope you don’t get bored) about the trip.

We pulled the kids out of school on Friday, November 20th.  The school generously obtained a sub for me (sub for the sub…funny, eh?), and I got experience writing lesson plans for someone else to follow.

Anyhoo…we drove down to Ft. Lauderdale…a long drive during which I slept most of the way.

After arriving, we headed out to dinner.  We used to live in Coral Springs, which is a hop, skip, and a jump away from Ft. Lauderdale.  It felt good to be on familiar stomping grounds.

Until…

We stopped at a traffic light, waiting for it to turn green…

And heard the weirdest noise ever.

The noise repeated itself several times before we figured out it was a car horn.  It sounded like a baby crying.

Some impatient-have-to-be-there-now-person-who-shouldn’t-be-behind-the-wheel-of-a-two-thousand-piece-of-metal was irate because we were obeying the law and not running a red light.

To make it worse, they were yelling at us…from two cars behind.

Sheesh.  Give me a break.

You do that where we live now, and you’re liable to get shot.

Anyhoo…

We met up with the rest of the gang…Grand Pooba, Coupon Queen, and my sister and the Mr.’s brother, who are married to one another.

I’ll let you have a second to run that one through your head.

The Mr. and I have siblings who are married to each other.  Hey, we’re from Alabama.  What do you expect?
They have two sons.  Music Man is the same age as Rooster, and Dr. J is ten.

We arose Saturday morning and headed to Port Everglades…

When it was our turn to pass through, we were asked the all important question, “Are you carrying any weapons?”

Um, hmmm…what would be the correct answer here?

Chicky was not impressed with the security, but I guess we looked honest enough that we were allowed through.

On to the terminal, where we answered health questions.

Chicky had been suffering from either a very minor cold or an allergy attack, so she honestly (remember, we tell the truth) answered that yes, she had suffered a runny nose and cough.

While the rest of our crew was given room keys and literature about the ship, my family was told to have a seat and someone would be with us.

Say what?

Ten minutes later, a lady wearing nurses scrubs came out to question Chicky further.

How embarrassing for Chicky…especially when she had to have her temperature taken.

After assuring the nurse that she was fine and simply had allergies, and after obtaining a normal temperature reading (thank goodness as mine would have been sky high after the nervousness), we were cleared to board.

Now, this is where the real fun began.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, let me explain that one of the most fantastic things is the ginormous amount of food available.  And the feasting begins immediately upon boarding.

Trust me.  This was my third cruise, and every one of them have been the same.

You go in, take the elevator up to the deck that has the buffet dining hall, and you eat…

I can’t remember how many lines like this existed, but everything was a little different…Italian, Asian, salads, fruit…you name it, they had it.

And then I saw this…

Dessert!!!!

Now, to my credit, I will say that I never once got any dessert from this display.  Most of the items had milk in them, and because I am lactose-intolerant, I have to steer clear of such yummies.

That’s okay.  I knew I’d get my turn.

There were large windows around the dining room, providing patrons with an incredible view.  Ft. Lauderdale really is gorgeous.  I sometimes miss it, except for the rude people…

After eating, we decided to explore the ship…

Mainstage - Where all of the shows were put on

The staircase outside of the formal dining room

Since we were so close to the dining room, we decided to saunter by.  This would be where we would be eating dinner each night at our assigned table with the same table attendants each night.

The dress code most nights was smart casual...two nights were formal.

The menu for dinner was displayed each day.  I chose not to look because I like surprises.  I did snap a picture without really reading it…

After cleaning up the drool from the floor, we resumed our tour.

This was the private cabana area, which was roped off to mere mortals like myself.  It was on Deck 10 and had stairs (outside the roped area) that I frequently climbed to get to another, more accessible, deck…

Now, don’t act all surprised to see my knitting.  You knew I would pack it.

Bex tagged along in my carry on.  She’s felt lonely because every time I think I have a chance to get serious about finishing her, another project magically jumps on my needles!  Dang that soft heart I have for giving away knitted creations.

Anyhoo…

We decided to head to the top of the ship…to the Internet Cafe/Crow’s Nest.

If you’re a book lover, this is the place for you.  Oh my, but what a relaxing place to sit, read, do a crossword puzzle, or sleep in the lazy chairs that line the ginormous windows.

This is where Super Sis and I took a break from the touring.  I asked if she’d be interested in trying on Bex’s mate, which has been crying the lonely wail that first socks typically cry…

Um, no, I'm not planning on being THAT generous...here, socky socky...come back to Mama where you belong...

The Crow’s Nest, an extension of the Internet Cafe, was blocked off because there was a wedding going on.  We had seen the bride earlier…dressed in her finery.  We later saw her at the lifeboat drill, carefully holding up her dress as she hunted for the place she was assigned to be, should there be an emergency.

We were finally allowed to enter our rooms.  Here’s what we saw…

The couch folded out into a bed, and another bed came down from the ceiling above the large bed.  Every room had its own deck, and we later got the room attendants to remove the partitions between the three rooms.

After a lovely dinner, during which we sailed away from port, I headed to my cabin to start a new knitting project (poor Bex).

Meanwhile, the moon was keeping watch as the ship slowly made its way south…

Thankful – Part 8

I am thankful for the sound of a metal bat hitting a baseball.

It reminds me of the park where Rooster played t-ball as a young child.  The park was across the street from my house, and you often heard baseballs being hit late into the evenings.  You could sometimes hear the crowd cheering as one of their youngsters hit the winning run.

It was a time of pre-teen angst and one I miss tremendously sometimes.

Thankful – Part 7

I am thankful for cool days of Spring and Fall when I can open the windows, hear the birds chirping, and nap lazily on the couch.

This is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Thankful – Part 6

I am thankful for the smell of clean laundry hanging from the line.

It invigorates my mind and washes away the clutter that has filled it.  I, too, feel cleansed.

Thankful – Part 5

I am thankful for Pajama Days spent with the kids.

You know these kinds of days…when you don’t have to go to work or school and lounge around the house watching movies in your pj’s all day.

Pure laziness.

Pure joy.

Thankful – Part 4

I am thankful for the twinkle in Chicky’s eyes when she discovers a delicious treat.

I’ll never forget the look of surprise that lit up her face the first time she tasted a Shirley Temple.  The smile started in her eyes and eventually covered her entire face as she grinned from ear-to-ear.

The other time she had this look was when she tasted a Godiva Caramel Chocolixer.

We both had gotten this drink while walking through Peachtree Mall in Atlanta, Georgia.

We took our first sips, looked at each other, and mirrored looks of absolute happiness.

It is a look I carry in my heart every day.

Thankful – Part 3

I am thankful for the cool breeze that precedes a storm.

You know the feeling.  You can smell the rain coming in.

I don’t know why, but this always makes me stop in my tracks and enjoy the moment.

Thankful – Part 2

I am thankful for a each sunset.

Every time I see one, I am reminded that the end of the day is near and rest is close at hand.

The colors soothe my soul, and the arrangement of the clouds playing peek-a-boo in between the rays of fading sunlight make me catch my breath every time I see them.

God is truly revealed in nature, and I am always in awe of His creativity and beauty.

Thankful

During the week of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to name a few things I am grateful for.

I’m not going to name the obvious, because you know I’m thankful for those things (family, home, etc…).

By naming off “smaller” things, I hope to remind myself that it is good to give thanks for ALL things, big and small.

So, the first thing I’m listing is that I’m thankful for the unconditional love of my pets and the time I get to spend “nuggling” with them.

My pets bring so much joy to my life.  They greet me when I come home, always wagging their tails as I walk through the door.

They are always ready to play a game of fetch, remind me when it’s time to feed them (like I’d ever forget), and forgive me when their water bowl gets too low.

Simply put, I love my fur babies.

Flash Forward

Have you watched the television show Flash Forward?

The premise is that the world’s population experiences a loss of consciousness, during which each person sees a few seconds of their lives a few months into the future.

The show’s lead characters spend each episode investigating the cause of this event and, in the process, discover how their lives intermingle with others’.

One man doesn’t see anything in his “flash forward.”  He soon learns that on a certain date, he will be murdered.

Another man, on the verge of ending his life when the flash forward occurs, sees something that gives him hope and purpose.  Viewers don’t know exactly what he’s seen yet, but one can surmise that it is good.

A new twist was recently introduced when one of the lead characters decided to change the future by committing suicide.  It is his hope that he will spare the life of an innocent woman.

I’ve been mulling over the concept of this show and how it relates to our spiritual lives.

What if we could see into our futures?  What would they look like?

Would we see darkness or light?

I realize that these are fictional characters, but I see parallels between their lives and ours’.

Nearly all of the TV characters have a dark past or are living with shame in some form.  They long to change the outcome of their lives.

As “real” people, we desire the same things…freedom from the weights that tie us down and the desire to change bad decisions to right the wrongs we’ve done.

And yet, just as I think the characters on the show will come up short, so too do we.

However, we “real” people have a hope that no fictional character will ever have…that of a Savior…an amazing generous God.

Accepting His redemptive work on the cross won’t undo the mistakes in our lives, but it will put us on a new path.  This is a path that is not trouble-free, unfortunately.  But when we walk with God, we can be assured that we are not alone.

God could have left us floundering, but He changed our destiny (for sin demands payment) and intervened personally in our lives to change the outcome. All we have to do is recognize our need for Him and accept His gift of salvation.

I hope you’ll take a moment to “Flash Forward” to the end of your own life.  What will you see as things stand right now?  What will you do to change it?

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