(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)
Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!
Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.
Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.
My phone buzzed – it was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.
Dad, we have a problem.
The brisk sunny afternoon was the perfect welcome for the annual Christmas party that was about to begin. Relatives near and far converged upon this particular home which enjoyed the perfect backdrop of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Oakland hills greeted this extended family to a party expected to be filled with laughter, stories, and love that transcends four generations!
This much-anticipated family party was about to begin!
The August weather challenged my mind as I assembled my team for the Christmas production while coordinating thirty-six children ranging from ages 6-12. It was a small group of volunteers including a piano player to tap the notes for the children.
It would be my first experience organizing and conducting a children’s choir at church. I was up for the challenge in spite of the inattentiveness of the children. The plan was to create a musical production in less than four months. Many did not have stage experience or even participated in a full musical production. Many could not read musical notes or dance. Yes, it would be a first for everyone so let the fun begin!
Excitement filled the air and many older girls were practicing for the coveted part – Mary’s solo. There were other solo parts to be had but this one was the best in the production (according to the children). It was no wonder many girls lined up for their chance to win the lead solo (or at the very least, to be the understudy).
When the line of hopeful singers was exhausted, I asked if there were any more singers ready to try out for this special solo. Everyone looked around but no one raised their hand. Then my attention turned to someone sitting in the back of the room. Continue reading
OK, I have to admit – I do not usually put up the Christmas decorations immediately after Thanksgiving. The turkey leftovers exist to remind us that Thanksgiving should be enjoyed more than just a few hours!
Black Friday on Thursday at 6pm (or earlier) – REALLY???
But then again, who am I to talk? Well, it happened on Friday afternoon…. Continue reading
There have always been two different thoughts about Easter – the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb of God and (sigh), the Easter bunny with its colored plastic eggs filled with sweet treats.
On the one hand, it is a time of remembrance and thankfulness for the Son of God who bore the sins of man once and for all by dying on the cross. The glorious news was that He died on a Friday but He rose on Sunday! Not even death can destroy God’s plan of Salvation and the proof is plentiful including… Continue reading
Do you remember your first tree top ornament of your very first Christmas tree? Is it packed away with all the other sentimental ornaments in that tattered box sitting in the corner of the closet? Perhaps you found it this year and put it on your tree as a reminder of the memories it still holds for you? Maybe it was lost, broken, or thrown away? Continue reading
As the end of another year draws near, many reflect upon what they have accomplished from their New Year’s Resolution List (OK, stop laughing). Others ponder on the missed opportunities in life and defer it to next year’s goals instead. Sure, there are six more Fridays to Christmas Day (didn’t mean to panic anyone) or for some, seven more weeks until 2015 is over!
Yet for many around us, their thoughts turn to other emotions that the holiday season brings for them personally. Perhaps it is a reminder of Continue reading