they that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
these see the works of the Lord,
and His wonders in the deep.
this was the verse that actually convinced me to go on the cruise. well, and the fact that someone actually HIRED me to plan and implement youth activities. but i kind of wrestled with the whole idea for a while. like just a few hours. but it was some serious wresting in those hours.
we are not really a "cruise" family. or even a vacation family. we have a family owned beach house that takes the bulk (and some extra) of our "vacation budget." we have traveled to NYC several times because we can do that cheaply (and i have to have my broadway fix) due to friends "renting" out their apartment VERY reasonably and frequent flyers miles and we tend to not spend $ on anything other than broadway tickets in the city. really, adam doesn't let us eat. people who aren't allowed to eat in restaurants tend to not vacation often.
we do a lot of things that make up for vacations... first there is the aforementioned beach house. the kids and i always do a "mission trip" with our church in the summer. and the kids also go to camp in the summer. but this would be a REAL VACATION (except for me working with the youth events.) almost 2 weeks away from home. and i just wasn't sure that it would be the best use of our time or our funds... but when the timing worked out, the job worked out, the finances added up, all my friends were on board, it was kind of miraculous that all the little pieces fell into place, plus i had God's Word on it that He wanted to show me some wonders in the deep. so here we were boarding a cruise ship for a WEEK. as a family. with my best friends on the boat also, ready to see the works of the Lord.
it seemed almost to good to be true. i have come to expect to find God in the midst of hard times, but sometimes i forget that He is in the midst of the good times too. that those might be His idea as well. that His plan for my growth involved mountains to climb and moments of sweet respite in the valleys as well. that He takes me into deep waters sometimes to cleanse me and sometimes He lets me sail on top of deep waters because He loves me and He loves to give me good gifts.
the week started with a wonderful opening concert with all the talent that was going to be on board for the week (i will introduce each artist to you on their special day. so don't worry about me lumping them all together right now.) after the opening concert, we had the first youth event that saturday night also. it consisted of a mishmash of 4 fast moving games designed so that the kids could be in groups with as many other kids as possible and start to recognize faces and funny facts about everyone pretty quickly. we had about 60 youth at the event. it was almost 90% of the youth on board! and it went really well. and really fast!
here is my little info sheet about the event. it was called "AHOY MATEYS." ha. love a good cruise theme.
after that event there was a dance party in the crow's nest with the band l'angelus. okay seriously they are amazing. and super fun. and cuties. and super talented. and did i mention amazing? oh, to have their energy. and talent. and paige's hair flipping ability (you have to see it to understand.) they play cajan music and about anything else fun to dance to and sing along with. they are hilarious (well, steven and his chatter between songs is HILARIOUS! and his sisters trying to get him to start playing the violin or sax or accordion or guitar instead of talking is pretty hilarious also.)
albeit was a LATE evening. but so much fun that i hardly noticed that it as after 1 am when i fell into bed and was rocked to sleep by the waves. it would be a short night because i really wanted to be at morning devotions with frank peretti (or as he is better known in our house, "mr. henry") in the morning... the EARLY morning... WAY TOO EARLY morning... DEAR GOD, ARE YOU EVEN UP YET early morning...