tuesday on & off the boat...

so tuesday was prince edward island day. and you will recognize that name ONLY if you were a huge fan of the anne of green gables series of books. or pbs television show. which would include such fanatics as MYSELF. i love me some anne (with an "e") of g.g.

we had been given as a little giftie from the smitty himself (since we were on staff) a horse drawn carriage or trolley tour around the island. we were on the trolley with audrey assad and hubby. that is how we learned about her horse allergy. they got off mid tour.

we decided not to make the trek to the actual "green gables" tourist site. due to the fact that NO one in my family wanted to go there. except for me. it would have been a bit of a jaunt by cab or bus and taken up most of the day. and more $$ than we wanted to spend on an excursion that only one of us wanted to take. plus as my family liked to mention, SHE WASN'T A REAL PERSON. SHE DIDN'T REALLY LIVE THERE. they are such sticklers for things like that. however they were all for the trip to harry potter world earlier in the year. just sayin'...

but the island itself is beautiful. and the trolley ride was very cool (unless you are allergic to horses.) then maxx and rosie went back on the ship to swim and play games with the branyans. millie, adam and i walked around the town a bit more. i took some photos for millie's senior photo shoot (which may extend into several countries and several months.)

there was a michael w. smith concert that evening. and scott macintyre (from american idol season 11) played in the piano bar for the late night event. i only know about the late night event because maxx and millie took a break from game playing to attend that event. they said he was great. i won't relay the story about how it was a couple of days into the cruise and a couple of events where scott had already been on stage or sitting RIGHT BY US until millie realized he was actually blind. she thought his cane was part of his swag. sigh. and the fact that his sweet wife helped him walk up to the piano each time... she thought she was just being sweet. sigh.

you may notice from the photo gallery that our friend, mike, won the smingo grand prize. a platinum record signed by michael w. smith himself. he was VERY excited. all the smingo $$$ raised goes to samaritan's purse. in all they raised over $80, 000 with smingo and some matching gifts from some philanthropic cruisers. also on the cruise were 4 soldiers and their families from the wounded warrior project. they were given the cruise as a gift from michael w. smith who supports that project also. i was able to chat with a few of these brave men and their even braver wives one day. we happened to all sitting around together and i thanked them for their bravery and tried to do it without crying like a baby. they were soooooo young. the wives barely looked older than millie. very humbling. very moving. and i am very grateful to them and was glad to be able to tell them that in person. 

i forgot...

another monday event from the cruise...

our late night event. no wonder i forgot it. it was in the late night. that day was jam packed with awesomeness and to top it off at 10pm there was the late night comedy show with our new bff, john branyan

his wife, lori, had helped us out with the amazing race event earlier in the day. she is super sweet and LOVES working with teenagers. she was in charge of the ice cream eating portion of the race. she rocked that portion of the event.

we had gotten to know john a little bit through a couple of conversations with him and his lovely wife. they were so much fun to sit around and talk with at the midnight buffet. they have 4 children a bit older than our kids so we loved hearing the good news that we might survive the teenage years. well, we might survive if we laugh a lot. 

john and lori are game players. serious game players. they are so serious that they brought some of their favorite board and card games on the cruise. yes, in a time of limited suitcase space and weight limits on airplanes they used their space and weight to bring board games.  just in case they might meet some other serious game players who wanted to stay up all night playing serious games. or in case they could entice some young teenagers into their world of board games. thus geeking these young unsuspecting teenagers up sufficiently so that they wouldn't have the time or energy to get involved in drugs, sex, or rock and roll. it is a true ministry of gaming that the branyans bring to the table...

and guess what, there un-nefarious plan worked. they met some ready-to-be-serious game players. our kids. and they stayed up all night playing serious games. there was a great room on the ship just perfect for setting up board games and playing well into the night. the hudson room. i think maxx spent more time in that room than he did in his stateroom. 

they taught us these games that you have never heard of (and need to hear of and need to order for your family so that your very own teenagers are too geeky and exhausted to become hooked on drugs, sex and rock and roll plus our kids need some friends to play these games with. once they are tired of adam and i whipping their butts all day)... zombie dice, guillotine, small world, and puerto rico.

the gamers. i went to bed. they kept playing. i told the kids to stay on the boat. good parenting.

the gamers. i went to bed. they kept playing. i told the kids to stay on the boat. good parenting.

here is a little taste of how insanely funny john is on stage.

not only is he hilarious on stage. he was really fun with our kids off stage. and he and lori were great late night buffet attenders. all of us couples sat around a table and talked about how much funnier real life is than anything they ever put on television... and we ate fried shrimp into the wee hours of the morning. cruise life.

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also on monday...

was the smingo events to raise money for samaritan's purse (which was the reason why my college rookie, dina, and her hubby, j., were also on the cruise. he works for franklin graham.) dina and j. also had an operation christmas child packing party on the cruise on monday. it was to teach people how easy it is to pack a box and how important it can be in the lives of the children and families and communities where they are distributed. i love o.c.c. and how the simplest things become treasures in the hands of the children and teens who receive these boxes. i cannot imagine that packing a shoebox could be saving a life. but there are testimonies that talk about how that has happened over and over again. i also love it because my dear friend, howard hartsfield loved operation Christmas child. just hearing him talk about it YEARS ago before my friends j. and dina would be involved sold me on the importance of this mission in spreading the name and fame of Christ around the world through the love of the church here in america.

dina did a FANTASTIC job running this event and making it interactive and fun. they started with l'angelus playing some Christmas carols to get everyone in the spirit. and then dina led a box packing competition. very fun. it is one of the BEST parts about getting older to watch your friends from childhood (or college days, which really were our childhood) become the men/women that God has created them to be.

c.s. lewis talks about how when we become closer to God that we become truer to who He created us to be. further away from God and we can only become clones of people around us. but at the feet of Christ we be the truly unique and one of a kind creations living in the freedom of who we were made to be.

this is certainly true of dina. i have seen her become more unique (in a good way. in a God way.) through this years as God has captured more and more of her heart. she grows more amazing and dearer to me every year. i can't wait to see her at her ultimate DINAness in heaven. not sure i am ever prepared for that moment... i am not sure God Himself is prepared for that moment.

monday on the cruise...

monday was the day we were cruising down the st. lawrence river. i would tell you that it was beautiful (which i am sure it was) however i didn't see it. monday (being that it was the day at sea) was the day of my biggest youth event. and the one that was the hardest to plan since it had to be planned once on the boat. directions typed up and cards put together. again all on the boat.

it was the "amazing race afloat". it turned out better than expected. the kids were VERY into the game and ran (i mean walked quickly as per the instructions) all over the boat performing tasks. 

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that evening was the performer that i was MOST excited about seeing on board... audrey assad. you may not have heard of her. but you need to hear of her. you need to hear her. her songs are profound. her voice is unreal. even better live. she isn't your typical upbeat "God is good and my life is amazing" singer. she is more the "life is hard and God is good and i am trying to figure out how that makes sense." now you know why i like her so much. she also sings TO God and not so much ABOUT God. which i like.

and she loves poetry (it is like we are twins separated at birth!!!!) the poems of gerard manly hopkins are a favorite of hers. we chatted about a particular poem of his (the only poem of his which i knew of and could quote a few lines of to my new bff audrey), kingfisher, which has these great lines that i have always loved...

For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces. 

two random facts about audrey assad... she is allergic to horses and she is afraid of whales. yes, this is why you read my blog.  trivial moments by lea.

but speaking of the not so trivial (there is so little trivial about this young woman) she ended the last concert with this song... o my soul. beautiful. haunting. truth. which are the three words that best describe audrey and her music...

Rivers and stones and the trees of the field, they sing in the night 
And a thousand tongues lay deep in your lungs to raise to the sky 
Don't lie to yourself, o my soul—love your God. 
Deep in your heart you feather and tar your folly and fear: 
Expose them for the fools they are, and the world comes clear. 
Don't lie to yourself, o my soul—love your God. 
Your worries will never love you 
They'll leave you all alone 
But your God will not forsake you 
O my soul.

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a cruise ship recipe for you...

they served a chilled soup as an appetizer every night and millie ordered one EVERY night. along with her RARE sirloin steak. her iron level is fine. not sure about her cholesterol level.

her favorite was the first night, a chilled coconut nutmeg soup. 

i found the recipe online. is a recipe with ice cream in it really called an appetizer? hmmmm...

no wonder she licked the bowl clean. i have promised to make it for her sometime soon. since it makes enough for 40 i will either cut down the recipe or invite everyone who reads this blog over for chilled coconut nutmeg soup...

the maasdam's chilled coconut nutmeg soup

this recipe below serves 40: (so you might want to adjust the proportions down unless you are REALLY HUNGRY. or making this for millie.)

1 US quart Coconut Ice Cream 

24 oz. Canned Cream of Coconut Milk

1 US quart 1.5% Milk (WHAT?!?!? is that skim milk? i think i will use skim milk.)

32 oz Plain Yogut

1  1/2 Quart Lowfat Milk Tetra Pack (this is the same as evaporated milk. thank you google.)

3 oz pure vanilla

2 ounces ground nutmeg

1 1/2 lbs flaked coconut

Combine all the above ingredients into a large blender (ummmm, who has a blender THIS LARGE?) except the nutmeg and flaked coconut. Blend well until smooth. Remove and place into the refrigerator and cool well (at least overnight).

Ladle soup into chilled soup cups and garnish with coconut and nutmeg. 

eat 40 bowls of it. enjoy...