Precious Times

Precious Times Sept. 17-18, 2011

Anticipating ten days away in a cooler climate, two extra blessings preceded and accompanied me on the trip. A 92-year old member of the church quietly passed away about four hours after I visited her. This time she probably did not hear my prayer, song, and farewell, but she is fully at peace now and that is a blessing.

On the day of our departure, a long-awaited and healthy baby Sophia Elizabeth was born at home. Her parents, big sister, and countless others count her birth as a special blessing.

These two life transitions filled my heart with a wonderful sense of peace while I packed last minute items for our journey: an Alaskan cruise! Jon planned it all and gave me this gift of a lifetime–something I have imagined only in my dreams.

We flew Alaskan Airlines non-stop from Austin to Seattle. There is just one flight per day, so we spent one night in Seattle before the cruise. We took light rail–SeaTac to the closest station to the port and walked through Pike’s Market to watch fish being tossed around for customers’ entertainment.

A guy named Russell walked with us from the train. He is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, based in Chicago. Every time he comes to Seattle for the day he makes this trek to the Market. He told us where to find an elevator down to sea level. Walking along the boardwalk, we cheered on a Susan G. Komen fundraising walk. Lots of pink ribbons, outfits, and tutus. Several decorated vehicles carried other happy participants in the fight against breast cancer.

There was no need to ask directions any more–the Norwegian Pearl loomed over the dock with its 14 decks. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Fourteen staff members checked us in and gave us key cards. That was all we needed to make additional purchases on the ship. Meals were included in the cruise fare unless we wanted to go to a specialty restaurant, drink sodas or alcohol, gamble, or buy clothing, jewelry, art, or souvenirs on board.

Our only additional expenses were a room service fee (added automatically), one glass of wine, and one embarkation photo. Souvenir shopping was all on shore.

Tomorrow we will be at sea all day, on the way to Juneau. Stay tuned for more!

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