God Always Has a Better (Travel) Plan!

 

fish-skeleton-312089Nothing beats a fresh NYC bagel, on a Saturday morning, on your way to the Bahamas!

Nothing.  Nothing.  Except maybe everything when you pray first, wait on God, and always go along with his plans.  Especially when they change!

However, we have to initiate some kind of plan so He knows at least we are trying to move life forward…

It’s like the joke about the guy who keeps praying to God about winning the Lottery.  But he never does.  Finally, God responds, “The least you could do is buy the ticket.”

And it’s remembering, God always answers our prayers.  Always.  It’s just that his answers consist of:  yes, no, wait, or I have something better for you.  That’s exactly what I remind myself when I don’t win lotto!  (note to self: remember, I didn’t win, because God wants me to have something more!  Sometimes 2 Million is not enough, so I’ll wait…)

And that’s why I am eating a fresh everything bagel with melty oozy cream cheese on my way to the Bahamas!

This past October was to mark the 10 year passage of my friend’s death and battle with Cancer, and my struggle to survive the grieving process.  Since he died on Columbus Day, I promised myself to always set out to discover something new.  Anything.  Anything, besides staying home and crying.  However, most years passed unceremoniously.  But there was a year the weather was ironically beautiful for October and I went for a bike ride and discovered free kayaking on the Hudson River.  It was a fun adventure, full of adrenaline and paddling, instead of drowning in tears.

Then I discovered a 3-day sail on the Tall Ship, Liberty Clipper, a newly renovated gaff-rigged schooner.    The original plan was to sail from NYC to Baltimore/Portsmouth.

A simple 3-day sail to mark the passing decade I struggled to move forward.  The trip would have been me, tolerating the cold and demanding conditions, solo.

However, a week before the sail I called the office and spoke with Dennis, I told him, “I think I am sea sick.”

Dennis replied, “You can’t be sea sick, you are not on the boat yet.”

I replied, “I know.  I know.  But I think I am sea sick already.”  Again, Dennis sort of laughed, and insisted, “You can’t be sea sick, you are not even on board yet.”

I considered, I might be nervous or excited, so we reviewed my packing:  ski pants, warm coat, warm hats, gloves, layers and thermal underwear and the foul weather gear.

However, a few days later Dennis called back and informed me we were sailing straight into hurricane Mathew.  The sail was cancelled.  I hung up the phone, and accepted I was back to plan A for the weekend— stay home and cry.  However, within a few hours I was invited to a 3-day sail up the Hudson River to Bannerman’s Castle.  Quickly my mind was distracted to re-pack for mild conditions and planning the necessary provisions.

The story doesn’t end there.  It’s just starting…when I returned home, Dennis, from Liberty Fleet calls to offer a compensation for the cancellation, “A week in the Bahamas!”

I discovered how small I think.  I planned a convenient weekend sail to commemorate life.  I believe I was divinely upgraded to sunshine, sunsets, moonrises, moonsets, snorkeling, stargazing, paddle boarding, and kayaking in the Caribbean for a week, with new friends!  Amazing, how God always has a better travel plan than anything we plan for ourselves.

I arrived to explore downtown Nassau during the first week of Lent.  So I started with a Bahamian breakfast of Grits and Tuna.  Lunch was the Conch Chowder with a shot of peppered sherry, of course.  I walked around and discovered a wonderful statue of Christopher Columbus and how his voyage came after 8 years of seeking patronage and then launched a new era in world history.  I should have taken a selfie with that statue.

I embarked on the 125-foot Liberty Clipper, and before we even set sail, the crew led an excursion to the local fish fry.  Under the bridge to the Atlantis, we were treated to fresh Conch Salad.  Giving up filet mignon always has it’s unexpected rewards.

The passengers and crew were an amazing group of people to sail and eat with.  We feasted on Grits with Shrimp one day and grilled Mahi Mahi another day.  Our final Captain’s dinner was a lobster tail feast, of course!

We also caught a super fresh Mackerel and the crew made ceviche with cucumbers and mango.

My cabin was unexpectedly and divinely upgraded and I spent a week swimming in blue water, sinking my toes into pink sand and talking with all the other sailors about their travel experiences and adventures…

On the way home from the airport I stopped off in Astoria and celebrated the successful sail and my perfect packing- sunblock, sundresses, bathing suits and flip flops.   I enjoyed a delicious whole grilled bronzini fish and discovered fried sardines are delicious!  They definitely were not from the can.

I called Mom to tell her (almost all) the details—and I added, “But, I got bit by a bug.”  Immediately she insisted, “Go to the hospital.”  Just as quick I replied, “Go to the hospital!  No way!  I’ve got to to go to the airport…I got bit by the travel bug!”

 

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

 

SANTA AND THE SAD SNOWMAN!

 

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What do you want for Christmas?
What do you need for Christmas?
What happens when Santa doesn’t have the gifts we really need?
(But knows someone who does??)

Gifts like, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, courage, companionship, joy, gentleness, purpose, creativity, generosity, rest and energy?

As a children’s Author, I’ve always wanted to write a Christmas story. The real Christmas story. A true Christmas story. A story I could share.

Now I have two! The story I can tell adults and the published book for children and families.

God gave it to me, the first week of advent. I had the idea. God gave me the story. Truly! The story for adults is the fact that, when you shut out the world’s consumerism and just sit in the candle light, God blesses us with his gifts. Things happen. Amazing things. Unexplainable blessings.

Advent is basically 4 candles for the weeks before December 25. Google it! And get yourself 3 purple candles and one pink candle. Sitting still every night in this Christmas season is where the magic is happening…I always shut the lights off first. Then, the light from one match reminds me, Christ came to illuminate the dark world. In lieu of a lighter, I always use matches. Each one reminding me to be grateful for an individual who has brought light into my life. Like Frank and My Mom who help with my books.

Remember, in the North Pole, Santa only has gifts that we can make, buy, borrow, or steal! What does Santa do when he doesn’t have the gifts we really need? He goes to church. He writes a letter to God. And remembers it’s Jesus’ Birthday and bakes a birthday cake!

That’s advent: the preparation and commemoration of the birth of Christ!

What do you do, to ask for the gifts you NEED? What do you do to celebrate Jesus’ birthday?

Santa and the Sad Snowman is a true story! It’s about snow children, Snowbully and Snowbella who ask for things like courage, compassion and self-control. But Santa doesn’t have those gifts. Only God can give them to us. Just ask.

Don’t wait for Christmas. It’s advent now.

Mathew 21:22
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Mathew 7:7
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Galatians 5:22
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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Positive Preaching

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Window shopping in Herald Square I noticed this stupid, I mean ignorant sign.

I took my favorite Big Apple Tango Fire Red lipstick and crossed out a word and replaced it with the word. Love.

At first, I hesitated – I was in a rush, and I was self concerned about getting stabbed for causing a ruckus.

Was that part of the problem. I was afraid.  But after the recent Madonna concert, I was feeling artistic and bold!

So I stayed on my stake out and noticed one woman handing out pamphlets.  I figured, if she stabs me, and it’s in her power not to, that says something. And if she kills me, I (hopefully) get to ask God my questions in person sooner than I thought.

I prayed for a moment, she seemed distracted,  and I quickly pulled out my lipstick.

My only regret was not scribbling out the word judge completely, and adding Forgive.

Looking back now, I don’t know if it was righteous or wrong.  But I knew it was a sign from God. It just needed to be edited.

(P.S. Please be aware,  God also commands the Man to make the coffee.  It’s true, it’s in the Bible.  “Hebrews”)