Sunday, April 17, 2016

Deadlines, designs and of course distractions

Details of Quilting Design
It's the little details of life that either stress you out or make you smile. These past few weeks have been a combination of both. C'est la vie

such is life...and such were my thoughts before departure on the 2016 Quilting Cruise April 10-17 hosted by Cactus Quilts of Texas City

My original intent was to blog about the craziness of trying to get out of town  and to share a bit about the quilts I have been working on (more on that coming up)...but there just wasn't time...too many deadlines. 

Life aboard the Carnival Magic

Those distractions and stresses seem so far away today (Saturday) as I sit on my balcony enjoying the remainder of this week's beautiful journey .....

Rewriting the title of this blog it would now read

Destinations and Divine Appointments

I believe in prayer. Sometimes I forget that prayer is my direct link to ask for God for His strength - I don't have to carry the weight of all the stresses - in prayer I can leave those burdens at His feet. And prayer is the key to finding rest for my weary soul. Jesus gives me peace amidst my circumstances.

I know someone has been praying for me this week - I truly think it has been several someones as the depth of my very soul has been renewed and refreshed on so many levels.

God blessed us with this week's cruise. Not just because it was an opportunity to get away but the story is deeper. We love to cruise but cruising wasn't anywhere in the budget this year. God provided the way - it was a "working cruise."  When my husband shared with a co-worker that I would be working on this cruise he was met with a strange look and the question "you mean your wife will be cleaning rooms or something!" Grin.

Nope, Quilting. My passion of quilting was the ticket to this week's blessings. Last year I was privileged to be one of three quilting teachers on Cactus Quilts 2nd Annual Quilting Cruise and I was thrilled to be asked back to teach on this the 3rd  Annual Quilting Cruise! So began this journey!

Orignial Pattern Layout Designed for 2016 Quilting Cruise (pattern available)
The deadlines and stress of designing a pattern to teach and making the class samples have been replaced with the enthusiastic response of my students! My pattern is based off of Deb Tucker's Hunter Star ruler and piecing technique. My design twist was using precut fabrics - namely 2.5" strips and 10" squares. I discovered by adding background fabric with these precut packages that two quilt tops could be made - hence "Double Occupancy" was conceived. How cool would it be for roommates to share the precut fabric packages and each make their own lap size quilt - and what if...what IF there were different layouts so everyone's quilt would look unique and different...what if indeed! My busy little overachieving brain came up with 13 layouts (I had to stop there!) so I set out to produce them for class samples.

Sometimes things don't go as planned. I cut out 13 kits for my various layouts  and began working on them at retreats and sew-ins this past year. 

Alas, only 8 out of the 13 were pieced by the time of departure and of those, only two were totally complete all the way to their label. What I thought was failure in not meeting my goal of at least having all of the pieced tops quilted turned into a blessing as I discovered that unquilted tops are easier to pack and they can be hang from the classroom walls with painters tape!  More on my students accomplishments later as I do want to journal in chronological class was Friday... 

Classroom aboard the Carnival Magic 4.15.16

As mentioned, things were rather stressful prior to departure (like not getting the suitcases packed until 30 minutes before leaving).But once the baggage handler takes your overweight bags onto his cart and wheels them away towards the loading dock the stresses seem to begin to slowly fade - we are going on a cruise! Well, at least at this point my luggage and all my quits are!!!  

Enjoying the peacefulness

Sunday and Monday we aquatinted ourselves with our new floating home - we learned that even though this was our first time on the Carnival Magic that this was the ship's last cruise  to call Galveston their home port as they will be relocating to Florida next week. 

This is a beautiful ship with so much to offer for so many different tastes and needs. We have enjoyed our cruise mates this week - especially watching the brave ones not minding being silly when called upon for the entertainment of fellow guests - from the over eager kid assisting in a shore excursion talk by being the one to draw out names for door prizes, to the older preacher who won the hairy chest contest, to the crowd laughing and working together in the hoola hoop pass. 

Everyone is happy here. Everyone is friendly. A black man struck up a conversation with my husband one evening towards the end of the cruise and commented that he had noticed that there was no "racism" here aboard the ship and wonder why - to which my husband replied "lack of media". Their combined conclusion was that we are all people and the color of our skin isn't what makes the difference but the way people choose to act or react. There are people you like and people you don't, doesn't matter skin color, we are all just people. The gentleman said that  this was the way he was raising his daughters - to not care about color of skin to which my hubby replied that too was the way we raised our sons. Indeed we are all created by the same Creator God and in His creativity He made different cultures, nationalities and skin color. In reflecting upon this together later I came to the conclusion that the friendliness aboard our ship this week stems from the underlying sense of community. We are all on the boat together for better or worse and we have chosen to be respectful and kind to each other no matter our backgrounds or skin color. Oh that this would be the way of the world. I believe that is what heaven will be like - only on a grander scale - no sin! We will love because of His love.

Daily Necessities 
Devotions, Water, Sign & Sail Card and of course Towel Critters  

Tuesday was our 36th anniversary and we celebrated in Key West. As mentioned previously this was our "cheap date" cruise so we did not have any planned excursions, we were just going to enjoy the ship and being together. We did however take a trolley tour around Key West and learned a bit of the history of the island. In passing through all the sights and sounds we saw a lighthouse and decided that was to be our destination for further exploration later in the day. 

After our guided tour we indeed found the lighthouse and to my joy discovered that we could climb up into it for a small fee! There was a docent in the museum area and we were able to question him to learn more about the history of this particular light house. He asked if I were a teacher (grin) I guess my curious mind was the give away. While I didn't formerly teach in a school system I did homeschool our boys and of course I'm a quilting teacher ... 

Key West Lighthouse

Anyway, the climb up the light house was 88 steps. Piece of cake for my husband as he climbs 98 steps at work to get into the cab of the crane he opperates ... For me, well....about the time I wanted to give up because of fatigue in climbing God blessed me with a small landing to catch my breath. Just enough strength to push forward. Think about that for a moment - isn't that just like God to give you just enough light for the step you are on - the encouragement to press on!  And the reward was breathtaking! 

We were able to climb to the service room where the keeper would clean the lamp chimneys and prepare the lantern for the coming night. We learned earlier that whale oil was the original fuel source. 

From the cat walk surrounding the service room we were able to have a birds eye view  of the island. As our gaze went towards the southern most point my thoughts went to Cuba a mere 90 miles away. Only the day before,   Monday 4/11/16,  a team from our church Calvary Chapel Houston arrived in Cuba for an evangelist campaign. We have been praying for their mission trip and eagerly await their return next week (4/21/16) along with the accompanying  praise report.

Looking out towards the Southernmost Point
and Cuba
 Access to the lantern room, which contained the actual lens, was chained off from the public. After several "tourists" began their decent the docent quietly asked if we would like to go up - a resounding yes please!! Upon descending I hugged him in gratitude and then shared that I really have a fear of ladders and am clostaphopic - to which I was met with a shocked look as in a silent questioning of "why on earth did you attempt to go up!"... I shared that with prayer I was an overcomer - God indeed carried me to the top and safely back down again.That brought a smile and a hardy acknowledgement!

Lighthouse lens

Our afternoon "shopping experience" walking down Duval Street back to the ship was a grand total of $1 for a sticker of the Southernmost Point. Traditionally on previous trips we have had our photo made there but this year didn't want to wait in line - but we were there!!

The above narration was written 4/16/16 aboard the ship and edited 4/17/16 upon arrival home... As this is getting rather lengthy I will continue Part Two in the next blog - stay tuned for Blessings in the Bahamas and more Miracles aboard the Magic....


Nothing like an anniversary cruise to rekindle the romance
April 12, 2016
36 years together

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