Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Daily Sunrise Motivation

I read the book 21 Days Closer to Christ by Emily Freeman last month and I found it very inspiring. It ended with this simple but profound challenge that I've been trying to remember at the start of each new day: 
"Consider the rising of the sun every morning as a personal invitation to make the most of each new day--an invitation to know and recognize the hand of the Lord in you life--an invitation to come and see, to continue the personal journey that will bring you closer to Christ. Respond, if you please."

What a meaningful way to start each day and to have that perspective as you go about your day. Even on the bad days (especially on the bad days!). As I've sought to become closer to Jesus Christ over the last year, my feelings of happiness and inner peace have increased, and my spirituality and understanding of things that really matter have both deepened. I truly believe that staying close to Christ on a daily basis is one of the secrets to living a fulfilling life of peace and happiness. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Planner Love

After several years of using my red leather Franklin planner cover, I decided it was time for a change. It had served me well, but it was getting worn, and FranklinPlanner had come out with some really pretty new planners that finally proved to be too tempting to resist any longer.  

So I got myself a new Franklin planner for 2017 that should easily last for several more years. I love it! It's a worthwhile investment because I use my planner literally every day, even when I'm on vacation. I'm 100% committed to paper organizing and planning. Apps and digital resources just aren't for me.

I like how they had it wrapped up pretty like this when I got it.

The gold polka dots also matched my "style theme" for 2017. It really was perfect!

I love the feel of the soft buttery leather!

This is where the planning magic happens! 
"When you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Wise words!

I threw this cute Kate Spade pen into the mix when I placed my order.   

Planner love, indeed!

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Last of March 2017

Here are a few more things I want to include from last March, at least as far as my photos are concerned.

I saw this cute owl wreath at a shop in the Amana Colonies when I was there with my mom.
I didn't buy it, but (stating the obvious) I did take a picture!

Brody was going to undergo risky surgery to remove some tumors about two weeks after I took these pictures. I was feeling a little anxious about it.

How I miss petting this soft little head!

"I hate it when my whiskers get in the way!"

Dinner at HuHot with my silly boys.

Friday, January 26, 2018

5 Things 4 Friday

1. I had to pick John up early from school yesterday because he had a fever, and he was home sick yesterday and again today. I'm pretty sure it's not the flu, but just another bug he picked up. This is the second time in less than a month that he's been sick. The rest of us have been healthy and I hope and pray that it stays that way. I'm determined not to get the flu, which is sweeping the nation badly this year. We don't get flu vaccines anymore. I'm one of "those people" who are wary of vaccines and we only get the ones that are absolutely necessary. May the force be with us!

2. After over a year of owning my current SUV, I figured out last month that it has a heated steering wheel. 🙌 I've been enjoying it just about every time I drive since then. Because, winter.

3. I don't have Facebook on my phone or iPad anymore. I'm always amazed by how much less I go on Facebook when I can only use the computer to go on it. I don't know why it amazes me so much; it makes sense and I've done this several times in my life before. Also, Donna, is it really that amazing? Come on. But I do notice that I feel more balanced and organized and focused without it always being nearby. I'm only going to have it on my phone when we travel from now on, and during our summers on the Cape because I don't have a computer there. I've said that all before but this time I really mean it!

4. I'm still in denial that we're probably moving this summer. See that, I can't even say that we're moving without adding a "probably" to it. Part of me really hopes that something will happen so that we don't have to leave our cozy home in the wonderful Midwest and our comfortable, familiar life and routines here. But then the other part of me would be sad and disappointed that we wouldn't be moving to Massachusetts after all. It's a confusing and stressful time for me, it really is. I just take it day by day, and live like nothing is changing. Hence, my denial and lack of full acceptance that things are likely going to be changing. I do know that when--IF--it comes time to sell our house that I won't be a motivated seller and our real estate agent probably won't like me very much. This is our house, after all, and no one else's! Ugh. If we do move I'm never moving again.

5. I found out about this movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms last week. It doesn't come out until November and I can't wait! I'm a long-time fan of The Nutcracker, and Disney is doing the movie so you know it's going to be good. Check out the trailer, it might just blow you away like it did me! Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is my favorite song from the ballet and that's what the song in the trailer is.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Disney Cruise Day 8: See Ya Real Soon

Saturday, March 18th, was a week to the day from when our magical cruise began. I guess technically the day you debark isn't a cruise day, especially because you leave the ship in the morning and the cruise was officially over for us by around 8:00 a.m. But still, it was part of vacation so it's worthy of documentation, however unexciting it might be.

This was around 6:30 in the morning. The ship had docked and I watched for a minute from our balcony as luggage was carted off the ship. 

The Disney Cruise Line buses were all lined up and ready for the day's passengers who were coming (lucky!) and going (sad!).

This is the building where the magic begins before boarding the ship and where it ends when the fun is officially done. 

Waiting for our taxi to pick us up and take us to the airport. 
On our first Disney cruise, John was crying at this point, so this was a big improvement!

Waiting (again) at the airport.

We stayed outside of Chicago for the night because after such an early morning we didn't want to drive for four hours to get home. Peter took the boys to an indoor trampoline place and out to dinner and then to the hotel pool. I don't know how they had the energy for all that. I was exhausted. I stayed in the room, ate a bad microwave dinner, and read a book for the rest of the evening.

I posted this on Facebook about the experience:
Yesterday for dinner on the last night of our excellent cruise I enjoyed lobster bisque, delicious beef Wellington, and baked Alaska for dessert; tonight I'm eating crappy microwave pizza and Twizzlers in our hotel room in cold and chilly Chicago. What a difference a day makes!

Sunday morning, before we left to drive home.

And finally, home sweet home, this time for real! Sam fell right to sleep that night. I think we all did!

It was another wonderful vacation thanks to the fantastic excellence that defines Disney Cruise Line.
I hope these posts have convinced someone, somewhere, to go on a Disney cruise. And if I know you, even better. Then we can talk about it together! 
I can't wait for the next one!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Disney Cruise Day 7: Castaway Cay

Friday, March 17th was the last full day of the cruise, which is always a bittersweet day.
What better way to spend St. Patrick's Day than on Disney's private island in the Bahamas?

John celebrated his Irish heritage by eating green pancakes for breakfast.
Another "healthy" breakfast for John, as you can see!

This was our third time on Castaway Cay. It was the coolest it's ever been there for us--in the mid-70s, which I think is a little cool for the beach, but it was still fun.

We got to feed and pet stingrays, which we'd never done before. It was fun! They feel surprisingly soft.
Sorry, no pictures. But trust me, it happened!

The boys were excited to go on this play area in the water. Last time we were here, they didn't get to go on it because it was closed due to the tide being too low.

There goes John! The future Ninja Warrior was on the move. 

Made it to the end!


I love how the colorful beach umbrellas contrast with the colors of the sky, the water, and the green vegetation of the island. 

The only time I ever ride a bike anymore is when I do it on Castaway Cay. Peter and the boys wanted to stay at the beach so I took a ride on the island's bike path by myself. These are some of the pictures I took during my solitary adventure.

My hair was a mess, my scalp was sunburnt (a souvenir from our day in St. Thomas), my sunglasses were a little too big, and I was all by myself, but I was happy!

Since it wasn't all that warm out, Sam and I headed back to the ship a little early while Peter and John went jet-skiing. It felt like we had the ship to ourselves!

No one at the elevators! It was a miracle!

We watched from our balcony while two of the lifeboats did some kind of a safety drill.

The menu on the last night of the cruise is their "See Ya Real Soon!" menu which makes me feel a bit weepy.

I got Baked Alaska for dessert. It was delicious!

I wish!

The last night is my least favorite night of a cruise. Vacation's about to come to an end, and you have to have your biggest suitcases all packed and out in the hall by a certain time so that they can be transported off the ship early the next morning. But I got the packing done right after dinner while Peter and the boys went to a magic show and the pool deck (I didn't mind; it's a lot easier to get packed up and organized when no one else is around). Then the evening redeemed itself when I relaxed for an hour up in the Rainforest Room. That was a nice way to end the last night of this very nice Disney cruise!