Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday - Year 3 Week 24


adjective \ˈthaŋk-fəl\
: glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.
: of, relating to, or expressing thanks

Welcome to this edition of Thankful Thursday!  Whether you're here for the first time or have been visiting each week for a while, I am so glad you have taken the time to visit.

I can personally attest to the fact that taking time to be thankful for even the simplest things in life can make a huge difference in your outlook on life.  Even if you are going through a most challenging situation, you can still find something to be grateful for - it just might take some time to figure out what it is.  Trust me, you'll find it.  I had to make a conscious decision a few years ago to do this.  What a difference it has made in my outlook!

There is so very much for me to give thanks for this week, so here goes:

* An absolutely amazing week away.  Ron and I spent an entire week on a cruise - the #CarnivalGlory, which I shared a bit about over HERE.  To have been able to afford such a vacation and then actually be able to do this is truly a blessing.

* Rest and relaxation.  Our last year has been very difficult.  If you are new here, our daughter passed away last May after a nearly 7 year life full of illness.  You can read more about her story HERE.  We are coming up on the one year anniversary of her passing, and we have a lot of thoughts running around our heads about where we were this time last year.  To be able to truly get away from it all at this point in time was such a blessing.  I believe it did us a world of good to take this much needed break.

* For all that we have.  While I would consider a cruise to be a luxury vacation, you have to think about the ports that they visit.  We were in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras.  You have to know that the areas immediately accessible to the tourists upon arrival are going to be geared towards the tourists.  Unless you take a shore excursion that goes beyond the boundaries of these tourist areas {sometimes literally enclosed within gates}, I don't think you can get a true sense of the country being visited.  I have visited poverty stricken areas of Mexico in the past, so I know that what I saw in the port area of Cozumel was not the Mexico I saw years ago.  I know that Honduras is a third world country.  When you receive warnings in your daily newspaper that arrives in your stateroom that you need to be extra cautious because of recent armed robberies and violence against tourists, you know that all is not well in that country.  As we rode around on our tour bus in Isla Roatan {Honduras}, we saw some pretty poor areas.  We saw trenches with filthy water in between houses that we couldn't imagine living in.  We saw people peddling their wares near the tourist areas.  We also saw beautiful and friendly people and countries filled with such natural beauty.  But I have to say that we are so fortunate to live where we live.  We are blessed.

Some of the "nicer" homes we saw along the road we traveled in Isla Roatan, Honduras - April 18, 2014
{taken from our tour bus}
By contrast, here is the beautiful tourist area nestled into the hills directly off the pier where the
#CarnivalGlory docked at Isla Roatan, Honduras - April 18, 2014

* Our relative safety living in the U.S.  It was in Roatan where we took notice of a police officer standing along the side of the road polishing his weapon right there in the open air while, at the same time, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings.  It was in Roatan where we noticed multiple pairs of police officers standing along the roadways and carrying assault rifles.  This is something we never see here in the U.S.  I have never walked along a downtown street or main road through a neighborhood here in the U.S. and seen this sort of thing.  It doesn't happen here.  The first time I saw it in Roatan, I was a little nervous - were they simply standing there or were these checkpoints where our bus would be stopped and checked out.  Fortunately it was the former, not the latter.

The guy in the front was someone from our cruise and shore excursion.  But look in the background - that is what I was "discretely" trying to focus my picture on.  Those two guys are "tourism police", or so it said on the backs of their shirts.  Trust me...they are carrying some large weapons.  Taken in Isla Roatan, Honduras - April 18, 2014.

* Being "tech free" for a week.  We left our laptops at home.  We turned our cell phones off before our ship pulled out of port in Miami and didn't turn them back on until we were back in Miami a week later.  Sounds a little scary, right?  But it was so wonderful to disconnect!  No social media.  No emails.  No contact with the outside world except for the world we were immediately and personally involved in on our cruise.  If you've never had a "tech holiday", I would strongly recommend it.  Honestly, it's a little overwhelming once you return to it after taking that long of a break.  In fact, I hope that we can maintain lower levels of "tech time" now that we're back.  I'm not going away!  I just think there's great value in not being so connected all of the time!

* Beautiful sunsets.  Ron and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage next week, and it really wasn't until this cruise that we made a truly conscious effort to watch the sun set.  We watched the sun set seven nights in a row.  I captured some absolutely beautiful images.

Sunset viewed from the deck of the #CarnivalGlory - April 14, 2014

What are you thankful for this week?

thankful thursday

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