Why I adore Easter

Why I love Easter — beyond that it’s when we celebrate the greatest news ever. Ever. Jesus is risen: for us! As if that wasn’t enough, here are other reasons I adore Easter:

The angel chose the ladies

It’s morning, and Mary and Mary are in mourning. Then: “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.'” — Matthew 28:5 – 7

Who else would you choose to share this great news? Way to go, ladies.

Beautiful new life

Each year for decades, my dad has sent us the ultimate symbol of Easter and new life: Eggs. Some are from his extensive travels (see the Australian Aboriginal one?); some just purely lovely. Many are fragile — as is life. All make me smile with promise of possibilities.

IMG_5483

After all this time, these two he got me while I was still a youngster are my favorites:

IMG_5486

 It binds us together

“A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Passover and Easter are the only Jewish and Christian holidays that move in sync, like the ice skating pairs we saw during the winter Olympics.” — Marvin Olasky

Alleluia, Amen. Have a Blessed Easter, all!

 

Advertisements

Another kind of Palm (Sun)Day

Palm Sunday was glorious and all, just as it tolls in Holy Week each year.

Yet this afternoon, with a cloudy day outside, I’m harkening back to another kind of Palm Day, our port in Labadee, Haiti, first stop on our Cruise! Some palm-waving family memories:

Greg and I woke up early and watched Cuba’s coast disappear and Haiti’s northern edge appear from bed, then from chairs on our own cabin deck. It was cool that our first stop was visible for our side (Starboard, we’d mastered by then!) of the ship. We got closer and closer, and I finally got up from our relaxing spot to take this shot (and to go grab a coffee from Central Park’s Cafe, just one deck down):

One of our first views of Haiti.
One of our first views of Haiti.

As we docked, we could see why this port needed to be built especially for Oasis of the Seas. It’s the largest cruise ship in the world, and not all ports can accommodate it. Here’s a view from our cabin deck. The anticipation of our day on the beaches was palpable (or was that the neat Haitian music coming from the band down below?):

IMG_4826

Further aft on our ship, this was our view during a quick breakfast. This is actually a private peninsula, rented by Royal Caribbean.

IMG_4827

We quickly packed up sunscreen, our Sea Passes, camera and grabbed a towel as we disembarked. Easiest prep for a day at the beach EVER!

A little pic with our home for the week in the background as went went off to play in the palms.
A little pic with our home for the week in the background as went went off to play in the palms.

IMG_4833

Pretty coastline, huh? Yeah, well, those rocks eat ankles.
Pretty coastline, huh? Yeah, well, those rocks eat ankles.

We discovered there are 4 beaches at Labadee, and of course we explored them all!

IMG_4832

IMG_4846

IMG_4848

 

They fondly named their raft the "Red Bed."
They fondly named their raft the “Red Bed.”

 

Dr. Matt may just live in that hut part of the year when his practice gets going...
Dr. Matt may just live in that hut part of the year when his practice gets going…


Greg and I will visit him...
Greg and I will visit him…

IMG_4873

me and j in haiti

 

j in haiti

After a lovely Caribbean BBQ on the beach, some of us napped…

IMG_4900

IMG_4901 IMG_4911A bit more play…

 

IMG_4918

and with our fill of Labadee sun, sand and ankle-eating rocks on the first beach, we headed back “home.”

We showered, changed for dinner and were back on our cabin deck to watch our departure. Well, some of us were. The young ladies apparently did not get enough water and sun, so they headed up to the pool deck for more.

IMG_4927 IMG_4934

 

It was a glorious day that started our port experiences perfectly. Thank you, Haiti. We’ll be back!

 

 

Immersion: Family snorkeling in Mexico

So your lips are sunburned to blisters on Day 3 of your Caribbean Cruise? Let’s go snorkeling (in salt water) and drink margaritas from salt-rimmed glasses on a catamaran.

Our snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico, was just one of the highlights of our amazing Royal Caribbean Cruise on the incredible Oasis of the Seas.

We left our ship about 10 that morning and boarded a catamaran headed for the coral reefs. Some salty/sweet memories from our morning under the sea:

Beautiful waters in every hue of gorgeous blue!
Beautiful waters in every hue of gorgeous blue!

 

Our three water bugs, ready to go in.
Our three water bugs, ready to go in.

 

Greg was a good sport, since he greatly prefers  recreation FROZEN water.
Greg was a good sport, since he greatly prefers recreation FROZEN water.

 

"You can dive in if you'd like," our Guide said. Cara was ALL IN!
“You can dive in if you’d like,” our Guide said. Cara was ALL IN!
Go Mom Go.
Go Mom Go.
A rare above-water shot of our Fish, Caroline.
A rare above-water shot of our Fish, Caroline.

 

Hockey Boy Matt dove right in!
Hockey Boy Matt dove right in!
It was a bit difficult to see who was who in our group. Just ask Matt, he had a nice chat with a nice man (who he thought was Dad Greg)!
It was a bit difficult to see who was who in our group. Just ask Matt, he had a nice chat with a nice man (who he thought was Dad Greg)!

The underwater world was a colorful blend of coral, fish and other critters like these:

 

See? We survived. Not bad for a bunch of landlubbers from the Midwest!
See? We survived. Not bad for a bunch of landlubbers from the Midwest!