Archive for April, 2017

Patience - a virtue

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Two weeks ago we first saw Mama duck on the nest… and she is still there. I go out and hang laundry and look at her with her head tucked under her wing. She trusts that I won’t hurt her from the distance of the laundry line… She gets up occasionally and moves the eggs around, fluffs and spreads feathers around the eggs, turns the eggs with her beak and settles back down… Meanwhile, speaking of patience, Chuck and I have lost our cruise weight… but have now without eating very much still not lost any more weight… we wish we could get rid of our belly fat, we walk and skip dessert, but … oh boy they make whole commercials about getting ready of belly fat, and still it clings to our bellies.

We are planning our next trip to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota!!! We will go to the top of Michigan, visit our friends Tim and Kyla in Clear Lake, Iowa, and visit friends who live on a farm in New Hampshire before going down to New York to catch the Queen Mary 2 round trip to Quebec. A long summer vacation across America. We are skipping the submarine convention because “been there done that in Orlando” and we have a sick friend to visit in Iowa. Enjoy planning for a wonderful summer! Praise God for springtime and birdies!!! God bless you.

Wet duck

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

She’s still there. Faithful Mama duck. Sitting in that nest in the pouring rain!!! You know how people say: “water off a duck’s back”, well that’s the way she is treating the torrents that are coming off the eaves onto her back. God bless the little creatures who are doing their best to make our world a tweeting, chirping piece of heaven!

Today, Divine Mercy Sunday, was a beautiful celebration as we are still celebrating Easter in the church. Today we heard the brash statement by Thomas that he won’t believe in the Risen Christ unless he touches the wounds and even puts his hand in Jesus’ side. How rude when you think of it…. “I don’t believe you survived that awful suffering and that you live; let me see the wounds, let me touch them, put my hand inside the wound.” WOW! And yet Jesus was so gentle and loving. I think Jesus inspired Thomas to doubt so all of us doubters would have an example. When the time comes when Jesus reveals himself to us, in a small blessing or in a large bright miracle, let us fall down and say, “My Lord and my God…” As an exit hymn we sang, “I believe you are the Son of God… I believe you are the Lord.” Pray for the many who don’t believe Jesus is Lord. Be kind. God bless you.

Mother love

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Continuing… Mama duck sits on that nest almost 24 hours a day. She rotates… Occasionally she gets up and repositions herself…. tail to the lake, head to the wall. Head and beak out towards the lake, tail to the wall. Occasionally she gets up and takes a walk and we notices a very militant male duck takes over strutting around the area of the nest and huffing and puffing….When she returned one time, I happened to be watching and she stood for a long time looking into the nest…standing over the nest, as if counting those eggs!!!!! We’ve all seen mother’s pat their bellies as we humans gestate for 9 whole months… pat pat… “I’m here little one. Just grow and don’t worry about a thing.” Ah! Mother love. God bless mothers.

I went to the Keys to put a second coat of paint on the garage doors at 2061 Coral Way but it was raining so instead I painted a ceiling fan at friend Linda’s house… I helped empty bags and boxes into Linda’s new home in Port Pine Heights on Big Pine and I visited and floated in Michele’s pool…. visited friends Joan and Marj. A totally decadent wonderful 2 days and then returned to my dirty disheveled house! Before we left on the cruise we emptied 3 5 drawer file cabinets (that is a total of 15 legal sized file drawers) and piled all the files….. in our dining room. Meanwhile the dust bunnies, sensing our lack of attention, went into a mating frenzy….. So today… ignoring the piles of files, I’m dusting and sweeping and doing laundry that I’ll dry in the dryer so as not to disturb Mama duck, and Chuck is folding up shirts from his closet that “well. just don’t fit any more”….. Floors cleaned of dust bunnies, I will attack the files while Glancing out occasionally at Mama duck and being inspired by mother love. Or instinct… In any case. God is good. Have a wonderful spring! God bless you!

Mamas reign!!!

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

You have heard of the battles Mamas fight to protect their babies… well… we arrived home and I was sorting through laundry when I heard a commotion out back. Chuck and our neighbor Tami had just been “attacked” by a very frightened Mama duck who has built and filled a nest right up against our house, underneath a painting of a big sword fish I painted on the back wall… she’s resting practically on a very busy walkway between our house and Mike’s house. What creeped out the Mama duck was Tami bringing my plants back from a holiday at her house. Tami pointed at the duck who was walking back and forth down by the lake… Then we saw why the duck was upset. She had dug a hole and feathered the nest with white furry feathers and filled it with eggs! They lay very vulnerable and exposed to our wondering eyes. As I watched from inside the house, peering out a back window, I worried about the vacated abandoned nest, and wrote to Mike and Kathie asking them not to walk over to my house, and asking how long it takes to hatch eggs…. Mike’s reply was naughty… “30 days to hatch, 10 minutes for an omelet.” Meanwhile… our beloved neighborhood kittie Peanut who used to come by 3 or 4 times a day to get petted, to chase birds, to eat mousies… was hit by a car and is gone… I miss her daily visits, but I wonder what havoc she might have caused to the duck.

We used the front door to go over to Mike’s for Chuck’s birthday celebration and when we got home we peered out and we could see Mama duck’s head from the window. She was on the nest and she has been there all day today. Whew!!!! Big crisis. Meanwhile, the Martin house is full of singing birdies! Nesting and singing. I have had the windows open all day today to listen to the singing… Although it is hot, the singing of nesting birds is wonderful!!! I’m balancing check books and filing papers and doing laundry (not hanging it on the line lest I disturb “Mama”)… May you have some happy signs of spring life in your week!!! Happy Easter. God bless you.

Another Easter Godincidence!

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Rather than say coincidence Chuck and I have begun to look at “things that just match up” as more than coming from chance!!! I went to Vintages to meet Chuck after I got out of the pool… and I heard a guy speaking and I asked my “normal” question… “You sound like you are from Australia” because they don’t sound like our friends the Trewins….. “No” he said, “from Bristol.” Well we began to share our western England experiences and it turns out his parents live just 5 miles south of Bill, Sally, Charlotte and Harriet in Portished. His parents live in Cleveden “a village just south of Portished.” We told him the last time we visited Portished we stayed for a week and went to the same pub - the one across the street from Charlotte’s condo that is made from containers of ships… and we shared experiences. Then we moved on to sharing Bude, Stratton, and Poughill… where we visited Bill and Sally for many years. He used to be a frequenter of the beaches at Wydemouth Bay and Northcott near Sally and Bill’s farm house B&B… He has since moved to Deerfield Beach in Florida. He and his wife share a love of south Florida yet they still go regularly back to Bude in Cornwall and Cleveden to visit parents. We will be visiting our friends Mervyn and Brenda and Sally and Bill and their beautiful children next May and we remember many happy days just chilling in English pubs … Funny who you meet on a cruise ship!!! We look forward to visiting our Scottish and English friends and to sharing our lovely lake house with them!!! Look out Margaret in Scotland!!! Here we come! Happy Easter Evening. It’s time to put this ship to bed and to go home tomorrow. God bless you with peace and joy.

Easter at sea

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Good morning dear friends! Happy Easter morning! This morning we had Mass in the theater and I read the second reading and sung the Alleluia!!!!   Then leaving Mass I heard a lady telling an Irishman that she went to school in Miami with Irish nuns and an Irish Bishop….  I turned and asked her what school? It was St Theresa school where I went from 1 through 7 grades. She was about 10 years after me…. Then I found she goes now to St Augustine church where I go to Emmaus and Book club! She made her Emmaus at St Augustine and my friend Saba Millares was a speaker at that retreat. I told her Saba leads the book club and I would love to see her at meetings… (Saba: Her name is Maria and in Spanish her last name means “dolls”… Do you know her?)  By then we were in the elevator and another lady said “I went to Emmaus at St Hugh” which is a church in Coconut Grove. By now 2 men chimed in they were Emmaus brothers, and one was wearing a UM tee shirt so we did a big “The U” and by then…. I didn’t want to get out of that elevator!!!  God incidence?  I don’t think so!  We did a big “Jesus Christ is risen!!!” in the elevator and wished everybody a Happy Easter. Right now, behind me in the Centrum, the Easter Bunny is holding little children for photos…. !!!! This morning, Chuck and I were drinking coffee on the balcony at 615am…. and I commented how cloudy it was and he said, “Look! the Easter bunny!” It was a big pink cloud that LOOKED like a rabbit! So I took a photo and hurried up to deck 11 on the other side of the ship and got a brilliant sunrise photo (or 3). Thank God!!!  For his homily in Mass Father Connolly told a story of reading a story to his little niece and he said she knew all the characters and when to turn the pages … “she knew the story… but she loved being in her uncle’s lap… and hearing him read the story to her.”  Then he said, we all know this story, and this week we have read the Passion twice… we know all the characters, Herod, Pilate, Peter….  we know what happens, yet we continue to read it. We know, but God reads it to us everyday so we know … We lean on our cherished Father’s chest and we feel safe listening to him read to us. During Communion the ship’s lead singer got up and sang… “I know my Redeemer lives.” Who told the oceans to come only so far! Who set the stars in the sky? I know my Redeemer lives! The same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken… they hold away death and darkness. To which I can only say.. “Thank you Jesus!” God bless you this Easter Day. Home tomorrow…. Time to go pack! Then to the pool!!!  Be kind. God bless you.

Holy Saturday - at sea

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

It is peaceful and calm at sea. The sun is up. Clouds are fluffy. All is well and I wish you Peace. Today dawned quiet and yesterday was quiet too. I went to the little church on Saint Maarten and it was quite still with the Blessed Sacrament in repose at a side altar. Services were at 3pm but we had to be on ship at 4 so I couldn’t make service. I sat before the little altar and gazed at Jesus for 1 1/2 hours while I read from Magnificat. He gazed back at me.  People came in to worship quietly and I realize many people felt something different as we remember the Cross and the pain that our Creator God went through for us… and still we kill him with “unlove” and meanness. So today, we get a blessed day of quiet to consider the “words in red” as a country music song said… to consider the words that Jesus said… “Love one another.” Today is “descended into hell” day… tomorrow is Resurrection! We all get both.. Believe it! God bless you. Peace be with you!!!

Full circle… Antigua again

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

About 2 weeks ago we visited Antigua and found it … poor. We walked up to the Anglican Cathedral to find it under construction. and then today we walked back up, forgetting we had already “done that… been there.” We were standing outside and I was saying… “The Catholic church is really a long way up the hill;  let’s go back and get in the pool” when a young man stepped up (I swear he stepped out of the cemetary)… and offered us a taxi ride. After some talk we agreed to a 2 hour tour and he proceeded to take me by about 20 churches!!! The Catholic church on the hill was closed. I walked all around and tried all the doors. They will probably have services tonight for Holy Thursday but this was 9am. I was able to visit an Anglican church that had a statue of Mary but no tabernacle. We visited Nelson’s marina that was full of very pricey boats. There’s some money being spent here, but it isn’t filtering down to the people.We visited beautiful beaches and markets. Then back to the pool!!! Yesterday Dominica was even poorer. I am reminded of my friend Karen’s question, “just what did the British do for these islands?” Sad to see tiny shacks with tiny jalousie windows … inhabited and lived in and HOT!!!! and then to see the giant houses up on the hills.

We have had Mass every day and today was beautiful (The Last Supper Mass at 8am on a cruise ship). Father talked about the Institution of the Eucharist and the bread turned into the body of Christ and shared with the disciples… We are broken bread, healed by the infusion of Christ into us and then… shared with others.  Tomorrow we will do Stations of the Cross before we will go to Saint Maarten where I will attend services at Saint Martin of Tours.  Time for dinner and an art seminar and broadway show. Busy busy. Be kind. Share your wealth, talent, joy and strength…. God bless you.

Tortola BVI

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

So what’s this all about? A bunch of little tiny islands owned by big conglomerate countries…. US owns a few, Britain owns a few… Dutch have a handful (the ABC islands), and I still haven’t had time to research why the US purchased the USVI in 1917 from the Danes… . So Chuck has a theory…. He says, anything Great Britain does we have to have some too. Great Britain owns some islands so we purchased some too. It seems that the British Virgins are a lot richer than the US Virgins. Today in Tortola we saw the rich and the poor… marinas full of large expensive sail boats and a few streets inland very poor houses for the “natives”. Go figure. It was hot today, but I stood around while an island lady made me a cross out of blown glass. She asked if she could pick my color and I said yes… it is teal just as I would have picked. Beautiful. We came onboard and swam in the pool (me for an hour, Chuck a little less)… and then we got some wonderful travel tips for our Scotland trip from the Mum (Carole) of our cruise entertainment manager (Grant). She lives in Aberdeen and she recommended we get a B&B on the shore near Aberdeen and tour from there.  I’ll get with our friend Margaret from Lanark Scotland and make plans. This is for our Scotland tour in May 2018. I am still blessed to have daily Mass with Father Connolly, and today… the message was…. Jesus said “you will betray me” and both Judas and Peter said…. “Not me!!!! I wouldn’t do that” and I wrote in my book “Don’t boast on what I think I can control in myself! ‘Cause I can’t control myself. I can’t keep Satan from entering me like he entered Judas (see John 13: 21-38). Lord keep me safe; keep me from my own weakness!”

I’ll be a lector at Easter Sunday Mass in the theater! Big theater, stage, microphone… I might get a practice session in a little before Mass. Tomorrow is Dominica. We have a tour planned and will walk around the town also. I’ll write more tomorrow… Be kind.  God bless you!!!

Saint Croix US Virgin Islands

Monday, April 10th, 2017

The US Virgin Islands are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the transition of the islands from Denmark to the US in 1917. So I guess I have to google how all that came about. We enjoyed a brief walk up to the top of Hill street today. Along the way, I was captivated by walls covered with canvases and really beautiful paintings. I asked a guy sitting outside a little pub and he said, “a lady hangs them there… sometimes she gets the children to paint.” Oh my gosh!!!! I took a lot of photos. We continued “up” Hill street in search of the Catholic church which turned out to be Lutheran and sent me back to my map. “OH…. it’s down there, (I pointed)…  my bad.” So off we trotted back down the hill street!!! Found a beautiful coral rock church built in 1700s and all decked out in palms for Palm Sunday. Very beautiful. The sky got quite dark and we ducked under a porch and found a table on the promenade just as the skies opened! Ordered some “local beer” which turned out to be made for St John’s Virgin Islands by St John’s brewing company Portland Maine. At least it was a US company. We sat and talked with passers by for an hour and then got back to the ship for a light lunch and an hour in the pool. A lazy day!!! Piano is playing in the Centrum and my evening glass of wine is waiting at Vintages. Be kind! God bless you.

Palm Sunday at sea

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

We have a priest on board from Boston! Father Connolly said Mass yesterday and today. He said we can’t get palms on board… something about farm products banned by customs! Today Fr. Connolly talked about Peter and Judas. Whenever we think we have removed ourselves from God’s blessing Presence with our betrayals, denials, and sin, all we have to do is look at Peter and Judas. One turned Jesus in to the leaders who wanted to kill him. One denied he knew Jesus in fear of being dragged into the killing machine too. Both realized what they had done to a harmless, loving friend… One, Judas, despaired of his betrayal and hanged himself. He despaired of being forgiven. The other, Peter, wept bitterly in sorrow, but later dived into the water and swam to Christ …. maybe afraid, but full of contrition and love. We don’t even have to ask; he’s already forgiven us. The minute we yell, “Jesus!!!!!” he forgives. If you want to, just ask!!!!!: “Jesus forgive me.” Jesus already asked for forgiveness for us from the cross… Don’t ever despair. He loves us!

Yesterday after I won the $200 in the spa I got a manicure and bought some creams and facial mask… My skin is dry and I’m going to attack it with not only good diet, sunscreen and exercise but masks and lotions. I go in the pool every day and that is drying enough but being in air conditioning and the sun doesn’t help. Meanwhile today…. I got a full body massage and a facial and I bought a 30 day “program” to follow the “kick start” the facial gave me. The young woman who was giving me the facial asked when was the last time I did a facial and mask…. I delayed answering way too long and realized…. only once in my life. So now I’ll be looking younger, with creamy skin, and you will know why. I attended an art seminar today and Chuck went to the art auction. He saw some cool Guy Harveys but they were way expensive!!!! He might go to the Thomas Kincaid seminar with me. Last night was formal night and we enjoyed dressing up. Tomorrow starts 5 ports in a row when we go out and explore and then go into the pool. I’m off to Vintages to drink before dinner Pinot. Be kind. Pray for Peace especially for Syria. God bless you.

crusin’ past the Bahamas!!!

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

We had a smooth transition yesterday from one cruise to another… We were treated to a dining room lunch and then we just played tourist, went to the life boat drill like normal cruisers then went down to our dinner dining room table to meet our fellow guests and waiter. Ate a starter and then headed for Giovanni’s restaurant. Had to go to Giovanni’s specialty restaurant as we got 50% off for being consecutive cruisers. We stopped at the Scooner Bar and then went up to the pool for a 9pm movie but it was windy and freezing!!!!! went early to bed. In between all that eating and smoozing I WON $200 at the spa!!!!! Karen and I tried that on the last cruise but didn’t win $$$ in the raffle; and now I have to do stuff at the spa. I’m thinking a manicure and a facial!!! We have met some very nice people and we have a Jesuit priest on board, Fr. Connelly from Boston. He will say daily Mass. Met some folks from Viking land… Norway… who talked about “our neighbor to the East” and how Americans and Germans are guarding the Balkans… People are very nice, and as we talk …. I pray for Peace. Well… I’m off to the pool. Busy busy. Be kind!!! Love to all and God bless you.

Turning around in Fort Lauderdale

Friday, April 7th, 2017

We just ate breakfast with friends Peter and Karen and waved them “goodbye” at the elevator… Today we begin a new cruise with new table mates. I have to find new people to talk to in the pool….  We will go to 5 ports:  4 new ports and Saint Martin which is an old friend… We will have a priest on board and the ship will celebrate Passover and Easter. I will attend Good Friday service at Saint Martin of Tours in Saint Martin. The Church is an easy walk from the cruise ship so I can stay as long as I want to.  We met some nice people on this cruise and hope to meet some new.  I have beautiful flowers growing in my yard at home….Kathie sent pictures!   I will probably miss the blooming. See you for pontoon boat riding April 17!!!!  God bless you!

Day 10 headed home 1

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

We are indeed headed towards “home port” Fort Lauderdale but we don’t have to get off. This morning we were given our marchng orders… We are to eat breakfast Friday morning then gather at 9:30 in the dining room to get our credentials for the second cruise. Then we will be marched off the ship through customs and then back on the ship with our new credentials for the second half of this sea faring adventure. Chuck booked a 1/2 price specialty dinner for the first night in Giovannis restaurant. The 1/2 price deal is for consecutive travelers. To summarize where we have been… Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba. After Fort Lauderdale we will go to Tortola, St Kitts, Dominica, Antigua and St Maarten. There will be a priest on board who might celebrate daily Mass!!! I think we will get Mass on Palm Sunday and hope for daily Mass all Holy Week… I know I can get a Good Friday service in St Maarten as I have gone to daily Mass at St Martin of Tours very near the ship and a boardwalk where I deposit Chuck at a little bar on the boardwalk. He can read and people watch while I worship. Easter Sunday is our last day on the ship and there will be a Mass (and … the Easter bunny will be visiting the children). I’ve stepped up exercise… This morning I walked around deck 5, “the Promenade” for 45 minutes and boy was that a long walk!!! I was able to walk out on the helicopter pad and look over …. yikes it is actually scary to look out and down at all that water. Then over an hour in the pool until I am a little wobbly. Gotta go get pretty as tonight is formal night!!!!! Have a wonderful spring. Be kind. God bless you.

Aruba for a holiday

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

I have heard of people coming to Aruba for honeymoons and for holidays and let me tell you… it’s a great destination!  Aruba is the “A” of the ABC islands… Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. All Dutch, clean, sophisticated, developed… in fact Karen and I keep asking each other… where did the English and the French go wrong leaving so many Caribbean islands in such bad shape? The ABC islands are Holland territories and very happy and prosperous. Today and yesterday in Bonaire we visited little street markets and felt very safe and like we were getting good deals and good “goods”. Karen bought some Mopa Mopa, a hand crafted statuary which I think I am getting from Chuck when my birthday comes… After July 19 come by to see my “Mope Mopa”… It is beautiful hand crafted from a tree berry. Today Chuck, Karen and I made a little pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St Francis in Aruba. It was a beautifully kept church with a hospital, parish center and convent attached. Yesterday, Karen and I visited the church on Bonaire and both days we sat quietly and talked about Jesus. Peter doesn’t join us on these long walks as his knees and legs hurt a lot. You really have to be in good shape to travel with the Peabodys!!! I think on this 12 day trip we have purchased 4 more island shirts so expect Chuck and I to be bedecked in colorful shirts with birds and hibiscus!!!  We are finished with the islands… Tomorrow and the day after are at sea. We will go to art lecture if it is scheduled when we aren’t partying… we swim in the pool every day for an hour… and  then on Friday we say goodbye to Peter and Karen after 2 sea days and begin our 2nd cruise ….  God bless you!!!

Bonaire today

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Chuck and I are having trouble separating our cruising experiences… We can’t say exactly which island was Aruba, Curacao, or Bonaire. We remember experiences from all and we say, “The one with the big bridge and the little garden bar - Curacao right?” and the other one of us says, “shrug, maybe”… In any case all were fun! I’ve bought one red shirt for Chuck and 2 tea towels hand designed and lithographed in Antigua or St Lucia… see? Anyhow.. Purchased on this trip, on an island. Yesterday was fun. We bought a tour and drove all over Granada. WOW. It is a rain forest and the highest point is 1931 feet high. That is climbing to the top of a peak and a volcano crater that is filled with water (big lake). They gave out free local beer at that stop. That was fun. We drove in a smallish van around hair pin turns for about 5 hours viewing the local flora… Beautiful. We went up to a fort on the top of the port and I said…. This looks familiar. Apparently Ronald Reagan sent troops in to Grenada to liberate the island. A Dictator who was leaning towards Russia and Cuba killed 8 cabinet members and was taking over the airport which is right next to a university filled with Americans… As we walked around the fort I felt it was so familiar. The guide said a movie was filmed here… I think it was Heartbreak Ridge with Clint Eastwood. We have watched it. It was good. How interesting. The islanders have painted “Thank You America” signs on their walls. I took a photo. It’s nice not to be the ugly American. Karen and I are enjoying the pool.. salt water and clorine heated pool in the Solarium. I stay in for 1 hour doing water aerobics… pedalling and pulling water with my arms. It’s a workout. We will be pulling into Bonaire soon so I will say… ta ta for now and God bless you.

Island hopping

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Yesterday we cruised into Castries, Saint Lucia. A trivia fact is this is the only Caribbean island named after a woman! Saint Lucy. We took a tour and went to a beautiful garden with a volcano filled waterfall… as long as the volcano “steams” the island is OK… So the water coming from the volcano is full of minerals and we saw the colors of the minerals on the waterfall walls and bathed in the hot springs. The gardens surrounding this volcano were lush versions of what we get in south Florida: lots of orchids, hibiscus, roses, a wax rose that was amazing, and other flowers that I can’t name. We also visited small villages that fish for a living… separated from the rest of the island by rutted “mountain roads”… If the road is impassable, then outside people don’t get to the village. I visited a beautiful church and church yard dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Each island has a Cathedral… Back to the ship to soak in the Solarium. Last night we went for the first time to the piano bar at the Schooners bar. I asked the piano player to play Proud Mary and he said… only if I helped. So I played the tambourine all through Proud Mary. I was sweating! That is a lot of work. I “won” a beer cup with RCCL logo for Chuck’s bar. Today we landed on Barbados and took a cab across down town to the bay and beaches. We found a small beach bar and walked on the beach drinking beer. The bar tender gave me a poster for Chuck’s bar. The waters and sky are amazing colors of blues. I will try to continue to communicate this beauty in paintings!!! We returned again to the Solarium to soak in the warm waters of the pool… Tonight we will return to the piano bar at the Schooners bar.  Today was my Mother’s birthday. God bless our Mothers. If you are blessed with your Mom’s face near you… give her a kiss. If not… give her a prayer. God bless you.