Monday, August 31, 2009

The Sweet Aroma...

What is your favorite aroma? Is it fresh bread straight from the oven? Or better yet cinnamon rolls? Or it could be the smell of the grill cooking in the back yard. For many it is the smell of fresh flowers, perhaps fresh roses. A sweet aroma is very inviting. It invites us to enjoy

The apostle Paul says that believers are "the sweet aroma of Christ to those who are being saved." What does that mean? When we engage with people we may be the presence of Christ in their lives. That could sound presumptuous. The audacity is that God choses to work through mere human beings like us!

My prayer is that somehow Christ will be evident in spite of my humanity.

"For we are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved...And who is equal to such a task? Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God."

2 Corinthians 2: 15, 17

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birthday Celebration

Sunday was Bonnie Hearon's birthday. Bonnie and Tom have served in Brazil and in Italy for many years. Bonnie now works as a candidate consultant in our office.

Charlotte and I along with Dan and Libbie Panter joined us at Cheesecake Factory for a birthday celebration.

Dan and Libbie have served in Africa, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90: 12

Saturday, August 29, 2009


One of the primary themes Jesus taught His disciples was about servant hood. While on our journey we met several men who were wonderful models of what Christ taught.

Gerardo Chapa was our room steward. He made sure that everything was clean and comfortable. It seems that every time we left the room he would come in and clean up, empty the trash, etc. Gerardo is from Mexico, he has been working for the cruise line for about nine years.
McRic and Siwathep were our favorite waiters in the dining room. McRic on the left is from the Philippines. He was headed home for four months at the end of our cruise. The staff will work in board for ten months or so and then the cruise line will fly them home and back for time with families, etc. Siwathep is from Thailand. They were probably the best waiters we have ever had. They also were warm and friendly at all times.
"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many."
John 20: 26-28

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


One person wrote a comment saying they wanted to know about the food. Well yes fine dining and plenty of food is a part of the total experience. Above are Dan and Sherrie Patterson from Amarillo, Texas who traveled with us on one of the formal nights.

Someone said life is short so eat dessert first! We did not eat dessert first but we did have plenty of them. The dessert above I cannot explain, but it was certainly good.

This one is called the 'Love Boat Special', it was chocolate mouse on top of a chewy chocolate crust.

Classic cheese cake with a strawberry coulis.

Of course most of our meals were five course meals with appetizers, soups or salad, entrees, desserts and coffee. At one meal we even had lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate before enjoying the entree. Above is Rack of Lamb.

Alaskan King Crab legs.

Fillet Medallions.

Pan seared Sea Bass.

Classic Beef Wellington.
.Lobster tail with prawns.

There is also an ice cream bar, a burger grill and a pizza place all providing food on request.

Then there is the 24 hour buffet available on the Lido deck. We usually had breakfast here but it was open literally all night and all day. Note the view from the window, we were in Ketchikan that morning.

Now this is a breakfast!

I like to think that this experience is a hint of heaven.

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
John 7:37

Monday, August 24, 2009


We said good-bye to the Sapphire Princess on Saturday morning early. After a week of luxury I wonder if I can adapt to 'normal' again?

Vancouver has a lot to offer, including the Capilano Suspension bridge which is a 450 foot span that is 230 feet above Capilano canyon. The park as a whole was a fantasy with several treetop suspension bridges added to this one.

Stanley Park (below) covers an entire peninsula that juts out into the Burrard Inlet between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver. It is the setting for a few weddings. The park includes many varieties of flowers. It also has a display of totem poles.

The Gastown district boasts of a steam clock that works faithfully and toots every hour.

Then there is Granville Island, which includes a wonderful market with all kinds of food including pastries, fresh seafood, produce that looks awesome, pizza, and the list goes on and on.

Vancouver also provides and excellent mass transit system. For a $9 daily pass apiece we traveled the Sky Train to the waterfront then transferred to a Sea Bus (ferry as seen above)

across to North Vancouver where we boarded a bus to Grouse Mountain. After that we returned to the waterfront and then rode a bus to Granville Island, then returned home at the end of the day. It was a pretty good value as well as safe and comfortable.

On Grouse Mountain we saw a couple of Grizzly bears in a relatively natural habitat. (By the way the top wire in the picture carries 24,000 volts of electricity.)

A hawk...

A falcon...

And a bald eagle.

Vancouver has more street performers than I have ever seen in one city before. This is a picture of Jenifer Lauren performing on the waterfront at Granville Island.

This shot was taken from the top of Grouse Mountain. Below is North Vancouver in the foreground with the downtown area in the middle and English Bay beyond it. It is a vast, multicultural city and is a delight to visit.

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe people and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb.
Revelation 7: 9

Thursday, August 20, 2009


During our short stay in Juneau we took a trip out into the channel to see some whales and whatever else we could find.

Our crew consisted of Captain Cook (Cheryl Cook that is) on the left and her engineer and deck hand, Molly.

The crew knew where to find the whales and we saw quite a few. Several times we saw the tail flip!

Sometimes all we saw was a hump, or a spray from their blow-hole (note there are two here).

We even saw some Orca whales (also known as killer whales).

And we saw some sea lions (Charlotte took this picture while I was not looking).

"Can you pull in the leviathan with a fish hook or tie down his tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?

Job 41: 1-2

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skagway Alaska

Tuesday morning we docked at Skagway. It is a small town that was born during the Gold Rush days. It provided the best access to the Klondike gold fields. Today, it is a small town that provides a major stop for cruise ships as they go through the inner passage along the Southeastern coast of Alaska.
One of the fun things to do in Skagway is to ride a bicycle fifteen miles, downhill, begining at 3,300 feet and ending up at sea level. Along the way there are numerous waterfalls that are fed by glaciers. (Our guide, Lauren, took the picture.)

There is a wild flower that grows in the area called the Fireweed. The story goes, that the leaves begin to turn pink early in the summer. When the plant finally flowers, there are six weeks left before the first snow fall. Notice the flower on top of the plant.

One of the early efforts to provide access to the Klondike was to build a railroad over the White Pass. It was a powerful bit of engineering in its day. Prior to that, thousands of men would carry heavy packs over the mountain to begin their gold mining efforts. Many died in the process. Today it provides and easy way for visitors to go up to the summit of White Pass,

Looking at Skagway from about ten miles up the railway. Notice that the cruise ships tend to dwarf the town.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40: 31

Monday, August 17, 2009

Glacier Bay

This morning we sailed into Glacier Bay. Even though fog and light rain followed us most of the day, the glaciers were still an amazing sight. Above is the Margerie Glacier with a piece of ice calving (breaking off) into the water below.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Psams 46: 1-3, 10

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prince William Sound

This moring we cruising through College Fjord. There are more glaciers in this one area that in any other spot on the earth. Pictured here is the Havard Glacier, a mile wide and twenty six miles long. At water's edge the top of the glacier is 360 feet above the water.


While in Anchorage we met two brothers, Roberto and Gustavo de la Real, originally from Mexico, who now operate the "Gumbo House" in town. Gustavo is the chef and Roberto runs the business. The Jumbalaya was good!

We also met Pauline Overby, the proprietor of the Alaska Sundance Retreat. In addition to running a B and B, she is involved in an initiative to bring fiber optic internet service to the Alaskan coast.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain!

Thursday morning we were at the Alaska Sundance Retreat B & B.

Charlotte enjoyed entertaining the horses before we took off traveling north toward Talkeetna.Alaska has some beautiful scenery, but the clouds were rolling in. We had plans to take a flight tour of Denali National Park and Mt McKinley. But half way up it started raining. It rained and rained and rained all day and through the night and all the next day. The clouds were to low and if we had taken the plane we would have seeen nothing.

So we checked into the Meandering Moose B and B for the day. I have always wanted to stay in a log cabin. We had a beautiful room that was very comfortable.

Our host Kathie, is a transplant from Montana. She moved up just over a year ago to operate the B & B.

I enjoyed catching up on my reading. It was a good day, just not the day we had planned. Perhaps someday we will get to see Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in the US. Just not this time.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth.

Provebs 27: 1