The OTHER Side of the Caribbean

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in adventure | Comments Off

I sailed to the Caribbean at least 30 times in the past eight years -- and I'm probably underestimating that number, but let's go with 30 cruises.  Ina few days I'm traveling back to the Caribbean, but this time I'll fly into the Dominican Republic.  This time it will be different. This time it's not about cruise ships and balcony cabins.  It's not about buffets and main stage shows.  This time is different.  This time it's about the work of Compassion. Most of y'all know that I recently came to work with Compassion as a Speaker Relations director -- which is just a fancy way to say I get to do work with amazing people and together we get kids sponsored -- and released from poverty!  AMEN! I'm two months into this job and I wake up everyday and say "Thank you Jesus!  I love what I get to do!" While I LOVE what I do, I've yet to see Compassion in action in the field.  But that ends soon.  And I'm a little nervous.  I would like to tell you I understand poverty, but I don't.  I have never seen it up close and personal.  I would like to tell you that I understand what it's like to grow up in a developing nation, but I can't.  I may have a bit of head knowledge on these subjects, but there is no heart knowledge.   That's ending soon when I head back to the Caribbean. It's not lost on me that my first trip with Compassion is to a Caribbean country.  It's also not lost on me that a major cruise line is building a brand spanking new port in the Dominican Republic -- I just LOVE how the Lord works!  This time I'll see the side of the Caribbean that's not about tourism -- it's about poverty.  I'll see a side of the Caribbean that is beyond the walls of the cruise port and the kitschy shops filled with all manner of trinkets and souvenirs.   This time I'll go behind the walls to see the real Caribbean.  The heart of the country -- the children. I'm excited, terrified, thrilled, but above all I'm so BLESSED to get to do this.  But let's all agree it's going to be one HOT adventure -- after all it is July in the Caribbean, heck it's hot there in November.  I can only imagine it's going to be hotter than blazes in July!  And I'm giving my hair over to the humidity and just slapping it up in a ponytail. Can't wait to share all the adventures!    

Endings, Beginnings and a NEW Adventure!

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

I tried to come up with a clever title for this post..I thought of "And So I'll Say Goodbye for the Summer" and now that song is stuck in my head.  Then I thought "It's All About the Goodbyes" but does Megan Traynor (or however you spell her name) really need anyone take offs on All About that Bass.  I think not.  I don't anyone needs to hear anymore All Abouts -- be in Bass or Anything.  So, now that you know the details of my title decisions, I'll move on. Today at 5pm Central time I ended a season in my life.  I am no longer employed at Premier Christian Cruises (or Premier Vacation and Events... whichever one works for you).  I've loved my time at Premier.  It's been a huge blast and a great blessing.  I counted it up and I've sailed 35 times in the past eight years.  It's been so much fun -- and sometimes a LOT of work. I recently found a journal I took on my first Premier Cruise -- I was BRAND new with the company.  I've not met or worked with anyone yet.  I sailed alone and while all my cow0rkers were kind and sweet, they all had friends and family sailing with them.... and of course they all knew each other.  I didn't know a soul.  In the journal I wrote
"I'm lonely.  I don't know anyone and they don't know me.  No one invited me to explore the island with them, so I sit here alone on the deck.  But that's okay, because this is the only time I'll be brand new.  Soon, I'll know everyone and they'll know me.  We'll spend time together then.  For now, I'll just wait."
I'd forgotten all about that journal and all about those words and feelings.  I'm leaving Premier after eight years!  I'm the second most senior employee at the company.  I've not been lonely on a cruise in a long, long time!  In fact the cruises were always like reunions -- with my co-workers, the bands, the speakers, the owners and all our wonderful volunteers!  I'll miss all those faces and all the hugs. I'm off to be the new kid on the block -- and not the cool, boy band kind.  Just the newbie.  I am so THRILLED to be going to work with Compassion International as a Speaker Relations Regional Director!  And not just thrilled, I stand in AWE of God who made it all happen.  After all, I'm not the cool kid... and this is like the coolest job EVER!  And it's such a great fit for how the Lord created me! Working with talented and committed speakers who have a passion for making a difference in the lives of children in poverty. And the team I'm working with... well, let me just say I'm a bit stunned -- they are just amazing! And I've only gotten to meet one face to face but I've talked to others.  They've welcomed me with open arms.  I'm so ready for this new adventure.  I've loved my cruising life, but I know that Compassion is where the Lord has placed my feet.  He has work for me here and I'm humbled that He would allow me to do such work. It's going to be a crazy, fun, wild adventure -- and I'm going to promise to do my best to blog more and share the details for this journey with you. I'm just trusting God and jumping off the cliff!!  

The Tale of the Chevron Shirt

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

I was going to title this post 'It's all About that Shirt' but I think the internet is just slap tired of the 'It's all About ...' references.  Not to say that I'm tired of them or of the song It's all About that Bass.  I LOVE that song!  It makes me laugh... 'cause I ain't no size two, either.  Not really sure that I can Shake it, Shake it. But back to the shirt. It's just a chevron top.  Nothing special -- unless you factor in the vertical chevron striping -- and I love a vertical stripe! The only special thing about this top is it is the very first thing I bought when I decided to have weight loss surgery.  I ordered it back in January of 2014 -- two months before surgery was scheduled.  It was to be the item that I would wear once I lost my weight -- my inspiration piece.  My goal.  My something special.  When the box arrived I rushed to open it and out came this adorable black and white top.  I loved it from the moment I saw it online, but the reality of it was even better.   BUT it was way too small.  Certainly, I knew it would be too small.  After all it was the top that I hoped to one day fit in.... but after looking at it I thought "NO WAY!  This will NEVER fit me.  EVER.  Why did I order a medium?  Why not a large? and WHY oh WHY are the sleeves so tiny?"  I hung it in the closet and tried to forget it existed. Surgery came and went.  My weight dropped.  My clothing size dropped.  But I still couldn't fit into the 'inspiration' top.  It just hung in the closet with it's SUPER Skinny sleeves (who are these SUPER SKINNY armed people who wear these tops?) and seemed to mock me. I went on with life -- I worked, laughed, loved my family.  Worshipped God.  Served in my church. Released a bible study (with my two DEAREST friends, Melinda and Karen).  Life marched on.  And you know what happened?  I just didn't care about that inspiration shirt.  I bought it as a symbol of what I wanted to achieve -- but my life is about more than just a goal or a number or a scale or a top with skinny sleeves. Life is about the God you serve.  Life is about the people you love and about the time you spend with them.  I decided to LIVE life and guess what?  I finally fit into that inspiration top -- but those sleeves are just too tight, still! So I encourage -- embrace the adventure of this life.  Love people.  Love God.  Laugh.  Have fun. Let a life well-lived be your inspiration... not a skinny sleeved chevron top!   IMG_2250  

That’s All Folks… well, that’s all of 2014

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in adventure, blessings | Comments Off

BEACH 2014Is it just me or doesn't it seem like we just welcomed in the year 2000... and know we're racing toward the year 2020.  By the way 2020 may be my favorite year because who doesn't love the whole 20/20 vision thing -- can you just imagine the sermons that will preached about seeing 20/20 in 2020?!   But I digress, as I often do.... back the the end of the year 2014. It's been a heck of a year... it was my first year without my Dad (he passed away in November 2013). I spent the majority of the year as an official 50 year old (I turned 51 in September). My girls turned 21 and 28 this year -- AM I really old enough to be Mom of a 21 and a 28 year old... apparently I am. My grand boy turned three!  And we celebrated at Disney World! I had a blast at my job -- but then if you're visited here before, you knew that. My Mom got diagnosed with ovarian cancer -- she's battling it like a trooper! Had a bible study published (along with my two besties, Karen & Melinda) -- which caused me more anxiety than anything I've ever written, but it's also the most favorite thing I've ever written. Cruised Alaska with my man -- best cruise EVER! Had a great trip with my two dearest friends -- never laughed so much in my life! I lost 56 pounds -- and have never felt better. Spent more time with Jesus and dug deeper into His Holy Word. It's been a year of UPS and DOWNS -- great highs and tough lows.   But through every step, God has walked with me and often carried me through. Now it's time to shut the door, close the book, slam the window or whatever on 2014.  It's leaving.  Never to return.  But 2015 is coming and with it comes a fresh new year!  A year filled with promise, hope, and great expectation!  I don't make resolutions -- too much pressure for my rebellious soul.  I just make changes.  This year I'm letting go of some things-- a few more pounds and a lot of stuff.  I'm decluttering my life, but more on that later.   Happy 2015!   Let's make it a GREAT year!!

Heart Wide Open Christmas – Listen for the Holy Day 21

Posted by on Dec 20, 2014 in Bible study, blessings | Comments Off

Blog Header   Dec20_day21_MarySynder_PrintableScreenShot December 20th!  Only four more days until Christmas day.  I'm traveling today -- after a week in the sun, I'm heading home to family and fun.   It's an odd time to take a friend vacation, but it worked for me and my girlfriends.  Crazy timing, but what a blessing.  I've spent the last seven days NOT focusing on the crazy of the season, but on the blessings of Christ. This life in Christ is incredible, amazing and so overwhelming.  To think we GET TO live out this life in Him is almost more than I can imagine. So grasp onto the GET TO and cling to the promise of Christ that HE came so we could have life, and not just any ol' life but an ABUNDANT life!   What a BLAST I've had being with you for the past five days!  I hope you're listening a little closer for the Holy.  I hope you've slowed down just a bit and have taken time to rest in the joy that is in Jesus!