Inspiration


I am back!  Jamaica, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama.  Of all places, never did I imagine that I would be in Colombia.

Starting out – This cruise adventure started in Ft. Lauderdale, making the first stop in Jamaica.  Here, we  had the opportunity to really talk to the locals and get an understanding of their lives.  After touring the island, the driver took us to a nice beach and we got some jerk chicken.   But to my surprise, it tasted like BBQ chicken – not authentic as I imagined…still good though and I ate every bit of it (LOL)!!!

Costa Rica – We got off the boat and secured a taxi to take us on a tour of Port Limon. The highlight of the tour was going on a jungle boat ride.  As we sailed through the swamps, we saw sloth, iguanas, and other creatures along thick foilage of the jungle.  What a treat!!

TIP – This same trip cost about $75 per person on the boat, but we got it for $20! When going on cruises, the excursions offered by cruise lines tend to be way more expensive. Plus, they leave too early in the morning for me. I suggest negotiating with a local taxi or tour driver at the port. Just ensure that you settle a rate before you begin your ride.  

Colombia – We landed at the Santa Marta port and got a taxi to take us to Tayrona National Park. Check out the pictures of this park to see the most beautiful coastline and beaches ever!   Once we got to the park entrance, I started to get a bit uncomfortable. The “guards” at the gate wanted an extreme amount of money to enter the park. Thank goodness our fellow cruiser was fluent in Spanish! 

We then went to Cartegena. I love this place! The culture, beaches, people, and architecture were just amazing. One thing about Colombia – it was HOT!! You definitely need a hat, sunglasses, and water.

Panama – The ship docked in Colon, Panama. We got a taxi to take us through the city and onto Panama City,  but not before seeing the Panama Canal.  Actually seeing a ship go through the locks was interesting. By this time, we were all running out of money.  One good thing, most of all the cities we visited took the US dollar. Panama actually uses our currency.  But, things were just a little bit more expensive.

 Fin – The trip ended with an overnight stay in the Panama City Marriot. The hotel was really nice. It had a huge gym – which I didn’t use of course. But, I did get in the hot tub!

Inspiration -  Don’t let disappointments, strained relationships and job challenges tell you who God is; let His Word speak for Him. (Joel Osteen).

Peace & Blessings!!

-A

Here in the south, or at least southeast Texas, we hardly get to see a distinct change of colors when seasons change. So, you can imagine my thrill when I saw all the wonderful bright oranges and reds flowing over the landscape of Frankfurt, Germany.  This surely put me in the mood for fall and a perfect end to the Ancient Empires cruise! 

Inspiration – Thank you Jesus for all that you have blessed us with!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

-A

WOW!!!  We really got a great deal aboard the beautiful brand new Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.  Thank you Aunt Thelma.  Here are the details of our adventure…

We landed in Rome and quickly found the train route that would take us to the port city of Civitavecchia.  From there, we boarded the ship for a 12 relaxing days around the Mediterranean Sea.  These days were filled with taking advantage of learning new languages, eating, relaxing in the hot tub, meeting our fellow cruisers, listening to great jazz music, and dressing up for exquisite dinners. 

Oh, I must mention, aside from the exotic ports of call, one of the most exciting part of the cruise was the broadway style show after dinner. In Cirque style, there were aerial performers (which I LOVE) and other dancers in flamboyant costumes.  This show was world-class!  This voyage was definitely off to a great start.

First Stop – Athens

The weather was slated to be clear and hot for our  first stop – Athens, Greece.  Boy, was the weatherman ever wrong!! On our way to the Acropolis, it started to drizzle.  But that didn’t stop our adventure.  The taxi dropped us off and we were headed up the steep pathway to see this ancient wonder of the world. Finally making it to the top, we also treated to a spectacular overview of Athens and the Parthenon. At this point, it started to POUR!!!  There was no place to take cover.  Luckily, we saw friends with umbrellas who gladly escorted us down the hill.  From there, we got a taxi and went back to the ship…So much for a day in Athens.

Next stop??  Onward to Ancient Empires

Words cannot express the awe I felt traveling through the Holy Land and following in the footsteps of St. Paul in Ephesus, Turkey.  Imagine my excitement seeing the magnificent Pyramids of Giza and standing right next to the Sphinx.  I actually envisioned the baby Moses sailing down the Nile River in his basket.  Definitely an impressive journey!  

Here is a challenge – Can you name the site/locations captured in the photos below? (hint – mouse over the pic for the location).

Wait!!   There’s more…But, it will have to wait until my next post.
Be Blessed ’til then!
-A

Hi All,

It has been just over a month since my sabbatical started…and I have no regrets! You might be wondering how the finances are coming along. Well, it has been interesting not having an actual check being automatically deposited into my account. My main concern lately has been ensuring that I am getting the most for my money. For example, my homeowners insurance was up for renewal and the policy increased. This was unacceptable.  So, I started to rate search and found a better policy for far less money. It pays to shop around.

Other bills are pretty much the same. I did have some unexpected purchases to help my nephew out with his college expenses. Thank God I set aside a little for events such as this from the beginning.  One thing for sure is that I wish I could find a better option for tv. Seems like out of all the channels, there is never anything on worth watching! Bummer. They need to have an “a-la-carte” option. In any case, I am still watching what I buy and monitoring my accounts accordingly. So, planning is still key.

Oh – I forgot to mention that Cabo is back on for October. WOO HOO!!!!

Last week was busy as well. I spent it preparing for my Wall of Honor induction ceremony.   In addition to being inducted, I was also selected to give a speech at the ceremony.  Being pretty shy and quiet, this was a huge step out of my comfort zone.  But, I believed God gave me the right words to share with those present.

As it turned out, everyone loved the speech! I was so excited.  Having my friends and family there made the night so special. Several friends even placed notes of congratulations in the ceremony booklet – making the event even more spectacular and memorable. Thank you all! I love and appreciate each and every one of you.

Here is a picture from the ceremony.

Wall of Honor Wall of Honor

 Inspiration – “It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”  Henry James

Be blessed beyond measure!

-A

Last night, I was glued to the tv watching Michael Jackson’s funeral.  He was such an awesome entertainer. I  remember hearing that he wrote down a goal to sell over 25 million records with Thriller and posted the note on his mirror so that he could see it daily. True or not, this really inspired me. We know that Thriller went on to be the best selling album in history and launched Michael into Super Stardom!! 

A mentor and friend of mine, Darlene, was laid off from her job as an engineer with an MBA several years ago.  She was introduced to a business a few months prior, but didn’t really take it seriously. When she got laid off, things changed. With only a little in savings, this smart classy woman decided to make the business work. It had to work! She stepped out, never looked back, and became a very successful insurance entrepreneur.  This week, Darlene passed away.

After high school, my younger brother Kevin, took a job as a night security guard. But he knew that he loved big trucks as a child and that God had a plan for his life. Kevin did something radical. With no money, he gathered his stereo equipment and sold it all to get tuition money for truck driving school. He graduated the top driver in his class, with many accolades and kudos from the instructors! Furthermore, God used his time on the road as a venue to inspire and encourage many people he met along the way. Kevin also became an ordained minister.  He passed away at the young age of 30.

Rev. Kevin A. Petitt Rev. Kevin A. Petitt

As I sit here and think about these wonderful inspirational people, I just wanted to spotlight each of them as an example to illustrate that life is precious and can be so short. They were each faced with a decision that propelled them to the next level in their lives.

Being on sabbatical is giving me an opportunity to really focus and gain clarity on things that are really important to me. Not that I didn’t know before, but to really take some time to be free of stress and the daily grind. Some people have a balance without leaving their jobs. I applaud them. For a long while, I would be at work dreaming that I was somewhere else. Finally, I was at a point wherein I was virtually compelled inside to leave. So, I left. This is so out of my comfort zone, but I know this is a defining moment in my life.

Inspiration- “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…What do people get for all their hard work? God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end…And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God…God’s purpose in this is that people should fear him.” Ecclesiates 3:1-14

Be blessed!

-A

By Elizabeth Pagano (Aug. 27, 2009 yoursabbatical.com)  http://blog.yoursabbatical.com/2009/08/27/itll-be-no-small-sabbatical-for-angela-petitt/

It began in Italy a week ago. What’s to come: more travel; volunteer work, both locally and abroad; church mission work; and, possibly, starting up a business. At 41, Angela Petitt left her job as a business systems analyst with Waste Management’s corporate office in Houston, TX, to embark on a sabbatical. “I felt it was time to step out, take control, and do something different for a change,” she says. She had been with the company almost four years.

I remind her that we’re living in hard times, with the end (if you believe it) of the recession just a few days old. “Many of my colleagues and friends think I am crazy for resigning right now. I still have bills and a mortgage, and I help support my college-aged nephew,” Angela says. “But I don’t want to look back on my life and have regrets in the future. I like the saying ‘If not now, when?’ Thoughts of taking a sabbatical kept coming up in my mind so much that I had to take the leap to see what all is out there.”

She began saving a year ago for her sabbatical. “This was huge for me. I’ve very conservative and frugal.”

After six months, she intends to return to work, either to a new business or to another company. “I believe that the sabbatical will give me a different perspective on things and that new perspective will make me a better person,” Angela says. To follow Angela on her sabbatical, visit her blog on our site. We hope her time off creates new thinking and unexpected opportunities!

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