Happy BIG 5-0 to my friend, Stephanie!

This is my dear friend Stephanie.  And today is her birthday.  Her 50th, to be exact.

We have been friends for years, and she’s like a sister to me.  Several years ago, she, our dear friend Amy, and I were talking, and we decided that it would be fun to go on a cruise for Stephanie’s 50th birthday.  It seems like that plan was made a long time ago – but 2012 rolled around, and that’s exactly what we did!  We had a blast and made memories that will last a lifetime! 

{We were on the cruise at the same time the cruise ship from Italy turned over.  Praise God, we didn’t even know about it until we were back in the port!}

This is Amy. Some of you know her as “Frappuccino Fun with Amy” – and I’m STILL hoping she’ll write again for us one of these days:

Amy moved to Merritt Island, FL at just about the same time we moved to MS. She and I hadn’t seen each other since we moved. I’ve missed her presence and influence in my life.

Stephanie’s sister, Janet (who lives in Iowa), also went on the cruise with us. We enjoyed getting to know her!  These are the sisters as we were leaving to shop in Nassau:

Our fun began as we all flew into Orlando and spent the night at Amy’s house. 

Amy is the consummate hostess, so we were greeted with treat buckets filled with items native to her area of Florida {including chocolate covered potato chips – YUM! and a flashy pair of Yellow Box sandals for the cruise.}

Because we were celebrating Stephanie’s birthday, we brought each other “birthday treats”.  The funny thing was that they were all Pinterest – inspired!

I made these t-shirt scarves {I’m addicted now – I’m making one in almost every color scheme). I made Amy and Stephanie’s scarves in their children’s school colors, and made Janet’s in a pretty maroon.

Stephanie made cute quilted luggage tags.

And Janet made these roomy cloth bags {that came in SO handy}, magnets, and the best new thing I’ve ever used: Lotion Bars (see also these instructions). It was so much fun giving out our treats for Stephanie’s birthday!

Before we left Amy’s house the next morning, we had to take a picture of our suitcases – it was just too good to pass up. Look at this:

Can you guess which one is mine? We posed with our luggage just for fun – and anyone that knows us all could easily pair each person with her luggage. My suitcase, btw, is affectionately named “Big Pink”. She and Jesus and I have traveled many miles together!

The thing I still can’t get over is that Janet – with all that she brought to us, plus 3 paper back books, plus clothing for the cruise… Janet packed it all in a backpack! I couldn’t even fit all of my hair and make up paraphernalia in that thing! (And I’m thanking Jesus that I didn’t have to!!!)

Once we got on the boat, we were so busy having fun and relaxing that we didn’t take too many more pictures. The weather was absolutely beautiful! And as far as I’m concerned, we got to do everything I hoped we could: visit and eat… and we did both quite well. 😉 We weren’t into going on excursions on this trip – it was truly all about the fellowship and celebrating the life of our friend.

I took the pic above from a smaller boat that ferried us back and forth from Royal Caribbean’s private island.  Of all we did, that was my favorite day and activity.

We had the sweetest waiters:

And of course, we also had a fab cabin steward who took good care of our rooms and fashioned our towels into creatures like this little pooch:

After lots of cackles, calories, and conversations, we returned to Amy’s house to find that her sweet husband, Richard, had fixed the plate: Welcome (Back) Cruise Girls. 🙂

God was so gracious to us on this trip! He worked out both the tiny and the huge details in such a way that we can only give Him the glory. He did it for Amy, Janet, and me, I know. But more than for us, I think God blessed us all especially for Stephanie’s sake. She is an unselfish servant of the Lord and others, and this trip was God’s special birthday gift to her… an unexpected, but if I may say so myself, a much deserved “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Happy birthday, Stephanie! May God continue to fill, bless, and use you in the next 50 years to come! (Hopefully, we’ll all be cruisin’ in Glory by then!!!)

Love you!

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com