Vacation Day 5

Hello readers,

Today was a day with very little pictures, none of which will be posted today since they include other family members. Anyway, today was quite a restful day. We started off by swimming in the pool, going down the lazy river and my daughter and I played in the water park. No beach trip today, as it rained a couple times but we did play a round of mini golf (which I won. Beat my husband at mini golf for the first time in our fifteen year relationship…so I was pretty proud of myself) and during the second rain we stayed inside and play QuipLash. Then it was time to go out again and try the water slide. I admit with shame, that I just couldn’t get up the two and a half story twisting staircase to go down the water slide. It’s a slow one so I’m told but the height is where I balked. I’ve been told I have to go down tomorrow and my heart is in my throat. I am really, really scared. If you’re a praying person, please pray for courage. It seems small, but I really need to conquer this fear or I can’t help my daughter get over her fears.So, pray for me and wish me luck. Tomorrow I am getting up to the top of that slide and hopefully not passing out halfway down.

Sorry today’s blog isn’t very exciting. It was a fairly relaxing day though. Hard to believe our week of vacation in Cocoa Beach is almost over.

Well, until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

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Vacation Day 4

Dear readers,

Vacation is flying by. From our balcony I can see that the moon is almost full. The sky has a few clouds so hopefully tomorrow will be relatively sunny. This morning my daughter and I went shell seeking on the beach and found some really nice ones. On a hunch we looked between the boulders on the jetty where the tide had gone out and found the biggest non broken shell I have ever seen in Florida, plus a few others. We saw a few seagulls, a pelican and got really close to the same snowy egret I saw yesterday. My daughter tried her hand at photography (and I will post those pictures of course) and after being at the beach for quite a while, dipping our toes in the surf, Grandma and Grandpa walked along the beach toward us and shortly afterward we headed back to the resort so that my daughter could participate in some games. After that we all swam for quite awhile and then enjoyed the lazy river and hot tub. Then there was the kids’ treasure hunt and finally, mini golf. Shortly we will be having dinner and then most of the family will go grocery shopping while I put my daughter in the bath and get her ready for bed. Again, so hard to believe another day has flown by. Very grateful we have two weeks of vacation.

 

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!

Amy McGuire

 

 

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Vacation Day 3

Hello readers,

Today was a quieter day, where I spent a few hours alone on the beach. The weather was mostly cloudy but not too cold or too windy. On the way to the beach on the five minute hike, I saw a Flicker, a few turkey vultures, what could be either a Blue Jay or Scrub Jay but I wasn’t able to get close enough to tell, some white ibises, and I also came across some wonderful flora native to Florida. Allow me to show you some photos below.

The beach was wonderful, with perfect waves, sand as soft and white as snow, a huge flock of pelicans, seagulls taking a bath in the waves and a snowy egret with attitude…well, let me show you some more.

The pelicans have their own home on the jetty here, but I also got close to one and got some amazing shots before heading back so my father in-law and I could pick up my husband from the airport.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good day of bird watching, picking shells up off the beach and getting my feet wet in the ocean before it began to rain. Looking forward to another good day tomorrow.

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Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

 

 

 

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Vacation Day 2

Hello again readers,

Today we drove about twenty minutes to the Merritt Island Wild Life Refuge where we saw several amazing birds: egrets, herons, Roseatte Spoonbills, white and black ibis, pelicans and some huge turkey vultures.

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The weather was perfect and we saw many beautiful palm trees, an orange tree and a tree with red berries on it.

The grasslands and marsh were pretty spectacular too.

Above you can see the drawbridge we got to watch while we were at the Manatee viewing site. Unfortunately, it was too cold for Manatees, but we got to watch the drawbridge going up and down, which was a nice difference from what bridges back in Canada do.

After a lovely day at the Wild Life Refuge, we had a dip on the resort pool followed by a nice relaxing soak in the hot tub. After a lovely dinner of talapia, zucchini and roast potatoes with butter, we enjoyed some homemade brownies and are now watching a Christmas movie from the resort. It’s been another wonderful day of vacation. Hoping to get more done on my book through this week. Wish me luck!

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!

Amy McGuire

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Florida Vacation, Day 1

So, after a twenty hour drive over two days (12 on the first day, 8 on the second) we awoke this morning to a beautiful, sunny and slightly cold day in Cocoa Beach, Florida. By our calculations, it has been about 13 degrees celcius all day but with the wind it has felt closer to 8 or 9. No matter though. We’re Canadians and used to anywhere between 15 and 20 below in January. So, we went to the beach where the seagulls looked sad and the wind tried to blow us backwards. Of course, I got some nice pics. My favourite has to be the thin trail of sand blowing over the hard packed sand after the tide went out. The effect…well, you’ll see. Most spectacular.

 

Almost looks like waves on a calm sea. I’ve never come across this phenomenon, so I snapped a couple quick pics. Here are the waves and seagulls:

Poor, sad seagulls. I felt so bad for them as they looked so cold! So, we lasted about five minutes, maybe ten as we pushed through the wind.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Pretty soon though, my daughter’s feet were cold an the wind was just too much. So, we decided to head back to our resort and on the way stopped for a couple pictures of some Bird of Paradise flowers as well as the traditional hugging of the palm tree.

The tree hugging was for my mom. She always says, “When you go somewhere tropical, hug a palm tree for me.” So, we did. And I think my kid hugging a palm tree is just too cute to resist too.

After our hike to the beach, we came back to the pool, had a long swim followed by a relaxing time in the hot tub and had a late lunch. This is the view of everything from our balcony. Not too shabby.

After our swim, my daughter went with her Grandma to the play place with slides and climbing ladders for about half an hour, then we all (my mother in-law, my father in-law, daughter and I) played a round of mini golf. Surprisingly, I came in second. My daughter beat her grandmother by one point. It was windy and one hole was wet, with an unintentional water trap, so it was quite challenging.

After the game I intended to go to a movie at the on site movie theatre but it turned out I mixed up the schedule, so here I am, finishing off today’s blog before we start to make dinner. Even though we started the day late (we didn’t get on our way to the beach until almost 11am) it’s been a busy, fun day. The weather should still be chilly tomorrow, so we may go to the Ron Jon Surf Shop to see if they still have the shark tank. The sun is starting to set on our first amazing day here and I am quite enjoying relaxing at last. It’s so nice to skip two weeks of winter here in Florida. Very excited about next week, but also very grateful for a week to just relax and enjoy the blessing of our resort.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

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2016 in Review

Hello to all my loyal readers, friends and family.  2016 was a very interesting year in the McGuire family. It started off with the usual kiss from my sweetheart in honour of the anniversary of our engagement, and then we woke up in what would turn out to be a unique year for us. The first thing we did as a family that was noteworthy was to spend two days at Great Wolf Lodge, just my husband, our daughter, myself and my daughter’s 8 year old friend. We were given a coupon to go on this vacation from Christmas and it allowed for a family of four, so, for that weekend at least, we ‘adopted’ my daughter’s friend and brought her along. What a fun weekend. We splashed around in a couple well heated pools, a wading pool and the girls did a water obstacle course. We all took turns on a few of the water slides and took a couple trips on the lazy river (also nicely heated). Our first evening there we all enjoyed a yummy and plentiful buffet followed by some time at the arcade. That night there was a storyteller with animatronic animals in the lobby and the girls got to enjoy an evening of stories and songs with a bunch of other families and their kids. That was quite a fun experience, and by the afternoon of the second day, we were happily worn out.

The day after Great Wolf Lodge, my family came to visit while we celebrated my mom’s birthday with Chinese food. Sadly, my daughter had picked up a stomach bug somewhere along the line, and slept through most of the party in our bed with the door open to the living room so she could at least hear the festivities. That was a sad day for her, but it was made up for many times over throughout the year.

This summer my daughter and I spent a whole day at Canada’s Wonderland, going on a few rides, exploring the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit and seeing a couple fun shows. We went on bumper cars, a few kiddie type rides and I got her on Thunder Run which she wanted to go on again, but the line was much too long and it was the end of the day. Still, for her first time there, I think she had fun. Man did that bring back memories. I have wonderful ones of the times I went to Wonderland in high school with my friends. It was great to see that while there were many new things, many things hadn’t changed. Wonderland was a great day, as were the few times we went the Toronto Zoo. Every time we went, we saw different animals than before and had a wonderful time.

This summer was something new for us too. My daughter went to a week of day camp at one of our local churches and then she spent a whole week of overnight camp at a Christian camp in my old hometown. That was a good experience for her, even if she did get a bit homesick. She made new friends though and really enjoyed the activities, atmosphere and everything they did. Shortly after the week of overnight camp, my daughter, husband and I went down to the camp he volunteers at every summer and spent the week. That was also really nice. I have been volunteering as a cook at this camp every summer and almost wasn’t sure I’d be able to get the time off to go down. But God paved the way, and we did have the chance to go down in August.

A very sad thing happened in June, which has had a ripple effect and is something not everyone in my office has gotten over yet. It was a difficult time before June, as my boss struggled with colorectal cancer, but as mid-June approached, it was easy to see he was fighting a losing battle. So it was that on June 18th, 2016 we said goodbye to one of the best bosses I have ever had, one of the funniest, kindest men you could ever hope to meet, and someone who will be very sorely missed, not only among his family and friends, but by his staff and patients too. Before his passing, he sold our dental practice and from there, things began to change. Not all change is bad of course, but it has been quite the adjustment period and we are all still grieving to varying degrees.

In September my daughter started Grade 3, and to her delight, discovered that she has a favourite teacher from Junior and Senior Kindergarten. Not only that, but she also was in a class with one of her best friends from the year before. So began a really good year for my daughter.

October 21st to the 29th was our big family vacation. My husband’s two sisters, their husbands and kids, my husband’s parents, my husband, our daughter and myself all embarked on the trip of a lifetime. For one week, we spent time together on The Oasis of The Seas, a huge cruise ship (the third largest in the world) in the Royal Caribbean fleet. What a ride! We saw CATS, the Broadway production, Come Fly With Me, another show that was acrobatics, aerobatics and diving, as well as water acrobatics, all in one show, and were dazzled by all these live, incredible performances. The food was incredible, with almost every night our whole family enjoying a fantastic meal in the American Icon Grill, with a funny, helpful, professional waiter. The whole family was treated like royalty the whole cruise. For the most part, we had incredible weather, and the pools (all four of them plus a pool with a current where you simply swam around in circles) and hot tubs (again, four) were never crowded, despite the huge cruise being at capacity. There was a kids’ club that my daughter, niece and nephew went to for a couple hours each day and while they were there, the adults did their own thing. I got a lot of writing done while on board.

And then of course, there were the ports of call. We stopped in Labadee, Haiti (Royal Caribbean’s private island) for a beach day, Falmouth, Jamaica for a shopping day and did our excursions in Cozumel, Mexico as well as some shopping. A more perfect cruise you will never find, from the waiters, to the entertainment on board, to the porters who made up our rooms every day and almost every day left us towel animals. It was a vacation full of wonderful memories that I and my family will cherish forever.

In November my two siblings and I celebrated what we call, ‘The Triple Birthday’ as we do every year. Since my brother and I are only one week apart date wise (I’m the 16th and he’s the 27th) and my sister was born December 9, to save travel since the siblings live in three different places, we all come together for one ‘triple birthday’, usually at my Mom and Dad’s house. This year was no different and yet still special. There was the usual laughter, fun, food and presents and this year we even played a few rounds of Balderdash as we all hung out in my parents’ cozy living room near the pot bellied wood stove. What a wonderful afternoon to evening we had.

Christmas was quite the event this year, as my family celebrated it over four days. First, since Christmas Eve landed on a Saturday and I didn’t have to work, my little family celebrated Christmas then. I got all the presents under our ‘holiday japonica tree’ since our living room is now too small for a Christmas tree. See below.

All the lightest ornaments we could find went on the tree. Fortunately I had a light angel ornament with a battery operated candle in it, so we even got our angel on the top of the tree. It’s a sad little plant, but it still makes me smile. Sometimes you need to get creative when you live in a tiny space like we do. And my husband is very creative. Thanks to him, once we get the ornaments and garland off in a few days, we should start seeing some lovely, rose-like blooms on this plant from January to May. Hopefully. Anyways, so I got all the presents under the tree and my family had our own little Christmas. Christmas Eve in the evening we had our usual church service and then we came home, got my munchkin to bed and I made up my daughter’s stocking so she would still have something to open Christmas morning. Then of course, we had the Christmas Day church service followed by a wonderful afternoon to evening with my dad’s sister, her husband and their family with all the little cousins running around and getting into mischief. Boxing Day we all sat around in our pjs at my sister’s sister in-law’s house eating ham, salad, potatoes and way too much dessert while we all chatted and had a great time. On the 27th we celebrated about 3 and a half hours south of us in my husband’s uncle’s church for my mother in-law’s side of the family to share their Christmas. I have since joked that I could be half Jewish, having celebrated for four days.

Before all the chaos and though, about a week before, my daughter and her younger cousins had a PA day and since neither my mother in-law nor I had to work that day, we all took the subway downtown for a really fun day at Ripley’s Aquarium, where the kids got to put their hands in a shrimp tank, pet sting rays and watch as huge sharks swam over their heads in the shark tunnel.

This evening rounded off the year with a lovely visit with friends. We were invited to a very family friendly New Year’s Eve party where there were games and crafts for the kids, good food, wonderful time with friends and even a video countdown so the little ones would feel a part of the big event. Ironic actually, as my husband is now sawing logs on the couch in front of the TV, my daughter is completely conked and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my eyes open to see 12:01am January 1st. Ah well. Maybe next year we’ll all have the energy to stay up late. For now, I’m going to sign off and wish you and yours a very Happy New Year as you enter 2017.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

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Interview with Author Art Mitchell

To all my loyal readers, family and friends,

I have been quiet on here for a long time, and the reason is something I can finally share with you. I am so excited to tell you that I have been working on a project that is near and dear to my heart: formatting and editing and preparing my father’s memoirs for publishing!  In His Exciting Service officially went live November 18 but it hasn’t had a proper launch, so my dad is here with me to get that underway.  It has taken six years to get to this point and I can’t wait for you all to read my dad’s awesome book.  Before that though, I hope you will sit back, relax and enjoy the following interview with one of the most amazing men I have ever known. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I do author interviews from time to time and I’ve had authors with some pretty amazing books on here. At least one of those authors has gone on to be a bestselling author. I like to think I had a tiny hand in that. Regardless, there is no interview to compare to interviewing one’s own father. This is definitely one for the books (yeah, pun intended).

So, without further ado, I would like you meet Art Mitchell.

McGuire: Hi Art…Poppa.  Not sure what to call you in an interview setting since I’ve never interviewed you before. (laughing) Thanks so much for coming on my blog and telling my readers about your new book, In His Exciting Service.

Mitchell: Thanks for having me. And I go by many names; Pop, Dad, Poppa…Art will do though.

McGuire: Ok. So tell me, for my readers’ benefit, why did you write your life story?

Mitchell:  I suppose one reason for writing this is that I can hardly believe it myself.  As I have shared parts of my life story, which is really the story of what God has done and permitted in my life, it all seems quite unreal.  As a child and as I was growing up I was a proficient liar.  I was good at it.  I lied to make people believe that I was more and could do more than was true.  It’s funny now, as I look back over these 70 plus years, reality has turned out to be a much more fantastic tale than anything that I could have made up back then.  So it is helpful for me to recount all that God has permitted me to experience.

But probably the main reasons for writing this story are Isaac, Keirsten, Aaron and Vesper, my precious grandchildren.  God has taken me through much, although I know He has more to take me through.  He has taught me much, although I know so little.  My story is His-story.  It is the story of His faithfulness, love, mercy, grace, enabling, provision and long-suffering.  It is a heritage that I want to leave for those with whom God has richly blessed me.

McGuire: All wonderful reasons to write your life story. You write a lot of amazing stories of your times in Africa in this book. Was there ever a time you just looked around you, or read over what you’ve written and wondered why God chose you for such an incredible ministry?

Mitchell: I don’t think there is a day goes by that I don’t consciously wonder about that. God could have chosen someone from the “right side of the tracks”, someone qualified, but I think that He just wanted to show people that He could make something out of nothing.

McGuire: In two sentences, how would you sum up your book?

Mitchell: It’s a story of my life from a limited perspective. I am not the hero of my story.

McGuire: In His Exciting Service wasn’t just the title of this book. It was also the complimentary closing of all your newsletters from over 23 years of ministry overseas. Why did you choose that particular phrase?

Mitchell: When I wrote that first newsletter in June of 1972, without thinking a lot about it, I signed it of with “In His exciting service, Art & Willie Mitchell.” I can’t remember exactly why, but I had no idea then the exciting life that God had planned for us.

McGuire: The writing, editing and formatting of your book was very much a ‘labour of love’ and took a dedicated team to get it ready for publication. Was there ever a time you felt like throwing in the towel? If so, how did you get past that?

Mitchell:  I’m not sure that I wanted to “throw in the towel” but many times over the last  years, I didn’t think that it would ever get finished.

McGuire: Getting this book ready for publication was quite a journey. As you were writing, talking to people about the book and all that, was there anything that surprised you?

Mitchell: The thing that surprised me most was that when people heard I was doing it, so many said that they wanted to read it. In the beginning, I thought that I might try to get a dozen copies made for close friends and family. As time went by and more and more people encouraged me to write, I began to write with more than just the grand kids in mind.

McGuire: Thank you so much for coming on my blog and telling us a bit about your book. Before you go, can you tell my readers where they can get a copy?

Mitchell: Well, if you’re local to me in Sutton, Ontario I would be happy to get a copy to you for $22.95 Canadian. If you’re a little farther away, I do have my book on both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. Createspace is also a good place to order my book. In the not too distant future my book will be available in ebook format for Kindle on Amazon. When that’s updated, there will be an updated link or something like that, right?

McGuire: Yes. As soon as the ebook is ready, I will post an updated link on Facebook as well as here on my blog. Thank you again so much for coming on my blog today. I look forward to getting my own book soon!

Mitchell: Thank you for having me.

 

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Art Mitchell was born in Toronto on July 2, 1942. He has lived more ‘lives’ in his 70 plus years than most have in twice the time. God called him to ministry fresh out of the navy and his passion has always been to reach the lost. As a pilot for first Africa Inland Mission, then The Shantymen and finally Mission Aviation Fellowship, he did just that up until he returned home to Canada in 1990. There he continued to minister to others through counseling missionaries back from the mission field or those being sent out. He also made the first prototype Experimental aircraft (the CH 801) to be used in the Amazon while owner of Flypass. Many Christians and non-Christians have been touched by God as a result of Art’s obedience in following the great commission in his community. Father to three, grandfather to four and husband of one, Art embodies Christ to the world around him. His story is one of struggles, redemption and above all, gives glory to God.

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Paperback:

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/6579827

Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/inhisexcitingserviceusa  Amazon.ca http://tinyurl.com/inhisexcitingserviceca

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2he1wLN

As a bonus, I’m adding a picture my dad just sent me today. It’s a real wonderful moment for an author when they can hold a box of books that they wrote themselves.

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