Postcard From the Caribbean

I am so happy, it’s obnoxious.

Seriously, if I just met me? I’d be a little put off, BECAUSE I’M SO DANG HAPPY!!!

There is nothing like tropical sunshine, gorgeous blue water and shameless pampering to turn me into a big ol’ contented cow.

(Literally. I think my dessert count last night at dinner was 3: one crepes suzette, one chocolate souffle and one mango sorbet– just to cleanse my palate, of course.)

We spent yesterday at Half Moon Cay, which is a private island in the Bahamas that is owned by the cruise company. This is always Charlotte’s favorite stop, because it is literally just one big beach, and there is nothing that child loves more. I’m not even going to try to explain how beautiful it all is, I’ll just show you:

**The girls call the color of this water “Gatorade blue”.

**Here is a shot of our ship, the Westerdam, taken from onboard the tender we took over to Half Moon Cay. The girls call it the “Westerdarn” or the “Hamster Dance.” OK, I think the girls are funny.

**Mark Lowry mugging with Madi and Char on our way to the beach, to the great amusement of the other passengers.

**Charlotte perched on a fake croc in Half Moon Bay.

**And in the Ironic Photo Department, we have Madi getting the best of a shark for a change.

**Russ loves him some Gloria.

**Some of the lush tropical flora…

**Here are Mark, David, Gloria and Russ doing what they love best– solving the world’s problems and talking about God. This particular segment (of what has been about a 10 year ongoing conversation) covered everything from post-modernism to Darwinism to God’s amazing grace. If you ever get a chance to be a fly on the wall to one of these, you will definitely learn something! Luckily, Mark and I are there to occasionally bring the silly. It’s kinda our ministry.

Today we were in Turks and Caicos, another impossibly beautiful island paradise. Madi and I did some stroll-by shopping at a little open-air market and then we all got too much sun on the beach. It looked like this:

**Walkway from the ship to the beach.

**Madi taking pictures for her Photography class.

**Charlotte discovered the joys of corn and crab chowder in a bread bowl.

**Madi wasted away again in Margaritaville. (Relax, it’s a virgin colada!)

**My beach hat kind of sums up how I’m feeling this week…

Madi is going to take some concert shots tonight, so I’ll try to add those soon. The new GVB sounds unbe-stinkin’-lievable and there seems to be a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement in the air. Bill, Gloria and all of the other artists just might possibly be as obnoxiously happy as I am these days! More soon– miss you guys.

12 Responses

  1. arkfarmgirl

    Okay gal….you can probably see me glowing green from envy all the way from Hot Springs…..had to wait for your pictures to load, as I was building a fire in the woodburning stove to keep from freezing my booty off! And expecting rain on top of the cold! ARGH!!!

    Loved seeing your pictures….you guys look so happy, and that makes me smile!

    Have enough fun for me and Amy as we suffer through here!
    Love ya loads…..
    Your niece’s Mom

  2. Ballewmusicman

    WOW–It looks like you are having a blast Tori!!! I so wish Russ had reunited with the Vocal Band as well!! It would have been a dream of mine to see Michael and Russ sing together!!
    I am still very pumped about the new group!!! Your girls look like they are having the time of their life!!! I hope you get plenty of rest Tori–you and Russ both deserve it!!!

    Enjoy all the INSATIABLE food too–I know they feed you like no tomorrow.
    Post more pictures girl!! I LOVE IT!!!!!! You and Gloria need to write a song together too.
    2 gifted poets together on one ship–put some lyrics down Tori–LOL!!!!!!

    Have Fun in the Sun

  3. nashbabe


  4. gracelynn


    I have serious teacher burnout here. And that water just looks so beautiful and inviting. Considering that I am more of a mountain person than a beach person, I guess it is unusual for me to wish I was there, huh? Glad that you are all having such an awesome time though. And man do I wish I had Madi’s figure! I haven’t been that size since I was – what? – 2 years old maybe LOL. Love the pic of her taming the shark! I can’t wait until April so I can hear the new GVB. Looking forward to the pics. Have some fun for me too. ;)

  5. emilythemom


  6. carsmith

    Wow……..these pictures are better than a postcard arriving in the mail saying “wish you were here” and we wish we were. I agree, keep em coming. You all look like you are sufferin. Can’t wait to hear the new GVB.

  7. themema

    Tori, keep the comments and pictures coming. Remember you are enjoying this trip for me as well as for yourself! l o l.

  8. jonny

    Thanks for the update! Good to read you are obnoxiously happy, Tori!! I hope it reaches the disgustingly obnoxious happy levels ASAP!! = ) And thanks for the pics!! Your family looks like they too are enjoying themselves a bit = ) I really enjoy the shot of your oldest on top of the shark. It looks so happy finally being forgiven!!! = ) I’m not that familiar with Bill Gaither and friends, but Mike has come up a few times in the videos of Russ I’ve checked out lately. Not sure who David is tho in the “discussion” shot. Probably my ignorance, but he doesn’t seem to resemble others of the Gaither entourage I’ve seen lately. And yes gracelynn, Madi does seem to be keeping herself in the trim, but I wouldn’t be suprised if Charlotte ends up being the heart breaker of the two with that smile & those big brown eyes of hers = )

  9. BrownEyedGirl

    Wow! Thanks for sharing the pictures! It’s so beautiful there!
    I look forward to some concert pictures!

  10. auburn60

    Random responses in no particular order:

    I swear Charlotte looks different every picture I see of her. Older. Less ‘little girl’.

    Yea, gracelynn, I prefer mountains to beach also, but would love to be on that beach for an hour or two. Then I’d be done.

    Love the ‘bandana and sunglasses’ look David is rocking–but glad my son did not see it. He is currently wearing a bandana around his neck and his sleeves rolled up to show off his ‘guns’. Don’t ask. This kid is aging me.

    Love corn and crab ANYTHING. Chowder,boiled…any way you want to make it for me.

    I want to see Madi bite the shark. I think it would be very therapeutic.

    While you are basking in the sun, I went to Gatlinburg over the weekend with 50 something teenagers, promptly got sick and spent the rest of the weekend in my hotel in bed and drove home Sunday morning in the snow.

    But I’m still happy, too. I think it’s the meds.

  11. Phyllis R

    Kewl, I just knew the new lineup for the GVB would be good. Still miss Russ singing with them though. :) I agree with auburn60, Madi needs to take a big ole hunk out of that shark…you know…show ‘em who’s boss. :) Charlotte looks content with her new found likes.
    Keep the pics coming…love ‘em.

  12. belinda

    Glad everything is going great. Tell Madi I am jealous of her tan! I am ready for some good ole sunshine myself! Enjoy! Keep those pictures coming our way, we love them!

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