Freedom Lifestyles Archives

River Cruises Vs Big Ship Cruises

The cruise we just returned from was our first ever river cruise. I thought I’d write an article on river cruise vs big ship cruises for those of you that may not have river cruised. Being our first, we had no idea what to expect.

One of the big differences was it’s a much smaller setting on a river boat, with only about 200 guests and 80 staff vs 2,000- 4,000 and up on a bigger ship. On a big ship, every time you leave the ship, there are long lines, you are told to scan out and also bring your passports. We were very surprised to be told to please leave our passports in the safe and not to take them ashore as they would not be needed in Europe.

One lady asked what would happen if she got arrested. The program director laughed and said, “just don’t break the law”. He also said, the reason not to bring them to shore was it was the holiday season and should you lose them, it would be almost impossible to find a US Embassy open to get a replacement to go home. You do need a passport to leave the country.

We also found it very very laid back. Prior to finding our schedule change, I let the front desk know I would be expecting a friend to meet me in Speyer, when I was out on a tour and asked if they could board to wait on me, and they said absolutely, and took down their name. That would never happen on a big ship.

When we left the ship we just had to turn in our room keys at the front desk. They changed them for cards with our name, the ship name and a number for us to call if we got lost. When we came back we traded them back for our room keys. This way, they knew if everyone was on board. I thought that was kind of cool

Also they had a dinning room, and an upstairs lounge. You could eat upstairs for breakfast and lunch or downstairs, all your choice. It was nice because you got to come in and sit with different people, and because it was a small ship, you made lots of new friends. On bigger ships, people tend to come with big groups, so it’s harder to meet people or see the same people more than once or twice. On this ship there is only 2 places to go at night, dinner, or upstairs to the lounge area for the events or entertainment of the night. We made a lot of new friends.

River cruising is more relaxed. At first look at prices it appears to be a little higher than big ship cruising but there are just not all the extra add ons you have on the bigger ships. For example, on a big ship, all wine, beer, coke and even water in bottles are charged extra. On our river cruise we were left a plate of cookies and snacks in our room, as well as a refrigerator and free bottles of water. Also at all meals, wine, beer and cokes were included.

On a bigger ship if you want to take an excursion, you order and pay for them. On the river cruise in every port there was an automatic excursion either by bus or walking tours but you did not pay extra. You could opt out to see the city on your own or take the free tour. There also was a couple of extra type tours you could purchase after the original one if you chose to or if not you had free time in that city.

I’ve taken probably 2-3 dozen cruises on 4 or 5 different lines. I think the river cruise was the most fun and interesting of them all, because we saw other countries and cultures and even when we were sailing there were lots of sites to see along the river and narrated explanations on what we were seeing if you were upstairs, so it was like a another tour.

We also had the opportunity to meet and get to know more people. It was interesting to me that about 80% – 90% on our tour were from the USA. Since we all came the farthest that was quite a surprise.

The downside is the long long flights to get there and get home. Even though we traveled first class, we found it very tiring. I could not even imagine a flight this lone in the back section with the small seats and no way to make your chair into a bed. WE opted to make our own flight arrangements that way we could shop the air prices and pick our schedules. If you opt for them to do it, you had to go on their schedule.

If you’ve never river cruised, I would highly recommend it for a truly fun and relaxing vacation.

One place on my bucket list yet is to see Australia, but after this long flight, I’m going to have to figure a way to either cruise over and fly only one time, with long stops along the way or a round trip 6 month cruise. I don’t think I’d want to take a flight that long 2 times in the same month. I think when I do Australia, I will cruise over, stay a few weeks, then fly back to Hawaii, stay a few days, stop in LA for a few days and then fly home. That way I can rest up between flight.

All in all, I’m thankful to finally get to see some of the world.


End Of Another Year

We are approaching the end of another year. Years seem to be flying by. In just a few short hours now we will be welcoming in 2013.

How was your 2012? Did you have a wonderful year?

What are your plans for coming year? This is the time of year that people start to make all sorts of resolutions. Some want to lose weight. Others want to make more money. Others vow to work harder, do more and change their lives.

I see people with a list of things they want to change every January. They start off with all good intentions, yet, somehow by February or March, those resolutions are long forgotten as they fall in to the same old ways. Does that sound familiar?

How about you? As we get to the end of another year, how will you make the next year better? IF you do plan to make resolutions, be sure to chart a course that will carry you thru the year, and keep you on track. Resolutions are great, but we all no many people with good intentions. Intentions won’t get you anywhere. It takes action, to get the job done.

I’d like to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. May 2013 be the best year ever.


Another Year Will Soon End

Well, another year will soon end. Tomorrow we will be the last day for 2012.. I guess the Myans were wrong. If you’r reading this you and I are both still around. Was 2012 a good year or bad year for you?

This year was a mixture of highs and lows for us. We did a bit more traveling than normal. Were making up for the lost years when we couldn’t afford the time or money to go. I was up in Minnesota for a month early in the year as my son in law had kidney surgery. I went up to help with the grandkids.

We got home back for about a month and then headed out to Vegas for a convention. We stayed over after the convention to spend time with some of my team and also see the Grand Canyon. It was a lot of fun. From there my husband flew to Minneapolis for Fathers Day and I went home.

He was home for a few days when we took a flight to Seattle and spent time with some other team members, and then took an Alaskan cruise. It was our 3rd Alaskan cruise and we plan to do it again as It’s one of our favorites.

I also took a road trip for an event in North Carolina with some of my team mates and had a great time. Hubby went hunting at his hunt camp a couple of times.

I went to Minnesota for Thanksgiving, and also to help out the kids as my grandson broke his leg at school. I did some holiday shopping and my husband flew up later, to stay with my grandson when I came back.

In December we ended the year by going to Europe and taking a river cruise to see the Christmas Markets. If you’re following my blog I’ll be writing about the trip in 2013. It was our first ever river cruise, and it was very different from big ship cruises. Other than the LONG LONG LONG plane trip, it was very pleasant and much more laid back than big ship cruising. They also had a lot of the side trips built in and they served, wine, beer, and coke with meals so they didn’t nickel dime you to death like the bigger ships. We liked it so well we plan to pick another trip and go again sometime next year.

Traveling where high notes, the low notes we had to put our beloved dog Coco down. He was 17, and had gone blind and was going down hill. He had little strength left and it was so sad to see him suffer. We miss him greatly. Because we loved him so much, we had had to let him go rather than see him struggle. He had no quality of life left, so it was very sad.

So 2012 for us was good and bad. How about you?


You Made it.

Today is December 22, or the day AFTER the world ended. If you’re reading this you made it. You are a survivor. The Mayan Calendar was wrong.

Now it’s time to start thinking about your future. Are you any better off today, than you were last year? If not, why not? Also, if not, what will you do to change things in the coming year?

Time to give it some serious thought.


Become A Rock Star

Do you want to build a great business and become a rock star? Are you willing to do what it takes to succeed and get there?

Your ride to the top, will be full of ups and downs. Just think of it like a roller coaster. If you’re on a roller coaster and you hit the bottom, do you jump off or do you stay on the climb the next hill?

When you start your new business, it takes time. There is no fast way to go. If you plan to go super fast, play to do it in 60-90 day spurts. After that reward yourself, take a breather and do another sprint. If you try to give up everything because you are excited about your business, and you attempt to go super fast you will also burn out super fast.

Life is about balance. If you want to become a rock star, you have to balance your life. Learn to be consistent, over time.

Have you ever watched water run down from the top of a mountain? I was just on a cruise recently where we cruised thru mountains that had glaciers on top. It was summer so some of the snow turned into water and it was running down into the water. I could clearly see that this must have taken place year after year, as the rock face of the mountain now had streams from the water pounding down over all that time.

It must have taken hundreds of years to develop those carvings in the rock for the water to flow down each year. Your business does not need to take hundreds of years, but it does require commitment to doing activities over a period of years.

Give yourself time. Plan to work your business for a few years. Stick with it and be consistent and if you want to you can become a rock star. Remember, it starts and ends with you.


Is Network Marketing For You?

I’m very grateful for my life today. That was not always the case. I was a stay at home mom We were happy but lived from paycheck to paycheck and there was never enough money to go on vacations or do anything extra.

Once my children entered school, we found the school system in our state not the best, so I went to work part time to pay for a private school for them. Once they got older, I decided to find a great full time job with benefits. I found a wonderful company within a mile of my house and took a traditional JOB.

Things were looking up and we had a little more income so we could do a little more. After about 8 or 9 years, things started to change. They layoffs started. WHile I didn’t get laid off, each week they would walk out 40 or 50 people. Because it was in the defense contracting industry, they would pay them 2 weeks severance pay, but they had to leave the day they came to tell them. Over the next couple of years, the company went from 2700 down to about 800 people, and everyone was doing the work of 2 or 3 people. I went from a fun 8-5 job to one that was more like 7 or 7 or even later, sometimes 6 or 7 days a week.

I began to search for a way out, and got introduced to Network Marketing. At the time, I had No experience or no clue if this was good or bad. I only knew that the job world was not working and I didn’t want to end up dead or dead broke.

So I went to work, studied and taught myself to become independent. I made mistakes along the way but learned from them and moved to the next step and the next.

Today, my children are grown, and I have 5 grandchildren (3 in college). Because of the NWM industry, I have true freedom. I am able to vacation, and come and go as I please.

I always wanted to travel and see the world. I’ve been all over the USA, seeing many places. I’ve been to Alaska (my favorite) 3 times, on Alaskan Cruises. I’ve been to many other countries and seen some very amazing sites. As I’m sharing this, I’m getting ready to take a Rhine River Cruise thru Amsterdam and Germany.

My life is much different. I can come and go and still have an income that is much greater than back when I was working 60-70 hours a week. I have no debts. I drive the car I choose and I’m able to help others reach their dreams.

I’m thankful for Network Marketing. Is network marketing for you? Only you can find out.

You may have heard NWM doesn’t work, but I can tell you different. It works IF you work. It does take work and effort. It does not make you rich just joining company after company. It does not work if you are not willing to work it. However If you are willing to work, it can work for you as it has for me.

There is life and hope outside the traditional JOB world. It worked for me and it can work for you if you start to dream again. If you want to read more about me, click here to visit my web site


Hobby Lobby Stores

I received a disturbing letter that shows us all where our country is headed today. I checked on Snopes to see if it was true, and unfortunately it was. Perhaps we should all start to pay more attention before we see more of this.

A Letter from Hobby Lobby Stores CEO
By David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word. From there,Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby � and my family � are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American � and no American business � should have to make.
The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.

Since you will not see this covered in any of the liberal media, pass this on to all your contacts.
David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.


What’s Your Plan For the Future?

Elections are over. The future as we know it is changing forever. What’s your plan for the future of your life and family.

Have you given the future any thought? It’s time to start thinking and planning? I firmly believe life as we once knew it is going away forever. Jobs will be disappearing and it’s time to get busy working your own plan. Don’t expect anyone to take care of you.

Our government is broke. You’ll need to create your own plan for the future. Start thinking about what that will be now before it’s too late.



One of my favorite places to visit is Alaska. To me, Alaskan cruises are the most fun way to see the most without running into the wilderness. I’m not much of a camper so I prefer the comforts of a cruise.

We just returned from our 3rd Alaskan Cruise. This one was round trip from Seattle. In the past, we also took one round trip from San Francisco, as well as a Land/Sea cruise starting in Anchorage, and ending in British Columbia, Canada.

We plan to go again in 2014 and do another land/sea cruise as a group. IF you’ve ever wanted to see Alaska and want to join our group, let me know and I’ll send you details when we’re all booked.

The Land/Sea cruise gives you the best of both worlds. If you do decide to take that one, be sure to do the land part first. The land part is very busy, with you moving from place to place and by the time you reach the ship you are ready to relax.

This time we took just the cruise. We started in Seattle, then went to Juneau for an entire day. In Juneau, I took the Roberts Tramway to the top. They had a great Alaskan store up there, that had lots of great things made in the USA. They also had a greenhouse type store, and an Eagle.

There is a restaurant up there, and also a free show and tour of Alaska. The show was excellent and I highly recommend it. My husband chose to go on a float plane out in the wilderness and fish. I prefer shopping any day to fishing. While he enjoyed fishing, he did say he got stuck in MUD up to his knees 2 times and had to be helped out. That does not sound like fun at all to me.

We also visited Skagway, where we took the White Pass Rail into Canada. After the train, we got off and took a bus back down the famous Klondike Highway, seeing many great sites. We stopped for lunch at a organic place where they grow all their food. It was called Jewel Garden and was right on the edge of town. We then had a tour of their garden, and their glass blowing area. They make some unique things.

We ended our trip by getting off in downtown Skagway to shop and return to our ship. Skagway is my favorite of all the Alaskan towns, it’s very unique.

Next we visited Ketchikan, however we docked at 6 AM and were going to have to be back onboard at 11. I’m not much of a morning person so elected not to get off this time. My husband elected to go fishing again as he doesn’t mind getting up that early. I’ve been to Ketchikan on other cruises and I do love the town but have seen it before. Knowing it’s the rainiest of towns, I didn’t see any point in getting rained on that early in the morning.

Because this cruise was from Seattle, we had only a short time there as we had to take off for Canada. All ships leaving the USA, MUST stop in a foreign port, before they are allowed back in the states.

If you’re visiting Alaska for the first time I definitely recommend taking a cruise. It gives you the best of all worlds.


How You Fix Congress

I received the following email. Not sure who came up with this idea but my hat is off to them. I totally agreee. How about you?

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!
The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective12/1/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?


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