Finding joy in the journey

finding joy in the journeyOur family went on a summer vacation to Alaska a few years back.

I assumed it would be easy finding joy in the journey: Family, cruise, new shores to explore!

What’s not to love?


According to WeatherSpark, we would be enjoying daytime July temps of 63 degrees or so.

However, our reality looked a lot like this:

 weather forecast iphone wm


Cool temperatures and rain, too. On a week long cruise through the Inside Passage.

Well, at least we wouldn’t have to fight for lounge chairs on the deck. :-)


lounge chairs empty deck wm


Or for space in the pool (can you see the little whitecaps sloshing over the far end?):


cruise ship pool waves wm


Our trip quickly became an exercise in focus: Where I do look to find the good?

For some, it was a real stretch:


teens bored wm


Meanwhile, my Too Darn Happy self was thinking, “We are on a CRUISE TO ALASKA with 37 family and friends!! What’s NOT to enjoy?”

Let’s just say that sentiment is to be shared sparingly.

It tends to be as welcome as a crowing rooster on a weekend in the suburbs.

That being said, there was beauty—and joy—everywhere, if you knew how to see:


Alaska Cruise View thru the floor wm


Another passenger beat me to the punch finding joy in the journey when he assembled this amusing montage.

I thought the quote nicely summed up our time on the boat. We always, always found reasons to laugh, in spite of the weather:


Cruise vacation laughter wm


Of course, no vacation would be complete without a BIG FAMILY PHOTO to commemorate our trip.

Having gotten very dressed up, herded by previous cruise photographers, and paying a ransom to do so in the past, we thought it would be more fun, thrifty, and easy if we did it ourselves.

Thankfully, on our way back to Vancouver we hit a few hours of mild weather.

We decided gathering on the upper deck before dinner was just what we needed for the photo and our spirits.

The excitement was palpable:


cruise group photo wm-1


Maybe we misjudged the fun and easy part.

Ah, the joy of having a large family, attempting to round them all up, beat them into submission encourage them to joyfully take their places, and yet still have them smiling for the photo.

And especially not have them throw the photographer—me—overboard when the event is complete.

They didn’t, I’m happy to say. :-)


cruise group photo wm-3


I had a photography instructor who taught me to see, for which I am so grateful.

His greatest gift, though, was one that turned out to be not just a photography lesson, but a foundational insight on finding joy in the journey:


I only need to be willing to change my point of view, either with my feet or in my mind, to see what I am missing.


There are as many opportunities to get annoyed as there are seconds in the day.

By the same token, it’s those same opportunities that offer the potential for something much better.

It’s up to you to change your perspective to see what joy you might be missing.


Question: How are you finding joy in the journey lately?

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  1. Yep – it is all a matter of perspective. Expectations can be the greatest source of encouragement too… when you’ve been planning and hoping and anticipating. I’m afraid I’m “guilty” on the “bad mood when on vacation and there is rain”… great reminder!
    Seana turner recently posted…YOU Are The Role ModelMy Profile

    • That’s a great observation, Seana. Setting expectations can be so important! We always taught our girls that no matter what the weather, situation, etc, we would find a way to have a great time. Glad you enjoyed this, and thanks for leaving your thoughts!

  2. Hey Kim,

    You guys took 37 family and friends on an Alaskan cruise? Oh my goodness, I know how expensive that can be. Our family went back in 2000 but we went the last week in May, first part of June and although it rained on us the entire way to Juno, once we pulled into the dock it was beautiful sunny weather the entire rest of the cruise. We did learn though that it rains like 286 days out of the year so for the most part you’re going to get rainy weather.

    Hope you guys, being all together, definitely found some fun things to do on the ship itself. That’s what is great about cruising, there is usually so much to do. I wouldn’t have been happy about the weather either but you’re there, you’re together and it’s a whole week.

    Hope there will be sunnier vacations in the future Kim.

    Adrienne recently posted…How To Use Images On Twitter And WhyMy Profile

    • Haha, yes, it does rain a lot in Alaska. Somehow we missed that handy bit of information during our research.
      We did have fun, and have had many entertaining family gatherings since. Thanks for coming by, Adrienne!

  3. I think this is my absolute dream. Many loved ones on a journey to my biggest bucket list place!
    I get it – about finding joy in the journey and in the rain, and in many hidden places.
    Love this.
    Tamara recently posted…Why Is Kindergarten Such A Big Deal?My Profile

    • I wouldn’t have guessed this was my biggest bucket list place, Tamara! The opportunities for photography were absolutely endless. If we go back, my husband and I agreed we’d do a land trip. Although cruises are amazing, we just didn’t have enough time on land to really take our time to hit the places we wanted to go.
      I hope you make it one day! Always enjoy seeing your smiling face here!

  4. Such a positive perspective on what could have been a miserable vacation–especially since “misery loves company” and since you obviously had some unhappy teen campers, who likely would have preferred being back home and “cruising” with their friends!
    I love the photos and the quote from your photography teacher. Nice job all around, Kim!
    Vivi recently posted…How to Relax and Feel Inspired in Under 10 MinutesMy Profile

    • Hi Vivi! Glad you enjoyed the positive perspective. Yes, the teens weren’t happy at first, but they came around, thank goodness. :-) Thanks for your kind words!

  5. I can tell that you find joy in your journey. I try to be on the more optimistic side of my life adventures. I loved your family picture and I imagine that you did find some fun things to do on the cruise even though it was raining. I do know that cruises have great food and entertainment.
    Our Family reunions are always a challenge with all the different age groups and many teenagers. There are moments when I wonder if it is all worth it; but then I see all those cousins playing together it’s worth it all. We have one planned for this year and there will be a total of 45 of us. Getting a picture is a big challenge.
    Blessings for this one!
    Living Waters by LeAnn recently posted…What A Roller Coaster Ride~My Profile

    • That’s a great point, LeAnn! It can be really challenging to please everyone at a reunion, but the relationships are worth it! I remember being a bit resentful myself as a teen, I’m embarrassed to say.

      As the unofficial photographer for family gatherings for the last decade, I can absolutely agree that getting everyone to agree to a portrait is a challenge. I find invoking the heads of the family-grandparents, parents, etc, often carries more weight than me saying I want a picture of all of us. And ALWAYS long after the blustery “I don’t want my picture taken” protests have faded, everyone enjoys looking back at the pictures. Funny thing, that. :-)
      Enjoy your reunion!

  6. {Melnda} Beautifully written. I can’t tell you how hard it is for my to adjust my mindset when things don’t go according to MY plan. But often, that’s where God works the most…. in the unexpected. If we’re willing to lay down our agenda.

    Thank you for your encouragement on my blog today … so nice to have the wisdom and voice of someone who has been there, done that. So great that you’re adult daughter lent her perspective. As a mom who is still in the thick of it, nice to see it pays off! :)
    Mothering from Scratch recently posted…3 gifts our kids miss when life’s too easyMy Profile

    • Yes, that is exactly where God works the most, Melinda. Sometimes it’s so hard to see the what or why, and I can be so impatient to know, see, and move ahead.

      You are most welcome. I didn’t have a lot of mentors beyond both sets of grandparents when our children were young. Thankfully, they were terrific, and I love continuing to share the wisdom and encouragement for the moms who are coming up behind me.

  7. Hi Kim – Thanks for this good reminder that our attitude determines most of how things turn out. I tend to be very disappointed by bad weather, esp. on vacation, so I really need to watch myself with that. Thanks so much for sharing this with Let’s Get Real. I’m pinning it to our group board on Pinterest.
    Gaye recently posted…3 Ways to Make Time for Exercise – When You Don’t Have Time to ExerciseMy Profile

    • Thanks for inviting me to your linkup and for pinning my post to your group board.
      It’s always surprising how much our attitude impacts everything, like exercise. :-( That’s one area I need to work on still.


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