Published on December 7, 2021

God put us in touch with couple on cruise to share His message

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

Much to my husband’s dismay, an offer appeared in my email from Carnival Cruise Lines inviting us to a four-day cruise to Cozumel.

With the fervor of a used car salesman on steroids dismally looking at his end-of-month sales, I explained to him that the email seemed like a personal invitation from a long-time friend who simply couldn’t be ignored.

As I elaborated on the financial dynamics, I felt it best to downplay the fact that we have already had three vacations since August. Negotiators know their last point resonates longer, so I delivered what I hoped would be the coup de grace: “We recently spent more on a one-night hotel room than our combined tickets.”

It’s hard to ascertain if my profound reasoning or the need for peace and quiet was his motive for capitulation. Nonetheless, this article is being brought to you with sandy feet from Cozumel.

We ask God to make our cruise meaningful by divinely placing “God Encounters” in our path.

The first time we laid eyes on who was to become our “God encounter” for the latest cruise didn’t register as anything more than a pleasant social greeting by the elevator.

Our number was called, and we were the first to be seated at a large round table with nine chairs.

You never know who will fill the remaining chairs, and to our surprise, it was our “encounters” from the elevator.

By the end of the meal, we knew Kelley and Travis were going to be God’s gift to us on this cruise. What was left now was seeing how the Lord was going to orchestrate it.

When it was time for the evening meal, we headed to the Blush dining room. The restaurant is two stories with hundreds of tables on each level. Our server seated us just as our God encounter walked by. Within minutes, they returned to our table and asked us to join them since their girls had sought dinner elsewhere. We then learned their names were Kelley and Travis. They live in Odom, Texas, in a 100-year-old house.

Like my husband and I, their personalities were also on opposite ends of the spectrum. Kelley is vivacious, and her vitality lights up a room. She is blessed with an insatiable desire to smile and greet everyone. Travis takes it much slower, but once engaged, he can run the distance in conversations.

We laughed, ate, and moved with the ease of old friends as we marveled where the Lord had stepped into their lives. They shared how He had opened doors for them professionally that no one else could have opened. We gave glory to God for orchestrating Kelly’s rise in accounting to her current level of expertise, and for Travis’ impressive position as purchasing manager.

As only God can do, they invited us to step deeper into their lives as the evening meal stretched to two and a half hours. Travis shared with us about his recent heart attacks and the grace of God for him still being here.

As the moon rose, the men turned their attention to their shared military experiences. Kelley and I moved to more pressing issues: losing pandemic pounds and the perfect size for earrings. You may be relieved to know the consensus on both issues was bigger is better.

Too soon it was the last day, and we shared contact information and gave thanks for our “God Encounter,” which as always, was our coup de grace.

Just in case bigger may not always be better… there’s always soup!

Cauliflower Soup


½ Cup of Butter, divided
½ Onion, diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
1 Carrot, finely diced
1 Large Cauliflower, diced roughly
7 Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Cup of Half and Half
2 Cups Milk
3 Teaspoons Salt
6 Tablespoons of Flour
1 ¼ Cup Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste


Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a soup pot. Add the diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and the parsley and stir and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and bring to a gentle simmer for two minutes. Add the milk and whisk well. Remove from the heat and add the Half and Half.

Pour flour mixture into the broth mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the sour cream and two ladles of hot soup broth. Stir well and pour into the soup.

You can lighten the calories by using reduced-fat dairy products.

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)