Friday, May 16, 2014

An Unlikely Investment

I remember sitting on a beach in Jamaica with a melted drink of some sort in one hand and a book in the other, taking a deep breath, and letting it out with a smile.  I forced myself to slow down and really take in the experience of doing a whole lot of nothing and loving every second of it.  Evan and I splurged on this all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios for our honeymoon and we told one another it was worth it because we "probably wouldn't get to take a vacation together again for ten years."

What we didn't know then was that putting any vacation, especially one you can't even remotely afford, on a credit card and calling it a splurge that was "worth it," is pretty stupid.  We had to work for years to pay off that single splurge! I also don't think I ever really believed that it would really be a full ten years before we got to take a vacation.  Perhaps my budget-ignorant brain just assumed we would put another trip on plastic and fly off to Florida, California, or Mexico.

But life happened and before we even knew what hit us, the calendar flipped to 2014...the year that we would celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.

Sure, we've taken a weekend or an overnight stay here and there in the last ten years and they have been awesome.  I think Evan and I especially enjoyed our baby-moon in Door County and our time in Chicago, but we have been talking for the last couple years about how nice it would be to really do something intentional for our tenth anniversary.  Something sustained and significant that would be a true investment in our marriage.

Evan's job was transferred.
We sold our house at a loss and moved to a new city.
The furnace died.
Our car quit.
A collision with an F-150 left our minivan totaled.
Hail damage wrecked our roof.

The snowblower incident.

So, yeah.  Unexpected expenses have been adding up over the last two years and it became clear that the vacation we hoped for was not going to happen.  We already had to jump back into the world of consumer debt when we bought a car, so the last thing we wanted to do was whip out the plastic we had worked so hard to destroy.

God has been teaching me this year about gifts.  I've always been the kind who works hard for things and I feel uncomfortable when it's clearly not my birthday and people want to give me things or do things for me without expectation of anything return.  If I took some goofy online quiz, I bet I would be placed in House Lannister because I "always pay my debts."  But this year I have had to accept help from people and I've had to submit to the idea that it is OK to do so and that I don't have to feel guilty about saying "yes" when the gift is offered.  Admitting we need a little help paying for preschool doesn't mean I'm not working hard enough and I need to pick up another shift.  Agreeing to let someone bring me a meal during a stressful time doesn't indicate that I can't manage on my own.  Accepting the help from the women around me doesn't mean I am a failure as a wife, a mom, or a friend.

And when God is the one giving the gift, you have to be humble enough to just accept it and say Thank You.

When our hopes for a vacation were gone and we had resolved to wait until maybe next year or the year after that, the Lord made a way for it to happen.  Friends, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that money pretty much dropped in our laps out of clear blue sky and Evan and I both agreed that we would be stupid not to use some of the blessing as an investment in our marriage.

Giddy at the idea of a vacation, a real vacation, I jumped into planning with a frenzy.  One day I would be scrolling through vineyards in California and the next I was researching resorts in Mexico.  Maybe Maine would be nice?  Oh, I bet Oregon or Washington would be beautiful in summer.  Baltimore!  No, New Orleans.

It was dizzying.  I was drowning in my own indecisiveness and finally Evan had to gently force me into a decision.  "Where do YOU want to go?" he asked me.

I said the first thing that popped in my mind despite the fact that I just knew his face was going to curl up.

"Savannah.  I want to go to Savannah."

To my surprise, he was up for it!  Within the next 24 hours, he had cashed in all his airline miles earned from his many trips to China and purchased our plane tickets and rented us a car.  The rest was up to me.

So I got to work.

The is only the first post of what I anticipate will be many about our anniversary trip to Savannah.  I would love to hear your suggestions or recommendations if you are familiar with the city!  Check out my Pinterest board and let me know what else is a "can't miss" when visiting.

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