Over a year ago Graham and Savannah told us that they wanted us to dream and plan a getaway for our 40th anniversary in August of 2018. They had one requirement – it had to be only for fun and it had to be at least 8 nights. Oh guys, twist our arms! (I’m telling you they are an amazing duo and don’t forget that they are 8 months pregnant with our 12th grandtreasure!) So we prayed, we dreamed,, we searched but we were just plain ol’ stumped.
In the last 35 years we had only managed to get away together for one 4-day trip after we lost our home to the fire – thanks to Abigail! We had also had a few 2-nighters but that was it in 35 years. We knew that this was kinda’ our once-in-a-lifetime chance and we wanted it to be refreshing, relaxing, delightful and everything else! As much as we prayed and dreamed we just still couldn’t figure out what to do.
So actually several months back I threw it out to you guys for your input. Many of you had some great suggestions but we were still unsure. We prayed some more! Finally, a few weeks ago, our plans came together and we were off on a 9-day adventure!! It was incredible! Seriously – incredible!
We drove to California and spent the night where we were upgraded by the hotel clerk checking us in when she heard that we were celebrating 40 years of marriage with 14 kids! Instead of the regular hotel room she upgraded us to a penthouse suite on the top floor! We giggled and giggled. “So this is what the view from the top looks like, eh?” What a beautiful and very unexpected gift from the hotel! Oh then she even gave us breakfast tickets for a delightful buffet with all kinds of goodies!
We boarded the ship and we were off!! Our time on the ship was so refreshing. Our days were filled with eating scrumptious food, playing cards, dreaming of the future, sharing hearts, touring the two ports on the itinerary, watching old Mary Tyler Moore re-runs, attempting to beat our activity steps on our phones each day (yeah, we’re weird like that) and we even were blessed to meet some wonderful new friends – true kindred spirits! Every bit of it was so extra special and exactly what we needed!
Of course we had heard of escargot but never had had the opportunity to try it – and I couldn’t wait when I saw it on the menu! It was so yummy – I’m a total fan! Dw however decided after one tiny bite that he will pass next time. Bummer – more for me! And yes, yes, yes, I’m still eating gluten free and grain free but the bread came on the side and knowing the belly ache it would cause – it is always so easy to resist but it is in the picture!
After the cruise we headed south to one of the most peaceful places we have ever been – The Ranch at Laguna Beach. A blog friend and her husband are very involved at the resort and they gifted us some time there. Some of you may remember our home in Durango that was nestled on a canyon, well The Ranch reminds me so much of our view at that home! We were in awe of the incredible peacefulness of it all.
My sweet bloggy friend who invited us to The Ranch!
If all of that wasn’t spectacular enough, the first night at The Ranch we were waiting to enjoy some guitar playing at the outdoor patio but the seats were all taken when a group of four left and we were able to sit down at two of the chairs. At the same time another couple sat at the other two chairs. Within two minutes we were involved in a beautiful conversation that none of the four of us can really remember how it happened but suffice it to say we loved, loved, loved our time together. The next day we enjoyed visiting with them around the pool and later in the evening on the patio again. They were flying out the next morning and seriously friends, as we parted ways I couldn’t help well with tears as did my new sweet friend. We missed them already!
They live on the East coast so very far away but we are pretty certain we have made some friends for life. We couldn’t thank the Lord enough for allowing our paths to cross with this precious couple and we pray that one day they will come visit us in Phoenix (we’ve invited them already!) – they are just that wonderful. We took a picture of the four of us but I forgot to ask if they minded if I shared it. Ugh.
You know friends, God is always so astoundingly faithful – before we left on our trip we had prayed for months that He would orchestrate each step to allow our paths to cross with just who He intended. He heard our prayers and He answered. Both our new friends that we met on the ship and our new friends at The Ranch were some of the sweetest blessings we’ve ever had the joy of spending time with.
PS And the kids said the time went so fast – they had a blast with these two! Liberty did say that when she told Ruby that we were coming home the next day she enthusiastically shouted, “Good! Good! GOOOOOOOD!” (She’s been saying “Good!” for quite a while!)