It was last November or December when I found out where my summer school break would overlap Joy’s elementary school break. So, I began to plan. I made reservations at Florida state parks, two to three nights at a time. I first made reservations for Rainbow Springs.
Do you ever see something that really
makes an impression on you?
Something that sticks in your mind and doesn’t leave?
This photo did that to me.This is a photo from a Florida State Parks brochure that I picked up along the way YEARS ago. I would guess that this brochure is at least ten years old …. maybe more. Ever since I first saw this photo, I thought, “I want to go there. I want to do that.” We’ve been close to Rainbow Springs, but never camped there. I decided that this would be the first destination in our summer trip.
Our trip would include several days at Rainbow Springs, John Pennekamp State Park, a day or two exploring The Everglades, a stop in Tampa to visit my friend, Mary Ann, and a few days with my Mom & Dad in south Georgia. I expected to be wearing traveling shoes for almost all three weeks of my break. I was thrilled.
I worked The Masters Golf Tournament this year so I had money set aside for gas and groceries. I planned to splurge and even do a boat tour or two and rent a jet ski for Joy and I. I have to say that, in the past, we have always struggled so much with money, I was really looking forward to this trip. I started early with plans and provisions. I knew it was going to be wonderful.
But, in my gut, I had an ill feeling about the trip. The closer it drew, the more I thought I should cancel. I’m certainly not afraid to travel alone (rather, without a man), but my gut said there was something out of kilter.
My van has been giving me trouble for about two years. It’s had some persnickity electrical issues, but when I slide the key into the ignition, it cranks. For that I’ve been thankful.
But, I worried that my van wouldn’t make it all the way down to the Keys. I didn’t want to end up on some road in the middle of the Everglades with a ten-year old and a broken van. So, I prayed.
And so, I prayed
“Lord, if the van was going to break, it would break BEFORE we left for Florida … so we know we shouldn’t go.”
And I rejoiced. No! Really! I was so relieved. I was so thankful that my gut feeling had been confirmed. There WAS a problem. And … maybe we even had time for the shop to isolate it, fix it and still get us moving before our check in dates and times.
One day at a time, the shop searched. Days rolled into weeks. I canceled Rainbow Springs, but held out hope for John Pennekamp. In the end, I even had to let Mary Ann know that we wouldn’t even make it as far south as Tampa.
The shop kept my van for over three weeks. They never really pinpointed the issue. They changed a CV joint for me that was absolutely crumbled. They replaced the catalytic converter that was almost completely clogged. But, the root of the problem was not identified. I left with a Voyager that might … or might not ….. give me trouble again. I drove it cautiously and waited for it to become lame again so the shop could dig deeper and hunt for the source.
My three-week between-quarters summer break came and went. I did no traveling this summer. I didn’t travel farther than ten miles from home. Going to class was the greatest distance I drove.
As sad as I was that I couldn’t accept several invitations to the beach, travel to visit my Mom and Daddy, camp, kayak or explore …. I was thankful for God’s protection. He had given me a gut feeling that something was not okay, He answered my prayers and He provided money to pay for repairs (my Masters money was just enough to cover everything).
I’m thankful to say that God is teaching me to be thankful
even in disappointment.
He’s teaching me to look for Him. He’s not hard to see,
but you have to look and not dismiss Him and His activity as
chance, coincidence, luck,
fate, happenstance, destiny or serendipity.
260. a broken van … that makes me be still
261. achy joints … that remind me that, overall, I am in excellent health
262. extra weight at my waist … that reminds me that I have more than enough to eat
263. a missing nose pad that pokes the bridge of my nose
… and reminds me that I HAVE glasses in the first place
264. cracking window glazing on my windows ….
that reminds me that I HAVE a home that keeps me dry and safe
265. a sassy-mouth ten-year old lassie …. because she already thinks she’s an adult.
She is bold and brassy and will one day change people’s lives for good because she isn’t afraid to speak up.
266. a dog that whines when we put her outside … because she loves me and wants to be with me ….
and would protect me with savage bravery
should someone try to hurt me or my own
267. a marriage that was always riddled with financial woes …
because it taught me to s.t.r.e.t.c.h every.single.dollar
268. a husband who never loved me ….
because I learned to find my fulfillment and satisfaction in a Heavenly man
269. fall and winter … because they take away my momentum and make me rest
270. a large nose …. it taught me to never make fun of people for things that they cannot change
272. a van … that is back in the shop today …. but I trust will be running smoothly soon