The real treasure

Sun parrot

For the past nine years my husband and I have alternated planning our anniversary. Usually this involves an extended get-away weekend and we’ve been to some great places near here. Not only has it helped us to know what’s in our area, but it’s a way of remembering at least once a year why we married each other. We wanted romance then, of course. It’s just that sometimes romance can get lost in the familiarity of every day. The old saying that “familiarity breeds contempt”?  Sometimes it’s true.

But it IS special to surprise each other every year, to think of something  the other person would love to do but wouldn’t likely get around to on their own. Even more importantly, it’s an opportunity to share that experience with them. It’s meant a lot of spa services, and usually a great multi-course tasting menu (we like to rough it, right?). We’ve also gone on an incredible sleigh ride, laughed at the theatre and toured wine regions.

I don’t know anyone else who plans like this every year, but it’s very special to us. We decided at the beginning to give memories rather than material things. We also can’t go into debt because of plans that are too-grand. I recommend it!

The even years are mine to plan. But this year, we decided to plan a longer trip together.  That’s how we ended up in Coronado and San Diego for a week. We’d started our honeymoon there, so it seemed appropriate. It was so much more than that. It was perfect!

evening bird

It didn’t exactly start out that way though. We had the great idea to take an empty suitcase to the airport, and once there, we’d shed our winter parkas and boots for lighter gear.  We were, after all, going to experience a 48 degree celsius change in temperature (from -24 when we left to +24 when we arrived). We left behind huge snowbanks and put on light sweaters and summery shoes. It was a great idea except the airline only managed to get one of three suitcases to San Diego with us. Wouldn’t you know it? That piece of luggage contained two winter coats, two scarves, four gloves and four boots. The summer stuff decided to hang out in Newark’s snowstorm with our toothbrushes.

We were determined that nothing was going to get in the way of us having the best time. Coronado is  a ten-minute ferry ride across the San Diego Bay.  Navy SEALS train there and it has a casual, fun atmosphere that we loved. The first day, we walked much of the peninsula, got our bearings and caught up to the time change by finally having lunch. The second day, we walked to the ferry and took it across to the San Diego side where we were greeted with parrots, a man creating towers of  stones he balanced,  and in true holiday tradition, ice cream.

Back on Coronado beach, we saw sand castles taller than me, and the sunsets were magnificent. Nothing like an incredible romantic sunset to show off a second honeymoon retreat spot!

What I most loved about being there was the ability to walk everywhere. According to my handy-dandy pedometer, we managed to log more than 46 miles on our visit by hoofing it around both Coronado and San Diego. I’ve really missed walking, and I’m rejoicing in being able to do it cane-free. Never mind the blister that showed up, the one that was bigger than my little toe. I walked it! We got back to our room on the first day and we both expressed such gratitude because a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to do it. For that matter neither would my husband, had he not had knee surgery last year.

Sometimes its the things we take most for granted that make us realize how incredible our bodies are. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The other thing that stands out for me on this trip is the importance of feeling treasured–and of being intentional in treasuring others. On the morning of our anniversary day, we were flying to Edmonton.

sunsetWe hated to go but another couple had rented out the entire villa we were staying at because they were getting married. And how could we not want to wish them well?  Our early morning flight meant we were up at 3:30 a.m. and this is where the most amazing thing happened. My husband got down on his rebuilt knee and told me again how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  Romantic? Oh yeah! But it was much deeper than it had been the first time, because we’ve already built a life and we appreciate it enough to still be treasuring one another.

There isn’t a woman out there who deserves less than that, and yet don’t we settle for it far too often?  I did, more than once. Talk about heartache! Oh, I know, there’s frogs and there’s princes out there and sometimes we need to kiss one in order to recognize the other.

But so often we give up because deep down inside we just don’t believe we’re worth it. Too often we settle because we don’t believe God loves us enough to bring us the desire of our hearts.

That’s a lie, plain and simple. It’s quite a devious one too. Are you falling for it?

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