We just returned from a wonderful family vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. The morning we were to leave for the get-away we finally got the call from our agency that our application was accepted. Following the call was an email with several attachments and tons of paperwork on our adoption agreement. All packing came to a hault as we printed, read, signed and ran to the post-office to return our agreement, along with our first large payment. Writing that check was a good reminder at the beginning of our vacation of our need to be frugal. Really, it's no big deal....if eating macaroni instead of steak is one of the things we need to do to bring our baby home, so be it.
The plan was to go grocery shopping the first morning (we arrived at 11:30 pm and were not up to shopping at that time!) but the kids were so anxious to step foot in the ocean for their first time that we moved going to the beach to the top of the agenda. While enjoying the waves, a strange lady approached us with a beach bag full of sand toys in one hand and a boogie board in the other. She explained that her family was flying back to Illinois the next morning and couldn't take the extras with them and wanted to know if we would like them. We thanked her and continued to small talk. She then offered up all the groceries they didn't get to use. I followed her back to her condo, thinking she may fill a plastic bag or two that I would carry back to where we were staying, but as she emptied her cupboards she suggested that I send Michael for the car because it was way more than I could carry. I felt as if God was saying with a wink, "thank you for being willing to eat macaroni for the sake of the least of these."
Side story.....I was so excited to go to the coast, mostly because I really, REALLY wanted to see dolphin in their natural habitat. I kept my eyes peeled the whole time we were at the beach and even sitting on the front porch of our condo across the street, but nothing but birds and white caps appeared in the distance.
The second day while we were again enjoying the sand and sea, a man was fishing nearby and caught first a flounder, then a speckled trout. Our boys ran up to admire his catch and he said, "If I catch another, you're having fish for dinner!" We had fish for dinner! I thanked God for the smile he gave us.
We were planning on leaving Tuesday to come home but when I woke up Monday I began to feel anxious about all the things at home that needed to get done in preparation for summer school that begins in a few short days and, although I had thoroughly enjoyed the previous days, the thought of getting all sandy and wet again was suddenly not very appealing and I was ready to leave. Michael encouraged me to relax and "be all there" and enjoy this last day with the family in a beautiful place and so I gave my anxieties over to the Lord and thanked Him for the vacation and the final day we had to enjoy the beach. We all got our suits on again and headed to the shore for one final time. The same fisherman and his friend began pulling in one Red Drum after another, literally with every cast they got a bite - they were right in a large school! Michael grabbed a pole and began to fish. Red Drum put up a good fight and he had a blast bringing a couple in and by now there was quite an audience on the shore watching the fishermen and admiring the catch on the shore. While all of this was taking place, not too far off in the distance came a couple pods of dolphin!! There were at least eight of them jumping continuously as they traveled past us. About fifteen minutes after that, we got to watch two large sting rays come within ten feet of the shore!
We are only in the very beginning stage of the adoption process but it has already been a bit of an emotional rollercoater, and I imagine the hills and turns and butterflies are only going to increase as the ride continues. In all of this, I'm feeling thankful to the Lord for His winks and smiles and the wonderful, refreshing family time we just enjoyed.