Living Big and Wide

Driving back and forth  to the DFW metroplex gives a body time to think and pray. Lately I've been telling God I want to be his girl, that I want to live a life that's big and wide, not fenced in.  There's something great about starting a day, driving down the road at 75 mph and saying outloud, "God, I want to be YOUR girl."

Pause here for opportunity to sing cornball lyrics from old musical:

Oh, give me lands, lots of land under starry skies above
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride (or drive!) through the wide open country that I love.
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze
and listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees.
Send me off forever, but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

If you're over 35 you probably know the tune. Okay 40. 

I've been asking God what that entails, how it all plays out.  Gallant's eyes got that glassed over, 'Where are your girlfriends when I need them' kind of look when I tried to explain it to him.

I am completely confident God knows exactly what I mean.

So first step in living big, we drove in, with a compact car that gets 30 mpg, to get the oil changed, and pulled out with this:

Gallant with his new wheels
a minivan that feels good on our joints. It'll hold up to 8 people, and we happen to have 7 grandkids. I'm thinking road trips with a bunch of squirming, giggling kids stuffed into the back. (I promised Gallant no red drinks from Sonic on said drives.)

Then, after listening to the news stories about the cruise ship with no power or potties fiasco, we booked a trip (same cruise line!) with Gallant's brother and our SIL, their first, our second. Everyone should have a reason to need a passport at some point in their life, and Gallant's brother just applied for his first at age 65. We're going to the Caribbean late April.  Something great about getting older is that you realize life is short. He's got one brother. We decided to go for it. Feel free to pray this cruise doesn't make the news.

Then we decided to really take down fence posts. We made a deposit on a trip to the Holy Land this fall. This trip falls in that category of pretty darned expensive and we're not really those people, but we decided to be them. Flying into Tel Aviv sounds otherworldly to us. Being at Gethsemane, baptised in the Jordan, float in the Salt Sea, go to the Mt. of Olives, Bethlehem - all right before Christmas, it takes my breath away to consider it.

Next I booked a trip to Colorado to go on a 'staycation' with my mother, for her 80th birthday. I  realized what would really make her happy was taking her to the museum and getting her computer and answering machines up and running. We'll go to our favorite mexican restaurant to eat guacamole and have a margarita, and I'll go to church with her and two of my brothers on Mother's Day. Again, none of us gets forever, so I'm doing it now.

Then we decided to stay at the lake. The house is still on the market. While we wait for it to sell we're trying to figure out what we want to do. Not sure we want on the water. We most enjoy looking at it, the aquatic birds, the sounds or lack of sounds. It's a quiet you just don't get in the city, and we're not ready to give it up yet. We may buy something with a view, or even build (we never have, but why not?),

My absolute dream home and it just might happen!
keep the old pontoon and rent a boat slip for when the kids come out to play. We love our church, we've made great friends here. Mostly though, we're not ready to let our adventure be over. After working for 34 years, Gallant wanted to live at a lake, something completely different for us, and once we leave we'll never go back. So we're staying for the foreseeable future.

We're re-investing ourselves into our church's life, friends, opportunities here, and also seeing ways to invest in our grown kids' (and their kids') lives, while respecting their own families. 

Spending a chunk of the summer on the road, then in Idaho with our daughter's family. Yes, to beat the Texas heat, but mostly to spend time with people we love more than life itself. We'll stop and visit friends and family along the way, and won't set a specific return date. Just when we decide to head home. I've always thought, if you looked up the word 'retire' in the dictionary, it would say: take road trips with no set return date, no hotel reservations, loose plans.

I'm busy baking fattening desserts and good food; planting flowers; learning photography; calling family more often and caring, at a deeper level, what's going on in their lives. Trying to make a difference there too.

I've got more thinking-hard drives ahead of me, and am praying God will continue to speak to me. I'm convinced he wants us to have a big life, full of wonder and joy and celebration, with few fences around us. In fact he said it:
Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.  Mark 11:22-25, The Message. 

So we're trying to embrace life, really embrace it. No shuffling or shilly-shallying. It's as good as done.

Note:  Nickname for my husband, Don - Gallant  Adjective: brave, heroic. Noun: A man who pays special attention to women. Synonyms: brave, valiant, courageous, valorous, chivalrous. It fits him perfectly!


Barb said…

Hooray for the cruise. And Hooray for the trip to the Holy Land. I'm so thrilled you're doing this.

But most of all, hooray for deciding to enjoy the lake living for a while longer.

So much news here. Does Mom know your plans? I'll bet she's excited!

Kelly said…
All sounds wonderful to me! Love that you have a minivan- my parents did the same thing, so they have plenty of safe space to shuttle their precious cargo granddaughters around in. Life sure sounds sweet, and your nickname for your husband is a wonderful one!
Linda said…
It all sounds wonderful to me Bev. We have a trip planned too. I am trying to savor the moments in the every day as well. They slip by so very fast.
I'm glad you're staying at the lake a while longer. It just seems right:)
Bev said…
Kelly, our insurance rates went down because of the safety features in the minivan. Air bags all around the sides - that feels good knowing little people will be in there. Linda, we keep saying the weeks just fly by. I'm learning the faster I go, they do too!
Karen said…
Bev--I loved reading this post! I think we all need to learn how to embrace what we've been given and live it up every day!! Your dream house looks similar to my dream house--I gasped when I saw your picture, I loved it so much!! Thanks for sharing life!! Love and blessings, Karen
Toni said…
Have a great time on your cruise. My dh just booked ours about 4 days ago. He and I went many times B.C. (before children) but only resumed cruising a few years ago. We took our 4 kids on a 4-night, but this time we're taking them on a 7-night to central America (Norwegian has a "kids cruise free" deal, expires tomorrow). We don't leave until December and I'm fairly sure we'll all work ourselves into a frenzy by then. ;)

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