Adventure of a Lifetime

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Tomorrow is the first day of an adventure of a lifetime, but I thought I already had that… .

As I was filing my emails I see the weekly update from the church. I have been on the road for the last two months straight so have been attending church in the unconventional way: live streaming. In so doing, I am still a regular attender. To keep as connected as I possibly can, I read the weekly updates from Pastor Dave and try to pay close attention to the programs that are about to begin and those that are ending.

I see Grief Share is gearing up–the first one I am not attending since Archie went home. They reference the summer baptism, I’ll bet that was wonderful. I always cry at those, but this time I wasn’t there. Kinda nice to give the tear ducts a break. Hmmmm, the Dynamic Marriage seminar is about to start. Then my mind goes back two years ago… .

Two years ago, almost exactly, Arch and I signed up for the 9 wk marriage class. With all of the stresses from work and his long hours we thought this would be a great excuse for him to be able to get off a little early to focus on our greatest adventure of all time: our marriage.

We signed up and turned in our $95. This seemed a little pricey but the long term benefits out weighed the short term sacrifice. We were excited to see who else we would be with as they have a group of couples that learn and work through the program together. So we waited…and waited…and waited. We then received a call that not enough couples signed up so they were going to make another announcement and we’d start a bit later. “OK!”

So we waited…and waited…and waited, again, until we received yet another call. They had to cancel because not enough couples signed up. Would we be interested if they would make another attempt in January? I knew in January I was heading for the annual trip for work, this time to AZ, and would miss two weeks out of the nine week class. That’s also the dead of winter when the roads are the very worst and the classes are in the evening so it would be very dark, making navigating the road that much more difficult.  “Nooooo,” we said sadly.

God knew. January 14th was when Arch was diagnosed with cancer. That fall invitation was our first and last opportunity to take that couple’s class. I sit here and ponder, then cry.

The adventure I am embarking on tomorrow is nothing compared to the 27 years of adventure I completed almost 19 months ago. The mountain top success and seeing the excitement reflected in the other person’s eyes as if to say,”WE made it!” The extreme valleys when one or both felt as if tomorrow would never come and if it did, was it worth it? The pain but support of the other to say,”Yes, it’s worth it because we will get through it together. Lean on me, I’ll lean on you, that way we won’t know who is really the one who is getting ready to fall.”

Life was an adventure: I was laid off from work once, his job closed down once. I worked third shift to make sure we were home to be with Taylor, he worked third shift to make sure we were home with Taylor. We trained for and completed two 5k’s. We hiked an Appalachian trail. We completed half of Route 66! We raised one amazing young woman and together got her through, emotionally and financially, up to 3 months before college graduation. We did all of this together and that is scratching the surface of our 27 year escapade and we were just warming up! …but then it ended, very suddenly.

So what is this adventure that is about to commence tomorrow?

Last Christmas, my first Christmas without Archie, I decided I wanted to check something off of my bucket list that Archie and I had said over and over that we were going to do, but never did: a cruise. I have two siblings who have cruised, so they gave me the skinny on it with these two points weighing heavily:

1) Since Taylor was not interested in cruising, cruises are priced double occupancy. I would have to prepare to pay double.

2) The less expensive cruises stop at ports that are not necessarily the safest for singles gals to get off and visit.

I went home from Christmas a little discouraged but started googling cruises for single people. I found several who would pair singles with approximately the same age gender and try to match a roommate with similar interests. That might be fun.

Ohhhhh, wait. Single cruises. The information was sorta “matchy, matchy” like for people that were looking to date. rrrrrk. That’s where that option ended. There is no way I wanted to walk into the room I’m sharing with some chick I don’t really know and find a dude with her (not to mention leaving all of my stuff in a room with someone I don’t know, a complete stranger???) Do YOU see anything that could go wrong in those scenarios?

What to do, what to do…? I started a Christmas fund at the bank–that’s a start. Now what? Who do I turn to for wise counsel? Heartfelt Creations!

I asked Emma Lou and Richard if I could speak to them privately. They know my finances better than anyone, since they’re the ones that pay me! I laid it all out: My bucket list dream, my Christmas fund, my worries about sharing a room with a stranger. Then I asked,”Would it be stupid if I don’t have any big bills this year, take my Christmas fund and pay the double rate to go on a cruise by myself?”

Emma Lou instantly came back with,”Tracy, one of our wholesalers has been asking us for some time if we would be interested in going on a cruise and teach classes for them. Is that something you might be interested in?” Richard IMMEDIATELY interjected,”If you teach, it would be COMPLETELY different than a vacation. Emma Lou and I have learned that true vacations have to be separate from teaching or working.”

Emma Lou then told me the name of the wholesaler: Crafter’s Therapy Cruise. I immediately realized I had one of the organizers join me for a day of classes back in February, so she was already familiar with my teaching style–what?!?!? The next day Emma Lou made contact and I guess, as they say, the rest is history (or will be in about a week!).

What does my new “Adventure of a Lifetime” look like? I am preparing for my big day: rewatching videos, counting die cut pieces, taking notes, checking emails, taking pictures of tickets and any emails I might need at a moments notice, double checking emails…and that is how this story got started.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

I continue to live, lean, and am carried daily by my heavenly Dad. I am thankful beyond words that He has used and is continuing to use Heartfelt Creations to open doors that I, as a widow, would NEVER be able to afford (did I mention my transmission and exhaust went out in the van in June and I had to replace my 99 Sienna???) to do or experience. Not only that He always seems to do one better: my thought was I was going to be on a cruise ALL BY MYSELF, not knowing anyone. Now I will be going with a large conference room sized group of ladies who like to craft, just like me!!!

He gives you what you need, when you need it, not a moment earlier, and never too late (even though sometimes it feels like it. Just sayin’).

About the couples class…praying about it. Maybe heavenly Dad will supply for me to give the $95 for a scholarship for another couple who’s adventure may be in jeopardy, teetering on the edge of a cliff. My life’s passion is not only teaching about shaping flowers, but the importance of putting heavenly Dad first, getting out of your own way and never giving up when you are on the greatest adventure opportunity heavenly Dad ever allowed me: marriage.

Until later: Blessings!




5 thoughts on “Adventure of a Lifetime

  1. Sounds awesome! Know you’re going to have a great time. Also be able to teach and learn along the way. Love you Sis!

  2. Amazing how God works everything for our good – and His purpose! Have a great time! Prayers for your journey! Where are you cruising to?

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