Tag Archive | horses

A Grand Hotel Desire On A Motel 6 Budget

David and I have the opportunity several times a year to work at a JESUS Film Executive Briefing. These are large, fundraising events for our ministry always held at very swanky places. The hours are long, but the benefits of hearing how God is working in people’s hearts all over the world are amazing. And, on my Motel 6 budget, I’d never get to places like this on my own.

Image 1Our most recent trip was just two weeks ago to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan. I’d never been to Michigan. The Grand was the site of the 1980s film “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The hotel is incredible–126 years old. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island, so everyone travels by horse or bicycle. It’s idyllic, quiet, peaceful–and cold. It virtually shuts down in the winter when Lake Huron freezes and the only mode of transportation is snowmobile.

Even with a Starbuck’s on the island, I felt as if I had stepped back in time, like Richard Collier in the movie. Oh, there are all the modern conveniences–running water, indoor plumbing, cell phone service–but the quaint Image 2atmosphere devoid of all engine noise (well, there is a small airport) created a sense of peace that I so long for back home. I think if I could, I would live in a place like this–only it would be 75 degrees year round. I’m not really a cold-weather person.

We’ve stayed in other fancy hotels before, but none with the history of the Grand. Apparently, the hotel is owned by a single family rather than a corporation. In fact, one of our JESUS Film Project staff members had a chance encounter with the owner and chairman, Dan Musser, and his children at Sadie’s, the ice cream shop in the hotel, the night before we were to leave. Mr. Musser asked Gabe and Rachel’s young son if he had had some ice cream and, impressed by his enthusiastic answer about the strawberry cone he had consumed, Mr. Musser then gave him a gift card in the shape of a dog bone, good for a free scoop.

Image 3Oh, to sit each night on the porch of the Grand and reflect on God’s goodness while gazing at the water of the lake. In my ordinary world, I would never be able to spend time at such places. But God has blessed us immeasurably to be a part of this ministry and a part of this briefing team that serves at these events. I don’t take it for granted. And when such privileges help bring people into the kingdom of God, it’s incomparable. During this event, and others like it in other locations, our guests pledged to fund new language translations of the JESUS film, projects such as the JESUS Film Media app and tools like motorcycles for film team workers in hard-to-reach countries. Praise God that He has blessed so many people with the income and the hearts to help reach the world for Christ. And praise God that I get to be a part of seeing that happen.

Even if it means having to hang out at places like the Grand.

Husband, Handlebars, Horses and Honest-to-Goodness Southern Seafood

David and I spent 2+ days in Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island for our anniversary. The days for me centered on four things: my husband, of course; handlebars (for alliteration purposes) of our tandem bicycle, on which we traveled many a mile; horses, which we rode down the beach via a stable called Kelly Seahorse Ranch; and lots of yummy, honest-to-goodness Southern seafood.

Husband: David is a really great guy. Of course, why else would I have married him? Not for his money, that’s for sure. We’re poor missionaries and don’t see that lifestyle ending anytime soon. He’s handsome, funny, caring. He’s a great dad–even by his 15-year-old’s estimation. That’s saying a lot. When his parents separated three years ago, he didn’t hesitate one bit in opening our home to his mom, even though it makes our eventual “empty nest” not so empty. He’s often putting others’ needs and desires above his own: the fact that we have any pets at all is testimony to that.

Handlebars: Many years ago, on a trip to South Africa, David and I came across a tandem bicycle for sale in a bicycle shop. Turns out, there’s a Peugeot bike factory in South Africa, so the cost was way cheaper than we could have gotten one for here in the States. Since then, we have enjoyed many hours as a tandem twosome. This trip was no different. Though we only had two full days, we spent several hours of that on our bike, enjoying a ride on the beach, through Fort Clinch State Park and along AIA in Fernandina Beach. David’s passion is cycling, and I enjoy it, too, so this was a fun activity for us both. We’ve had that bike longer than we’ve had kids!

Horses: Something I’ve always loved, for as long as I can remember, is horses I still hope to be able to get one some day, but that looks like another one of those dreams that’s going to stay just that: a dream. So when David asked me what i wanted to do and where I wanted to go for this getaway, my first response was, “I want to ride horses on the beach.” So I googled “horseback riding on the beach, Florida,” and got a hit for Kelly Seahorse Ranch.

This wasn't the actual horse I rode. My horse was named "Blaze" and was a wonderful russet color. But he wasn't out yet when we were allowed to take photos before the ride. This guy's pretty handsome himself, though.

This ranch offers the only on-beach horseback ride in the area, and possibly even the U.S. We had a great time with 3 other couples and 3 guides riding about 6 miles along the coastline on Amelia Island. David had been on a horse only once before, and that was just barely, and I only get to ride once every couple of years. Oh, how I would love to make it a regular event. Morgan, my 9-year-old, just started taking riding lessons, and I find myself envious at every lesson, wanting to join in. Ah well. Maybe someday. Thanks for the memories, Blaze.

Honest-to-goodness Southern Seafood: I didn’t take any food pictures, sorry to say, but we have so far enjoyed crab cakes, vegetables Southern style, which means squash casserole, broccoli rice casserole, cheese grits,  at a place called Barbara Jean’s, and dinner at the Marina Seafood Restaurant, where there was a live music event going on. As soon as I get this posted, we’re going to go have brunch at a place called Bright Mornings Café. I love eating out!

But soon we’re headed back to reality. School, work, cooking and cleaning await us. But so do our kids. Days away are a wonderful thing, but our reality isn’t so bad either.

Forgot to post my thankfulness list yesterday, so I’ll double up today:

72. anniversaries

73. my tandem bike

74. perfect weather

75. my texting girl who just randomly pops in to say “hey.”

76. someone else doing the cooking

77. our comfortable van