Our love is like the sunset because…

There are so many titles I could have titled this tale.

“Golden Gifts of our Golden Anniversary”

“Magical Moments in Michigan”

“10 year trip!”

“5 days of celebrating our decade long marriage”My 10 year old dress and Andi in Aunt Laura's

Sunset beginning off the pier

And even more…you’ll have to read to the very end to know why I went with the title above. But perhaps now you know this post is a travel log of the trip Drew and I took last week to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary which happened on July 10th! (hence “golden”)

When valve misfunctions sidelined our Honda Accord 3 days before we were to leave, we decided we had best rent a car to drive the 600 miles to our destination: St Joseph, MI. The flexibilty and length of a road trip was one of the selling points of our plan to drive ourselves to a beach vacation; we took full advantage. We worked out Monday morning together at our gym and then showered and headed to pick up our cherry red Chevy Cruze chariot. From there we dropped off our sad and sluggish car, and left the worries and woes of car troubles, the constant reality of parenting, and the rigors of our work lives behind. Having secured loving childcare for the days we’d be gone, we were excited to leave our kids so that we could give them a gift: better parents, in more love with each other. We were very, very blessed to have April (Maama), Michelle, Aunt Christine and Uncle Zach, and Gayle and Steve (Geeg and Pops) on point to have the kids. The village was assembled.

The gift of getting away was much anticipated and preciously enjoyed. Young Life connected us with a generous and gracious family who had a guest house on their property that they offered to us for the week. We met them the first night as we arrived at 7pm and they walked us the two blocks to “their” almost private beach and our first sunset. We had arrived!

We picked Michigan because it had all we wanted to do in a week away: lay on beaches, pick fruit, and taste wines. We did it all on our first full day there. Tuesday we visited two wineries, picked Michigan sweet cherries, and went to Warren Dunes State park where we hiked and laid out on the beach. That night we had the most amazingly yummy pizza and another sunset for dessert.

Enjoying precious time alone and relaxation, in addition to day long conversations about deep and playful things as a couple, we split up Wednesday morning: Drew golfed and I wandered the down town and found an Aveda salon for a pedicure. We reconnected to spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach…ahh… We were treated to a sunset boat ride by our hosts that evening- a very sweet family with daughters 15, 12 and one more due in August. Being with them was a great reminder of God’s generous and surprising ways. Our hostess said at one point, “All of a sudden we are doing life on Plan B…and we’re finding life on Plan B is perhaps the best.”

Thursday was our actual anniversary and the first we’d spent together since 2010. We did a 10-1 ladder Crossfit workout (thematic sweating!) and then had breakfast out- nothing says 10 years and erases a work out like a chocolate croissant! Yum!

We drove up the coast to Saugatuck and enjoyed browsing art galleries and taking in the weather, lunch at a park, and reading “our book” aloud on the grass- it was a beautiful 76 degrees! (We were- and still are- reading A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken aloud together.  It’s a love story about enduring love and so far, its been a beautiful and conversation stirring read. ) We traveled back down the iconic and scenic Blue Star Highway with one detour- Crane’s Restaurant and Bakery. We had found it: the perfect way to enjoy the fruit and berries we saw growing all around- in a pie, a la mode!Pie

Peeling ourselves off the beach, we took sand and sun back to our house around 6pm on the anniversary afternoon- sun still high, heat warm and bearable. Getting ready, we enjoyed a pre-dinner toast of Saison-Brett- a special local brew Drew had saved for such a time as this.

The Brett had us loose and the love shared had us close. We didn’t care what time it was or how long we’d wait to eat at the Lakehouse patio. We played games while we waited, and enjoyed the live music- a guy, his Mac and a microphone- he was really good in fact. We were seated around 8:30 with a great view of the lake and the sun heading towards it. Dinner was really tasty- steak amd salmon- shrimp appetizer and a bottle of red from Italy. We were treated to dessert. Anniversary dinnerThe sun set around 9:30 while we continued to sit and listen to the singing.

Friday was the last full day we had and we lived it to the fullest. I walked another 9 holes with Drew before slow and enjoyable beach time that afternoon- like all the days, we spent some of it reading, some of it talking, and some of it taking Golden day sunsetPuttin aroundwalks or swimming in the clear, clean waves.

Over Mexican for lunch that day, we talked about parenting and what it is to support and challenge, and change and do our best. Tears and angst revealed some things tender and helped grow us a little bit for sure. Dinner was once again wonderful tasting and full of quality quiet as well as deep chats and cheer.

Friday night’s sunset walk down the pier, along the beach, on a bench, and off the bluff, sunset was award winning. The sunset lasted almost two hours, changing colors, composure, casting light, and capturing the attention of any and everyone on the beach that evening.Wave walking

While taking it in, “Our love is like a sunset” we mused,

  • because it’s happening even if nothing beautiful is visible on the outside.
  • because it’s long and enduring
  • because it looks different in different parts
  • because it’s worth slowing down for
  • and because it will happen every day.

The colors were arresting and we almost missed the very end- the hot pink sun sinking into the blue water of the way out lake.

Saturday morning we were ready (and also not) to go home. We missed our kids- wanted to know lots about what they’d done, how they were, and share our stories too.E and A at the swim meet we missed.

We woke up without an alarm (major gift of this trip) and worked out. We cleaned ourselves and

Oaks got a haircut from Mom and Dad Sunday after they got home. Those precious curls were getting tangly! Hope they grow back!

Oaks got a haircut from Mom and Dad Sunday after they got home. Those precious curls were getting tangly! Hope they grow back!

the house and got on the road. Just because he loves me and because I drank lots of coffee- Drew stopped at the beach 30 minutes away in New Buffalo where we could walk the small dune, use the bathroom, and sit on our towel in the sand. We read our book, and didn’t mind the light but consistent rain drops.

It was a week well lived. A life together well celebrated. There were NO disappointments. No bad food, no stress, no fights, and lots and lots of conversations, freedom, memories, intentional care, and crazy love.

Filled up, we can pour out what we’ve been given: love, forgiveness, care, joy. We can’t wait to share life together for decades ahead and hope we get back to Michigan soon.




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