My hubbie and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage on March 14th.  In honor of this milestone, we recently ran away from home for 5 days.  My wonderful mother-in-law moved in for a week to take care of the girls and we took off for Miami Beach last Thursday.  We spent a night in South Beach then made the beautiful drive through the Florida Keys…destination Key West.  Here is our vehicle:

Anniversary_trip_2007_099 Yes, we rented a convertible for the drive to Key West.  There is something about that drive, in that car, that just melts away any left over worries or tensions from home.  It is take-your-breath-away beautiful…still wild in parts.  There are 42 bridges along the route, one that lasts for 7 miles, so you often feel suspended in air with only turquoise water as far as you can see.  We downloaded all our Jimmy Buffet onto my IPod before we left, so we had 60 JB songs to provide a soundtrack to our adventure.  Sometimes we talked, but often we remained silent during our drive…the joy and comfort of a love that has lasted for decades.

Key West is a place unlike any I have visited before.  It is the southernmost point in the continental United States and, because of its location, it is known for the sunsets over the water.  In fact, there is a sunset celebration every evening down by the water, right next to the hotel where we stayed. There is something special about a town that plans a huge party every day just to celebrate the beauty of the sunset.  I probably took 20 pictures of tne sunsets, but this one is my favorite:Anniversary_trip_2007_051

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Actually, I like this one really well also:

Of course, the best thing about our trip was just being together.  As I have shared here before, we have been together since we were 16 years old.  We have grown up together and we plan to grow old together.  While the sweetness of a lifetime love is beyond compare, the blessings of comfort and familiarity can also breed complacency.  It is easy to take each other for granted and fall prey to being so comfortable that we don’t take time to do the things that keep relationships growing and thriving.  Taking time away from jobs, responsibilites and kids just to focus on one another is something that we have not done often enough in recent years.  While I am grateful that we both adore our children and truly cherish this stage of our family life, I believe that nurturing our relationship as a couple is probably the most important thing we can do for our children and ourselves.  After all, in just a few years, they will both be gone and it will just be us again!

So, today, I am feeling grateful that we had the opportunity to take this trip.  I am grateful that my girls had the opportunity to spend quality time with their Mimi.  I am grateful that, for 5 days, I didn’t make a meal or load a dishwasher.  I am grateful to have worn flip-flps for 5 days and to have felt the warm sun on my skin (and a little grumpy about being in the cold again…ok, no complaints!!)  I am grateful for quiet moments surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation with the amazing, funny, smart, generous, kind, GORGEOUS man that He gave me.  I am grateful that we have a whole lifetime to learn more about one another and see the world together.  And I am grateful that we will one day experience Heaven together.  God is good!

Here are a few more pictures (I took 150!!)  Feel free to continue your web surfing elsewhere at this point!!

Anniversary_trip_2007_041 My sweet husband very patiently visited a Butterfly Conservatory with me and watched me take about a 1000 pictures trying to get a good one of the pretty blue butterflies…picture me in a room with hundreds of butterflies, squealing and chasing the blue ones in circles, frantically snapping pictures trying to capture the beauty of this blue species.  There are all sorts of spirtual metaphors there….the first verse that pops to mind is “Be Still”…perhaps a topic for another blog entry??

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Another one from the Butterfly Conservatory.

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One of many wonderful meals with my sweetie!  We enjoyed some great restaurants and some great wine…and a few of these new-fangled drinks called Mojitos.  They are tropical and yummy, but the mint leaves they put in them made me feel like someone had put a salad in my drink.   And, did I mention that I neither cooked nor cleaned up any of these meals?

 

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One more funny thing about Key West…there are chickens everywhere!!  Apparently, there used to be a lot of cock fighting in Key West generations ago and, when they outlawed it, the chickens were set free.  Consequently, the chickens have multiplied and are free to roam the streets.  Since most restaurants offer outdoor seating, we often had chickens wandering around our feet while we ate.  Here are a couple of chicken pictures and then, I swear, I am going to stop making you watch the slideshow of our vacation.  Of course, that’s the great thing about a blog…you can Anniversary_trip_2007_076just leave when you get bored!!

OK, just one Miami picture, then I swear that I am done.  We went to this one bar with some friends that live in the area…they swore to us that only the “cool” people hung out at this place in South Beach.  Strangely enough, they let us in anyway 🙂 ! It was, of course, all outside but the unusual thing about it was that there were no chairs.  Everyone “lounged” on beds and big chaise lounges….it was so wierd and kind of fun!  Here is me, looking all “South Beach” Anniversary_trip_2007_113_2

Tomorrow, I’ll share one more of my favorite pictures from Miami… it deserves an entry all its own!