A tale of two vacations

The call came in early September. My sister has been involved with the Gulf Coast oil spill clean up for the past several months. One of the command centers happens to be in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The big, evil oil company she works for rented a condo on the beach through the end of the year, and as fate would have it, no one was using it over the Thanksgiving holiday. When she called and invited my family to spend an extended weekend at the beach, I gladly accepted. Me and the beach go way back. It’s my favorite place in the world.

In my excitement, there was one thing I failed to consider–whether the luxury high-rise condos allowed pets. They did not. All of our vacations since we got Buddy Love have been to visit family, so we’ve always taken him along. We were very leery about boarding him because he suffers from stress-induced seizures, and being in a strange place without his people would most certainly qualify as a stressful situation. With only a week before our scheduled departure, we were faced with 3 options:

  1. Spend Thanksgiving at home and decline the invitation from my sister
  2. Have my husband stay home with the dog and take the kids to Gulf Shores
  3. Find a place in Gulf Shores which allowed pets

Boarding Buddy wasn’t ever a serious consideration, and options 1 and 2 were not exactly appealing either. God bless Google! I was able to find a cottage rental about 12 miles from where my mom and sisters were staying, and since the condo was already paid for, we weren’t sticking my sister with an extra bill for lodging.

It truly was the best of both worlds. I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my mom, sisters and my family at their kind of place: A beautiful, new high-rise condo right on the beautiful beaches of downtown Gulf Shores:

And a quiet, secluded little cottage on the bay. Away from the fancy stores, hotels and restuarants:

Both offered spectacular views:

Even though I rather preferred the view from our screened in porch to the 11th floor of the high-rise:

Although I’ve lived in the 4th largest city in the U.S. for most of my life (and maybe in some ways because of this), I prefer cozy to convenience, rustic to modern, and preserved to pristine. At the end of the day, I suppose what’s important is not where we stayed, but with whom we spent time with. Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. To fellowship with those we love and more importantly, the One who loves us.

And there’s not a place on this earth where I feel His presence more than when I sink my feet in where sand meets saltwater and gaze upon the vastness of the sea.

Is there a place you feel closer to God than anywhere else?

This post is my contribution to the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by my friend, Bridget Chumbley. Please visit her site for more posts on the topic of Fellowship.

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22 Responses to “A tale of two vacations”

  1. connie nylund November 30, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation all of you enjoyed! GREAT pictures! What an amazing world of natural beauty we have been blessed with. Awesome you got to share it with loved ones!!

  2. David Rupert November 30, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    It’s zero outsideright now . I would love the beach. Your find of that cottage was obviously exactly what you needed at that moment — an unexpected blessing. And those are the best

    • katdish November 30, 2010 at 8:06 am #

      It absolutely was an unexpected blessing.

  3. Joe November 30, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Great pics! This trip looked very relaxing. Welcome back to blogland.

  4. Sue Harrison November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Oh, Katdish, what a great story and great pics! Thank you for allowing us to celebrate with you. Sue

  5. jake November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I’m jealous. I think I may have to send a picture of the snow that I’m forcing myself to love. I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday though!!

  6. V.V. Denman November 30, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Sounds like you had a great time in a beautiful place. What a terrific memory for your family!

  7. Amy Sorrells November 30, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    I’m having a stress-induced seizure wishing I went there with you. Thanks for sending me the link to this–I needed to see those waters today! Hugs….

  8. Jason November 30, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I prefer your screened porch’s view too.

    As for me, I tend to be able to plug into God when I’m taking long drives.

  9. Candy November 30, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I’m with you – give me the water any day, and particularly ON the water. Having grown up and raised kids on rivers and lakes, I think it’s the “peace like a river” thing that does it. Watching ripples, the sound lapping of the water on the side of the boat…there’s simply no other place I feel closer to God. When big bodies of water aren’t there, I sit by my pond, or if all else fails, run the faucet.

    God Bless Buddy Love. You’re a good pawrent.

  10. Wendy November 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Cute cottage! And I could totally get used to a view of that little dock…

  11. jasonS November 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    That looks like so much fun. As for place I feel closer to God, hmmm. I think it kind of depends. When I can find a place of rest where I can calm my mind, that’s the thing for me. I look for those places often. 🙂

    Thanks Kat.

  12. karenzach November 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Sitting in the snow and ice of Oregon wishing I were on the beach with a group of gal pals instead. Sounds heavenly, Kat.

  13. Kathy November 30, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    That is so cool that you got to spend Thanksgiving on the beach! I would love to do that!

  14. Glynn November 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    I love Gulf Shores. I think we’ve vacationed there four times – twice in Gulf Shores itself and twice in Orange Beach. And I like to do exactly – nothing, except sit on the beach under an umbrella and read, or get really ambitious and walk down the beach through the surf.

    It sounds like you had the best of both worlds. And Buddy Love, too. I know he was thrilled.

  15. Lynn Mosher November 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Awesome! So glad you had a great vacation. But I think I’m turning green! I love the beach. Haven’t been there in a bazillion years. I think God lives there!

  16. Joanne Norton November 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    In my case… Mount Rainier. If I see that mountain when I am out in the NW, it always just makes my soul explode. Lots of other “less thans” make a lot of impact [Cannon Beach, OR or the North Shore of Lake Superior above Duluth, MN]. I’m definitely a “heart-place” oriented person!!

    Glad your vacation was such a blessing!

  17. ed cyzewski December 1, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I love the beach, but sometimes a walk in the woods really does the trick for pray and meditation. There’s something about being surrounded by trees and encased in nature that feels very secure and peaceful. I like the vast view from a beach and the enormity, but sometimes I need the trees to block out the world and any other distraction. All the same, that cottage looks awesome and I’d jump at that in a heart beat!

  18. Rich Dixon December 1, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    What a cool story. I’m struck by how your devotion to your pet seemed like it would ruin your plans but actually made the experience better.

    Sacrifice rewarded.

  19. Hazel Moon December 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    What a fun filled vacation for all – – including dog Buddy Love!!
    The beach and views sound lovely, and your photos portray that well. Where ever we spend Thanksgiving, to spend it with family and loved ones brings sweet fellowship. Great post!

  20. Sandra Heska King December 3, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Oh, Kathy. What a delightful blessing. There’s just something about water and God.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. The mind of an artist | Katdish.net - January 17, 2011

    […] reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I found a copy of the book while perusing the bookshelves of a rented beach cottage in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We were vacationing there over the Thanksgiving holiday. Since I couldn’t take the book with […]

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