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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