A few weeks ago we got a great Groupon deal for a hotel in Charlevoix. 2 nights at the Weathervane Terrace Inn, a quaint hotel on Lake Michigan.
We planned to go in celebration of our 19th anniversary. We bought it rather hastily, not really thinking it through. It had to be used in October, no weekends. After the purchase, I realized that I am now working many evenings at Target. Plus we just got back from a week with the family in the Smokies. What were we thinking? I didn't know how this could work.
I got my work schedule and had a Monday and Tuesday evening off, so we booked it. Brad had to work that Monday, though, so we couldn't even get to Charlevoix before 9pm. And I had to work Wednesday evening so we couldn't stay long on Wednesday. I was so disappointed that we had even purchased this. I mean, to drive 4 hours and only really have one day to do anything? Brad was much more optimistic (as usual.) He thought it would be great.
I thought back to some great messages at Kensington Community Church. I wondered, what does God have in store for me? He generally makes good things happen when I am least expecting it. What does He want me to see? Who does He want me to meet? Must be some reason this is happening when I don't even really want to go now.
We left at 5 on Monday and get this....we TALKED to each other for almost the whole 4 hours! Not serious "let's talk about us" type stuff. Just TALK. I like that guy! He is so smart, funny and interesting. We talked the whole time we were together. We walked along the pier overlooking Lake Michigan and across the street on Round Lake where we peeked into people's giant yachts (which, for the record, Brad was opposed to. Just in case someone was in there!) We went into little shops, bought a few souvenirs. We walked a few blocks away to see the "mushroom houses," which are not where they grow mushrooms. (But come on, hotel clerk, it was a valid question! I refuse to feel silly for asking.) We held hands, discussed our hopes for our future, and dreamed of living in one of these unique homes.
We had a really great morning, lots of walking and talking. We went back to the hotel to get ready for lunch. Brad was reading one of those tourist magazines about area dining and noticed some great places about 1/2 hour away in Harbor Springs. It would be a beautiful drive along Lake Michigan, lots of fall color. So we left quaint Charlevoix, a bustling town even during a fall weekday, full of great eats. We drove to Harbor Springs which was...a ghost town. Hardly any cars. Most stores were either closed for the season, or closed and for lease. We looked for these amazing restaurants, finding none. We found one ratty bar with a rather expensive menu and kept looking. Nothing to be found. Back to the ratty bar. We opted for burgers, but since they were $9.95 each we decided to share. We could always eat ice cream later to make up for it :)
I said, "It will be one of those giant, greasy bar burgers anyway! It will be enough." So the meal came, and the burger, when cut in half, was about the size of a slider. And the fries were not great. Worst of all, the atmosphere was awful in that place! Dark, dingy, dirty. We ate our $10 burger in about 3 bites and were kicking ourselves for leaving Charlevoix, where we came across a gourmet burger joint that boasted of grass fed, local beef.
Right near the car was one of only a few stores actually open. It was Spice House which sounded like a good place for someone who loves to cook. I loved it and almost immediately found the cutest owl salt and pepper shakers. They were mine, I HAD to have them. Brad was like "You like owls?" Really? He must have forgotten last year when I would stare for hours at a webcam of the owls Molly and McGee and their babies. When I say hours, I am not exaggerating. I should say days. Weeks. He once came down at 2 am to see if I was coming to bed. "As soon as McGee comes and brings his family a rabbit, I will be there." It was an obsession. So we bought the S&P and a great burger spice mix (too bad that bar didn't have any!) and headed back. Brad was mad at himself for what we missed out on in Charlevoix. But the way I see it, I wouldn't have the cutest salt and pepper shakers ever made!
Our afternoon was spent aboard the Keweenaw Star on a 2 hour cruise around Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Amazing. Just us and about 50 senior citizens! A tour bus full, with visors on, canes, white hair (oh wait...thatwhite hair was Brad's.) Then a really good dinner at a cool bar, followed by watching the sun set behind an ugly cement factory on Lake Michigan. (If you just squinted, it looked like small mountains.)
We stopped in Frankenmuth on our way home, a favorite city of mine. We had the chicken dinner at Zehnder's, but downstairs in the cheap area! We went to Bronner's, NOT a favorite place of Brad's. He suffered through it for my enjoyment. I could have spent at least an hour more, we didn't even see half of it. But it satisfied us both that way.
So after reflecting on that question of mine to God: who do you want me to meet? I found the answer. It was my very own husband, Brad. After 19 years of marriage (plus 4 before that of dating), he is still the great guy I fell in love with. He loves me no matter what. And that is what God wanted me to know.