1000 Miles to True Freedom.

“Gas in the car, get in...
Say we're never spontaneous
We're taking a chance at living the wild life, baby…

The clothes on our back are plenty
Everybody will wonder where we've gone to…
This could be a real good story, someday soon.”

A little over a week ago, I was in Nashville for a short trip, and Suz and I decided to do something we’ve wanted to do ever since we became friends: wake up at 6am on an ordinary Friday morning, throw an iPod, some clothes, apples, and peanut butter crackers into a bag, hop into Suz’ Jeep named Boy Scout and drive to one of our favorite places: the emerald coast of Florida. Oh yes, 500 spontaneous miles, many laughs, and one emergency bathroom stop later (giggle), we drove into Seaside, Florida with perma-grins on our faces and flip-flops on our feet that were itching to be removed so our toes could wiggle in the sugar white sand.

Amidst the myriad of times we’ve been to Destin and the memories we’ve made there, something was very different about this trip. I think we’d both come to expect multiple beach trips each year and had become greedy with how much time we could spend in the “perfect little beach town.” But due to a few situations that have happened lately, this trip was characterized not by greed but by overwhelming thankfulness: several days of working overtime that allowed us to both get off work on Friday, my husband giving me an enthusiastic thumbs-up and encouraging us to get a hotel rather than sleeping in our cars as originally planned :), our financial problems and then Suz’s generosity to pay for all the gas…So, tell me, would I have appreciated this sweet trip so much if life hadn’t been standing in the way of it before? Would I have treasured a day-and-a-half getaway with one of my closest friends if I didn’t normally live hundreds of miles away from her? I can’t help but think that sometimes God makes us release the fingers that so tightly grasp our dreams and ideals before He will give us some or all of it back – in His time and in the right way.

And now for some pics from the trip....


0 minutes into the trip. We left so early that no one was awake except the Pest Control man, who we asked to take this shot. Judging by the blurriness, we figure he should probably stick to spraying termites :).


Morning sun is shining, and we’ll be at the beach in 7 hours. Can’t fake these smiles!


Somewhere between Nashville and the Alabama line: Two Idealists in the car always makes for some good laughs. We pass an 18-wheeler truck in the shoulder with smoke pouring out of the side of it, and what does Suz have to say? “Ooooh, look at how the sunbeams are shining through the smoke! That’s beautiful!”


1.5 hours into the trip: The Alabama line. We made it out of Tennessee, and we’re happy to announce that not only is that a rocket, but yes Alabama is STILL happy to see us.

No road trip is complete without some luscious Diet Sunkist!

7.5 hours into the trip: It’s cloudy, but we’re finally in Seaside, so who cares?

8 hours into the trip: I think we can pass as beach house owners, don’t you? We sure look like the kind of gals who could own million dollar summer homes. Hee hee.

Here are some more fun ones from the beach…

Wow...just wow.


16 hours into the trip: Let’s not forget the infamous Destin Walmart – where else can you get airbrushed t-shirts and useless plastic beach bling??

16.5 hours into the trip: All the ice cream shops were closed when we finished dinner, so we bought some No Sugar Added Breyers Peanut Butter Tracks at Walmart and ate it in our hotel room. Yes, we’re both seeking recovery for this addiction, and I realize it violates my previous Whole Foods post :).
But no time with Suz is complete without an ice cream run!!

28 hours into the trip: Beautifully sunny Seaside welcomes us Saturday morning at one of our favorite picture spots.

33 hours into the trip: Ice cream, sunshine, and a quiet spot to sit in a quaint beach town – I didn’t think I’d ever get Suz to leave this gazebo :).

34 hours into the trip: Saw this beach house and fell in love. It’s even my favorite color, and the handpainted sign above the door says, “Remember To Smile.” What a wonderful way to end our day before heading back to Nashville…

“If the ocean is warm we'll take a swim…
Fill our pockets with sand to prove we went…
To our friends.”

The next morning, sleepy-eyed at the airport, I was fishing for my boarding pass and found sand in my purse :). I closed my eyes and said, “Thank you, Jesus.” Not because I had been at the beach, but because since the last time I was there, I’ve been learning what true spiritual freedom is. I’ve been learning that I don’t need to get away to Seaside, FL to be on a spiritual high or to feel content with my life. Instead of having the momentary satisfaction that comes from worldly things or places or being with certain people, I’m tasting the kind of freedom that comes from a deep change inside the heart.


When this is happening, I believe that everything I enjoy about this life...from the coast to being in the sun to ice cream to Diet Sunkist…all point to a much greater joy. Only can we truly enjoy and appreciate the little gifts this world has to offer when they do not stand alone.