The Man and I have a penchant for spontaneity and adventure. We have delightful memories from the myriad last-minute treks and trips during the 18 years we’ve known each other. And I’ve decided our many mishaps along the way sweeten the stories immensely.

But in recent years it’s become harder to live life the way we used to. Kids and grown-up responsibilities have a way of changing things. Last week, however, a spontaneity front came through our region and carried us off to faraway family for a snow-filled weekend.

It was fun to feel free and crazy, to look at each other repeatedly and ask, Are we really doing this? It was fun to talk to my husband in the dark, early-morning quiet while the kids slept, lulled to sleep by engine hum against their I’m-going-to-stay-awake-til-4-am wishes. It was fun to giggle and talk about dreams and what-if’s while we munched on too many salt and vinegar chips and drank Coke.

It was fun until our van died on an Indiana interstate exit at 4 a.m. At that point, “free” and “crazy” was not fun. It was a regrettable whim.

As the tow-truck pulled us to a nearby dealership and we prayed and I wiped my leaky eyes, Blondie busted out with an impromptu remake of a recent hit: Van broke down. Van broke down. Lookin’ like a fool with your van broke down. Thank the Lord for those moments when tears give way to comic relief. I laughed until I cried. Again.

So, it’s one of those weekends turned weeks when you simply make do, when you embrace adventure of a different sort.

I’d like to say I’m good at that. I did, after all, just do a little series on the topic. But this “making do” is harder…and I’m no good at it. I prefer the kind that involves spray paint.

After a weekend of snow and sledding and hanging out {everything I had planned}, I am now faced with the reality of a week that is not at all what I’d had in mind…

A week away from home and husband, a week of doing school without our books and supplies, a week of hunting for a new van, a week of hoping that we are not imposing entirely too much on another {very gracious} family…whose plans we have now trampled all over.

{I am beginning to feel like the Cousin Eddie of the family: Now don’t you going fallin’ in love with that RV, Clark. We’re takin’ it with us when we leave here next month.}

Plans gone awry have turned me to mush. I fight back tears as I meander through Kroger and munch on illegal amounts of sample cheese. I dab eyes as I can’t seem to find a body-wash poof {because exfoliating makes everything better} and pay too much for diapers. My mind is clearly elsewhere as I try to remove Cupcake from the shopping cart four times and finally yank off his snow boots to get him out…only to discover that he’s still buckled in.

After the dust of spontaneity has settled and the adrenaline of crisis has worn off, I realize that I do not like having to alter my plans so much. I selfishly grip my oh-so-commonplace agenda like my toddler grips his favorite toy and when it’s ripped from my hands, I fall apart.

I’m realizing that spontaneity is fun…but only when I’m the one planning it.

And in my rare moments of clarity, I know that this mishap too will one day “sweeten the story.”


  1. says

    Sorry you’re stuck! I’m glad you’re with people you love, though, and not stuck in a hotel somewhere. Don’t sweat the school stuff….it’s YOUR schedule, no one else’s, and you can tweak it and change it and make it your own. Even if you use something that comes with an instructor’s guide. :o)

  2. says

    I am praying for you!!! I just saw Lily at Bible study and she told me of your “adventure”… I can see that the Lord is already teaching you lessons through it. I am so sorry!! I will pray. Blessings!

  3. Anonymous says

    So sorry for the stress. Its no fun to be outside of your comfort zone. The summer of 08 was a tight one or us financially and I felt SO PROUD to have come through it and feel like I learned so much about faith and could now move forward. We were just starting to get back on our feet so we decided to postpone schooling for Scott that semester so he could work and catch up a bit. One week later Scott cut his hand badly- requiring surgery & couldn’t work for several months…and no health insurance. Gulp. More lessons on faith and who my Father was “I thought I was doing so well in this department God” Why now? or “When can I get a break?”

    Praying for this to be a short blip and you encounter much grace in it all.


  4. says

    You are NOT ALONE in your desire to have things laid out all nice and neat and predictable.

    I’m celebrating a one-year anniversary this month. Last February, my husband’s heart was in a-fib. Not good. But we took charge of the situation. Got everything ready. Checked into Duke Hospital to get things all straightened out with meds and an electrical re-start of his heart. But while he was in the hospital, they did some tests. And it turned out that the a-fib was not the problem. The problem was actually a mitral valve that had to be replaced. So instead of being all in control and getting his heart fixed, we left the hospital to get ready for another, longer hospital stay, this time for open-heart surgery.

    What? Are you kidding me? It was most definitely Not What I Had Planned.

    But God took care of us, just as He’s caring for you, and now we’re a whole year out from that time. And we have a good story to tell. And, yes, the story is sweeter because of the unexpected twists and turns. I am glad to know you, a person who knows EVEN WHEN SHE’S IN THE MIDDLE OF IT that it will be okay. You are special.

  5. says

    Thank you for being so transparent with us.
    I am struggling with these very same things right now.
    Thankfully, He is always, always with us.
    I pray that you find the ‘perfect’ van at the best price ever!

  6. says

    There’s a sweet memory in here, just waiting for the recalling . . . somewhere down the road. Meanwhile, thank God for a sister-in-law that you love and who loves you; cousins that your kids LOVE to be with; a husband who is missing you and anxious to have his family all back together; people in all kinds of places praying for your heart, mind, and spirit . . . and Blondie, whose situation-inspired song has brought me enough laughter in the past few days to last quite a while!

    Love you forever,

  7. says

    So sorry for your mishaps, but glad that you are looking for the silver lining, even if it won’t show up until years from now when all of this is funny.

    I’m right there with you. I like planned spontaneity, not unwelcome surprises.

  8. says

    Girl, I’m with you all the way. I love it when it’s my idea. And everything goes my way.
    If it’s someone elses idea all the “what ifs” begin to run through my brain.
    We miss you.

  9. Ruth says

    Funny Story:
    In PT school, I have a friend who knows the song that Blondie ‘remixed.’ He sang it to me about 700 times in the course of being snowed in together for 3 days. Well, at PT school we often have to change clothes in the middle of class to switch into lab gear. Some days we have to wear professional dress in the morning and lab shorts in the afternoon. Well we call this a PT mullet- “Business in the front, party in the back.” It’s directly correlated to “Pants on the Ground.” It’s almost the theme song of my class. I’m going to start applying it more freely to other travails of life like Blondie. That was fun.

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