Thursday November 1, 2012

if you don’t read Amber‘s blog, you should.
the gift she just received was just awesomeness at it’s best.
i had to think of her when i was composing this post.
because like Amber experienced, sometimes gifts come to us when we need them most, when we expect them least.
and, that, is the case with this Florida Gift.
i cannot tell you how out-of-the-blue this came to us.
one day, i was doing all manner of housework and childcare and my aunt called.
which, was sort of out of the ordinary, but not so much that i was worried.
i called her back a couple of days later and was left giddy and shocked when i hung up from our conversation.
you see, they wanted to Give us the use of their timeshare for a week down in Punta Gorda, Florida.
no strings attached.
just pack up the kids and drive down here and enjoy the place.
we talked about it, Tim and i did, and we tried to figure out if this could work.
we originally thought no.
but, after consideration, and counsel from some wise and caring friends, we decided this was too good of a chance to pass up, and an opportunity we would likely Never get again.

just like this itty-bitty, so small starfish that i found on the beach while we were there.
so out of the blue, so not-your-typical-seashell.
i literally gasped when i looked down and saw this treasure.
i picked it up and marveled.
i kept it as my one little treasured item to remind me of the goodness and unexpected Glory of a God who sees all of our needs and gives us blessings we don’t expect.
like these Florida Gift Days.
Days where we as a family of 6 spent time together.
Days where we as a family spent time with some of my family; my grandma and two aunts and an uncle.
Days where we relaxed and enjoyed a break.
Days where we had to pinch ourselves that we were actually there, actually living this life.
it wasn’t perfect.

think 18 hours in a minivan with four kids overnight.
yeah, there’s not a whole lot about that picture that is perfect.

but, you know, it was worth it.
every second of screaming and every 9,000 times of being asked ‘are we almost there’.

9 days. 2,900 miles. 560 pictures. and memories to last a lifetime.
that’s the short version.
here are the pictures to give you a glimpse into this Gift.

where we stayed/around the Village…

two days spent at Sanibel Island where we were with my family and had walk-out access to a most glorious beach.

my little sidekick and i walked around the Village while the rest of the crew swam…

Kate and me?

we got some pretty nice shots, we thought.
around the Yacht Basin and Docks...


a little bit of posing one afternoon at the Village…

my children with my grandma, their Great Grandma…

me and my Grandma and Kate…

it was great.
it really, really was.
i don’t talk about it and i cannot do much to change the circumstances of this, but i miss my family more than i know how to express.
it was so good for me to go spend time with some of those who are in most of my best memories from my childhood.
i said it elsewhere that ‘sometimes a girl has to go back to what she came from to remember who she is.’.
for me, anyhow.
i came away from those short days with my family remembering so many things that are just part of being an Oatney. little things, but things that matter to me, nonetheless.


and, to close this post….
WeLcOmE November!
we are glad to be heading into days with birthdays, and holidays to celebrate.

i’ve already been heeding the urge to bake and drink hot chocolate…
to dole out the comfort foods to those i love most.


it’s almost the weekend.
make it a good one!


21 thoughts on “Thursday November 1, 2012

  1. You take some really stunning photos, Rachel. I can picture them printed large hanging on a wall somewhere. I’m so glad you got this Florida gift and that you enjoyed it to the max! ( <— don’t you think we should bring back that saying? To the max)now I want hot chocolate and cookies.and starfish and sandy beaches.Happy November to you!

  2. I know you took lots and lots of pictures…but you sure got some good ones!! Loved those ones of you with your Grandma and the kids.  And yeah, I would say this chance was a “once in a lifetime” kind of thing and I am SO glad it worked out for your family to go!

  3. lovely. so lovely. What an amazing gift. So happy for you that you got to have that amazing time w/ your family. And I’ll just live vicariously through all your beautiful happy photography

  4. So great that ya’ll could just get away and enjoy!! It must be a fantastic vacay to make 18 hours in a mini van worth it! …..this is random but if there is any chance little Kate will still wear her adorable hat next summer, I have the matching sundress I’d happily pass on. And I love the polka dot shoes, too cute!

  5. Winter came early to Alberta and while it has its own beauty, it’s wonderful to look at the bold blue skies and sandy beaches on your gorgeous pictures.  ~happy sigh~  You have the cutest family.What a precious time that you will remember forever.

  6. Okay, WOW, WOW, WOW!!Not only did you get a free vacation, but it wasn’t in a rinky-dink little shack either! What a beautiful area!So many beautiful beautiful things…… the sea shells. What fun to walk along the beach with such shells! We don’t have shells here, at all…. “Honeymoon Forever” boat – I just love that!… your sunglasses – I love them!! They fit your face so well too…. time with your grandmother, how special and precious! She looks so sweet and classy – I love her earrings. Now we know where you get your style. :)… Ava’s swimsuit – the stripes are too cute, and she is a beauty…. 9 days of vacation!? SO HAPPY FOR YOU…. cutecutecute polka dot shoesI could gush more. 🙂 But it just sounds like a special special time, and I’m so happy for you.xoxo

  7. wow, how fun to get a surprise vacation like that!  The beach is SO fun and you probably don’t get to see much of it since you’re land locked, right?  The kid pictures turned out so cute too!Hope you’re getting back to normal after all a vacation entails 🙂 and have a great weekend!  It’s crazy and at times hard to imagine fall while it’s in the 80’s here 🙂  I can’t wait for it to show up!  Things are starting to get a yellowish tent *what color we get here* and starting to show the season though 🙂

  8. so very happy for you having this florida getaway! your pics are breathtaking. that star fish was straight from Jesus. love it.and to see blue sky and sunshine… hmmm. feels kinda familiar. like i really have seen it before.   and yet it’s all rather vague…and distant for me at the moment!ENJOY your weekend!

  9. Your photos are so vibrant, colorful, clear!  We’ve had 7days of clouds and rain 😦  I’m ready for some SUNSHINE!This surprising gift reminds me of the book Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge and chapter 7 which talks about God romancing us – he knows exactly what will bless our hearts, show us His deep love for us, even the smallest things like the star shell you found…sounds like you got some love poured out to you.  Hope your faith was strengthened, your heart renewed with His love, and your spirit refreshed!

  10. beautiful pictures Rachel!! I am so happy for you that you got to spend this special family time together in the sunshine! a gift for sure! you have a beautiful little family and your children look so happy and content. the pic of you with your grandmother and darling Kate is a favorite, totally. precious! you look so good with a sunkissed tan and those glass’ are super classy! what a homey feeling I get to see leaves, chocolate chip cookies and coffee cups, makes me wanna curl up for winter……

  11. this IS one of those “too good to be true memories”…. and what a blessed gift to your family.  you are well deserving of it and i’m so happy for you.  your pictures aren’t uploading right for me so i’ll have to come back later to see if it will be better.happy november.

  12. 1. You are so beautiful Rachel!2. Sophia has that same blue striped swimsuit. (gotta love Target ;)3. LOVE all your pictures! You got some really good ones. I would instagram and then stickygram them to your fridge….I may be obsessed with stickygrams.4. What a gift. Such a special gift your aunt gave you. That is how we felt when we went to the shore…there was no way we could have done all that we did if we weren’t blessed by the generosity of others.5. Your family is just so wonderful. I miss you.6. This has nothing to do with your post, but I thought of it as I was reading….. I told you I would send you that paper and I never did! I will scan and email it.Happy Weekend to you. =)

  13. do i say you’re pretty every time you post a picture of yourself? i’m sorry if i do … i just think it every time : ) i’ve been waiting for a real post after seeing all your instagrams come through! fun, fun times!!

  14. i loved looking at all your gorgeous pics! i’d say that trip was just one big special hug from God! and i loved the pics of you, your grandma and Kate. so precious. i agree about what you said about sometimes needing to go back to where you came from….i miss my family, too…or at least i miss what i remember. the memories. it’s never quite the same these days…

  15. The Oatneys are grand people!  …and I’d love to sit around the farm table talking into the night once more with the KS Oatneys.Your Grandma is such a gem. I very well remember one certain December month when you went to visit Grandma. :)Once again, I am delighted you took this wonderful gift. You’ll be forever grateful you did.I love love your love for detail.Thanks for sharing the pics with us.

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