15 March 2012

Full of Dreams

Ever had a dream that you've had to let go of ...

Fifteen years ago I took a college trip to Western Europe. That initial trip was a catalyst of sorts for me. Like part of me opened up that I didn't know was waiting to blossom. The travel, the culture, the vistas, the people, the history ... so quietly powerful it felt private, like a secret. In a strange sort of way, it was like falling in love.

In that time since, I feel as though I've traveled Europe many times over. Amazing what books, good movies, and an over-active imagination can do. I plotted and dreamed of many pretend returns. But there came a season where I had to stop taking the travel magazines and watching that darn Rick Steves on his magical PBS adventures. It was too hard. I was flat out jealous and covetous of the opportunities of everyone else. Nevermind that I had three healthy babies at home, a kind husband, and a cozy roof over our head. Wanderlust can be a brazen intruder. Covetousness wreaks havoc on contentment.

So I released the dream.

Before my grandmother died, she called me over to the sofa beside her. Having lost her voice to Lou Gehrig's Disease, she sat with her little typy-machine, Lillian. In her hands, with the familiar knuckles and veins that look so much like my own, she had an envelope. Without words, from her hands to mine, it was passed. Inside, from my frugal and simple-living grandparents, was a check. A completely unexpected chunk of change that left me with my mouth agape. "What do you want to see me do with this?" I asked. She looked at me with her ever-determined eyes and typed one word on her machine: "Invest."


But in what? So many ways to interpret that word.

It's now been almost three years since she went home to the Lord. And the gift has been sitting, waiting for the right opportunity. I didn't want to just buy stuff. I wanted it to go towards something that we could say to the children "This was from Great Mother and Great Father." And I wanted it to have purpose in each of our lives. So I waited. Waited for the purpose.

And then one day last summer I was musing over Peter. His love for history and ancient cultures continues to grow and I couldn't help but wonder how God would have us fan the flames of interest that He had placed in our boy. Then it hit me. Family. Invest the gift in the family. Travel. Experience. Bond. Tie ourselves together through a shared journey. Open up God's world to the children and have them wonder what is His intended purpose for them in it.

Since that day, God has given confirmation time and time again. I am so excited I will randomly break out into tears at the very thought of our impending trip. It's like that long-ago blossoming is occurring again. There is springtime in my soul right now and I am so, so overcome with gratitude.

In two months we will take a three-week trip to Europe. And I am full of dreams once more.


  1. Anna, I could not be more thrilled for you and your family! We share pieces of heart, that's for sure.
    I have had to banish travel mags from our home, and though I do love PBS travel shows, I enter in reluctantly and only occasionally.
    I cannot wait to hear all about your travels. What joy! What gift!

  2. How awesome. Can't wait to hear all about it.

  3. SO COOL!!! Your grandmother will be pleased with your choice I'm certain.

  4. I am SO excited for you Anna...what a beautiful way to honor your grandmother and allow your children the opportunity of a lifetime. Can't wait to see the pictures!!

  5. What a wonderful opportunity! I can't wait to hear about where your travels take you, and what you will see!

  6. Oh Anna... I'm in tears. Happy tears because I'm so excited about your trip, but I also have hopeful tears. These past few weeks have been so much about my husband and I releasing a dream, and all the desires that go with it. Thank you for reminding me that at the appointed time God might just resurrect that dream and allow it to blossom in a way I could never, ever imagine. Your words... they have been such a balm of hope for me on this spring morning.

  7. I am SO happy for talk! Teary at the thought and choked up, too. This is so wonderful. So wonderful! Oh I am just thrilled for y'all!!!

  8. Oh my goodness! I am just so thrilled for you! And that absolutely is an investment in your family and I know that your precious grandma is smiling in heaven right now!!

    More details soon, please....

  9. So exciting! And I really, really hope you can blog about your trip, with TONS of photos!!!

  10. I am SO HAPPY for you. This is wonderful! We just had a wonderful little weekend with our kids. Time away can be so refreshing, so bonding. I am sure your grandparents are rejoicing too :)