Inspired by Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I decided to remember our vacation this year in the same manner. Here are our diary recording one hundred moments of joy, the experiences that drew up gratefulness, and the blessing that overtook our senses: 

  1. Driving south for the annual trek in a secure, new vehicle.
  2. Watching the sunrise over a wide-open road. 
  3. The reward of warm bread and honey butter kicking off a relaxing dinner after a very long ride.
  4. Watching my son find the confidence to order his own meal.
  5. Crashing hard in our two free hotel rooms after a relaxing soak in the hot tub.
  6. Witnessing a rare fire rainbow, demanding soft hearts after heated words. 
  7. Emerging from the vehicle after 18 hours of driving and feeling the tropical heat wash over your face as you step through the threshold of your vacation home to check out the beginning of a new adventure.
  8. Hanging mangos, ripening bananas, fallen palms, blooming hibiscus, and endless shells.
  9. Discovering the long-anticipated golf cart was actually a wagon and laughing over the drama caused by our presuppositions. 
  10. Viewing rainbows while feeling waves crash on your feet.
  11. Opening a giant pizza from an unknown establishment and finding ooey-gooey cheese clinging to the top of the box.
  12. Hearing the eeks of my children as they discover a dolphin hunting fish nearby where they are swimming.
  13. Spying a living starfish and watching my mermaid adorn her hair with its five crawling fingers.
  14. Feeling a sand dollar under your toes, buried deep down in the sand.
  15. Eating ice cream in a bubbling hot tub.
  16. Sorting through 1000 puzzle pieces begging us to tie together the story.
  17. Witnessing a majestic sunset of yellows and reds that was nothing short of God showing off His glory.
  18. Paddling a canoe through a mangrove swamp looking for gators with your Eagle Scout husband and several children in tow.
  19. Discovering fearlessness comes in a variety of ways: watching the child who was freaking out in the mangrove swamp use tools to extract a mussel from a prized shell. 
  20. Enjoying the long, slow days as relaxation begins to do its magic work.
  21. Smelling yumminess cooking on the grill while the kids actually grow fins from being in the water so long.
  22. Dawdling through vacation photos, without the crushing pressure of a clicking clock.
  23. Unexpected thunder in a blue sky, rattling the kids and proving they really can exit a pool in a timely manner.
  24. The assurance that my inner clock is the most reliable form of timekeeping.
  25. Driving home from the airport realizing how blessed I am to have a husband who will willingly fly home for work while we vacation without him.
  26. An unexpected phone call during a march through a marsh that put a smile on my face and hope in my heart.
  27. Sticky starfish on my hands, delicate shells under my toes, and sun-screened babies in my arms.
  28. Leading my children on adventures that push our comfort levels.
  29. The puzzle beginning to take shape, urging me to press diligently onward to complete the task.
  30. A playful dolphin eating dinner under a setting sun, unaware of the commotion he was causing up where the people live.
  31. Watching the sunrise flood a dark sky with warm, energizing colors.
  32. How “suddenly moments” can take your breathe away, despite years of waiting.
  33. Refusing to let a single stressful event define a day.
  34. The sheer delight, eyes-wide-open-delight, of my baby in the arms of her Nana, in the arms of a rockin’ sea.
  35. Sharing delicious garlic bread knots from Joey’s Pizza with Nana & Papa.
  36. The quiet assurance that despite my failings and flaws, I am raising some awesome people who will own their world.
  37. The pleasure of enjoying vacation moments with my parents and watching them walk hand in hand together into the warm summer ocean.
  38.  Walking two blocks to the beach, pretending to be a local.
  39. Pulling a golf cart (see #9) loaded with supplies for our day at the beach.
  40. Picnics and begging seagulls.
  41. Starfish and sand dollars in abundance to delight regardless of your age.
  42.  The wind-chime-like sound that emanates as the tide rushes across the uncountable tiny seashells adorning the water’s edge.
  43. A warm pool to wash away the sand.
  44. A Papa to grill while Daddy is away.
  45. Dominating a 1000 piece puzzle with my tiniest girl; choosing to enjoy the accomplishment rather than focus on the one missing piece that screams “UNFINISHED” to the perfectionist.
  46. Finding another picturesque town that begs further exploration.
  47. Adding the perfect souvenir charm and a free bracelet to my wrist.
  48. Spying our 7th rainbow in the east and our final sunset in the west.
  49. Confidence that the healing power of my Lord is greater than any sting we encounter in life.
  50. Having the best vantage point to grab hold of the very last minute of our last day on Marco Island.
  51. Hunting down all the strange, yet wonderful, sea life mailboxes we could find before crossing the bridge to the mainland one last time.
  52. Feeling like an adventurer, spying out the land in a new city, reporting back on the fruitfulness we found together.
  53. Accomplishing this phase of the trip without my partner by my side, largely unscathed and everyone in one piece!
  54. Pulling into our annual Marriott “home” where cousins were waiting to play hard with my two littles.
  55. The promise of a week full of pools and hot tubs, elevators and slides, ball games and shuffleboard, citrus-infused water and caffeinated beverages, luxury and convenience.  
  56. Puffy white clouds lying against a backdrop of blue, flowing with the rhythm of a thundering waterfall.
  57. Teaching my children that God’s grace is new every morning and that life is a journey of tests and trials, even on vacation.
  58. Getting to have tastes of Disney, without paying for Disney.
  59. Watching a sunset over the lagoon where a giant dragon lives.
  60. Patiently understanding the process of picking out new Lego sets.
  61. A cold snow cone on a hot summer night.
  62. The entertainment that is Downtown Disney: music, all types of music; dancing, all types of dancing; food, all types of food; Disney, all types of magic.
  63. A lazy, slow-moving, everyone sleeps in kind of morning.
  64. Nana serving up made-to-order breakfast like a short-order cook.
  65. Olive Garden and a perfect lunch: when you are here, you’re family.
  66. The ability to take a nap and rest on a day when I wasn’t feeling 100%.
  67. Daughters who step up to fill in the gaps seamlessly.
  68. Winning and losing at pinochle, a game I will never master.
  69. Giggling nephews playing tag with Isabelle in a giant pool.
  70. Attempting to capture underwater shots of children swimming in schools.
  71. Pina Coladas and french fries by a waterfall.
  72. The perfectly pink shades of flamingos, from beak to feet.
  73. Stepping into the heart of Africa, within the heart of Orlando.
  74. Spying the perfect beach hat at a perfect price at Charming Charlie’s.
  75. Mercilessly and unapologetically dominating games of PIG against my kids.
  76. Discovering a waterfall and a geyser tucked away in the wilderness of Orlando.
  77. Being serenaded by our boat captain across Lake Buena Vista at twilight.
  78. Watching Disney fireworks from the” free seats” this year.
  79. Listening to Lydia sing every word of the Little Mermaid soundtrack while watching the slightly creepy and dated electrical parade over the lake.
  80. Outsmarting GPS and proving our brains still have more logic than machines.
  81. Exploring new areas and hidden treasures away from the beaten path of the Orlando commercialism machine.
  82. Daring alligators and chilly, yet crowded, fresh-water springs.
  83. Trusting God through life’s storms and teenage angst.
  84. The joy and peace that occurred the minute Daddy arrived back in Orlando.
  85. Purple and pink sunsets outlined by palm trees.
  86. Swimming in warm water under glowing lights and grumbling thunder.
  87. Choosing to look beyond the giants seemingly blocking new pathways.
  88. The promise of a new beginning.
  89. Enjoying every moment of Pixar’s Inside Out within the heart of Disney.
  90. Having a cartoon remind me that life’s joy and sadness must be co-mingled in order to move forward in wholeness.
  91. Children old enough to help pack (this is HUGE!).
  92. Hearing that a little downpour can’t ruin the fun of exploring Downtown Disney with Dad.
  93. Hugs, prayers, and kisses from Nana & Papa as we wrap up another summer vacation.
  94. Inhaling our final smells of the warm and salty Florida air as we head north.
  95. Panera. Coffee. Bagels.
  96. Long and difficult days are all subject to the constraints of a ticking clock; eventually, they do all come to an end.
  97. Walking your children through impossibly difficult news and knowing that God’s grace is enough to sustain you all.
  98. How falling tears wash away deep sorrow.
  99. Turning that final corner and knowing home is straight ahead.
  100. The warmth of your puppy’s tongue and the sound of his happy howls as the entire pack arrives back at Starkacres.