Vacation Gone Awry – Part 3

My last three posts have detailed our recent Chicago Getaway.  The following will be the conclusion of our “Vacation Gone Awry”:

Chicago Field Museum  (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Chicago Field Museum
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014


We loaded up into our taxi van, and arrived at the Chicago Field Museum. We easily could have spent 8 hours there, simply soaking up all of the history and wisdom and beauty!

It was a delight to find out about their “annual membership” package for our family.  After purchasing this for a fraction of admission cost, we can now visit other museums in the USA and abroad…for FREE! There may be a charge for some special exhibits, but for the 7 of us, we saved a LOT of money!

Even James, who is the “museum skeptic” of the family, was ENTHRALLED!    The kids were ecstatic about all of the hands-on exhibits, and I could NOT get enough of the architecture, photo-ops, OR the exhibits!

Family Hands (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Family Hands
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Thermal Kids (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Thermal Kids
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014



Satisfied that our day was complete, James called a taxi and we made ourselves at home on the front steps of the Field Museum.  We waited, and waited, and waited…for a taxi that had not arrived 30 minutes later.

Waiting Patiently (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Waiting Patiently
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

James and I were silently praying for wisdom, and striving to trust that all would work out.  We were anxious to catch the train and settle into a hotel in Michigan City for the night until we could get more news about the part we needed on the vehicle.

Not long after, a stretch limousine pulled up in front of us.  The kids were very impressed!

I began to tell them a story about how my friends and I had offered a limo driver $20.00 to take us from Navy Pier to the Moody Bible Institute, and he obliged.

“Wow!” They exclaimed with wide eyes.  “A limo ride in Chicago?! That would be awesome!”

A few minutes later, the driver walked over and asked if we needed a ride.  He offered to drive us where we needed to go for $5.00 a person.

No hesitation, just me jumping to my feet and saying, “Yup!” as James blinked after me in astonishment.  Away we went!!  Check out the view from inside the plush interior!

Limo View  of Chicago (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Limo View of Chicago
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Limo View Chicago 2  (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Limo View Chicago 2
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014






Our driver was so attentive and obliging!  He stopped at Subway® so we could grab supper for the train ride.  I won’t lie, it was SO fun to have the door opened for me by a well-dressed driver; and to get out at Subway® amid curious glances from onlookers.  The sandwich artists were very friendly and professional.  I ordered 4 foot-long subs, grabbed a slew of drinks and chips, and we were off…(as soon as I snapped some more pictures!)

subway limo view

Restaurant Limo View 2 (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014


We dashed to retrieve our luggage from the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront, and were whisked over to the train station.  We made it to the platform…and missed the train.


Train Depot Caffeine (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Train Depot Caffeine
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

We ate.  We collapsed into the booths at Starbucks® with water for the kids, and loaded caffeinated beverages for James and I. The baristas graciously invited us to camp out until they closed.

We did.

We boarded the train, after the kids played “Slow-motion Ninja” for a while on the platform.  Eventually, we arrived in Michigan City, IN where another taxi van was waiting for us.  Jason, the driver, was fabulous!

We checked into Michigan City Baymont Inn and Suites, where we were given adjoining rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a warm welcome by Karen, the manager.  She was so helpful!

We slept until the alarm reminded us to go eat breakfast, and we groggily went to the lobby.

Kelly called us from Michigan City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram  to gently explain that the part would not arrive until the following day, despite their every attempt to have it expedited.

When the ride home is delayed, the wise go shopping!

We thoroughly enjoyed our retail therapy at

Michigan City Lighthouse Place Outlets !

After shopping at the local grocery store, Meijer®, we ate sandwiches and chips for supper.

While the auto repairs were completed, we watched a movie in the theatre with the kiddos.  We were picked up in our fresh-off-the-hoist vehicle, and were pleasantly surprised by the discount gifts that Kelly and the team gave to us for the repairs.

Deep gratitude was expressed, emails were exchanged, and a promise to keep in touch was genuinely uttered from both sides.

James and I set out with the kids, amazed at the unmistakable ways that  God so clearly walked ahead of our every step on this journey.

About a week before the vacation, I was really struggling with our finances.  We had recently been blessed unexpectedly with a small amount of money gifted to us by a beloved one.  Despite our every attempt to save as much as possible, life happened.  Auto repairs were needed, and then compounded.  Kids’ feet grew…two sizes bigger a MONTH after buying new shoes.  Bills had to be paid.  I was wrestling with it, and I expressed my frustration to God one day.  It was like he answered, “What did I say in “The Lord’s Prayer”, Gracie?  How much bread are you to ask for?”

I answered, “Give us this day our DAILY bread”.

So clearly, it was like he impressed on me the following: “I have gifted you with bread in your savings not just for today, but for quite a few days going forward.  If I can provide for you when you have nothing, then I can handle it when you have something.  Instead of fretting about the dwindling balance, rejoice in how I provided ahead of time before you even knew that you had a need.”

James and I committed to it, and throughout the trip, as unexpected expenses piled up, and the savings account balance dwindled; we would pause and thank God for the way that he had provided ahead of time for our needs.

When things went awry, we would stop and say, “What do you have for us, Lord?”.  It was a sweet reminder that even though we were off the course and path that we had planned out and prepared for, we were exactly where he had planned for us to be.

We began the drive home that day,in awe of the beautiful reminder that God is attentive to every detail of our lives…as if we needed the reminder. 😉

Love Promise (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Love Promise
(c)Gracie K. Harold 2014



One thought on “Vacation Gone Awry – Part 3

  1. Beautiful! As the family book keeper I often struggle with worry over the budget. It struck me the other day that I don’t pray enough about it, so I make it my prayer that I would have great wisdom in managing this responsibility delegated to me by my husband. God is good! It’s amazing how often I try to do things on my own without even praying about them. I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness.


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