Oregon Garden Resort Entrance Sign

Blog Special Needs

When There’s A Will, There’s A Way: A Special Couple Makes Their Wish A Reality

Traeger BBQ GrillThirty-eight days ago, the newlyweds came to our house for a summer barbecue.  John cooked burgers on the Traeger wood pellet grill. Cedar smoke puffed from the exhaust, filling the back yard with an enticing aroma that made my stomach growl. Lindsey (33), Nick (35), and I stood near the grill, breathing deeply, chatting about their upcoming one-year anniversary. John opened the grill’s black lid and slipped four slices of American cheese on the hot patties. The burgers sizzled.

“We wanna go back to the Ory-gun Garden,” Lindsey said, waving her arms in the air. She looked like a baby bird struggling to fly. “You know, Mom. The same place you and Dad gave us for our honeymoon,” my daughter added, like I might have forgotten where they’d stayed.

Last October, John and I had purchased a package from the Oregon Garden Resort that included a king-size room, two dinner entrees, a bottle of house wine or sparkling cider, and breakfast. Lindsey described the bed and how it was so comfortable that the next morning they’d slept later than planned.

Room at the Oregon Garden Resort
King-size room at the Oregon Garden Resort

“We almost missed the free breakfast,” Lindsey said, shaking her head. Her short, dark curls bobbed to the beat of her shakes.

Lindsey and Nick talked about the steaks they selected off the resort’s menu, how they picked French fries instead of baked potatoes, how the room came with a gas fireplace and a huge bed–a recounting we’d heard many times since their honeymoon. “We almost got lost in that thing,” Lindsey said, referring to the king-size bed. Her blueberry eyes darted right, then left like she was searching for the correct words in her head. She waved her arms in the air some more, changing subjects, explaining that they’d ordered sparkling cider but the waiter brought them red wine instead.

Pinot Noir,” Nick said, his blue eyes widened. He did a better job of pronouncing pinot noir than I did. “And it was tasty, too.” Nick smacked his lips together, brushing a loose strand of blonde hair from his face. The newlyweds giggled, obviously sharing a secret between themselves. I raised my eyebrows. Lindsey didn’t generally drink alcoholic beverages because of her medications. But they seemed happy with the waiter’s mix-up, so I chuckled along with them. My heart swelled. I wanted Lindsey and Nick to have a memorable first anniversary celebration. And at that moment, I wanted to book them a room in honor of this achievement.

But then I remembered.

They both had been rather careless with money recently (Lindsey more than Nick)–buying two identical DVDs at the video store, “Just in case we lose one,” Lindsey explained when she saw my confused expression. “We do it for all our movies.” Her clarification wasn’t helping ease my concerns. They had at least three bookcases filled with VHSs, DVDs and CDs. Two of every single movie? Was that necessary? Lindsey thought so. Nick shrugged.

“We buy lots of video games too,” Nick added, telling me they had at least thirteen additional used movies and games on hold at the video store.

Since their wedding day, Lindsey hadn’t been as obsessed with buying papers, pencils, pens, and stickers as she had in the past. But if she had a dollar in her Hello Kitty backpack, she acted like the money was a pile of hot coals; she must spend it, get it out of her hands as quick as she could. She’d buy a bottle of shampoo (although she already has five different brands in the cupboard), or she’d spend it on an unnecessary kitchen gadget (I say unnecessary because Lindsey and Nick do not cook all that often), or on a new toy for the kittens, or on twelve Dora The Explorer coloring books at the Dollar Store. And then there was the recent stop at Artic Circle. Lindsey crammed her last seven-dollar bills in a front denim pocket (leaving her with no spending money for the next thirteen days). She scanned the menu board to find an item that cost exactly the amount she had pulled from her pocket and scrunched in a tight fist.  Lindsey ended up not liking her selection and tossed most of the meal in the nearest garbage can.

Nick bragged about hoarding his allowance. He pulled out several folded greenbacks from his wallet. “This is my spending money,” Nick said, a smirk on his long face. “I don’t have to share. I keep some for later.” Nick flicked a fingernail against the bills. “But Lindsey spends hers faster than a rocket heading into outer space,” he added. Despite an attempt to hold my lips in a straight line, they curled into a grin.

Lindsey nodded her head up and down in quick succession. “I’m not a saver. I’m a spender. That’s for sure.”

“Well,” I said, thinking of suggestions on how they could save for a night at the Oregon Garden Resort. “You could return pop cans, save your date night money, or order smaller quantities at the fast food counter.” My gaze rested on Lindsey, on Nick, back on Lindsey. “But you should start now since it will cost a couple hundred bucks to do the same package.”

Lindsey stared at me, her face went blank. Nick’s blue eyes seemed sad. Was he worried his wife wouldn’t be able to save enough for an anniversary celebration? He scratched his head, causing an unrestrained strand of blonde hair to fall against his cheek. Nick pushed it away. Neither of their faces held any excitement about my suggestions.

“If your anniversary is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen,” I said, stacking dirty dinner plates on the patio table and carrying them inside to the kitchen sink.

Lindsey and Nick peppered John with questions: Exactly how much would they need? When would they need it by? What would they get for their hard-earned cash?  John answered between bites of homemade wacky cake and vanilla ice cream.

When Lindsey and Nick left that evening, I wouldn’t have bet a penny on either of them saving a single dime for their one-year anniversary. But mentally, I’d already vowed, if they saved at least half the hotel’s price, we’d fork over the rest.

Fast forward thrity-eight days.  Lindsey and Nick stopped by our house to drop off some medical paperwork. Our conversation turned to their upcoming anniversary.

“How’s everything coming along?” I asked, planning to give the newlyweds another financial pep talk. I tilted my head, crossed my arms, and waited.

“We’ve already saved $138,” Lindsey said, a huge smile made her eyes twinkle like stars. She waved her arms in the air demonstrating how, on her State Farm payday, she stashed their “agreed upon” date night monies into a metal box with a lock.

“I keep the key,” Nick said, his tone serious as a stone. “That was her idea.” He pointed to his wife.

Lindsey nodded and smiled. “It’s best that way.” Lindsey’s eyes darted right, then left. “Now we don’t spend our date night money every week like we used to. Our anniversary is im-po-tant to us. So we’re savin’ hard.”

Oregon Garden Resort Grounds

“She’s been doing good in the savin’ department.” Nick said, ignoring Lindsey’ mispronunciation of “important.” He rocked his head up and down, a wide grin brightened his pale face.

We looked on line to see how they were to being able to book a room at the resort. October prices had dropped. Lindsey and Nick had saved enough cash for the dinner and breakfast package, including tips for servers and housekeeping. When I told them, Lindsey clapped her hands like a child.

“Book it, Mom!” Lindsey said, high-fiving her husband.

My special girl never ceases to amaze me. She proved me wrong once again. Lindsey and Nick decided this event was important enough to save for and they made it happen. All on their own.

And I’m so darn proud of them.


Loving Lindsey CoverMy first book, Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs will be out September 26, 2017. If you would like to learn more, click here.

I share many passions in this world: antiquing, gardening, hiking, traveling, taking amateur photographs, writing, sitting on a white, sandy beach with my husband and sipping a frozen margarita—just to name a few. If you enjoy any of these things too, let's connect! The world is better with friends.

  • Ami

    Linda, I’d love to send Nick and Lindsey an anniversary card. Can you email me an address to send it to?
    What a sweet story. I am proud of them for saving all that money, too. It’s hard to save money!!!!

    • Ami: you are so sweet. I’ve sent you their address via an email. And I’m proud of them too. The buttons on my shirt are busting open!

  • Helen Dao

    Awww… Love the story Linda! Thanks for sharing. Hope I’ll get to meet Lindsey one day.

    • Helen: Thanks so much for reading and especially for leaving a note. I’m so glad you found this post. And I hope you get to meet Lindsey one day, too. Please let me know when you and Chuck can come to Oregon. The guest room is ready and waiting for the two of you. I just hope when you meet Lindsey, she will be her sweet, funny self.

  • Nancy Johnson

    Thank you for sharing Nick and Lindsay’s diligence to save for their Anniversary celebration. They are truly special and amazing. Love to them both from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Ev in California.

    • Nancy: I will give them your well wishes. They are doing so well. I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment. The comments mean a lot to me (and to Nick and Lindsey). Hope to see you in our neck of the woods again sometime soon.

  • Wendy Stec

    I LOVE this story! What a great description of this special effort and experience for Nick and Lindsey. I truly enjoyed reading this recollection and share in your pride and joy for both of them.

    • Thanks Wendy. This has been a good week with Lindsey. I was thrilled to share this. Thanks so much for reading–and of course, for leaving a comment. I appreciate both. Tell your girls hi!

  • Henry Ehli

    Loved it Linda, miss seeing Lindsey & Nick. Henry(dog) & Mom (she’s a human).

    • I showed your other comments to Nick (and Lindsey) and he was tickled that you had written. He told me all about the dog, Henry. I’ll pass on this note, too. They sure enjoy hearing from people. Thanks so much for reading and for leaving a comment. I know I say this over and over, but it is wonderful to read them (and share them with the newlyweds!)

      • Henry Ehli

        We love your posts Linda…and Nick & Lindsey…Henry & Julie
        Lindsey was scared of me at first, but she learned I was a good dog!

  • The Pink Roller Coaster

    You are such a beautiful storyteller, Linda. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • Brigid–your comment finally showed up! An hour later! (better late than never, huh?) Thanks so much for reading and for leaving such a sweet comment. It melted my heart. You have made my day, my evening, my week.

      • The Pink Roller Coaster

        So glad my comment finally showed up! I swear, these computers sometimes have a mind of their own! I was happy to read and leave a comment, especially since I’ve been looking forward to a new post from you.

        P.s. Thank you so much for stopping by my FB page and leaving such kind comments. As I’m sure you understand, I LOVE getting feedback. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to email and FB notifications at this point. LOL. 🙂

        • me too! BTW, do you know why I might not be able to leave one on your blog? I left one other blogs w/out problems. I type everything out, hit publish and it totally disappears. No message, like this comment is being reviewed. Nothing. Has anyone else said that they’ve had issues? Any info you can provide would be helpful because I love leaving comments!

          • The Pink Roller Coaster

            Hmmmm. Ya know, no one else has said anything about having an issue. I just had my husband leave a comment, and it went through no problem, and I received a notification for it to be published. But he’s using a PC, not a Mac. I wonder if you’re right about it being a compatibility issue. I’ll have him check it out for me, ’cause I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to fixing those type of issues. 🙂

          • It’s not just yours. I’m asking my nephew, the great computer genius. Hopefully, I’ll be leaving messages on your site soon. 🙂

          • The Pink Roller Coaster

            Okay. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂


          • The Pink Roller Coaster

            Your comment went through — hooray! I replied to it, but I recently
            discovered that Blogger doesn’t notify a person when I’ve responded to
            their comment — is that not the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard?! — so I just
            wanted to stop over here and let ya know you’re back in business as far
            as comments go. :)Brigid

          • yay, Brigid. I will know to use another browser until I get safari fixed. 🙂

  • Julie Sparks

    Aww, cute story! Your daughter’s story is always amazing to me! I can’t believe how far she has come. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment as well.

    • You are so welcome, Julie. Lindsey continues to surprise me. 🙂

  • Kristi – Finding Ninee

    Linda! I’m so proud of them too. I wasn’t expecting that ending, at all, and wow. Perfect. I love it. And also? I almost can’t believe it’s been a year. Where does the time go? I mean really. Where?

    • I can’t believe it has been almost a year, too! Time is going faster and faster all the time. Guess that means I’m getting older and older. Ha! Anyway, thanks (as always) for reading and leaving a not. Sorry it took so long to respond–I was in your neck of the woods for the past eleven days.

      • Kristi – Finding Ninee

        Next time you’re in my neck of the woods, we should meet for coffee or wine!

  • FunMumX3

    Linda I love reading your stories and always keep your experiences stored away for future reference! Miss 17 (almost 18, has down syndrome) had her first shift at work yesterday, just 2 hours, once a week after school at our local pizza/bakery. She has a job coach and if things work out well she will learning one job at a time. But she already has a list of things to buy with her oh-so-small pay so I have to take her to the bank and start doing some work on how much money and what to do with it!

    More than anything she wants a boyfriend so making notes on that too!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you are enjoying and I’m sure your daughter will do just fine with a mom like you. I hope she finds a boyfriend. As you know, from reading previous stories, I had given up on that dream. Then it happened. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for your little Miss.

  • Margaret Heisworkingitout Reed

    Enjoyed your post and pics. I am visiting from Blog Formatting weekend. Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

    • Thanks, Margaret. Glad you visited. Hope you’ll visit some more. Appreciate the comment, too.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. The photos look beautiful 🙂


    • Thanks for stopping by, Carol, and leaving a comment.

  • Jacqueline Jordan

    You are a wonderful writer and the post was so engaging. So glad how things turned out. Where there is a will there IS a way. Visiting from Blog Formatting.

    • Awww. Thanks. I just found Blog Formatting myself–my nephew introduced me and I’m learning as I’m reading. Thanks for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment. Greatly appreciated.

  • Delia @ Blog Formatting

    OMG, Linda, you have such great writing talent! Please tell me you have book written or planning on getting some done, because you’d be a wonderful author 😉

    • Wow, thanks Delia. My manuscript is complete and is in the hands of a small press. They will do a developmental edit this fall, then hopefully, the next step: publication. It’s been three+ years and at least ten drafts, but I think the end is in sight. Sometimes I wonder if I’m on the right path (by writing my story). Your encouraging words are what my heart needed to hear this evening. Thanks so much for stopping by, reading, and most of all, leaving a comment. So glad I found Blog Formatting and was able to participate in this week’s share. I’ve already learned some things from the info you’ve shared. Can’t wait to be a regular reader.

  • Jennifer Lovett

    Oh you should be proud of them! What a sweet, sweet couple! It sounds like the compliment each other very well. My hubs and I are like that : I’m the spender, he’s the saver. But together we work it out and it sounds like they are too!

    • They have their ups and downs (just like every married couple) but they are finding ways to make the things important to them happen. It is a joy to watch. Thanks Jennifer for stopping by. Appreciate you reading and leaving a comment.

  • This was BEAUTIFUL! It brought tears to my eyes. I know you are so proud of them. I also think it’s wonderful the gentle way in which you taught the lesson of saving money.

  • This is such a great little reminder of how important working together as a couple is. In most marriages, like this one, one spouse has one personality while the other one is a spittin’ opposite and it helps keep things in line. Loved reading about their success story!

  • Adventures w/Riley

    “I keep the key”…..that just melted my heart. I was right there with you, cheering all of you on. High fives all around. 😀

  • What a wonderful story. The couple are blessed to call you family, and it’s wonderful that you were willing to help them out, if needed. I would have wanted to do the same thing. I’m happy to hear that they managed to save up so they could have their honeymoon. 🙂

    • Thank you. Everything worked out and they are pretty darn excited that they were able to achieve this on their own. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. Appreciate it!

  • Sue Glashower

    What a special and touching story! They will enjoy it even more because they saved to make it happen. You have a gift for writing Linda!

    • They did Sue. And thanks for the lovely compliment. I appreciate your kind words.

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