Saturday, March 15, 2014

What Are You Betting On?

Lucky Me. My husband invited me to join him on a business trip where there would be sunshine. Las Vegas wasn't exactly the spot I imagined I'd be spending time when I said my focus this Lenten season would be to simplify and focus on Jesus but the lure of sunshine had me on an airplane headed south.  I was told we weren't on the main strip, so I assumed that meant the JW Marriott would be free from gambling. Silly me! Apparently every hotel in Vegas has some sort of casino...

My husband frequently travels here for meetings and when he comes he'll participate in a few rounds of Black Jack. He claims it’s entertaining and he enjoys playing with work friends while he sips a diet coke. I watched him play one round with his work associates and we left with less money than we arrived with. How is that entertaining?

Our resort had it's casino hooked right next door to the spa and I had to walk through it to get to Starbucks. Smoking was allowed and the ventilation system was old so the air was heavy with smoke. My hair seems to be a smoke magnet. The smell lingered long after I walked outside. My eyes watered, I thought I might need my inhaler...

It’s what I SAW that made my heart heavy. SO many people of all ages. SO many white-haired senior citizens. Apparently they get bussed in because it's less walking, a bit more low-key than the strip. They sat in front of clanging machines, not engaging with others except to order another cocktail. People kept plopping down money on Black Jack tables and getting more money out of the ATM.

Were they really having fun? Will their lives change if they win?

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

Can you tell I’m not the betting kind? I don’t play the Lottery, I don’t like to gamble. Chips? I enjoy Lays or Tortilla chips. I have my own bad habits and I’m a sinner, but this entire city is based on something I just don’t buy into. I felt quite out of place.

Perhaps God was reminding me that I AM out of place in "Sin City" and our broken world. 

I know, “What about all the wonderful shows and concerts in Vegas?” you ask. Well, there wasn’t a great stage play going on this week and the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert was too expensive.

Despite the fact that I dislike Casinos, I DID have an amazing four days with my man.
The following is a snapshot of my fabulous week of relaxation:

While he worked, I didn't. Wednesday I slept in, headed down for a massage, spent the afternoon laying on a lounge chair by the pool, and then we went to the Yard House for a yummy dinner of appetizers; lettuce wraps, sweet potato fries, and a steak taco. Yep, a pretty perfect day.

The first day we arrived, the two of us sat out for a bit even though it was quite blustery. We drove to the Venetian and had dinner “outside” in "Italy."

Thursday I looked around an outdoor mall, spent a couple hours in the sunshine on my lounge chair and had a short workout at the hotel gym. For our last night we chose to dine in "Paris". (Tip: if pink champagne isn't on the menu don't assume it's going to be the same price as the one listed. Pricey mistake.)

I probably didn't spend enough time on the treadmill to combat the calories in my steak, frites, and Bananas Foster crepes! 
If I'd known the surprise my husband arranged I might not have ordered dessert. Yes, after 30 years he is still very romantic. 

I'm bringing back an itty bitty tan and fun memories of restoration and time with my husband. I also was reminded: instead of gambling or hoping for good luck, I’m “betting” on a sure thing; God’s love and provision. Lucky me! Grateful me!

What are you betting on?

In His Grip, 


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