Tom and I are going to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada this coming Sunday. We are planning a wine tour for one of our days there and have gone through every winery in the region the past two nights to determine our route. Last night we had so much fun — jumping from one website to the next. The wineries in this region are well known for their award-winning ice dessert wines — my obsession in Finger Lakes! Each winery has at least two or three different ice wines and many of them offer more than 10!

And then it hit me last night, while we were researching our trip — Tom on his iPad, me on my laptop — almost dueling to find the best wineries — if we hadn’t gone on that trip between Christmas in New Years with my brother Bob, we would never be planning this fantastic adventure this coming week. Maybe we would still be going to Niagara, but we would probably have been spending more time in the casinos.

It’s amazing how three days, two years ago would influence our lives today. And it was destined to be a horrible trip back in 2011…

Bob had asked me if we wanted to join him on a short excursion to the Finger Lakes. He asked me to bring the SUV, because we needed the room to bring some “juice” back from one of the wineries, so he could make some more wine. I talked Tom into going, but he didn’t really want to go — and I knew that, but planned it anyways. Tom was annoyed at me that entire Christmas. We argued for at least five days over it — and I prayed so hard to God that he somehow help me get through it, promising that I would never knowingly do this to Tom again.

God heard me. We started out on the trip, fully packed, dressed in our winter gear. I was excited — a holiday road trip — and cautiously optimistic that Tom would have fun. And I had that nostalgic feeling you get those few days after Christmas that lasts until you have to go back to work. The SUV was almost full with my Mom, Father Louie, Tom and myself. We were picking up Father Bob at Holiday Valley ski resort in Endicottville, NY. And it was during those first few hours that God started working his magic between us. Sure, the freezing rain had me beyond stressed, along with Father Louie and his constant chatter about the temperature — but Tom started to relax. And when we reached Endicottville — the magic was all around us.

We ended up having such an adventure over those three days! Tom and I both stepped completely out of our comfort zone and took the time to enjoy something new and different. I know that God worked his magic through my brother, as even I never imagined how much I would love the Finger Lakes. Even in the winter — no leaves on the trees and as cold as you can imagine — it was amazing. I gave thanks to God for answering my prayers.

So back to our Niagara-on-the-Lake wine tour — I had a major magic moment — Tom saying, “are their wine labels designed well enough for us to stop here?” — joking with me that I was selecting the wineries based on whether or not I liked the label designs! And then it hit me — a feeling came over me — suddenly it was clear how God was working in our lives…

Those three days, two years ago are influencing our lives at this very moment! God blessed us not only then, but as the result of that trip, is now enabling us to enjoy so much more.

We’ve taken several trips to the Finger Lakes. And now we’re reaching out to Canadian wine country to try something new. That one moment and feeling, clearly seeing those threads that are weaved by God’s hand is a true testament to God’s work in our lives.

If we only believe.

Always B E L I E V E.

PS: Do you not agree that we have to visit this winery, simply because their labels are so adorable?

Let me know your thoughts!