Challenge Accepted! Date #4

The Wills

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Back in March, 8 couples bravely accepted our Date Night Blog Challenge. Their challenge was to plan a fun and creative date night that kept within a $25 budget. They also had to commit to blogging about it on our SBC Blog. It appears that each couple had tons of fun in the process and we know you will have a lot of fun reading their posts! After we have posted all 8 date nights, readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite. The winning couple will receive a night at the Summerland Waterfront Resort and a $75 gift card to the restaurant of their choice.

Thanks to each couple who braved the challenge and put time, effort and creativity into their date. We hope the following posts will inspire you to get creative and plan your own special date night and enjoy the beautiful place we live.

We also want to express our sincere thanks to the Summerland Waterfront Resort for donating the prize of a one night stay at their beautiful resort.

Date Night #4: Bill & Maureen Wills

Rules of Engagement for Date Night Challenge:

  • Total cost of date night MUST be $25 or less.
  • Daters MUST submit a “blog” with photos.
  • I have never blogged but rules are rules. (Let’s get started)

This blog will be presented in 2 parts: MY PART (Bill) and MAUREEN’S PART.

MY PART will be presented in 2 SUB PARTS:


I have a lousy record when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and those kinds of celebrations. I have forgotten some altogether. I have a lot of experience in giving the wrong kinds of gifts (believe me guys, don’t even think about a vacuum cleaner). Some of my cards have been for the wrong occasion and 11th hour bail outs from the Dollar Store have been totally unsuccessful. During the month of March I have been wracking my brain to come up with something special for Maureen’s 80th birthday. I conjured up some grandiose ideas but they all fizzled out. By the end of March I was totally depressed I was hoping I could forge something huge and gigantic enough to erase all the past guilt and fittingly commemorate Maureen’s milestone moment. Every idea I had failed. I was discouraged and depressed.

Then came April 2nd.

To most in the congregation it was just a normal announcement from the lips of Pastor Jack. “Date Night Challenge was launched. Do a date on $25. Write a blog. Take some photos.” I heard a different message... For me, this was a message of salvation from my track record of failure. This was a message of redemption from the guilt of all the miscues of the past. As this message came forth it seemed to have an ethereal quality to it. And as Pastor Jack uttered this message it seemed to me that he was enveloped in a pink like aura that surrounded his entire being. (Later someone suggested that it was nothing more than a reflection from those ridiculous red pants he wears.)

That specific moment was when the planning mode for Date Night kicked in. With the help of my daughter Lori, and others, a strategic plan was established. Maureen’s 80th birthday would be the framework around which we designed a series of events. Each event would build on the previous one. Our hope was that the sum total of these events would result in a long lasting, unforgettable and fitting memory for Maureen on her 80th birthday. And to think the entire venture could be done “on the cheap” without appearing to be “on the cheap”!


EVENT #1 (breakfast in bed)
I make good pancakes so that was my choice for breakfast in bed. The recipe called for 2 cups of Robin Hood Pancake Mix; 1 cup of milk (For her 80th I substituted cream). [Total cost $1.72]

EVENT #2 (I had dropped a few hints that a birthday e mail on her 80th would be nice) 
When she opened her inbox, suddenly the screen was flooded with over 40 emails. All of them said such nice things about Maureen. All of them were true. She is something else. [No cost incurred]

EVENT #3 (For quite some time I have wanted to introduce Maureen to the sport of tennis)
I decided to personally teach a few basic tennis moves.

The forehand.

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The backhand.

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The traditional end of match handshake.

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I was quite pleased with the result. (Especially the traditional end of match handshake).
*FOOTNOTE: due of inclement weather, this event had to be re-scheduled to a later date.

EVENT #4 (for apres-tennis, I was pretty sure an exotic café from the Beanery would impress her)
Providentially, Edward Jones Financial had given me 2 coupons for exotic lattes. [Total cost so far $1.72]

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EVENT #5 (I was a little nervous about this one but I decided to go with my hunch...)
I arranged a guided tour of Angus Place complete with a COMPLIMENTARY LUNCH. The tour was great, the lunch was fantastic (we got to sit with Jim and Ann Lees) and I think Maureen was duly impressed. And we did come away with an application form (I have never seen such value for $1.72!)

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From Angus Place we rushed to a matinee movie. Maureen must have enjoyed it because she filtered out several theological and Biblical truths. I didn’t see those analogies. I was asleep. [I had to add $14.98 to the $1.72 …. our date cost now escalated to $16.70]

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EVENTS #7 & 8
Lori had prepared a lavish nostalgic Italian spaghetti dinner. Nostalgic because back in the nineties we had weekly date nights when we had spaghetti dinners followed by a card game we had learned in Russia. Lori had also arranged to bring her sister and our youngest grandson from Toronto. Maureen had no idea. I really thought I would have to call 911. Then we had a short game of skip-bo and went home.

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Thanks to our church leadership for creating “the Date Night Challenge”.

P.S. Total cost for our date night challenge $16.70


BLOG #1 VOLUME #2: Maureen's Part

I’d swear that the Universe has speeded up lately! Many of my friends have expressed the same sentiment - ‘tho I suspect the truth is that we’ve reached an age where we’ve slowed down, not accomplishing as much as we’d hope day by day. When the Date Night Challenge was presented again this year with no age restrictions, I thought, “Wouldn’t that be fun!”

But, after dealing with 6 weeks of illness over Christmas, and Bill’s heavy involvement in volunteer Income Tax work from February to April’s, end (which almost elbowed out his Pickle Ball & Tennis) he just didn’t see how we could possibly find time to have a date. I understood, because I too had my hours filled with such as my involvement on the Steering Teams for both Beacon Initiatives and Mizpah, to say nothing of all the planning, preparation and facilitating the Artistic Skills classes throughout April. So that was that! Until I had an idea... What would I really like to do most for a little break ? What would be the perfect date?  

I’d like to do what we did back in Moscow 23 years ago. Another missionary couple taught us to play Hand & Foot with Skipbo cards. After returning to Canada, we had a weekly tradition: I’d set the table with two large red placemats our 3 young grandchildren made for us, with Funny Faces (photos of themselves) and Love & Miss you messages on them. After a supper of spaghetti and salad, we’d play Skipbo. Being pretty evenly matched, the competition might continue for 3 or 4 nights until one of us won two nights in a row. Yes!! That’s what I’d been longing to do, and maybe take time to watch one or two of the TV show Little Big Shots we’d recorded. And then I would tuck my dearest love into bed and kiss him good night. See Bill? It won’t take any planning or cost one cent!!  

He thought about it, and one day said, “OK, I want you to reserve the 2nd last Saturday in April for me.” The evening before he told me to be ready by 9:45 a.m and what to wear. It sure didn’t sound like my dream date, but I knew whatever he had up his sleeve would be interesting.  

I had a really great sleep and woke at 6 a.m. and spent a quiet hour reading my Bible, then turned on the computer specifically to see one very special e-mail. You see, that Saturday, April 22nd, was my 80th birthday, and each day for 80 days leading up to April 22nd, a different family member would send some memory they had of me over the years. It was wonderful! They made me laugh, sometimes cry, and brought delightful memories back to mind. And this would be the final, the 80th memory.

I turned on the computer and suddenly my inbox came alive! It was e-mail after e-mail, around 40 or more, from not only family members, but dear, dear friends who had listened to a little bird and sent their own greetings and sentiments. I was overwhelmed as I read them. Some were so touching I couldn’t help but weep. And each one blessed my heart.  

All this time I thought Bill, who’d not got a lot of sleep, had gone back to bed, but there he was out in the kitchen, making a favourite breakfast of pancakes. He’d even used the good cream & sugar set, sugar spoon & butter knife to make it extra special.

We headed out for the day, and although the rain had forced Bill to alter our plans slightly, we ended up driving into town and parking close to the Beanery. There he introduced me to a very special latte. We chatted with neighbours and soon our favourite photographer, our daughter Lori, showed up to take a photo and accompanied us to our next event to take a photo there as well. This too was a pleasant surprise. At Angus Place we were given a lovely tour and treated to a delicous lunch. I was impressed with Angus Place and perhaps one day it will be home for us.  

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From there we sped to Penticton to view Beauty & the Beast. I was intrigued by the creativity of the cartoonist who humanized the castle furniture (people who’d had a spell cast on them).

Afterward we returned home for a rest before heading out into the unknown again, this time our daughter & son-in-law’s home. Our granddaughter, Danielle, was there also and as I sat chatting with her, Lori rushed in with her computer with a Skype call for me. On the screen was Maureen Joy, our middle daughter and our grandson Carter, grinning at me and wishing me a happy 80th. I was telling them all about my day when all of a sudden I noticed Bill, on the screen, scurrying behind MJ and Carter and out through a door! I thought, “How did he get there?!? No! He couldn’t be there in Ontario! MJ & Carter are here!!!” And there they came, down the stairs greeting me with huge hugs. What a wonderful surprise!!

We played games and had a marvellous spaghetti supper, even using my favourite spaghetti sauce recipe and favourite salad. And the Birthday cake, baked & decorated by Lori, was spectacular!!!

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Our date night ended with me tucking my sweetheart into bed, just as I foresaw when I thought of what would be the ending of a perfect date. But I never could have foreseen, nor will I ever forget, the lengths he went to, along with our family and friends, to make this date of all dates into something so unforgettable. 

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Comments (2)

  • Shirley Funnell

    12 June 2017 at 13:59 | #

    What a great day. Sounds like something Bill would do. I just celebrated my 80th too but it wasn't anything like that. Congratulations Maureen on a great birthday celebration and a great husband. Hope you win the challenge.


  • Heather Wills

    23 May 2017 at 06:26 | #

    An awesome couple who are still in love! We had the privilege of hearing the story in person this past weekend. It was brought alive!
    Go WILLS Go!


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