(If you’ve ever been to the Destin area, you know this is going over the bridge that means, “Almost there!”)
We just returned from a little vacation for a few days down on the Gulf Coast. I was looking forward to this little escape for many reasons, one of which was I knew I would have some time to actually think and possibly even write! Forgive me if this is more of a ‘vacation journal,’ but I promise I do have a ‘deep thought’ or two. 😉
We are usually completely last minute planners when we are taking a trip to Florida since we never know how busy Chip’s work will be. This year our “last minute-ness” worked out well because since the boys were out of school for an eternity due to snow/ice, they ended up having to do some make-up days when we had originally thought about leaving. So I booked our condo on a Monday, and we left on Saturday! In the meantime, the boys decided to go ahead and turn 8 years old on me and request that I make cake pops that look like ice cream cones to take all of their friends at school. (Just a suggestion: Don’t wait until the night before to make 40+ cake pops when you really should be packing/finding book character costumes for the next day/feeding the people that live at your house, etc.) Anyway, the cake pops got done, Lindsay’s teacher and her boss came Friday morning, I went and took lunch and the treats to school to celebrate the boys’ birthday, and I got everyone plus the van packed by Friday night. I had visions of maybe taking a long nap on the drive down, but, of course, the headphones to the TV in the van weren’t working, I had to feed everyone a few times, and we got started on reading Harry Potter. The directions we were using take you through numerous little towns in Alabama and Florida, but we did not anticipate the awesome “detour” we got to experience! We kept seeing signs that said “Road Closed Ahead,” but we thought that surely there would be other signs telling us what detour to take. WRONG. So we just followed a few cars in front of us hoping they knew what they were doing! About this time, the boys started to sense that we were “lost,” and they proceeded to ask about a hundred times, “Dad, are you sure you know where you’re going? But how do you know where you’re going?” “Are we lost?” I finally sort of ‘snapped’ at them and said, “Guys, that’s really not helping anything is it?” Sweet Cason, in his high-pitched voice said, “But, I’m just nervous.” Ouch! I understood. I remember while growing up, I always looked to my dad to ease my concerns or fears about something. It could be something as silly as asking him if he thought UT was going to come back and win a game. If he told me they would, I believed him. No questions. If I was concerned about something bigger, he always had a calm way of reassuring me that everything would be okay. I thought about that as the boys were looking to their dad for reassurance, and then I realized how much we probably all question our Heavenly Father over things we fear or simply don’t understand. I know personally I’ve done that a lot recently when I’m thinking ahead to decisions that need to be made on Lindsay’s behalf or whether or not I’m doing what He wants for me. “Do you know where we’re going? Are you sure? How do you know we’re not lost?” What I am coming to realize, though, is that just like my own earthly father, my Heavenly Father knows just how to comfort me. No questions.
After a little stretch of pouring rain, we finally made our way to Florida. Shortly after we got there, Carter was talking to Cason, and said, “I prayed for two things and God answered them both. I prayed that it would stop raining and that we would get here safely. And we did.” Cason said, “I prayed that too, because I was nervous.” Trying not to cry, I just said something like, “That’s awesome!” When I pray with the boys at night, I always remind them that they can talk to Him any time day or night. (Then I secretly wonder if they ever do!) I also try to remind them a lot to praise Him and not always just ask for things as if He is a genie in a bottle granting their every wish. I think they may be getting it!
I so enjoyed getting to just wake up every morning rather than setting an alarm to start the day. Carter knows I love running/walking outside when we are at the beach, so he asked if he could go with me. Normally I like to go by myself so I can go my own pace, but I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to just do something one-on-one with him. Instead of just running at a steady pace, we got to have several “races” along the way. He made me stop a few places as we ran and forced me to slow down and notice things I would have otherwise missed. (Including running through sprinklers, purchasing “boogie boards” at a local shop, and, of course, having his picture made by a sign with his name on it!) I would not trade those mornings with him for anything. We spent our days on the beach and at the pool, soaking up every minute of the sun that we could! The boys stayed in the water and built all kinds of things in the sand until their eyes and skin were a little too pink! Lindsay just enjoyed sitting on her blanket playing with toys and watching her brothers. I remember a time or two thinking that, “It just doesn’t get much better than this!” Would I rather Lindsay be running up to the ocean or jumping in the pool with her brothers? Absolutely. But, I am learning to appreciate the simple things, just as she does. She can be content in almost any situation. Couldn’t we all use some of that?
Philippians 4:11 (NIV)”…for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances.”
Cason’s teacher has been reading his class excerpts from the book, Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome, so he asked for it several times since he was enjoying it so much. He got it on Valentine’s Day and has been reading it to us ever since. He loves to “remind” us of some of Kid President’s rules when he thinks it is necessary! (Or when it might benefit him!) Rule #1: “Put Down Your Phone.” (He especially enjoys using this one when I make the boys plug up their iPads for the night.) Rule #26: “Two Words: Share. Just kidding. That’s just one word. But seriously. Share.” (Cason looooves to apply this rule when he would like for Carter to share something of his that he has no interest in sharing.) One night at dinner on our trip, Cason recited this rule numerous times when he wanted whatever color of crayon Carter had at the moment. 😉 My personal favorite rule by Kid President might be Rule #30: “Listen more than you talk.” When Cason shared this particular rule with us one evening, Carter said, “How are you supposed to do that?” I imagine he isn’t the only one who feels that way sometimes! What I do know about this one rule in particular is that some of the wisest people I know practice it well.
James 1:19 (NIV) “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
Oh, how we all needed this trip! Yes, it is a lot of work to basically “take the show on the road” when you travel with kids, but it was so worth it! It was so nice not being on a set schedule with school, homework, therapies, karate, etc. We were able to just enjoy being together and watching the kids make memories. I even took Lindsay to the edge of the ocean to let her tiny little feet feel the sand and waves. Who knows? Maybe next year she will stand on her own in those waves just like her big brothers! Regardless, I have learned far more from these children God has given me than I could ever teach them.
Until next time,
Matthew 21:16 (NIV) “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘”From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”