Everyone needs to get away once in a while. A change of scenery and routine is good for the soul! What are some of your favorite vacation moments?
I enjoy going to Nags Head, North Carolina with our family. Before the grandkids were in middle and high school, sometimes there were 16 – 18 of us, and we’d rent an ocean-front house for a week during off-season, usually September. We shared costs (including food for breakfast, lunch and snacks) among our family members.
I remember getting up early on chilly mornings, wrapping in a blanket or sweater and watching the gorgeous sunrise over the water as we sipped cups of steaming hot chocolate. Sea gulls skimmed the water in search of a meal and sometimes dolphins could be seen dipping in and out of the gentle white-capped water. The never-ending rows of waves and foam came rolling to shore only to melt into nothingness as sand pipers chased it back into the ocean. Their slender stick legs moved quickly as they devoured tiny crabs in the water-kissed sand. One felt the pleasure of God at His creation as we enjoyed the beauty of it, too.
After watching the sunrise, sometimes we had fun cooking big breakfasts for everybody, but in more recent years we have each just done our own thing. :)
During the day we enjoyed shopping, mini golf, go-carts and visiting the aquarium in nearby Manteo. Some found a quiet spot to curl up with a long-awaited book while others got a tan on the beach, went swimming or belly-boarding. There’s nothing like the massaging feel of warm sand between the toes and cool water on bare feet.
In the evening, we always looked forward to dressing up a bit and going out to dinner at a nice restaurant in the evening. Afterwards, we usually took flashlights and hunted for fiddler crabs on the beach, much to the delight of the grandchildren. The silver moon was a spectacular sight high in the sky, and shone across the rippling water with mesmerizing effect. In moments like that, one felt especially close to God.
When we concluded our moonlit walk on the beach, we’d gather around a big dining table and had rip-roaring fun playing games, telling jokes, or watching movies.
And then there are those vacation moments that try the soul. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “I need to come home to take a vacation from my vacation!”
Ten years ago on our vacation to Nags Head, our two-year- old granddaughter was very sick, got dehydrated, and had to be taken to the emergency room. A few years ago she accidentally hit herself in the eyeball as she was happily swinging a necklace round and round, and had to go to the emergency room in Nags Head again. It put a big dent in our carefree fun, but we were thankful no permanent damage was done to her beautiful eyes.
Because we had paid our vacation rental house months in advance, we vacationed in April 2003 just after I buried my father, and took my mother and auntie with us. That was a different kind of vacation, and so was the one in 2004 when I suffered from clinical anxiety/depression. The family needs to stick together in times of adversity, and we’ve had plenty of chances to do that. I am so thankful that in an imperfect world we have a heavenly Father Who is always perfect and good. He doesn’t send adversity; but He can sure turn it to some good use if we let Him. ”The Lord is faithful to all his promises, and loving toward all he has made.” Psalm 145:13 (NIV)
Nurturing family relationships is so vitally important, and having fun and vacationing together is a good way to do it. A good family vacation strengthens bonds of caring and friendship, never mind all the money, planning, packing, and effort it takes to make it happen.
Family vacation moments tied with the ribbon of love bind us together forever.