A Special Weekend

Sampic1This past weekend my wife celebrated her fifty-something birthday. (Just because I know the correct number doesn’t mean I have to tell you.) Since her birthday was on a Friday I decided to take a couple of days off from work and take her away somewhere for the weekend.

We only tell a select few people where we’re going and we never post anything until we get back, including pictures. Sometime we hardly ever take any pictures at all.

One thing I found out for sure is that my loving wife and bride of 31 years was definitely born on one of the hottest days of the year or so it seems to me. Any other time we would be sitting in the comfort of the air conditioner at home or floating in the pool keeping cool. But that’s okay I was born on one of the coldest days of the year so I guess that makes us even. I’ll tolerate the heat for her since she tolerates the cold for me. Remember back on January 1st when I took my fabulous polar bear plunge? Yea, she was right there with me freezing and rooting me on.

On this trip we decided to take the kids we still have at home with us. That’s our four-legged children. On some rare occasions we’ll take these kids with us on a road trip and yes this was one of those occasions. One thing I like about these kids is that they aren’t asking every few miles, “Are we there yet?” and “What time will we get there?”. Of course our son being an only child never really complained too much anyway while on trips and vacations.

Another thing I found out on this trip was that Sam, our biggest dog, doesn’t like the heat any more than I do. When we stopped at a rest area she would quickly take care of her business and was ready to get back inside the car to the air conditioner but I didn’t complain because I was too.

Some of the biggest things I was reminded about on our road trip was what I heard on the radio. I hardly ever listen to the radio but in our family sedan we have XM radio. Until I heard it on the radio I had completely forgotten that we all still live in a yellow submarine. This weekend my wife found out one of my biggest kept secrets. And once again, until I heard it on the radio I had also forgotten I knew the lyrics to the song ‘Shimmy, Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop’ by Little Anthony and the Imperials. If you’ve never heard it look it up on Youtube. I think that was the biggest laugh we had over the weekend as well. She laughed and smiled and said, “Sing it baby.”

Yes, memorable moments are not just made over a special weekend but they are made every day. If you have small children or grand children treasure each and every moment with them while you can. Not only will you remember it but in time they will one day reflect back on it as well and say, “You remember when…” and the family will share a loving, memorable laugh.

Have a great week and stay Blessed.

Changes Are Upon Us

I remember an old Elvis Presley movie and song called ‘Change of Habit’. The lyrics started out something like this, “If you’re in old habits, set in your old ways, changes are upon us, these are changing days.” That’s the way it has been for my wife and I these last few months, a change of practically everything.

While we were coming back from our 25th anniversary vacation last December I told her that 2012 was going to be our year. I didn’t know how or what but I just knew it was going to be our year. I reiterated that again to her around January. I just felt like this year was going to be our year. I guess I had enough faith to actually claim it instead of just proclaim it.

The biggest change we’ve encountered thus far this year has been moving. After 25 years of marriage and living in the same location we finally decided it was time to pull up roots and get a change of scenery on the home front. She had lived in the same location a lot longer than me so it was an even bigger change for her. We have looked at homes in the past but we haven’t really been shopping. We came across a home that we both liked, made an offer, won the bid and the next thing we know we were buying a house. Of course I give all praise to God. We both feel like He was the one that had it picked out for us all along and it was time to move on.

Much like Abraham in the Bible when God told him to leave his homeland and family and go to a place that was picked out especially for him and his children as an inheritance forever. (Genesis 12:1)

There wasn’t anything special that I had said or done to win God’s favor except being faithful to Him. I feel like it isn’t what I’ve said or done but what I will be doing. I remember several years ago of an article I had written for a church newspaper titled ‘Just Do It’. Linda and I were working for a very small church nearly fifty miles from where we lived. We would stay all day on Sunday’s and go home that evening. There were several occasions we stayed all day then not a single person would show up for Sunday night service. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t discouraged but Linda was more verbal about it than I was. We were going home on one of those discouraging Sunday evenings as the sun was setting on the horizon. We both couldn’t help but wonder if we were doing the right thing. I told her to look at the beauty of God’s creation as the sun shone through the clouds giving us a very beautiful evening picture on our journey home. That’s when it came to me and I told her “all I want to do is to get to heaven and if this is the way I have to go to get there then I’ll just do it.” Just like the Nike commercial “Just Do It”.

I also knew when it was time to pull up roots from there and move on as well. I knew what I had to do to finish the task I was there for but I also knew after that task was done it was time to move on. There was no denying how I felt at the time. Now Linda tells me she knew it was time for that change for her, for us. I had already been there so I knew how she felt. We had minor, miniscule problems at closing on the home but in the end it all worked out. Now we are in our new home continuing to work on our new change.

Sometime change is good, sometime change isn’t so good. It really pays to know the difference. One thing I have always done was to really pray about it. Whether it’s a home, job, career or car I always prayed about it. Recently a dear friend of mine passed away and I remember one thing that he told me about making decisions. When you do make your decision move on in the direction of your decision and don’t look back with regret. That’s why it really pays to pray first.

We’ll come to many crossroads in life and we’ll have to make a decision whether to turn left or right or just go straight. We know with the direction of this big, momentous change for us and the ones we make tomorrow will be a new journey but the most important thing is we will do it together as we follow God’s guidance and direction in our lives.

While Vacationing, Vacation

Recently I went to where my wife worked in a restaurant.  At first I sat down for a moment to observe the people going in and out. They were almost standing out the door waiting to be served so I asked my wife if they needed any help. She told me I could start cleaning up some in the front and start washing dishes in the back.  To say the least I’m not above washing dishes or wiping tables in a restaurant. 

 The majority of the customers were travelers.  Heading to the beach or on their way home.  Someone could most certainly tell which were going and which were coming.  Those heading south were all excited and giddy, anticipating the moment when they can first set foot on the sand, hear the roar of the waves or smell of the salt water in the air.  Most of those heading home were blistered, looked exhausted and would not only be cranky to an employee of a convenient store or restaurant but some would be cranky to their own family.

When I did get a moment I went to the drink fountain to get me something to drink. I would smile and say ‘hey, how yaw doin’?’ to some of the patrons showing my best southern hospitality.  Some would smile back and say, ‘hey’; others wouldn’t say anything and ignore me. 

When I got to the drink fountain I noticed cup lids scattered everywhere,  paper from straws lying around and ice all over the counter.  I took a napkin and cleaned it all up and wiped it all down and went back to the ’employee table’ to set my drink down. 

There was a local customer standing next to me while I was cleaning up around the drink machine at the time and I made a comment to them that if people would make a mess here I would hate to see what their home looked like.

But I began to think about it all and came to one conclusion. When people take a vacation they don’t vacation.  The first thing that goes on vacation for me is myself.  I like to get the body in a vacation mode first.  I tell the family while traveling that we’ll get there when we get there.  I usually let the seat way back, set the cruise control, find a good station on the radio and totally chill.  No hurry to get there, no hurry to get back.  Many times I would watch people come flying around me and others on the road only to catch up to them in the next town or at a rest area.

The ones I noticed this weekend were in such a hurry they will pass everyone on the road, leave a mess for someone else to clean up and almost have an attitude toward other people who are working hard wishing they could take a vacation themselves.  I even smiled at someone and told them to have a safe trip and all I got in return was a half-grin that looked more like they were trying to pass gas as they rushed on out the door.

Has vacationing become more of a chore for a family than what it really was supposed to be for? Are people not happy to be vacationing with their families anymore? Are they not happy to be sharing quality time with their kids while teaching them virtues all at the same time?  Are we as Americans in such a hurry that we don’t want to take time out of our busy schedule to make someone elses day? If it is that much of a burden to not take the time to speak kindly to people and somewhat clean up behind yourself then I would suggest you to stay home.  I know no one is perfect. Kid’s will make a mess.  Adults will make a mess.  My home is far from perfect and it does look lived in. My wife and I’s pet-peave is the kitchen.  Neither one of us can stand a dirty kitchen. 

When you vacation take the time to make a friend everywhere you go.  I like to leave people with a smile because I don’t want them to forget me. I also want them to have the kind of day I plan to have–a good one.

And remember: your attitude and actions in public reflect of who you really are at  home. Have a great day and a safe trip while traveling.