Lessons From Vacation

Each summer, I count down the days prior to leaving for vacation. I anticipate the feeling of pure relaxation, envisioning myself alone and lounging by the shore with an ice cold beverage, wind blowing through my salty hair, and a 3-foot stack of books by my side.

And each summer, vacation never lives up to the expectations.

For some reason, there are loud children on the shoreline. My pile of books go unfinished. I get burnt on day one. Dreams of early morning runs on the beach seem amazing at night and ludicrous in the morning. The weather doesn’t cooperate. It’s never quite as dreamy as I dream it to be.

Because heading down to the beach is not a dreamy individual. It’s me, exhausted from a year of work, with entirely selfish goals going into a week away. I want my time to be relaxing and become bitter at anything that gets in the way of that–even a slightly stormy day.

I came to this week determined to not be bogged down by flawless hopes for the week, and it’s working!

I lounged on the shore this afternoon with my Kindle, settling into a few more hours with the novel that had sucked me in. Once glaring bright, it viciously greeted me with every Kindle-user’s worst nightmare: “Plug in your device. You’re at 10% battery power.”

Nightmare, right?!

I decided to suck it up because that is just the most pathetic first world problem ever. I spent some time just staring into the ocean and thinking, and these are all the good things vacation is teaching me this year:

My natural state is absolutely vegetative. I am a straight-up beached whale and want to do nothing but do nothing while on vacation. I am so freaking amazing at relaxing, and I love that about myself.

I am blessed by family. I grew up going to the beach each year with my family, and my childhood is earmarked by long and lazy days in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Life changes, and, with a house near the water now, a weekly beach trip wasn’t on our radar with my family this summer. Perks of marriage #942=more opportunities for free beach trips. My in-laws are the most generous and hospitable people, and I’m grateful to be living large at Emerald Isle this week.

As I was staring into the waves today, I watched a beaming grandfather looking over his brood of probably fifteen grandchildren. They were all young, and he looked at them as if to say to the world, “These are mine. This is the work of me and my bride.” His smile was infectious, and it reminded me of the years vacationing in Rehobeth Beach in Delaware with my fifteen cousins. My grandfather passed away years ago, but watching this man today made me reflect on his legacy.

Getting older means gaining more family. I love it.

I love watching my hard-working husband relax. When someone asks me to describe Morgan’s character, one of the qualities I talk about is his work ethic. He works hard, long hours and never complains. He is good at what he does and is quick to be respected for how much effort he puts into each and every task. As much as I love to watch him work, I love to watch him relax. He is on cloud 9 this week, with his big brother and best friend by his side to boogy board, play paddle ball, and talk soccer, bodily functions, and theology. The sun kisses his super handsome body almost immediately, and it makes me swoon. Seeing him breathe a little easier this week is making me smile every time I lock eyes with his. Did I mention he’s got the most gorgeous baby blue eyes I’ve ever seen?!

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Ain’t nothing better than good seafood. We’ve been demolishing some seafood this week (shrimp and grits are my new favorite). I had a horrific realization today that I’m less than two weeks out from rocking a bridesmaid dress. Grateful for flowy fabric.

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This restaurant is AMAZING. It’s in Morehead City, North Carolina. Make sure you get the rum buttered sweet potatoes or fried scallops.

I could do without my phone more often. I am loving feeling disconnected this week. The earth still rotates when I’m not checking social media and email constantly. Who knew?

Podcasts are AWESOMEWhy did no one tell me about these?! I’m hooked. (This point is right after the point about staying disconnected, but I promise that I’m only using my phone for podcasts!) Yes, I’m a year late, but I’m loving Serial. I keep going on long walks on the beach to hear the next episode to see if Adnan’s guilty. I’m on episode #8, and I’m thinking he’s REALLY guilty. Also, if you know me, you know I love hilarious Christian women. Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey is a podcast that interviews a bunch of my favorites, and I sit with headphones in and just giggle and giggle. It feels like you’re at happy hour with these super funny women, and you’ll just love it. Best part of podcasts=they’re FREE!

God’s creation is powerful. I always look at His creation as awe-inspiring. But it’s also full of power and wrath and justice, just as He is. The ocean is such a beautiful metaphor for God’s character and love–it’s deep and wide and bigger and stronger than we can fathom. It’s perfect. It can’t be reckoned with and never changes. And its beauty is overwhelming.

The ocean is the home of sharks. If sharks came into my home, I’d eat them. I’m just dipping my toes in the water this week because I have a strong appreciation for all of my limbs. Also, please tell me you’ve seen this video from the wisest woman in the world.

The best thing about vacation is that home is just as wonderful. It’s easy to come home when home is peaceful and relaxing and full of joy. For that, I’m thankful.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons From Vacation

  1. sydnijackson says:

    This is SO GOOD. I had the same rough realization a couple years ago when we had planned an awesome vacation to florida for spring break, and when we got there it was SO COLD (well, it was like max 70 degrees every day – NOT appropriate beach weather IMO). I struggled hard the first few days and then learned that vacation is not perfect, and I need to learn to be thankful for it no matter what it ends up being!

    • YES! I think I spend so much time convincing myself that vacation is going to be the perfect cure for being worn out. As though escaping for a week will refuel me. It was a really awesome reminder that I’ll only be refueled by resting in the Lord…not by resting on the beach 🙂 (PS SO excited y’all are in Blacksburg!!!!! Yay!!!)

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