Friday, August 8, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 6

Subtitled: Some final thoughts on my last night in Florida

There are no two ways of looking at this. I really do not want to leave tomorrow. There is just something so wonderful about the lack of responsibility I feel when I am on vacation. Which leads me to the conclusion that I have too much on my plate most of the time. And any place that has outdoor seating as the norm for eating establishments is awesome.

We went to the pier tonight and to a great restaurant right on the Indian River. We ate on a dock with catfish begging in the water next to us. Who would ever imagine that catfish would beg?

We drove around the beach area and walked on the beach for a bit. It was a very nice last evening here. I really don't want to go.

I read this book "The Dip" by Seth Godin a few days ago and I really have a lot to consider in the next few weeks. It is all about quitting the things that keep us from achieving our dreams. I am definitely too busy most of the time.

Looks like we are going to try and make it back tomorrow and not wait til sunday. That will give us Sunday to relax at home and be ready to work on Monday.

Did I mention I really would love to stay here? :)

I guess that is it from Florida.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 5

If this vacation has been one thing, it has been unpredictable.

We came down here without any clear schedule of events, no agenda other than rest and reconnect. Today was supposed to be the day we went to the Space Center, but because of the sunburn, that didn't happen. Neither did the night shark fishing or the guest appearance in the band for Bruce. And amazingly, no one is really disappointed.

But it took and act of God for all of us to really enjoy our circumstances corporately. We have all had fun at one time or another, all sacrificing in some way for the happiness of other family members, which is really cool. But nothing has really brought us all together in total enjoyment of the moment until the storms tonight!

All of us love thunderstorms and 3 of them converged right in front of the condo out on the ocean. There was so much lightning, we couldn't take it all in. For about 30 minutes we were seeing 4 or 5 cloud to ground or water strikes every 2 seconds. It was incredible! I am not sure about the wisdom of leaning on a metal railing on the 4th floor balcony in an electrical storm... but we survived and were all amazed and delighted with God's amazing handiwork in this set of storms. We all agreed that the entire trip was worth it just to see this intense a storm with no trees blocking the view and relative safety outside to watch it.

At one point we heard a terrible crashing noise from out front of the condo. The hallway is open air and the wind was whipping through it like a hurricane! Bruce ran out to see what had happened and if anyone needed help. He saw the security guy running around and it took them a few minutes to figure out that it had been the cover of one of the fire extinguishers that had been ripped off by the wind and shattered against one of the railings. This was an intense storm!

Amber kept trying to catch lightning with the camera but she seemed to be always facing the wrong direction for some of the longer lasting strikes. So she put the camera away and just watched with us. This was better than any fireworks we have ever seen!

We were very grateful that we decided not to do the night fishing trip tonight and will check the weather very carefully before deciding if we will attempt it tomorrow night. We are hoping Amber's legs will feel good enough to try the Space Center tomorrow, but we are mostly concerned about how she will be feeling for saturday when we drive home. I don't know of anything else to do to make the sunburn heal faster. We are praying and she is already using aloe and vitamin E gell to help with the pain and the healing. Other than those things, it just takes time.

Thunder is still rolling. What a nice sound to fall asleep to.


Both girls seem to have sun sickness or sun poisoning.... besides the actual pain of the burn, both feel sick (flu like symptoms) and have chills. Emmy had difficulty falling asleep last night and Amber had difficulty staying asleep. Right now we are trying to decide if being outside at all is possible for either of them as the Kennedy Space Center has a lot of the displays outside.

OK, then... as Amber walked by, she can't even bend her legs to walk. She is definately NOT going. Emmy is doing better but she doesn't like the heat right now. It is already 94.

We found out about a fishing trip that is at night to go shark fishing. That might be fun. Maybe tomorrow we can get to the Space Center.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 4

I had a nice chat with the Positive Morning Crew this morning. I kinda miss those guys :) I guess I must have, to have gotten up so early on my vacation!

We had intended to go to the Kennedy Space Center today, but since it is vacation we were a little lax about bedtimes and what time we were planning on getting going today. By the time everyone was up and had eaten, it was noon. I wasn't too stressed because the tickets that we were going to purchase were for 2 days and we are only about 10 minutes from the center.
But as we were waiting and looking out at the ocean, all of a sudden there were helicopters going out to a boat about a half mile out that was heading toward the port. They were coast guard helicopters and one of them dropped really close to the boat and started pushing it with the back wash of the rotor. The other helecopter dropped a couple of people out with jet ski type vehicles. With all of the spray from the rotors of the helicopters it was hard to see exactly what was going on and we forgot to bring our binoculars. But we tried to watch the activity to figure out what was going on. The boat got "pushed" back out and then down the coast til we could no longer see it... maybe 6 miles or so. I have no idea what it was all about but speculating and watching was sort of fun. As a family we came up with all sorts of ideas from training sessions to deterring illegal imigrants to getting the boat with criminals on it out of range of any innocent people on the beaches. Who knows?! but it was interesting and had us all exclaiming "you don't see that every day".

The girls wanted to go out and get some sun (as all good parents do, we reminded them to use sunscreen) and Corwin wanted to finish a book he started yesterday. Bruce has been missing his guitar so we decided to go to a music store nearby so he could go pick for a while. It is always fun for me to watch the admiration of other musicians as he plays. We were at the store for a couple of hours as Bruce and some of the other guitarists shared stories and techniques. He was invited to sit in with a band tomorrow night at a club down the beach. We are still trying to decide if this is something we want to do. While it would be fun, there is always the environment issues of being in a bar setting. The 2 older kids are allowed to be there but Emmy would have to leave by 9:30 (of course that would mean we all would leave) but do we really want her in that environment at all?

It is a difficult thing. On one hand, Jesus hung out in exactly this sort of setting in his time on earth, ministering to the neediest of people and if Bruce and I were here by ourselves, it would be less of an issue. Bruce has such a heart for other musicians that do not know the Lord. And how can you be a light in their world if you never enter it? But with the kids, we just don't know. Corwin and Amber are both over 18 and are allowed in the club after 9:30 but Emmy is not. They would all enjoy watching their dad play guitar. It's the Blues and Bruce can play the blues! And it's not like they are not aware that there are folks who drink and one's who drink to excess. But do we want to potentially expose them to a level of worldliness that they have not been exposed to before? Maybe if we knew what the club looked like and the normal clientel, it would make the decision easier. Maybe tomorrow morning we should go check out the place. Certainly we will be praying about this.

Whether we should take the kids or not may be a moot point. The girls are both very sun burned! They did not use a high enough level sunblock. They look a little bit like lobsters. You know, that color, when you see it on someone else you say, "oooh...that's gotta hurt!". So we'll see how they are feeling tomorrow. Actually, going to Kennedy may be an issue as well. I think I know what my parents must have felt like when I fell asleep on a raft in a pool here in Florida when I was 11. Some memories are best left un remembered!

We all went swimming in the ocean this evening and it was really awesome. There were some cow nosed rays that were playing around us in the surf. They were within a few feet of us and seemingly curious about us. We also saw a sea turtle (about 10 feet away) and that was cool too. But when we started seeing jelly fish, we decided that it was time to go. I didn't want to play with them.

All in all, a pretty interesting day here in Florida. I am actually starting to feel relaxed.
Oh, and we had eggplant parmesean for dinner and Corwin made another batch of brownies.
Going to bed early tonight!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 3

Today was my birthday and traditionally, well, let's just say I have learned to avoid them when I can. Something about expectaions and disappointments and I would just rather not go there. So with that said, this happened to be a pretty good birthday as they go.

Some of us got up before dawn and wandered down to the beach to watch the sun come up. Now please keep in mind that I am not a morning person and I can be a little ADD from time to time and the combination was a little difficult to deal with. I really had every intention of spending some real quality time with God, walking on the beach, talking and sharing.... but like I said, it was morning and very early at that. I mean it was the crack of dawn. Yeah it was pretty and the sea gulls, I guess added to the ambiance. Even the sand crabs are a wonder of God's creation. But I do not appreciate the sand crabs scurrying across my toes, or hundreds of seagulls deciding I might possibly have food and crowding me. It was a little "off putting"! And I didn't even mention all the cruise ships leaving port! My quiet time was not exactly what I had planned. My expectation was to connect with God in a quiet tranquil moment in His creation. I connected with Him in a moment of panic because of His creation. It's that whole expectation thing.

So the day continues on and I get some time to talk with God back in the condo. Not what I had imagined, but truly, any time I get to spend talking with my Creator is always a positive thing. Everyone else went back to sleep so I had my alone time. I even got to start a new book Pastor Wes recommended to me called "The Dip" by Seth Godin. Pretty interesting so far.

The family finally got up and moving by noon and we started making plans for what to do for dinner. We decided on Medieval Times.

As I started to look for what I was going to wear, I realized that the shirt I had planned on wearing (my favorite shirt) was accidently left at home. The temptation was to play the blame game (remember the whole disappointment thing?) and get really moody, but I really did not want to go there. Unfortunately, I am not that mature and were it not for the intervening of the Holy Spirit in my heart, that is exactly what I would have done. Instead I had another talk with God. We decided on another shirt and set off to the dinner theater an hour away (it was 4pm).

We got there in plenty of time, we were first in line by about 3 minutes and had fun talking to the other folks in line.

We got silly in the photo shop and had our pictures taken. Face Lift anyone?

Dinner was excellent, the show was fun and exciting, the Falconer was really nice and told us all about how he got into the field of being a licenced falconer.

We stuck around and chatted with some of the cast afterwards and found out a lot about what it is like to work for one of these places. It was really great connecting with theater folk again. It brought back a lot of really great memories.

Of course the girls then started making plans to move to Florida and work at one of the dinner theaters and have other grand adventures. How can you not smile when your kids start dreaming?

All in all it ended up being quite a lovely birthday, even if it wasn't what I had expected. Sometimes it is nice to be surprised.

Here are some pictures of the day. Bruce and I as Shrek and Fiona and a couple of the Knights.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Great Commentary on the passing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Growing up in the shadow of the Nation's Capital, with a father in intelligence and a mom very involved in politics, I could not help but be at least aware of significant world events and the people who played a part. My father was a real fan of Alexander Solzhenitsyn for his courage and integrity in speaking out against a system that had such a negative impact on humanity. There are so few who are truly willing to suffer for what they believe, it is always inspirational to me to see that play out in someone's life. Like John Piper, I too am thankful to God for this man's life and example. You can read John's tribute here. I am also grateful for parents who taught me the importance of keeping up with what is going on in the world without becoming too disturbed by it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 2

Sleeping in was nice. The only thing I really wasn't thinking about was how bright the sun is at 8 am when your windows face east out over the Atlantic. Opening up the curtains was a lot more painful than I expected!

I had a great time reading the Word on the balcony with the sound of the surf reminding me of the power and majesty of the Creator. What a treat!

I joined millions of other Americans and got my church experience for this week on the TV. Watched a really great preacher Pastor Jim Raley and was really wishing we had gotten up early enough to go to that church. It would have taken about an hour to get there but I always love visiting other churches and seeing what other parts of the Body are up to. Great sermon! Maybe we could go for Wednesday night service.

Actually, I ended up spending about 3 hours watching different preachers. This was a real treat for me since I do not have cable or satellite at home.

Amber made brownies for dessert for tonight and the cleaned up the kitchen for me so I could cook a gourmet meal tonight. We had Coq au Vin over noodles and silver queen corn. Very yummy!
After dinner we went for a walk on the beach and went wading in the water. The kids made wet sand balls and had a sand ball fight (weird! sort of like a snow ball fight but yuckier) and ended up in the water to clean up. I love how well the kids get along and how much they really love each other and genuinely enjoy each others company.

We are going to watch some movie tonight and maybe play some cards.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. We are getting up early to watch the sun rise on the beach. What a great way to start my birthday!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 1

I am realizing very quickly that I have been extremely tightly wound for some time. As the minutes have turned to hours, I am slowly starting to relax and in the process, there is almost a backlash of giddiness that is creeping in.

I have 2 questions: 1) how in the world did I get into this state of tension and 2), what can I do to prevent it from ever happening again?

These are at least some of the questions I will be pondering as I sit back and watch and listen to the waves splashing on the sand. I am looking forward to my first morning quiet time on the beach.

And yes, I do plan on enjoying every moment of this vacation.