vacation

Stay-cation with Teenagers

For two years now, we’ve done a stay-cation so we could save our vacation dollars to do a strategic family vacation.  When we floated the idea to our kids last year, they agreed with our plans & definitely enjoyed the strategic family vacation we took earlier this year.

In the meantime, we are on year two of our stay-cation & it’s an interesting journey to stay-cate with teenagers, attempting to limit screen time & maximize family time.  Teenagers are wonderful people with strong opinions & developing individualities, so doing a stay-cation with them, aiming for happy campers, is challenging.

Here are some things we’ve done that are somewhat helpful:

  • get everyone’s input with at least 3 realistic ideas of things they’d like to do with the family
  • populate everyone’s ideas throughout the stay-cation, giving validation to each individual’s input
  • communicate the stay-cation schedule / events to everyone, giving them a chance to coach their own attitudes before participating in another’s suggestion that might be unappealing
  • communicate budget parameters when soliciting the ideas for activities
  • give ample space / time for individuality to balance family events with individual breathing room
  • pray alot 🙂

Vacationing with teenagers can be fun & challenging.  Most of all, it affords me the opportunity to lean into Holy Spirit to help me coach my internal narratives & attitudes 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Rest Plan

Stay-cation is this week’s plan & this far its going pretty well. We solicited input from our kids for various activities to do this week, hence the picture below 🙂

So I wonder what it would be like if we let God direct our activities. This morning I read in Matthew 11:28 that Jesus will give us rest for our weary & heavy laden souls. So when we “stay” in Jesus, maybe the abiding helps us to rest & we can live in “stay-cation” mode, letting God direct our steps. 

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Some Quiet

Today, my family & I walked through the St Francis cathedral in Santa Fe NM. This church was established in 1610 & it was extremely beautiful with a southwest motif. For me, I could linger in the likes of these places for the stillness, quiet & serenity. It’s a contrast to the last 2weeks road trip with my family in a minivan for more than 5,000 that my husband has driven. While this vacation has been very diverse & scenic, sometimes a person needs some stillness in the soul for the feet to find some solid ground.
Be sure this weekend to carve in some quiet & still. For me, I find this helpful so that I can walk with the Holy Spirit better 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Road Trip Lessons

For two years in a row, we’ve taken road trips for our vacations, each two weeks long. On our first trip, we went to Washington DC & our second trip is to the West Coast, ala Oregon & California. My husband, the penultimate saint, has done the bulk of the driving for both trips, so maybe I provide some comic relief & moral support. But think about it in terms of family bonding, since there’s no wifi nor DVD player in the car. Mostly, we’re doing pretty well & our three teenagers can say they’ve driven across America.
For me, I think that life is a long road trip, a journey with God with unexpected twists, ups, downs, sometimes tiring & sometimes joyful.
So here are a few thoughts about my road trip with God & maybe they’ll have some tread in your life:

  • Focusing in the car is important , but don’t neglect to look out the windows bc God has a big world around us!
  • Listen & don’t just watch – listen in the car but also listen in your heart as God has some amazing whispers & company to keep with you!
  • Traveling companions are helpful because you see & experience things in different ways than just by yourself.
  • Keep going. Life has struggles, dark times, hot seasons, smelly moments & glorious discoveries.
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Breathing Room

Ever ridden in a crowded car, train or plane & felt squashed? I’ve had plenty of experiences where there’s been virtually no personal space & that can be very unnerving. For two weeks, my family & I are driving to the West Coast & back home to Denver. Consequently, breathing room can be a challenge – think three teenagers in a mini-van with two parents, luggage, cooler for food & no wifi 🙂
This morning, I got up early to have some quiet & solitude, personal time with God. Consequently, I feel more human & less prickly, which is good for everyone. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, regularly spending personal time with God is good for the spirit, emotions, thought life, relationships & mindset. Time with God breathes life into our existence!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

When Plans Change

Yesterday, the transmission in our rental van broke causing us to adjust our plans for an entire day of our family vacation. My husband was a major champion working with the rental company to get a replacement van & this was no small task. In the meantime, the kids took some time to relax, do a bit of school reading & we caught a movie at the local theatre. For me, I had the immense pleasure of catching up with a friend from high school. We talking deeply about the Bible & God’s work in our lives.
If we give our lives to Jesus, then it’s essential to hold loosely to our plans & goals, so that we can have some adventures that are led by the Holy Spirit & not just our human agendas & strategies. God’s surprises far exceed our best plans!
This is a picture from an incredible waterfall in Yellowstone, as well as a strolling bison 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

No Reception :)

Have you ever been frustrated when you can’t get reception for your cell phone? Yesterday, my family & I were driving through Yellowstone WY for our family vacation & there was zero cell reception for probably more than 6hours. For a little bit, it was frustrating but the longer I went without cell phone usage, the more I liked it. Maybe these observations could be helpful to you when you think about connecting with God:

  • Not getting what we want isn’t always a bad thing
  • Distractions like phones, tend to interrupt our attention to being present in each moment
  • With the Holy Spirit, we have perpetual reception because the Holy Spirit is always with us!
  • Having a break from continual communication is probably more healthy than we often realize
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Planning and Non-Planners

My husband is really good at planning all kinds of stuff.  Currently, he’s planning our family vacation, a roadtrip from Denver to Washington DC to sightsee and explore our nation’s capital.  I deeply appreciate his skill in planning and there have been innumerable occasions where his planning abilities have bailed me out, thank ya Jesus!

On the other side of planning is non-planning, or maybe the euphemism is spontaneity.  This can be a fun way to do life, but risky to be sure.  Whether you’re a planner or non-planner type person, let’s be sure that we are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit, full stop.  Sometimes in our planning we can get so locked into the plan, that we shut out any guidance or direction from the Holy Spirit along the way.  On the other side, the lack of planning can leave us in a place where we can’t follow the Holy Spirit, due to a lack of resources, time, energy or ability.

For the people who are planners, be careful to allow the flexibility in your plans to make adjustments should the Holy Spirit lead in a different direction.  For the people who are non-planners, be careful to keep yourself with the resources where you can follow the Holy Spirit.

 

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Chillin’ With My Men

  

Our family is having a stay-cation week & we’re presently driving somewhere in Colorado, enjoying some close family time in the car. A person could get grumpy about this kind of activity, or a person could choose to see the gold. Here are some awesome things to remember when you’re not in a supremely blissful experience:

  • being close is a gift & personal space can be overrated ,)
  • time is irreplaceable: pages turn, chapters close & seasons conclude – enjoy the present
  • genuine love has an infinite variety of ways to be expressed so it’s good to be adaptable 🙂
  • I’m crazy grateful to get to “stay” in a car rather than travel in a plane – better family engagement 🙂

  

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, relationships, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Vacation, Sabbath, Pause & Rest

I’m currently with my family on a vacation, enjoying some downtime. I find that I can chose how restful this vacation is or I can be stressed out about how much work I’m missing, checking my emails all the time, writing blogs, etc. Vacate means to leave the premise or to check out.
I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally leave the premise & check out for our own mental health, for the purpose of enjoying family & to give God the opportunity to engage with us with less competition for our attention. Celebrate the opportunities that God gives us for vacations, rest & pause 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments