A Simple Vacation


Ρhat had a week-long training seminar to attend in Austin and I wanted to go. Nothing exciting to see really, it just beat staying home with three little ones. We could all pile in the car and spend the week in a hotel with an indoor swimming pool. He received a stipend for food and hotel so, if we were very careful, we wouldn’t spend more than we normally did for groceries. Instant vacation for Mom and the kids…a change of pace for Dad!

Every day was spent at the pool while Phat trained. It was a normal work week in the Fall so no other patrons were around; we essentially had a private pool for the week. The boys learned to swim as my baby girl, Tink, kicked round the pool in her yellow innertube. At rest time Tink and I cuddled up to nap while the boys watched cartoon network (quite the splurge for this cable-free family). We ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch and dinner out with Dad every night. After dinner we plunged into the pool once more to show Daddy all the new tricks learned that day – “Daddy, daddy! Watch me, watch me!!” Afterwards…family story time, kids fell into bed exhausted, while Mom and Dad watched a late movie.

The last day of the week we found an arboretum in the city park. It was free with a splendid Japanese garden. The kids were delighted with the unusual landscape and koi pond. We spent hours walking the acreage enjoying the beautiful autumn day. It is a lovely memory.

Our first ever family vacation wasn’t much to brag about, but we felt we had experienced the best.

Now we have a pool in the backyard (mostly due to this memory) and promotions have allowed for “better” vacations: walking along beaches, hiking up mountains, exploring dark caves, tubing down rivers, exhilarating amusement parks…yet, that simple time years ago still brings to mind the beauty of time alone, no worries about spending money, just enjoying eachother’s company.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. ~Philippians 4:11-12

Learning the secret of contentment, seeing the blessings in the simple pleasures of life, loving eachother and celebrating shared moments. What simple memories bring you joy?

Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. ~Mark 6:31

Need a vacation? Jesus says, “Take one!”


16 responses »

  1. Pingback: Boedus Travel Blog - Web Digest of Travel Resources » Blog Archive » A Simple Vacation

  2. Michelle,

    Thanks for your thoughts here. One of my daily devotionals I just read had this same topic (vacation, taking time for refreshing, etc.). It was more regarding someone overworking, but the principles still apply to us all when we just have more stuff to do than time to do it =}.

    If you’d like to read it, here’s the link:

    Also, Nick and I lived in Austin 1974-1978 while Nick was going to nursing school. It’s about the prettiest part of Texas I think, tho’ still hot and humid in the summers. I knew about that growing up too because my mom’s relatives all lived near there and we visited mostly in the summers . I just have such wonderful memories of the violent thunderstorms and giant cockroaches ={ NOT !!

    But there were definitely beautiful memories there with friends we made later in our ‘grown up’ years. Did you ever go to Barton Springs? I think I remember visiting those gardens you wrote about too.

    Yes, Jesus continues to invite us (Rev. 3:20 – written to believers !!), and how we miss out when we think we have ‘better things to do’ ! As that article above concludes,
    “God knows what we need. Is He waiting for you?

    Praying His showers of blessing for you and all who will “come”,

  3. Thank you, Dana. The links you provide have been spot on. I loved this passage: The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:25 that He “will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

    I don’t know the Austin area well. It has become so congested we’ve recently been trying to find ways around the traffic whenever we have to pass through. But yes, Texas Hill Country is a paradise for us natives – a dream place for retirement – between that and East Texas, it’s kind of hard to know where to invest.

    Then you guys in the Northwest start posting all your inspirational scenery!!! Maybe we’ll just keep working til the day we die and never need a place to retire. 😯

  4. i need a vacation. i just need to hop in my car and head east. the plan? spend time with all my sisters! cause i would LOVE to see you girl!

    i miss darla

  5. Oh…I bet you do need a vacation…You’re welcome here anytime!

    I can understand after seeing her on video. She appears to be quite the stabilizer, very grounded. Calm and collected…I think I need a visit from Darla.

  6. Vacation sounds good. It’s amazing though how the first place we need to take a vacation is in our minds and in our spirits. A vacation from the world. Jesus often went to the mountain by Himself to pray. I often find myself yearning for the mountain. That would be my real vacation 🙂 Although some time in Dallas with you and in Oregon with Tam and Debs and so many other people is not a bad idea either..hmmmm..

    One of my joyful vacation memories is when Jaan and I went to New Mexico. I was there for a conference and he decided he wanted to come with me for some reason. That’s where he proposed 🙂 It was just a wonderful day all around 🙂

    Love you Sis!

  7. Michelle,
    Austin seems a lifetime away. Stationed at Bergstrom AFB (now the airport) from 1982-1985 and moved from Austin to Arlington in 1986 to attend UTA.
    I think you went to Zilker Park.
    A huge part of my spiritual growth took place there in Austin and as such I remember it fondly.

  8. Good morning, Gchyayles. The mountaintop is where I like to be…spiritually and literally. We drove to the top of Pike’s Peak a few years ago (well, I drove, Phat’s afraid of heights) and I had to get some oxygen at the top for altitude sickness. I’d never had that happen before…a truly “heady” experience.

    Hey, Sam. I didn’t know you served in the Air Force. How long were you in the service? I can’t remember the name of the park, it overlooked the city with many different gardens, would that be Zilker? Spiritual growth in Austin…hmmm…most people now think of it as Party Central USA. 😯

    I enjoyed looking through your pics…your kids are cute!!

  9. Hi Michelle! My hometown (about 6 hours drive from where I am currently based) is a landlocked province with lots of mountains. I see green everywhere I look. You are welcome to visit anytime!

    Now I feel like going home…

    And I feel I need a vacation too!

  10. This is a really lovely story about your family vacation, and I love your message about contentment, seeing God’s goodness in the big things and the everyday. Thanks 🙂

  11. Hey, Ric. When cable and the internet invaded our lives, we did lose much interaction. If only we were disciplined enough to turn it off.

    Good morning, Sherma, evening for you. Green, my favorite color, everywhere you look…I’m jealous. We have to water, water, water to keep our yards lush in the summer. I just pulled out a burnt up juniper last night. *sigh*

    G’day Birgit. (Is that a strictly Aussie hello, or does it work for New Zealanders as well?) Contentment is not an easy thing for me to have these days – this post was an effort to recall some of the easier times. Life surely has its ups and downs – rejoice in the Lord always…

  12. I need a vacation.. Can I come Michelle.
    You know how to do it!!
    I’m a little aimless.

  13. Oh, Heidi, I’d bring you along if I could. Of course, those thinking places you have – the beach and the tree – wow. Vacation right before your eyes!! 😉

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