I woke up in the 5:00 hour and quietly got coffee ready and sat on the balcony looking at the moon and listening to the waves. So peaceful.

Like that moon is reflecting on the water, I reflected on the week and wrote down some take-away thoughts in my journal.

Opening the front door of our villa we could see the sun rise over the bay. All of it was gorgeous.
All packed up and off to the airport!
Super fun week!!! Won’t soon forget the many moments we had together. ❤️

Friday, final vacay day

Big sigh. Final day. Last sunset.

Another slow morning with Josh on the balcony with our Bibles and coffee. I’ve so enjoyed my time with him.

And of course we ended the evening on the beach with the sunset. Glorious in every way.

I’d be hard pressed to name my favorite part of the trip, but if I was forced to it would probably be the sunsets. They point to our amazing Creator God. It reminds me of His faithfulness and goodness and creative beauty. I think about His mercies being new every morning. Josh often says , “No matter how much of a disaster today was, tomorrow stands ready to be different.” Amen. This rhythm. This faithful routine of sunrises and sunsets and seasons—-it was God’s idea. And I love Him!

Tomorrow is for returning the rental car, maneuvering through the armpit of America that is an airport, boarding a plane, claiming baggage, reuniting with our dog, and unpacking. But that’s tomorrow…..

Thursday on Vacay

Not as many photos today. My people are over the pictures, but I did manage some.

We went for a walk on the beach as a family this evening. Lots of people were out and about and the sunset did not disappoint.

These kids aren’t able to comprehend how blessed they are to have Josh as a dad. He is our leader. He loves us, and we love him. We have talked often on this very trip how seasons change and our kids are growing up and needing us in different ways than previous years. I’m sure they would kind of prefer hanging with their friends than us these days, but we have enjoyed all being together and making some memories. I hope the kids know we will walk with them through anything! Thankful for each of them.

Thursday of vacation is now in the books! Hoping our last day is the best of all! Goodnight!

Wednesday of vacay

Another gorgeous day in south Florida! The adventurous ones (Josh, Mack and Molly) started their morning parasailing. I watched safely from the patio.

Most of us stayed on the beach for most of the day.

We went to dinner and then played mini golf. Josh won but I came in a close second!! And Ruby and Josh got holes in one!

We were all dripping in sweat, so we went to Pelicans again for sno cones. No photos of that—I was focused on the air conditioner blowing directly on me. AND we realized Josh lost his phone. We located it at mini golf but the extra time it took to get the phone didn’t allow for us to make it back to the beach for the sunset. Josh tried to get us there but traffic was thick. He was sweet to try. The sky was still absolutely gorgeous. And I wonder every night why I don’t live some where with open skies that display sunsets like this on the regular.

Sure do love this man. He works hard and gives generously to us. I’ve prayed before this week that he would be mentally, physically and spiritually renewed during our time away.

Now off to bed for some of that physical renewal!

Vacation: Tuesday

Tuesday was another beautiful day on the beach and it ended with beautiful time with family. Josh’s cousin, Grace, and her family—Pete, Taylor, Blake, Riley, and Hayden—live about 20 minutes from our resort. The food they spread before us was delicious. Grouper with mango salsa, shrimp, rice and beans, salad, potatoes, chips and fresh guacamole, and more. Their kids were absolutely delightful and so very funny!! Such a treat to have spent time with them. Pete even took us adults on a quick golf cart ride to see the sunset. There was a whole street of houses situated such as to see the most gorgeous sunsets night after night and I seriously doubt why I didn’t make it my life’s goal to live on that street. It sounds dramatic, but I’m about as serious as I can be.

So fun seeing Josh with his cousin. The cousin relationship is a special one! I wish my kids were growing up closer in proximity to their cousins, but it’s still a sweet relationship across the miles.
I mean, can you imagine LIVING with this view on the daily? I’m just amazed. Gorgeous.

So as the sun set on another amazing day here, I can’t help but be so grateful for this summer trip full of family and fun! So thankful!

Monday @ vacay

Josh and I spent the morning together again. Time in the Word, a good walk on the beach, breakfast and then the beach!

We are learning that the kids’ schedule is opposite ours. They sleep in, like—a lot. And they aren’t impressed with the sunrise or the breakfast buffet. And I already told you how their skin did in the sun yesterday. Soooo, they went to the movie in the afternoon and Josh said they were fine but didn’t have much energy or enthusiasm about anything. It wasn’t until around 7:00pm that they “turned on.” This is the same time I’m ready to sit and watch the sun set and then get in the bed. But I followed their energy even though it meant leaving the beach sooner than I wanted after the sun set.

Me snapping a few more photos of the beautiful evening sky while my family heads to the car for Pelicans sno cones.
Ruby (age 17, summer before senior year)
Don’t worry, she put all these back.

We ended the night with sno-cones. And the kids were high energy and crazy. This is the season we are in and there are usually growing pains as you live with five growing and changing individuals—three of which are trying to figure out who they are and what they want and how to manage emotions. Heck, I’m 44 and still working on some of the same things. But we love each other, and I am grateful for the time we have together this week. I’m just gonna let them sleep in and do their thing while I wake up at the literal crack of dawn and do my thing…and then hope for energy in the evening when they get into party mode.

It was a fabulous Monday. Now, seriously, I’m going to bed!😴

Vacation 2021

The burn. My fair skinned, bull-headed children got quite a bit too much sun on day 1. No amount of coercion for applying more sunscreen, wearing a hat, sitting all the way under the umbrella worked. Enter Aloe Vera, some ibuprofen and plans for a movie on day 2 for Josh and the kids.

Reading in 2 Kings about the stubbornness of God’s people and seeing the stubbornness of my kids yesterday and consequences of the burn, gives me a glimpse on the tiniest of scales of all the trouble God sees me and my hard head get into. He is so gracious. He doesn’t wipe His stubborn people off the face of the earth—mercy and grace. His long suffering is mind boggling.

I did say “I told you so…” to my kids. But I also bought the Aloe Vera and patted it gently on their burnt backs and legs. I want to help them feel better and challenge them to remember these uncomfortable consequences so that maybe they won’t repeat this mistake. God has been so gracious with me. It’s hard to comprehend His patience and kindness towards me. I’m so grateful for His love and care.

So, how about some photos of the first evening and day for us here in Florida?

The coffeemaker in the villa was tiny, so I ran to Walmart for a more suitable sized coffeemaker. Priorities.

Sunday morning started with sweet time in The Word and on the patio with Josh. Then we got our towels and chairs, ready for a day at the beach.

Dinner was at Doc Fords


We started our family vacation with a bang a little south of Miami at Aunt Pep and Uncle Jerry’s home. As soon as we left the Miami airport and saw the palm trees with the beautiful Florida sunset, Mack decided he could live there. And I kind of agree with him.

We got to Pep & Jerry’s late and ate a delicious meal and enjoyed catching up.

We woke up and enjoyed some quiet time chatting in her window seat and sipping our coffee.

We walked their beautiful property that morning. Their mangos are THE BEST.

That afternoon we went to experience the culture of the area with some amazing tacos and ice cream and a stop in at “Robert Is Here.”

I don’t know when we will be back to visit them, but I sure hope it won’t be long. It feels like a little piece of heaven down there. Just beautiful! The landscape, the sunsets, the food, the people. We so enjoyed our time.

Now we’re off to more adventuring!

Lord, Open my eyes.

Reading the Old Testament never gets old. I mean, Leviticus can slow me down, but for now I am in 2 Kings and love it. Just this morning I read about Naaman, “captain of the army of the king of Aram.” He was “a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.”

A little girl from Israel served Naaman’s wife. This little girl mentioned that if Naaman could get before the prophet of Israel (Elisha), then he could be cured of his leprosy. The king of Aram allowed Naaman to go to the king of Israel and sent a letter to him asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy.  The king of Israel knows he is unable to do such a thing and worries that the king of Aram will be upset and wonders what evil will come on Israel when the King of Aram finds out he can’t help. In this process, Elisha realizes what is going on and tells the king of Israel to send Naaman to him. 

Naaman goes to Elisha, but is not happy with the instructions Elisha gives him for being cured of his leprosy: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” Naaman is offended and leaves, taking his leprosy with him. 

After encouragement from his servants, he returns to the Jordan and does just what Elisha told him to do and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.”

After this miracle, Naaman wants to pay Elisha in gifts. But Elisha would not take anything from Naaman.

Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, overheard the conversation and wonders why in the world Elisha wouldn’t take a little something for the huge blessing that he just heaped on Naaman. Being healed of leprosy was no little thing, after all.  

So while Elisha said, “As the Lord lives,…I will take nothing,” Gehazi said, “As the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” And Gehazi does just that. He lies and he takes some gifts. And then he tries to keep it from Elisha, the prophet of God. That did not go well for him. In the end, Gehazi is the one who has to live with leprosy. Whew. That is rough.

What is also rough is reading this story and seeing yourself in Gehazi. The little girl and Elisha each showed no self-interest. Gehazi, on the other hand, operated out of his own self-interest. He thought it a waste to leave anything on the table in this ordeal. He wonders what sense that possibly makes? He sees no harm in taking payment even though he nor Elisha actually did anything for Naaman. It was all God, all grace.

Too many times I am given opportunity to act self-lessly, and I may initially obey. I may even hear the Lord remind me that He sees me and He is my reward and that is enough. Yet, I change my mind and decide I need the credit for this or that. I need the acknowledgement. I need the affirmation. I need the payment for my obedience. The quiet approval of God is not enough for me in that moment, so I “run after” what I think I need to take from the situation. And it never ends well. 

Even and especially in motherhood I often wonder, “Is this eventually going to pay off—all this self sacrifice and giving? Will my kids ever acknowledge my hard work or will I be taken advantage of forever?” 

This morning after reading 2 Kings chapter 5, I was asking the Lord to help me round this learning curve and truly dive in to gracious living and giving through and through. I asked Him to help me be like the servant girl and not like Gehazi.

And then I read 2 Kings chapter 6. Elisha is in Dothan and his attendant fearfully informs him that they are surrounded by “an army of horses and chariots….What shall we do?” The attendant was afraid and tempted to panic.

Elisha tells him to not be afraid because “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” I imagine the attendant scratching his head and looking around, unsure Elisha knew what he was saying. Elisha prayed for him to have his eyes opened to the unseen. “And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Elisha saw God’s provision. Then, the attendant saw God’s provision. 

G.Campbell Morgan, my all-time favorite Bible scholar, says about this section, 

“It is such a consciousness that maintains the heart in strength and courage and quietness on the day when otherwise there might indeed be panic. That man always endures, who sees Him Who is invisible. This is the true function of faith and so faith becomes the secret of endurance, and the actual method by which we may take hold upon all the sources of strength.”

I am sometimes tempted to panic when I evaluate my life and wonder if I am wasting it with all the mundane tasks. I question whether I have invested in the right places and people. I am tempted to look for some worldly accomplishment to give me worth. The things God values are often not the things the world values. They are usually quite opposite. So how to do we keep making the Christ-honoring decisions, the selfless choices? 

The secret of endurance is faith! And at the end of my time with the Lord, I was refocused on seeing Him. I was reminded that He is all I need. I made the connection that the way to avoid being Gehazi, looking out for my own self-interest at the expense of others and of the truth, is to ask for courage to walk in faith, building up my muscles of endurance so that I don’t go running after what I think is rightfully mine and instead sitting in my rights as a child of God with open hands ready to be filled with whatever God knows I need. I was reminded that in times I am tempted to panic, He will always take care of me in ways I may or may not be able to see. But Lord, would you open my eyes that I might see You? And strengthen my faith when I cannot. 

Examine Your Habits {no matter how painful it may be}

Have you paid much attention to the screen display on your phone that reveals the amount of time you spend on your phone? It is broken down between Social, Information&Reading, and Productivity&Finance. I would share my numbers with you, but I’d be super ashamed.

If you scroll down a little farther, there’s a box titled “PICKUPS,” telling how many times these hands touched this phone. Again, I’d share the number but, gah, how embarrassing.

Especially knowing there are things left undone around this house that these hands should have been doing. Especially knowing there are eye to eye, face to face conversations not had with these teenagers in my house. Especially knowing what a colossal waste of time MOST of the minutes on this phone represent.

I am reading I Kings and noticed the comparison made in the last verse of Chapter 6 and the first verse of Chapter 7; these verses are actually meant to be read together with no chapter breaks.

“So he [Solomon] was seven years in building it [house of the Lord]. Now Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.”

G. Campbell Morgan says about this contrast that it doesn’t mean the Temple was done in a rush, “but it does show the place which his own personal comfort and luxurious tastes had come to occupy in the life of Solomon, that he should build for himself a palace which took nearly twice as long to build as the House of his God. It is often by such simple and unexpected tests that the deepest facts of a human life are revealed.”

It got me thinking—what contrasts can be made in my life and what facts might they reveal about my life?

“So she spent 45 minutes reading her Bible and praying. Now Kristy spent 240 minutes scrolling pretty aimlessly on her phone in that same day.”

I am not one to try and shame anyone about their life choices. I don’t intend to beat you up with my words. I do, however, think examination is a good thing. Examine your habits. Make yourself look at the facts revealed on that little display of time spent on your phone. And then make necessary adjustments. You aren’t stuck in the rhythms and routines in which you currently find yourself. With God’s help, your habits can become better and more life-giving. 

Also? Take a look ahead. Where are your habits taking you? You’re headed somewhere and where you’re headed is shaped an awful lot by your daily focus and habits. For Solomon, it didn’t end well. You can read on in I Kings and see that eventually “The Lord was angry with Solomon” because his focus on self and lack of intentionality to stay close to God led him into alliances and relationships that ultimately ruined him. It is not too late to course-correct. Today, ask God for help!