Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Vacation Diary Day 1

It has been a while since my wife and I have had a real vacation. We finally decided to take one this year and the following is day one of our journey diary, not just the actual perspective, but in the tradition of The Virtual Pew, from a spiritual perspective.

We have lived a life of ministry, somewhat to the surprise of some, one that has taken us across many roads, many journeys. We have gained many new friends, and as a result of our journey, lost a few old ones.

Over the years one of the things people in ministry, not just us, but many, sacrifice is things like vacation, finance, wealth and the list could go on. Of course in the age of the MEGAchurch there are those who insist on large salaries and benefit packages. Somewhere along the line, on the backs of small churches seeking to grow, many pastors and people involved in ministry have sacrificed much in human terms, little in the concepts of the Heavenly Father. I can assure you, there are many pastors and people who have dedicated their life to service that will understand the luxury of writing about a vacation. I have on several occasions left jobs that paid better, with better benefits to go to a position that paid less with less benefits, on 2 occasions I even requested the agency or church I worked for pay me less because they couldn’t afford it. I don’t know, call me weird, call me strange, I just have these crazy beliefs that I don’t want to be a burden on the body of Christ, or the work I do which is ultimately for the Kingdom of God. If Jesus freely gave, surely some of us can make the sacrifice required to share the good news.

My wife and I haven’t had a real, legitimate vacation since around 2003 or so. There were the times we went to Fargo ND with our son for national wrestling tournaments, and on one occasion we went to the Badlands and the Black Hills to see Mt. Rushmore. This was the last time we had a legitimate vacation, and that was the first time in a number of years. I have learned how to take advantage of the internet, coupons, things like Priceline and more when having the rare opportunity to do these types of things.

It took us some time to figure out what we could do with the limited funds we have. We decided to go to Amarillo Texas to spend a few days, and then return through Dodge City Kansas. What we discovered was enjoyable, and affordable.

The first thing I did was go online to check out the sites between Wichita Kansas, and Oklahoma City Oklahoma and between Oklahoma City and Amarillo. I also went to Priceline.com to place my bids for motels. I have learned that the name your own price benefit of Priceline pays off most of the time. We decided to leave out on a Friday morning, and drive to Oklahoma City where we would spend the night. The $30 room at the Hampton Inn in Oklahoma City didn’t hurt. We also mapped out and printed online coupons for Amarillo and locations along the way.

It only took 3 hours to drive to Oklahoma City from Wichita. We wanted to enjoy a night of relaxation before the next days drive. While in Oklahoma City we ate at Pearls’ Fish House, one of my favorite places to eat. I had a luncheon portion of Bourbon Chicken and my wife had a luncheon portion of Fried Fish. Both meals were excellent as usual, although a little pricey. We ordered water with lemon, something we normally do because it is healthier and saves us about $4 a meal; we splurged on desert though. Even though I am diabetic, I have learned to treat myself to a small treat on occasion. We ordered the bourbon bread pudding, which we shared and is out of this world. Now for the critics, I had a very small portion which satisfied the craving, and my wife only ate part of hers. Both of us used the large portions for supper that evening, including enough desert for her to have desert. After a tremendous lunch, costing us around $20 we went across the street to the motel we were staying at.

I have to say, over the years I have seen places where Priceline works wonders. Among those are Omaha Nebraska, Kansas City KS or Missouri, Tulsa Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City. The Hampton Inn had a wonderful room, with wonderful friendly staff. We had a full kitchen in the room with a marvelous, comfortable King Sized Bed. After a nap, we enjoyed the evening, watching television, going to the local Wal-Mart for groceries and a few other things. The motel also offered a tremendous hot and full continental breakfast.

Some may ask, what are the spiritual lessons here? For me it was actually quite simple, that sometimes, new beginnings, and fresh starts can be an enjoyable thing. Sometimes, even on a budget, a little planning and a little effort can make for an enjoyable time if we take time to enjoy life. That is why in part we only wanted to drive for a few hours on that first day. We wanted to start things off on the right foot, to enjoy the moment. We didn't want to forget that this vacation was about relaxation and spending quality time with each other.

Are you taking time to enjoy the simple things of life? Are there significant others involved in that process? Sometimes, and I am as guilty as anyone, we get so caught up in life that we forget about the simple things, There seems to be such a rush that before we know it, life has passed us by. There is an old saying, 'we should take the time to stop and smell the roses.' I think that is true, it is a lesson and concept that was rekindled on the first day of our vacation. It is a lesson I think we can all learn from, the question is, will we do it or not.

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