Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

I love looking through photographs. Of course, it’s not the same as it used to be when you actually developed your photos and put them in albums, casually perusing them sitting in a comfy chair or sofa with a cup of coffee beside you. No, now it’s about  looking at a multitude of digital images on your computer screen in your office chair, and in my household, sometimes that includes a growing tween perched on the arm of the chair beside you.

It never fails, the minute I open up a file with photo’s and my son sees it, he is gripped by the images that he and I have taken through the years. As we flip through them, it’s very clear who took what. And, it has less to do with the technical aspect of the photo’s, and everything to do with the subjects.

Even though my son is only 12, he has an eye and steady hand for on-the-go photos that amazes me. He likes nothing more than to grab the camera while we’re driving somewhere and take photos through the open window or the windshield. Very rarely are they fuzzy or out of focus with the movement, somehow he is able to get clear, crisp shots, of the road in front of us, the sky above us, the blue-pink tinged mountains near us, or even a buffalo grazing in a field next to us, as we wind our way through whatever highways and byways we find ourselves on.

I, on the other hand, seem to have a great propensity for standing still outdoor shots and all that that term conjures up, from mountains, to architecture, to sculptures and everything in between, I take photos of anything that catches my fancy at the time.

Yet, when I was looking through more than  one digital album of photo’s lately I noticed that I take a disproportionate amount of photo’s of doors. Yes, doors, which seems kind of odd even to me who actually takes these photo’s. Doors in Italy, doors in Greece, doors in Turkey, doors in England, doors in Arizona, doors in Texas, doors at this fabulous door reseller in Taos, New Mexico. Doors. Doors. Doors.

So this got me thinking, why doors? It’s not like all of my photo’s are of doors, they’re mixed in with a lot of other really nice shots, but why the disproportionate amount? Then I realized it’s because doors represent movement, change, entering and exiting. You really can’t just ignore a door, you can either walk through it, walk away from it, wait for someone to open it or open it yourself.

Doors can represent hope in a way, even if one is closed to you right now. It’s not a solid wall you have to scale or find a way around, as long as a door is in front of you, there’s always the possibility that it will be open to you later.

In our lives, we experience a lot of doors. Many times we throw ourselves against a door, only to find it’s locked to us and we have to then move on, allowing ourselves to be led to another one that is open to us. Sometimes there are doors that we have to wait patiently in front of, waiting for God to open them for us, and, sometimes all we have to do is reach out to find that He has unlocked it for us, we just needed to believe Him and reach out our hand and turn the doorknob.

At the end of the day, not only is He the creator of the Universe, but He’s also the one that leads us to the doors that we must individually walk through. For many of us those doors are totally different. We can walk with one another towards a door and support each other as we get there, but He’s the only One who can walk us through our own doors to the lives He has planned for us.

We soon find out when we try to open doors we were never supposed to go through how difficult and many times impossible it is to gain access to those doors and what lies behind them. They are forever locked to us, while our own open at just the right time and in just the right way.

“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.‘”

John 10:7-9


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Summer is winding down and for a lot of us, our vacations are behind us. For most of us, they’re probably fading fast in the rear-view mirror as we get everyone geared up for the fall and all that goes along with it.

The interesting thing about vacations is even though most of us are having a good time when we’re on them, there are those moments when everyone’s had too little sleep or too much together time and it gets a little crazy for a little bit before it all rights itself and goes back to normal. This is especially so when you are traveling with two generations of parents, with most of them being in the grandparent range.

My son and I went to the South this year (for those of you who are curious this reads as Georgia with a foray into North Carolina & when my mom saw that we were only 100 miles from Nashville, we almost ended up in Tennessee). All of my sons surviving grandparents were with us, which comes up to a grand total of three. All of them were in some configuration directly related to me. I’ll just let you ponder those connections for a while, but the relatively newly coined “blended” is an integral part of it all.

There are pluses and minuses to seeing your parents get older, but the one thing that always makes me laugh is their fearless attitude, especially how it lives and grows in my mother as the years pass by.

Although my mother is an English immigrant, she has been in the United States for well over 40-years and has adopted the express yourself motto  that America is known for with gusto. And somewhere after she turned 60, expressing herself went up a couple more notches, which basically means you find out what she’s thinking whether you want to or not and sometimes other people do too.

This was made so clear to me when we visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Coca-Cola being what it is, and meaning what it means in the world at large, there were a huge amount of people visiting the working museum that gave you not only a lot of cool history about the product, but also let you taste the different beverage flavors the company ships throughout the world.

But, it wasn’t the cool flavors from Africa, South America and Asia that rests at the top of my memory heap, it is the encounter that three self-absorbed, to the point of bordering on rude, kids had with my mom who is at that age where she’s going to let anyone know just how she feels.

We were going up one of the large staircases, with my son in front of me and parents behind me, I was trying to keep track of both, which meant I was a little further up the stairs than my mom. If you’ve ever been in the “sandwich generation” you know just where I was, with one eye up the stairs trying to keep track of my son and an ear down the stairs trying to keep track of my parents, it’s an interesting experience in multi-tasking.

So, I noticed the three kids who were going against the tide of the staircase first. Pretty much because I could feel the breeze as the pushed past me expecting everyone to step out of their way as they pushed downwards. Just as the last one passed me, I had less than a quarter of a second to realize that they were heading straight for my mom before I heard her voice behind me.

“Listen kid,” she said, her accent ringing out loud and clear.  “I’m not moving!”

And it was in that tone, you know the one because you’ve heard it. It’s built into every mother who’s ever lived if they just choose to use it. It’s the tone that says, “you’d better not mess with me because you will be very sorry.”

I could feel the kids stop short behind me. They didn’t quite know what to do so they apologized, stepped aside and proceeded down the stairs a little bit more slowly and a lot more aware.

I’m sure the kids thought she was going to move out of their way like everyone else was doing. This is especially in light of the fact that she looks, well, like she’s a little older, very non-threatening and easily moved. But, they got a little more than they bargained for when they tried to get into her space.

The memory brings a smile to my face, and it brings more than a little reality with it too.

How many times does God tell us to stand firm in our faith and we buckle because something rushes at us too quickly, catching us unaware?

How many times does the enemy, knowing our weaknesses, come at us and instead of just telling him ‘no way, you will not pass’ we just step aside, let him in and then can’t figure out why everything’s a wreck?

How many times does God have to tell us that He is our strength and our shield so we can stand firm no matter what comes at us?

It seems to me, if we’d just allow God to be God, believe what He says and when something comes at us, we pluck up the courage from God to just say, “Listen kid, I’m not moving!” we’d be a lot better off.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith….”

1 Peter 5:8-9a

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Image from troutdudesdiscipleblog.blogspot.com

Summer is coming up fast, just around the corner, and along with it all the thought and talk about vacations to get away from the everyday, the ordinary.

I’m always fascinated by the way that people take their vacations. Some go on cruises or to far off lands seeing the exotic and unfamiliar, while others prefer to stay closer to home, heading off to the mountains or the beach to get away from it all.

Camping is one of those close to home, but not anything like home, vacation experiences. Most people head to the forests where the rustle of trees and birds gives them a sense of relaxation and peace, but they can just as easily take a tent out to the beach and experience the sound of the waves on the seashore and the taste of salt on their lips.

Either way, camping is camping and for most purists the only way to camp is to do so in a tent. Not the most amazing experience for a newbie to the whole camping experience – think fish out of water in a huge way – but after some getting used to it, people don’t mind the tentness of it all and come to think of their tent as a home away from home.

And so it is. After you’ve wrestled with the pounding the pegs in the ground and securely attached the tent to its final resting spot, it does take on the characteristics of home. You cook there, sleep there, play there, relax there, and enjoy time with your family and friends there.

It becomes a place where you get to know other people in a more relaxed, less hassled environment. No phones, no computers, no television to distract you, just you and the people you like sitting around the campfire, and in the process, getting to know each other better.

But when Moses led the people out of Egypt, those tents were both their traveling homes, and for 40-years, a reminder of what they had given up, a land of their own that was promised to them by God.

Only two men were able to trade their tents for a permanent home in the Promised Land, and of those two only one led the people over the Jordan. That man? Joshua.

The funny thing about Joshua was that he and Moses were the only ones who entered the Tent of Meeting which was set up outside the gathering of the other tents. This Tent of Meeting was where Moses spoke to God and from the looks of things when everyone else was afraid to approach the Tent of Meeting and Moses came and went, Joshua would not leave the tent. The assumption is that he actually lived there.

Joshua lived in the presence of God. No wonder he made it to the Promised Land.

“Now Moses took a tent and set it up outside the camp, far away from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the LORD would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.  Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would stand up, each one at the door of his tent, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and [the LORD] would speak with Moses.  As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The LORD  spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.”

Exodus 33:7-34:8 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

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