Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vacation Treasures III

This past weekend I went away on my last "vacation" until probably at least the end of 2011 (unless I can recover from a c-section super-quick and we do something crazy like take the family to Florida right after Christmas). Words can't even describe what an amazing weekend I had on this retreat up at Mt. Monadnock with some of the best friends a woman could ask for and over 100 other women. I knew I was going to have a blast with my girlfriends. I knew I was going to learn a lot. I knew I would come back refreshed and inspired. But I had no idea all the treasures God had in store for me. God is SO GOOD and I AM SO BLESSED! These are the treasures I discovered this weekend:


I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming when I reflect on how many wonderful friends I have and the fact that God just keeps adding to this circle of friends. Friends that, though their lives may be filled with drama, are not full of drama themselves. Friends that share my values, love for God and love for His Word. Friends that care about my family. Friends that make me laugh so hard I pee my pants (though that's not so hard to accomplish these days!). Friends that are trustworthy and loyal. Friends that would do ANYTHING for me. Friends that get my sarcasm. Friends that show and tell me how much I mean to them. Friends that pray for me.

Proud to call these lovely ladies my friends (well, excluding that bloated chick to the far left in the back).
I am not bragging or patting myself on the back for anything I've done to "earn" any of my friendships. It is only by God's grace that I have any friends at all! In fact this weekend got me wondering - am I the kind of friend I described above? And just how many people I can really be that kind of friend to? I've learned from experience how busy life gets and how easy it is to lose touch with my closest friends for weeks or even months at a time. I often feel really guilty when someone I consider a part of my inner circle talks about a difficult time they've been going through and I realize I've been so clueless and/or of absolutely no help to them because I've been focused on other people or distracted with my own life. I want to be the kind of friend that offers just the help, encouragement or listening ear all my friends need, when they need it. But lately I've noticed that I just can't "keep up." I feel like I've let people down or that I've appeared absent. I pray that God will keep me focused on my friends' needs and that he will lead and guide me to what I need to do for whom and when.


The main speaker this weekend was Bonnie Merrill and WOWZER what a testimony. This woman who has experienced all kinds of abuse, neglect, betrayal and hurt has experienced the love of God and the truth of his Word. She shared the freedom and wonders she has experienced as a result of her personal relationship with Jesus. One of the scripture passages she shared was from 2 Samuel 22:17-20: "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."

She talked about the difference between an abstract head knowledge of God and an experiential heart knowledge of God. So many women believe in Jesus but live as if they don't. When we put our faith in Him, he sets us free from sin and guilt. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Bonnie said that the degree to which we live in freedom is measured by the depth of our experiential knowledge of God. If God has forgiven us, why do we live in guilt? Why do we basically put back on our chains of shame that he already removed? Why do we keep deep dark secrets? 

Bonnie reminded us that God knows and loves each one of us completely. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible, one that I am making sure my children are very familiar with! (It's too long to quote but please click on the link to read it.) She presented an interesting illustration that I had never thought of before to demonstrate God's love toward us. When God was creating the earth, he spoke all things into existence...except man. Genesis 2:7 says, "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Picture God's hands getting dirty as he gathered up dust to make a man from it.

Then fast forward to Jesus' crucifixion and his hands that were pierced with nails and stained with blood out of love for that same man that he created with those same hands.

God was personally and lovingly involved in both our creation and our redemption, willing to get his hands dirty in both processes. I can never be reminded of that enough.


Bonnie also pointed out that God wants our lives to be wonder-full. Psalm 77:14 says, "You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." Its a fact that God is performing wonders all around us and in each of our lives. Am I looking at my life through God's eyes? Even some of the smallest things are His wonders. I like to think I do a pretty good job of recognizing God's works in my life but it shouldn't stop there. He wants me to remember them and tell about them. One of my biggest "takeaways" from this weekend was Psalm 78:4: "We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done."  This got me thinking about the Israelites and all the crazy wonders and miracles God performed for them, yet how quickly they would forget them. As a result, the next generation would have no clue and therefore no faith and no obedience.

I left Monoadnock determined that I will tell of God's wonders in my life. I will talk about them often with my children and anyone else who will listen. :) I've always gone through cycles in my life of keeping a consistent prayer journal. I'm amazed at how quickly I do forget the wonders God has done in my life until I go back and read through old journals. It helps to increase my faith and trust when I see how God has shown his love and provision for me in the past. Even if it takes just 5 - 10 minutes each night, I'm going to try to start recording more of "the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done" in my life.


Saturday night all 100+ women gathered together inside around a fake bonfire (laugh but the faux flame was just as mesmerizing as the real thing) for an "Oasis of Sharing." Anyone could volunteer to take the mic and share something they'd learned, ways they'd been encouraged, or any other truth or hope with the rest of the group. Well one old lady stood up and introduced her sisters on either side of her. They all had to be at least in their 70s with white or gray hair. One sat with a cane by her side. They had each come from various parts of the country to meet up together at this retreat. The one talking thanked God for her sisters, that He made it possible for the three of them to be there together and for all the ways He had blessed their sisterhood. You could tell they loved and treasured each other so much.

I tried not to bawl like a baby though I had a few valid reasons to do so. First, I'm 8 months pregnant and don't need a reason to cry. Second, the three old sisters were such a rare and beautiful sight.  Third, and most significant, I was both convicted and encouraged by her testimony. Ever since I learned that baby #3 is most likely a girl, I have to admit I've had a pretty bad attitude about it, like having three girls is a horrible curse. I often think of how I'll have 50% more catfights to break up, that we'll have one more wedding to pay for, and how "fun" 3 teenage girls all PMSing at the same time will be. When people ask me if I know what I'm having I always roll my eyes and sort of hopelessly sigh through the words, "They tell me its girl # 3..." Shame on me! My three girls could be those three sisters some day. Have I ever considered the possibility that my three girls could be each other's best friends in the whole world? That they could grow up to love, serve and worship God together? That they could grow old and gray haired and look forward to meeting up at a mountain retreat together some day? Oh me of zero faith. Heck, if I could sign up for another sister of my own like the one I've got, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

So after beating myself up over my guilt, I confessed my bad attitude and lack of faith to God. I also vowed to continuously repeat a prayer that God's hand will be upon the sisterhood that will come from my womb and that they will grow up to share a testimony like that woman's. That this could be a picture of my girls one day:
I hunted down the three sisters Sunday afternoon to tell them what an inspiration they were to me and to ask if I could take their picture. They laughed and said something along the lines of "it look us a long time to get to this place!" I don't think they were referring to their drive to Monadnock. ;)


The "glory of God" is something I can't say I've ever really understood very well. Don't ask me to define it. Last year in my study of the book of Isaiah I was able to chip away at this mystery a little bit but still didn't feel like I had a great handle on it. Which is wierd because I think I'm motivated to live my life for "the glory of God" and my future hope includes an eternity of experiencing "the glory of God."

So Sunday afternoon our speaker Bonnie did something so amazing and it resulted in my having such a more accurate and vivid understanding of what God's glory really is. She had us all close our eyes while she read every passage in the Bible that deals with this topic, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. She never included the references and never paused when moving from one verse, paragraph, chapter or book to another one. Every sentence just flowed continueously so that after about what seemed like 10 minutes, we had been presented with every single mention or description of God's glory throughout all of the Bible. If I was physically able, I would have been prostrate on the floor before she was done, but see I've got this big bump in the way and I can hardly even lean over. What a humbling experience nontheless. God is so good, so perfect, so bright, so majestic, so powerful, so holy, so wise, so loving. I am so not any of these things. What a treasure to have better understood and experienced even just a glimpse of the glory of God. And to learn that if I want to see more of God's glory this side of heaven, all I have to do is ask for it like Moses did (Exodus 33:7-11,17-22), believe for it like Martha did (John 11:38-45) and hope for it like Paul did (Philippians 3:10 - 14).

The beauty of God's creation also gives us all a little glimps of His glory since the earth is an expression of who He is. It was nice to head up North where they've got a little head start on the fall foliage. Trees were still mostly as green as at home but there were a lot more pockets of color, which just increased my anticipation for the coming weeks of fall. Here are a few photos I took of the trees and sky. It's beyond me how anyone can actually believe that scenes like these have their origin in a billions-year-old mystery speck of matter that inexplicably exploded with a big bang. No, God painted these himself.


I went up to NH with the expectation that I'd enjoy a little retail therapy in downtown Jaffrey like I did last year at the same retreat. For weeks I've had visions of hunting through Elaines Aniques and Collectibles and trying on clothes at the consignment shop. Okay, so maybe not the latter at 8 months pregnant. Well it turned out that I had only about 20 minutes to peruse through a few shops on Sunday afternoon as we were leaving town. One of the consignment/antiques/gift shops had some jewelry so I asked the shop owner if she happened to have any silver charms. I knew it was a longshot to hope for a charm that could actually serve as a little memory token of my weekend.  As I expected, she didn't have any charms but she did have some random sterling necklace pendants. Lo and behold there was a little capital "H" with a tiny flower attached to the upper corner of it. Hmmm.... "H" is for Hailey. Or, "H" is for Holy Ground. My friends and I had previously referred to the Monadnock Retreat Center as holy ground. Anytime any of us had been there (from as early as junior high youth group retreats to now) we experienced God's presence and heard Him speaking to us. There's a song that goes,"This is holy ground. We're standing on holy ground. For the Lord is here, and where He is is holy. This is holy ground..." So that "H" charm was perfect. My only purchase of the weekend, it will serve as a great reminder of all of the other priceless treasures I discovered at Monadnock.

(P.S. Not that it would make a difference but I'm curious, is there a suggested maximum word limit for a blog post?? I have a feeling I just broke some blog rule or something. Oh well.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Air Up There

I'm amazed and a little humbled at how often God teaches me something new when I'm reading children's Bible books to my kids. Last week I started a "new" book series with the girls that I'm pretty excited about called The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell.

Our set is copyrighted 1953 with a note on the inside cover for the child it was originally given to in 1954 - so sweet! I bought this 7-volume collection at a yard sale a few years ago for $10. (Current Amazon/Ebay searches have this set going for anywhere between $85 and $160. Score!) The series includes 250 stories spanning the entire Bible. It's sort of the "next step up" from all the short kid's picture/story Bibles we already have. The stories in this set are longer, more detailed and with fewer pictures. Too bad my kids cannot yet appreciate the 1950s illustrations the way I do.

Illustration by Harry Anderson
Well I've been anticipating the day when my oldest would have the attention span to begin this series that has been crammed up in the corner of her closet, not unforgotten. I decided it was time to give it a shot. We're only into story #3 so far but my intention is to read one story each day, during the day. (We wait for dad to read a chapter from Marian Schoolland's Leading Little Ones to God each night at dinnertime.) My 2 year old is hit or miss when we read The Bible Story but I invite her to snuggle with her sister and me on the couch anyways. After a few minutes she's usually doing somersaults next to me or has left the couch to "read" a different book to herself. My 5 year old does fidgit a little more than I hoped but we've managed to get through the first few stories with enough interested looks on her face to know that she is paying attention and learning something new about God, his character and our response. Plus I know when I need to pause to ask her a question or elaborate a little if she looks like she's starting to zone out. :)

So the first volume is titled "The Book of Beginnings." In story #1 we read that before creation, God always was, and he hovered in darkness over water. Story #2 was the first day of creation when God created the light by the power of his spoken words, separated the light from the darkness, and named the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Today we read story #3 about the second day of God's creation when He separated the waters below (liquid/ocean) from the waters above (gas/clouds) and created the "firmament" which is the atmosphere, or the air between the waters below and above. 

Then it explained the perfect wisdom of God to create the air before he created the people and animals that would need it's oxygen to breath, the plants that would use it's nitrogen to grow, the birds that would need it to fly in and the rain that would use it to fall through. How many hundreds of times in my lifetime have I read or been taught about the six days of the creation of the world, never once having thought about the order of what was created and why. God prepared for the rest of his living creation by first creating air. He does nothing on accident and makes no mistakes.

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became his counselor? Or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33 - 36

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vacation Treasures II

I thought part II of my Vacation Treasures posts would make it live shortly after part I but I've been so busy being teacher since we got back from our trip (and having SO MUCH FUN doing it) that I kind of forgot about my blog. Now that we're back on fall schedule and with baby arriving in just over a month I can see how my blog will be slipping further and further down the priority ladder so I guess I better get used to it. For now, its better late than never, so here we go...

No vacation is complete without a few souvenirs from the trip. Lucky for me there are antique/junk/curiosity shops all up and down Route 1, the road we chose to head up to and back from the Bath/Georgetown, Maine area.

Much to hubby's dismay, I just can't drive by a place like this without yelling, "Ooooh! Ooooh!! Turnaround!" Because he loves me, he did just that.

Junk displayed all over the lawn and porch just becons me to stop and come inside.
After walking through all the rooms of this old victorian-house-turned-antique-shop, there were only two different things (or collections of) that interested me. One was a collection of old casters of all various sizes and patinas. I didn't buy any because I don't currently have anything I would use them on so I wouldn't know what ones to get. However, I imagine that some day I'll come across some funky old junk that I'll want to install some old casters under for results similar to these inspirational pieces:
Hmmm...could I squeeze a couple of these in the girls' room?

Reminds me of the carts that employees unload shipments from in the grocery store. I'll admit I've been tempted to ask a store manager where they get them and how much they cost. I would love one as a funky industrial coffee table.

Okay, that's enough caster inspiration for one day. So the other collection of items that I did end up making a purchase from was a bowl of assorted buttons. My mom has been making some awesome button bracelets lately. She finds the coolest buttons working at Sally's - she buys clothes just for the buttons and has quite the collection started. Now I'm inspired to make a few button bracelets myself. So I spent a whopping 85 cents on these random buttons to add to my small collection (I'm sure she'll share some of hers with me too):
Random variety including some bakelite, mother of pearl, suede, leather, and velvet.

So on the way up to our Maine destination, I only made one stop and spent less than $1. But I could make a whole day of shopping along Route 1 if hubby wasn't along. That's on my bucket list. Along with getting my butt to Brimfield (which should be easy enough to have crossed off the list by now but I just can't ever seem to make it happen) and my biggest pipe dream ever: getting to the world's longest yard sale - "The 127 Sale" (4 days, 675 miles, from Michigan to Alabama). Some day!!

I was hoping to take home some natural treasures from our trip, like interesting shells or rocks, sea glass, or small pieces of driftwood, but my beach-combing efforts were fruitless. One thing I SO would have taken home with me (if I could have convinced hubby to lug it to the car and if it wasn't soaking wet) was this weathered stump:

I would love to use an old stump (or grouping of them) set upright as an end-table type thing. And maybe put casters on the bottom like the inspiration photo above? :)

One of the days while on Georgetown Island, I stopped at a little art gallery that was housed in the town's old post office. They sold original paintings as well as prints and greeting cards made by local artists. Original artwork is not in my budget but I scooped up these greeting card prints that I plan to frame/display at home:

 Although other paintings of the ocean and local scenery were much more bright and beautiful than this one, this best represented the dreary weather we experienced at Reid State Park. I chose it because it was a more accurate memory.

I got this one just because I liked it. Bird theme, go figure. The next day I received a photo text from a friend who happened to be at Brimfield (thanks for rubbing it in Naomi...just kidding!) of a nature ink-sketch much like this but with more of a distressed look and mounted on burlap in a black frame. What timely inspiration for how to maybe display this?
Anytime I'm traveling I try to find a jewelry store that sells silver charms - the traditional dangley kind (not the Pandora/bead style). My mom gave me a silver charm bracelet for my Sweet Sixteen and for a few years that followed, friends and relatives bought me charms to start filling it up. Over time, I've bought my own charms as souvenirs on various trips or to represent milestones in life and it has become more a memory bracelet:

Blurry as usual with my piece of crap camera, but this is my charm bracelet. I realized I have at least a half dozen more charms from trips over the past couple years, including our trip out west, that I still haven't put on the bracelet yet. Shame on me!
So while walking around downtown Bath, we found a jewelry shop that had a decent selection of silver charms, including many "Maine-ish" charms like various bottom feeders, nautical elements, moose, etc.  I hemmed and hawed over all the cliche Maine charms but couldn't make up my mind on one I really loved. I even found a rocking chair to represent the rocking chairs on the porch of the inn we stayed at, but even that wasn't "the one." Finally, hubby piped in when he noticed a charm of a flying eagle. Seeing an eagle was a significant memory from our trip (even though we never saw it fly). So while an eagle is not a typical symbol of a Maine vacation, it didn't matter. That charm was was "the one." I'm not sure if hubby really thought it was a great idea or it was a last ditch effort to get us moving along, but either way it worked. :)

(Since my camera can't focus on a single charm, just imagine an image of a silver flying eagle charm here.)

We had already decided to take Route 1 back home so we could stop at another beach like Ogunquit or York for a little while. And we also had to stop at the When Pigs Fly bakery shop in Kittery to pick up a few loaves of fresh bread too. So of course I also planned to do a little more treasure hunting along the way home as well. As we whizzed past one shop that I remembered passing on the way up, I told hubby to turn around because I wanted to stop this time and he obliged. Excitement welled up inside of me as I approached the door:
The sign out front might as well have said, "Welcome Hailey!"

This funky bench made of old chairs and what I think is a piece of an old door was among the stuff littered around the front lawn that also enticed me to see what creativity lay inside.
I was SO BUMMED to discover the shop was not open and there were no hours posted. Since we were already parked, I walked to the place next door that didn't even look mildly inviting.  It's one of those places that, depending on who you are, it either gives you an instant bout of anxiety or extreme excitement when you first walk in. It was an old, grungy, cement-floored hall crammed full of dusty knickknacks. For me, it was anxiety at first sight.  It was jam packed. Overwhelming. Too much ugly old crap. I can appreciate old junk, but this was CRAP. As in, not looking like it was worth digging through. Nothing enticed me to look around.  But I decided to just take a quick breeze through since I was already there. After walking more than half way around the front room I was about to give up and leave, but for some reason I decided to finish walking around the room. I think I was desperate not to "waste" one of our stops without finding any treasures.

All of the sudden something really cool came into focus - a collection of printing press letter blocks. WOW! I'm drawn to typography and these were even better than my old Anagram letters! The piece of furniture they were stored in was also funky and I had fun opening up all the flat little drawers to discover more letters, numbers, symbols and pictures/logos in various sizes, shapes and colors. I decided to look for all the letters to spell our last name. The vowels had obviously been picked over because I couldn't find a single "I", "i", "E" or "e". So I had to improvise with an upside down "!" for an "i" and the number "3" for the "E"s.  Finally, I was able to put this together:

I'm still contemplating exactly how/where to display this at home and will share once they're up.
Excited about these finds, I decided to finish up my tour of that room in case there were any more diamonds in the rough. I picked through some of the framed art, considering a few old Norman Rockwell prints as a housewarming gift for my little bro to hang in his new place. He's a big Rockwell fan but I didn't think he'd like the particular prints they had there. However, hiding amongst the bigger frames was this little gem:
So the frame is a little beat up and there's a little dirt under the glass, that just adds to the character. I love this Asian-inspired peacock made out of real bird feathers. My photo is big but the frame is actually pretty small. Reminds me of something else I have...
Also made from real bird feathers, this is hanging in my house (previously shared in this post) so I plan to hang my new one with it here:
Why yes, those birds do look a little lonely in that corner and could use another framed feathered friend above or below them.
Content with my letters and bird art, I stopped my search right there, paid for my wares, and rushed back out to the car. I knew if I took too long hubby would start getting irritated that I was cutting into our beach time. When I opened the car door to get in, hubby informed me that the first shop I had walked up to was now open and he encouraged me to go in. I said OK and quickly shut the door before he changed his mind, but I was certainly bewildered. Did my husband just suggest that I go into another shop and potentially spend more of his hard earned money on what he so endearingly refers to as "feces"???

Well this shop was the exact opposite of the one I had just come out of. My first response was extreme curiosity to keep looking, sure I would find 100 things I'd want to buy. Everything was so artfully and creatively displayed with an Anthropologie-meets-country-farmhouse vibe = LOVE. I had so much fun just looking around at everything. No piles. No digging required. No dust. Everything had a cute little tag with the description and price. But it was a small shop and there really wasn't much inventory. In the end, it turned out nothing really called out to me. So I praised the shop owner for his creativity in merchandising and I headed back to the car again, proud I could tell hubby I didn't buy anything else. As we drove off, he confessed that when I came back from the first shop, he was about 5 pages away from finishing the book he was reading and he'd shooed me away so he could wrap it up without distration. Aha. So that explained it!

Speaking of wrapping it up, that's it for my scores from our "just us" vacation. That was a Friday that we drove back home and as the following Saturday morning rolled around, I wasn't even slightly motivated to head out to yard sales. Typically, yard sales ramp up again in the fall and I get a renewed urge to hunt down some great finds but that hasn't happened yet this year. I'm actually feeling a little fizzled out, something I never thought was possible.  It was funny though - around lunch time that Saturday, my oldest suddently announced to me: "Mom!!! We didn't go yard saling this morning!!!" I said, "Yeah, I know." To which she replied, "That means everyone else got the good stuff first!!" I think I've created a monster.

P.S. Tomorrow I leave for my "just girls" vacation/weekend retreat, my final escape pre-baby #3. So stay tuned for Vacation Treasures III. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation Treasures I

Last week, hubby and I ran away to Maine for a few days. When we were initially discussing what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, I told hubby I didn't care where we ended up as long as I had an Adirondack or rocking chair to sit in with a view directly overlooking the ocean. With life as I know it soon to be over, I just wanted to park my butt, soak in the sea breeze, and relax. So after narrowing down some online searches, we ended up at this wonderful little place that a client of hubby's recommended - Grey Havens Inn on Georgetown Island, right outside of Bath, ME. (And now that we've been, I would recommend it in a heartbeat as well.)

This is a view of the Inn from the path down to their dock:

But it was this photo from their website of the view looking out that sold me in a heartbeat:

Hubby and I have managed to sneak off a few times this year (thanks to my AWESOME in-laws who take the kids) but this was to be our last hoorah before baby comes. We treasure our "just us" much so that this year was the first time ever we actually took the kids with us on a short family vacation too. But if we could only do one I think we'd both be tempted to just get away without the kids. Is that so wrong???

Shortly after we first arrived at the Inn, another guest came inside with a pair of binoculars announcing he spied an eagle in the trees across the way. It turns out that the window right at the end of the hall outside our room was the perfect vantage spot for viewing the eagle. So he had us take a look at this amazing creature that appeared to be staring right at us. I think that's the first time I've seen a eagle, or least in as long as I can remember (which isn't saying much these days).

The guy was pretty chatty and we quickly discovered what a small world it is - turns out he's a Christian, lives and attends church in Metrowest MA, and has lots of relatives (some we knew) that live in our town. He was also there on a short retreat with his wife, who happened to be napping while he was bird watching. One conversation led to another and he ended up talking about his experience leading support/care groups for divorced individuals. He said when he first saw us walking in to the Inn he thought "that's a smart young man there" - meaning that my hubby obviously felt it was important to get away with me. Then the man reminded us of something we already knew, but I admit I often fail to remember in action: The relationship between a husband and wife is more important to the family than the relationship between either parent and the kids.

The only pic we took of us over the weekend. Hubby is going through this phase of keeping just a mustache for the sole reason of annoying me I swear. Or he thinks its cool but its not. For the record, I hate it. Love him, hate the 'stache.
Priorities should be #1 God, #2 Spouse, #3 Kids. For moms especially, kids can so easily become our idols. Kids require so much of our time and attention but we often give them more than they actually need, at the expense of time and attention to our spouse. But what good is all the doting on, spending $ on, and spoiling of kids if it ends up in a split home because the parents drift apart? Having a mom and dad that the kids see loving each other and setting an example of what they should seek in a future relationship is most important. I'm preaching to myself here too but stepping off my soapbox now. :) I'm just grateful for the way God sent a messenger to remind me of these things.

So while having time alone with my hubby was the best part of our escape, there were other things that I treasured as well:

Enjoying God's peace

Rest and relaxation:
A porch like this just screams SIT DOWN!!! Okay, you don't have to tell me twice!

Chilaxin on the porch swing waiting for the clouds to pass. I LOVE porch swings. I so want to hang a swing on our porch at home but I wonder if our porch roof can really support one.
Sleeping with the cool sea breeze blowing on me:
Our room was a turret room at the end of a hall with a 270-degree view of ocean and islands through three windows around the bed. This provided an equally lovely breeze. Above is my view out one of the windows as I'm sitting in bed. Yeah, I could get used to that.
No alarm + No schedule + No kids = True Vacation!

Enjoying and admiring God's beautiful creation

Walking along beaches amazed by the powerful surf:

Less than 5 minutes down the street from the Inn was Reid State Park. We checked out a couple of the beaches and walks. A few clouds and raindrops were not keeping us off the beach.

I could have just stood there staring at the surf all day I think. Maybe I'm just going through beach withdrawls. I only made it to the ocean one other time this summer and the waves were lame and chock full of seaweed.

Stopped in York, ME on the way home and enjoyed some more crashing waves, clear skies and bright sunshine (and ice cream) at Nubble Light House.

Sitting on the Inn porch at night sipping hot coffee while being mesmerised by the moon dancing on the water:

Moonlight sparkling on the water is as hypnotic as flames dancing in a fire You know how you can't stop staring into a fire?
 Waking up to the sunrise outside my window (then going back to sleep!!):

After an overcast beginning of the trip, it was a treat to wake up to this view our last day. And what is it about those "going back to sleep" early morning naps that are THE BEST most relaxing sleep EVER? Maybe because they are such a least in my world.
Oh wait, you mean this isn't a natural formation? :) Someone who visited the beach prior to us got very creative with driftwood. Maybe they are trying out for Survivor?
Thank you God for the treasures of vacation!
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