Back From Sunny Florida

It has been entirely too long since I last blogged, which is a shame since I enjoy writing.  I suppose I allow life to get in the way of what I love; sadly, many of us are in the same boat.

This photograph was simply taken with my smartphone.  I suppose I could have taken with my “real” camera, but I was already sitting in a cozy chair with my morning coffee.  More about this picture a little later.

We kicked off the trip by spending two evenings in New Orleans.  Rosemary visited the Big Easy on her Middle School trip several years ago, but the boys and I had yet to visit.  We stayed at a lovely hotel right down in the French Quarter, but not too too close to the heart of all the action (big crowds aren’t really my thing).  We enjoyed a ghost tour on our first evening, and then we did a marvelous amount of walking the next day checking out all of the sights and sounds.  My top two events for New Orleans were the beignets at Café du Monde, a local pastry and coffee shop since 1862, and visiting the Louisiana State Museum where they had the entire first floor setup to learn about Hurricane Katrina.  All four of us were taken aback by all of the lives lost and all of the destruction from that catastrophic event.  Rosemary and I remember watching the news, but seeing the displays in person brought it more to life for us.

New Orleans was a good experience, and I am grateful we visited. The most enjoyable part of our vacation, though, was our week at Seacrest, Florida on the Gulf Shores.  A Gulf Shore beach was a first for all four of us.  Lucas was a bit disappointed that the waves weren’t rougher, but boy, I sure loved that we could see down to the sandy bottom.  We stayed at “Let It Shine” cottage across the road from the beach.  Typically, we choose to stay right down on the beach with a beachfront room; however, our boys have done some really nice camps this summer, and we’ve taken some other vacation time, so we decided the prudent choice was to stay a bit off the beach at the lower price point.  I wasn’t certain how I would like staying in a cottage a road over from the beach, but I loved it.  There were probably ten or so cottages that formed a rectangle.  The inside of the rectangle was where the community pool was located, literally 32 steps from the back porch of our cottage (I know because I counted).  The pool was quite the nice size, and I loved that our back porch had all of the foliage surrounding it.  I spent most mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee as I prayed Morning Prayer, read, and journaled.

I was able to get several quality runs in, and I played a lot of guitar.  I read a couple of books, and of course, I spent a ton of time with my wife and boys.  Actually, this was the trip of “Crazy Eights.”  I lost count of how many games of Crazy Eights we played.  We drove to Seaside Beach one evening and got dinner from food trucks parked along the side of the road.  There was an amphitheater with a field of grass on the other side of the food trucks.  So, we sat on our Wyoming Cowboy blanket (a gift from the Gómez Family when we moved to Wyoming), ate our dinner together, and then played Crazy Eights while listening to a band play.  In fact, we didn’t stop playing cards until the sun went down and we couldn’t see our playing cards.

It was so good getting away and having time to reconnect with my family.  Our hope is that we are creating fond memories that will last our boys a lifetime.  I don’t remember many of the gifts my mom and dad gave me for Christmas, but I do remember going over the Odel Williams Bridge to get to Ocean Isle Beach as a child.  What kind of memories do we help create for our families?  Vacations are one way of to create lasting memories, but there are so many other ways.  How about how we spend dinner together as a family? Or, aside from sporting events and any other number of things, how do we spend our Sunday afternoons/evenings together?  What about in the life of the church?  What will your children remember twenty, thirty, forty years from now about their time at Ascension & Holy Trinity?

In God’s Grace,

Eric+