We're home! Was this vacation relaxing? Uh, not exactly. (I've about decided that it is nearly impossible to relax as parents of preschoolers! However, thanks to my in-laws there were a couple of more relaxed days where Holly and I had some rare one-on-one time together.) But as a whole, I wouldn't say vacation was relaxing. But it was renewing.
Here are just a few post-vacation reflections (all things that I already knew, and some obviously more important than others):
1. Time needs budgeting. I think the idea was suggested by Gordon MacDonald in Ordering Your Private World. This is something we all know, but I think it hit home in fresh ways for me on this trip. One of the most helpful things Holly and I did was sit down and talk through our priorities and the needs of our marriage and family, then agree to start planning carefully how we will spend our time - especially evenings, and other time when I am home. We're both excited about how this will help us and already are seeing benefits.
2. Old books are best. C. S. Lewis says as much in his book God in the Dock. Reading Henry Scougal's The Life of God in the Soul of Man while on vacation was another confirmation of it in my own mind, as is presently rereading Jonathan Edwards's Religious Affections. These books are more soul-searching, mind-filling, and heart-changing than most books by contemporary authors. I'm finding myself helped by them.
3. Sin problems are idol problems. There are exceptions to point #2 above. A few books written by contemporary authors are especially worth reading. One of them is Robert D. Jones' very practical book called Uprooting Anger. I took this book along because I needed help in dealing with anger. I found it and a lot more. This isn't a confessional, so I won't write more. Let me just say - if you are struggling with anger on any level (this book speaks to both shouters and pouters!), this book will help you in profound ways.
4. Nature is therapeutic. Again, I already knew this, but visiting the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta reminded me of just how much fun it can be to explore the wonders of creation. The Georgia Aquarium boasts 8 million gallons more aquatic life than any other aquarium in the world, and provides a home for whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. I've always been fascinated by life under the sea, and the time at the Georgia Aquarium was well-spent. (It was also fun seeing Stephen spontaneously imitate a penguin! Wish I had that on video!)
5. Legos are cool! Of course, all boys know this! I remember the fun of playing with legos as a kid, and Stephen has now discovered them for himself. In fact, he had been saving his allowance money for weeks in advance of our trip, because we promised him a trip to the Lego Store in Atlanta. We went and Stephen had a blast. (So did I!)