Ah, the summers of my childhood.
Raised in a typical middle-class home, my parents somehow managed to take our family to new places across the country. Camping on Minnesota lakes. Visiting friends in the Missouri Ozarks. Stopping at the painted dessert, petrified forest, white sands, and the Grand Canyon, enroute to extended family in Arizona. I’ve a bucketful of memories from up-close-and-personal interactions with America the Beautiful.
My husband also enjoyed childhood opportunities to experience life beyond his home town. His parents took him to amazing places in the Northwest such as the Oregon coast, Crater Lake, and Yellowstone National Park.
So it’s no surprise we wanted to pass similar experiences on to our children as well. We are so blessed in this country with breath-taking panoramas, incredible histories, and opportunities to interact with both. I’m grateful our family has been able to experience so much of it together.
Bryce Canyon, Utah 2001
Father God loves it when we experience new people and places.
He gets to show us a new dimension to His creative powers and His love for mankind. In fact, as I’ve reflected on some of the places I’ve visited, I can think of several lessons God has taught me.
We don’t plan to travel this summer. As empty-nesters we have the privilege of avoiding the summer crowds, heat, gas prices, and bugs. But I thought it would be fun to share about some of the places I’ve visited over the years and the fun little treasures God has shown me along the way.
I’m titling this summer series Souvenirs for the Soul. I look forward to reliving some memories as I share them with you.
But you know what else I love?
I love to go places vicariously through other travelers.
I love the free ride their pictures and stories provide. Whether to the neighborhood pool or to the other side of the world, please, please, please, may I join you? All you have to do is share your pictures and stories in the comment section.
Oh, and this summer as you go, keep your eyes open to little lessons God has for you. In fact,
To give you an idea
… of what I’m talking about, let me share a quick lesson with you.
It was the summer before my senior year in college. I was actually by myself and it wasn’t a vacation. I was on the longest airplane ride I’d taken so far in my life, heading from Des Moines, IA to Anchorage, AK, where I was going to serve as a summer missionary. A couple hours into the flight I looked out my window and saw a view of endless, rugged, massive snow-covered mountains. The Yukon Mountains. I grew a bit spooked—thinking if this plane goes down in those mountains, we’ll never be found.
Before my imagination could spark a panic attack, I chose to focus on the beauty beneath me. I chose to allow utter awe to seep in deep. Total amazement at God’s incredible handiwork. Then God whispered a sweet little message into my soul. A message I turned and shared with the gentleman sitting next to me.
Isn’t this view spectacular? Such a testimony of God’s creative genius and ability. But the Bible says that when God created this He looked at it and called it merely “good”. Yet when He looked at the earth after He created man, He called it “very good”. We are the pinnacle of His creation. His prize. Wow! Isn’t it great to know we are valued that much? Loved that much?
If you find yourselves in places of breath-taking splendor this summer,
… remind yourself that to your Creator, you are even more captivating. You are so much so, that you were worth His laying down His life so He could bring you back to Himself.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31, NKJV