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At 1:30 this morning we pulled into our driveway.

Our flight was 7 hours late, we had to wait an hour for our luggage, and we were tired and exhausted.

But it was all worth it because the four of us had a glorious week in Cozumel! And now we’re home and it’s freezing.

But it’s likely one of the last trips that just the four of us will take together (more on that later), so it was extra special to me. We went snorkelling, explored a little, but mostly we sat at the beach and read books and then played cards together at night. It was so much fun–and so relaxing!

FamilyBeach

Just two nights ago we looked like that. Now I’m all bundled up and sipping my tea again. But all is good, because the relaxation totally paid off. I didn’t tell you I was away–it’s like throwing a big neon sign up in front of our house saying, “No one’s home! Come on in and rob it!” So I don’t tend to announce these things until AFTER I’m home.

And so today I thought I’d share just some random thoughts I had with you while I was away, before regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Sometimes we all really need to relax

I’ve been having some health issues this year, especially with attacks of pancreatitis that they originally thought were gallbladder. I’ve been eating super healthy and avoiding a ton of foods, but when we were down south I did throw caution to the wind a bit. And for the first time in a long time I didn’t even have a twinge of pain in a whole week. Considering the pain has been keeping me up, this is a big deal.

So I’m starting to wonder if stress is also a factor, and if we all just need some downtime every now and then. I deliberately stayed off the internet, which was so needed, but I’m more and more convinced that I need to take some “down” weeks in my life.

I know that’s hard for those of you with little kids, but lately I’ve just been realizing that stress can play a number on your body, and sometimes the best favour you can give your family is to relax for a while. You don’t have to go on vacation–just unplug the phone, turn off the internet, arrange for a baby-sitter, and take even a day to yourself.

Often the weak contribute to horrible to outcomes as much–or more so–than the truly evil

I read a ton of novels this week. I only let myself do that on vacation because if I read a novel, I can’t do anything until I finish it. So if I start a novel on a normal day, I won’t get anything else done–no work, no cooking, no anything–until it’s finished. I try to read novels in spurts, then.

And in all the novels I read this week, a theme emerged. While there is often one or two truly evil people in every story, it is not always these evil people that actually cause the harm. They aim for it, but their plans have no wings until they come across weak people–people who aren’t evil, but who won’t stand up to evil. And so it is the weak that actually perpetuate the harm.

Sometimes the weak are morally weak–people that are at heart good, but are tempted and fall and get pulled into bad situations. But often it’s people who are just afraid to speak up, take a stand, and draw a line in the sand.

I was thinking about this theme this morning when I checked all the comments on my blog in the last week. And over and over again I read of women whose husbands won’t get a job, or watch porn, or meet up with women on the internet, or whatever it may be. And these women have cried and pleaded and asked their husbands to stop–sometimes for upwards of 30 years–and nothing has ever changed. Things have only gotten worse.

I always point these women to this article: Are you a spouse or an enabler? I think it’s an important one.

It is strange watching your children grow up and separate from you

It’s a good thing–but it’s hard. And it’s very easy for one’s feelings to be hurt. It’s a hard balance to let your children grow up and make their own lives, but also wanting them to honor you. I am working through that, and it’s easy because my girls are wonderful. But there are still times my heartstrings pull a bit. I’ll likely write more about this transition in the next few years!

The young adult years are just plain hard

Had a lot of great talks with my kids this week, and it reminded me how hard those years of 18-25 can be. When you don’t know what you’ll be doing, or who you’ll be doing it with, the future is both exciting but also so scary. For me, it was the fear that I wouldn’t get married, and I had to work that through with God. But there is a unique fear to those years, and a unique opportunity to learn to trust God and to put Him first.

Talked a lot with my girls about the theme of this post, should you have a relationship (or marry) while you’re still in college? Interesting discussions. Wish I could make life easier for them now, but I think those years of hardship are what really refine our faith.

Our family patterns are engrained–but need to be tamed

I was reading this morning in Genesis 10 about a guy named Nimrod. It says in verse 10:

Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.”

Nimrod is a family name if you go back a few generations for me, and though I’ve never liked the name, I’ve always found that verse interesting. We’re naturally fighters. I don’t know if that’s how my family got the name, but somehow, if you look at me, and at those who came before me in that line, it fits. (It’s that ENTJ Myers Briggs thing).

It’s good to be a fighter, to stand up for things, to bring victory for truth. But this push for victory, for all things right, can also be a curse.

That’s what I found in myself this week. I get so annoyed with bad customer service, or with injustice, or with just plain negligence, especially when it’s easily fixed. At the resort we were at they blared music until 2:30 in the morning on New Year’s Eve, but when I went outside at 1:00 there were only about 15 people at the party. I called and complained and asked them to turn the speakers down, but they wouldn’t. I just wanted to sleep. Others were absolutely exhausted the next day, too (lots of families with young kids didn’t sleep a wink). And my blood pressure rose tremendously.

Then there was the fiasco with our delayed flight, which isn’t such a big deal, except that no one would give us information, and my family missed out on the food vouchers because we didn’t hear the announcement.

A little thing, but I get so annoyed. And then I wreck the day for those who are with me.

So yesterday, when I felt myself starting to get upset, I asked Keith to take over standing in line for the food and I just went somewhere else and was quiet and asked God to let me let things go.

Families have traits; my family fights for what’s right. But that makes living through inconveniences that are STUPID (and man-made) a source of great distress. And it’s silly. I think we all need to be aware of what our weaknesses are, and when we see them cropping up, excuse yourself from the situation and get some perspective.

We never take couple pictures

Last thing–Keith and I never take couple pictures. We take kid pictures, or family pictures, but never couple pictures. I think it’s because we’re so focused on the kids, but then where are the pictures showing our marriage? So we snapped a few on the beach last night. And I was happy.

KeithSheiladock

KeithSheilaBeach

Excited to begin the blog again with you in 2015! What have you learned about yourself on vacation? Or any words of wisdom for the young adult years? Leave them for me in the comments!

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