Spending this past week with our four children, their spouses and all ten grandchildren, hearing the laughter, seeing the little cousins from around the country playing 'Go Fish' and building sandcastles, reminded me of my summer vacations with my parents.
When I was little, we would go to Florida, with my aunt, uncle and cousin. We always stopped at the roadside crocodile farms. The Florida orange juice and coconuts were a must for my daddy and Uncle Floyd. Whenever we saw a Stuckey's, we would stop for the famous 'Pecan Rolls' and souvenirs.
One thing I have observed looking back in time and at this past week: Vacations are times to be enjoyed and spend your hard earned money. If you will look around at these 'hotspots' there are plenty of T Shirt Shops and Coffee Shops, all lurking, to let you do both at the same location.
But the memories made as the children played in the surf, even getting hit in the head with a paddle boat, are lasting. A fish's spine, a sand dollar, a dove shell were found and even a shark was seen by the children. Every night there were stories to be shared! One night we had a family talent night, with a magic show, a family movie skit, puppets and even the famous bridge back bend from a granddaughter. Another night, we watched old family videos and the children saw their parents as babies, a football player and a young cheerleader.
The week was packed with adventures of deep sea fishing, golf, ladies spa day, and ice
cream. We came home exhausted, but filled to the brim with thankfulness and gladness. God has blessed us here on this earth with love.
Our Sunday morning church service on the beach was the biggest highlight of the week. Our youngest son, who is a pastor in KY, baptized our niece and her husband, Lindsay and Blake from AL, in the ocean. It was their public declaration of faith, with people on the beach stopping to watch and sharing the joy of this ordinance of following Christ. Some men removed their hats, ladies bowed in prayer and then everyone within hearing, joined us clapping in jubilation.
It was hard saying our goodbyes, as we all headed out to the different states of AL, SC, FL, IN, and KY, knowing it would be months before we could all be reunited. Late in the day we started receiving texts from them all as they arrived home safely.
Looking back is good, but looking to the future, of times never to end, is even better. Our seven year old grandson said, "I wish we could all live together." My reply to him, "We will one day, in heaven." His smile said it all. The greatness of the future in heaven is like that of a seven year old knowing the joy of memories AND the eternal home that awaits.
Having Lindsay and Blake's baptism that day, confirmed our joy of being a part of the family of God and knowing we have that home in heaven.
"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." John 14:2-4