When Life’s a Beach, Go All-Inclusive

When Life’s a Beach, Go All-Inclusive

My husband and I first experienced an “all-inclusive resort” just last summer. At the time we planned the vaca, I was pregnant with our #5 and we decided to use some tax-refund money to enjoy a “just the two of us” few days before a crazy summer and then adding a baby to our crazy.

Just weeks before we were to go on that vacation, we miscarried our little guy and so the vacation became a beautiful place to grieve and to heal and to reconnect… just the two of us.

While we were there, we found out what some already know… All-inclusive is the bomb.com… and so we are currently enjoying a second round this year!

And, once again, as last year’s escape was a big breath of life while mourning the loss of our son, this year is a reprieve from some harsh realities of life on this planet. Life can be a bi*** for sure.

As we look around and see broken marriages every where – the Church not exempt – I am hit with the reality that this fun and relaxing vacation is that but also it is so much more. It is an investment into our marriage that is well worth any dollars spent.

As we look around and see people suffering from burn out and making horrible choices to deal with the stress, I am hit with the reality that embracing God’s commandment to “honor the Sabbath” has benefits far greater than getting a Sunday afternoon nap. Rest is a really big deal, y’all. And it’s commanded all over the place in the Bible.

Last year, we had summer plans that included lots of beach time – before we lost our baby. As we carried out those plans, in a season of grieving, I grabbed onto the phrase, “Life’s a Beach”. Because, frankly life was a bi*** but Jesus was bringing beauty from the ashes of our pain by giving us time at the beach. Kinda funny play on words.

So I’m thrilled to be on another vacation with my Beloved this year. I’m again remembering why “all-inclusive” is seriously the best invention ever. No purse, no wallet, no worries. No budgeting each days meals and fun drinks… it’s already taken care of… all we do is enjoy! We enjoy the rest. We enjoy the beach. We enjoy each other. And totally embrace the motto, that at least this week, Life’s a Beach!

cabo resort
Cabo, 2015

new dani whimsy

How to Have An Awesome Road Trip with Kids

How to Have An Awesome Road Trip with Kids

Our family has always made road trips. From the time our first three girls were toddlers, we have made 1-4 trips a year that are over 12 hours one way. Plus, all the 2-4 hours trips scattered throughout the year. I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with littles. Here’s my top five tricks to having an awesome road trip with the littles.

Don’t be in a hurry. Yes, it can suck turning a 12 hour road trip into a 14+ hour one. But if you will go ahead and plan on a trip taking an hour {or a few} longer than your Apple Maps app says, you will reduce your stress level immensely.

Have a plan for snacks. We have traveled A LOT with our family of 6 and have sometimes added a couple extras in the vehicle as well. Have a plan and let the kiddos know the plan for what will happen when you stop to gas up or to go potty. Will you be letting them chose a snack every time you stop? Did you bring snacks? Let the kids know what to expect. It may not completely eliminate whining but it should at least give you the luxury of reminding the kids there was plan set already.

And don’t forget the meal plans. It can get expensive eating out on a long road trip. Sometimes we pack snacks and easy lunches but more often I’m too stressed getting everything else ready, that food is the brick to break me. But if I can at least throw some snacks in and a case of water bottles, we can bring our eating out down to just 2 meals a day. A brunch or early lunch, and only snacking until dinner. And we do cheap one meal and maybe something a little more expensive for the other – because, face it, sometimes we need a little more time and space than Taco Bell has to offer.

Don’t be afraid of screen time in the car. You can put all the phones, iPads and Kindles away when you arrive at your destination. When your kiddos are relegated to the confines of the car for hours and hours, do them {and yourself} a favor and let them watch movies, listen to music and play their games. It’s not the time to get all 18th century on them. Seriously.

Take a deep breath and RELAX. So often family vacation is anything but a vacation for mama (and maybe dad too). Rebel against that. Yes, there’s organization that’s required but let go of anal schedules and expectations. Don’t freak out when things don’t go as planned. Snap a few pics of the ugly so, in 20 years at family Christmas, you’ll have something to remind you of the crazy road tripping adventures you had!

new dani whimsy

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

Last Friday, I wrote about the Lord leading me to “quit the scrolling” for a few days last week. (You can find it HERE) I talked a bit about this thing called REST… primarily the rest of the soul. For a few days there, I found a bit of rest for my soul, a reprieve from my restlessness on the inside but, as with most of us, I’m a work in progress and have wrestled again this week to find rest in my soul. In this season on my life, it seems to be something I’m having to be intentional about. I’m a firm believer in a living a lifestyle of rest. Sometimes, it comes easy to me. Other times, like now, I’m having to ‘be diligent to enter into that rest’.  (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV)

Here’s some truths I’m reminding myself about while in my process. Hopefully they will help you too!

I’m reminding myself that:

Rest is a promise. 

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (The Voice)

When we get caught in the weariness of life – whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally, or all three – we can forget that this isn’t what Jesus has for us. Being weary, burdened and exhausted is not what He wants for us. He has promised something different and we can expect Him to fulfill His promise IF we will come.

Rest is not primarily external, but internal.

I love vacations – especially ones to the beach – and I think taking a “Sabbath” day each week is important. But even if we do set those times aside, if we don’t quiet our insides, those set aside times mean nothing. True rest only comes when we find peace on the inside… whether we are sitting on the beach or a mountainside or we are sitting in our vehicle in heavy traffic, or surrounded by crabby toddlers, or a noisy office place. Our outside circumstances can help bring inward peace, but it is not a guarantee. We have to be intentional.

If I’m not resting in Jesus, there’s a good chance I have a trust issue.

And the way to increase my trust in Him is to remind myself of His goodness and what He has done, in my life or others’ lives or even from the Scripture. God is faithful. He is good. He has done so many things in my life and the lives of those around me that prove His faithfulness and His goodness. Surrounding ourselves with people who will remind us of this when we are struggling to do so ourselves will be helpful too. Remembering WHO He is will always increase my trust and quiet my soul.

“He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.” Romans 4:21 (NLT)

There is high value in sitting before the Lord.

The term ‘soaking’ became very popular in much of the Church world a couple decades or so ago. Basically quieting yourself, not doing all the talking in prayer but looking at it as a two-way conversation and leaving room for Holy Spirit to speak to you. There is value in time spent just sitting and listening. In the busy-ness of life, sometimes we don’t have 30 minutes or an hour or even 15 minutes but I’ve found if I will even sit before Him for 5 or 10 minutes, He will speak, He will quiet my soul. Those few moments are invaluable to the health and well-being of my soul.

These are just a few tips on finding rest when you’re in a state of un-rest. Now click PLAY on the video below and let Jesus quiet your heart today….

new dani whimsy

Day 8: Offering Up my Expectations & Ideals

When my husband and I got married, I was just barely 19. I was ecstatic to have a husband and to start our life together. I was excited to have babies with this man. I was excited to do life with him. And somewhere along the way, I developed this thought – this ideal, this expectation – that we would be one of those couples (I’m not even sure they actually exist) that would NEVER spend a night apart. Like forever and for always, 365 days a year, every year of our lifetime of marriage – not one night apart.

Wellllll, about 11 months and 3 weeks into our marriage, that ideal was crushed. My husband went on a short ministry trip – I can’t even remember what it was now – the week before our first anniversary. We didn’t even make it a year, folks. Over 18 years later, with countless nights apart, it seems laughable that I even had the thought we’d never be a part.

That first year though, it was an offering up. Not just of my man for those few days. But of the silly ideal that I had built in my head. And on this one, I can tell you the rewards have been endless. Not only do I get to hear about his adventures pursuing his passion and ministering to the nations but the Lord has been extravagantly faithful in letting us do some amazing trips together. We’ve been on getaways to San Antonio, California, Ireland and most recently Cabo. We’ve had amazing family vacations to Disneyland, Disney World and Disney Paris. We’ve lived in Hawaii for 3 weeks. We’ve been to the sweetest Nebraska Bed & Breakfasts. It is the reward of surrender. Surrender of the one I love most. Surrender of an ideal that was never meant for us anyways.

***This is Day 8 of “31 Days of Offering Up” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all the posts in order, please visit the overview page.***