Did you get away this summer? Doesn’t matter if it wasn’t a gigantic vacation; even a day trip can get you out of your normal routine mentally and emotionally.
With the help of two ministries, some friends, and a knack for creative adventures, I visited three places, all of which either energized my heart, mind, or body. Some did all three and left me beyond grateful for the break.
Stop #1: Ensenada YWAM
My niece is on staff at Youth With A Mission, so a few of us went down to visit her. I hadn’t crossed the Mexican border in about three years; felt strange to visit the city near where we lived for almost a dozen.
We laughed hard, ate inexpensive tacos, and made memories. Some family trips to visit family can be stressful, but this one checked all the fun boxes and more. Getting a legit Mexican blanket for only ten bucks and a gigantic pressed juice for less than five? They had some beyond strange titles, but most definitely energizing.
Stop #2: L.A.
Then we went to the City of Angels. Celebrating the other niece’s 16th birthday with my sister was no joke in a big city. Luckily her girl is as crazy as I am, but I’m here to tell ya… looking for Michael B. Jordan with a 16-year-old for 48 hours is not energizing.
In honor of Buddy the Elf. I got stuck halfway up, but it was totally worth it.
“Please do not climb on the sign.”
I’m not a city person, but taking in the sights with my sis and niece made it fun.
We even got interviewed by the guys who do spots for Jimmy Kimmel Live! Between my sister’s fake story, my Tupperware breakfast from home, and my niece’s mortification, it was truly an embarrassing experience we will never forget. We won cheap BBQ tools too, so that topped off the whole gong show and basically made us overnight TikTok stars.
Stop #3: The Redwoods
Mount Hermon (the camp where I grew up) was our final destination this summer. On the way there our 15-passenger van aggressively blew a tire on the freeway.
What could have ended in a tragic accident only ended with a $950 bill for all new tires.
That did not feel energizing.
But we got to stay at Mount Hermon for three weeks and had four different families visit us. Between the ropes course, freezing creek plunges, zip lines, hikes in the redwoods, deep conversations with friends, trips to the beach, way too much ice cream, and great teachings at family camp, we felt mentally, emotionally, and spiritually refreshed.
High school camp as a senior. Lit.
Driftwood fort @ Four-Mile Beach
Family camp with 500 of our closest friends. haha
No shirt, no shoes, no shorts, no problem. (This photo in the wild has been altered for your protection.)
So even though we came home tired, and with significantly less money, we still felt energized. Was it all worth it? A thousand times yes.
And then the credit card bill came.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s back to work we go…
The Future Mrs. V.
Saving the biggest news for last: I’m getting a daughter!
Oh my gosh, y’all… I was always scared of having my own girl, but a daughter-in-law feels perfect! Besides the fact that she’s beautiful (and a ginger to boot), our son fell for a woman who loves Jesus.
Amen, hallelujah, let’s eat.
Can I tell you how strange it is to finally meet the girl I’ve prayed for since our son was born? Super trippy and awesome at the same time. We’ve been getting to know her for the past two years and she fits into our family perfectly.
Someday I’ll tell ya the story of how her grandparents brought her dad to camp where I grew up and were already friends with my parents from Westmont College in the 70s but three and a half decades later I never knew her dad’s kids and our son didn’t even know she existed (or that they both had red hair) much less that she had grandparents who knew me since I was a tween back when their redheaded son and his brothers went to camp with my sister and me and then she and my son ended up on staff together at the same camp while she was going to Westmont.
Don’t worry–we’re not related by blood.
So now we’re all in wedding mode (well, the guys not as much) and making decisions about things I haven’t thought about since my own wedding almost 30 years ago.
From planners and pictures to dresses and dances to suits and songs, the amount of work (and pesos) that goes into even a simple wedding is mind-boggling.
Less than four months to go and I’m pretty sure we’re all gonna need another energizing vacation after this. Haha. Seriously though—how do you stay energized in the midst of feeling depleted?
Have you thrown (or paid for) a wedding lately? Anything you wish you had done differently? Anything that was surprisingly awesome? Any tips for the mother of the groom? Help!
If not, how was your vacation? Any noteworthy summer trips that left you energized and ready to tackle September?