This week we were blessed to take a short vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  The weather so far has been wonderful although I didn’t enjoy the very long 9 hour drive to get here from our home in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  God has blessed my wife and family and I with some great opportunities to travel during our 27 years of marriage.  We’ve been all over Europe and to a few places in the states.  We’ve done package tours led by a tour guide, and we’ve done tightly scripted trips that we planned out ourselves.  We have visited Great Britain twice, once with a tour guide and once with a trip that I planned out meticulously.  We didn’t get to all the places I wanted to go on the trip that we planned, but it was a great trip, very enjoyable.  The most stressful part of traveling is knowing where you are going to sleep that night and perhaps finding suitable places to eat that will not be too expensive and in which the food will be enjoyed by everyone. 

We’re pretty adventurous about trying new foods and fully experiencing the culture and food of the countries we are traveling in, but there are times in which you just are not up for it or in which you just have to go for the safe place due to the eccentricities of children’s taste buds.  Believe it or not, most American fast food has worked its way into the furthest flung places on the planet, so even when we were traveling in places like Paris, Prague, London, and Venice, we were still able to have a couple of meals in such places as Pizza Hut and McDonalds.  There are times when you are just almost exhausted from the difficulties of travel, and the best thing you can do for everyone involved is to go for something safe which you are familiar with.  These fast food places usually have the added benefit of being very clean, safe, economical, and familiar.  But we have also had some very adventurous dining experiences.  One of my favorite anecdotes from our travels was when we were driving across Norway and had stopped at a hotel for the night.

When we went to breakfast at the hotel we were staying in, there was a continental breakfast laid out with the usual type fare you would find at continental breakfasts anywhere in Europe:  yogurt, cereal, boiled eggs, some type of bread or roll, butter or cheese for the bread, coffee, and juices.  This is normally hearty enough for most people to get them through the morning.  The only place you will typically find a much heavier breakfast is in Great Britain.  They offer a very heavy breakfast much like Americans are more accustomed to.  On this particular morning at our hotel in Norway, though, we had the usual continental breakfast.  There were a couple of beverages on tap, one of which looked like the milk dispenser that you would find in many cafeterias.  Two of my children made the assumption as I would have done that it was milk in those dispensers, so they made a bowl of cereal and poured the frothy liquid from the dispenser onto their cereal.  When they got back to the table and started eating the cereal, they both made faces and told me that the milk tasted unusual.  It was then that we discovered that it was not milk but rather beer.  Now we would never have guessed that this was beer on the tap since we’ve never encountered a breakfast in which beer was consumed.  But there is a first time for everything.  Apparently Norwegians have beer for breakfast occasionally.

We’ve been very blessed to have such wonderful traveling opportunites and the memories that will last a lifetime.  And hopefully, we will have many more, God willing.  I believe that God wants us to make the most of our life here on this earth, to get out and explore it as much as our means will allow.  He has made an incredibly beautiful planet with beautiful wonders everywhere you go on the face of this earth.  Our God is a most creative and generous God to make this planet so amazing, and like an indulgent father on Christmas morning, He wants to enjoy our enjoyment of the wonders that we will find everywhere on this planet.  In addition to enjoying all these beautiful sights and places, we should always have a thankful heart for these things and should constantly tell Him so.  He loves us more than we can possibly ever comprehend, so it is not so much for us to try to pay something back to Our Loving God for this debt we have to Him that we can never repay. 

I pray that you will thank God for the many beauties in nature and in the area where you live.  Your loving God created them for your enjoyment.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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