Tag Archives: vacation

The Year Of The Soul Date

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My one resolution for 2016…

I am one of those fossils who still uses a paper calendar/planner in my attempts to keep track of my life.  Years ago I developed a primitive yet effective system of color-coding my calendar in order to see at a glance what events are coming up.  Pink is for family and friend birthdays and anniversaries, orange for appointments like haircuts, doctor visits and the like, yellow for musical events such as concerts with my chorus and chorale, as well as events my college students are presenting.  And I chose purple for vacations and time off…things that feed my soul.

This year I was a few days late in purchasing my calendar, and while filling in my dates and color coding them, I had to backtrack a few days to a dinner date I had with my friend Marc earlier in the week.  I don’t know why I never color coded things like this, impromptu or planned-in-advance get-togethers with friends and kinfolks, but I have decided to make a more deliberate effort this year to document these moments as well, in purple, because they feed my soul as much as vacations do.  I have decided that 2016 is going to be The Year Of The Soul Date.

My Soul Date with Marc consisted of dinner at a local Asian restaurant, and wonderful conversation.  The dinner we enjoyed was delicious and healthy…and then, dessert happened!  We thought we would be sharing a simple piece of chocolate cake…and then this behemoth slab of fudge-rich decadence as big as a human head appeared at our table.

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We were unable to finish it, and neither of us dared take it home for fear of the damage it might do if we ate more!  This cake is big enough for several people to share…as a meal!

What was my point…?  Oh yeah, The Soul Date.  My hope/goal/resolution for this year is to have a weekly Soul Date.  I need time and space to connect with the people in my life who matter…as well as time to be alone and replenish my emotional and spiritual resources.  My lifelong friend Mary K went on a retreat at a convent this past week, and I am eager to find out what benefits that time will have for her.  I was a little envious of the quiet I knew she would experience there!

I think a Soul Date can happen anywhere…over dinner, in a bookstore, with friends or in solitude.  While my primary focus is to spend time with people who bring me joy, I also hope to do some solitary activities that will recharge my batteries.  Maybe a spa visit, or an afternoon in a park listening to my favorite music, or walking a labyrinth (I’ve never done that before but I’ve always been intrigued by the idea).  A lot of my friends are enjoying the new “adult coloring books”, either the paper kind or the online variety.  Jeff and I have not taken a weekend cabin trip in a long time, and we should make an escape sooner rather than later!

Here’s the thing.  I figure that if I take the time to recharge my emotional batteries and feed my soul, I will have more to offer to the world around me.  And my prayer for these Soul Dates is that, as I get my own soul fed, I am also able to feed the souls of the people with whom I share the time.

 

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Sock It To Me

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A Mustang, a honeymoon and a surprise

Saturday, June 21, 1986, Sweet Pea and I got married and started our crazy adventure of life together.  His car at the time was a 1977 (I think) brown Toyota Corolla station wagon which, while it got him from point A to point B, was not a fancy machine and, at the time, I think the air conditioning might not have been working.  For whatever reasons, we took Pop Cutshaw’s newer, more comfortable white Mustang on our honeymoon.

Our wedding ceremony began at 4 pm and it was about 6 pm by the time we left the church, so, as planned, we drove to Asheville that night and then made the rest of the trip to Myrtle Beach the next day.  I don’t really remember all that much about the drive, except how much fun it was to be taking our first trip together and the excitement of being newlyweds.  And I don’t remember whether/how much I slept while we were on the road.  (I’ve had a long history of not being much use on road trips because I have trouble staying awake.  Traveling with the dog helps keep me from sleeping an entire day’s drive away!)

And I don’t remember what sent me scrounging through the glove compartment of Pop Cutshaw’s car that Saturday evening as we headed toward Asheville and the first leg of our honeymoon.  Maybe we needed a map, or I was looking to stash some small object.  I don’t remember why I went in there.

But I remember what I found.

“Reckon why your Daddy has a sock stuck in here?”

“A sock?  I have no idea…”

It was tied at the opening and when I pulled it out, it was heavy and it jingled and jangled like a tambourine band.

“Oh my gosh!  It’s full of coins!”

I untied it to discover that it was filled with mostly quarters, LOTS of them.  And there was a scrap of paper.

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“I thought you might need some change.  Have a happy holiday.  Love, Dad.”

I don’t know that most people would have described Pop Cutshaw as a particularly sentimental person…and his gesture might have been  motivated more by common sense than the “warm-fuzzies”.  He was probably thinking we’d need money to do laundry at the end of the week, drinks out of a vending machine or that Jeff might want to play some arcade games once we came up for air!  Dads tend to be practical people, after all.

All I know is that his thoughtfulness touched both of us to our cores.  Such a fun, sweet surprise!  Finding that coin-filled sock in those early hours of our marriage was the moment I fell in love with my new father-in-law.

Bookworm Paradise

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Read. Nap. Repeat…

My idea of the perfect vacation has changed over the years (and decades).  When Reed and I were little kids, Mama and Dad took us on a week’s vacation to Myrtle Beach every summer.  What I looked forward to then was spending lots of time floating and frolicking in the surf and sand, looking for shells and sharks’ teeth, and riding the rides at the amusement park.  And one night during the week we would usually go to the movies as a family, which was a huge treat and something I always enjoyed.

As an adult with a job and responsibilities of my own, my desires for a vacation are a lot calmer and simpler than they used to be.  One of my greatest pleasures on a trip is just being able to read as much, and for as long, as I want to.  I’ve been a bookworm since childhood, but as a child, school and reading were my job.  So I didn’t always read a lot during my summer vacations.  Now, my JOB is my job, and reading often has to take a backseat to the other demands on my time and energy.  So now, vacations provide me with a block of time in which I can read all I want.

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That probably seems boring to some people, and that’s OK.  Some folks are weekend warriors who enjoy adventurous vacations filled with bungee-jumping-rock-climbing-skydiving activities.  Cool.  I looked into ziplining for this trip and that’s still not out of the question.  Flying sounds like a lot of fun to me!

I always bring my Bible with me when I travel, because, like my vitamins and supplements, it is part of my daily nourishment.  I would feel lost if I didn’t have it with me.  The practice of daily Bible reading doesn’t make me good or pious.  It makes me grateful.  And over the years it has become a part of the day that I look forward to.

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Vacations provide me with a change of scenery, new places to read and write and rest.  Right now I am sitting out back enjoying a balmy Gulf breeze, crystal clear blue sky, sunshine and the rippling water of the swimming pool, a scene very unlike the autumn chill we left behind back home.  It feels like a different season… a different world.

My friend Eileen, and her husband Brad, have a charity website dedicated to bookworms and reading.  It is called gonereading.com.  In addition to offering products for reading enthusiasts, the website donates 100% of their after-tax profits to fund reading-related charities, particularly READ Global and Ethiopia Reads.  One of their very cool t-shirts summarizes my vacation dreams perfectly:

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So, I encourage you to visit http://www.gonereading.com.  They don’t offer books, but they offer everything else a bookworm needs and desires to support their reading habits!  And they help to provide reading resources to people who would not otherwise have access to them.   For now, I am off to enjoy a little more Bookworm Paradise!