I'm back! I've been back for a few days, but I'm only beginning to feel recovered. My first trip to Hawaii was a success.
I am naturally someone who is constantly seeking to apply life lessons I've gained. My brain has been processing like crazy, figuring out the positives from my Hawaii trip and how I can bring them to my every day life.
There are several lessons I learned.
1. Vacations to beautiful places only reinforce the beauty of my every-day life. I am not a well-travelled person by the standards of many people. On doing some research on travel before the trip, I came across message boards and blog comments of people who have been around the world, taken trips to Asia "over 100 times", and fly every week. I have only been out of the United States once, and that was on foot into Tijuana. I've only taken about ten other trips by airplane in my 33 years. I consider myself a travel novice.
I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting when we arrived in Honolulu. From our hotel room on the 36th floor, one block from Waikiki Beach, I watched the sunset on the first night. I had heard that the sunsets in Hawaii were amazing. It is true. But I also learned that EVERY DAY I watch a beautiful sunrise over the nature center behind our back yard, painting the sky with even more color than I was witnessing in Hawaii.
On a drive through the island and up to the North Shore, I actually kept thinking I was in Northern California. I don't live there anymore, but it was my home for nine years of my life. Although Oahu was much warmer, the scenery was so familiar. It reminded me of the blessing I had in living in such a beautiful place for a period in my life.
The last main area where beauty in my daily life became apparent was in seeing and being around my children again. After only four and a half days of being apart, my appreciation and patience for my three loves has grown dramatically. Just to hold them in my arms gives me a renewed sense of wonder that God has entrusted these lives to ME, and I love them dearly.
Which leads me to my next lesson.
2. Vacations with your spouse and without your children are vitally important. I'm sure that we've all heard this before. This is just the first time I've experienced it.
You would imagine that everything would seem "perfect" when away with your chosen one in a tropical place. We found that although most moments were almost magical, we had a couple of less-than-ideal situations that arose concerning our relationship. They were difficult. But you know what? When we were forced to be together and not able to avoid the issue by choosing different activities or areas of our house, we were able to come through the conflict to a place of deeper understanding and love. We realized what a blessing it was to actually have time and energy to hash things out and face them. The burden of day-to-day life can make that really difficult, at least for us.
I believe that I can say for both of us that our trip was a milestone in our marriage. It strengthened our connection through trials, and reminded us of the importance of fighting for us.
As I said before, it also gave us a reprieve from the demands of parenting so that we could come back to our children strengthened and as better parents.
3. I have more courage than I thought I did. In the past, I've felt like I'm not the most brave or adventurous person. I was once talking to a close friend about how I didn't want to try bungee-jumping or sky diving. I am not compelled to travel the world or try exotic foods. It makes me feel like I'm not a very fun or interesting person. She pointed out that I am brave in other ways, like having moved so many times. She thought that took a lot of courage. More recently, when expressing the same kinds of feelings to someone else, they responded that homeschooling is a huge step outside the norm and they considered it very adventurous.
Thinking of myself as having the courage to move or try homeschooling makes me feel more brave. But I am glad that I went ahead and took this trip. It was something that I wouldn't have had the courage to do in the past, and I took the plunge. It makes me feel more normal, whatever that is!
For me, these were very valuable lessons. There are other smaller lessons, like having a self-serve yogurt place a block away is AWESOME! Walking barefoot in the sand is a great way to exfoliate your feet. Going to bed at 7pm can be such a treat. But the three points above are lessons that have enhanced the way I look at things and, I think, have even changed my life.