For me, vacation is a highly coveted week at our house. We plan for it all year, map out where we plan on going, save and dream about our week together. While we love to see people on our vacations, we’ve also learned we’re not the kind of people that can vacation with others. Scott and I are first-borns. Our way or the highway kind of folks. We don’t like to negotiate about “when” to be “where.” Don’t get me wrong, we love hanging with friends and family, we just like control over the schedule. I think it’s because we spend the majority of our year abiding by the work calendar, the school calendar, the sports calendar, the 4-H calendar and the life calendar. When we go on vacation we’re on OUR calendar. And it is lovely.
After 16 years of traveling around the globe, we’ve also come to appreciate our faith and how it shapes who we are. That doesn’t change when we leave our house. Below are a few things we do when it comes to integrating our faith into our vacations.
1. You won’t catch me standing on the street corner preaching to folks, but we don’t hide our beliefs, either. Whenever we eat a meal (3x a day around these parts), we bless our food. It doesn’t matter if we’re at a friend’s house or in the middle of Jackson Square at Cafe Du Monde, we take a minute to say a prayer and make the sign of the cross. It’s become so common that I forget if people stare anymore! On occasion, we’ve had a stranger compliment us on saying grace, but that isn’t why we do it. It’s our tradition at home and that doesn’t change when we’re not here.
2. We attend Mass. With the evolution of technology, you no longer have to scour the phone book or call a parish ahead of time. Just long on to MassTimes.org and you can find the Mass time for any parish in the world. We have seen some amazing parishes. The wood work and soaring beams in Rapid, South Dakota were stunning. The old stone church in Memphis was quiet and contemplative, the rustic Texan church in San Antonio had a character of a priest and the ancient basilica in Rome nearly stopped my heart with its beauty. I promise you won’t regret going. It’s kinda like working out, at the end you never regret the choice to say “yes.”
3. Look for opportunities to learn about Catholic church history. While we were in New Orleans, we made time to pray at St. Louis Cathedral. Ok, we did “some” praying, the rest I spent running after Luke. But, I don’t want to spoil that fun story. It’s a humdinger. We’ve toured the missions in San Antonio, learned about various cities patron saints and met some awesome people doing it. Usually, the teachable moment is along the way.
4. Pray for safe travels. Before we left, Scott offered up a prayer for safe travels and I did the same when we departed. On our way home, as we journeyed through Mobile, Alabama, we encountered a fatal wreck. One never knows the path that lies ahead, take time to pray for your travels and those around you.
5. And, because it’s the way I was raised, take time to thank people for their hospitality. I usually do it via a handwritten thank you note. But, perhaps you can offer an hour of adoration, a Mass intention or a rosary for those folks who made your vacation special. Whatever way you do it, invoke the Holy Spirit.
This week, you’re in store for some great adventures, fun photos, some hilarious stories and a few touching moments between us and the kids. Tomorrow, I’ll share our picnic lesson, the kids’ highlight of the Audobon Zoo, a stranger’s comment that had me speechless and a dog named Maggie.