For six days God worked, and on the seventh day He rested.  I have always liked that.  It is a great kindness that God has built into the human body a need for rhythm.  We are built to work.  And then we need a time to rest.  We see this in our daily slumber, in a weekly sabbath, and even in the yearly festivals God marks out for His people.

    In my own life, I have built in rest as well.  I have three yearly vacations that each have a different purpose.  Now, you don’t need to go into debt nor be a rich person in order to have a vacation.  These usually cost me very little financially.  No excuses.  We make room for what we value. 


The Family Vacation

    This is something we do every year.  This is mommy and daddy giving our time fully to the munchkins.  This is days of playing and walking and talking and laughing.  In Michigan, I have gone up north on the off season.  I have rented cabins at camps.  We have gone camping in tents!  This is just me unplugged from work and fully accessible to the kids.  This year, some friends of ours rented a house on Myrtle Beach and invited us down.  That is something really special that we wouldn’t do otherwise.  So, we stay up too late to hunt crabs.  I wake up early for the hot tub.  The kids are jumping up and down already wanting to walk along the ocean.  Once a year, we take family time to just be together.  My kids love it.  I love it.


The Romantic Vacation

    It is possible to be a good father and not a good husband.  I was told this years ago, and am just starting to see how this is possible.  Two people could easily focus on the well being of the children and ignore their own dissatisfaction.  So, every year I take out momma bear on some kind of romantic getaway.  Usually, this is a small 3 day jump somewhere.  Honestly, we usually go down to Novi and just find a ghetto room and just eat out every meal and watch movies together.  Low cost.  No driving.  Just giving mom a break from kids and cleaning.  But also, we talk.  And we might even dress up and do something fancy.  Shoot, every 10 years we actually do some travel.  On our 10 year anniversary we went to Rome.  Had to save for 2 years to get there, but we made it.  And on our 20 year, we will go somewhere else (France, Russia, Turkey?).  But we go together.  And it is about us just resting in each other’s arms.  Honestly, i could give a rats booty about traveling and seeing sights.  But it makes my baby happy.  So I walk and smile and enjoy this life.


The Spiritual Retreat

    Once a year, I head out for a week of prayer and fasting.  This usually happens in January.  I begin my year quieting down and taking stock of what has happened and where I am going.  I study, read, journal, pray, meet with mentors, and walk the city streets of Chicago and just look at the people passing by.  This is something I actually skipped for a few years when I was transitioning from the suburbs to the city, and I quickly felt its absence.  Cause even though I am a extrovert, enjoying the conversation and the crowds, I am also an introvert.  I need quiet.  I need to pray.  I need to be with my Father.  The building needs a foundation.  The outward laughter needs inward peace.  


So, these are my three retreats, my three vacations.  I hope you are finding a rest and rhythm that brings growth and health to your soul.  

A traveler on the way,

Ernesto Alaniz