Tag Archives: Florida

Making the most of our time

We were very intentional with picking our week to visit Eli, our oldest, in Florida and hang out at with him at Disney World. He is doing a college internship there and his little “blue card” allowed us some nice discounts. Woo hoo!

We purposely avoided the week of Spring Break because EVERYONE would be there. But we also didn’t want to go after school let out for the Summer for the same reason. So we pulled the kids out of school and went the last week in April.

The theme parks were busy but not overly crowded. We got to do everything we wanted and never waited more than about 35-40 minutes. But one special feature made all the difference – Fast Pass!

Fast Pass is not unique to Disney World but it is free and very handy. Rather than wait in line you can get a Fast Pass and come back later to use a different entrance and save time. For example…

If it is 4:00 and a ride has a wait time of 50 minutes you can wait or get a Fast Pass. The Fast Pass will specify when to come back such as between 5:00 and 6:00. So you get the Fast Pass and then go do some others things before going back to use it.

With the Fast Pass you enter by way of a different line and it usually only takes about 10 minutes. This way you can do more and wait less.

I know what you’re thinking. “Where do I get a Fast Pass for the grocery store or my favorite restaurant?” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

But my point is this: Because we were there for a limited time and wanted to participate in certain activities, we worked hard to make the most of our time.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. ~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Paul encourages the disciples in Ephesus to make the most of every day by doing what is important to the Lord. It means giving everything you have at that moment because you don’t know if you’ll get another opportunity.

None of us lives with the guarantee of tomorrow, and yet we tend to put off the most important stuff as if we’ll always have a tomorrow.

  • Expressing love to those closest to us
  • Extending forgiveness to those who have hurt us
  • Playing with our kids
  • Sharing the good news of God’s grace with those who don’t yet know Him

As a pastor, conducting funerals is not my favorite thing to do. It is a good opportunity to minister to people but the heartache and grief can be tough to handle at times. Yet, I’m always grateful for the reminder not to take life for granted. Each day is a gift from God to be lived for His glory.

If you knew that today would be your last day on earth, how would you live it?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Choices, Family, Glory of God, God, God's Will, Priorities

We did not get where we are on our own

Yesterday I blogged about our family packing up last week for a vacation to Florida. Our primary reason for going down was to see our oldest son who is working at Disney World as part of a college internship.

We spent three days at Disney theme parks, then a fourth day at Cocoa Beach and Downtown Disney (shopping stores outside the theme parks).

There were a few things that stuck out to me right away as good material for a blog post but I decided to ignore them and just enjoy being with my family.

It’s easy to get preoccupied and lose the moment. I’ve done that before with taking pictures or video. You get so focused on capturing the next pose that you forget to enjoy simply being with your family and taking it all in.

So I did a week of blogs before we left for Florida and just took time daily to respond to comments.

Then on the last day Susan mentioned that a certain event would make a good blog post and that I should blog about our trip. So I took a few minutes to jot down some ideas and then promptly put them aside.

Now that we’re home I want to do some blogs about our time in Florida because trips are a great source of new stories and it will be a great way to remember special moments of our trip.

My first observation is that we had help getting to Florida.

Of our four vehicles the newest is 15-years-old and our van, the vehicle we would use for such a trip, is 20-years-old. Since we don’t have a vehicle we trust to go that far (1000 miles) and we couldn’t afford to fly, we borrowed my father-in-law’s Honda van (pictured above).

As we soaked up all the sun and fun of being in Florida we were keenly aware that we did not get where we are on our own. And the same is true in our journey with God.

Stop and reflect for a moment on where you actually are in your journey and who has played or is playing a significant part. The older you are the longer the list will be.

Some encourage. Some comfort. Some teach. Some push. Some pray. Some challenge. Some inspire. All play a part in our journey.

We did not get where we are on our own!

Sharing the journey is not an optional pleasantry, but an essential necessity. It’s a God-designed part of our journey toward maturity in Christ.

Who has played a part in your journey? How can you thank them? How can you pray for them? What are you  waiting for?
***

P.S. – Thanks for the use of your van Dad Howard!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Fellowship, God, Gratitude, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Are your ready for the trip?

Last week our family – the four kids still at home – packed up and got ready for a fun-filled week in sunny Florida. We were excited about all of it except for the 16 hour drive.

Our oldest (no at home), Eli, is a junior at Anderson University but is participating in an 8-month college internship with Disney World in Orlando.

Yes – it is a real internship and he is taking classes on-line to keep his hard-earned scholarships.

No – I did not take time away from our family vacation to write this last week’s blogs. I did them ahead of time and just kept up with comments.

Yes – it is a tough gig to get off work and run free around Disney World; but someone has to do it so it might as well be Eli.

No – we cannot adopt you and pass along family discounts. But we’ll put you on the waiting list with others who have asked.

Getting ready for a week-long trip is very different now that the kids are older and able to pack for themselves. The last time we visited Disney World was 13 years ago before Brynden was born and we were chased out of Florida by a hurricane.

Packing for a trip gets easier the more you do it. Knowing when you’re leaving allows for a comfortable pace of getting things ready.

There are those occasions when trips are made unexpectedly. A sudden illness or tragic accident can mean an urgent departure. And those who serve in the military sometimes have to leave at a moments notice.

But there is one journey we’ll all have to make and for most it will be unexpected.

Death.

Are you prepared to enter into eternity? Have you received God’s gift of grace and surrendered to Jesus as Savior and Lord?

And still… even if you are ready for eternity in terms of your relationship with God, are you ready in other ways?

What important matters or conversations are you putting off for another day as if you’re sure you’ll be here for tomorrow?

Family vacations in fun-filled locations are one of life’s most treasured experiences. But nothing in this life compares with the glory that awaits us in God’s presence beyond this life.

Are you ready?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Glory of God, God, Grace, Heaven, Hell, Relationship with God

More than just a change in scenery

Last week Susan and I enjoyed the sunshine and warmth of Florida. Eli, our oldest, is starting an 8-month internship with Disney World near Orlando so I took Monday and Tuesday to ride down with him. Our time together was great!

We arrived Tuesday afternoon just ahead of Susan’s flight. Eli was busy with getting settled in but had enough space for us to enjoy some activities in the area together before Susan and I flew back on Saturday.

Besides the sunshine and warmth, the real treat was the change of pace and chance to relax. Susan and I had time to step away from the busy routine and reflect on different aspects of life; things that get lost in hectic daily activities.

Do you know which of the Ten Commandments is given the most amount of space in Scripture? The most attention?

Keeping the Sabbath!

It’s not about a certain day of the week, but the rhythm of pausing from the regular routine long enough to give our relationship with God some serious attention.

At it’s core, Sabbath is a reminder that God is God and we are not!

Most of us would quickly acknowledge that we are not God, but we tend to live as if we are – as if it all depends on us. We worry, we fret, we pace, we lose sleep at night… and we always think we know how things should be handled!

Few of us can spend part of every week in Florida but we can all carve out space daily, weekly and monthly to stop and spend time with God, letting Him remind us that He is in charge and has everything under control.

The Sabbath was put in place by God because He knew how easily we slide behind the steering wheel and try to take charge. Perhaps that’s one reason God inspired David to write in Psalm 46:10…

Be still and know that I am God.

***

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Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Reflection, Rest, Trusting God

They lined up for Black Friday nine days early!

If you’re waiting til Thanksgiving night to start your early Black Friday shopping, you’re already late! Three Florida families decided to get a head start on the competition; a nine-day head start.

With the year’s biggest shopping day looming three families pitched tents outside a Best Buy in the Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, Fla. to get a jump on other shoppers.

“You can’t beat some of the deals they have on plasma flat screens and laptops, and you get to buy it in large quantities all at once,’’ Christine Orta, one of the shoppers, told NBC’s Tampa affiliate. “We’re all students, so (you) gotta pinch a penny. It’s affordable right now.’’

Orta and her fellow shoppers plan on passing the time by playing games or studying. The three groups also plan on sharing food and supplies to tide them over to the big day after Thanksgiving.

But this isn’t a new phenomenon in St. Petersburg where local resident Lorie Davenport, 44, and her family and three friends camped out in front of Best Buy the last six years for at least six days before Black Friday, including nine last year. Some would stay on the line overnight while others went home to get a rest and then relieved their friends and family by taking the night shift the next day. Davenport’s family spent $3,000 last year but told The St. Petersburg Times that they saved nearly $4,000.

Last year, she and her husband made a hot Thanksgiving dinner at their home and delivered it to friends who were content to spend Turkey Day in front of Best Buy.

While I think camping out nine days early is a bit ridiculous I can’t help but admire their determination and effort. But it makes me wonder…

What if we put that same kind of passion into our pursuit of intimacy with the Lord?

***

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Filed under Commitment, Desire, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God