Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alaska-- Surprising Beauty!

I've heard folks talk about the beauty of Alaska for years. This week I learned it is a land one needs to experience for themself-- and it is beautiful.

The highlight for me so far (we have two days left) was definitely Glacier Bay. Glaciers have an unparalleled beauty that truly captures the imagination. And we saw a bunch of them!

When glaciers break off into the sea, it's magnificent! They crack like someone is splitting dry lumber, then drop into the water. Large pieces cause a wave; it's very cool.

A Welcome Surprise
When we entered Glacier Bay a boatload-- literally!-- of park rangers joined our ship to help us understand what we were seeing. Believe it or not, they don't blame glacial retreat on global warming! They readily explain that glaciers have been advancing and retreating on their own schedule since the last ice age! (Consider Yosemite, for example!) We saw glaciers that were retreating, staying about the same (producing as much new ice at the top of the 'ice river' as they gave to the sea), and some that were advancing. Even the local native naturalist spoke of the natural cycles of glaciers.

A Few Tips
  • If at all possible, do this cruise with friends that you and your family enjoy a lot. It makes a terrific difference eating meals with good friends as opposed to 'new friends'.
  • Very few ships are allowed into Glacier Bay. In fact, only two daily, and they are almost only Holland America or Princess Cruises. Make sure your ship will be going into the Bay before booking.
  • The weather is entirely unpredictable! We were blessed by having weather in the 60s, 70s, and 80s! Book your trip for the peak of Summer... mid-August was perfect for us!
Well, that's my blog from the ship! I hope you're having a GREAT week... we are! :~D Blessings!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Alaska Here We Come!

I've noticed that many in ministry never take time off for extended vacations. By extended, I mean more than one consecutive week. I've always had two concerns about this:
  1. We and our families need extended time together. So many times, kids and spouses of those in ministry burn out and get embittered with God. I think one of the reasons is that they feel the pain of someone close to them being taken from them more than is reasonable. Another reason may be that the 'ministering' time we should be spending to help lead and refresh our family members doesn't get to happen.
  2. We are supposed to model to those watching-- within the church and outside the church-- how to live life well and honor the Lord while doing so. Taking appropriate breaks is part of living life well.
Some will say they can't take that amount of time off. If that's your response, I encourage you to re-think how you manage your responsibilities so you can take extended time off. You are not indispensable to the Kingdom work being done in your ministry! The proof of that will be when you're called home to Heaven-- what will happen then?

I wrote an article awhile back that explores this topic in greater detail with some helpful suggestions shared with me by one of the church's greatest leaders, Dr. Ted Engstrom. I encourage you to check it out! It's freely available from our website; just click here!

Someone once said we can't plan on quality time, but we can plan on quantity time during which there may be some quality moments. That's what I try to do... and I hope you do too.

So, tomorrow before dawn my wife and I take off for some extended time in Alaska, Canada, and then playing in our own community with our daughter. We can't wait!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hotel Sierra - What a Surprise!

While traveling this week on business in Seattle, I was surprised to learn there were very few hotel rooms available. There didn't seem to be any particular event, according to those with whom I spoke... they were just very busy!

Well... I had to stay at a hotel that was a little further from my client. It was Hotel Sierra, and its high quality caught me by surprise! They gave me a one bedroom suite that was completely new and very nice (HD TVs and free internet!), and the cost was less than the regular rooms in the area! The staff was terrific, and they even cook omelets to order in their breakfast (included with the room!)!

Hotel Sierra, I was impressed! I'll be trying to stay with you again!