Home: A Vacation Spot

Today is Friday. Wait a moment while I do my Friday dance ... Okay. I'm back.

I'll admit, writing on a schedule has its pros and cons. Christina opted for the spontaneous blog-style yesterday and I'm tempted to do the same. Thanks, sister, by the way, for sharing a bit of your heart. The states between Texas and Iowa make it a little difficult to understand when things get rough.

Well, in an attempt to stay regular, I'm going to cheat my own system. I was going to write about a few nifty ideas for summer getaways on a low (to no) budget. But, because I'm headed home tomorrow to Iowa and the brilliant unofficial state *song is blaring in my head, I'm going to talk about taking a creative, thrifty vacation to home.

It sounds strange, I know. Most times when we say we're taking a vacation we're going away from home instead of to it. Yet, there's something like a magnetic force that attracts me to the green hills, lakes, and coffee shop conversations. It's a perfect escape to be with the people I love, which is one reason why it's a vacation. The other reason is that at home food, travel, and entertainment is sometimes (if not always) free, thanks to the generous pockets of my parents. Before you think that I'm a freeloader, I can say with confidence that my parents enjoy it as much as I do.

So, especially if you are single, consider making your summer vacation at your parents' place. Granted, there will be some strategizing to make sure your time is well spent - it's easy to find the home groove and miss all the best parts.

But, one thing I love about being on a little farm on a gravel road in southwest Iowa is the familiar. I'm always hesitant to confirm people's stereotypes about Iowa - farms and tractors. But, of course, I eventually concede that I do live on a farm and there were special days where classmates would drive tractors to school. And, yes, we probably know more than we ought about what goes on in everyone's lives. But, we are also a family. A high-school classmate of mine was recently involved in a gas explosion. The situation is still very serious and even here in Texas I can picture the love and prayers surrounding him. In all my time here in Austin, I have only twice met someone I knew in the grocery store. In Iowa, the grocery store often becomes a social event - it's strange if you don't know at least a dozen people before you reach the checkout.

There is a slightly romantic notion I keep about our quaint little farmstead. To hear myself describe it, you would think it a fairytale. Now, we all know that's not true. And, if I rush home expecting anything of the sort I'll be quite abruptly received. My mother just emailed me this morning (yes, my parents DID finally give in and get the internet) and said that the three sump pumps in the basement are not doing the trick - the water is shut off. Nothing romantic about that! But, my heart did skip for some Iowa ingenuity.

These little things like sump pumps and loose cows are scattered delightfully across my childhood. In every instance, a new sparkle remembers the creativity and skill with which our family faced its foes. One of the last times I was home, I couldn't have been more excited to hear the words, "The cows are out." If you've seen the movie "The Holiday," you might compare the remote and quaint English cottage to our busy farmstead - I'm sure it would look like a prime getaway online (maybe you should try that mom - start a bed and breakfast!).

The further and further I get from Iowa, the more and more I realize God's faithfulness. I know I didn't have it perfect, but I continue to feel ever so blessed that God showed me grace before I could understand it... that he made home a place I'd like to vacation.

Next week I will be speaking at Bethany Camp in Brayton, Iowa to junior high kids. Please pray for the transformation of hearts and minds!

*I desperately tried to find an audio version of the Iowa song, but could not, so your imagination will have to suffice (unless you're from Iowa, in which case you would definitely know the tune).