Saturday, July 27, 2013

Close to a Successful Vacation; July 27, 2013

It is late Saturday evening and Waverly and I are in Pittsburgh ready to fly home in the morning.

It has been another great vacation.

It is hard to think that one can top another when we've done some neat things over the years (Hawaii, Alaska, Glacier, New York City and so on).

I'm very thankful that everything worked out as well as it did, and that I get the opportunity to spend the kind of time that I do with Waverly.

When I was just a little bit older than her, my Pastor at the time, Bro. John Gross, told me about the value of time and the impact it has on having the attention of kids at church youth camp.  He explained to me that the seven (7) days - or 168 hours - is more in volume - and in concentration - than the 1-2 hours per week of Sunday school and church.

I think the same applies for a parent and a child in this situation.

While we drive from place to place on some of our whirlwind adventures, we have the opportunity to share situations that are occuring in our individual lives and I have the chance to share the hopes and desires that I have for her - especially as she heads off to college in less than three weeks now.

In case you weren't paying attention at home, our schedule looked like this:

Sat, July 20 - Fly from Houston to Pittsburgh and drive to Erie.
Sun., July 21 - Run the Presque Isle Half Marathon in Erie and drive to Toronto.
Mon., July 22 - Spend the day in Toronto.
Tue., July 23 - Drive to Ottawa.
Wed., July 24 - Drive to Montreal.
Thu., July 25 - Spend the day in Montreal.
Fri., July 26 - Drive to Tipton, Pennsylvania.
Sat., July 27 - Spend part of the day there and drive to Pittsburgh to fly out.

Parts of nine (9) days.  Eight (8) nights.  Six (6) different hotels, all Marriott properties I might add.  Two border crossings.  Two states.  Two provinces.  Two Halls of Fame (Hockey and the Montreal Canadiens).  Two towers (CN in Toronto and Montreal).  One CFL game.

It actually isn't - or didn't seem - as crazy as it looks.

We did cover a lot of ground on foot in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, though.  I'm guessing on Monday that we probably put 13-15 miles on our feet.  Easy.

When we visited race director Alan Brookes of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in his office in east Toronto late Monday afternoon, we thought about asking for a medal for our performance!

We made a change in plans and saw my grandparents a day earlier than we had planned.

Originally, we were going to drive from Montreal to Toronto, stay at the Renaissance that is at the Rogers Centre, attend the Astros and the Blue Jays game and then get up early, cross the border in Buffalo and then drive in surprise my grandparents.

They are 90 and 88.  My thought was:  the Astros, the Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre will all still be there in ten years, but my grandparents - and Waverly's great-grandparents - won't (or it would be very unlikely for them to live to be that old.)

Even though we spent about three and a half hours or so both days, it was very quality time and is something that they greatly appreciated - and enjoyed.  As did we.

[We also made a run to State College, visited the stores on College Ave. (even buying our first Christmas present), tried to get a picture at the Nittany Lion Statue (but there was construction around it) and ended up getting ice cream at Penn State's Berkey Creamery.]

[And ... we also made it to Texas Hot Dogs at the Park.]

I think Waverly and I figured out that she has been "home" seven or eight times over the past four years.  I'm certainly thankful that I have the time and the resources to be able to make sure she gets back to see them as much as she has.

She'll be closer when she goes to Virginia (and Liberty University), but it will be a little bit of a ways for her to drive right now and visit.

I'm very, very blessed, and I try not to ever lose sight of what opportunities that I've been given and that Waverly has been able to experience over her first 18 years of life.

If you're reading this before Sunday morning, please pray that we can get on the earlier flight tomorrow morning so that we won't be rushing to church.  Our original flight is scheduled to land at 9:15 a.m., which should give us time to get there before 10:30 a.m. so Waverly can sing on the platform with the Praise Team, but prayers for safety, of course, and free from delays would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, July 19, 2013

On The Cusp of Vacation; July 19, 2013


The word itself generates a smile just thinking about it - even before the planning and the execution of the time spent takes place.

I look forward to this time every summer.  It means that Waverly and I get the opportunity to explore some part of the world.  Well, North America, for me, thank you.

She's already had a busy summer as she prepares to head off to college at Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia) in three to four weeks.

A church missions trip took her to Kenya and Tanzania in early June after her high school graduation, followed by church youth camp at Le Tourneau University in Longview this past week.

We've taken an annual trip pretty much every year since she was in grade school.

It has landed her in 45 or 46 different states, I believe.  (Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota have eluded her, but she has British Columbia to her credit.)

If all goes well, she'll be able to add Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa) and Quebec (Montreal) to the mix this week.

We'll fly in and out of Pittsburgh, stop in Erie Saturday night for me to run the Presque Isle Half Marathon there on Sunday and then on to Toronto through Buffalo.

We've been up in the Buffalo area in the past while taking in Niagara Falls many years ago.

That was an epic trip where we flew into La Guardia, drove out there to see the Falls and then hit every northeastern state with the exception of Rhode Island over the course of the week.

The last two summers it has been Hawaii and Alaska.  Very thankful to have been able to have the time and resources to be able to make these trips happen.

If you're reading this, please keep us in your prayers as we travel.  Just simply for safety.

As I was driving into work on Thursday, I was listening to KSBJ and they were talking about children's most vivid memories were those from summer vacation.  Of course, it put a smile on my face - in the midst of a bunch of A.J. Foyt wannabes - to think of all of the great times that we've been able to enjoy.

We keep our schedule pretty fluid.

We have hotels booked in particular cities, but the details we hammer out day to day.

We're also going to try to run each day while we are in the various major cities.  Let's hope we succeed.

I'm going to get the opportunity, I hope, to see both a Canadian Football League game Thursday night in Montreal and then a Major League Baseball game - involving the Houston Astros even - on Friday night in Toronto.

It will be my first time back in Canada in six years after working a year and a half in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I'm very much looking forward to the week ahead.

I'll try to blog a little each day.  I hope that you'll follow along on the journey.

- Jon