I just turned on my computer for the first time in 7 days.
It still feels a bit funky. My fingers are stretching to familiar places but typing feels totally odd. Yesterday, I woke up to cuddle a freezing Jackson back to sleep. Today, he woke up in his crib to a warm bowl of oatmeal and a morning full of Curious George & Elmo.
The McLane Family is 500 miles from our little June Lake camp site, 8,600 feet above sea level and a million miles from yesterday.
I spent a week intentionally disconnected from my day-to-day life. I turned off my email, signed out of Facebook, never opened Wunderlist or even had the thought, “I should write that down.” For the first time I can remember I even let the blog go fallow for a week.
It felt good to rest.
When I wrote my last post I was on the brink. I was past tired. I was exhausted. I don’t know what comes after exhaustion but I was pretty much there. It’s not so much that the exhaustion was hurting my work as it was that it was hurting to work. Day-by-day the grind was like a bruise that kept getting punched. Even embracing a more regular Sabbath wasn’t helping. I needed real rest.
After a week of hiking, exploring, playing, laughing, star-gazing, and fishing… I feel better and found rest for the first time in a long time.
It had been a few years since I really shut it down for 6 consecutive days. I don’t know if it’s my insecurity, the desperate feeling we had to turn it around at my old gig, or what… but I do know shutting it down was the right thing and something I need to do more often. (I have 3 weeks of vacation planned for the remainder of 2012.)
As we drove home yesterday, Kristen and I kept joking about the fact that we all still liked one another. Camping brought us closer together. As we left June Lake we were all a bit sad it had ended. I think all of us had embraced a little fantasy that it didn’t have to end… that we could just head to the grocery store and restock for another week. (And hit the showers to clean up!)
I think that’s a sign of a good vacation, that you leave wanting a little bit more and having fully entertained the option of never going home.
Each day was filled with a slowventure where we made breakfast together, cleaned up camp, and went somewhere to explore. We had a simple lunch of PB&J or fruit, cheese, and crackers. Somehow we managed to make it home in time to make dinner and have a camp fire before bed. (Did you know marshmallows are a food group while camping? I think each of the kids ate their weight in marshmallow!)
Together, we saw some of Earth’s greatest treasures. Yosemite denies description. Photos cannot capture awe. The giant sequoias, the Valley, the Tunnel View, the Merced River, Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road, even The Mobile… all are happy places.
We spent 2 days not catching a single fish but smiling the whole time. We went up and down mountains. And we played in lots and lots of streams.
I loved watching Megan and Paul get lost in ancient forms of play. They made bow & arrows and pretended to hunt chipmunks. They wandered in the woods collecting stuff. They stared deeply into the starry abyss. They played with fire.
And they were rarely bored.
It’ll probably take me a few weeks to really unpack my vacation. But all I know is that I need more of that more often!
A breath mark or luftpause or, for bowed instruments, a bow lift (also retake), is a symbol used in musical notation. It directs the performer of the music passage to take a breath (for wind instruments and vocalists) or to make a slight pause (for non-wind instruments). For bowed instruments, it means to lift the bow. This pause is normally intended to affect the duration of the preceding note and not the tempo. It is usually placed above the staff and at the ends of phrases. Its function is analogous to the comma in several written languages. Indeed, the two symbols look identical.
~ via Wikipedia
Friends, we have come to a luftpause.
This morning, Kristen and I are putting the last few items in the car, packing the cooler full of ice, and driving up to Yosemite National Park.
It’s not a vacation unless daddy unplugs, signs out, and leaves his laptop at home. No tweets, no Facebook, no Flickr, no YouTube… and I already don’t LinkedIn or Google+.
I’m doing all of things. I need it. We need it. Heck, you need it.
Until next week, adieu.
The past 4 months were exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. Here’s a summary of the stuff I’ve been up to.
- We changed churches
- I helped launched 2 businesses, mountains of paperwork and 27 trips to the bank, and hundreds of hours of “other crap.”
- I wrapped up 3+ years of time with Youth Specialties, working like crazy to “finish strong.” (See the bullet point above, that’s a phrase I now don’t want to hear until 2025.)
- McLane Creative launched 2-3 major sites for clients.
- The Youth Cartel launched 3-4 major sites for clients.
- I wrote several very important articles including the feature for the Nov/Dec edition of Immerse Journal.
- I built new sites for McLane Creative, The Youth Cartel, my blog & Marko’s blog.
- Started a whole slew of initiatives for The Youth Cartel
- Put together tons and tons of proposals for The Youth Cartel & McLane Creative
- Done initial work on the first major projects for these two businesses.
- Found a new office.
- Bought lots of really expensive software & hardware.
- Gosh, I need a nap before I finish this list. There’s way more.
The last 4 months have felt like a years worth of work– most of which I was consumed by having a full-time job at YS and trying to do the rest at night.
Normally we vacation for at least a week in the summer. But the summer of 2011 that didn’t happen.
So we’re kicking off fall 2011 with a little mini-vacation, camping in the forests above Palm Springs.
Our family has a rule that it’s not vacation if daddy brings a computer. So all of our electronics are staying home. Macbooks, iPads, Nintendo DSs… and I’m even turning off the email function on my phone. We’re disconnecting for a few days and heading for the hills to recupperate. And if this isn’t enough? We’ll do it again.
My brain is on empty. My soul is weary. And I’m the kind of tired a good nights sleep won’t fix. We need to get away… and read, rest, play… do nothing.
So that’s the deal.
Friday morning we’re packing up a big ole` pick-em-up truck (thanks Brian!). All of us. Mom, dad, Megan, Paul, Jackson, and Stoney. And we’re going to enjoy some pure California fun.
We did it!
It feels good just to say it. “We had a successful vacation.”
Last night, Kristen and I went for a walk in our neighborhood and this was really the summary statement of our week in Carlsbad.
It was nice to get away while only traveling about 40 minutes from our house. I don’t have any fascinating results to reveal… but here is a hodgepodge of things I’m thinking about last week.
- The rhythm and pace of the week was great. Nearly every day we woke up, watched the World Cup while drinking coffee, went to the pool, had lunch, went to the beach, ate dinner, watched a movie, and went to sleep.
- Opening up our vacation to a bigger definition of our family made a huge difference. It just wouldn’t have been as much fun without Kristen’s parent, my niece Allison, Erin, and Lisa. While it likely effected the bottom line a little, it was priceless to spend the quality/quantity time with them.
- It was also fun to bring Stoney, our yellow lab. Renting a dog-friendly house was pretty simple and it was a bonus to have him along. I don’t want to sound like one of those people but he really is part of our family.
- Kristen likes shells… a lot. One two mornings Kristen went shell hunting. It was almost embarrassing how many shells we brought home. Almost.
- We learned the playmate lesson. While it definitely helped Megan to have someone her age to play with… we REALLY needed to have a playmate as well. Next time.
- Have we found a vacation style we all like? Kristen and I like two different types of vacations. I like to unplug and do just about nothing. Kristen finds it very refreshing to explore new places. This really afforded us the opportunity to do either, neither, or both.
- Turning off the computers and my brain was awesome. I don’t have a single blog post I wrote while on vacation. Nor did I think much about work. I told Kristen last night… generally vacations make me antsy to get hyper productive and this one didn’t. I think it just revealed how exhausted I had been.
- Our party on Friday night was a blast. More on celebrating our marriage another day.
- I love hanging with my kids. I know you are supposed to like being with your kids. But I really love being with them. There’s no other way to describe it.
- I cannot get enough beach. That’s pretty funny for a guy born in Indiana. But it is true. Most of our vacations somehow involve a large body of water… I guess I’m just hard wired to relax by the ocean.
- Wine has a magical ability to multiply. We started our party on Friday night with 8 bottles of wine. By the time the party was over we had 12. It was an anniversary miracle! OK, I think its just that people like to bring wine to dinner parties. We still got a chuckle out of that.
- Our garden didn’t take a vacation. I came back a couple of times to water and drove back up to the house with baskets of tomatoes, squash, and green beans.
- Every vacation house needs a soaking tub. The bathroom in the master suite had a massive whirlpool tub. And all of us took turns enjoying a nice bath. It’s the simple pleasures in life, sometimes!
I’ll be getting back to my normal blogging self by the end of the week.
Yesterday officially kicked off my summer vacation. For the first time since I was 24 I’ll only have two weeks of vacation this year, one of which I’ll use for my July trip to Haiti, so I have to make the most of this one.
My intention is to disconnect as much as possible. (More on that later)
Last night, Kristen and I went to Barnes & Noble to load up on some books for our trip.
Here’s my reading list:
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
I am not sure how it is that I lived to be 34 years old without reading the greatest pirate novel of all time. But I have and I am looking forward to diving into this one. If vacations are about mentally and physically escaping from your day-to-day life… I’m thinking this book can take me there.
If not, then at least I can check it off my list of books I should have read in high school but didn’t because I was reading other stuff.
The only other things I’ve read by Arthur Miller were back in high school, Death of a Salesman and The Crucible.
Something tells me that Miller is a master storyteller, and a collection of short stories seems like a winner. And the endorsements on the back used a lot of fancy words.
Broke USA, Gary Rivlin
My first and only experience with this game came when I was 23. Hard up for cash and too proud to ask a friend for a few hundred bucks to make it to the next paycheck, I went down to a payday loan place and wrote a check for $400 to borrow $300 for two weeks. Before I walked out of there I realized I’d stepped into a world I didn’t understand. 400% interest… yeah, not cool. It was a lesson learned.
When the review copy of this book showed up last month, I snagged it and thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about how people take advantage of the economically disadvantaged.
Born Standing Up, Steve Martin
When I think of Steve Martin I think of movies like Three Amigos and Father of the Bride. I’m not quite old enough to remember him from The Jerk or Saturday Night Live. Yet, I still have a fascination with his work. He manages to walk the tightrope between hilariously funny and believable drama.
I first heard about this book when he made the late-night talk show circuit promoting it. I’ve wanted to read it since than but it never quite climbed into my wishlist. So when I saw it on the bargain rack for $5, I grabbed it.
- In just a few weeks I’m embarking on a road trip up I-5, through California, Oregon, and Seattle. The goal is simple, connect with a bunch of West Coast youth workers, hear what’s going on in their ministries, and share what’s going on at YS these days. Since it’s a youth ministry trip, it’s a low budget deal. Shawn Michael Shoup (my travel buddy) and I will be either crashing at churches, youth workers homes, or sleeping under the stars.
- In June, Kristen and I are hosting a 13th anniversary party. It’ll be a small barbeque with some close friends. We’re also going to do a snarky renewal-of-vows type of thing as part of it. More like a celebration of marriage than anything else. As we looked at venues for that we quickly discovered that it’d be better to just rent a beach house for a week, host the barbeque there one evening, and turn it into a staycation. So we think we’ve nailed down the beach house… but still need a contract. It’s kind of funny when you live somewhere that’s a vacation destination.
- In July, Kristen and I are hoping to head to Haiti for a week of ministry in Port-au-Prince. Lots and lots of details still to be determined on that. But I’m pretty sure it’s happening.
With the difficulty of 2009 it’s fun to have exciting stuff planned for 2010.