Thankful for Time Away

Sometimes, you just need to get away. :)

This week, we got to go to this gorgeous, historic inn in the White Mountains. Peter arranged this for me before Christmas, because he is a man that dwells according to knowledge. I love that about him. :)

He knows my tendency to be a little tired, burnt out, need-to-be-recharged after Christmas, so this trip was a little gift of love to me. (For those of you in the area, he got a Groupon to stay here which made the stay very affordable!)

Mountain View Grand Hotel in the snow.

For three days I just drank in beauty of my surroundings inside and the beauty of the snowy White Mountains outside.

Gorgeous oil paintings, built in book cases and window seats adorned each hallway in this inn. Lovely!

My favorite spot to read...right by the fire. This spot was a visual feast. Plaid wicker with leather cushions and needlepoint pillows, warm paint colors and textured rice-paper wall paper. Gorgeous!

Beautiful woodwork and fireplace in the dining room.

We spent time reading by the fire, playing games with the kids, swimming and sledding, eating meals that I didn’t have to cook (ahem :)) and enjoying God’s magnificent creation outside.

Covered bridge in Littleton, NH

 

This old red barn was behind the inn. It was full of animals for the kids to visit. :)

 

I did quite a bit of reading while I was away. I read my friend Joy’s (from GraceFull Mama) new ebook “Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood” while I sat by the fire. You can and should get it free here! It will encourage you younger moms!! I especially love the part on consistency in child training and having fun with your kids! :))

Peter read this sermon over the few days we were away. It deals with selfish ambition and looking for greatness in all the wrong places. Here’s an excerpt:

There are two kinds of ambition. There is the ambition to be approved and applauded by people, and the ambition to be approved and applauded by God. There are those who want to gain fame and attention and influence and power. The measurement of the ambition to be great before people is always How many serve me? How much power do I exercise over others? How wide is the extent of my influence? Who of us has not suffered many times from this desire to be known, to be admired, to be considered great?

But Jesus points out that true greatness is never found there. The measure of true greatness is How many do I serve? How many can I help?

We discussed how even in the church, people tend to “respect” or get excited about certain people, but not others, even though God forbids this kind of partiality. When someone enters the church and experiences coldness, what message does that send about our Master?

Everyone will go out of their way and give a warm “hello” to the well dressed, the influential/admired guest speaker, the rich family. But are we quite as talkative and friendly when the poor, the dirty and disheveled, the physically handicapped come in to the church? Is the rush to greet them the same?

William Barclay makes this observation on welcoming the Lord when you welcome a child:

Now, a child has no influence at all. A child cannot advance a man’s career, nor enhance a man’s prestige. A child cannot give us things; it’s the other way around. A child needs things. A child must have things done for him. And so Jesus is saying, “If a man welcomes the poor, ordinary people, the people who have no influence, and no wealth, and no power, the people who need things done for them, then he’s welcoming me. And more than that, he’s welcoming God.”

Anyway, I would encourage you to read this sermon as well. It was a blessing. (We also enjoyed this one last week as a family, about hypocrisy in worship that is rooted in traditionalism. Peter warned the kids about “worship” that was just going through the motions or worshipping with a heart that is clinging to sin and won’t let it go. God doesn’t want our forms of religion. He wants a pure, true heart. “spirit” and “in truth.”)

I am thankful for the blessing of time away. God must know that I need that, because He often provides them for us. “Every good gift is from above.”

Do you need to refresh your soul, but maybe can’t physically or financially get away? I’ve been there, myself, and sometimes you just have to be creative, girls! :)

Here are a few ideas that I have used in the past:

Trade off child-care with a friend.

1. Then, order “in” lunch, light a candle, find a cozy spot, grab a blanket and just read God’s word or an instructive book.

2. Go somewhere beautiful–a hotel lobby, a library, a local tea room. Sit and read or just admire the order and grandeur.

3. Go out for coffee with a friend, or go antiquing, sit in a park or visit a nursery and admire the gorgeous flowers.

4. Work on a project in your own home that you’ll enjoy on a daily basis. Arrange some flowers, add some inexpensive art work that makes your heart sing, sew some pillowcovers for a spring-y, fresh look for your couches. Be creative. You can add pops of color with just a yard or so of cheerful fabric and an hour or two of time. :)

I might be weird, but whenever I go away to a beautiful place, like this inn, I take note of the things that I loved and that made the place feel beautiful and comfortable. Usually it is a small vase of flowers, fabulous fabric, candlelight and crisp linens. Be self-aware, and take notice of what makes you happy. Perhaps it is as simple as a plate of chocolate. :) jk

How do you make time for beauty and refreshment when you can’t get away?

3 comments

  1. Tim says:

    That trip away with the family looks great, Sarah, and I really appreciate your attention to the small details of beauty – as you said – inside and out.

    On your tip to go somewhere beautiful in order to be refreshed, I am so blessed to work in one of those places. This courthouse was built in 1917 of marble and granite, with a neoclassical exterior and colorful friezes inside. Then it was restored in the 80s and added to the national registry of historic places. You can see it here; my office is behind the columns, so I look out two of those upper windows while my clerk has the view from the third.

    Cheers,
    Tim

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