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IMG_3208My family rendezvoused at a beach house on the Pacific Coast. After I climbed out of the car, I was captivated by days long ago. This wonderful journey was once common on my schedule, when I lived in the West.

This is a special treat. It brings back great memories. My plans changed with this nostalgic vacation.

Once the family was settled with luggage and rooms, I grabbed my book and stepped out on to the balcony of the second floor. Naturally, I paused for a moment to remind myself why I was there. The sight was gorgeous; but there was more.

A comfortable chair beckoned me with silence but with a promise. The ease would be much more than just what I felt. I even caught myself smiling.

Settling into the comfortable cushioned chair, my legs naturally lifted on to the equally as comforting ottoman. My book opened to my furthest progress. There was no diminishing of my smile.

While the words begged to be read. I instead lifted my eyes to watch the rolling surf. Synchronized with that sensational view was the sound.

Hearing the roar of the mighty Pacific was hypnotizing. It was instant relaxation. Nothing demanded concentration, intentional planning, or obligatory activity. Just listen and the rhythmic beating of the surf melts away all concerns.

I remember loving this amazing atmosphere. It is a wonder that I had forgotten how relaxing this phenomenon is. No wonder this is a fixation for vacationers around the fruited plains.

Need to relax? Go visit the Pacific Coast. Take a good book, drink in the sounds at God’s 24-7 free spa.

Actually, let the sounds engulf your tension-filled life. It will unknot your soul and smooth out your spirit like few experiences can. The Mighty Pacific promises to mellow you out.

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What to do? My bride and I were in our old home state for the holidays.  She was off for the day with her sisters for a girls day out.  What to do?

Aha! The movie website was a quick touch of an app away.  Scrolling through the nearby theaters and the list of current movies solved my dilemma.  Nope, I have seen that one.  Again, that was one that we saw together.  Uh, nope, I am not into scary movies or raunchy ones either. Hmm, now there is an interesting one.

One swift click on my phone and I successfully bought a ticket for the earliest showing.  My GPS beeped, flashed, and then guided me safely to my destination.  The lights dimmed, commercials ran humorously, and then the featured event began.

The lead star was all talent. He danced, he sang, he charmed his way through life overcoming hardship, poverty, rejection, and despair. Love and dreams fueled his life.

He found others who were despised and disrespected.  His dreams found them all a new family, life and love that they could share.  When that world crashed and burned, they pulled themselves up and rebuilt an even better life.

It was a feel good movie from the start until the end.  The music was energizing.  Episodes of people’s lives were engaging.  Memories of The Greatest Showman linger for me.  I liked the movie so much that when my bride was free a week later, I brought her to the showing too.

However, I have read reviews of critics who did not like the movie. Their criticism centered on the “historical inaccuracies.” The movie portrayed P.T. Barnum as a folk hero of sorts, helping the oppressed, coming to aid of victims of racism, and giving a hand to the ethnic people marginalized by the community.  Critics claim that he was just the opposite.  He exploited the victims of race, prejudice, and abuse.  They say he did it all to line his own pockets.

Phooey!  I don’t know much about the history of this man.  But I liked the movie. Claims of racism sure seem to be subjective.  History not only stumbles over the truth about this evil, but contemporary people trip up also.  Just because we accuse someone of racism does not necessarily make it true.

Whatever history validates and whatever opinions fuel more arguments, I am left with the same conclusion.  I liked the movie. I liked it a lot!

The collapsing economic changes have been merciless.  Gargantuan worldwide pressures are like a tsunami in my life.   Every week I am finding myself making adjustments to keep the pressure at bay.

I am brown bagging lunch more often in order to keep faithful to my financial commitments.  This lifestyle shift is actually very satisfying.  Putting some planning and effort into something small to impact something that will last into eternity is a strangely enjoyable change.

Cutting back is also key.  I have already cancelled two trips.  Both were worthy of the time and effort but they would be economic risks that would add even more pressure.  So, I pulled the plug on both.

Spending at the office obvious.  Now, we ask if we have the option to withhold the expense.  We never will stop growing or making changes but we will be very discerning about our expenses.

We question the validity of our training trips.  They must make sense and align with our strategic plan or the approval will not happen.  We in a not-for-profit organization treat every dollar like blood money.  All of us are committed to this value as good stewards of God’s generosity.

One of the other helpful changes is the decision is to lengthen my long-term plans.  This is the year when I would normally schedule a new vehicle purchase.  However, in light of the tough economy I will forego that choice, keep fixing and driving what I have.

This has not been common for me.  Having a dependable vehicle is essential to what I do.  Besides it’s a little bit of fun that spices up life when I climb behind the wheel of a new rig.  Oh, well, life has its good changes and not so good.

My vacation plans are dialed back as well.  We were looking forward to our first vacation to Hong Kong.  But, this overseas trip will have to be put on hold for another time. Some day we will make it to this fascinating destination.

There are other adjustments that I am making as well.  More often than not I choose water as my beverage of choice with a meal.  It’s free or at least it is cheaper than most other drinks.

Some things haven’t quite crept into my routine yet.  We still wash our clothes, shop for soap and fill our cupboards.  Change has come and is still manageable for now.

photo credit: google image

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