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26 Lessons from 26 Years

By Kirsten Nicole

October 9, 2023

Hello, friends! It's been a couple crazy weeks, but I am taking a rest in the Great Smoky Mountains with my family and finally have some time to sit down and write.

In 1998, my grandparents, Bob and Vicki King, established a family tradition that is 26 years strong. It wasn't until this year as I was interviewing them for my writing project that I discovered the reason they had begun this tradition in the first place.

For twenty-six years, we have gone on an annual family vacation. Some years we stayed in Missouri, but most years we traveled to other states. Granddad would reserve condos, and eventually homes, so we could all stay together, explore together, table fellowship together, and laugh A LOT together. It started with six people and has grown to an average of fifteen. And counting.

The purpose was to instill love for family, to raise us in an environment where we knew we had a supportive extended family who was rooting for us, to show us there were family members watching us...holding us accountable to a Biblical standard of living.

And you know something? We love Vacation. Every last one of us looks forward to it, spending a week with our extended loved ones in one house. How special is that? The Lord has blessed a tradition that was rooted in glorifying Him, by a family created very intentionally by Him.

So, in honor of 26 years of annual family vacations, I've compiled a list of 26 lessons from Vacation over the years with the help of some of my family members who sit around me while I write this post.

  1. The journey is the destination.

  2. Stop and picnic along the way.

  3. It's not a complete trip unless you stop in a cemetery to find dead ancestors.

  4. Sing in the car!

  5. Do your own laundry because you never know what you might find.

  6. It's fun to have nothing to do.

  7. Don't tell your wife to shut her vent.

  8. We are created to rest sometimes. Don't feel guilty about it!

  9. Sometimes the unexpected detours result in the best stories.

  10. Table fellowship is so special.

  11. Enjoy God's creation.

  12. Don't put four kids in a canoe and expect to effectively coach them from the dock.

  13. Grampa will probably always think his hand of cards is the worst he ever had. Humor him.

  14. Kids get creative without technology.

  15. Be patient with one another.

  16. Minimize expectations. Relax! Set very flexible agendas.

  17. Phase Ten brings a lot of laughter.

  18. Do the fun things: go on a horseback ride or a carriage tour, take the gondola, discover the local history, tour mansions...but don't touch the 200-year-old chandelier.

  19. Make sure someone is a good cook.

  20. Building stick forts on the side of a mountain is great entertainment, especially when you use them to hide from elk.

  21. Have a "vacation bin" with regular, necessary supplies, i.e. toilet paper, hand soap, laundry detergent.

  22. Travel leisurely.

  23. Minimize news feeds.

  24. Clean up after yourself. Sometimes doing the dishes can be the catalyst for bonding.

  25. The United States is diverse, colorful, and fascinating!

  26. Memories are some of the most valuable treasures.


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