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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Enjoying the great outdoors

Do you have any summer plans in the works?

We have already spent a week in Costa Rica for our 20th wedding anniversary. There we stayed 2 km from the base of the world’s 4th most active volcano, zipped-lined the tree canopies, hiked lush tropical rain forests and hanging bridge trails, shot hundreds of pictures of exotic critters, beautiful sunsets, and the ever-changing countryside. Rented a car and drove hundreds of miles taking in four different cities. Learned about sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism, and how to make a good latte. Went horseback riding. Met lots of interesting people.

We finally were able to get on the list through our local science museum to watch the sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs. Later this summer we will go on a similar trip to watch them hatch.

We took the family on a jaunt through Georgia and North Carolina to visit a college for our soon-to-be high school senior and to relax with family and visit friends in the North GA mountains. There we went tubing, hiking, slid down a waterfall, photographed wildflowers, celebrated the 4th of July and breathed the mountain air, and relaxed. Read a few books. Played monopoly (kids still do that!)

Next week my wife, I and two of our sons go to New Orleans to join 37,000 youth for the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering. It will be a week of celebration and service and little sleep. Our group will be working in the city on a literacy project.

What do you like best about summer?

Taking some time off from work, being with the people I love, having adventures great and small, and taking in more of God’s beautiful creation!

What will be different this summer vs. last summer, if anything?

Last summer our home (the church parsonage) was being renovated so we were summer vagabonds, staying with friends or traveling for three months.  Everything we owned was packed up into a container and we lived out of suitcases from June through September as the renovations dragged on. This summer we have been able to use home as a base for some great trips or just hanging out as a family and watching a movie. Last summer there was the constant pressure of having to figure out where to stay from week to week and how to make do to keep things as normal as possible for the kids.

Are you spending more or less on your summer plans this year than last?

More. Our 20th Anniversary trip to Costa Rica and our church trip to New Orleans are two very special events that we planned for this summer.

What is the one summer indulgence you allow yourself regardless of money?

A lighter evening and weekend workload to spend more time with my family.

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