Christian Living Family Fun

Family Time

Children simply grow up too quickly.

Heather and I were out to dinner in January on a date night when the subject matter of children naturally arose.  Scarlett’s humor, Savannah’s sensitivity, and Jonathan’s recent growth spurt were the topics at hand when we were suddenly struck by terrible thought.  Jonathan is growing up.  We quickly began to do the math and realized that we only had Jonathan for 6 more summers before he’d be heading out to college.  Stunned, we sat there for several minutes watching our appetizer grow cold.

Vacations Have to Be Planned

Family vacations don’t just happen.  They have to be budgeted, booked, & organized.  Regardless of financial limitations and calendar restrictions every family can take a vacation together.  Here are a few keys to keep in mind:

  • Beware of Comparison

In the age of social media please remember, your vacation does have to be their vacation.  You and your children will have a great time doing what you’ve decided that you’ll be able to do.  Some of the greatest options are inexpensive options.  Camping within a 6 hour drive, 3 nights in a Budget Inn near the beach, and spending a week with family or friends are all wonderful options which we have enjoyed.

  • Book It

As soon as you’ve identified the week and time-off request has been granted – book it.  By putting down payment or partial payment significantly increases the probability that you won’t cancel this important event.

  • Save, Save, Save

I’ve learned that family vacations don’t have to be budget busters if you’re willing to put away a little bit every paycheck.  $50 every two weeks equals a solid $1,300 for your annual trip.

Days Have to Be Scheduled

Growing up my family took every Monday together.  We knew regardless of life’s twists and turns, Monday would be our day with the Fam.  In our home we take every Saturday.  We go swimming, drive to Redrock Canyon, go to a Little League game, play Clue, or just watch a movie together.  Sometimes we’ll clean the house as a family and then just go and get Slurpees.  Notwithstanding, these days must be scheduled if they are to actually happen.

Moments Have to Be Captured

Throughout life moments happen for which you could’ve never planned.  This is called serendipity and it’s a beautiful thing.  Sadly, we are so busy we often allow these moments to pass without capturing and savoring them.  Capture the bedtime moment when the story being told is just too silly to repress a giggle.  Capture the family-table moment when the question asked is too honest to be ignored.  Capture the driving-home-from-church moment when the statement about Jesus is too precious to be forgotten.  These moments come fast and frequent, we just have to be ready when they come.

Yep, I know, a little too sappy and sentimental, right?  I guess so.  I just know that pretty soon those little beds will be empty, the car will be finally clean, and at the family table will be sitting a slightly older (though surprisingly fit, fashionable, and attractive) couple with years of memories to treasure.

Do you have budget-friendly vacation idea?  What do you like to do on your family days?  Share your comments below:

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1 Only memories to treasure?  Yeah, Right!  If you know Heather and I then you know when the kiddos are gone we are gonna party like it’s 1999!  #NewChapterNewAdventures

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    So true they grow up to fast. Reading this made me realize time is almost up with my son. Most of the time I can’t afford for us to to out of town but a trip to the pool or bowling is great too as long as you spend time with your kids cause before you know it you’ll be chasing after them to get a minute ?

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

      We LOVE the pool too.

  • Reply
    Philip Alsup
    June 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    In our busy ministry lifestyle, we also keep in mind the importance of individual time with our 5 kids. I try to have a Triple-D every week with one of the halflings (Daddy-Daughter-Date, or for the boy, a Daddy-Dude-Date). Running errands and stopping for a doughnut, hitting up the local McDonalds for a $1 cone, going for a bike ride just the two of us, going to hit baseballs at a park. These moments give us a lot of time to bond, talk, and goof off. Letting your kids get to know the authentic you, one-on-one, forms lasting memories and fills their hearts with love for you. The Triple-D is also a great stress relief for me: Nothing makes the rest of the world seem so insignificant as a little pair of eyes lighting up at just spending time with you. I love it.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

      YES – Love the focus on the little daily dates that can be made. Triple-D! Perfect.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    We actually found a cabin at Big Bear that was reasonable. We brought our own meals to cook since it was a full furnished cabins. They are out there and the drive is quick. We actually went on spring break on year for a couple of days and they still had snow. We went snow tubing and to theit little zoo. The kids just loved being in a new place. Recently we went on cruises which I know are more money but again some are reasonable. We went on our first Disney Sea/Land vacation which I normally couldn’t do but my mom had passed and left me some money. We went away to celebrate her life and not mourn it. Memories are what you will treasure later in life. Not things. Even though it was expensive the smiles on my children’s faces are worth more to me than anything. I don’t need a big fancy house. I just need to be able to remember all the good times. Although now we are addicted to cruising and have to save. Disney is much more expensive, though worth it, but we planned for a different line which is much cheaper. It can be done with proper planning and saving. There is always something to do. We are now trying to go to Pioche Nevada old Western Mining Town. The hotel is cheap and we can drive there. We also just took a day trip to Utah for chik Fil a and Cracker Barrel. The kids keep asking to go again. It’s what you make of it. The kids will love it all. Now they ask me when is the next day road trip.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Great ideas Diane! perfect for this feed.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Time permitting we schedule vacations along with other families from our small group. We rented a cabin a couple times and brought enough food to last us for a couple of days. Not only do we get to split the cost of the cabin, the kids enjoy having other kids to play with and the adults get to bond as well.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

      That is a brilliant idea Sheila! Thanks for sharing. Now I know why your small group is so tight!

  • Reply
    Leon Stevens
    June 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Very wise advise Pastor. I wish I had that wisdom when our kids were growing up….I missed a lot of their younger years by being a workaholic. By doing that I sacrificed the relationships with my kids and my wife….For those who are reading this take a lesson from Pastor’s message…plan it, book it, save for it, and DO IT!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Leon. True that time goes by too quickly.

  • Reply
    SHELLEY Conway
    June 14, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Our big family vacation was supposed to happen in 2013; we were taking our 6 week sabbatical that was going to makeup for all the time we had missed with the kids because of demanding daily schedules. We were going to see New York, Washington DC, etc. It was going to be fantastic! My last chance with my kids before they headed of to college, graduated high school, and start making plans of their own. And then I was diagnosed with cancer; Ewing’s sarcoma and it was a full year of grueling treatments. I can’t get that time back. I won’t have the opportunity ever again to do a sabbatical with all of my kids; they’ve already gone their adult ways. I feel sick to my stomach that I lost that special family time with them. My advice is DON’T WAIT. Life throws you curve balls, so don’t wait. Do it now while you can!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      June 15, 2016 at 11:49 am


      Your testimony has been such a light of beauty for Heather and I to watch during your trial of illness. God bless you for continuing to bless the Lord through it all!

  • Reply
    Matt Baker
    June 22, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Love these tips, Pastor Josh!
    As a father and husband in bi-vocational ministry, our vacation time is usually around the same time each year. We usually end up going with our ENTIRE family (cousins, aunts, grandparents) and renting a beach house. Having a large group definitely drives costs down. But my favorite times have been the spontaneous drives to the mountains where we grab a pizza along the way, turn the kids loose at the park, and grab ice cream on the way back.

    All in all, maybe $50 total in the whole trip, but lasting memories.

  • Reply
    Rachel Beasley
    June 27, 2016 at 5:35 am

    We LOVE family camp at The Wilds in North Carolina! I’ve looked the U.S. over and can’t find anything like it! $1200 for a family of 5. DELICIOUS food, swimming, boating, zip lines, archery, paint ball, hiking, waterfalls, volleyball, human fooseball, and on and on. Then to top it off they really encourage us with daily sessions for each age group….. Encouraging parents, families, and couples to live very God-centered and intentionally. Best investment we’ve ever made in our family’s vacation “bank!” : )

    • Reply
      June 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      That sounds like a lot of fun we might just have to check it out. Thank you for the referral

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