4 Must Have Items On My Vacation Packing List

  1. Ibuprofen (Check)
  2. Clothes for any possible temperature(Check)
  3. Audio book downloaded (Check)
  4. Night-light (??)

Yup night-light. I’m not afraid of monsters under my bed, more of what goes bump in the night- like me- right into a bathroom door in an unfamiliar place.

I don’t sleep well when away-extra pain from travel, bad mattress, etc.so when awake, I use the rest room. The bathroom wasn’t far and I didn’t want to turn the big light on and wake my husband (occasionally I’m considerate like that). I thought I’d walk in safely by doing -you know- the zombie walk- with arms (or for me one arm and a cane) out in front, and, BAM! Walked right into the door. Now, I needed ibuprofen that I unpacked in the kitchen earlier.

While doing my best Ninja impersonation sliding up against wall (to avoid anything that might be in my path) from the bathroom to the bedroom door leading to the kitchen, it dawned on me-my phone has a flashlight! Once again, I prove that owning a smart phone does not necessarily mean I’m a smart user. Anyway…

I knew I wouldn’t fall back asleep, so I decided to read in the living room. For Christians it’s the season of Lent and I brought the book, Whispers of Rest, by Bonnie Gray with me. I first discovered her blog posts on (in)courage and felt a connection through our Asian American heritage. Her words drew me in and keep me inspired. I enjoyed her short daily chapters that ended with reflection questions. I answered them in a notebook, and then extended it to writing scenes for my current manuscript drafts.

That morning’s journaling along with my recent door ‘incident’, had me realize that I was searching blindly for any remedy/solution for the extra pain from my newer medical issues. I desperately wanted to at least feel the age I am instead of 30+ years more and feared the progression of my RSD symptoms. On the writing front, I had been researching for my manuscript drafts, yet still not sure which direction I wanted to go with them. Instead of hitting the proverbial wall, I hit a door (you know I’ve got to be different) 😊 Not that morning’s actual wooden door kind, but the exhausted, anxious, conflicted, pain filled, and defeated door-which hurts a heck of a lot more. It’s harder for me to open and walk through, that’s for sure.

You see, before our vacation, I felt depressed and worried that I wouldn’t enjoy our daughter’s last Spring break with us (she’s graduating from college in May-Wait, WHAT?!) 😊 My pain level prior to it made it difficult to leave the house for doctor appointments, let alone going somewhere fun. Thankfully, Hilton Head’s temperatures were much warmer than NC’s and we spent more time just being together than going places. However, we did see Captain Marvel (AMAZING Movie!!) but more importantly all of the cinema’s seats were recliners, Y’all! Perfect to keep my leg from swelling!

This year our mom/daughter beach day tradition began with a light breeze, warm sunshine, and hardly a cloud in the sky. As I watched and listened to the swishing of the lightly foaming waves reaching the shore, my body relaxed, and I sighed. It was as if the refreshing ocean air pushed out all that fight or flight that’s been stuck churning inside me in that one exhale. That’s one of the reasons that the beach is my happy place.

I love that I can’t see what’s beyond the horizon-reminding me that possibilities are endless. Something I easily forget. Later we watched two dolphins jump in and out of the water, almost as if to remind us it’s okay to take time to play without any other porpoise (sorry, couldn’t resist) in mind. The quiet moments just sitting with my daughter on our beach towels cradled by the warm sand, are just as precious as our conversations. I marveled at the fact that she was no longer the little girl wanting to build sand castles, but a young woman about to graduate college and start building her own life (although she still relied on me to pack the sun screen, water and snacks for the beach) 😊

Lately, my paths shifted way too often from the direction I originally intended. I had no control over which doors would slam shut. But I’m starting to realize it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if it may feel that I’m blindly walking into doors when I could have used a flashlight to light the way. Hindsight is always 20/20. Some days it seems I’m failing at each opportunity I step toward, and I think maybe I should just stop trying, already. But if I keep stepping forward, (okay, more like stumbling forward), on a different course than what I’m comfortable traveling, somewhere along the wall I eventually find a door and choose to step through it.

Sometimes what’s on the other side of that door, may be a blessing/success others will notice, but the more important ones are usually felt in our heart. It might just refresh my soul-allowing me to create, not for perfection, but just to enjoy creating for myself in the moment.

This feeling of contentment may not announce itself with a parting of the clouds, or bright light “Alleluia!” moment. Instead, it’s in the quiet form of a hug from a loved one, lunch with supportive friends, an inspiring comment to a blog post I wrote, a student telling me the story I wrote about someone I loved touched them deeply, or the comfort of just sitting on the beach next to my family. I will have times when no matter how much I prepare or how frantic I may feel; I cannot control or foresee all possible outcomes to a situation-that’s where prayer(flashlight) comes in. Although, I still highly recommend packing a night-light.

What would be the top 4 items on your packing list?


I’m also sharing this post at:  Welcome Heart.





12 thoughts on “4 Must Have Items On My Vacation Packing List

  1. Joan Y. Edwards says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    I am sorry you had extra pain but glad for the aha moments of how you figure things out with your love of God, your love of your family, and your love of yourself, to get through the obstacles. At the motels, we leave the bathroom light on and close the door a little ways so that it lights the room just enough to see. It’s annoying when they also have the fan going with the light. Then we have to go with Plan B. A flashlight.

    You have a way of enjoying yourself through the problems and finding a way to smile. I admire that in you.

    Have a great day!

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Joan for your kind words. When I’m at a conference,staying by myself I do that too☺ I love knowing plan B is a flashlight. I really appreciate that you admire me. That means a lot,because I admire you and the way you inspire so many people. I treasure your friendship.Love you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joan Y. Edwards says:

        Dear Kathleen,
        You are welcome! We belong to a Mutual Admiration Society! You can hear the song at the following link! I hope it makes you smile.


        Liked by 2 people

        • Joan, yes a few smiles actually. I didn’t know that song,I actually know quite a few from that time period, but first time with this and a perfect one at that! Yes Mutual Administration Society meeting has come to order 😊 love you ❤


          • Joan Y. Edwards says:

            Dear Kathleen,
            I’m glad the Mutual Admiration Society has been brought to order for you and me! Glad it made you smile! You make me smile, too. Smiling is healing!

            Love you

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Ibuprophin, Sudafed, variety of clothes, Bible, book to try and read and review. (never find time for that though). Flash light does come in handy. Glad you got some rest and the Lord used the time to remind you of the things which are held as gently as snowflakes that melt away too soon. I know–where does the time go??

    Liked by 2 people

    • Carol, Sudafed-definitely something else I usually try to bring as well! 🙂 Thank you so much and yes, time with the Lord always manages to make things clearer for me. Sometime I may be too stubborn thinking I know the best way to handle a situation. But I’m getting better at letting him be in charge, knowing that he knows the bigger picture and better plans for me. ❤


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