September 2, 2017

How I Made the Most of My Summer Break

Now that summer vacation is practically over, it is no exaggeration for me to say that this has probably been the busiest one of my life! Despite all of the college preparation that has consumed my time (I’ve just started my first semester at Liberty University!), I still made it my priority to make the most of the few months that I had left with family and friends.

I’m extremely grateful to say that the majority of my summer was occupied with fun vacations including a trip to the beach, as well as a longer trip out of country exploring the United Kingdom! In-between my vacations, I went on shorter day trips to scenic places with friends, and enjoyed lunch outings with my sisters. Since I knew the past two months would fly by (summer always does), I made sure to get together with as many people as possible, visit many new places near my hometown, and take plenty of pictures along the way!

Visiting Distant Family

One reason I always look forward to summer vacation is the opportunity to spend one week visiting and reconnecting with my distant family from a few states away. In the month of July, my family drove to Ohio to visit my mother’s side (she has 5 sisters and 3 brothers!). Since we only get to see our cousins, aunts, and uncles a few times out of the year, it only makes the time we have to be together that much more special.

Going to a Museum

Along with the family barbecues and sunny play-dates with our little cousins in the backyard, we also decided to plan a day trip to visit the Ark in Kentucky. It was amazing to see a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark, and get to actually walk inside the boat to look at their intriguing creation exhibits. I highly recommend the tourist attraction to anyone who is fascinated by the Genesis account of the Flood, and is curious to see in-person how huge Noah’s ark really is according to the Bible!

A pretty big door!

Exploring Our State Park

One sunny afternoon in July, my friend, sister, and I roamed the expanse of NJ High Point State Park. It’s one of the best parks in our state, and the High Point monument provides a view of the farmland and forest all around in Sussex County.

View from the top of the monument. 

Hiking the "Stairway to Heaven"

A week later, my childhood friend suggested that we hike the Stairway to Heaven in Vernon County, NJ. I didn’t think the hike would be as strenuous as it turned out to be, so unfortunately I didn’t have enough energy to reach the top of the mountain and see what is supposedly one of the best views of New Jersey. Still, I enjoyed getting to walk on the boardwalks and have tons of time to catch up on life with my dear friend. It luckily never thunder-stormed like the weather forecast had predicted, and the views of the hillsides and forests were very peaceful, so I’d say that the laborious hike was worth it in the end!

Touring the U.K. and Republic of Ireland

As the end of July approached, my family and I took off on a plane to London where we would begin our long 2-week bus tour around the United Kingdom. We travelled in the countries of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland. Each country was unique with its individual culture, variety of accents, and endless farmlands. If I were to summarize what I mostly observed throughout the trip, it would be: lots of sheep on hills, cathedrals in almost every town, and clouds covering the sky since the U.K. is known for its mostly dreary weather! I can’t wait to sort out the best pictures from our trip and write in-depth stories about the places we visited for future blogposts!

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Bath, England
Windsor, England
London, England

Relaxing at the Beach

In mid-August, my friend invited me to join her family for a week in Cape May, NJ. Cape May is such a beautiful historic town, and I loved getting to see so many cute Victorian homes during our daily bike rides. Nothing is quite as relaxing as sitting on the beach near the sound of crashing waves, so it was nice to be only 10 minutes away from the shore! I believe God was graciously giving me an opportunity to catch up with my friend that I hadn’t seen for a while as well as a chance to escape the stress of my college to-do list!

Sunset Beach, Cape May

Goodbye, Summer of 2017

As I reflect on the summer that I’ve experienced, I find so many amazing memories to keep and cherish for the years to come. Now that I’m settling into my new college campus where I’m seven hours away from home, the realization that I’ve just begun the next big, uncharted chapter of my life sinks in more and more with each passing day. God is good, and it’s impossible to thank Him enough for His mercy, His protecting hand, and His perfect timing as I find my place here at Liberty University. I sincerely hope to grow in my faith, become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, and grow in my musical skills so I can continue to worship Him and sing His praises every day of my life.

With the packed class schedule that I have, I will undoubtedly be very busy, but I won’t let that hinder me from adding more creative content to my blog every now and then. It is my comfort that I’ll always have this little space of the Internet to connect with others, write encouraging posts, share my travels and passions, and describe my faith journey as I continue to follow Christ!

I hope that the summer activities I’ve mentioned such as visiting family, taking scenic trips, and spending time with friends can help you when brainstorming the best ways to occupy your free time (especially during the long summer vacation when boredom is not hard to come by!). Remember that it is your relationships with others that truly matter in the end. Even though this summer was the most stressful of my life, it was also the most rewarding since I did not let my ever-growing list of things to do take precedence over my relationships. Everything in life eventually passes away but our souls alone remain, so live selflessly and make the most of the precious time that God has given you to connect with your loved ones and make new friendships!

For everyone starting a new school year, I pray that you have an easy transition back into weekly homework and responsibilities. If you’re in high school, that will probably mean heading back into crowded hallways, handling new schedules, occasionally doodling on your notes, and dozing off in class (especially when the teachers turn off the lights for PowerPoint presentations!). If you’re in college (and a first-time residential student like me), that will most likely mean buying the rest of your dorm/class supplies that you forgot to buy ahead of time, finding the best times to chill in-between classes, and meeting tons of new people from a bunch of different states and countries! Whatever grade you’re in, make the most of your school experience by really participating. Whether that means trying out for your favorite sport, auditioning for the school play, signing up for a new club, or joining the chamber choir (definitely recommended, choir is the best!).

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and value what I have to share as a young adult who still has so much of life yet to experience. I appreciate your patience through the past couple of months that I have not been able to post or be as active as I would like to be on my blog. I am so excited for my upcoming posts that will be featuring more pictures of my travels and fun memories this summer, so stay tuned!

Blessings, Madison


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