Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of eighteen inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including The Good Nearby and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and


Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17 (NIV)

We just got back from vacation. My mind is mellow; my muscles rested.

I wish.

I think a moment during the fourth day I attained the illusion of relaxation: 2:53 PM if I’m not mistaken. It was right before we got a flat tire on a mountain road where the oxygen was a tad thin for our Kansas City lungs and right after we cleaned up our daughter’s ice cream cone that landed on the floor of the car (“But I didn’t mean to!”).

I shouldn’t complain. Not everyone has to—gets to—travel during their time off. Some people get to—have to—stay home and watch reruns of i> and MASH while they clean a few drawers.

We are one lucky family. One tired family. One family who could use a little less togetherness than is experienced on a twelve-hour drive to and from the mountains of Colorado.

The gloss of this particular vacation lasted sixty-three minutes. I began questioning the sanity of trading in our minivan when the first exit for Topeka rushed by. What were we thinking? The minivan, although lacking the misbegotten elegance of the car we now drove, had one very important vacation element: space. One peek into the backseat revealed three kids pasted shoulder to shoulder (or was that Carson’s hip against Emily’s shoulder?) They were so close I could reach back and touch them. A scary thought. And they, in turn, could reach into our space and hand us all sorts of treasures: sticky candy wrappers, melted crayons, and used Kleenex.

As we neared Manhattan (Kansas, not New York), I wondered if the Don’t Do Drugs slogan needed revision. A handful of barbiturates would have come in handy. As the scathing words, “Mom, they’re touching me!” makes another dent in the windshield, I took action.

Because our family rule is He Who Drives Calls the Shots, I took the wheel and christened it nap time. “Dad needs to sleep,” I said. And I need ten miles of silence. It took five miles of grumbling for the kids to get comfortable. I basked in the peace. Even the guttural snores of my husband were music. Six miles. Seven . . . Laurel sneezed. Her elbow bumped into Carson’s ear. Carson’s knee rammed into Emily’s cheek. All-Star Wrestling looked like a prayer meeting compared to the passengers in our car.

Music soothes the savage . . . I put in a CD.

So began the battle of the bands. Kenny Chesney versus Josh Groban. The Black Eyed Peas dueling it out with Beyonce. And the winner is . . .

Silence was good.

We don’t let our kids use headphones on trips. They get enough noise during the other fifty-one weeks a year. During vacation week, they have to sit in a car and talk and look out the window and think and . . . gasp! Maybe even listen to God. “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth” (Ps. 78:1).

I have a theory. How can we ever hear what God is trying to tell us if we have noise pumped into our ears and brains every second? And so—though it would be much easier to let the kids retreat into their own CD/DVD/iPod-infested worlds, we let silence have its way with us. “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him . . .” (Ps. 37:7).

I’m still waiting for one of us to yell “Eureka! I’ve got it!” and share some amazing revelation God gave him or her during this time. But revelation or not, it’s the right thing to do, and so . . . I do my best to set the scene for a little He & Me time.

Thirteen hours later (have you ever run out of gas in western Kansas?), we stagger into our Colorado cabin. Who needs pajamas? Sheets? Forget it.

The next morning the oughtas set in. We oughta go for a five mile hike. We oughta see the Denver mint.

Smell the pines. Listen to the hummingbirds. Make s’mores in the fireplace.

Catch a cold. Get a bee sting. Gain six pounds.

As the end of our vacation waves its hand at us, the oughta-dos back home begin to nag. “Can work get along without me?” changes to “By gum, they can get along without me!”

Our cell phones are going through withdrawal from being without service. We go to a town and my husband calls the office. The line that lives between his eyebrows deepens.

“Everything all right?” I ask.

“Fine, fine,” he says. “Let’s make s’more s’mores.”

He puts on a good act, but I see him checking his watch. I try to ignore his insinuation that reality still exists six hundred miles to the east. I lay down with a book but catch myself editing the author’s work as I read. Naughty, naughty.

In the final twenty-four hours before we head home, we begin to panic. Forget the oughta-dos, forget reality. We have only one more day to rest!

I head for the hammock, intent on entering the relaxation zone that has been nipping at me all week. The gentle sway of my cocoon; the cool breeze whispering through the aspen; the chitter of a chipmunk climbing the logs of the cabin. I’m drifting, drifting, almost there . ..

The sprinkle of an afternoon shower.

No! I will not give up! I’m so close!

I pull the hammock around me. If I squeeze my eyes shut maybe the shower will go away. I hear the drops patter on the grass. Grass. Our yard back home. Has it rained there? Did our sprinkler system work while we’ve been gone? And the newspapers. Did the neighbor boy bring them in like we asked? They’ll be a ton of mail to go through. I wonder if that proposal my agent sent out was accepted. Maybe the ending was too bizarre. If only I had my computer I could—

I sigh and head back to the cabin. If only life would quit butting into my plans. But maybe relaxing in bits and pieces is all I can hope for.

And maybe it’s enough. Every moment belongs to the Lord, every moment—whether full of busyness or leisure—is a gift. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven . . .” (Eccl. 3:1).

A time to vacation, and a time to get over it.

Rest and be thankful. 

Nancy Moser