The Joys of a Staycation

Sharon Gamble is founder of Sweet Selah Ministries, helping busy women carve out quiet spaces to meet with God, to know Him and to love Him more and more. With stories, humor and biblical truth, Sharon speaks at women’s events and offers Sweet Selah retreats. The former USA National Director for Moms in Prayer International, she is a wife, mother of two daughters, and “Nina” to an ever-growing number of grandchildren. Learn more at or email Sharon at

When “making do” turns into “that was really fun!”

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

When my husband retired from the military, he decided to teach at a Christian school. I was supportive, and very excited for him to serve in this way. The downside to this wonderful decision, however, was a huge income drop for our family. Suddenly, Switzerland for Christmas was no longer an option. (We had been stationed in Germany during his last tour.) In fact, going away anywhere was not an option. What was our little family to do? How would I be “content with what we had” as Hebrews 13:5 commands?

We decided to save our change. Every penny, nickel, dime, and quarter went into a big jar sitting on the kitchen counter. I know many families save $5 bills, but, at that time, loose change was all we could save. (And we were grateful for that—some folks need every penny. Literally.)

At the end of each school year, our big savings jar would contain about $120. Not a lot, is it? We divided it up between the four of us, and each family member could choose a daylong activity to spend however they wished with their $30. Oh, the ideas we had were endless. It’s amazing the vast choices available for $30 a day! Our daughters loved being the ones “in charge” for a change, and planning a day was filled with joy.

Looking back, the decisions about what to do have blended together. I can’t remember who chose what which year. What I do remember is that our family had fun—fun planning and fun discovering unique adventures together for our little staycations. The time we invested with each other, the opportunities to cater to one another’s desires, the fun in learning what each member had chosen, were good for all of us, good to learn to follow another’s lead.

Next week we will take a look at some of the ways we spent our staycations over the years.

Oh, Father God, thank You for the gift of family. Please give us the ability to be content with what we have, knowing that You are always with us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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