It had been a relatively quick 6-hour drive. We packed the family into our midsize Hyundai SUV and headed off down the Highway. It was the beginning of our first family road trip with just our little family unit, and we couldn't be more excited. 

In an effort to ease the travel stress on our 2 boys (Ages 3 & 1) we decided to cut our drive in half. 6 hours one Day One, and 6 hours on Day Two with a hotel stay in between.  There is one more important detail you must know. My oldest son LOVES hotels! I don't know how or why, but he just loves hotels. But let's be honest. So do most of us. We may not say it, or express it in the same way, but who doesn't like a getaway!? 

We pulled into the parking lot at about 730pm, right on schedule, and I did my dad duty of getting Checked In. We unloaded the kids, and while my wife Desiree headed to the room with our youngest, Everett, our three-year-old, stayed with me to help me "unload". Of course, we only had our overnight bag to grab, but he wanted to do his part! I grabbed the door and Everett entered our hotel for the very first time. We were entering the side door, and my wide-eyed three-year-old burst out with excitement, "It's sooooo big!" It wasn't but he's small, the next comment made me laugh, "Dad! Dad! Dad! It's sooooo clean!" 

Well... it wasn't really that either, but he saw the shiny tile and made the call, it was shiny, so that means it was clean! I laughed and headed to our room. Both boys were still filled with some bundled up energy so we decided to take them for a walk before we attempted to put them down. 

There wasn't much around except a vacant parking lot, so we let the boys free! They ran and screamed and shouted with glee and excitement! They proceeded to climb all over the giant legos, which were really just concrete barricades. They couldn't have been happier. Next, we threw parking lot stones into the ditch below which had some water, so naturally, we were throwing rocks in the river! What an incredible adventure, at the really big, really clean hotel. 

The reality is, we stayed in a budget hotel in a small mountain town on the way to Vancouver, but the reality to our boys is that we stayed in a grand mountain hotel, and played in a park with giant Lego climbing blocks, and threw stones into a mighty rushing river. 

The truth is, perception is reality. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face if you tried. I was overcome with emotion as I watched my two boys transform that cheap roadside hotel into an adventure-filled destination. It was in that moment that I realized this trip was exactly what I needed, but for none of the reasons I thought I needed. It was time to WAKE UP THE WONDER. 

We are so used to living in a bleak and bland matter of fact world, that we forget that adventure and excitement is literally just around the corner. We get so caught up in what we don't have that we neglect what is right in front. I wonder if this is exactly the kind of thing that Jesus was talking about when he described 'child-like faith'? 

I don't have all the answers, I know that but here are three things to help you WAKE UP THE WONDER! 

1. FIND YOUR EMPTY PARKING LOT

It doesn't matter where you are there is a space that is calling out for your to enjoy it. Whether or not you have kids, head on out to that space and let your imagination take over. Yup... I said it. It's time to use your imagination. I know you've had it turned off for the last 10 years or so, but hey... fire it up again and start to see what's possible instead of what's lacking...

2. EMBRACE EXCITEMENT

My son Everett literally gets so pumped up about almost anything and everything. Every new discovery is a really big deal. So here's a question, when was the last time you really got excited about anything? That's what I thought. You don't remember. Try this, pick a date on the calendar, find an event or a gathering or a get together, and get excited about it. Don't just get excited about it, foster excitement around it. Make it a big deal, because it is a big deal. Just watch what one drop of your excitement does to that event and to all of your friends around you... I guarantee you it's a game changer 

3. STOP HATING, HATER!

 

We are used to negativity. In fact, we've embraced it as a part of who we are. We complain about the cold when it's cold, and the heat when it's hot, mainly because we need something to talk about. Well here's a tip, NEGATIVITY KILLS CREATIVITY. So while you're busy imagining and getting excited, soak down that negativity with a big old fire house filled with good vibes. Trust me, it's the little things that make the biggest difference, and that little thing called your attitude has a big effect on your outook. So instead of always aiming down, why not aim up?


Well... that's it for me! Let me know how your experiment goes, and maybe drop me a comment about that really exciting event that you've got coming up, I hear it's amazing! 

Brett Esslinger is a Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor, Speaker, Leader, Writer whose life goal is to help people unlock their potential and fulfill their life's purpose. 

Follow Brett on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @brettesslinger and of course over on Snapchat at: brett.esslinger

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