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Three Wins for the Non-Gambler in Vegas

vegas-lightsMy "office" for the past few days had a rainbow of neon lighting and the hum of electronic chimes as "white noise". While I wasn't actually "working" on the casino floor at the Luxor, our stay in "sin city" provided me with the opportunity to catch up on "what happens in Vegas".

Let me point out up front that I'm not a gambler. I don't personally have a major opposition to gaming if it's done within safe boundaries and limits. It's just that I would rather have a 100% shot of owning new pair of shoes than a small percentage possibility of earning a stack of chips. I'd prefer to just give the money to my favorite charity than to give it away to a machine.

But even though you won't find me at the slots, I still love coming to Las Vegas. Since we were there for my husband's conference, I've had the opportunity to spend the past few days working on my own projects. And yesterday, as I looked out my sky-high window at the beautiful view stretched before me, I counted my blessings and considered a few of the reasons I'm a "winner" just for having spent a few days in Vegas.

#1: Music everywhere

Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to thee among the nations. Psalm 57:8,9

I set out on a walk earlier in the week with earbuds securely in place, piping in my favorite tunes. But before long, I "unplugged" and tuned into the soundtrack of the strip. Literally every few steps, there was free music waiting to be enjoyed. Yes the opera at the Bellagio water show was poignant, but so was the cello trio I found busking at an overpass walkway. If you love music, it is very easy to find just about anything playing in Las Vegas, and much of it can be enjoyed free of charge.

#2: Plenty of Steps

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

While new pedestrian walkways seem to have taken some of the choke out of Vegas' traffic, my favorite way to get around town is still on foot. With so much to see and experience, you hardly know you're accumulating mileage. If you set out early in the morning, you can walk on relatively clear sidewalks. Midday walks during the non-busy times of year can take you through Paris, Venice, ancient Rome, or any number of other venues. Most of the casinos had special features inside that are free to the public. My favorite, the Conservatory at the Bellagio, offers a seasonally-decorated place to walk and wonder.

#: God's Majesty on Display

Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. Psalm 90:2

While many of us get distracted by the bright lights of the big city, the true show is on display all around the perimeter of Las Vegas. Only an easy car ride away, Lake Mead is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. But you can enjoy nature without even getting in the car by sitting outside and taking in the sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Spring Mountain Range and the Sheep Range. At different times of day, these amazing geological wonders are different colors. Look up and out from the city and you'll feel your heart swept away by the physical beauty of this place.

Whether you are headed to Las Vegas for business or pleasure, it's possible to take a counter-cultural approach to your experience. I leave this week renewed in spirit and anxious for a return visit. But I'm also reminded that the blessings I encountered in the desert this week are honestly waiting for me in many of the other "offices" where I work, including my own home. All I have to do is open my eyes and notice the beauty waiting to be discovered all around me.

A question for you: Have you ever visited someplace you've been before but looked at it through totally new eyes?

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