Friday, July 20, 2012


There's been something stirring lately.  Actually, a little more than lately.  The past few months there have been small discussions, little drops of conversation and some mulling inside of my head.  I think that most of you know by now that I like to serve.  I love missions, mission trips, helping others.  We have always felt called in some unique way to live it out.  In my brain, I always thought that "calling" must be or would be overseas.  Parts of my heart live in Africa and Haiti.  I cannot wait to go back!  But then there is the stirring...

One of the conversations that happened a couple of months ago had to do with people's willingness to serve over oceans and across continents, but their unwillingness to serve their neighbor, their community.  Even worse, the unwillingness to serve those who scare us, who seem too rough-on-the-edges, dirty, {let's be really honest here...} but maybe those who seem "less than".  I'm guilty.  Guilty of being scared.  Guilty of using the excuse that I need to stay safe or keep my kids safe.  Guilty of being "busy". 

Not to say that you should drop your guard or not be street smart.  You should always be aware and be cautious.  But I've seen some things lately.  Paying it forward doesn't take much.  Look people in the eye when you say hello.  Give a truly warm smile when you ask how they are.  SEE them.  Everyone wants to be seen.  Everyone wants to be loved.  There are people right where we live who need to be touched.  What would happen if we all slowed down, just a little, to see, to smile, to ask? 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's important to serve.  Overseas, at home, next door, down the street and "downtown".  Live it out, love it out.  You never know what your impact will be!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Purple Mountains

My family and I have been on vacation for almost 2 weeks!   We have never been away from home for that long and never over the 4th of July {which is our favorite holiday!}  I have to admit that I was a little concerned about spending the 4th away from all of our usual hot spots and all of our traditions, but our location proved to be an excellent place to celebrate the birthday of our beautiful country!  We started our westward trek by stopping at Devil's Tower, WY, climbing as high as we possibly could.  Then we ventured onward to Yellowstone National Park.  The sheer size is daunting, but the beauty is unsurpassed!  In thinking about how to blog and share just a little snippet of our travels, all that kept coming to mind was the lyrics to one of my favorite anthems.  And as I read through them, I realized that we don't normally hear all of them, so hopefully you can soak in the words and enjoy some of our pictures!

O beautiful, for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties,

Above the fruited plain!

America!  America!
God shed His grace on thee!
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful, for pilgrim feet,
whose sterm impassioned stress,
A thoroughfare of freedom beat,
Across the wilderness!
America!  America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful, for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America!  America!
May God thy gold refine,
Til all success be nobleness,
And every gain devine!

O beautiful, for patriot dream,
That sees beyond the years,
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America!  America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!

And a few more just for fun!

Old Faithful!

The opening....

...and on the other side!


And now to fulfill our #1 July 4th tradition!