The Greatest Country in the World

Yesterday was an eye opener for me.

My boss and I were driving downtown to a usual appointment with a bride.

We were catching up on life, seeing as he has been on a mission trip in Chile for 2 weeks.

He was sharing what all he took away from that trip, and something he said stuck out to me.

11039283_10154002825653032_3231342701841749755_n “The Chilean people love their country, they are full of pride for where they come from, their culture, so much that they have festivals waving their flags, shouting and dancing; ALL over a soccer game.  What about America? What’s happened to us?”

What HAS happened to America? Seriously. 

Before everyone thinks that this blog post is going to be some big political argument, stick with me. 

Where is our pride? Where has it gone?

Why is it that the only time we decide to show our American Pride is to take a “4th of july” insta pic?  Why can’t our pride extend further than a t shirt with a flag on it and a pair of cut off jeans?

Do you realize that America is full of SO many different cultures, backgrounds, nationalities..etc? WE. ARE. THE. MELTING. POT.

And that is a BIG deal.

We are the country that fought for FREEDOM, and WON.

We are the country that fought ITSELF and STILL CAME OUT ON TOP & UNITED!  

(You do realize we are the UNITED states?)

We are the country that liberated tortured Jews from concentration camps.74456-700x335We are the country that changed the world with the civil rights movement.

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 We are the country that has vastly different landscapes and climates to explore and travel freely.

We are the country that tells you to PURSUE your dreams, and gives you access to SUCCESS. 

Instead of living in constant offense to every little thing that is happening or not happening, remember this:

America didn’t become America by being offended, America became America by being brave.

America didn’t become America by making excuses, America became America by fighting through the hardships.

Fellow Americans,

stop resenting each other for the opinions that make us different and have a little pride in what makes us who we are. 

Because having different views, different opinions, different lifestyles, and living in the same country is something to take pride in. 

ITS WHAT MAKES US UNITED.

The United States of America.

Strong people, incredible minds, intricate details,

all living under the same umbrella:

The Greatest Country in the WORLD.

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A Letter to Fathers

My first real memory with my Dad began with a Coca Cola.1006136_10200807684686917_806961173_n

I was sitting in front of our console TV, with gigantic bunny ears covered in aluminum.

My Barney tape was being re-wound for the 47th time, so my heart was content.

I saw candy on the kitchen table, butterscotch hard candy to be exact, and asked my mom if I could eat it.

“Yes” came from her lips…

Dreams really do come true.

I plopped down in front of the TV once again and threw that candy into my mouth and INSTANTLY it went right down my throat.

I panicked.

I wasn’t choking, but it hurt. I could feel that candy SLOWLY moving it’s way down my throat, through my chest. THE WORST, especially at 4 yrs old.

I became hysterical.

For those of you who don’t know me, I was, and still am, REALLY dramatic.

My dad ran in, swooped me up, and walked with me to the kitchen. He opened the door of the refrigerator and together we sat on the floor.

He pulled out a can of Coca Cola, poured a little into a sippy cup, and said,

“take you a little sip a’ that.  It will make you feel better.”

It was a moment that created more moments for us.

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I sipped that goodness called coke and dad rocked me in our old recliner. It was our secret. Mom only bought those cokes for dad and they were off limits, but he shared his coke with me and created a safe place for a moment.

He was always known for that in our house. The safe place. The one who could tell the best stories and give the best hugs. He spoke enormous amounts of life into the identities of his daughters and never once made us feel that we weren’t enough.

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He was always up for hide and seek, racing down the beach, chasing us up the stairs (which was weirdly our favorite part of when dad got home), never got frustrated when all of his t shirts went mysteriously missing and then found when his three little ones woke with those t shirts as night gowns.

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He loved our mom. He still loves our mom. He dotes on her, he admires her, he kisses her, he jokes with her, he’s wild about her, and with his actions in loving her, he has shown his daughters how a man should love his wife.

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Saturdays were adventure days with Dad.  Some may think that buying live worms for fishing and getting a candy bar is no big deal, but to us, it was everything.

He taught us how to love rock n roll or as he calls it “real music”, and pushed us to see the beauty of history.

He showed us what hard work was and never let us give up if something got hard.

He was forgiving when all three of us wanted to be dancers and piano players rather than basketball stars.

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In fact, he never missed a recital.

He taught us what grace really was, he never lacked in patience, he was steadfast in fearlessness, and consistent in kindness.

More than anything, my father taught me and my sisters about the character of The Father.

We got to experience a piece of heaven with a dad who chose to present himself with the qualities of heaven.

Today, I know that my best conversations happen when dad and I drink Coke together.

He still gives the best hugs and tells the best stories.

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His laughter is wildly contagious.

He has made his sons-in-law his own and understands the importance of family.

To all the Fathers out there, biological or in spirit, thank you.

Thank you for defying the odds and statistics of fathers today. Thank you for filling up that place in your child’s life that needs filling and for being a representation of Father God in the way you are actively present for your children.

Thank you for creating a safe place for your kids to go, no matter what they have done.

Thank you for choosing to be a father.  Your lives, your leadership, your characters are changing this world, for the better.

Daddy, thanks for the coke.

Thanks for the safe place.

Thanks for who you are.

Happy Father’s Day.

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The Truth Is:___________

Yesterday I received an email from my favorite Cody Bell.

Yes, my husband sent me an email, it’s 2015, that’s what couples do right?

The email was titled “What do you want?” and reading it I felt a big lump swell up in my throat.

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Cody began telling me how much God loved me and wanted to pursue me more… but one particular line struck me more than all the others…

The line wrote:

“He wants to know what we want to do, and He joins alongside us in the journey, so happy and so in love with us.”

This insane swelling turned to alligator tears and I kept stopping to read that line over and over and over again.

God genuinely wants to know the desires of my heart, in fact, He knows them before I know them.

IMG_2394Cody began listing all the desires he has laid out for God to come along side him in and together we have journeyed in partnering with God to fulfill those places.

But he was curious what God has laid upon MY heart, and what he could partner with God and me in.

But it got me thinking, how often are we seeing beautiful things, dreaming big dreams, and telling the Godly desires of our hearts to go away?

How many times are we telling God no in the ideas that He has laid out in front of us?

IMG_2373 (1)We matter to God.

We. Matter. To. God.

Period.

End of story.

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The truth is: God knows what we want in this life.

The truth is: God is not intimidated by your dreams.

The truth is: God is un-offended by our process to get where He is taking us.

The truth is: You are known and pursued.

The truth is:  He will provide for you in the season of trying.

The truth is: God never asked you to be perfect, He asked you to be YOU.

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Cody and I are in the journey process.  We are processing and adventuring, slowly and beautifully.

God is directing our footsteps, telling us where to go, and giving us the most delightful people to meet.

We met the owners of the best coffee shop in Opelika, Alabama… I dare say, the STATE of Alabama.

You should venture to this blessed place, have a latte AND a popsicle.

Even if you don’t visit a local coffee shop…

dare yourself to live courageously enough to visit the places that you dream of…

even if it scares you.

The email ended on this note:

“I think we have to tell Papa what we want. I bet He has asked us and we just don’t realize it at times. So, what do you want? What are the desires of your heart? Tell Him! He will journey with you and love you through it!”