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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Best Kept Secret

I remember the first night I went to Monday night bible study.

Nervous, feeling a bit like a middle school girl again.

I was new to adulthood, new to the neighborhood, new to married life,

NEW. AT. EVERYTHING.

and not particularly good at it.

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Their kindness and warmth was so inviting,

it was contagious.

When finding a new city or rediscovering the one you’ve always lived in, the most important aspect is a fullness of community, a sense of belonging, and a place to be known.

Some of us drive from across town to sit and gather, others of us walk (which at times makes me feel like I live in 1955, and I am completely content with that) :).

We laugh and cry, discuss cool songs and on occasions eat cookies, but we always meet on Monday at 7:30.IMG_3061 2

They’re a group that has brilliant ideas, odd metaphors so perfectly fitting for life, and an insane love for the same saving grace of heaven.

Fruit comes from the vine you’re feeding from; originality does too.  Isolation stunts growth and creativity and we must never starve ourselves from connection with adventurous thinkers and doers. 

IMG_3065 2We can search high and low for significance, but love’s voice is the only one that gives it for free. 

IMG_3066 2We are different in personality, stature, background, but perfectly molded for fantastic conversation about who God is on a weekly basis and GroupMe convo.

IMG_3068 2I look forward to weekly meetings with these gems.  We meet in living room’s of each other’s homes, discuss life and live un offended by the journey that each is walking.

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IMG_3070 2They’ve taught me trueness of character and importance of community. They’ve walked with me as I have discovered adulthood and nod in agreement and understanding of it’s hardships. 

IMG_3072 2There is no place I would rather be on Monday’s at 7:30, than sitting among women who challenge my heart and encourage my character, women who are bright spots in our city and are fighting to love it more.

These babes, they’re my favorite kind.

The truest treasures of the best kept secret places of heaven.

Did You SAY Happy Father’s Day?

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as the need for a Father’s protection.”

Sigmund Freud.

This past week has been a blast for my family and me.

Our beach trips are the main event that I look forward to every year!

IMG_2891We are the kind that spend hours and hours sitting on the ivory sand, talking and laughing the hardest we have that year.

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We always bring board games and my mom notoriously says something incredibly southern and wildly mispronounced.  This year’s gems were: Baja taco (pronouncing the J) and Kanye West (pronounced Kane West), she also learned the term “on fleek”, making her excited to use with some of her new students this year.

IMG_2828I decided to snap a few pictures of the family on the beach this year.  Nothing fancy or professional, but I wanted to capture all the moments of the Dads on the trip.

My sister, Becca, just had a baby in December, so her hubby was experiencing his first ever Father’s Day.  Todd, my brother in law, is a goof ball and always brings the best energy to the group. He and my sister are rocking this whole “new parent thing”.

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My sister Mary Fran has the SWEETEST two year old on the planet.   Full of energy and life. She’s extremely energetic and talkative.  I love seeing her interact with my brother in law, Chris. They’re identical in features and personality, and we couldn’t ask for anything better than those two in our family.

IMG_2805IMG_2790 IMG_2776Me and Cody Bell enjoyed loving on our niece and nephew, and sleeping in 🙂

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 IMG_2868My Dad claimed that this Father’s Day was his favorite one.

He loves when we are all together, laughing and telling stories.

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Isn’t Todd the best part of this picture? 🙂

I got to thinking, on Father’s Day, as I scrolled through my Instagram account that was FULL of posts bragging on Dad’s… How many people actually woke up, looked at their Father, and SPOKE what their Instagram caption said?

 IMG_2611Are we bragging on Dad’s on Social Media for the likes or for a way to bless them past our initial “Happy Father’s Day” phone call?

IMG_2702I’m wildly guilty of trying think of the best caption, rather than speaking the thoughts I have of my Dad to his face.

Although Father’s Day has passed, maybe take a moment to tell your Dad the thoughts you shared on Social Media.

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Tell him that his presence in your life gave you a sense of security and protection, joy and identity. Thank him for the moments of that he taught you great ways to view life. Thank him, to his face, for the way he fathered you to the greatest degree.

IMG_2968I realized the other day the amount of Social Media posts I made for my dad before he even had social media. I told of all the amazing things about him, but never actually said it TO him!

IMG_3041My sister, Mary Fran, challenged me with this thought while on vacation, and it really struck a chord within me.

This year was different, and I am glad it was.

May we live in the moment with the ones we love, instead of living off likes.