Vacation Day 6 - Tennessee - Opryland Resort and the Grand Ole Opry!

Today is my last day in Tennessee.
Tomorrow I make my way to Indiana to enjoy yet another wonderful state in God Bless America.
This really has been a wonderful trip. Different places, unique adventures, beautiful parts of our country, and best of all - sisters in Christ whom I love dearly.
Dennis graciously and joyfully gave me this gift, and though I planned it and was excited about it, I had no idea how much I NEEDED it. Every day I feel more refreshed than the next, and I feel beyond blessed to have been given this opportunity to reconnect with precious friends.

We spent the afternoon in Nashville.
First stop: The Opryland Resort
Um, WOW. It is gigantic, gorgeous, fabulously designed, and the aesthetics are superb.
It was designed to look and feel like a Greenhouse and they succeeded! We walked through the gardens and up and down every staircase and walkway we found.
It would be a delight to spend an entire weekend in the hotel.

Second stop: The Grand Ole Opry

Due to the cost of the tour, we decided not to take the girls, so Kelsi took them to the Opry Mall while I spend an hour walking through the famous landmark.
Though quite unversed in the country music world, I was fascinated by the history and details of the place. The tour guide was so enthusiastic she made me wish I WAS a country music aficionado!

A few interesting facts:
The artists park their own cars outside the private entrance, including moving the orange cones that reserve their spots. (An excellent way to maintain humility.)
The boxes pictured above are the personal mailboxes of the Opry Members.
If you want to write to your favorite country artist you need only write their name and the Opry's address and the letter will be put right into their personal box!
2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Opry Members are invited by management, and, apparently, being inducted into The Grand Ole Opry is bigger than recording an album. It is a huge honor.
They receive a trophy, the bottom of which is made out of the wood from the original Opry house so that each member has a literal piece of country music history.
The artists are paid to perform, and ... they are all paid the same!
Whether you are the King of Country Music or are getting your first chance on stage, your paycheck is the same. (Again, maintaining humility. Remember who you are and where you came from.)
Artists are not allowed any alcohol before performing. Because it is a live show, the management wants to "get what they paid for" without any surprises. Seems wise!

Below are three of the eighteen dressing rooms.

They invited us to take pictures in front of this famous painting made pre-1960.
Since I was by myself I felt silly, but I looked at the lovely older southern woman taking the photos and said, "I am from Calfornia. I will probably never be here again. I should do this, shouldn't I?"
"I think so, honey," she replied in her southern drawl. So - I did it! (I still feel silly.)

Our last stop was inside the auditorium.
I was surprised by the intimacy of the space.
The stage is right on top of the front row and the room is round and cozy. Though it seats 4,400 guests, it feels like you are sitting in a gigantic family room singing with friends and family.

I am so glad Kelsi thought of this! I'm not sure I could have experienced anything more quintessentially Tennessee than walking the halls of the Grand Ole Opry! Next time I am in this lovely state I will go to an actual performance to be sure!

This was my view for the evening as I sat on Jim and Kelsi's back porch enjoying the sight and sound of rain. What a wonderful way to end my final day - surrounded by creation.
I am going to miss this!


Vacation Day 5 - Tennessee - Plantation and lunch!

 Today we enjoyed a delightful tour of an old Tennessee plantation - Belle Meade.
I have never been to a plantation so this was another new experience!
The family used their land as a Thoroughbred Farm,
and produced the famous horse that sired Man of War and Sea Biscuit.
The grounds are beautiful, the house is delightful, and the history of the family and the workers is quite interesting. The facts provided a catalyst for great conversation the rest of the day.
After the tour, we walked the grounds and poked through the gift shop.
It was a wonderful way to spend the day!

(Though you can barely see us, we are sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch ... 
as comfortably as if we own the place!)

We wanted to go out to lunch one more time (a rare treat for moms!) so we chose a fun, southern place called Biscuit Love. The name itself made me laugh. Southerners love their biscuits!
This terrific sign was the focal point of the restaurant, so after lunch, we waited for two customers sitting in front of it to leave so we could take a photo with the sign.
The waitress noticed us trying to set up the shot and offered to take the photo so we could both be in it. Yay! I asked her if we could stand on the bench and she said "Yes! But don't get hurt!"
Just as we posed for the camera, the owner/manager walked out of the kitchen, looked at us like we were a touch odd, and then called out, "You better post that on Instagram!"
We laughed, thanked him for his kindness, and went on our way.

It seems every restaurant in the south bakes biscuits. Fluffy, tasty, finger-lickin' good biscuits!
Biscuit Love makes their own version - BONUTS.
Fried biscuits covered in sugar and sitting atop fresh blueberries.
We had to try them ... we just had to. And we were not disappointed!

Faithful friends are TREASURES!
And having Kelsi as a friend is like finding a pot of gold!

My dear friend made the mistake of telling me she was a cheerleader in junior high/high school, 
and then said, "Don't hold it against me!" HAHA!
I told her I wouldn't, and then said, "BUT - now we have to do a cheer pose!"
She hopped on my back while her daughters caught it on film while we all laughed hysterically.
A fun memory to be sure!

We returned home to the kids, changed our clothes, piled everyone into the car, and went for a long walk at the park. The weather was gorgeous, the park was lush and green, and we walked and talked until we got all of our steps in. 
The rest of the evening was spent with Jim (her husband) talking about church, Christianity, doctrine, and serving people. We left each other feeling challenged, encouraged, and refreshed. YES!
Tomorrow is our final day together ... and we will make the most of it!


Vacation Day 4 - Tennessee - Sightseeing and Lunch!

I made it to Tennessee!
My alarm sounded at 3:30 this morning, I dragged myself to the shuttle bus, joined my new friends in the Reagan Airport, and boarded the plane at 6:15.
Since almost everyone on the flight had been booted or re-routed from a previous flight, we were all asleep about twelve minutes after take-off. After only three hours of sleep, that nap was both wanted and welcome!

The plane landed in Nashville at 8:40 am, and within minutes I saw my friend's van loop through the arrival line while we waved at each other with vigor, watched her hop out of the van, and hugged her as tightly as possible. Eight years is a long time to wait for a hug!

Before we hit the interstate we had already covered three different topics of conversation and laughed multiple times. It is SO refreshing to spend time with Kelsi!

She took me straight to the middle of town where we walked to the Capitol and then meandered the streets until we came to Broadway - the tourist section of Nashville.
We walked up and down the street, popping into whichever stores struck our fancy (including a Boot Barn that actually had size 12 women's boots!), and laughed at the crazy names of some of the shops. The Honky Tonk Central made me laugh the most, so she told me to take a photo with the sign.
We kept walking and talking and tried doing a John Crist impersonation - coming up with a Bible verse to respond to the name of each shop. We were laughing hysterically by the time we finished - the perfect way to begin or three days together!
(We attempted a selfie but failed dramatically. We will try again tomorrow!)

Kelsi decided we should go out to lunch since we had the rare privilege of being sans children for the afternoon, so we headed to the restaurant that everyone in the south is familiar with - 
The Cracker Barrel!
Though I am on a strict food allergy diet and have been vigilant about exercising and eating on this trip, when my friend said, "You HAVE to eat something southern! Nothing healthy, just comfort food!" - I obeyed. When in Rome, right? <huge grin>
 I knew I would pay for it later, but I didn't care. I ordered the homemade mac-n-cheese, complete with chicken, ham, bacon and a crusty baked top. DElicious!
And the biscuit? I was comforted by the first bite.

We spent the afternoon rocking on her backyard porch like two old women, talking and watching her children play, and then enjoyed dinner, conversation, and a lot more laughter for the rest of the evening before turning in for a night of much-needed sleep.

There is much more of Tennessee to explore, and a rainstorm is expected on Wednesday. Woohoo!
Let the adventure begin!


Not planned - but still okay.

When your 10 p.m. flight in Washington D.C. is canceled, you have two choices:
1. Complain and get angry.
2. Choose to find the GOOD wrapped up in the disappointment.

I had less than three minutes to make my decision, so when I walked up to the United Help Desk, I looked at the man and said, “I’m not mad, but I might cry. Will you please tell me what to do?”
He smiled, and in a very gentle voice replied, “I will take care of everything, ma’am.”
If I was allowed to hug him, it would have been a BEAR hug!

The upside of the canceled flight?
• I added 3,000 steps to my daily total after walking all over the airport looking for the taxi sent to retrieve me. Yay!
• I spent an hour with five jolly people who were also booted from our flight, including a man from Scotland who was impressed with my knowledge of Scottish culture thanks to the DeCourcy family!
• The airline put us up in a fancy hotel - my room is on the 11th floor - and I can see the Pentagon!
• Though our drive was in the dark of night, I saw the Lincoln and Washington Monument!
Another first on this trip!
• The airline put me on the first flight out, so I will be in Tennessee at 8:10 am. Woohoo!
• I get to sleep in a giant, comfy king sized bed instead of an airport chair.
Life is good!

Vacation Day 3 - North Carolina - Snake, Museum, Lunch, and Trees!

Even though we had already talked non-stop for 48 hours, Jenny and I stayed awake talking until 4 a.m. this morning! After not seeing each other for nine years, and not being able to talk often due to our schedules and the three-hour time difference, we had a lot of ground to cover. Though we crawled into our personal, comfy queen-sized beds well before midnight, once we relaxed in the quiet darkness we remembered all of the topics we had not covered, and let the words fly! At least three times we said, "We need to go to sleep!" but it didn't happen. And I am glad!

Regardless of our exhaustion, we forced ourselves out of bed so we could go for a morning walk around a beautiful lake outside of our hotel. It was a gorgeous morning - bright, sunny, blue skies with warm weather - and we thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.
And, I experienced something NEW!
I saw my first live snake in its natural habitat. (I do NOT like snakes. I appreciate them because God created them, but I have no desire to hang out with the scaly serpents.)
I happened to look down and thought I saw a large worm. Until it started slithering. 
I hopped out of the way and squeaked (not a full scream), "Snake!"
Jenny looked over and calmly replied, "It's little."
"Um, it's a SNAKE! Size matters not!" (I can't prove it, but I think she rolled her eyes at me.)
When we turned around to walk back to the hotel, we spotted two women ahead of us who were screaming and jumping around - over the same snake.
I looked at them and said, "I know!" One of the women looked at me and said, "I didn't care until it reared its head at me and I saw that it is a baby copperhead!"
I looked at Jenny and declared, "See! THAT is a normal response to a snake!"
We continued on our way and about 100 feet later she said, "I probably should have killed it."
"How would you have done THAT?"
"Stepped on its head and squashed it."
My only response was to stare at her - like she was inSANE.

We returned to the hotel, spent a leisurely two hours getting ready for the day, and as we lugged our gear to the car, thunderclouds rolled overhead and it started to RAIN! I was in seventh heaven. Rain is my favorite part of creation, and it was a thrill to end my time in North Carolina watching the droplets fall from the sky.

We spent a couple hours at a museum enjoying unique exhibits, including all of the famous people/inventions/athletes who are North Carolina natives. My favorite was the Wright Brothers exhibit, including replicas of their original planes. Such fun!

We wanted to go somewhere unique for lunch, so we chose this place!
I laughed when I started to read the menu and said, "Now I KNOW I am not in California!"
Some of my favorites:
Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Cakes
Low Country Blackened Catfish
Country Style Gumbo YA-YA
Pimento & Fried Pickle Burger

The atmosphere was fun, the food was terrific, and the service friendly.
If you ever get a chance - pop in!

This TREE!
They dot the countryside and I was mesmerized by them my entire trip.
Just as we were about to make our way onto the interstate, I spotted this gorgeous one and cried out, "The tree! STOP!"
Jenny is a kind and gracious woman. She pulled over, parked the car, let me look at it close up and then took a photo of me surrounded by the blooms so I could always remember their beauty. 
(Thank you, Jen!)

My beloved grandmother LOVED trees and spent her entire life taking photos of them, with them, and in all the different seasons. When I was young I thought it was strange - who could love a tree?!? But as I grew I began to share her appreciation for the grandeur and majesty of these wonderful pieces of God's creation. I fully understand her now!


Now, as I sit in the airport waiting to board a plane bound for Tennessee, I think about our last days together and all that we shared with each other, and praise God for the gift of Jenny. What a blessing to be gifted with a friendship that has been cherished and enjoyed these past 28 years.
♥I love you, Jen!♥


Vacation Day 2 - North Carolina - Gardens and Tea!

We rose early, got ready, and packed our bags in the car to head to Raleigh, North Carolina for a two-day mini-vacation. I know, I know, I am already on vacation - but Jenny wasn't! John graciously said "Yes" when she asked if we could have a girl's weekend - so here we are! Thanks, John!
We started our day at Duke University.
The sky was gorgeous and the grounds were beautiful! A perfect way to start our weekend.

We were already awed by this wonderfully designed building when standing outside of it and felt like we could have been standing on holy ground when we walked inside.
I have never stood inside of a cathedral before, so this was a wonderful experience.
You cannot help but look toward the heavens when the architecture forces your eyes to gaze at the hand-carved ceilings and stunning stained-glass windows.
As if the building itself was not enough, when we sat down we were greeted by live classical music and a handful of opera singers. A-MAZING! Jenny and I both closed our eyes and soaked it all in.
(We felt like Anne of Green Gables when she heard an opera singer for the first time.)
Duke Chapel was the highlight of the day, hands down.

After thoroughly enjoying the chapel, we the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
Unfortunately, we missed the window for spring blossoms but strolled through the grounds nonetheless, enjoying the greenery. We discovered this lovely bridge in the Japanese Garden.
(The photo below shows the view from the bridge.)

Our final event of the day was a Tea at The Carolina Inn, located at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Everything out here is old and made of brick, so as expected, the campus was beautiful and the Inn was no exception. The halls were covered with photos and bios of successful and famous 
UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, so we strolled the halls while waiting for our seating in the Tea Room.
The tea was delicious (I picked a new tea flavor - Gingerbread - yum!) and we savored every moment of our time there.
A WONderful idea! Thank you for planning this, Jenny!

(One small portion of the lobby at The Carolina Inn.)

The trees out here! My - oh my!


We checked into our hotel (on the NC State campus) and changed into yoga pants and tennis shoes so we could enjoy a nice long walk to stretch our legs and work off the sugary treats ingested at the tea before settling in for a fun movie and a night of sound sleep. 
Today was a TERRIFIC day!


Vacation Day 1 - North Carolina - Big Rigs!

Jenny and I have not seen each other in nine years. Oh, what a wonderful reunion it was!
(We have not stopped talking except to sleep.)
One of the things I love best about my friendship with Jenny is that regardless of how much time passes between our phone conversations or visits - we are the same. No apologies, awkward moments, or insecurities - just mutual affection and JOY.

I actually met John in college before Jenny did. He had a fantastic southern accent and would always greet me in his drawl, "Hello, Mish-ale." Made me laugh EVERY time.
And then, before I knew it, he was dating my roommate - 
and I was in their wedding three years later. ❤

Our first day together began in the crisp, cold, fresh air as we took an hour-long walk around East Carolina University's campus. 
The old brick buildings were lovely, so we had to get a photo!

The adventure of the day was visiting Jenny's dad at his trucking company.
I have never been inside a big rig, so I asked Keith if he would let me climb inside one of his trucks. He responded, "I can do better than that! I will take you with me to pick up a load!" And he did!
It was so much FUN!
I asked him at least 72 questions and learned much about semi's, hauling loads, and the trucking industry in general. I'm sure he thought I was crazy, but he answered them nonetheless!

He took me for a drive in their newest and fanciest rig.
Leather seats, wood paneling, a double bunk in the cabin, a refrigerator ... the works!
I never knew how relaxing one could feel in these beasts!
(The cute little guy is John and Jenny's son Jason.)

The view from the road.

Thank you for making a fun memory for me, Keith! I LOVED it!

Jenny's Mom, Donna. Always ready with a smile!

Jenny's brother Wade. I met this guy when he was still in high school! Now, he is a master mechanic and keeps their fleet of trucks in tip-top condition. And - he has a lovely wife and three children.
Well done, Wade!

Our day ended with a delicious dinner, the Olympics, seeing an old friend (and former wedding party member), and lots and lots of talking and laughing.
It was a GREAT day! 


Rest and Prepare!

Two weeks ago a group of five women from our Orphan Care ministry gathered on my couch for a time of fellowship, encouragement, and prayer. Some of the women are well-seasoned foster care moms while others are experiencing their first placement. Regardless of the stage, each one had praises to report and requests for prayer and we enjoyed a rich time of mutually encouraging one another in this season of life.

After each woman shared her story, one of them looked at me and said, "You haven't shared your story, Michelle! How can we pray for you?" It took me a second to collect my thoughts because I was so focused on the foster-care/birth parent/social worker pieces of the conversation that I didn't think I had anything to offer. After a brief pause, I responded, "Honestly? I am enjoying the season of calm the Lord has us in right now. After an incredibly difficult season last school year, and a trying summer, it feels quite nice to be living in a time of peace on all fronts. However, we never get to stay in the eye of the storm long - for growth happens in the whirlwinds. My prayer is, 'Lord, prepare us for what is to come!'"

And I can see Him doing so already.
Spiritually - He has given me an intense desire, and need, to read and study Scripture.
Emotionally - He has me surrounded by godly people who encourage me and speak truth.
Intellectually - He has me devouring biographies of giants of the faith and I am learning much.
Physically - He convicted me to focus on nutrition and exercise, and I am growing stronger daily.

I find it interesting that He is equally pushing me in all four areas rather than one or two, and while I would never hope for trials, I am trusting that He is indeed preparing me for what is to come whether small or large or a combination thereof.

I love this image of a storm, with the eye so clearly visible smack dab in the center. The winds swirl and rage, but there is one small spot that is free from all of the chaos. A small space in which to rest, revive, and take deep breaths before heading back into the whirling winds. For as we know - we must always go back inside the storm because it is in the tumbling and tumult that we are stretched and refined the most.

Times of peace allow us to strengthen ourselves through the Word, prayer, fellowship, and worship. Like an athlete preparing for a race, we can focus on the training. The race has not started, so we plan and prepare and sharpen our skills so when the starting gun pops - we are READY!

The dictionary defines an "eye of the storm" this way:
1. (Lit.) the area of calm in the center of a tornado, hurricane, or cyclone.
2. (Fig.) a temporary peaceful time amidst more trouble and strife yet to come.

I love this! It shows that though time in the eye is peaceful, it is also temporary.
While we should thoroughly enjoy a Divine respite, we cannot grow stagnant, proud, or comfortable. We must use the quiet for equal rest and preparation so we are fully equipped to handle the coming storm.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of these verses:

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. Proverbs 31:17, 25

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10

O, Lord, I want to be a woman who praises You as loudly IN the storms as she does when the storms have ceased. I can only see what is right in front of me, but You see from the beginning of time into all eternity. You know my weaknesses, my failings, and my fears. Refine each one so I can become a woman of strength. A woman who is fully aware of and fully surrendered to the strength that holds me up, pushes me forward, and keeps me from falling. On my own, I can do nothing, but if I abide in You I can do anything. Thank You, Father, for being a gracious, loving, and powerful God who always keeps His arms open so His children can run into them - and feel safe.

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Psalm 25:21


A Titus 2 Night - for our son!

Last night, a group of older, godly men came together to offer words of wisdom and encouragement to our oldest son, Micah, as he begins his pilgrimage into the adult world.
There were over 800 years of life represented by these men! 800 years of experience, maturity, growth, mistakes, successes, sorrows and joy - and they poured all of them into our son.
What a privilege it is to be a part of the body of Christ!
Discipleship is a beautiful part of the Christian life, and last night our son was able to witness it first hand as each man shared something purposeful and poignant about his own walk with the Lord with the hope of encouraging Micah to seek hard after God all the days of his life.
It is a blessing to walk through life with godly men who willingly and consistently invest in our sons. Dennis and I know full well that we are not enough for our boys. Though the Lord purposefully chose us as their parents, He also surrounded them with godly men and women who have much to offer and who faithfully affirm the truths of Scripture. It is truly humbling. ♥And we are grateful.♥

Dennis chose to take notes in order to document the wisdom spoken by the men so Micah would be able to look back and remember this incredible night. He also received several letters from family members and friends who were not able to attend, and their words were equally uplifting and thought-provoking. I hope you find these thoughts encouraging, just as the men did!

➢Make a great use of time because the days are evil. Life is a vapor that goes by quickly. Redeem every moment. O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Psalm 39:4, 5

➢Remember the words of Paul in Colossians 4:5, "Walk in wisdom towards outsiders making the best use of your time for the glory of God."

➢Do not rely on your own strength. Your attitude should always be: As the LORD wills.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

➢Often in life, we are concerned about who we are pleasing. We are worried about our friends, spouse, family… The great aim should be to live a glorious life in a way that pleases the Lord.
Ask often, “Lord what pleases You?”
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. II Corinthians 5:6-9

➢Remind yourself daily, “It is not about me.”

➢Be a man of Respect. Respect for the Lord, respect for your family, respect for others.
Respect is earned through righteous living. Be that man.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7, 8

➢Who will you serve? 
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psalm 143:10 

➢You must be teachable. Be willing to be led by the Spirit of the Lord.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16, 17

➢Surround yourself with good friends who will build you up in the Lord, not just provide a good time.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 17:17

➢Always be known as a hard worker. 
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23, 24

➢Have integrity.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

➢Be honest.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

➢Watch what you say - your words matter.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

➢Be humble - the man who fears the Lord walks humbly.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

➢The center of all things is Jesus Christ. He must be your focus.
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

➢Be consistent.
Be excellent in the little things.
Be courageous. Be ready to stand when no one else is willing to stand.
Be Christ-centered (Romans 12). Your life is not your own.

➢You cannot impress people with Christ when you are trying to impress them with yourself.

➢To get to the heartbeat of Christ you must listen to His words. Read your Bible.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

➢Seek wise counsel. Seek wisdom. Seek the Lord. Live your life in such a way that you do not have to apologize.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

➢Never become afraid to ask questions. Be vulnerable to godly men. Do not let pride prevent you from seeking the Lord and asking questions about what you do not know.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

➢Personal responsibility is yours.
You are responsible for how you respond to choices and how you prepare for opportunities.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. Galatians 6:3-5

➢Walk in the way you have been raised in the Lord.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

➢Two words: “Be Thankful.”
Going through trials and tribulations (big or small) will produce opportunities to learn and grow.
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 106:1

Dennis gave our son a personal charge and presented him with his own sword to one day put in his own home to remind him that he is a Soldier for Christ.
Protect the Innocent.
Defend the Weak.
Fight the enemy.
Stand Firm in the Faith.

Micah's name means "Who is like the Lord," so Dennis ended the night praying that Micah would be a man who thinks, speaks, and acts - like Jesus.
May it be so, Lord. Please, may it be so!