One week ago, we arrived safely at our home sweet home! That was no small feat, considering we saw 10 states and 5,000 miles in three weeks. It was a completely wonderful and blessed trip-- in which we got to see many of our friends and family in their home places, and were able to worship and serve God many miles from the comfort of home!!
As you can imagine, we saw many landscapes. Without intending to, we planned our itinerary around a most gorgeous time across the midwest: just before harvest, when thousands upon thousands of acres of corn, soybeans and wheat are readying for harvest. Honestly, I expected to see more "nothingness" across eastern Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Instead, we were greeted by ever changing landscapes-- from mountains and valleys to plains and plateaus; we saw a lot. In our own little world at home, we only see what is out our window, or the view during our commute. But it was awe inspiring to think that all of this land, all this creation is honoring God every minute-- day and night-- even when we aren't there looking at it. He is.
Psalm 104 (New Living Translation)
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are!
You are robed with honor and majesty.
2 You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
3 you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you ride upon the wings of the wind.
4 The winds are your messengers;
flames of fire are your servants.
5 You placed the world on its foundation
so it would never be moved.
6 You clothed the earth with floods of water,
water that covered even the mountains.
7 At your command, the water fled;
at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
8 Mountains rose and valleys sank
to the levels you decreed.
9 Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
so they would never again cover the earth.
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15 wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
and bread to give them strength.
16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests,
and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,
and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.
19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to set.
20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,
when all the forest animals prowl about.
21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,
stalking the food provided by God.
22 At dawn they slink back
into their dens to rest.
23 Then people go off to their work,
where they labor until evening.
24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.
26 See the ships sailing along,
and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
27 They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it.
28 When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied.
29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.
When you take away their breath,
they die and turn again to dust.
30 When you give them your breath, life is created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
32 The earth trembles at his glance;
the mountains smoke at his touch.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;
let the wicked disappear forever.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Every mile the Lord protected us from car trouble, accidents, and injury. The only "difficult" portion occurred when we found ourselves on a ferry across Lake Michigan for what I predicted would be a fun way for the kids to travel. Instead, there were 20 foot swells and a violently rough ride, and we all (except Aaron) became so sick, all we could do was sit with our heads down and thank God for the puke buckets the ferry provided. We were all very happy (and healthy) to be on dry land again after 4 hours! Considering the miles we passed, we were very fortunte.
The children all did very well; they never resisted getting into the car for another stretch of the journey. Aaron began to crawl 2 days before we left, and had some practice on the trip. Now that we're home, he easily crawls across the whole house and steps from one piece of furniture to the other when standing.
I made a little -- er, big slideshow of our trip. The new blog music are songs that I thought would be fitting with the photos. The slideshow is 327 photos, condensed from the 610 original photos. If you would like a CD of all the photos, or some prints mailed to you, please just let me know by email and I will be happy to send them.
Enjoy, and I pray that God blesses you as he has so richly blessed us. "Forget not all his benefits..." --Psalm 103.1