05.28.18 Sunday Message

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Just as everyone was heading out of town for the Memorial Day 🇺🇸 weekend, members of my family were just getting back home from a refreshing vacation, where we camped out at the Redwood National Park, home of the tallest trees on Earth. I wish all my kids could’ve been there but am proud of the ones who chose to stay back because of their dedication to their jobs. I’m proud of all of my children‘s work ethic! And speaking of work ethic 😂, it’s been a while since I literally got away and unplugged from technology... well, basically everything! I actually can’t remember the last time? There’s no Wi-Fi up there so we didn’t have to worry about picking up calls or dealing with signal delays, etc. The only connection we needed to “pick up” on, was with each other... face-to-face, loud & clear and ♥️ to ♥️! The only thing cell phones were allowed to be used for was to take photographs so we could remember and appreciate the hundreds of miracles we witnessed around us every day. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but this gorgeous towering forrest with its majestic trees is so awe-inspiring and even spiritual, as they stood there strong and tall, surviving the test of time.

“Healthy trees need an ecosystem; healthy people need each other. ... If we hope to enjoy the sociality of heaven and its associated glory in the world to come, we need continually to mature socially as well as spiritually while here on earth. People, like trees, are best grown in communities, not in isolation.” — Marlin K. Jensen

Just as the quote says, my wonderful husband Steve and I want to do more of these kinds of trips with all our children and grandchildren. We were both raised by parents who believed that time spent in nature is time well spent. They showed us that these types of family outings will always be treasured. When we were out there enjoying nature’s best, we received a clearer understanding of why trees in the forrest do not stand alone. They congregate in groves and are healthier, stronger and building root systems to hold each other up. It’s symbolic of families and our family time in the forrest. Our daily exercises and precious moments spent together strengthened us. We went on hikes, played games, built fires, cooked our food and cleaned up afterwords. We tried to exemplify to our kids that with great fun, comes the great responsibility to leave each place better than we found it. I took a bunch of photos but the forrest came alive for my youngest daughter Abi when she asked me to take a picture of her with an ancient tree that looked like Grandmother Willow from “Pocahontes.” 🤣 Our Grandson Stephen came with us, it was his first camping trip away from Mom, Dad and his brother Christian. What a thrill to see him so excited to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa in our motorhome. (Yes we go “glam-ping” now, but it’s just for us 29 and overs. 😉 Everyone else gets to sleep in tents.  ⛺️ (With age, comes benefits. 🤣) Anyway, it was dark and quiet, we were all in bed going to sleep, when all of sudden I heard Stephen (who’s 4 1/2) whisper to me in my ear, “Grandma what did one snowman say to the other snowman❓Do you smell carrots?” 🥕 Well, I start laughing so hard I think I woke up half of the campsite. Then he realized he was being funny so with confidence, he went for a second joke... 😂👍 ”Grandma, why did the banana go to the doctor❓Because it wasn’t peeling well.” 🍌 I think everyone throughout the campsite thought I needed to go to the doctor because I was laughing so hard my stomach was in stitches! My grandson went for it... for 10 minutes! 🤣 His timing was brilliant... I know I’m the Grandma but he just might have to do standup when he grows up! 😂👍 Even now as I’m writing this, I still chuckle when I think of him telling me jokes on that first night camping! 🤣😉.

What was more amazing than anything about this trip was the deep peace and joyful quiet we all experienced! The slower pace made us ponder even more about life’s purpose. Back-to-nature walks turned into real-time talks about God’s plan for us. Our heads and hearts were turned ever more heavenwards making us wonder continually just how many hundreds or thousands of years these daunting and glorious redwood trees that surrounded us had been around.

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isiah 55:12)

OK, trees don’t have hands but I swear their branches clapped every time the wind blew. 🤣 Every step and every direction we took pointed us toward contemplating the meaning of life. We received clarity and addressed the basic questions again (individually and as a group) of where we came from before birth, why we are here and where we are going when this life is over? Why God sent his son Jesus Christ and what was this earth created for? It definitely made us appreciate God, our beloved Father in Heaven and all of His creations and natural wonders.

You may not have a forrest or redwood trees in your neighborhood, but on this #Happy #Sunday, let’s stand tall and weave our roots more deeply together. And as we take a stroll outside, enjoy the beauty of all trees, flowers or plants and... exercise a branch of faith as we raise our eyes upwards to the heavens in praise and glory to our God. Giving thanks 🙏 for His beautiful #PlanOfHappiness for you and me... for ALL His children and creations on this glorious 🌎! And remember, we/YOU are NOT alone!!! ☺️💋