With my move to the United Kingdom drawing near (one week!), my family decided it was quite important to have one last good gathering before I left America. So we did the most American thing I can think of doing: we went to the Grand Canyon. Eighteen inches of snow, seven days, nine adults, three kiddos, two cars, one cabin, and a canyon made for an exciting week! With a Griswold-esque twenty-four hours in Las Vegas thrown into the mix, this vacation was as wonderful and chaotic and educational as it sounds. So here are five thousand photos of our wild ride for your enjoyment...
I won't even try to capture any profound thoughts about the Grand Canyon because too much description just sort of ruins the thing. I'll readily admit that the timeline of the Earth is a mystery to me, but I do know for certain that a mighty God formed that gorgeous expanse of orange-pink peaks and crevasses, in part, simply to dazzle His beloved ones. We are so small and creation is so big and God is infinitely bigger, but He still wants to woo us... little, tiny us! May no sunset, shooting star, snowfall, or sonogram ever be lost on us. May we never marvel in vain, but rather transform our marvel into worship.
We took a festive, throwback of a train ride to the "North Pole" so the little ones could meet Santa Claus. We sang and laughed and got weirded out by the overly zealous dancing train employees. I can imagine few happier experiences than being on a twinkle-light-spangled, Christmas-carol-filled train with the eleven people I love most on this earth. During our time together, I was seized with several twinges of "Why are you abandoning this life?! Why would you willingly leave these people, even for two years?". That was not an easy panic to quench. So I am offering this as an act of worship to my Jesus: I love these Wolves beyond words, but Christ and His gospel are worth leaving what is most precious to me. My sacrifice is pitifully small compared to the sacrifice of most believers, but it is what I have to give today. Tomorrow may require more.
The crown jewel of the trip was the news of Jay and Katherine's miracle baby coming in July of 2015! We were gathered around a warm, rugged stone fireplace in the lobby of the Bright Angel Lodge on the south rim of the Grand Canyon when James handed my mom a tiny stocking stuffed with a piece of paper. Confused, she opened the paper to reveal a sonogram of the most beautiful fetus I have ever seen! God is good and we are overjoyed. If you're not familiar with Jay and Katherine's story, visit hopeheals.com to better understand the magnitude of this blessing!
Only 25% of us got a stomach virus and there were no major injuries, so we're gonna call this one a success! Merry Christmas and Happy 2015, friends!