it started small… but oh my!!!

Have you ever heard the saying it takes the “faith of a mustard seed to move mountains”… sometimes something that started seemingly small can evolve into a world on its own… If you have never experience Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, I would recommend it at least a one in a lifetime trip…The Mountains are breathtaking and rivers and waterfalls… Though what draws people (probably the most) is one attraction. Dollywood. I was sort of dragged, kicking and screaming to this attraction (which I will admit) I thought would be corny, and over the top…which it was at times, but I also have to admit I have never been to a theme park that was as clean and the worker as friendly as they were there… So here is a bit about Dollywood… it started as a one ride wonder in the 60’s (a coal train “Klondike Katie” –  through the Smokies), which by the way you can still catch today (if you are willing to do the 30-40 minute wait)…after several owners and name changes and a “few additions” Ms. Dolly Parton was asked to join the “show” and partner up with the park, which lend its current name and southern charm of Dollywood… since then it has become one of the top 50 most visited theme parks in the world…you got to admit that a little bit of “southern charm” goes long way…This entire area was built around something that seemed so small, yet after being there for over a week the bustling and the busyness of the town shows the faith that it took to get that little town in the middle of the Smokies to grow and thrive can move mountains…

 

along the way…

In between breath-taking, majestic views and architecture marvels come along those “little moments” which really make up every day…along the way so far we have been able to stop and talk with so many of our “neighbors” in the long lost art of the impromptu conversations of just “saying hi“…visited the local churches and enjoyed fellowship with others that we’ll enjoy eternity with…Heard others heart’s desires in their life-mission and how they are taking their families on similar journeys…We’re blessed in potluck get together that were put together “on the fly“, instead of  penciled in a too busy of a schedule.

A joy has been the life moments that I get to witness in my very own family… when father and son grow closer together for mutual interests, for one it’s lifelong passion and the other a new found “obsession”…

Other “little” things along the way are just the everyday things that make life interesting…dealing with sweltering heat.. puppy getting into stuff he ought not and having emergency vet visit “sigh”… getting the bumps out of the road and redrawing our ideas of what things look like…

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Like this becoming your new “home office”…

Yet our kids spend more time doing things like this…

Rather than …well you get the idea…you fill in the blank…So we’ll take “all” the things that come along the way…the good with well sometimes not so fun… It’s okay as our good Lord reminds us:

“His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;

his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lam. 3:22b-23

There is always tomorrow …See you along the way

Summer Cottages!!!

Oh, the lives of the rich and famous of the turn of the century sure make me laugh… they spend their summer cooling themselves briefly in places such as Newport, RI. Where they built for themselves “Cottages by the Sea”. This Gilded Age Era was more than we can ever imagine, and will never be again… but I can assure you than the beauties that they left behind make for certain an entertaining and if anything a lesson on what extravagance and ostentatious living was like.. I love the quote from Oscar Wilde which says:

“Have nothing in your house that has not given pleasure to the man who made it and is not a pleasure to those who use it. Have nothing in your hoses that useful or beautiful.”

So many of this houses tell a story of sadness, for many of their owners after spending so much didn’t enjoy them as many passed away, had broken marriages, or suffered family tragedies…But I am not going to lie I did enjoy their beauty and sharing with the kids…

the lighted pathway…our mission…His passion…

When we started on this journey… one of our heart desires was to be a vessel of service for the Lord… James 1:27 says “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”… we are thrilled and so humble to share that we’ll be partnering with Justice & Mercy International. To share their ministries as we travel and hope to spread the word about their work.

Justice & Mercy International (JMI) is a faith-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to make justice personal for the poor, the orphaned and the forgotten of the world.

The children and families JMI serves are incredibly vulnerable. Impoverished and powerless, they contend daily with the threats of human traffickers, substandard education, hunger, and treacherous living conditions. JMI staff, sponsors, and volunteers work together to offer hope and help to the most vulnerable.

As we travel we hope that churches and those we meet along the way will open to hearing about this great ministry and would come along and partner with them.  We encourage you our family and friends to click the link and read more about them and if you feel lead join us in sponsoring this great ministry… And pray for us that God would open many ways in order for us to serve His great commission…

If you have any questions.. feel free to ask..

 

journey begins…

We officially hit the road, and our first stop was to see the majestic Niagara Falls…Their vastness and beauty inspired us to see the hand of the master craftsman…we were in awe at the sheer beauty of hundreds of thousands of gallons of rushing water carving the landscape… while you feel so insignificant and yet know that the same Creator took such great care to craft us and still cares for all of our needs.. Such beauty deserves to be preserved for generations to come and I for one am glad that movement in the mid-1800’s led by Frederick Law Olmsted(best known for his work of Central Park) gave way to the preservation and bringing back the beauty that we see now…

So if you get a chance make your way to this “wonder of God’s creation” and feel the cool mist… you will never feel quite the same after you do…