Friday we went to the Jacksonville Zoo. When I asked Lyla what animals she wanted to go see, she told me she wanted to see the giraffes, otters, and snakes. She got her wish as we stopped to see all her favorite animals. When Lyla decides to pose for a picture she is the cutest thing on planet earth (ok, she's always he cutest thing on earth). She wraps her arms around whoever is near her, smiles really big, and says, "cheese."
The 4th of July was packed full of fun times. We started our day with a birthday party for Lyla's friend Noah, who just turned one. As with most children's parties, this involved chasing Lyla around as she tried to get her hands on everything. After the party we headed over to our landlord's house to relax in his pool. Lyla tried out her new pair of floaties. She is such an independent little girl. As soon as she figured out that she could stay afloat without our help, she preferred to be left to her own devices instead of having us hold her. After a lovely dinner of grilled foods (after all, it was the 4th of July) we headed over to enjoy our friend's firework display. Lyla wasn't really sure what to think of it. She went back and forth from saying, "ooh, that's cool" to screaming, clinging to my neck and saying, "it's ok, daddy's got you."
Yesterday was Vanessa and my sixth wedding anniversary. Sometimes its hard to believe that so much time has gone by and other times it feels like ages since we sat on a train in Thailand talking about what we felt Father was calling us to do. It truly has been an amazing six years. I've been blessed to have such an incredible wife. She is sooooo different from me and that is exactly what I need. She is my biggest encouragement and also the one who gives me a good kick in the pants when needed, which can be quite often. I think that all we've gone through together, from our time overseas, to walking through the heartache of losing her brothers, to learning how to be parents has drawn us closer together than I ever imagined possible. I probably don't say it enough, but I am so thankful that Father brought her into my life.
I was reading in the bathroom this morning (yes, I'm a bathroom reader and I'm proud of it) and I came across this quote from CS Lewis that I thought was spot on.
"I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a good bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity."It seems like to many Christians, especially in the U.S., have forgotten that Jesus calls us to "Take up your cross and follow me."