I have been blessed with many opportunities in my life and I have been blessed with experiences that have made me into the person that I am today.
It is all too easy to let life slip by.
Chaos of day to day life takes away the joy of our true purpose.
As I was drudging through a particularly stressful time lately, a passing thought made me stop and remember how truly beautiful life is and how truly beautiful my life is.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many different people in my life, from all walks of life.
One person in particular allowed me a weekend that has forever engraved itself in my mind.
Cedar Vale, Kansas is a small dot on a map in the middle of nowhere.
A town embraced by the simple life.
A drive to town took half an hour, pumpkin pies were homemade by blue collar hands, steaks on the table came from a cow that used to roam the land out the front door and the only place in town to enjoy the nightlife was Norm's.
Years ago, I visited a family in Cedar Vale who were the proud owners of a 5000 acre ranch that boasted cattle, cats, dogs, 14 horses and a blind white pet cow named "Baby".
Life started on the flat dirt roads that led to the ranch and continued into the rolling hills where the cattle roamed.
Life was peaceful and simple.
Simple pleasures came from practicing how to rope and ride.
Throwing a lasso was a skill and learning how to tie a proper knot extended far beyond the reaches of the laces of a shoe.
The wind always blew across the open land and I swear the sun touched the earth out past the barn, right near the edge of the ranch.
Nothing was more relaxing than riding in the cab of a truck, counting cattle and delivering feed while looking in amazement into the eyes of each simple creature we encountered.
The most touching moment of that trip came on the first morning after arriving in Cedar Vale. Unlike living in suburbia, there were no blinds or shades on the windows of the bedroom in which I slept.
The sound of the wind crept through my mind as I drifted off to sleep the night before and God's pure beauty surrounded me as I woke.
When I opened my eyes on that first morning, outside of the bedroom window stood Strawberry Roan, one of the most beautiful horses that I have ever seen.
The horse stood so very still as the sun shone down, glinting off the dew on the ground.
My breath caught as I was looking into the face of a horse whose soul was pure and heart was open.
There was nothing more simplistic or beautiful than waking to find God's work so eloquently placed right before my eyes - as if I were staring at a picture painted by an angel.
I often wonder what became of that ranch that held so much beauty, the amazing family, their dog Pedro, the cats, horses and most of all, Baby and Strawberry Roan.
As we continue on through our daily journey's, may we find the time to cherish the moments where God is so near.
Those times when we are sure that there will never be any greater or more beautiful moment in life.
Although, I have seen this world from the top of snow covered mountains and I have seen this world from the top of mountains as waves crashed onto beaches silently below, there have been just two moments in my life that have topped the beauty of that morning in Cedar Vale, Kansas.
The first being the birth of my beautiful son
the second being the birth of my beautiful daughter.
We celebrate the beauty of my daughters' life today.
May God bless us and protect us and allow our moments of pain, grace and beauty to be purposeful and bring comfort and joy to those who may cross into our paths.
With sincere love, gratitude, appreciation and thanks for your support over the last three years,