Solo and Silent… Waiting and Delay, part 2

Driving in the desert is unlike any other place. Long – vast – uninterrupted horizon – skies that stretch beyond the edges of the earth. Barren and beautiful, it opens up in front of you with subtle detail. Sage and cactus, old washes with sandstone sides, brutal pitches of solid rock and flat-topped mesa’s the size of a small city. It looks and feels like the end of the world, the furthest reach of life. All of it clinging like a thread to survive. Cold and Hot, dry and dusty, it howls with the windswept cry of its isolation and fatigue.desert

Quite a metaphor for life.

How often do we find ourselves driving through a ‘desert’ of existence? How far do we travel on the two lane ribbon of asphalt, wondering if we’re going to make it?

God is in the desert places of our lives. It is in these vast unbroken stretches of existence that He longs to have us come near. To shut off the noise of our existence and simply ‘be’ with Him.

I found myself in such a place and in such a state. Driving for hundreds of miles… Solo and Silent. Waiting for a word from God. A whisper of divine affirmation, a word of encouragement or even correction. Anything to block the nearly silent sadness of my heart.

In these moments I let go. Somewhere between Grand Canyon and Phoenix I decided to stop figuring it all out. To stop calculating and striving, to rest and release my worry and my pain. Somewhere in the desert God touched my heart and made it new again.

Truth began to bubble up in me. Words of insight and understanding. Helpful and encouraging it captured my struggle and restored my hope. Perspective gained in a lonely vigil.

Here are a few of His thoughts that shaped me in the desert;

“The transformation is slow and steady as we move from hopeful to grateful to desperate in our pursuit of Gods voice and presence. It realigns our lives from the inconsistent and extreme to the steady and serene. The obstacles, crisis and tragedies encountered along the way become the building blocks of a divine nature that’s expanding and changing who we are from the inside out. No longer dependent on external conditions for our hope and happiness we find ourselves able to go further in faith than ever before. Not because of our strength or wisdom… But because we have abandoned the familiar safety of a life we can control, for the will of God.” 

“Personal Purity & Holiness are not irrelevant in the shadow of Christ’s grace. The maturing believer moves deeper with their personal intimacy and conviction to live for Christ alone. This movement inspired by the Holy Spirit pulls us away from the past / flesh towards the newness of life in Christ and fuels a growing desire to be more like Him than we want to remain as the old us!” 

“There is a significant difference between the superficial – external – vicarious – circumstantially based faith and the hidden – deep – internal – transformational faith that comes only at the cross of Christ. For the persistent follower of Jesus, the crucible of life becomes the forge of a white-hot faith developed in the ordinary – simple and unremarkable moments of daily living. It is in the choosing that we believe. It is in the believing that we grow and mature and expand.” 

“This process of “becoming” like Christ is not a complicated or convoluted path, it is rather a painfully simple series of determinations to trust God more than what we can see or feel. Designed by God to remove the dross of our inner man – it also nurtures the creation of a new heart that quietly begins to grow and glow in the darkness of our isolated existence.”  cropped-road-pic-roadtrip-instagram.jpg

I believe it was in the “waiting and delay” of my journey that I was able to hear and respond to God. I believe it was in the silence and isolation that I was able to face the issues and patterns of my old self that needed to be slayed. It is in these moments of alone that we grow.

Dear ones… trust where God leads . He knows what we need.

Pastor B.

Road Trip Revival – First stage… LAUNCH!

So… packing up for six, rounding up maps and distance projections, budgets for food and gas, lodging, and other stuff… it’s a chore to think a road-trip like this all the way through. Going almost seven thousand miles round trip is a journey, more pilgrimage than impulse… so it’s especially important to plan ahead.

Summer travel means tourists.

Tourists and the American west are synonymous.

This makes booking rooms in hotels along your route most strategic 🙂

We learned quickly that we would have to look ahead, plan our destination each morning and call ahead to confirm rooms as soon as we could each morning for us to have a chance at a decent (clean, non-bed bug infested, WI-FI enabled etc..) room that evening.

After confirming the vitals… we could focus on specific road routes, plan excursions and other touristy stuff after we knew for ‘sure’ where we would be sleeping. For parents and families, room arrangements are not as ‘critical’, modesty and privacy are much less important considerations… but for us, it was! Four girls, two boys and we would have to be careful to get two rooms with sleeping space for each of us.

Road Trip Revival

Road Trip Revival

That said… if you plan your travel and confirm the essentials, everyone can relax and enjoy the journey without the added stress of ‘finding’ hotel rooms at midnight… especially in the American North West as towns and options become very limited and VERY far apart! By saying ‘very’ I mean hundreds of miles sometimes in-between 🙂

A note on long haul vehicles … recommend highly a large SUV or Van. We rented an eight passenger, extended length Ford Expedition that worked fantastic! Unlimited mileage, brand new and state of the art features were wonderful, and all for about $700/week! It was a good option for us. (Courtesy of AVIS). If you already have such a grand ride, then use it for sure! Space is at a premium for a large group, so we limited luggage to 2 suitcases and it worked great. Everyone brought an additional personal backpack along with a pillow/blanket combo for travel comfort and entertainment.

Clothing... knowing we would be travelling from one extreme to another, we asked our road-trippers to bring a couple of layers of clothes, including a light jacket and sweatshirt/hoodie. Leaving in late July we had 100+F temps and high humidity, but heading for the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington… we knew things would get dry and cool before we got back. (Little did we know “how cool” it would get, but that’s for a later post 🙂

Food… okay, food is always a bit dicey. EVERYONE has their favorite, and EVERYONE has their most -unliked. My solution was to give each tween-teen a travel stipend for buying their own snacks along the way. That way we could all have what we liked and the pressure to find the ‘perfect’ snacks evaporated like dew in the desert 🙂 Woo-HOO! Problem solved and suddenly… we were just about ready to roll!

The gang... day one! Road Trip Revival

The gang… day one! Road Trip Revival

One more thing… as you prepare to launch any Epic Road Trip, be aware that God is in the mix. Prepare your road-trippers to experience God as you go. Simply put… give them a chance to ‘hear’ and ‘see’ God in the sights and sounds ahead. The way I did that ? I got everyone a simple notepad / journal to write down and or collect their thoughts. Even if no one takes the time to write stuff down… you’re creating the ‘context’ for each one to expect to hear from God.

That expectation is a crucial part of any road-trip. It allows the Holy Spirit to move and breathe, to instruct and encourage, to change our kids hearts from the extraordinary experiences they are sure to have.

So… NOW we’re ready to LAUNCH!

Load in 1pm. Missouri here we come…

When you least expect it…

 

God is always surprising me as a parent! He shows up and moves in my kids hearts when I least expect it.

Case in point… last weekend my three kids (17-19-20 years of age) were hanging out at home, electronically tethered to their mobile devices. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I offered take them to the park to join our churches youth group for an evening of Ultimate Frisbee and snacks. They talked and did the “well If you go, I’ll go too… I guess” back-and-forth eye-rolling discussion. In the end, all three jumped into my SUV as we picked up another teen friend and some Taco Bell along the way. I was not expecting much.

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee

When we arrived, we found the park deserted. It appeared we were the only ones there. Inwardly I fizzled…”Great. I finally get them to come to a youth night and it ends being them and dad with a dozen taco’s at an abandoned park”…’

We nosed around the pavilion and found a discarded blue Frisbee, so we started throwing the thing around and soon we were laughing and chatting it up. Caleb started running around – ended up goofing off and fell off a tire swing while snap-chatting with a friend. Then two other rather young kids (12 year olds) showed up with our youth pastor and I was now “officially” sure this rag-tag bunch was about to become another disaster statistic of a failed youth ‘night”.

We awkwardly talked and munched our fast-food border meal a bit, then decided to try to throw the Frisbee with everyone. If you’ve been keeping track, we now had eight total people to hope to play ultimate Frisbee.

That’s “just barely” enough.

Five minutes of explaining the rules of how to play, and we were “off” and literally “running”. It was a bit of a stretch to think we were actually going to make this night work out, I mean given the circumstances that’s a bit overly optimistic.

But something really weird happened, this little band of rag-tag teens and pre-teens started to get really involved. Against the odds and cultural norms of total apathy and social passivity, they began to work as 2 teams, encouraging one another and running with all they had to make the next “play” happen. not a fan - book pic

Before I knew it we had played for an hour. Exhausted and sweaty we took a break. Pastor Shane pulled out a small devotional from  “Not a Fan” , (a great book by Kyle Idleman) and shared a short discussion question as we wheezed to breathe.

They again surprised me as each of them took turns responding to the questions with authentic interest on the subject. Attentively listening as they lingered over the ideas and contributed to the overall conversation with insightful questions and engaging observations. Gone were the one-syllable – one word answers so common to youth group culture replaced by an open, vulnerable and frank group discussion as they honestly shared personal feelings and fears.

I almost fell off my picnic bench.

Right in front of my eyes God was moving in this group of oddly matched 7 grade kids and early college aged, young adults. They were being drawn together by something I couldn’t see or understand. This had to be the “Holy Spirit” moving in and around our little Frisbee band of misfits and working to draw them into a closer relationship with each other and their faith.

Something beautiful and oh so un-expected.

It reminded me of how pointless it is for me to “predict” or “plan” for moments with my kids to experience God. Instead, its in the little things we do and the small steps of faith we take that God seems to relish showing up to exceed our expectations… and always at the oddest of times.

This summer dear parents, be careful to watch for and respond to the small nudges of God’s spirit. It may be a routine event – or a sudden inspiration to go and do things with your gang that may seem very insignificant on the surface. It’s in those acts of faith we may find some great and defining moments for our kids lives, we don’t want to miss them.

Peace out, Pastor B.

January 2013 RoadTrip Final thoughts…

After a wonderful day trip through the rugged and snow packed Glacier National park in Canada, we stopped for an afternoon of snowmobiling in Golden, BC where “Flying Father Brian” made another appearance on a sun drenched afternoon on the backside of Yoho National Park… by sunset we reluctantly decided to wind our way south Wet N Wild Snowmobiling in Golden BC back towards Idaho and the good ol’ USA.

We had truly enjoyed a three-day run of Canadian beauty in its most epic demonstration… right in the middle of one of their legendary winters. Cold, clear and crisp… the weather and snow and beauty all combined to win our hearts once again.

We left, but only with the sad and heart-sick expressions that accompanies leaving someone you truly love. Oh Canada…how I long for you! Some things in life are indescribable and the absolutely breath-taking beauty of the snow-covered Canadian Rockies is one of them…

Compared to our adventures in Canada last year (2012 RoadTrip) we were overwhelmed. The cold, gray – foggy filled days of last January can’t even be considered in the same breath as the blue skies and crystal clear views we shared this year. It was like black and white, sadness and hope… completely opposite experiences, but in the same exact places.

Glacier NP - and the Majesty of Canada

Glacier NP – and the Majesty of Canada

God was talking to us… I believe He was hinting to us to consider re-visiting the dark and foggy places of our lives. The places we have been before, but eventually had to leave disappointed, discouraged and downtrodden from the experience.

I believe God was hinting to us of the promise just ahead and for us to trust Him one more time and try again. To give 2013 a chance, to trust Him to exceed our expectations and to enjoy the amazing difference that light can make on the darkest and saddest of places in our hearts. To get back up and risk the possibility of disappointment one more time. Except this time… it may well hold the key to an amazing encounter with something beautiful beyond description. Like Canada in the wintertime of 2013 was for us or throwing the net one more time was for Peter and the risen Christ Jesus at the sea of Galilee…

The drive out of Canada was hauntingly beautiful as we watched the skies darken and the glow of gold and orange and purple fading to black as we moved steadily south… it seemed to take extra time tonight as if Canada was delaying her goodbye and dragging out her gift of golden beauty for just a few more moments. It was fitting and kind of her to do so.

Goodbye Canada!

Goodbye Canada!

We crashed at quaint mountainside town we knew well from last year… Sandpoint ID. Beautiful, hip and serene on the edge of one of the great northwestern fresh lakes in America. (Lake Pend Oreille) Sandpoint is a great base for families to stay at and offers four seasons of great outdoor adventure and lots of dining/shopping options for the ladies and kids.

Sunrise from the Edgewater Hotel

Sunrise from the Edgewater Hotel

Beaches and clear water, skiing and hunting, hiking and horseback riding…this town really does have it all. I recommend the Best Western Edgewater, nestled downtown & directly on the shore. In the winter they have great rates, spacious rooms and an amazing view overlooking the mountains and lake.

Rising early and braving some lingering morning mountain fog, we headed south through the heart of Idaho on our way back to Salt Lake City. The terrain changed as often as the hours on our digital clock and we enjoyed the smooth transitions of high mountain lakes to rolling hills and farms to high desert valleys and winding rivers. We chugged down Hwy 95 and took the eastern spur of Hwy 55 into the rugged interior of Idaho and enjoyed the alpine lakeside views of the city of McCall, ID. A beautiful and family friendly resort town on the edge of paradise. ( I hope to re-visit there soon)

Out of time, we pushed on south via Hwy 55 via the back roads and were treated to an amazing sunset display of the old west… gorgeous golden shades of sunlight filtered in from the silhouettes of the hills and mountains as we slowly descended into the familiar sights of Boise. We pushed on with a five-hour night run to Salt Lake City and our ride back to Nashville the next day.

Southern Utah - Jan 13'

Southern Utah Road

We awoke to find ourselves in the middle of the Mormon homeland and a hazy smog like atmosphere that resembled LA. Weird ? We puttered around the southern hills of Provo and the outer bands of the ski-resort traffic as we processed all that we had seen on this trip. Words fail me… but thankfully we have pictures.

I encourage you to take a chance and get out to drive, take your spouse or a friend…but go discover your own path to refreshment, to find your own Canadian Rockies equivalent. To set yourself apart for a day or a week and ask God to show up and speak with you like He always does for us. I promise you it’s worth every effort!

Happy 2013 RTP and may God richly bless each and every one of you and your precious families in the year ahead.

Pastor B.

January RoadTrip – Crazy Canadians

Heading North we cruised through Idaho and Western Montana without a hitch. Blue sky, cold temps and clear vista’s keep re-setting after each turn as we gazed at the beauty of God’s handiwork all around us and our two lanes of private driving.  We traveled through valley after valley, crossing from west to east on Idaho Hwy 75 and then headed North winding off and on interstates and highways until we ran low on gas and energy.

Canada on Hwy 93 Northbound into Narnia!

Canada on Hwy 93 Northbound into Narnia!

We refueled in Missoula MT at a  Gas & gambling casino place with a sort of attached McDonalds …right off of I-90. After fresh cups of hot coffee and French fries we tuned in the football playoffs and listened in agony as Denver lost in OT and Peyton Manning’s comeback miracle year ended as abruptly as the daylight faded on our road.

Winding our-way north we drove the twisting and black as pitch highway 93 to Whitefish MT on the way to the Canadian border. By 9pm it looked and felt like it was midnight and we were ready for a warm meal and a cheap place to crash. We found the cheap place to crash easy enough, but the town of Whitefish it seems was packed! I mean no parking downtown as the locals and tourists and skiers had all converged on the four or five block square that was crowded with modern cafe’s, high-end restaurants and honky-tonk bars with an Après’ ski air. This town was hopping.

We finally crammed into a compact parking spot and dove into the first restaurant without a waiting line and it turned out to be AWESOME. Latitude 48 was the name and it was amazing. Fresh, reasonable fare with amazing service and a great old west – meets modern world vibe. Highly recommend. 5 stars from us ! The loaded potato soup and home-made pasta’s were magnificent and we were tired and hungry and deeply appreciative. It seemed that God was determined to exceed our every expectation, even in the tiniest of details.

Bow Valley Peaks - Jan 13' RoadTrip

Bow Valley Peaks – Jan 13′ RoadTrip

Dawn was cold, crisp and very January in its grip. -2F and rosy-tinted as we drove early and fast out of Whitefish, eager to be gone and on our way to the Canadian world of mountains and winter wilderness perfection. We crossed the border at Roosville and as far as we could see, were the only commuters that day. No one else was waiting or in front of us, behind us etc… we had the crossing all to ourselves and the gracious Canadian border agents who took our passports, asked their probing questions and sent us on our way in short order.

We had arrived. Finally!

Canada in the winter and the sky was clear. What a treat we were about to unwrap! Last year we had made a very similar trek from Spokane WA to Jasper Alberta and had seen less than nothing with nearly constant fog & dense cloud layers had completely blocked out the beauty. This year, we were optimistic that the clear skies would last and hopefully stretch north enough to allow us a glimpse of our sacred Canadian Rockies…to finally see them as they were meant to be seen. I could picture them in my mind…robed in powdery white layers of alpine majesty, as regal in their misty crowns of ice and snow as any queen could be.

We were NOT disappointed.

One word on the crazy Canadians. They are absurdly nice, polite and gracious without any hint of exasperation, impatience or anger at any of our rude American ways. They also have no ice. Funny, with so much cold around them, it wouldn’t seem that cubed ice would be an issue for a drink, but I be dad-gum, they don’t have it. I would have to suffer on… no ice for my tea and no cubes for my Diet Cokes. Crazy.

Clothed in White Wonder...Oh Crazy Canada Eh?

Clothed in White Wonder…Oh Crazy Canada Eh?

By noon we were fully embraced by the beauty and wonder of the Canadian world and my anger at their lack of ice-cubes completely forgotten. This was worth any inconvenience. We drove North along Canadian Hwy 93 all the way to Radium Hot Springs and then across Kootenay National Park into Bow Valley and within sight of Banff and Lake Louise.

We had arrived and I was suddenly very jealous of those crazy Canadians.

The sun was high, the sky was blue and everywhere we looked a glittering white diamond display was reflecting back. Off of the billions of ever-green trees, off of the glacier fed lakes and streams, off of the roads and hills, and mountain peaks…off of the rocks and roofs and houses, two and three feet thick… snow was as abundant as sand on a beach.

We had arrived in Narnia and the travel brochure had totally under-estimated the impact. WOWEE EH?

It seems God is just like that… He promises to meet our every need, He promises to be faithful and true and just, and so often we brace for the reality, that when we reach the end of the road, when our destination is in sight… we’re so afraid to be disappointed.

God in some ways; is like the Canadian Winter Wilderness. No one can describe its/His beauty; No one can capture it/Him in a  hi-res picture or painting and no one can adequately explain all of its/His amazing details and sense of true wonder; Just like our God. He exceeds ALL our expectations and He keeps on surprising us with how well He knows our hearts and the desires of our hearts. Thank you God for caring enough to be personal and intimate with each and everyone of your children.

Tomorrow, Day 4&5 and finding out if Father Brian really can fly ? 🙂

Dad’s,Daughters and Prom…

Prom was last saturday evening …

Bethany Rose (my 17-year-old) was buzzing, flittering around the house all day saturday… feet just a few inches off the ground. Her dress had been meticulously picked, hair and makeup tastefully prepared and her dazzling rhinestone high-heel sandals carefully ordered. No detail had been overlooked. Prom was here and Bethany was coming alive. Her plans included a dress up dinner with several couples and then a visit to the TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) to see a CS Lewis play with her date. They both chose to skip the parties and the dances and the strobe lights for something a bit more cerebral, a bit more intimate. Good for them!

Jessica was even more subdued… with only a few weeks of High School left in her life, her view of Prom was more sedate, more contemplative…more elusive. Her plan was to take the time to spend on a picnic with her date, over take out chinese and a viewing of Titanic far removed from the hype and hustle of a flashy prom. Exactly what I expected of her. Practical, simple and romantic to the core.

My wife Paige was doing pretty good, usually calm and laid back… Paige could get a bit stressed with things like this. I could feel her tensing as the moment was drawing closer… “be sure and be back by 3pm she said, that’s when Matthew will be here for pictures… ” as I raced out the door with my 14-year-old son, in search of electronics and saturday guy stuff.. my mind was a bit confused?

Pictures?

Prom pictures…did that mean all dressed up and going out like adults with a boyfriend… kind of pictures? I swallowed hard, but pushed the emotion down a bit as I sped out the door with Caleb. Ohhkay… still puzzled and disturbed a bit by the idea…

I was bluntly caught off guard by the beauty of my daughters when I returned, I was not prepared for the emotional impact of facing the reality that Prom brings… the truth that they were not “little” any longer. Where had the time gone? …  as the moment arrived, it was surreal. I found my mind was thick with confusion, shock and some pride… almost gushing as the young man at the door smiled brilliantly at me when I answered the door… He was standing excitedly with his flower corsage proudly displayed while I was drawn to the perfectly matched blue shade of his dapper bow tie and tuxedo jacket…to compliment my daughters sapphire dress.

Bethany Rose, my munchkinaroo was going to Prom. I numbly let the poor guy in, tried to engage a little small talk, but it was clear, dad was no longer the apple of his little girls eye… I watched as they prepared to go, pictures in the house, pictures out back in the garden, pictures on the way… pictures, pictures and more pictures.

Jessica quietly slipped out a few hours later to meet her young man and head for their sunset picnic and movie. Her beauty and grace evident in her simplicity and presence as she promised to send us a text if they were running late. We were clear in our understanding that this was how she would most love to remember her senior year… not at a dance or a fancy dinner, but with reflection and contemplation on her terms.

I sighed and watched them both go in their unique and special ways… turned to my wife of 20+ years and said… “I love you“. No long discussion, just a intimate and firm hug we shared and the profound presence of real peace in our home… our daughters were all grown up…I was reflecting silently with her about this age and stage of life and how gracious things had turned out for us as a family.

God had blessed us with two very special daughters, both healthy, strong and smart. Capable of embracing life…of influencing others and remaining focused on their faith and their principles and the truth of life beyond the status quo. More than I deserved, more than I could have ever hoped for… more than I had dreamed could be..

It reminded me afresh… God is faithful, in my life, in my family’s life in your life. No matt er how hard or difficult your life has been, no matter the struggle with your kids, your marriage your ministry…The years of  pain and sacrifice and delay to put our marriage and our kids first, to share life with them…to surrender my will for Gods… those were all just distant memories now, the return on the investment the best I’ve ever made.

Prom could have been a disaster, a dangerous, drunken and painful coming of age moment, but for us; Prom was an exclamation point on the power of redemption and hope and grace. Something we may have wondered about when they were both 13 or 14 years of age… when hormones and life and immaturity and circumstances had us almost convinced to withdraw and let the teen years be an emotional hurricane for us to barely survive, not interact with and help shape.

Thank God we didn’t.

Neither should you…

Jude verse 24-25 (ESV) says this… “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen

Paige, Brad, Jessica, Bethany and Caleb Mathias….

Talking with kids about the death of bin-Laden…

Everyone knows by now… confirmed by President Obama, Osama bin Laden is dead. The world reacts…, many with jubilation, some with fear and others with resentment. Almost ten years later, a chapter is finally closed for many Americans.

But how are we as Christian parents to respond ?

I wouldn’t dare presume to tell you how to answer the questions certain to come from your kids about this, but here are some things to consider.

1- Osama bin-Laden was an evil man, guilty of great acts of terror and injustice. His involvement with the murder of thousands on 9-11 has symbolized the hatred and pain of millions around the world. His capture and death represents justice for those he murdered and threatened and maimed.

2- The price of Freedom is high, and with the death of Osama bin-Laden, it is clear that Americans may face more threats and even future attacks, but the principles of Justice and Freedom remain. Those values and beliefs demand that  we proceed in actively protecting ourselves against such violent men and their obvious evil. Regardless of the threat of further danger or acts of terror, we cannot live controlled by fear and avoid confronting evil… or the principle of terror wins.

3 – God is a  God of Justice. There are many in-justices in our lives, many wrongs. But in the end it is the Christian’s belief and hope that there is a personal God who is aware, and involved and concerned. It is the way of God to bring justice to the oppressed and to bring freedom to those in captivity. The nearly ten-year man-hunt for bin-Laden that resulted in his death is symbolic of the Christians belief in the relentless nature of God’s justice. It may take years, or decades before it is seen, but God is indeed at work behind the scenes, righting every wrong and redeeming every loss.

4- Hatred is always a temptation that must be resisted. As a Christian, we are commanded to love our friends and our enemies. That love is impossible to create on our own, but comes from the deepest understanding of our own fallen nature and God’s willingness to forgive our own sins. Our kids need to know, forgiveness is essential to seek in the face of being wronged by others. That does not mean we ignore the need for  Justice or the divine nature and inspiration of our law and order. It does mean that we as parents should model forgiveness and wisdom in our own responses to personal injustice and  conflict.

In the end, this story is a powerful reminder of the nature of justice and perseverance and good overcoming evil. It is a story of villans and heroes, of sacrifice and loss and of justice and redemption. It is our personal and national story and we must be willing and proud to share it with the next generation so the lessons are not lost and the truth is always in front of us.

Parents, God bless you in your struggle to help your families follow after the faith and values you hold so dear. Here is to “keeping it on the road and in-between the lines” !

Peace out,

brad.