Carolyn Stephenson – 1994

Standing in the middle of nature's beauty awakens me to the love of God's masterpiece-Earth, Man, and the Heavens.

The earth and its many riches that God put forth before us are here for all to see and enjoy. From the majestic Tetons of Wyoming to the luscious green hills of North Carolina; from the cool wet breeze blowing from the California coast to the hot damp nights of the Florida Keys, from the dry Texas plains to the snow capped mountains of Colorado; from the gigantic waterfalls of Yosemite to a minute trickle of the Mississippi headwaters.

Feeling the beauty God put before us is like absorbing the warmth of the bright sunlight shining down on our bodies. No one needs to express anything; the feeling of being amidst of it all is enough.

Man, in himself, is a mystery. How do all the pieces work in this body of ours so precise and so perfect? How does our brain convey messages to other parts of our body? Could it be that the brain is like a programmed VCR set in advance? Could our heart be a communication device which God holds in His hands? Could the voice we hear in our head be coming from God? So many questions, so confusing, but maybe that's the way God wants it to be until He calls us home.

The heaven above us highlights the beauty God gave us. It reigns over the kingdom God meant it to be. If only the heavens could talk and tell everyone that God wants only for us to love Him and have inner peace. He put all of this beauty before us to love, enjoy, and take care of and to love one another.

That's what a vacation means to me; to be able to get away from the rat race and the daily hectic schedule of life and feel the presence of God within me.

I look at the great waterfalls of Yosemite and hear the power of minute water drops joining together to make one voice. I look up at the giant redwood trees and see history play before my eyes. I look beyond the huge Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and feel so small. I scan the heavens and hope to see some sign that God knows I am here. I look down at the ground and watch an ant struggle with a piece of bread. I behold the beauty of rock formations in the deserts of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. I listen to the winds blowing across the plains and the deserts, through the forests, and over the oceans carrying a message. Live your life and make other people feel loved; life is simple and so short. Enjoy it and your loved ones, because once it is gone, you can't bring it back nor take it back. Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.