Christmas 2016 at the Grand Canyon

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grand_canyon_1

With my move to the United Kingdom drawing near (one week!), my family decided it was quite important to have one last good gathering before I left America. So we did the most American thing I can think of doing: we went to the Grand Canyon. Eighteen inches of snow, seven days, nine adults, three kiddos, two cars, one cabin, and a canyon made for an exciting week! With a Griswold-esque twenty-four hours in Las Vegas thrown into the mix, this vacation was as wonderful and chaotic and educational as it sounds. So here are five thousand photos of our wild ride for your enjoyment...

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grand_canyon_3

I won't even try to capture any profound thoughts about the Grand Canyon because too much description just sort of ruins the thing. I'll readily admit that the timeline of the Earth is a mystery to me, but I do know for certain that a mighty God formed that gorgeous expanse of orange-pink peaks and crevasses, in part, simply to dazzle His beloved ones. We are so small and creation is so big and God is infinitely bigger, but He still wants to woo us... little, tiny us! May no sunset, shooting star, snowfall, or sonogram ever be lost on us. May we never marvel in vain, but rather transform our marvel into worship.

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grand_canyon_4

We took a festive, throwback of a train ride to the "North Pole" so the little ones could meet Santa Claus. We sang and laughed and got weirded out by the overly zealous dancing train employees. I can imagine few happier experiences than being on a twinkle-light-spangled, Christmas-carol-filled train with the eleven people I love most on this earth. During our time together, I was seized with several twinges of "Why are you abandoning this life?! Why would you willingly leave these people, even for two years?". That was not an easy panic to quench. So I am offering this as an act of worship to my Jesus: I love these Wolves beyond words, but Christ and His gospel are worth leaving what is most precious to me. My sacrifice is pitifully small compared to the sacrifice of most believers, but it is what I have to give today. Tomorrow may require more.

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grand_canyon_5

The crown jewel of the trip was the news of Jay and Katherine's miracle baby coming in July of 2015! We were gathered around a warm, rugged stone fireplace in the lobby of the Bright Angel Lodge on the south rim of the Grand Canyon when James handed my mom a tiny stocking stuffed with a piece of paper. Confused, she opened the paper to reveal a sonogram of the most beautiful fetus I have ever seen! God is good and we are overjoyed. If you're not familiar with Jay and Katherine's story, visit hopeheals.com to better understand the magnitude of this blessing!

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train-gif

Only 25% of us got a stomach virus and there were no major injuries, so we're gonna call this one a success! Merry Christmas and Happy 2015, friends!

Fishing with Glory

I've been away from home (in both the physical and figurative meanings of the word) for quite a while now. Mostly that's a good and exciting thing, but today I need a little dose of home. Tonight I'm revisiting a happy August evening spent teaching my niece the art of fishing, a lesson which devolved into flower picking. That's quite okay though because the flower picking was pretty darn cute.

I'm blessed to have a home and a family to miss. This one's for you, Wolves.

glory_fishing_collage
glory_fishing_collage

A Delightful Person: Johnny Simmons

johnny_collage
johnny_collage

johnny [ james ] simmons

the [story]: Johhny is my cousin and, therefore, a built-in buddy with whom I share a family, lots of DNA, and many happy memories.

your [soundtrack]: "The Nothing Song" by Sigur Ros

your [script]: Giant. Adaptation. Barry Lyndon. Anything Kubrick. Anything Paul Thomas Anderson.

your [library]: The Alchemist. Fabric of the Cosmos. The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged.

your [shade]: Black and red because they're legit.

your [inspiration]: Weird people. People who are passionate about what they do and can do.

your [mantra]: "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."  (Edgar Allen Poe)

you [love]: When my cat makes biscuits.

you [hate]: When someone cuts me off on the freeway and doesn't acknowledge it.

your [purpose]: To leave a good footprint on this place. I want the world to be a better place because I was here.

you [believe]: In the power of the individual.

your [influence]: No on in particular. Everyone has the power to teach you something.

you [admire]: Passion and individuality.

your [escape]: Watching Planet Earth.

your [fondest memory]: Getting Peggy, my dog.

your [perfection]: Imperfection.

your [challenge]: Time.

you'd [meet]: No one really. I guess I'd like to meet Paul Thomas Anderson, but I think sometimes it's best for heroes to remain elusive and just out of reach.

your [shining] moment: My mom and dad coming on set on my first shoot.

your [aspiration]: To be me.

your [wildest] dream: Working as an actor.

your [childhood ambition]: Acting.

your [dream destination]: Africa.

your [pet peeve]: Smacking when eating.

your [vice]: E-cigs and Jersey shore.

your [site]: translightproductions.com

your [last purchase]: Burt's Beeswax.

your [surprise]:  I had a hernia as a baby.

your [origins]: Alabama & Texas. I love the people there. They will give you the shirt off their back.

your [current location]: Shooting a film in Los Angeles about the Stanford prison experiment.

you [are]: Why?

johnny, you are fire. you are not afraid to let the terrible and wonderful beauty of this world consume you. i've encountered few people who have followed their dreams as recklessly and relentlessly as you have, and that pursuit is nothing short of inspiring. your bright eyes drink in this wild planet, your tender heart stores up this strange journey, and your clever mind craves more of this gorgeous life. thank you for being a tinkerer, a thinker, an artist, and a pioneer. i'm thoroughly convinced the world needs more creatures like you. sometimes, you're almost too bright to behold. i treasure and adore you greatly, johnny. keep burning, you brilliant boy. 

you [are] delightful.