Beauty All Around

The Elliotts at the Reno, NV Temple
One of my favorite hymns is "Love at Home." It opens with the simple truth, "There is beauty all around, when there's love at home."

The past couple of weeks, I have been traveling through five different states, not including the one I started in. Each had different climates, different landmarks and features, different vegetation and wildlife. But as I traveled with my young family, we truly did discover beauty all around. In every state, every town, every little stop along the way. While there were parts that weren't our favorites, we found far more places with beauty than not.

Traveling with young children can certainly be tough. There's not a whole lot they can do by themselves yet, and sometimes they're not quite at the same ability level you are, though they can surprise you. There were moments of frustration, tantrums, and arguments. But more often than not, our young children were enthusiastic, joyful, and loving. It helped make our long vacation less worrisome than might have been. We enjoyed several "firsts" together and discovered new talents.
Gail rock climbing

Ben rock climbing

Gary rock climbing
Church in Laramie, WY

We made a point to go to church at least for Sacrament meeting each Sunday we were traveling. That hour-long break from the car to commune with our Savior and Heavenly Father, along with the fellowship of other church-goers, was a blessing to our family. It helped us discover beauty all around as each of us was able to take a moment to refill our spiritual lamps.

During the family reunion portion of our vacation, I was asked to give a spiritual thought. If I'd done more than skimmed my emails, I would have had a good amount of notice. As it happened, I had about five minutes to quickly think of something profound. My mind went to each of the places we'd visited. As we explored these various parts of the country, it struck me that no matter where we went, we found places of beauty. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us a truly beautiful world.

Statue of Adam and Eve - North Visitor Center, Temple Square
In the first chapters of Genesis, we learn of the six creative periods, or days, in which God directed the creation of the world. I looked around at the beautiful mountains, I remembered the caves, the gorgeous sunsets, the amazing wildlife. Each of these elements of our world took a creative period. Our Father created the Heavens, the earth, the plants, the animals, the mountains and valleys, all of it. And then He took a day to create us. He spent an entire creative period on His children.
This beautiful world we've been given is a treasure. We are the stewards placed here to tend and care for this earth. Throughout it all, our loving Creator watches over us and teaches us how, if we're willing to listen. But we are also His creations. Each of us is a son or daughter of God. He knows us. He loves us. And He takes joy in us as we strive to live our best lives.
Ten Years and Counting...

A thought I had later after I'd given my little talk:
From Genesis 1:31 - And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
When God saw us, He knew then that we were good. That, perhaps more than anything, gives me strength and courage to keep going when things are tough. When God created me, when He created you, He saw us and beheld that we were very good. And I firmly believe that as He looks upon us now, He still believes we are good. We are very good.


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