I enjoy the four seasons, I really do, especially Vivaldi’s. When it comes to the weather, I like it warm. Hot. Rarely is it ever too hot. I live in Utah. This week, Thanksgiving week, it is supposed to snow. Don’t get me wrong, I like snow. I even like to shovel snow. I just don’t like the cold that comes with the snow. I would enjoy the four seasons more in Aruba, where the average high temperature in November is 86ºƒ and the low temperature is 71ºƒ. Gentle breezes blow all year round and the temperature never varies by more than a few degrees.
I’ve been to Aruba.
I want to go back.
As our family gathers for the holidays, I give thanks for the warmth of home, family, food and abundant blessings. However, as the snow begins to fly, I will turn my electric blanket up and dream of warm Caribbean waters, tropical breezes and the white sands of Aruba. And, I will return, at least in my blog.
Pleasant shade trees abound on Rodgers Beach, Aruba.
The cool sand feels great at sunset in Aruba.
A couple watch the sunset at Palm Beach, Aruba.
A couple stroll along the beach in Aruba.
Anne sitting in a beach chair at Palm Beach, Aruba.
Consistent winds bend Arubian palms trees all year round.
At the southern tip of the island, Baby Beach has a number of pleasant palapas for shade.
Sunset at Palm Beach, Aruba.
The souther tip of Aruba features some deserted but rugged beaches.
A cool drink in the hot sun is never too far away in Aruba.
The sands of time seem to stop while relaxing in Aruba.
Fresh water showers have surfboard style in Aruba.
Come sail away…
Strong surf carves numerous rock bridges on the south shore of Aruba.
A secluded cove makes for a nice place to relax on the south side of the island.
I believe we are brothers and sisters, all of us, sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. I have not yet been to every country, but, I have been to every continent. I have found that kindness, love and compassion unite us regardless of political or religious belief. We are, all of us, one family.
So, when events transpire like that which took place in Paris last week, the ground beneath our feet quakes with the shaking of our collective faith. Anger burns, like bile, in the back of our throats and we want to do something, anything to stop the violence.
I acknowledge the existence of evil. There are those who would take without giving, lie without conscience, hurt without reason, compel without care and kill without remorse. Their numbers are growing.
The events of Paris are repeated regularly in places of less visibility, and we do not notice, except when these events touch the outskirts of our neighborhoods or reach the screens of our mobile devices.
Evil thrives when our faith in God and each other is diminished. Mistrust increases when our differences, rather than our similarities are emphasized. Fear takes root when acts of violence claim the lives of our friends and our children.
Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters give away their rights to make a difference as leaders of small and large countries tell us tales we should not believe. We do not build a better world when we ignore an approaching tsunami of self-interest.
September 11 should remind us of lessons taught, though not yet learned. The same God who made us all will not take from us the agency to choose our own paths. Our condemnation will grow from our reluctance to use this agency to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters. Evil grows in the cracks and crags of our own cowardice when we do not rise up to condemn and combat its growing influence.
And they suffer most who are not able to comprehend a world of cruel intent–the children. Yet, it is in the eyes of the children that I see hope. It is in the hearts of the children that I find love, and compassion, and the courage to be good.
I believe God loves us and that he has a plan for us. For some, this plan includes great deeds. For most of us, this plan includes simple acts of kindness. Wherever and whenever I travel, I see evidence of His plan in the eyes of our children.
While his little sister shyly watches, this African boy stands proud in his Adidas.
I met this girl in a little town in the mountains of Guatemala, near lake Atitlan. She wanted me to buy some fruit from her stand. How could I resist?
In the village of Yamoransah, Ghana, this little boy with the penetrating eyes followed us everywhere we went.
I met this little girl in a little village high the Peruvian Andes. The burdens she carries haunt me still.
Talofa lava–a young boy waves in greeting.
With bright eyes and a knowing look, this Sierra Leonean girl lets me take her picture.
It’s a big wide world outside the yurt near Ulan Bataar.
I know how he feels.
Three children snack on the way home from school in Hong Kong.
My daughter Rachel has strong opinions, bright ideas and a desire to change the world for the better.
The water tastes sweeter when the drinking fountain is 500 years old.
When I tried to take her picture, she would hide her face and then laugh. When I showed her pictures of her friends, she opened up enough to let take this photo.
Playing in the sand outside the Palace of Versailles
A wandering child returns as his mother waits patiently just outside Paris.
This teenager enjoys a field trip to the Plaza in Lima, Peru.
Sack lunches and school uniforms for this class in Lima, Peru.