25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

White House made of Lego bricks, Legoland, California

Happy 4th of July, friends!

There’s this one DIY/home decorating blog that I love, even though this blogger’s home looks the polar opposite of mine. Seriously. She has 4 kids, and yet she decorates in white.

And yet it looks beautiful. Her blog is Tidbits-Cam.com,  and if you want to be inspired by photos of sheer beauty (who doesn’t?), give her a visit.

Today on her blog, she is showcasing inspiring patriotic images, and I liked it so much I decided to do my own version of that post.

So I give you 25 photos of America the Beautiful.

Since we’ve lived all over the U.S. of A., we have seen first hand just how gorgeous our country is, and I wanted to share that here today.

All photos are my own, except for a few that Aunt Janet provided.


25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Lego Mount Rushmore, Legoland, California

Go ahead and get that song in your head. “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesties…”


25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

near Yosemite, California


25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Half Dome, Yosemite, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Yosemite, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

a day at the ballpark

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

White House, 2012

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th


25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Sea to shining sea…I don’t actually remember which ocean this is.

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Look closely. Many of those rocks are actually sea lions laying on rocks. Monterey Bay, California

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Alexandria, Virginia

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

Alexandria, Virginia

25 Inspiring Photos of America the Beautiful for July 4th

One of my all time favorites. Not only was he making snow angels, but you can see all the places he’d already walked, just like the way the Family Circus comics show foot-paths traveled by Billy. So cute!

Climbing trees are a bonafide part of childhood.


Carmel Valley, California, photo by Janet

Carmel Valley, California, photo by Janet

Monterey, California, photo by Janet

youth, photo by Amy Driscoll

on the road again

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Cliff Dwellers, Colorado

Disney World, Florida


Billy Graham’s “The Cove” in North Carolina, photo credit The Cove

I count it one of my greatest blessing to have lived in so many different parts of this country. It truly is America, the beautiful.

Happy 4th of July to you all!


Cross Country Road Trip 2016: The Man Show

cross country road trip

This beautiful lone cypress (a trademark of Carmel/Monterey area) painting was a thank you gift to Alan for being a basketball and baseball and tee-ball coach. It was painted by a grandfather of boys on those teams. This artist was at almost every single game. Thank you so much, sweet friends!!

It’s purely a man show this time, y’all. Last time it was just Alan and me. This time it’s Alan, Joshua, and Caleb.They are crossing the country mostly on I-40 riding in a full cab pick-up truck with a camper-cover. Is that what you call those things? I don’t know.  It’s a truck with a hut built on it to keep your luggage dry.

If you follow Alan on Facebook, then I have no news for you because Alan used up his text message plan and I took these pics from Facebook. Don’t you think it’s time for him to upgrade to unlimited texts?

Day 1, Friday:

Morning–hung out with friends and cleared out of old house. This military housing office was very easy to work with. Highly recommend!

Afternoon–Drove to Las Vegas

Evening–stayed at Treasure Island Resort


breakfast in Vegas with friends

Day 2, Saturday:

Morning–Hung out with the same friends they hung out with on Friday. If you’ve been to our house in California this past year, then I’m sure you met Tom and Amy and family. We love these people.

Afternoon–Drove to the Grand Canyon, North Rim (because we saw the South Rim last time)


dinner at sunset, overlooking the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Evening–Go to bed early because boys are desperately sleep deprived after having so much fun with their friends and 2 sleepovers prior to the trip. (See, Alan could have made them sleep in the truck, but he is kind.)

Caleb has tried over and over again to get out of this road trip. He begged to fly with me and JD, but we insisted. There is no experience like seeing the American Southwest for yourself. We wanted him to experience seeing America, appreciate the great distances, and see the Grand Canyon.

I think it’s going quite well.

Last night Alan said this in an email:

And, April, please know that we actually are having fun. I may point out a bad thing or two that’s happened but it’s mostly “really cool”, “really awesome road trip”, “thanks, Dad”, …with an occasional “No, I meant, you and Josh fly with me to Georgia and then come back and get the truck!?!” Yea, he asked for that during a lull today…BUT, it’s not much at all of the trip.

Future Plans:

Last night Alan said, “We’re staying the night in Jacob Lake, AZ and tomorrow is 4 corners, Anasazi Cliff Dwellers in Mesa Verde and then…who knows!”

I’m so excited that they get to see the Anasazi Villages!!  That one was mine and Caleb’s request!!  Remember, I’m only not there because my hip went rogue this year and won’t let me sit for long periods. I am the kind of person that would LOVE to be on a cross-country road trip. In fact, I went last time, and I blogged about it.

Have you seen the Anasazi Villages? We learned about them in the Classical Conversations curriculum this year. We even memorized this song:

“The Anasazi of the Southwestern United Stated built adobe villages on the sides of the cliffs from 500 BC to 1200 AD.”

Want to see what they look like? Here’s a short YouTube video:

When I talked to them on the phone a few minutes ago, they’d already left Four Corners. Apparently, the line was an hour and a half long, so they just took photos and left. We are not line people. I also skipped the Liberty Bell a few years ago because eh, history is interesting and all, but waiting in line? How many things are really worth that?

Meanwhile, Dan, JD, and I are relaxing at my parents’ temporary house. Tomorrow I’m going to go polish my floors.

Wait. Did I say “my floors”?? That’s right! We take occupancy tomorrow!  We don’t have furniture until at least next weekend, but I’m just pleased as punch to not have to put my stuff in storage or live homeless like I did last time we moved!!

Yep. We are happy, happy, happy!

Want to read more Road Trip posts? See this list from last time!

Cross Country Road Trip: Days 2 &3




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The 9th Move: Empty Houses, “Bees”, and Good-byes


Sweet Home Alabama

I know you are probably expecting an update on the cross-country move. Well, all I can tell you is that:

my pretty new kitchen

my pretty new kitchen

1.) We are still negotiating repairs on our new house, which may end up delaying our move-in date. So so sad!! I’m choosing to hope for the best. Moving in July 1st or bust!!!

2.) JD and Dan are having trouble adjusting to the “bees”, and by bees, they mean GNATS.


He’s happy for a few moments, until the gnats start in on his sweaty face again.

and 3.) The big boys spent their last day in California playing with neighborhood friends and skateboarding while the movers are loading our truck. Caleb even got to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Monterey Aquarium with one of his best buds. (Thank you, Joy!!!)


Caleb and our sweet friends


Each time I looked down this street of mostly empty houses, the homes of my friends who all moved out a week before I did, I would feel that sad longing to live a regular life, where people only move occasionally, where you grow old with the same group of people.

Wouldn’t it be nice to say good-bye less often?

But that’s not our life. In our world, you don’t watch your kids grow up together. You spend a few years with each new friend, and then it’s on to the next town. And who knows what awaits us all there? We have only to trust God with our future because most of it is out of our control anyway.

Move-out week was hectic, but it ends suddenly, and before you know it, you are on new ground.

As I entered the health clinic of our new duty station, I found my way to the Tricare office. And I couldn’t help but think about how time has changed us. When we started this journey of military service, we were in our early 20s. Alan had finished his training and was ready to take on his first true duty assignment.

9th move

a very young us

At each new post, you have to go enroll in Tricare and have them assign you a doctor. Way back when we began, in a Texas installation, we stumbled in with clueless bravery and happiness. We were both timid and excited. It was all such an adventure. Well, Alan was the brave hard-charger. I was the timid one, probably asking to wait in the car.

But on this Tuesday, many moons later, I no longer feel timid. I called first. Why bother walking in there if the clinic doesn’t even have a Tricare office, I figured. I went without my husband, because I no longer need him to accompany me. Each post does things slightly differently though, so I had to figure this new one out. And when you do that, you have to inevitably provide a little background. Who are you? What do you need? Where are you coming from?

As it turns out, you now enroll on the phone, so that’s what I did. That’s new. But in the meantime, I asked the girl in the insurance office about the local system for health care. How are the doctors? Where’s the family clinic? Do you outsource for cardiology and pediatric neurology? I got my questions answered, and somehow it came up that I’ve moved 9 times already.


the 9th move

9 times. And suddenly I felt a bit like Tom Hanks in Castaway. You remember when he finally returns to civilization, after being stranded on that island for so many years? And they ask him questions, and it’s just like….where do you even begin to explain?

How do I explain? And people have begun to ask me how close we are to retiring from the military. Huh. How can this be? Where did the time go?

I can’t say that I do still feel like that 22-year-old girl, standing by the bus, hugging my soldier as he shipped out to Iraq because I don’t feel at all the same. I’m not the same. Alan is not the same. We are older, wiser, loaded down with children, far less emotional, and less extreme on all accounts. We are both hardened and softened, and we are nowhere near finished.


the first time I welcomed Alan home, 12 years ago

However, I am still just as ready to meet whatever comes our way as I was fourteen years ago.

Here’s to all the adventurers, the nomads, and the wanderers. May we always be learning, always seeking, and never shy away from the call of the ocean, or the Lord, or whatever calling it is that we follow on our path.

As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. The government only thinks they call the shots. But it was never so plain who truly directs our steps as it was the day that I sat in a doctor’s office, anxiously awaiting a doctor who had just explained to me that I needed medicine for my high blood pressure and racing heart. Stress was killing me. Right then, while the PA got my prescriptions signed off on by the doctor, I got a text from Alan.

That text said that Alan’s next job was taking us home!!!  Just when I needed that news most! I could see God’s fingerprints so clearly. We had not even asked for a respite from our wandering, and yet we’ve been given two years at home. This happened once before. I never dreamed it would happen again. That morning, I felt the essence of soaring on the wings of eagles.

…30Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not grow tired, They will walk and not become weary.   Isaiah 40:31

9th move

Daniel’s tee-ball team, coached by Alan, taking it in for one last huddle

Today Alan, Joshua, and Caleb say their good-byes. Dan, JD, and I await them down South. Good-bye sweet California friends. Thank you for being there for us through the hardest job I’ve ever had. Thank you for loving us when we needed it so badly.



Bring on the next adventure!


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