As an added bonus, I got to spend some time with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and a few aunts and uncles - who all live in the Orlando area. It was my niece's first birthday on Sabbath as well, and it was great to be there for her big day. On Friday afternoon, we went swimming at my brother-in-law's parent's house. The picture to the right is of Calleigh and me enjoying the water. (The one below is Calleigh's reaction to her birthday cake. For some reason, she starts going berserk when she sees birthday cake. We're not sure if it's the cake itself, or the candle, or the fact that everyone is focused on her. Imagine a child that refuses to eat cake, though!! Perhaps we should have given her a broccoli cake instead.)
My brother-in-law, Duncan, and I also saw Ben Stein's controversial movie, Expelled, which was fairly enlightening and interesting. I'd like to share my in-depth thoughts on that at some point in the near future, so stay tuned for that!
Perhaps the only bad thing of the weekend is that my luggage didn't arrive with me from Orlando. You would think that with a direct flight, it would be fairly easy to get my bags to Manchester, but, alas, it was left in Orlando. At least they didn't lose it the other way around: it's always a lot easier to cope without your luggage when you are home than when you are on the road.
Finally, I wanted to share a wonderful Ellen White quote that I came across this morning. As always, she is right on. Her thoughts on a grateful and appreciative heart are a very appropriate reminder to what I consider the most important - yet neglected - element of the Christian experience:
Gratitude should fill our hearts as we think of what God through Christ has done for us. The thought of the infinite gift made to us should refine and ennoble us. As we think of the love and goodness of God, we should banish selfishness from our hearts, asking the Lord to make us kind and compassionate. Has not God a right to our affections? Do not our powers belong to Him? What more could He have done for man than He has done? In one great gift He poured out for us all the treasures of heaven. Why then do we not talk of His love and tell of His power. (1888 Materials, p. 569)