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In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, beauty can escape us. It is only by living in the moment that we can experience our wondrous environment. Sometimes traveling to a new and exciting place helps us to take notice of our surroundings.

Christmas Away From Home

My husband and oldest daughter, Angie, were my traveling companions as we left Grand Rapids, Michigan on the morning of December 24. It was the beginning of the first snow storm of the year. At 7 a.m. we had about 3 inches of snow and more was on its way. I kept thinking Oh, please just let us get out of Michigan! If we can just get off the ground in Michigan, we’ll probably escape the storm and get safely to our destination – Las Vegas. Sure enough, the flight was on time and we arrived in Las Vegas by 11 a.m. We had a great lunch (in 60 degree weather) and did some sightseeing.

It felt fun and exciting to be spending Christmas away from home for the first time. The travel plans were well organized – by me, of course! We planned to drive to drive to Koosharem, Utah on Christmas day to pick up our youngest daughter, Vanessa, from school. It was a five-hour drive from Las Vegas but we planned to spend three days with her at a hotel not far from her school. We would then return her to school, drive back to Las Vegas, spend two days there, and fly home to Michigan.

Knowing we would be driving most of Christmas day, we went to Christmas Eve Mass in Las Vegas. That was a new and interesting experience – the church was very modern in design (a bit unusual for a Catholic church) but beautiful, bright, and colorful. There was a male soloist who had a wonderful voice – we could have listened to him all evening! He really helped create the tone of the whole mass. I can still hear his deep voice singing praise to the Lord.

The Drive Through Nevada And Utah

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We went to bed early that night because we had to get up at 5 a.m. on Christmas day. The drive through Nevada and into Utah went fine – no snow or ice! The Nevada mountains looked like large haystacks from a distance. There was a lot of barren highway but the mountains lined the sky like a painted picture. As the sun rose on Christmas day it was a beautiful sight to behold! The three of us were in awe as a small shimmer of sunlight popped up over a mountain peak. It then rose higher until it shown brightly over the highest peak.

In Utah the temperature was in the single digits. It didn’t matter, the scenery was beautiful – our God is a wonderful artist. Entering Utah we were greeted by huge rock formations. Several times while driving we spotted bald eagles perched atop the jagged rocks, surveying their territory. We drove through mountains that looked like rainbows – stripped colors of pink, gray, and orange rock.