The past few weeks have been filled with opportunities to work, love, and grow. The girls' camp I mentioned was amazing, though I somehow managed to sprain my ankle on the very first day of the venture.
While the injury has rendered me useless in many ways (pretty much every way, if I'm being honest), thankfully it did not prevent me from finishing out the camp and enjoying the company of those remarkable girls and their leaders.
I returned home to the news Sherlock had died during my absence. His death is a mystery and leaves me feeling withdrawn on the matter, discouraged, and quietly missing his elegant, curious ways.
I didn't get a chance to show you his final, amazing molt wherein he unveiled wings like a beautiful, gossamer gown.
But there was hardly a moment to catch my breath before we left for Utah to attend my nephew's baptism. This is the first time all the nieces and nephews on my side of the family have been together at once and it was completely wonderful.
The baptism was a deeply moving experience, filled with peace and joy. I look at these children who are so dear to me and hope they will always know how much they are loved. I hope they will grow in their faith and understanding of God's love for them, as I see how vital that foundation is in navigating life well and making good choices.
It was a whirlwind trip and we are now back home, awaiting the visit of my sister's family and five of those sweet little girls, pictured above. My ankle hurts and, according to my four-year-old nephew, looks gross. Trust me, he was putting it mildly. The frustration of imposed idleness wore thin within the first five minutes of the injury, but if this turns out to be nothing more than a basic sprain, I will be grateful.
I hope you had a lovely 4th of July weekend, dear reader. You don't need to be a citizen of the United States to hold dear the notion of liberty and justice for all, or to marvel at the birth of a nation based upon such principles. In my earliest memories, the idea all men are created equal has resonated in my heart. I often reflect on those who've sacrificed to protect this way of life and hope I never squander the gift they've given me.
In church today we sang these words:
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
I love how a gifted poet can express such depth of meaning in a simple phrase. This one, in particular, stays with me for its firm and profound beauty, a constant reminder of the way I'd like to be.