We just returned from a short vacation to the Smoky Mountains. They are a beautiful example of God's handiwork. From the mountains and rivers, bears and deer to the trees and flowers, squirrels and butterflies, the natural world is glorious. How could anyone look at those things and doubt that a sovereign Lord made it all? Thar's a topic for another day! Today, I wanted to relate some of my thoughts of the past couple of weeks. I have been reminiscing about my childhood vacations, all the things my parents did with me as kid. I have some great memories of fun times that I will treasure always. Then I wondered.....am I doing the same for my kids? Are they going to have the wonderful memories of fun times with me that are so precious to me now that my mother is gone and my dad is growing more frail by the day? Will they look back someday and smile and say "My mom did that with me when I was a kid and I've never forgotten it"? Dolly Parton is synonymous with Pigeon Forge. She is without a doubt it's most famous citizen. I saw a quote attributed to her last week posted on Facebook. She said "Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." WOW! Think about that a minute. There is a difference in surviving and really LIVING. Surviving pays the bills by keeping its nose to the grindstone and never looking up. Surviving buys the groceries and keeps a roof overhead, provides the things that keep body and soul together. But does it FEED the SOUL? Living feeds the soul by leaving that grindstone behind for the day and taking a nature hike with the kids, pointing out the birds and flowers, trees and deer. Living takes the time to put the computer aside and read a book with a toddler, making all the funny noises that make characters come alive. Living makes precious, treasured memories that no amount of money can buy replacements for. Living means taking time to appreciate the glorious world God made for us and the great nation that he blessed us to live in where we are free to make a living as well as make a life. So again, I asked myself, am I making a living or making a life? I know that we all have to provide for our families. God meant for us to take care of our families, but that means so much more than the dollar amount we bring home each week. It means to feed their souls as well as their bellies and I fear that I have missed many golden opportunities to feed their souls. Opportunities that are lost forever. I can't call for a take 2 and do it over like a movie director. I must live with the choices I've made and the chances I missed. But I can resolve to do a better job of putting myself and my wants aside to make a life with my family that we will all be able to look back at and smile. Someday, those precious, precious memories will be all that is left. I truly want them to be treasures my kids can pass on to their kids. The stuff legends are made of! Will I succeed at this ambitious endeavor? Probably not as well as I would like. But I can try and keep trying and trust God to help me do the right things at the right times to make a difference. Not just in my own family's life, but maybe even in other people's lives too. No one could possibly be more career driven than Dolly Parton. She's had to be to succeed in the music business. But she never forgot that there was more to life than making a living. You have to make a life too. I hope that I can make a life worth remembering and I pray that you can too. Have a great day and God bless.