Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfulness Isn't A Feeling

This morning I woke up. I stretched in my warm, comfy bed; looked a the bright sun streaming through my window; heard the steady breathing of my prince charming beside me; thought of the day ahead with my family and I felt thankful. Some days I just feel so grateful and blessed inside that I have to update my status just to calm myself down. "Feeling blessed!", "Feeling grateful!", "Feeling thankful"(insert emoji). But you know what, thankful isn't a feeling. Thankful is a choice.

There are times in our lives when things are going great. The job is good; the kids are well; the hubby is fine; the house isn't falling down; the bills are paid; there is food in the pantry and gas in the car; and yet, in spite of all that, we don't stop to be thankful. We are too wrapped us in the events of the day to experience a feeling a gratitude. We are busy checking off our to-do list and taxiing people to their various events. Busy trumps grateful. Thankful isn't a feeling. Thankful is a choice. Thankful means that we intentionally stop everyday and consider all of the blessings of the day, the big and the small, and choose to be thankful.

Then there are those darker days in life. The days the house floods; the doctor delivers bad news; the kids are fighting; there isn't enough money to make ends meet; the world news is frightening, and things just seem to be going wrong all around. On those days, maybe more than any others, thankful isn't a feeling; thankful is a choice. It is hard to feel thankful when things seem so hard, but I have found that thankfulness is even more important on those days. In all my struggles, I have learned that thankfulness is the path that leads out of darkness. As soon as you begin look for the blessings around you, the darkness fades a little. When you choose to be thankful, your focus shifts and the burden gets a little lighter. You may not FEEL thankful, but when you choose to BE thankful you find strength for the trial. Choose to be thankful!

I don't know where you are today. Maybe life is great today, maybe it is a struggle. Wherever you are in the journey of life, I pray that you will choose to be thankful! Let's not just be thankful on national holidays, but take time every day to choose thankfulness. Even on the bad days, God is good.

Give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 7, 2014

Contract Renewed

Contract Renewed!! Isn't it great news when you know that you have received a contract renewal? Your work is good and there is more to do so your boss renews your contract ensuring you of a job, pay checks for the future, provision for your family. You have passed the evaluation and your work will go on. Whew!

Today my "contract was renewed"!!!! My CT scans show that God has done a great work! My report includes words such as " unremarkable", "no evidence of recurrence", "no new drops"--- WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!! God's work has been miraculous and He has more for me to do!!! My contract has been extended for another six months! Six months that I don't have to worry about The Nuisance; six months to live As If.

It seems so weird to think of life in terms of contract renewal, but isn't that how it is? Each day is a new start, a chance to keep working on the important projects in our lives. It is a chance to do things better than the day before, accomplish things we have yet to accomplish, and make a difference in this world. I am just downright giddy at the thought that my contract is renewed! I have another chance to be a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better leader, and most of all a better servant to God who has done so much for me.

You know, your contract was renewed today! You have another opportunity to live, love, and laugh! Don't waste a moment! We have a lot of work to do!!

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement! We are eternally grateful!! God is good!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Epiphany

What a week! The book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" has been followed up with the sequel "Anna and the Disastrous, Lousy, Calamity-filled, Very Expensive WEEK!" Here's the run down.  Saturday our toilet flooded ruining the carpet in 4 rooms and leading to 11 industrial fans and a humidifier running until Wednesday. My boys ended up sleeping in my closet to escape the noise and disarray! I never want to hear another fan!!! Monday we had to have our garage door opener fixed and my appointments for MD Anderson, that were scheduled for the week of November 12, got moved up to next week (YIKES--that's another blog post) requiring new travel arrangements (AKA higher costs) and calendar upheaval. Tuesday I was whipping into a parking place as I rushed into a meeting and I clipped a car in the parking lot. Wednesday my dog had to go to the vet to have her stitches removed from surgery and Thursday the school nurse called to say that my son was sick---AGAIN! It was just one of those weeks. If I had a dollar for every time I said "Dang it!" and "Oh CRAP" this week,  I would be rich. (And yes, a few other choice words popped into my head, but to my credit they didn't pop out of my mouth so they don't count!)

So here comes the epiphany part. Friday I was rushing to work--late. I heard the train blow its whistle as I pulled from my garage. Now in the little town I live in, the train can hold us prisoner as it blocks the only direct exits out of town. I decided I knew which direction the train was headed and I zipped out the back way certain that I would miss it, and in the long run, make up some time. Off I go speeding down the back roads and feeling pretty proud of myself-- until I approached my turn onto the highway and heard that whistle blow. I had misjudged the direction and was STILL going to be cut off by the train. I should have just waited! "DANG IT!!" And that's when it happened---the epiphany. It hit me smack in the face. When something bad happens (and I had a lot of experience this week) I (we?) tend to respond with things like dang it, darn it, crap, and other colorful language as an impulsive reaction. The long and the short of it is that we are cursing the bad situation, but what hit me was shouldn't we be blessing it? Shouldn't we be asking that whatever bad thing that is happening be blessed, not cursed. I mean after all, it already seems cursed. Wouldn't it be better if we asked for something good to be done to it? The thoughts were almost audible as they popped into my mind. It seemed like more than a suggestion, so I tried it. The train whistle blew again and I said, "Bless it!" and you know what? The train kept right on coming, but suddenly my frustration drained. In fact, I felt a little joy creep back into my day. That may sound really strange, but it is true. Somehow uttering those words re-framed things for me. I pulled into the parking lot safe and sound  and (only 3 minutes late) with a new outlook and a new challenge. Each time I am in an "Oh Crap" situation, I am going to say, "Bless me". I want you to hold me accountable. When I slip, call me on it. I am wearing a little silver beaded bracelet on my wrist. If I mess up, make me move it to the other hand. Changing habits is hard and it is a gentle reminder of what I am working on. I want a life filled with blessing even when things are going wrong, don't you? Maybe you should join me in my little challenge. Who knows how our lives will change.

In Psalm 109:17 David is talking about an enemy and he says, "He loved to pronounce a curse—may it come back on him. He found no pleasure in blessing—may it be far from him." What if all the little curses we casually mutter under our breath really came back on us? YIKES! I want to find pleasure in blessing!! 

So today I am going to be doing some packing so that painters and carpet layers can come fix my disaster zone. Bless it! My Saturday has a to-do list a mile long so I can be ready to go to MD Anderson. Bless me! I will have a lot of tests run this week to see what the Nuisance is up to. Bless me! May it be said of me that she found pleasure in blessing!!

Happy Saturday, y'all! Be blessed!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fog Advisory

It was another busy morning. In all the rushing around there was no time to stop and watch the news or weather. I grabbed my stuff for another busy day and rushed out the door. As my car left the garage,  it was immediately encased in a thick fog. Now we don't get just a whole lot of fog in Texas, but this was one of those can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face kinds of fogs. As I made my way to work, the visual short-sightedness was joined with the sirens as first-responders rushed to aid another who had been blindsided in the fog. I passed two wrecks on my way to work in the fog. My pace was slow as I crept through the density and then just as fast as I entered the fog, I drove into bright sunlight. It wasn't a slow subtle change. It was immediate. I went from being unable to see the car in front of me to having to blink to help my eyes adjust to bright sunlight. Oh, the life lessons in that morning drive. Here is my Fog Advisory.

Advisory Recommendation 1. Fog happens and sometimes you miss a lot of warning signs that might help you be prepared. Had I turned on my TV for a brief weather report, I would have known that my journey that morning was going to be slow. I would have realized the dangers I might be facing and reorganized my morning to allow for more time to deal with it. In life we face fog, too. We usually feel a little caught off guard by it, but often it is because we are running so fast that we miss the warning signs that trouble is coming. We rush through life and don't realize that our marriage is falling apart. We hurry from duty to duty and miss the signs that our kids are getting off track. As Christians we sometimes are so busy "doing church" that we miss the signs that our faith is being neglected. We are trying to do so good, that we miss the signs that things are getting bad. Fog Alert--Check the weather of your life. Are there warning signs you need to be heeding?

Advisory Recommendation 2.  When you can't see what lies ahead, SLOW DOWN! I must confess this one is a weakness for me. When I run into fog, a.k.a. problems, I seem to throw myself into high gear trying to find solutions. I struggle and wrestle until I have created even a greater mess. PLEASE, tell me I am not alone in this club! In our effort to get to sunlight, we speed up and run smack dab into another problem. Someone call 911. When life is a fog, slow down. Take time to get your bearings. Adjust your eyesight to your surroundings (fine-tune your faith lenses). But may I caution you against something else? Don't stop in the middle of the road!! Don't give up and stop in your tracks. That creates its own danger, too. Before you know it, you have been rear-ended and someone else is injured because you became an obstacle. It is okay to pull over for a minute and regroup, but please don't give up and stop in your path. Which leads me to Advisory Recommendation 3.

Advisory Recommendation 3. Fog is temporary. Keep driving towards the sun. When we are caught in a fog, it seems as if the whole, wide world is shrouded in gray. It is easy to feel as though things will never get better, but then one day, just like that, the fog lifts and you are once again surrounded by bright, warm sunlight. Friend, your troubles won't last forever. The fog will lift. All you have to do is keep moving towards the sunlight. I have to say that sometimes Satan whispers little lies in our ears. He says, "This will never get better. Today is just like yesterday. Next year will be just like the last. Nothing ever changes. Be afraid, be very afraid." When in fact he is the one that is afraid. He KNOWS the weather and he knows that just two minutes away the sun is shining so brightly that you will need shades. He wants to incapacitate you to keep you from moving forward and getting there. Believe the truth, and this is the truth; fog is temporary. Keep driving!!

I am no weatherman, but I know my weather advice is based on the best meteorologist ever. Want to read some fog advisory recommendations from the creator of weather?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (Msg)
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us.

Isaiah 44:22
I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.

Isaiah 58:8
 Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.

Song of Songs 2:11
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is It Still Called Juggling If Half the Balls Are on the Ground?!

This week was another crazy-busy week. Back to school time is always so excitingly hectic. As I sat at my desk this week frantically trying to knock things off my To-Do list, the thought crossed my mind, "Is it still called juggling if half the balls are on the ground?!"

Surely I am not the only one who felt that way this week. You are juggling work, laundry, bills, church, shopping lists, dinner, and meetings and along the way you fumble a thing or two (or three, or four). Welcome to juggling 101! Since I didn't have enough things on my list To-Do list this week, insert sarcastic laugh, I googled How to Juggle. Actually there were some tips from Wikihow that might help us in juggling our lives.

Tip One
Relax, breathe, and don't get frustrated. Juggling can be difficult and it might take days for you to be able to juggle.
Sometimes we get so frantic in juggling our lives that we forget to relax and breathe! It is a necessity to success. Not taking those breathers leads to frustration and growing frustrated only makes the task more challenging. We have got to remember to take time to relax and breathe! Our society as a whole tends to think that stopping to breathe is a bad thing. Our work ethics lead us to be a little proud if we are firing off emails at midnight or responding to them even on vacation. We are addicted (finger pointing at self) to busyness. It is causing us to be less meaningfully productive, less satisfied, and less centered. We have got to relax and breathe!

Tip Two
If you fail, do not worry. Take a break and when you are ready, try again.
We are going to fail. Sometimes we set expectations of ourselves and others so high that we leave no room for failure and yet we know failure is going to happen. We can also look at history and see that failure sometimes leads to the greatest lessons and advancements. Allow yourself, and those around you, permission to fail with the expectation that we will learn from those failures and be better for it in the future! The energy we spend worrying is much better spent in other ways! We are going to fail, but do not worry. Take a break and when you are ready, try again.

Tip Three
Avoid juggling heavy objects.
There are some tasks that are too big to be juggled. You need to set down every other item and focus completely on the one task. Juggling sometimes keeps us from focusing on the things that matter most. We get so busy that we juggle our time with our families away. We try to do too many things and end up not doing any of them well. We need to prioritize. God and family cannot be juggled. Set down your balls and focus on the things that matter. There are some objects that you do not want to drop!

Tip Four
Do not attempt to juggle fire axes. Only professionals are equipped to do this.
I love this one! I think that I may have attempted to juggle fire axes before. I have a few scars to prove it! Some things are best left to the pros! Are there some things in your life that you have been juggling that you need to let go? Are there some decisions you have been trying to make, some relationships you have been trying to mend, some changes you have been trying to handle, that you need to release to a professional? Some things I juggle belong to God and not to me. He is able and willing to handle them and He will make it look so easy! My friend, do not attempt to juggle fire axes! Leave it to the professional!

Tip Five
This one wasn't on wiki how but should be. Have fun.
Juggling balls is intended to be fun, so is juggling life. No one dies wishing they had done more work, juggled more tasks, felt more stressed, missed more chances to laugh. In the end the thing that matters most is the way we loved. So at work have fun and love those around you. At home, put down the balls and enjoy your family. At church, have fun praising the God who made you and share his love with others. As you juggle, have some fun! Life is a ball, not about juggling them!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Want Less

I Want Less
by Anna Masten Jackson

I want less...
Less busy, more stillness.
Less worry, more peace.
Less pride, more humility.
Less desire, more satisfaction.
Less controlling, more releasing.
Less planning, more enjoying.
Less sitting, more moving.
Less complaining, more thankfulness.
Less stress, more rest.
Less judging, more grace.
Less anger, more forgiveness.
Less justification, more justice.
Less selfishness, more generosity.
Less technology, more relationship.
Less discouragement, more cheering.
Less doubt, more belief.
Less arguing, more understanding.
Less Facebook, more Bible.
Less fast food, more dinner.
Less deception, more trust.
Less silence, more communication.
Less brokenness, more healing.
Less indoors, more back porch .
Less hate, more love.
Less anxiety, more joy.
Less frustration, more patience.
Less faux, more genuine.
Less stuff, more time.
Less pity, more kindness.
Less talk, more action.
Less doubt, more hope.
Less fear, more faith.
Less negativity, more blessings.
Less talk, more listening.
Less sinfulness, more goodness.
Less abrasive, more gentleness.
Less of me, more of God.

John 3:30

Our world is all about more, more, more. As our thirst for more has increased the quality of life and happiness seems to have decreased. What if we have more when we have less? What is your list of less?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Paintings on Sandcastle Walls

I feel like I am running around hanging pictures on sandcastle walls.~ Anna

The past few weeks have been so busy!  Early mornings, late nights, and so much to do in between. It has been one of those seasons where your To Do list gets longer each day instead of shorter. Someone asked me the other day how things were going and I told them, "I feel like I am running around trying to hang pictures on sandcastle walls!" That imagery popped into my head and captures so perfectly how I feel. Just about the time I get the paintings hung and straightened I feel the sand shift and the picture has to be reworked--- if it hasn't fallen and totally shattered!

Isn't life just like that? We get things all straight and perfect and a wave comes through and knocks it catywampus! Waves like your husband dropping a coffee cup on his foot severing a tendon and requiring surgery (yes, that is one of my current waves), colliding agendas at work, schedules that are packed with activity, kids who need to be fed (and with 14 year old twin boys that is a big ole wave!), trying to squeeze the last joys of summer, and on and on. Sometimes the waves are awesomely delightful unexpected surges, sometimes they are devastating tides that knock out a whole wing of your sandcastle. Regardless of the type, all I can tell you is that the waves are going to come.

You know we all live in sandcastles. Everything is temporary and in a constant state of change. We deceive ourselves when we act as though we can really control much (and trust me, anyone who knows me will tell you I struggle with this. Hi, my name is Anna, and I am a control freak.)  So how do we keep from being frustrated when our paintings won't stay straight?  This is what I am thinking:

1. Realize this life is a sandcastle, not a fortress. Change will come. Learn to adapt.

2. Get used to a little imperfection. There is no such thing as perfect in the world of sandcastles. You cannot keep millions and millions of individual particles of sand in line. A little imperfection creates some depth and contrast. Embrace it.

3. Maybe the beauty of life is in the sandcastle and not the paintings we try to hang on it. Perhaps we focus on the wrong kind of beauty. Enjoy the sandcastle for what it is; an ever hanging structure with great opportunities for improvement!

4. Try to relax and have a little fun with your sandcastle. Have you ever seen a kid on the beach running around with a checklist, calendar and stopwatch as they build a castle? Nope, they plop down with a bucket and enjoy.  Relax! When waves come through it is a chance to get to play in the sand. Perspective my friends, it is all about perspective.

5. Building (and rebuilding)  sandcastles is a lot more fun with a friend. When waves come a long that shake the walls of your sandcastle, remember you don't have to rebuild alone. So often we try to do things in our own power and strength. God is a great builder of sandcastles. He is happy to help us build and talk about creative! Your sandcastle will be awesome!

So today, I am setting down my hammer and nails and picking up a shovel and bucket instead. I think I will stop focusing on the pictures and start focusing on the sandcastle. Wanna come play in the sand?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stepping Stones

It is funny how life brings all kinds of "new normals" to us. Leaving your parents home after graduation, getting married, having children, getting a new job--- each of these life events take us to a new place in life where we have to reorganize and prioritize. Our routines change, our finances change, life shifts to a new normal. I realized this week that my life has found a lot of new normals. There is the new normal of a few aches and pains, reminders of surgeries past. There is the new normal of curly hair after years of bone straight. There is the new normal of vacation time being spent traveling for medical care--and I am so grateful for that care! This week we returned to MD Anderson for my check up and received great news that the spots they are watching for cancer are stable. There are no new places and the existing ones remain unchanged. We will go back in 4 months and repeat the process. If, wait-- I should say WHEN, I get to 2 years of being stable, the scans will take place every 6 months. For now I have been given 4 months that feel like freedom. 4 months of no treatment. 4 months of no surgery. 4 months that I can plan my life as much as any other human can plan theirs (although we are all foolish to think we can really plan our futures, but you now what I mean).

As I got in the car after receiving the good news, my mind was suddenly filled with this image of me on stepping stones that were scattered across a raging river. For now I am safely standing on a stone. Behind me are years of boulders I have safely used to cross rough waters-- or at least could climb back up on after I slipped. Ahead of me are who knows how many stones. Below me is a wild river. At this time the water that threatens me most is "The Nuisance", but blended in are the typical waters of life-- parenthood, marriage, finances, job security, safety.... In order to make progress in life I must leap from stone to stone. For the moment I am able to stand safely on this rock, catch my breath, enjoy the view, and take in a little sunshine. In four months (unless life throws another curve ball) it will be time to take the next leap of faith. If I become paralyzed by fear, doubt, anger, discouragement, or hopelessness then I am unable to take the leap of faith required to move forward to the next stepping stone. In fact, the stepping stone looks more like a stumbling block. If I focus on the raging rapids, I become incapacitated. The desire for safety and security can trick me into thinking I can't take that next jump. It is too far away, I might fall. The water is moving too fast, I cannot jump. I get focused on the river of fear and my footing becomes weak. Instead I must focus on the rock ahead. Psalm 18:12 says, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." In order to jump safely, I must focus on God, my rock. When I leap to him, ignoring the fears around me, I am safe on a fortress. I am delivered. Once again I can take refuge and stand securely until it is time for the next move. God is a rock and on Him I am safe and sound.

We all have rivers of life swiftly moving around us. Maybe you have slipped and feel like you are drowning in it right now. Maybe you are in a safe place and basking in the sun. Maybe you are preparing for a big leap and working up your faith. Wherever you are, I can testify to this: God is a rock and on him you can stand!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I once read a quote that said, "Tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith." On days like today when I am on my way to MD Anderson for further tests, I become more aware of that choice than ever. As the day draws closer I have to work harder and harder to hold my thoughts captive. How easy it would be to spend today in fear of tomorrow, but what would that accomplish? The Bible he says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Worrying only robs me of today. A beautiful day.

I continue to learn lessons about fear and worry. One of the greatest is that the fears in my mind always seem to turn out to be much greater than the reality. Not that the reality isn't amazingly frightening sometimes, because I assure you it is. But God dwells in reality. He gives me strength to handle whatever lies in my reality. But fears and what ifs, that is a different story. The fears that can brew in my mind are like a mist. I see them in my mind's eye. I feel them in my heart. But when I reach out to touch them, I discover they are not tangible. I am trying to grasp something that does not, and may never, exist. In the movie After Earth, Will Smith's character says, "Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. "  How much time do we waste on fear, and how many fears never come true? Such a sad waste of time. While that is often the case, I have also been in those moments when fear becomes reality. When the words I dreaded the most are spoken. I have to tell you that I have found a wonderful truth there as well. Each time God has been faithful and met each of my needs. What I thought I couldn't handle, God could. What I thought I couldn't bear, God did. I have to remind myself of those things on days like today.

Tomorrow has two handles. As I head towards Houston I can choose to grab it with anxiety/fear, or with faith.  My past 18 months God has proven to be faithful. He has consistently answered our prayers. He has consistently brought light to darkness. He has consistently kept his promises to me.
So "I will have no fear of bad news; my heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Psalm 112:7. Whatever lies ahead, God has got it!

Thank you as always for being a part of my army. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. God is good! All the time!! 

Prayer opportunities:
Wednesday 11:45.  Labs and CT scan
Thursday 1:00 Oncologist
Friday 9:00 Surgeon

Friday, July 4, 2014

God Bless America

God bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her through the night with a light from above. 

Last week as I  traveled through a Texas town, I passed a gas station with a sign out front. At some point someone had taken the time to put up the message, "God Bless America". Unfortunately, Texas wind and sun had done some damage to the "B"  and it was faded to the point that the message was left saying, "God less America".  The damage to the letter had been a slow fade. It happened over time and the owner probably didn't even realize it. In his or her mind the sign probably read just like it was intended, but that is how it happens sometimes. Change happens slowly and we don't even notice it. That sign read like a warning for what I fear is happening in reality. I am afraid we, like the sign, are victims of slow fade. As we become more God less, we become less God blessed. The slow fade begins. We wake up one morning and the "B" is gone. We are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave. All that we have fought for, the freedoms we enjoy, the rights we so strongly argue for are gone.  The irony is that we may one day lose our independence because we have become too independent. We no longer acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from above. We take credit for our strength, our courage, our privilege. We are no longer dependent on God so we are becoming less independent as a nation. God-less America, Land that I loved...

Today we celebrate Independence Day. I am so proud to be an American and I do not take that blessing lightly. As I celebrate July 4th today, I celebrate it with worship of the God who gave us independence and prayer for our country to become dependent once again. I celebrate it with gratitude for all those that have fought for my independence throughout the years. I pray blessings for the future. I pray we will stop the slow fade and return again to place of blessing. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14.

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.