January 8, 2013


Ever since I can remember, I've always been a fan Elvis Presley. There are just so many things about him that I like, and I talked a little about that on my other blog last year.

A painting of Elvis Presley's Graceland by Thomas Kinkade
Elvis was born to a poor family in Mississippi on January 8, 1935, and the Presleys went through many hardships before he was eventually discovered and catapulted to fame and fortune. In 1957, after taking the world by storm, Elvis bought the Graceland mansion and called it home for the rest of his life. Today, more than 35 years after his passing, this house looks much as it did when Elvis lived there, and it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year!

Thinking about Graceland brings a smile to my face, but not just because I'm an Elvis fan. When I think of Graceland, I think of the love of my family and the love of God.

I think of the love of my family because I think of the first trip I ever made to Graceland, in March 2009. Amber refuses to admit that she's an Elvis fan, but she and my dad took me down for a fun weekend. I really enjoyed it, but it seemed like everything went wrong!
  • We didn't realize how much there was to see and do, so we tried to cram everything into a day and ended up exhausted. 
  • My dad forgot an artificial leg he needed, so his leg and back began to really hurt him after a while.
  • Amber started getting sick the day before the trip, so she was miserable the whole time, and we even had to take her to the ER on our way back home!
Despite everything, Dad and Amber tried not to let me see how bad they really felt while we were at Graceland because they didn't want to keep me from enjoying the trip. That's love!

When Amber was feeling better, I began to joke with her how, "Next time, we'll have to plan more time so we can do more!" She said...

"What's this 'next time' stuff? That was a one-time deal!" 

But then, last year, my sweet and loving wife actually approached me with the idea of going back to Graceland to celebrate my 31st birthday and our 7th anniversary!

With my sweetheart in Elvis' living room on May 24, 2012
This time, we spent a whole week on our trip, spreading things around Graceland over two days, visiting other interesting sites around Memphis (both Elvis-related and not), and then going down to Tupelo, MS (Elvis' birthplace) for a couple days before we started home. We did things that interested each of us, took things at a leisurely pace, and really had a great time! Neither of us wanted to come back home!

After each trip, Amber made a scrapbook showing all the places we went and the things we did, so whenever I think about Graceland, I think of how much my dad and my wife love me, that they were willing to make these trips happen!

As for the love of God, I remember it first when I think of that sacrificial love my family showed. Like Jesus, they put aside their own comfort in order to be a blessing to me.

I also remember God's love because of a song by The Mike Bowling Group that uses the expression "I'm living in Graceland" as a play on words to describe a Christian experiencing God's grace.

I know I am truly blessed, and so - to my family and to my Lord - I say...

Thank you. 
Thank you very much!

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