Pigs

img_00622

As we were driving through the hills of South Carolina a few weeks ago on our way home from the mountains we passed a truck pulling a trailer full of pigs.  Pigs!  About 9 or 10 off them, laying on each other in a long, flat bed trailer, relaxing, enjoying the ride and the fall colors.  I’m not sure, but it could have been their last ride ever.  Anyway, it’s very unusual to look to your left and see pigs sharing the interstate highway with you.  It was one of those things that was so unexpected, it made me laugh out loud.

Shoes

img_0069My new running shoes arrived the other day.  Same make and model as I had, but these are new, with lots of fresh cushioning and the promise of much more comfortable runs.  Yes, it’s exciting to get a new pair of running shoes, especially when I’ve put too many miles on the old ones.  They say you should replace your shoes every 300-400 miles, but I know I went way beyond that.  Anyway, the first run in them this morning was much better and even a little bouncy.  Tomorrow’s run will be in 30 degree weather.  I haven’t run in 30 degree weather for a while.  In Des Moines, I ran in 20 below temperatures, with many layers and just my eyes showing.  But that was a long, long time ago.  Yes, I am crazy.

Baptism

Do you have any idea how cool it is to baptize an adult?  That’s when I am most aware of God’s power and presence.  Paul kind of came out of nowhere, started attending our church, and came to me to be baptized.  We didn’t do anything different.  In fact, I did nothing.  God did it all.  I started the baptism part of the service and I could feel the emotion welling up in me.  Lisa can always hear that in my voice.  I pulled it together and will remember this baptism for a long, long time.  As I told him at the conclusion, it is a privilege to call him a brother in Christ.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him!

5K

Last Saturday, I ran my first race in about 4 or 5 years.  Not my fastest time, but OK for an old guy.  25:49 was good enough for 12th overall (out of 66) and 2nd in my age group (50-59).  We ran 5,000 meters out and back on the beach from the pier in Daytona Beach in a race to raise funds for Parkinson’s Awareness.  Now I’ve got the running bug again and know I can recapture some of my previous speed.  My best 5K ever happend about 30 years ago when I finally broke 18 minutes at a 1981 race around Lake Takanassee on a Monday night in NJ.

Funny, I don’t feel  that much different than I did back then.  I certainly don’t feel 51.  But I ran across my birth certificate the other day and I can’t deny that the years have passed.

North Carolina

img_0051_editedWhat a blessing to get away, just for four days, and be completely cut off from email, news, telephones, and the usual rhythms of life.  We drove about 540 miles to a cabin just inside Pisgah National Forest at the base of Mt. Mitchell, which is the highest point east of the Mississippi.  We didn’t hike up to the top, but did get to Crabtree Falls, which is a stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We arrived at the peak of the fall colors on Saturday.  By Tuesday, when we had to leave, we could see the colors beginning to fade and the subdued hues of winter begin to take over the landscape.

We could have easily stayed there, had we owned or bought the cabin.  What a beautiful location, location, location!  We had to drive 14 miles of sepentine switchbacks to reach the cabin, but it was worth it.  The other homes and cabins nearby were unoccupied that weekend, so we were essentiimg_0059_editedally alone.  The cabin was for sale, but a little pricey for us at $250,000.

After a day of travel, we spent one day in Asheville, wandering around some very unique bookstores and coffee shops.  Our second full day was our hike to the waterfall and some time in Burnsville.  The town is advertised as a great historic place, but isn’t much in real life.  We did eat at a pretty good Mexican restaurant there.

But the time away and spent relaxing was the best gift of all.  The guest pastor at SOTC kept everyone one their toes, but they survived and so did we.  The drive home was long, cloudy, gray, drizzly and dreary.  In a word, yuk.

The weekend, though, was all grace.  What a blessing to find, to arrive, and to enjoy such a retreat.