Posted in helping, Life

Rules and rules and more rules

no-smoking.jpgA week ago my wife and I were sitting in front of a crackling fire in a wonderful 100 year old cabin in the mountains of northern Virginia. The fall colors were at their peak and the cool air so worth the long drive from Florida. The one thing that put a damper on a picture perfect evening was a large red “No Smoking” sign prominently displayed in the living room. Just in case you missed that one, another one hung over the front door. And that’s all it took to suck a whole bunch of charm out of the room.

I wondered, “What have people done to this place that makes a sign like that necessary?” In addition, a twelve-page rental agreement pretty much forbid everything a tenant might do, from drugs and alcohol to smoking and parties to long showers and too many flushes. I’ve stayed in other places with no other rules than “please take out a load of trash.” So I wonder what previous renters did to make such regulations necessary?

Yes, I know the answer to my question. Rather than taking out trash, the guests trashed the place. The cistern ran dry and the septic got clogged. A dirty bathroom and a sink full of dishes greeted the cleaning crew. Even though you are extra careful who you rent to and clearly state the rules, it’s hard work to open up your place to total strangers. Airbnb, VTBO and other services have been a great resource for us. But it only takes one bad renter to spoil it for so many others.

We’re not perfect, but we tried to leave the place in better condition than when we arrived. I’ll try and fix small things that might need repair. I hope I can be a renter who gives the next ones a better experience.


Posted in Grace

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.