I didn’t expect to see the sunrise this morning

43350742801_c739ce7199_oSomeone who didn’t think they’d live through the night might have written those words. Or someone who rarely woke before the sun was high in the sky. Or maybe someone for whom it seemed their world has come to an end.

That’s not why I wrote those words in my journal a few weeks ago. As I sat with my early morning cup of black and looked out over a series of hills stretching out into the distance, a tiny spark on the horizon caught my eye. There was no “smoke” on the Smokies this morning, giving me a rare chance to see the summer sunrise.

I watched as the painting in front of me changed before my eyes, like an artist retouching the colors on a canvas. In just a few minutes, that glint of orange grew to be the full orb on its way across the sky.

I figure I’ve actually lived through a little more than 22,500 sunrises in my life time. So I take them for granted. I never go to bed not expecting another. And I’m never disappointed. The next day always comes.

Maybe I shouldn’t take the sunrise for granted. Maybe you shouldn’t, either.

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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.