Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday Mind Dump - Monday Edition, Oct 18

It’s Monday and Renae and I have been on vacation for eight days. This trip is our first extended vacation in thirteen years, and only the second time we’ve missed a Sunday service at PCC.

With a few exceptions, we’ve gone ‘dark’ on the internet for the last week in an effort to cut the cord, so to speak, from technology and attachment to work.

Another reason for going dark was to do everything possible to strengthen the Sunday services in our absence. While a lot of key people knew we would be gone, not everyone did, and we just wanted everything to appear normal leading up to the weekend.

I have heard from several people that services at PCC yesterday were very good. This was a giant leap forward for
us personally, as well as for Pace Community Church. Our church is strong with many competent and capable people filling vital roles.

We were glad to hear that the music was good and that the teaching was good too.

Renae and I attended services ourselves in a Baptist church in Townsend TN. There were about 70 people in attendance with the kids, young adults, and seniors all in the sanctuary together. The whole experience was very different that what we are accustomed to, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – the fellowship, the newness, getting to sit together in service, the sermon, even the hymns!

I felt my eyes sting with tears a couple of times during church service. I was having a God-moment.

It was also good to not be the pastor that day – just a believer.

We felt like we did a good thing by taking time out from our vacation and travel plans to make time to be in God’s House on Sunday. Sure, there were a hundred reasons why we didn’t have to be in church while traveling, but we made the effort and it felt right. Besides, we worshiped God and enjoyed ourselves while doing it.

While on this trip we have stayed at Gatlinburg TN, Ashville NC, Townsend TN, and Pigeon Forge TN. We have spent a great time of time in the mountains hiking, driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and in Cades Cove. We also visited Chimney Rock and the Biltmore Estate.

For most of our trip we have not been able to get a phone signal because of being in such remote areas.

The falls colors are in full display in the Smoky Mountains at the higher elevations, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is our first trip to the mountains in the fall, and it has been fabulous. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The first day I drove through the mountains I wasn’t paying attention to my driving as much as I was to the leaves, and didn’t realize that I was riding with my foot on the brake pedal. Renae said, “I smell something burning.” I said, “Probably some fool in front of us who is overheating his brakes.” Then I realized that fool was me! My brakes overheated, got soft, and almost failed. I was able to get my truck to the side of the road and stop. Blue acrid smoke was boiling out of the front end. I looked like a stupid tourist.

My mother raised me to be smarter than that.

Renae and I have had several picnics together, which have been really fun. We picnicked roadside on the Blue Ridge Parkway, on a blanket in Cades Cove, at Abram Falls (after a long mountain hike), and along the Foothills Parkway. Most of our picnics have been near mountain streams.

I have eaten a few sweets while on this trip. I just ate around the calories.

I’ve been getting plenty of exercise too; still taking my morning runs.

The weather has been perfect – 70s in the day time, upper 30s or low 40s at night.

We hiked to a place called Abram Falls. It’s a 2.5 mile trail over very steep grades, making it a 5 mile round trip. OBSERVATION: Skinny people had no problem. Not-so-skinny people suffered pretty bad.

Most comical of all was to see the women who were wearing nice clothes, jewelry, and dress shoes. They looked like they were going to the Mall or something. Most didn’t make it. Ha!

A lot of people sitting down along the side the trail, giving up.

We have taken a ton of pictures. Can't wait to share them. (Click the pictures above if you would like an enlarged view).

Got to check out of the hotel soon. Going dark again.

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