Project 52 #40: North Carolina

I now interrupt regular Alaska reporting to bring you this special news bulletin from the opposite side of the country…North Carolina!

This month, I had the privilege of taking a rare solo trip cross-country to meet my first little niece and visit my sister Havala and her husband Andrew for the first time since they got married and she moved out east. I am so grateful that my husband who was willing to hold down the fort with four kids, taking over my responsibilities while also keeping up with his own job for a week and a half, so I could go. I’m also thankful for our church family here who pitched in to help him with babysitting and meals in my absence—what a blessing they are to us!

The time that it worked out for me to go also happened to be peak color time where they live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. What a happy coincidence! It was a riot of glorious autumn color, and I shamelessly joined all the other “peepers” (yep, the locals have a specific nickname for the fall leaf tourists) to gawk at the beauty.

We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a picnic and a hike, where I took the majority of these photos. Honestly, though, I spent more time taking pictures of the cutest little niece you ever did see, and making a fool of myself talking baby talk because it would make her smile and coo. I’ll leave most of those pictures for her mama and papa to share as they wish, but I’ll just drop this one here. You get the idea.

I learned how to grade eggs for their egg business while I was there, and enjoyed experiencing a bit of Southern culture, like sweet tea, chicken and biscuits, pimento cheese sandwiches and being called “honey darlin'” by perfect strangers. I even got to sit in a brick church with a 200-year history and listen to an entire sermon preached in Southern drawl. Our long conversations, often late into the night, about God and babies and marriage and the state of the world and life in general, were my favorite, though. These times with family are all the sweeter now that they are so rare, and all the richer for our common bond in Christ. The whole visit was a gift of true rest and refreshment for me—and I’m so grateful!

“We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalm 55:14)

Black and White World

IMG_5685-1.jpgI’ve been seeing this black and white photo challenge happening around social media that sounded like fun.

Seven photos, no people, no explanations, just something from you life, all black and white.  These are the rules.

I suppose I’m kind of breaking one of those rules by saying even this much, but when we woke up to lowering gray skies and the first snowfall of the year, I knew it was time to take a walk and do the challenge myself.

After all, when is it easier to compose black and white photos than when the landscape has already been turned black and white for you?

IMG_5692-1.jpgIMG_5686-1.jpgIMG_5706-1IMG_5711-1.jpgIMG_5723-1IMG_5716-1And speaking of contrasts, here’s verse that contains a truly glorious one:

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Now that’s a black and white picture that takes my breath away.

Fall Color Tour 2017

IMG_5309.JPGSince the leaves are mostly fallen now, I sat down the other day and sorted through all the autumn pictures I’d taken this year.  As I did so, I found it interesting to note the varied locations they were photographed in.  One was from our backyard, another across the front yard.  Some were along familiar trails, others along never-before-hiked trails.  Several were taken deep in the heart of  the Chippewa National Forest.

And then there was that random one taken from the patio of city bistro, along a busy street with multi-storied buildings looming around.  The sheer eccentricity of its location endears it to me in a way the others don’t, a hidden jewel found in a most unlikely location.

That’s kind of how it is with the Psalms.

Just as I generally expect to experience the most stunning autumn color in places like a national forest where trees abound, I naturally turn to the book in the Bible by that title if I’m looking for the most beautiful psalms of praise and comfort.  That makes so much sense, I sometimes forget that there are hidden psalm-like jewels to be found in the other 65 books of the Bible.

But there are, and this week I stumbled upon just such a one, incidentally quite fitting to accompany a post highlighting the changing seasons.  May it turn you heart in gratefulness to the One who orders the changing seasons, just as it did mine!IMG_5062.JPG“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might…
IMG_5335.JPGHe changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings…IMG_5122He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding…
IMG_5238He reveals deep and hidden things, he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him…
IMG_5522To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise…
IMG_5125for you have given me wisdom and might.” IMG_4861-01.JPG And now here’s a little challenge for you, just for fun.  Can you guess 1) in what book of the Bible this passage is found (no peeking or Googling, now!), and 2) which photo was the one taken in the city?  I’ll send a free signed 5×7 print of one of my photos to anyone who provides both correct answers!