Sunday, October 24, 2010

AWOL in the Mountains

 I spent Friday and Saturday in the mountains. October is the best time to be there;  the trees can be shockingly bright and the sky the richest blue. This year, the fall colors are not their best, but some trees will always be the exception to this. And the combination of colors is thrilling to the heart when you see it.
 My parents have a nice, rustic home there, with a stupendous view; I know I've talked about it before.
 This is part of the view from their backyard. Even this year, when the colors are more muted, I find these mountains to be their most beautiful. The hills always look like a warm woolen blanket to me. I want to slip my legs beneath them and snuggle down in the earth.
 I went to attend a retreat at Ridgehaven Conference Center. The speaker was Kathy Saint Drown. She's the daughter of Nate Saint, the missionary pilot who was murdered with his four companions when they tried to take the good news of Jesus to tribal Indians in Ecuador. She was excellent. She drilled home, for three sessions, the absolute, indispensable necessity of spending frequent, fervent time in God's Word (what she called Personal Worship), if you want to be effective in God's kingdom and flourish as a Christian. Very convicting for me.  She gave encouragement, and some practical helps in how to improve in this area.
 I made it a point to take pictures of beautiful leaves for you, while I walked around. A tree of solid yellow, or red, is breath-taking.  But the mixed tree of summer green and autumn yellow/brown is interesting too.
 Saturday afternoon, the girls and I went to a ladies' tea in Brevard. It was sponsored by the Center for Women, a place that helps women in crisis pregnancies. We had a silent auction, a fashion show, and a lovely meal. All proceeds go to help the Center.
 Did you know that, in North Carolina, if a pregnant woman is assaulted, and her baby dies, no murder charges are brought against her attacker, because her baby is not viewed as a person?  This crime happens several times each year. Our speaker at the tea is a retired Congresswoman.  She said she tried every session to propose a bill that would bring charges against such an attacker, without success.  The dominant party in  Raleigh would not allow the bill to be even heard. So, a woman whose baby is taken from her by an act of violence -- who never even gets to hold her baby she has longed for -- is told by our state that nothing has been done against her baby that even matters. Pro-life legislators continue to push for this law to be heard and passed. Our speaker said that her friends from the opposite party told her they would like to vote for this bill to become law, but the organizations that contribute so much money to get them elected, also demand a promise that they will never vote for pro-life legislation of any kind. Most US states have this law.  NC should have it also.

Okay -- off my soap-box!!  Here's a shot of my mother (left) and our dear, dear friend Hunter. She organized the food end of the tea, and burned her arm badly that morning while boiling water for our tea. Bless her!  She has a true servant's heart, and continued on cheerfully while she was in pain from the burn.
 I enjoyed the fashion show. A friend whispered to me, "Anna is pretty enough to be in that show!"  She really is. This is a rather fuzzy shot (I didn't want her to know I was taking her picture), but does she have some big brown eyes!
 On the way home, we dashed up to Montreat College.  I spent many summer weeks there as a child, attending the annual Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship Conference. I'll always love Montreat's old stone buildings, icy creeks and hills covered in rhododendron. We took a walk around Lake Susan.
 Here are some autumn shots. Don't you love how the colors are reflected in the lake?
When I see beauty like this, I wonder with an amazed spirit, at how much more beautiful the New Earth will be, when God renews all things, and returns us to a world untainted by sin or the curse.  To some of you, this may sound like silly religious language.  But if you ever find your heart yearning for this world to be better, for people not to be hurting, for cruelty and ugliness not to exist, consider that perhaps you're yearning for the world as it should be.  Is it so bizarre to hope that it will be remade that way again, by the one who created it perfectly the first time?


  1. Ridge Haven is owned by the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). Is that your denomination? It's mine! I think we have a lot in common.

  2. Debbie, I grew up in the PCA from its very beginning. But when my husband and I moved to our present town, there were no PCA churches nearby, so we switched to the ARP, which we also love. An older denomination with not quite so much in-fighting, although the PCA, of course, is a great place too. I'm very attached to it, and my parents retired to Ridgehaven. Lovely place. My kids go to camp there each summer.


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