The peeps!

The peeps!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Zippity Do Dah Zippity Yah! My oh My what a wonderful day!!!

Well after the painful day we spent on Wednesday biking and hiking, my man is now officially Day Trip Plan President! Yesterday morning we got up and went rafting down the Pigeon River. It was great. Baby Girl had never done it and she thought it was a blast. She even manned the front of the raft for us. Then came.......... I can hardly say it.......... It was the most fun thing I have ever done in my life...................... We ZIP LINED!!!!!! I am a fanatic now. I mean seriously, I want to travel everywhere there is a zip line and fly like the wind, I want to quit my job and become a zip line instructor ( I mean I have a whole day of experience) I want my man to build me a zip line. IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!! I hope you get that I liked it. I was a tad nervous. I saw an episode of Amazing Race where this husband couldn't get across the zip line and got stuck and had to be retrieved and I kept thinking that is going to be me. I need to clarify where we zipped. (That sounds so cool!) Everywhere in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge there are these carnival type zip lines up for people to do. One zip from this platform to over there and that is it. When we booked our trip to raft we were told about this place. It is way way off the beaten path. High up in the mountains on a 150 acre farm. A retired businessman from the area traveled to Alaska a few years ago and zipped, loved it and built one on his farm. It was a gorgeous place. Eight zip lines total. The first couple were training ones to build your confidence and then the rest were from 650 - 1500 feet in length. About 250- 300 ft. in the air. Zipping through canopies of gorgeous hardwoods and seeing creeks flow underneath you and the skyline of the Smokies.
Our instructors were so great. Took their time with you and really boosted your confidence. The only way I know to conquer my fear is to just jump right into something. So when they said who wants to go first I stepped up. I screamed and squealed the whole time it was so much fun.

We got there a little early so we could eat first. As I watched other people screaming through the tops of the trees I thought, " I have lost my mind." But these two faces were so excited and I did not want them thinking I was a weenie.

This is Jon coming in. He loved it too. I think he might build me one. I mean we know nothing about trees or lines or anything, but what difference does that make. Aren't the trees gorgeous?
Baby girl coming in. She wasn't feeling totally up to snuff yesterday afternoon, but she is such a trooper. She will do anything. I am so proud of her.

HeeHee!!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell how much fun I am having? It was so great, I want to go back right now.


Look at the view behind us!! God is the master artist isn't He?


What a great, great day we had. Today is our last day and we are taking it easy. Going to do a little outlet mall shopping and some souvenir shopping for some little grandpeeps I am missing a whole bunch. We have had such fun but we sure have missed our other kids being with us. We keep talking about how much they would be enjoying different things we have done- well no one said they would have liked my hike.
Maybe I can talk them into a little zipping today.........................................
Blessings,
Michelle


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cades Cove

I am so frustrated this morning as I cannot get my pics to upload to my blog! ARGH!! Yesterday morning was amazing. We had rented our bikes the night before and left our cabin at about 5:45 am. Drove to Cades Cove and biked the whole 11 mile loop!! It was incredible. They close the loop to motorists on Wed. and Sat. morning so bikers and runners have it all to themselves. Yes there were many people running the 11 miles. Up and down those hills. The UT cross country team was there and they could run faster than I could bike! I prayed for the Lord to really show out for us yesterday morning and He did not disappoint. I got some of the most beautiful pictures (hence my frustration) of deer and turkey. It was gorgeous. I can't even describe what it was like to be in that cool mountain air and watch the cove "wake up". I loved it. Loved it.!!! One of my favorite things I have ever done. I will post pics when I get home. We took our time and finished in about 2 1/2 hours. Then we got in line with the other cars and drove the cove. I thought it would be fun to hike to this waterfall I had heard so much about. Round trip it was about 6 1/2 miles of mountain hiking. NOT FUN AFTER BIKING 11 MILES. I know I get overzealous and my man is so sweet he just indulges my whims. I think that time is over though. He said I am not allowed to plan any more day time activities. We were so tired last night, but I had the best day. I am so mad about the pictures not uploading because they are so good.
Today we are white water rafting and zip-lining!!! I will try with the pics again tonight. Have a blessed day and look for some beauty in your day today. I am reminded how God is such a creative God and His creation is so phenomenal. Admire it and thank Him for it.
God Bless!
Michelle

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Destination............

The Great Smoky Mountains!!!!! I am so thrilled we are here! After some serious deliberation and discussion on where to go (we took turns throwing pennies at the atlas and decided Russia and North Dakota were just too dang far!) we loaded up the truck and headed for the mountains. This is our cabin nestled way up in the park. Not inside the national park but the park surrounding that. I can't get over how much things have changed here since I was here last. It is more like Branson. We want to do some white water rafting- Cades Cove is a must. I am hoping I can talk my fellow travelers into doing it on a bicycle. We will just have to see. For now we are relaxing and enjoying the fresh air.

Inside of the cabin. It is so cute and cozy. Wish we had a reason to light the fireplace!

Do you think we should be worried that the lady at check-in told us a bear ate our hot tub cover the other day?


More pics to come later!
Michelle

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation, Vacation!

Yeah!!! We are finally taking some time off - I haven't felt like it has been summer yet. We are leaving Sunday morning and have no clue where we are going. Crazy isn't it. My man thinks the best times occur spontaneously. We did that last year and ended up in Savannah - great fun. Baby girl is going this time and we can't wait to get out of here. Any suggestions out there about fun places to go on the spur of the moment? These have been my recommendations so far and no confirmation made yet:
1. Tybee Island outside of Savannah
2. Grand Canyon
3. Gatlinburg - my favorite vacation spot as a kid and baby girl has never been
4. San Antonio
Any thoughts?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paradox of the Walk with God

Yesterday morning we traveled to hear my father-in-love preach at a church whose pastor is out of town for a while. All the family is in so the three brothers (my man and his two older brothers) sang with their dad and then just the three of them for the congregation. Such a sweet time to listen to them. I am always amazed how they can not see each other for such long periods and then pick up with their singing as though they practiced together every day. Oh well, the family visit is a post for another day - on to the message that we heard. Father-in-love preached on our walks with God. The benefits it brings. The joy and contentment amidst the challenges. One of the statements he made that stuck with me all day was that our christian walk is more important than our christian talk. Got me to thinking about how my theology lines up with my reality. Am I living out what I believe?
One of the things I have been praying for this year is for God to grant me more wisdom. Everything I read about wisdom lets me know it is not something I will just wake up with one day in possession of. It is an ongoing process. Baby girl and I were running last night and I was thinking about the sermon from that morning. I started to feel some discomfort while running (not a shock at my age!) that caused me to ask myself,"Why am I doing this again?" Then I started to think about the paradox of our Christian lives. More specifically the paradox of sin and discipline. I find it interesting that besides our rebellious human nature one of the reasons people sin over and over is it brings them pleasure at the time. They want what they want and when they want it because it feels good in that moment. Please know I am one of the "They." We sin because we think it is going to bring us happiness and contentment. Yet discipline which is uncomfortable yields fruit in our lives. Interesting paradox isn't it? Discipline brings benefits, sin brings death.
I started to ask myself while I was running what are the benefits of this new discipline I have incorporated into my life? Well, physical benefits obviously. I feel better. But the other benefits it has brought to my life I have discussed on here before. Stretching beyond my comfort zone, setting goals, making it a habit and practice in my life.Yet, I still have to make that choice every day to discipline myself.
I wondered about the times in my life when I was in a pit of sin. Why did I continue to do those things I did. Because I bought the enemy's lie that it was "good" based on a feeling at the time. How did I feel afterwards? Miserable. Funny, enduring discipline seems miserable at the time yet afterwards, I feel great. Paradoxical.
What does the bible say about effects of living in the moment and being caught in a pit of sin? I was looking and found the following from John MacArthur:

Taken from Faith Works by John Macarthur.
Sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30), dishonors God (1 Cor. 6:19-20), keeps our prayers from being answered (1 Peter 3:12), causes good things from God to be withheld (Jer. 5:25), robs us of the joy of our salvation (Ps. 51:12), inhibits spiritual growth (1 Cor. 3:1), brings chastisement from the Lord (Heb. 12:5-7), prevents us from being fit vessels for the Lord to use (2 Tim. 2:21), pollutes Christian fellowship (1 Cor. 10:21), and can even endanger our physical life and health (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

I want none of that. NONE OF IT. What does it say about discipline? A few things:

Job 5:17
"Blessed is the man whom God corrects so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty."
I want some blessing!

Proverbs 3:12
"The Lord disciplines those He loves."
I find comfort in knowing He loves me.

Proverbs 7:23
"The corrections of discipline are the way to life."
I long for abundant life.

Proverbs 13:18
"He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored."
I want abundance and honor not shame.

Proverbs 15:32
"He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding."
Could it be that discipline is going to bring me some of that wisdom I keep asking for?

Hebrews 12:10-11
"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

The next verse is my prayer-
Oh Lord, strengthen my feeble arms and weak knees. Make my paths level for my feet so that I may not be disabled but rather healed.

Discipline. Can't walk with God without it. Can't grow with God without it. Sin. Can't benefit from it. Can't survive it. Which do I want? What will I discipline myself to choose?

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Thank you Lord I just might learn what You are trying to teach me. What a paradox.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last October I wrote a post about baby girl running a race. I talked about how I was so inspired I just might do the Couch to 5K challenge. Yeah, I blew that off as soon as I posted the blog! A couple of months ago I started to feel something nagging at me. Everyone knows how I love my bible study and all my bible study peeps. We love feeling stretched in our study and in our walk with the Lord. But many times I feel stagnant. I get too comfortable. Does that resonate with anyone? I am someone who knows how to focus on my strengths. I know what I do well and I stay there. Don't venture out much and stay in my comfort zone. As of late, I feel the Lord telling me I can't grow if I won't move. He doesn't want me doing what I do well, He wants to show me what He can do. And I am full aware that He is the only reason I can do anything at all.

Back to baby girl and her running. She will be in high school this fall (yuck) and is on the Cross Country team. Her peers have been running much longer than she has and she was feeling pretty inadequate one day. I jumped in Momma mode and told her she can do anything she puts her mind to allowing the Lord to help her do. Yeah! Then she said, "And so can you Momma." Uh, of course I can. But we are talking about you baby not momma. Yet her statement stuck with me.
I started to think about all the kids I teach and the excitement they have about venturing into their futures and I realized I don't want to be done venturing. So I picked up the idea of doing this Couch to 5K thing. Baby girl and I did it together with our goal being the Firecracker 5K race held every Fourth of July weekend. It seemed forever away. We ran every week except for the week I cried every day because my knees hurt so badly. Worked that issue out and moved on. Some days have been better than others but today was the day and I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND BABY GIRL DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were so excited this morning. More than anything I want my kids to see that you never are too old or set in your ways to do something totally out of your comfort zone. And those of you who know me, know that any athletic endeavor is WAY out of my comfort zone. I spent much of my running time over the last few months praying. At first praying I wouldn't permanently injure myself, but then praying and listening. Such a sweet time. No, I don't think that my calling has changed to being some kind of marathon runner, but I won't stop running. I do know that what Philippians says is true "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." He is preparing me for something and when the time comes I will be less afraid and more confident that I can step out in faith and leave my comfort zone. Wherever He leads I'll go. Praise God.
My sweet man and my sweet kids were there cheering me across the finish line. Baby girl beat me but not by much. My boys kept telling me they were surprised by how soon I finished and that they were proud. It's a great feeling to hear your kids tell you they are proud of you. And a great feeling for my man to greet me with a big ole bear hug telling me he was proud of me. They are my heartbeat.

Happy Fourth of July weekend! Celebrate our independence as a nation, but if you know Christ, celebrate the true freedom that comes from being His child.