Two Stories

Our family just returned from a brief, but wonderful trip to the Smokies. It had been a long time since Tim and I had been in the Appalachians, and at first sight I grew wistful for our home in the North Carolina mountains where we lived when our third child was born. We love the Rockies too, but there is just something about the Appalachians with their incredible streams and accessible peaks that makes my heart sing.

We stayed in a picturesque cabin, high up a mountain, which gave us an awesome view especially in the early morning when the clouds hung over the valley. There was a hot tub on the porch that made a great place to soak after hiking all day.

Tuesday was our full day to spend in the park. The younger children woke up early and eager, to the dismay of the older ones. But we all saw the beauty of our early rising when we found the park nearly empty and the animals plentiful.

We toured Cades Cove, making our way to the trailhead of our first planned hike to Abram’s Falls. It was a lovely hike, mostly along another of those mountain streams that kept making Tim long for his kayak. Still, as we hiked, all was not loveliness. Can you believe it? Amongst all this beauty, there was discord coming from some of the children. One child pouted after being reprimanded for repeatedly acting like a daredevil. Another became upset about being photographed by a sibling. And two children had a disagreement about something that had occurred days before! The walk afforded Tim and I some individual time with each of these, but the air needed clearing.

So, after arriving at the falls and oohing and aahing over the powerful cascade, Tim called us all together and passed out trail mix while everyone sat gathered on rocks next to the falls. “Beloved,” (I'm not kidding), he began. He then paraphrased I John 4: 7, 8 where it talks about loving God by loving one another. “Loving one another is difficult, both inside and outside the family. But if we can’t love those inside the family, how can we hope to love those outside.” To the one who had been offended by the photograph, Tim said, “You know, you have two choices when something like that happens. You could have either overlooked it, or you could have asked the person to please not take your picture. But you don’t have the option of getting mad and pouting.”

After he talked for a few minutes, we sang, “Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He who loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. Beloved, let us love one another. I John 4:7-8” We also sang, “Behold What Manner of Love the Father Has Given Unto Us.” Then we picked up our packs and returned to the trail, with a renewed sense of love for one another and peace amongst us. It was amazing.

Here’s just one more story, a funny one.
On our final day we made a quick trip to a visitor’s center so that two of the children who had been working on Junior Ranger badges could complete the requirements and receive their badges. The kids had been given some spending money from their grandpa, so they picked out some things in the gift shop. Andrew and Kara had been given the money (to by-pass the parents who might not have approved?) so Andrew was helping several of the children check out. As I stood with him at the checkout, surrounded by a few children, the cashier mistook Andrew for my husband and asked how many children we had. I replied, “Nine,” and told her that Andrew was my oldest, and indicated a few others. “Are you sure?” she queried. “Very,” I replied, pointing out my husband standing in another part of the visitor center. “Well, something must be keeping you young!” she commented. We all got a big kick out of the episode. Probably the lighting was just bad, and she couldn’t see my gray hair. In fairness, I need to mention that I have once also been asked if Ben was my grandson. :)


mrsd said…
I saw the vacation pictures on Kara's site. It looked beautiful. And I'm going to try that 'beloved' speech on my boys. Maybe the fresh word (instead of Boys! Boys!) will stop them in their fighting tracks.

Peace you Young Woman ;),
I adore the Smokies, and I've only seen them once! My hubby and I had a four-day stay in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, so we went up into the park a couple days. We also saw Cade's Cove. Isn't it amazing???!!
Anne said…
"Isn't it amazing???!!"

Absolutely. The park is gorgeous, and while we wondered if we were crazy to go in March, it was a lot less crowded than it gets in the summer.

And - thanks, Mrs D :)

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