Archive for July 2009

Appalachian Trail, Carver’s Gap Tennessee

July 30, 2009

The most legendary trail in North America has to be the Appalachian. While I admire the strength and stamina it takes to cover all 2000+ miles, it is not likely I will be able to undertake that endeavor. (There’s this thing called work – that keeps me away J )

However, we have made several day hikes and if you can’t do the whole thing, maybe you can enjoy it in pieces as we are.

Last year we went on a 6+ mile jaunt which included Max Patch Mountain, just west of Asheville, NC. That hike is highly recommended.

This year, we did two hikes on the AT, one just across the Tennessee line at Carver’s Gap. We headed north a couple of miles to the side trail up to Grassy Ridge and an elevation of 6,180 ft. The starting elevation was 5500 ft.

In that relatively short hike, we crossed three balds and had wonderful views. There is a fenced in section along Jane Bald which contains Angora goats which are kept there in an attempt to control the blackberry bushes which are threatening to take over the area. You can read more about it here – http://tr.im/ubNl

The Roan Mountains are also home to Gray’s Lilly which can only be found in this region. The rhododendron were in bloom and it was a great day all around.

The hike up to Grassy Ridge was well worth the effort and we had lunch with a view words cannot describe.

 

 

    View from the top of Grassy Ridge

    Gray’s Lilly

Boone Fork Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC

July 24, 2009

    

Recently Eileen and I spent a few days camping at the Julian Price Park
on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

While there, we also took a hike on the Boone Fork Trail. This trail actually runs
through the campground, but the “official” trailhead is at the picnic area.

The trail is a 5.5 mile loop and is rated moderate to strenuous on the National Park Service literature.
There is considerably more moderate than strenuous. It took about 3 hours and we stopped several times to enjoy the beauty.
The rhodedendrons were in bloom and there were many waterfalls.
Much of the trail is wooded, but there were also pasture lands and open valleys.

We saw chipmunks, squirrels, deer and a variety of birds in the area.

When we finished the hike we had a picnic lunch by the stream. We highly recommend this hike if you are in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson From Flowers

July 16, 2009

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

– Matthew 25:40

Recently, it was time to put new flowers in front of the church. Several of us decided Gerbera Daisies would look good there. So, I headed off to the hardware store to get them. Well, when I got there, there were no daisies, just a bunch of flopped over, shriveled up, faded blossom petunias – and lots of them.

I went inside hoping for something better, or word that the flower truck was on the way, but my friend, Wally, who owns the hardware store said that’s all I have left, but I’d love to give them to the church. He said, “I’ll even give you some MiracleGro and a watering can for them. They just need someone to take care of them.”

They sort of reminded me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

So, I took them. Not what I thought I wanted, but what I got nonetheless. I got flowers, and all I needed to take care of them and nurture them and then watch them flourish – all I had to add was a little effort.

God spoke to me in all this. Those flowers were just like many of the people who come our way. They may not be exactly the type I would pick, but they are who God sees fit to place in our lives. He has given us all we need to care for them and nurture them and watch them flourish.

Jesus tells us that when we serve and give to those who are the least in our estimation, we are actually serving and giving to Him.

I planted those flowers, put some water and MiracleGro on them – and I am excited to see what God will do with them. I am also trying to do a better job of keeping my eyes open for those God will see fit to send my way – so that I might care for and nourish them as well.

Addition to Blog – Right Hand Column

July 15, 2009

Have you ever had a Bible verse, or partial verse, stuck in your head and you just can’t remember where it is?

Great news! With the help of http://www.Bible.Logos.com software, you have to look no further than the right hand side of my blog.

They are giving away some really nice Bibles as well. Check it out at http://blog.logos.com/archives/2009/07/the_great_bible_giveaway.html

I hope you find it useful!

Christianity Today’s Study Series “Faith and Pop Culture”

July 10, 2009

Christianity Today’s Study Series “Faith and Pop Culture,” is a small group study which examines various forms of art, from TV to literature to cinema from a Christian perspective. As the authors point out, there has historically been a love/hate relationship between the church and the arts.  

From Steinbeck to steroids, the eight sessions cover not only the traditional arts such as cinema and literature, but also address sports and television. The study also explores the role of “family friendly” movies, violence and the specific role of Christians in the entertainment industry. The eighth session is a challenging consideration of what it takes to fulfill the modern desire for entertainment.   

The outline of each session is designed to facilitate a small group study, with step-by-step instructions from breaking the ice to getting focused on the topic, to rolling up your sleeves and digging in to what the Bible has to say about each topic. Each session ends with a challenge and a personal action plan for how to apply or further consider the subject in the coming days.

This study would be suitable for youth or adults and, I think, would be especially useful for family devotions either in the home or small group setting. It challenges the student to be careful of what we watch and the impact of our choice of entertainment on our thinking and our witness. I think this is an especially timely study considering the events surrounding the recent death of Michael Jackson, Steve McNair and Farah Fawcett.    

“Faith and Pop Culture” is a well designed and useful study guide for small group study.

(I will be posting a few of these book reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program)

Sunday School Lesson in a Sandwich

July 4, 2009

A few days ago, Eileen and I were enjoying peanut butter and honey sandwiches in the woods. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me think of the most off the wall things, and as I thought about honey, I thought about God’s promise to Moses to deliver him into a land of milk and honey. Why milk and honey? Why not water and wine? Why not abundant vegetation for the people and pasture for the cattle? Why not any other of the abundant products of the area known as the “Fertile Crescent”?

Then, as I pondered on milk (which would have been delicious with the peanut butter and honey) it dawned on me. You get milk from cows, cows must have grass, grass must have water and sunshine. So, with milk you get all the other thrown in. Honey comes from bees. In order to make honey, bees need blooming vegetation, blooming vegetation also needs water, and makes its own fruit. So, once again you get so much more thrown in.

That’s the way it is with all of God’s promises. You get what is promised, but you get so much more thrown in. He really is a God Who does so much more than we can ask think or imagine (Eph 3:20).

Not a bad lesson from a sandwich, huh?