Bliss and Chaos

I took my journey to the mountains. And it was lovely. Except for the little traffic snag through Shelby, NC, which I ameliorated with a Cookout milkshake. I have oft heard tale of the Cookout milkshake and their 40 flavor offerings. Peanut Butter Fudge kept me happy while I drudged through stop-and-go. The nice lady on my GPS took me up a road I'd never traveled, complete with farms, antique stores (I lost any extra time in that traffic. SHOOT!), barns and sprawling ranch homes. I would momentarily become whistful about living in the country and then remember that these people had little to no access to a Target or grocery store. I love rolling fields, but am just not quite ready for loss of amenities.
Where was I? Oh yes, winding up the foothills toward Marion. I arrived in Montreat just in time for a light rain. As I waited for the group to arrive, I listened to the rain dripping out of the mountain laurel and smelled the mossy-dirt smell that instantly makes me want to throw a tent in the woods and cook something yummy over an open flame. And listen for bears.
Then I met my companions for the weekend. Pretty much all of us are mothers of pre-schoolers, with a grandparent or two enlisted in helping "Dad" with childcare so we could make a quick escape. I instantly felt at home with these ladies, after we cleared up that I was not the housekeeper. I might have laughed so hard I peed. But I won't tell.
Life has been so full of hurry and the mysteries of pre-toddlerhood lately that I hardly knew what to do with myself upon being given the option to shop or sleep/read. In the instant I had to decide, sleep/read won. Boy, did it win.
The group after our killer hike up Lookout Mountain. I won't lie. I was dying. But I did it!

I loved our retreat study, Loving Well, by Beth Moore. I hate to tell my Baptist friends, but that lady is all-out Pentecostal!  :) In any case, it was so evident that she is a woman of prayer and love above all. We really dove in to divine love, loving beyond our capabilities. Anyone can love those who love them back. But we are called to love the unlovable, the unloved, our enemies and the stranger. An by love, I mostly mean "serve." That's what love really is when it comes down to it. Am I willing to give up some of my "me..." my time, my resources, my energy and spend it on "my neighbor?" Very challenging. I need to continue drinking from the loving well to love well.
Of course, wee little dude decided to really take off walking AFTER I LEFT on Friday. I mean, I was home until 2:30 pm! Daddy and Grandma got to watch him do 7-8 steps at a time. Oh well, he put on a walking show for me when I got home by walking from the front door to the sofa! And don't ask me why I put exclamation points all up in this paragraph. His walking means more mommy running--hopefully outrunning. And that sneaky momma-fear that creeps over you when things get a little too quiet. I will always be wondering where he's going to go next and hoping like heck the bathroom door is closed and he isn't discovering what his rubber ducky looks like in the toilet bowl.
The mountains were bliss and peace...but so is my current chaos.


Driving Alone...God and my iPod

I am heading to the hills tomorrow because it's just too hot to breathe. Literally. My asthma and the ozone are at odds. I have been planning to go on a ladies' retreat to the mountains with a bunch of ladies I don't even know. Not sure what would possess me to do such a thing, other than mountains in June sounded very enticing. I mean, I know ONE person, my sister-in-law who invited me to tag along. I have yet to spend a night away from Shepard, so this will be a test run. Daddy and Grandma will hold things down with the munchkin, so he's in good great hands.
I realized this morning that I haven't been alone in a car for more than about an hour in probably more than a year. I've hardly gone anywhere without tag alongs! What will I do with five delicious hours with God and iPod? I will probably sing myself hoarse, since I LOVE to crank up my tunes and belt it out. And I'm taking the scenic route through the hills. And I might just stop and take pictures of anything beautiful I see, just because I can. I will plan a little extra time for that. I may or may not stop and get a milkshake. I'm not telling.
I do dearly hope that the heat doesn't follow me. If I could be an X-Man mutant, I would have the ability to create weatherproof forcefields around my body and provide that service to anyone else who wanted it. I would call myself SHIELD. (Rain-X is probably copyrighted)
Here's to an adventure! Here's to new friends! Here's to scenic routes in the mountains and milkshakes and singing at the top of my lungs because I can!
See you on the flip side!