Day 9: Birdsong

We had begun the slow slide back to daily life by extending our Montreat week through the weekend, the last two days spent a bit higher in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains. We were worn slap out, my friend and I, yet when light began to creep through my bedroom’s east facing windows, I raced across the house to taptaptap on her door.

It’s happening I whispered. She was up in a flash and we made our way to the back deck.

Morning greeted us with this.




But that wasn’t the most remarkable thing.

The birds offered a symphony that left us both in awe.

Just listen!



It was the perfect ending to a week filled with two things I love: mountains and music.






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Day 8: Coming Down by Going Up



WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE a week as beautiful as Montreat Music and Worship, you do well to plan a soft landing into daily life. You are filled to overflowing, yes. And you carry with you joy, of course, smiling without effort as you hum this phrase and that, the words occurring without thought and somehow matching the mood and grace of the moment. Without even knowing it we had designed our re-entry perfectly, our plan to extend this mountain time through the weekend at our own place, 2500 feet higher but still surrounded by North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest.

(Oh, the singing did carry on.)


WE ARRIVED LATE FRIDAY, Cindy and Eddie, Tim and I, and we headed straight for the back porch. We looked up to find the night sky clear and dotted with stars and constellations and whirling planets so bright it brought from all four of us a grand, gasping awe. And then there was silence, each of us standing in that darkness lost in the brilliance of it all: the vast possibilities of an endless universe, the sober perspective of our tiny place in it, the unfathomable promise of a God who sees and knows and cherishes our loving hearts, each and every one. And then we looked at the clock and in spite of the past-midnight hour, we poured a toast to the music, the mountains, the stars, and to the great blessing of friendship.


SHALL WE GET UP for the sunrise? I asked a bit later, the hour so advanced it seemed a ridiculous, yet somehow important, offering.

Cindy smiled a slow, broad smile.

How can we not? she said.

And so we did.

We were rewarded, too, with Day 9’s fun surprise.




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Day 7: Work Work Knit

Days are full at Montreat, highlighted by daily rehearsals for the Music and Worship closing concert. It’s a remarkable experience to sing in a choir of this size and caliber, not to mention the honor of being under the direction of Dr. Brad Holmes. I have learned so much.

Then we had an idea. We’d be staying in the mountains through the weekend. What if I taught Cindy to knit?

And just like that we zipped out to the world famous Black Mountain Yarn Shop.


a good sign


a very good sign
a very good sign


We oohed and aahed at the gorgeous colors, textures, and possibilities of all the yarn. We talked knitting strategy. And then we made the oh-so-difficut final selection.

Wait till you see how it knits up, I promised, giddy to see the gleam in my friend’s eye.


look at her go


Oh, yes. Two days of practice and I do believe we have populated the world with another passionate knitter.

How fun is that?




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color, color everywhere

For three days, we stomped around the mountains of Western North Carolina. This is what we found.

leaving Rattlesnake Knob
Looking up
Round Mountain
the view from Buck’s Walk
on top of the world
my that is a very large leaf!
Black Mountain shadows
Bearwallow Mountain
day is done

How glorious is this changing of the seasons. How spectacular to be smack dab in the thick of it.

living in color

on Lake Lure

We went on a quick getaway this weekend to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Everywhere I looked, the world was glorious. Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Gerton, Swannanoa, Bat Cave, Black Mountain, Montreat—we saw them all. And I can’t wait to share them with you.

Next up on thedailygrace: Color, Color Everywhere!