On Friday, we got home (to our new home) from a trip to the Asheville area of North Carolina. We planned this trip back in January or February, before we had even a thought of a new job for Nicholas, and a cross-country move, and other big life changes. And yet, the timing of the trip couldn't have been better. It was a respite away, in a stunning setting, with lots of family time and views of gorgeous scenery.
After stopping by a Trader Joe's in Asheville last Saturday, we drove up the steep, winding incline to our "Cabin in the Clouds." With a deck with stunning views of the valley below, and a cozy interior (log cabin style, with comfy furnishings) it was a wonderful retreat for the week.
We spent the morning (and a few other mornings) on the deck as a family, drinking coffee, praying, reading devos, or just talking. And that afternoon, we took a walk around the winding mountain roads surrounding the cabin.
In anticipation of Nicholas starting his new job in Chicago, we made a trip to an outlet mall in Asheville on Monday. We shopped the sales (of which there were many) and I picked up a chambray button down that I can wear now, over my belly, but I'll also be able to wear once baby boy arrives and I'm nursing/living the postpartum life.
It poured that afternoon, but we managed to stay relatively dry at a local coffee shop, Trade and Lore, of which the baristas were enamored with my sister-in-law, Katelyn's new puppy, Sage.
On Tuesday, we made pancakes and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with some other errands for groceries, etc. And on Wednesday, we woke up early to arrive at the Biltmore Estate shortly after they began offering tours for the day. The house and grounds were stunning, and I found the history of the house to be fascinating. After strolling around patios and tulip gardens and the conservatory, we headed back to the cabin for some rest. That night, Nicholas and his dad built a campfire and roasted s'mores.
Thursday, we drove along more winding mountain roads to Chimney Rock State Park, and Nicholas put on the (appropriate) soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans as we approached. We passed so many Baptist churches and green valleys, houses and tiny towns along the way.
We hiked up to Chimney Rock itself, pausing for me, as I'm beginning to feel a bit, well, bigger. Strangers smiled at both puppy Sage in the carrier Katelyn wore, and at my belly, commenting on our "extra passengers" as one stranger put it ;) The views of the valley from the rock were stunning, as well. After a good amount of hiking, we headed back up to the cabin, so we could have some downtime and Nicholas could have time to prepare for his new job. And that evening, we had a delicious supper at Tupelo Honey. I even got some mint chocolate chip ice cream from Kilwin's, a treat I haven't had since summers more than 15 years ago in Harbor Springs, MI.
Friday, we woke early to begin the drive back to Indiana, ready with podcasts and plans for car naps (for me, anyway).
My other favorite parts of the trip:
- snuggles with Sage, my sister-in-law's new Cavipoo puppy and the other two snuggly puppies
- sitting by the fire, talking with Nicholas
- sweatshirt weather and sitting on the deck
- noticing how the same mountains look so different from day-to-day, and with different weather conditions
- knitting on the couch or the front porch, working on another pair of baby socks and a striped shawl, both "comfort knitting" projects, as most of my yarn is currently packed up
- watching the last few March Madness games
- driving to and from NC in the car with Nicholas and his sister, Katelyn
- creamy Trader Joe's peanut butter on gf pancakes
- playing the card game Exploding Kittens and some classic rummy
- any and all grilled food (chicken and veggies or hamburgers and sweet potatoes, so yummy)
- seeing/feeling Baby DeVries move and kick as much as ever
- cooking at the cabin for most meals, and breakfast for dinner
It was a lovely trip, restful and relaxing in the wake of my third trimester and some big life events happening for our family. With so many huge life changes in a small amount of time, this excerpt from a John Piper devotional on Lamentations 3: 22-23 was encouraging to my heart, maybe it will be for you too:
Every day has its own trouble. Every day has its own mercies. Each is new every morning. But we often tend to despair when we think that we may have to bear tomorrow's load on today's resources. God wants us to know: We won't. Today's mercies are for today's troubles. Tomorrow's mercies are for tomorrow's troubles. [...] The manna in the wilderness was given one day at a time. There was no storing up. This is the way we must depend on God's mercy. You do not receive today the strength to bear tomorrow's burdens. You are given mercies today for today's troubles. Tomorrow the mercies will be new. "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:9).
A few weeks ago, our little family of four made plans with my father- and sister-in-law for an early Saturday morning at the Lake. When we arrived in the eight o'clock hour, it was breezy, in the low seventies. At this particular beach and time of day, we had our pick of spots; only a few families were there before us. I chose a spot pretty close to the water and Coop dumped out his new beach toys out of his mesh bag and got busy building and digging. Soon enough, Nicholas, who had been parking the truck, and my SIL and FIL joined us.
Here we are, on the very cusp of July, and I've neglected to share about our garden. Nicholas and I had a plot at a community garden when we were engaged back in 2013, but we haven't had a vegetable garden since—until this year, that is. I wanted to share a bit about our garden this year: what we're growing, how we're growing it, and how it's going so far.
If you missed my last post, I shared about the passing of my beautiful mother-in-law. I don't want to continue on in a "business as usual" style, nor do I want to neglect to share about joyful things in our life. Again and again, I'm learning that grief and joy coexist in this life. And what a grace that is! Grief can highlight the joy, make it more precious in my eyes. And so, I wanted to share about a little day trip I took with my SIL, Katelyn, Cooper, and Finn back in mid-May, since it was a good thing, a sweet day spent with some of my very favorite people.