Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'd Just as Soon be in Boone

I spent the last four days in and around Boone, N.C.  It's a place that feels like home to me as I spent four years at Appalachian State University earning my undergraduate degree and then lived there another three years while serving on staff at a local church.  During those years, I spent a lot of time exploring back roads, curvy roads, and dirt roads, sometimes not knowing where I would end up at the end of the journey.  The roads usually led to new adventures, beautiful views, and places to pause for rest, reflection and thanksgiving.  

This trip I was accompanied by Samuel and his friend Brendan.  We spent the first afternoon riding the Blue Ridge Parkway as we made our way to the town of West Jefferson with no other plan than to visit the Ashe County Cheese factory and store.  It's always interesting to visit the viewing room and see how the cheese is made, but the best part is buying some cheese curds (Samuel calls it "squeaky cheese") and some sharp cheddar hoop cheese. We left with a bag full of goodies.

The boys went snowboarding all day Friday and the rest of the weekend found us taking many different roads and discovering some beautiful places and sights.  My one regret is that I forgot to take my 35mm camera and had to settle for iPhone pictures.  I'll let the following pictures tell the rest of the stories from our many adventures.

Icicles along the parkway.

                                                          ASU ducks walking on water.

                                                     They were slipping, sliding and gliding.

   Samuel and Brendan loved 
climbing on The Rock.

Mast General Store. Love this place.

Church of the Holy Cross, Valle Crucis (est. 1842)

A beautiful hike to Elk River Falls

Grandfather Mountain

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway on our last day. 
Morning clouds over the mountains.

We topped off our trip with a hat and a donut as we made our way home.  
The original Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem equals a sweet ending to a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Would You Do?

This afternoon found me making a trek to the Raleigh/Durham airport to drop off friends who were flying out to see family for Christmas.  As we made the exit from the interstate and passed the cheap gas sign at Sheetz, I mentioned that I needed to stop there on my way back to fill up my gas tank.  After we said our goodbyes, I did make my way back to Sheetz.

I pulled in beside the pump and began filling the tank, hooking the latch on the nozzle so I didn't have to stand there holding it.  As I was cleaning the windshield, I noticed a man wearing a suit and tie walking around the gas pump area, approaching individuals and engaging them in conversation.  He finally made his way to the last pump where I was parked.

The man began telling me a story.  He said that he and his wife had driven from Nash County and just dropped off his mother-in-law at the airport.  At some point during the journey to Raleigh, the man had lost his debit card.  His gas tank was on empty and he needed help.  He told me he had asked others in the parking lot for help and they had been rude and ugly to him.  He needed to drive only 16 more miles to get to his brother-in-law's house for Christmas.  Could I help?

I finished filling my tank, completed the transaction and asked the man to pull his car up to the pump.  I swiped my credit card and told the man to fill it up.  He said, "No, I only need one gallon.  That will be enough to get me where I need to go."  I insisted that he at least let me put $20 worth of gas in his car.  He said, "No, one gallon is enough."  So, I responded, "How about $10 worth?"  He insisted that he only needed one gallon and he pumped a little over a gallon in his tank, stopped and hung the hose back on the pump.  The total charge was $4.00.

The man then asked me why I was willing to help him.  I responded that I am a Christian and I try to help those who are in need.  He told me that others had ignored his plea for help and had said hateful things to him.  He shook my hand and said, "Thank you for being Christ to me today."  From the car, his wife said, "Bless you."  We said our goodbyes, wished each other a Merry Christmas and went our separate ways.

I must admit that after the conversation with this man ended, I kept waiting for John Quinones of the TV show "What Would You Do" to come walking up to ask me why I had helped this man and his wife.  My answer is simple - there was a need and I could meet it.  Others in the parking lot had refused, probably thinking they were being misled or lied to.  I wanted this man and his wife to know that there is still goodness and kindness in this world.  I didn't care if his story was true or not.

The best part of this story is not that I helped.  I find the miracle of this story to be that the man only said he needed a gallon of gas and that is all he pumped into the tank. I really wanted him to fill the tank but he wouldn't do it.  One gallon of gas and a grateful heart.

In this season of giving, I'm reminded that sometimes the smallest gifts can bring the greatest blessings to both the giver and the receiver.

What would you do?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

20 Things We Should Say More Often

I saw this video during a meeting at work today.  Watch it to the end and take heed to the advice on how to treat others.  What a wonderful world it would be if we would all put these suggestions into practice every day - at work, school, play, church and at home.  I love this little guy.  Enjoy!