Friday, August 22, 2014

Morning Contemplation

The first thing I do when I get up on a summer morning is open all the doors and take in the sights and smells of our yard. I pour my cup of coffee, tune into my praise music, feed the koi, and begin to think about my day. The beauty that surrounds me reminds me that I am blessed to be living here at the Hacienda, surrounded by garden plants, flowers and trees.

This summer morning I have begun to focus (obsess?) on our upcoming trip to France. Smoldering beneath the excitement of traveling in a foreign country is a tiny undercurrent of fear: fear that something might happen, I won't be able to communicate, I'll get lost, I'll get sick, etc. Thankfully Dave is not that way at all - everything to him is an "adventure". I tell him that my worrying is just my way of processing and planning, I guess. Somehow I think that if I chew on it long enough I will have all the bases covered and be prepared for anything. I do try to shove them into the background, and contemplate instead all the wonderful aspects of seeing new landscapes, experiencing the culture, eating delicious food, etc.

Being a worrier is a bad habit and like all worriers, we do out best work in the early morning. Thankfully, it's never strong enough to overshadow the draw of traveling. Usually the minute I'm on the plane soaring skyward, I get over it. My pragmatic self shifts into gear and tells my psycho-worrier self "It's gonna be what it's gonna be, Laurel. So take a breath, sit back and hang on!" I think it's a God thing...whatever happens - good and bad - He's there. Trust,

And I get to see some of His best works of beauty...this time touring around the French countryside!


From 2008, first published in Laurel's Quill
in February, 2012

Perched on a tiny pedestal near the cash register at Starbuck’s Kenneth/Madison store sits Stan.  Stan is a homely little man/doll with a bare chest and a big nose. Customers of the local coffee shop sign up on a schedule to take Stan on vacation with them.  Across the room is a bulletin board covered with pictures of Stan taken around the world – Stan on an elephant in India, Stan in Ireland, Stan swimming with Dolphins, etc.

Dave and I signed up to take Stan to Europe in May.  He probably had been there before but we hoped to show him new sights and experience new adventures together.  Three days before our scheduled departure, I went to pick Stan up, as he was supposed to be arriving back from a two week junket to the nation’s capital.  Alas, Stan had not returned to his perch by the cash register…sorry Stan…no Europe for you.

It would make a great story if I told you that I decided to take God with me to Europe instead of Stan.  You know…like I was immediately overcome with a sense of godly purpose, spreading the Gospel to strangers I’d meet in every sidewalk cafĂ©.  Honestly though, I wasn’t thinking of God much during my packing and planning, like so many days that manage to slip through my fingers without so much as a passing thought of Him.

We left for Europe, full of excitement and anticipation, and though I didn’t put God in my plans, He showed up anyway. As we rounded the corner of a darkened Paris street, I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower - twinkling, majestic and reaching for Heaven. I was overcome with thankfulness – many never see such beauty.  I felt the same way as I entered the room where the lovely Mona Lisa sat in gracious repose for the curious throngs – what incredible gift from God was given to the man who captured her likeness?

God was everywhere, every day. In a single twenty-four hour period I was awestruck by miles and miles of yellow flowered hillsides that graced the road to Berlin, only to be brought to tears by the letters and photographs displayed in the Jewish Holocaust Memorial.  That same quietness marked our visit to Omaha Beach, where surely God must have cried on that windy June day in 1944.

For every day that we were humbled by the history of Europe, there were no less than four or five that were marked by magnificent beauty, joyful sharing and adventure that surely rivaled our best attempts to conjure up Heaven! 

Just take a drive through the vine covered hills of Tuscany, swim in the crystal blueness of the Adriatic, loose your purse with passports and credit cards only to have them returned safely into your hands by two strangers and tell me there’s not a loving, gracious, generous and merciful God who NEVER leaves your side. 

 And Stan…well, he’s just a doll.


  1. There are few areas of human endeavor more riddled with unexpected occurrences than travel, but I've found that these unexpected situations often provide the most vivid, most significant memories.

  2. "Laurel's Quill" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.


Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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