Friday, April 10, 2015

Perfect Plan


Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

My husband, Danny, and I plan our Nantahala Mountain getaways months in advance.  This latest one, a return to Hawk's Ridge Hideaway, is much needed as his work load has been unrelenting and my exertion to complete my novels, demanding.  While we usually do little venturing from our cabin during our vacations, Danny plans an outing for the first full day there.  His idea is to ride across the Smoky Mountains for the Roaring Fork Motor Trail which features enchanting paths for hiking:  Rainbow Falls; Trillium Gap, and The Bullhead.  I'm up for some exercise and sightseeing myself, and readily agree to the destination he has chosen even though it is near Gatlinburg, the hub of Smoky Mountain tourism.  Certainly, we think, the week before spring break in most of the South won't be an issue.

Wrong!  We should have sensed the absurdity of our journey when we made a brief stop along the way so Danny could snap some wide-angle photos of a stream; we encounter, of all unexpected things, a dead trout, caught in a pool, its body at rest despite the currents swirling close by.  Do you see it in this photograph?


Dead.  In the water.  And so are we.

To say Gatlinburg is teeming with people is the understatement of the century.  They swarm along the sidewalks, and when the traffic lights turn, mob the crosswalks, making it impossible for our car to do little more than crawl toward our destination.  By the time Danny and I arrive at the inception of Roaring Fork Motor Trail, our nerves are frazzled and our patience is wearing thin.  We are still hopeful that the only crowd we will encounter here is the one we just left behind.

Hope?  Dashed!

Parking lots for the different trail heads are crammed to capacity.  Cars spill over onto the one-way drive, lining both sides of it.  Again, we creep along, any thought of a peaceful, serene stroll down a wooded pathway vaporizing like mist before the rising sun.

"I'm sorry," Danny says.  "I really wanted us to be able to do something different on this trip, but had I known this place would be packed, I never would have left the cabin.  Let's head back over the Smokys.  Maybe we can find a place to picnic by a stream."

This sounds like a perfect plan to me (as long as we don't see anymore dead trout).  We navigate back through the horrors of Gatlinburg and, finally free of its snares, drive in search of a secluded picnic spot.  Danny spies a pull-off by a stream and swerves into it.  As soon as we exit the car and look over the bank, we know this is the very place we have been looking for.  Not a moment after we settle ourselves on a fallen log by the stream and begin unpacking our lunch, we are ambushed by a family of five.  They clamor loudly down the bank, posing for photos in turn as they stand on a massive boulder.  The father turns to us with a big grin on his face.  "Looks like you two found the perfect place," he shouts over the thundering water.

Perfect.  Until now.

When the family departs at long last, Danny and I look at each other and burst out laughing.  What a nutty day!  What a crazy trip!

"I have a plan for tomorrow," says Danny, still chuckling.

"What's that?"  I ask.

"Stay at the cabin!"


~

As happened with Danny and me that day, any plans we might make can go awry when we least expect it.  But when we know in our hearts that God holds the true plans for our lives, we can face disappointments and tribulations with faith, hope, and yes, even humor.  When have plans you've made gone amiss?  Please share in the comments!

Prayer:  Father, help us to make the best of each day, knowing that whatever happens, You are there to give us hope and a future and You hold the best plans for our lives.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

17 comments:

  1. So glad you found your perfect place. Perhaps that family of five needed just a little Martha and Danny time. <3

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    1. LOL! That's a good one, Leah! Yes, turns out the "perfect place" was the cabin all along.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Hi Martha! How fun to see a photo of you and Danny! (I'm a little jealous of your fireplace...so pretty!)
    I thought I was going to work at an Indian Reservation in Arizona. I never was hired, so I moved anyway with a friend of mine to Tucson. That's where I met my husband. God has funny ways of getting me to do His will!
    I'm sorry for your spoiled day. I can't wait to visit the Smoky Mountains someday. I've never been. My daughter went to Gatlinburg over a holiday, it's a huge vacation getaway for people who live in Indiana. She loved it. I'll try to go when it's not so crowded!
    Happy Weekend!
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, I'm jealous of the fireplace, too, because it's not here at home, but at the marvelous cabin we stayed in. I shouldn't be, though, because our own at home is stone and delightfully rustic.
      Yes, God does work in ways we can never realize until we see through 20/20 hindsight lenses. He always works for the best!
      I'm glad your daughter enjoyed Gatlinburg. It is a haven for many, but Danny and I are always looking for solitude when on vacation as you could tell from this post. Don't feel sorry, we ended up having one of the best vacations ever.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Martha, Thank you for sharing your getaway that was truly an adventure. So much for peace and quiet! The scads of people and cars reminded me of move in day(s) at the residence hall when I was in college and graduate school. Chaos!
    Living where I do (Iowa) in the winter any plans can change due to the weather. Come to think of it, spring/summer thunderstorms can do the same! It's about learning to go with the flow and simply be willing to change plans. I'm still learning how to do this.
    Love and blessings!

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    1. It is about learning to go with the flow, Kim, and it isn't always an easy lesson to learn. Thanks for sharing about the chaos of college when everyone is arriving for a new semester - it took me back, for sure. The older I get, the more I hope God will protect me from the "too hectic" and the "too stressful."
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Martha, Thank you for sharing your getaway that was truly an adventure. So much for peace and quiet! The scads of people and cars reminded me of move in day(s) at the residence hall when I was in college and graduate school. Chaos!
    Living where I do (Iowa) in the winter any plans can change due to the weather. Come to think of it, spring/summer thunderstorms can do the same! It's about learning to go with the flow and simply be willing to change plans. I'm still learning how to do this.
    Love and blessings!

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  5. My oldest daughter lives in Knoxville. If I had known you were heading to Gburg I would have asked her what it would be like. :) She took off to be with some friends in Atlanta. Omen there? Hope the rest of your time away is good.

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    1. Yes, Bill, the rest of our time was fantastic. We've been back since last Saturday (part of the reason I wasn't active with blogging during that time) and I've never felt more rested and more grateful for a vacation. Hope your daughter had a great time in Atlanta. It seems the younger generation loves the action and excitement of a metropolitan area. Give me my mountains!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. My hubby and I also love the great outdoors, and we also like to find quiet solitude when going on adventures. I suppose one of the funniest "going amiss" times was a camping trip we went on a few years ago. We found the perfect camping spot, all to ourselves, only to be invaded the next day by a large family complete with squalling children and a non-stop-barking dog.

    My hubby loaded up our car, and then promptly picked up our tent and walked through the campground to a new spot. I'll never forget trailing behind him in the car, and looking at the looks that he got!!

    Gives whole new meaning to "pick up your bed and walk."

    Love the cabin you guys stayed in. It looks so cozy and wonderful!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Oh, lol, Sharon! Your description of the campsite fail is perfect. Sounds so much like the day we experienced. And, yes, it DOES give a whole new meaning to "pick up your bed and walk." :)
      Danny spent many years truly camping in the Smokey Mountains long before we met. No more sleeping bags for him or for me. We save up to enjoy a cabin with a marvelous view and real beds. It's worth every penny!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. good verse to start this adventure story. We too stopped once at Gatlinburg and were so glad to get out of there. Some great country not far from there. Glad you decided to stay at the cabin then on. Good idea.

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    1. Gatlinburg is not the place to go if you desire peace and solitude, that's for sure, Jean. But the surrounding country? I call it 'God's Country' for that is surely how it feels when we spend time there. This turned out to be one of our best trips ever.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. You have no clue how some tourist destinations are here in India. The hill stations have bumper to bumper slow moving traffic during holiday season...it is crazy. The cabin you are staying is so cozy and warm that you needn't go anywhere. You both look marvelous.

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    1. Whoa! India sounds like a nightmare at holiday time! For that very reason, we stay away from the Smoky Mountains during the summer. It is the most popular national park in the U.S.
      Yes, we really enjoyed the rest of our time in the cabin. Thanks so much for the compliment, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Kind of why I tend to just go with the flow. Even the best laid plans never are in concrete. Things happen and things change.

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    1. Kathy, you are so right - things change constantly. But if we remember that God is our rudder and our guidepost, we can get through any troubles in our path.
      Love and blessings!

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