A Place of Refuge

There’s a thunderstorm in the mountains tonight.  The clouds roll in so quickly up here…it can be sunny one minute and the next minute:


The past week was a blur of activity as we explored the Smokies. I don’t know how it will be possible to see everything we want to in just a year’s time. At dinner each night when we tell guests where we’ve been many are surprised at the number and range of activities in the area, most of which are free.

There were 2 highlights to my week…and both firsts for me:

1. I went to a decoration day (which deserves its own post)

2. Donna, one of the cooks at the inn, invited me to a revival at her church.

Of course I showed up to the revival.  And who did we sit in front of?  The sheriff and the local bail bondsman. Donna introduced me to both of them in case I ever get in trouble. (wouldn’t THAT be an awesome post….)  So, I’d never been to a revival before….and had no idea what to expect….but I’m always up for anything remotely interesting.

Fact: the revival was overflowing with interesting.

It was led by Bill Saye….who was sent to prison in 1982 for first degree murder….and then completely turned his life around.  I pretty much wrote down everything he said in his testimony…including his description of “old fashioned holy ghost preaching.”  At the end of the night I was kind of sad that it was over. The revival singing was beautiful and haunting….true mountain church music.  As I left a man said to me:

You need to know….that in these mountains…..you are in a place of safety and refuge.

It was strangely profound because I’d just been thinking that moments before he said it.  It could have been coincidence or maybe it was God trying to hammer something through to me. This place is a place of refuge. And yes I feel that here.

We stayed up at the inn late tonight so that Boo could play with some new friends.  Brett stayed down at the cottage because we’d had a roof leak and he wanted to check his handiwork (almost narrowed down!).  Walking home with a small flashlight and jumping over puddles Boo and I weren’t so jumpy as we’d been in the past few weeks. The darkness wasn’t something to be feared so much anymore.


P.S. My little sister Perry went into labor tonight.  Please pray for her and her sweet baby…and an easy delivery!



  1. says

    “Old fashioned Holy Ghost preaching”….that’s what changed my life when I was 16. I had never seen anything like it and it really made me see how real God was. I married a preacher and spent many years watching that same thing happen to others. Today, due to our current day jobs, we don’t spend near as much time in revivals, but I will always be so grateful that I was able to experience so many in the past. They definitely changed me.

    Love you girl. Praying for Perry!! xoxo

  2. Susie Mc says

    I pray your sister and her family will have a wonderful healthy birth.
    Please tell us more about the revival!

  3. says

    Ooh, revival in a mountain church sounds so refreshing right now. Song titles?

    How are Perry and baby so far? Said a prayer for them this morning.

  4. barney says

    I haven’t heard anyone say ‘decoration day’ in years. Decoration day some 60 years ago was when we went to the cemetery to clean and bring flowers for the graves. I remember my mom and aunt picking the peony type poppies to take to the cemetery. I grow these poppies today and every time I smell them, the fragrance takes me back to my aunt’s garden to that time. Everyone brought food for a picnic lunch under the trees. There was a small church on the property where I went to a revival that was held every night for a week. There wasn’t a piano or organ but the singing was wonderful. Amazing Grace has always been one of my favorite hymns. Prayers for your sister and baby.

  5. says

    Just wanted you to know that I don’t comment often, but I am immensely enjoying this journey of yours — the beauty of every photo, absorbing every word. It is so wild and brave of your family to sell everything, pull up stakes and head across the country to experience things unknown. I’m sure many of us followers are living your adventure vicariously through you. Keep it coming! And thanks for sharing!!!

    Sending hugs and love to your sister and the new little one! ❤️

  6. Jackie Beardsley says

    This is my first time commenting. I’ve been following your blog now for at least a year. I agree with Jane’s comment above. You and your family and your decision to take this jump is inspiring. Thank you for bringing us along.

    Today is my 54th birthday and I’d be ever so happy to share it with your sister’s new little one. I’m sending hugs to them and you.

    P.S. How’s Diesel handling the move?

  7. Stephanie T says

    Ashley…thank you for another wonderful post. The photo at the bottom is one that I refer to as a “God is here” photo. I love when I manage to take one of those–they give comfort.