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Sunrise silently paints the clouds above the Shenandoah Mountains as I sit on a balcony sipping Yorkshire Gold tea. Each celestial layer is suffused in turn with pale iridescent rose-gold. Muted bird calls and ratcheting cicadas compete with air-conditioners to disturb the early morning quiet.

A few days ago, unexpected tears prickled my eyes as I glimpsed the sunlit dome of the US Capitol building shortly after my arrival in Washington, DC. I am unashamedly proud to be an American! Our first dinner in Baltimore included Chesapeake Bay crab cakes and Old Bay wings from the iconic Café Hon in Ben & Rebecca’s Hampden neighborhood.  We’ve tried fried okra at Cracker Barrel and Cheerwine, a soft drink I first read about in the Mitford books. (It tastes like diluted, carbonated cherry cough syrup.)

On the 3-hour drive from Baltimore to Massanutten, Virginia, our eyes feasted on views of centuries-old stone barns and lush tasseled corn fields. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, gave us a quick dip into Civil War history.

Wandering grocery store aisles in remote towns is a particular delight. I love trying unfamiliar products; our new favorite sweet treat is Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, small rectangles of nutty caramel in dark chocolate.  Regional manners are also intriguing. In response to my question about the toy department, the young clerk at Dollar General replied, “Aisle Seven, Sweetie.” Rebecca commented, “You know you’re in the South when the clerk calls you ‘Sweetie’.”

I love seeing new places, meeting new people, tasting new flavors, and savoring hugs from small grandchildren. The moments of stress and uncertainty in this trip have served to heighten the joy in our annual visit with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.  Travel is a privilege that floods my heart with gratefulness. God is so good!

…God…richly provides everything for our enjoyment.  I Timothy 6:17