Friday, September 2, 2011


Leaving Bolivar at 6:15 Saturday morning, Lou and I headed east toward Nashville. The GPS was programmed appropriately for our first destination, Murray, KY, where we were meeting some of my relatives for lunch. There's a little river between here and there and the bridge we had chosen to cross was up at Cairo, IL. However, just east of Sikeston, we saw a very important sign that our GPS knew nothing about. It told us one of the bridges was out at Cairo, meaning we would have to detour a bit north of there and take another bridge across. We were contemplating this turn of events, when we saw another sign.


Now I grew up taking the ferry across the mighty Mississippi. My Grandmother lived in the Bootheel, and in the late 60s, early 70s, there was no way to get across there except by ferry. For us kids, that boat ride was a highlight of the trip. Lou had never had opportunity to do such a thing, so we said, "Why not?" and took the next exit.

The next sign said, "Ferry, 27 miles." Since I'm one of those people who brings a road atlas on trips even though we have a GPS, I located the ferry crossing spot on the map. If, for whatever reason, the ferry wasn't operating that day, it was going to be a looong way back to just get on another road that would eventually get us to a bridge. We were hoping we'd see more ferry affirming signs along the way. We saw two more, and it's a good thing we did. To say that 27 miles was sparsely populated is an understatement. For those miles we were on a poorly maintained 2 lane asphalt road with soybean and cotton fields on either side. We saw two cars in that 27 mile stretch. We were banking heavily that the signs were telling the truth - that there really was a ferry across at the end.

Before we actually saw the ferry stop, we saw the following sign.
 That is definitely helpful information. Driving on just a little, we parked our car behind a motorcycle and a truck, got out, and waited with the other folks under a huge tree beside the river. We could see the ferry making it's way across from the other side.
Tweeting about taking the ferry

Ferries haven't changed much in 40 years

In the middle of the Mississippi
 After a 10 minute ride across the river, we made our way through the countryside of western Kentucky and enjoyed a lunch with family at KY Lake.
My dad's first cousins: Jo, daughter, Phyllis, and JW. I hadn't seen them in over 25 years.
After lunch, we headed south toward Nashville. Thinking we hadn't packed enough into one day, we went to the Grand Ole Opry that night, and enjoyed some live country music.
Jimmy Wayne

Sunday, after worshipping with the believers at Fellowship Bible Church, Brentwood,TN, Lou and I headed to the Natchez Trace Parkway for a bike ride. It is a very bike friendly road stretching from Natchez, MS, to Nashville, TN. Along it's 444 mile route are points of interest, overlooks, and rest areas. Lou and I did a 15 mile out and back, stopping where ever the Trace signs indicated something interesting.

This ride was a walk in the park for Lou but a moderately hard ride for me. There were no killer hills, and we did have the scenic stops.
Lou, enjoying one of those scenic stops
 But it was hot (90s), very sunny, and we were rationing our water a bit, because it wasn't available at every stop. Which brings me to my last thoughts about the importance of signs.

Since we had looked at the map, we had a general idea about how far between each stop. That knowledge is helpful, but oh, how encouraging a sign is when you are hot, tired, and thirsty.

Even though this sign looked like it was a lifeless, firmly planted in the ground structure, what it was really doing, if you had eyes to see, was clapping, jumping up and down and shouting, "Way to go, Shelley! You only have one more mile! You can do it! (And, because of our water issue) There's water here!"

I liked that sign. I needed that sign.

Sometimes you need signs along the way that encourage you to keep on keeping on in the most basic, everyday way. Then, once you've got what you need there, you are ready to see this sign.

I consider this a "big picture" sign. It takes you to a place that helps you to know who you are and how things all fit together. You need this kind of sign too. It helps give beauty and purpose - a "bigger story" aspect to the journey.

I liked that sign. I needed that sign.

I know you know where I'm going with this. I am constantly amazed at what God uses to remind me, to teach me about Himself. After I had the above thoughts about those various road signs, God spoke to my heart about the bazillion signs He has given and continues to give. All these signs are pointing to Him, the source of our salvation, our hope, and our joy. Some of those signs (heavy on the word some - this is obviously not an exhaustive list) are

The Bible - the Creator of the universe actually had words written down for us
Jesus - the Creator of all became one of us
Creation - it's this fluid canvas that begs our heart to cry, "Glory to the one who does this! I want to know the one who does this!"
People - God brings people into our lives to be with us on our journey, to say encouraging words, and to help us.

I like these signs. I need these signs. I'm lost without these signs.

So today, I'm thanking God for a trip to Nashville and the sign language He used to remind me how much He loves you and me.

Follow Through Friday note: Thumbs up this week on working on my sampler, so big yea! there. The above post was really not an official follow through - it just happened to get posted on Friday. It was written on Tuesday, and I had planned to post it then, but Lou and I could not get the ipad to upload the pictures to my blog, so I had to wait until I was at our computer at home. For next week: Still working on my sampler...

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home! Another good post....I can't believe Lou had never been on a ferry!