Sometimes I say no when I really want to say yes. That's because I like to carefully consider all the particular details to what I'm agreeing to, but sometimes no is my first response until I can allay my fears. I'm generally not the kind of girl who ...


Grace with Silk: Inclined to Say Yes

Sometimes I say no when I really want to say yes.

That's because I like to carefully consider all the particular details to what I'm agreeing to, but sometimes no is my first response until I can allay my fears.

I'm generally not the kind of girl who takes risks. I'm a rule-follower. I play it safe. 

And riding in a small cable-car on tracks hanging off the edge of a mountain is not really my idea of a safe way to travel.

But to visit the medieval village of Orvieto set high in the Umbrian hills of Italy, I'd have to take an elevator, escalator or funicular because it's dramatically situated on top of a steep mountain of volcanic stone.

Traffic in the village is restricted to locals so tourists have to park at the base of the mountain and take some sort of conveyance to get up there.

Before I traveled to Rome, I'd heard about the village of Orvieto and the spectacular Gothic cathedral that was constructed in the year 1290.

I'd also read rave reviews about the unique truffle-topped pasta the town was famous for and the sparkling white wine the local vineyards produce.

I just wasn't sure I wanted to ride a funicular to get there.

Because I'm actually quite familiar with funiculars.

I grew up watching two of them travel up and down the steep hillsides of my hometown of Pittsburgh. They were leftover from the late 1800s when steel mills populated the city's rivers.

Except we don't call them funiculars. They're inclines.

One of them in Pittsburgh is considered the steepest in the world and I’ve always thought they looked rather precarious. The little red cars traveling at a sharp angle looked as if they could fall off the hillside at any moment and tumble down into the river. 

But school kids went on field trips to ride them and tourists took them to see the impressive city views from the top of the hillside.

But during all the years I lived in Pittsburgh, I never rode the incline. 

So I considered it rather ironic that after years of avoiding such a perilous ride in my hometown, I now found myself in Italy, about to ride a funicular. 

I suppose I could have declined to ride Italy's incline, but I'd already endured an hour and a half mini-bus ride from Rome and I was too intimidated that no one else in my foodie tour group seemed the least bit concerned.

How could I say I'd rather take a million ancient steps instead? 

Besides, isn't this why I travel, to move outside my comfort zone?

Author Bonnie Gray understands this dilemma between anxiety and peace, fear and creativity in her new book, Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul.

It's a collection of devotional guides, journaling prompts and heartfelt prayers to read, reflect and pray to inspire new courage and creativity in our lives. 

Bonnie writes about finding our voices, rediscovering our dreams, and reigniting the sparks of joy in our lives that have been snuffed out by distraction, stress and fear. 

This 40-day journey offers thoughtful and innovative ways to practice recharging our souls to experience God's presence in our lives. 

"God's whispers of rest guide us to a beautiful destination of hope, an anchor for the soul in a stress-filled world." - Bonnie Gray, Whispers of Rest

The book's first chapter for day one asks us to consider saying yes and leaving the safety of what we know behind to begin a new journey filled with potential and possibility, where God's presence guides us.

Maybe we need to leave what's old and familiar and break away from the fears that hold us back. 

Maybe we need to let go of people, places, routines, possessions, expectations, roles and responsibilities to step into something new.

How can we say yes?

In Orvieto, Sophie, the foodie tour guide bought our group's tickets for the funicular and held one out to me. 

I took it and got into the cable car.

It was actually a lot bigger inside than I thought it would be. I had imagined space for a handful of people but there were several rows of seats and it was much larger than an elevator.

As we got underway, I hesitated to look out, afraid I’d feel as if I were falling off the hillside, but eventually I took a peek since the view was quite impressive.

And in just two minutes the ride was over, the doors opened and I was back on solid ground. 

I guess what I worried about all those years turned out not to be very scary, risky or dangerous.

Maybe instead what I should have been more cautious about was the food in Orvieto. 

Not only did I eat their famous pasta sprinkled with truffles {that sort of resembles squiggly worms since it's made without eggs}, but I was also talked into trying a plate of wild boar by my foodie tour group.

Let's just say I won't be saying yes to that again.

I was provided a complimentary copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review, but the opinions are all my own.

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.

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