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.



Comments

  1. Oh my, that would be a scary ride, Valerie. I can understand your hesitation. I love how you tie it in with Bonnie's book - how she understands "this dilemma between anxiety and peace, fear and creativity." She certainly does. I love reading different reviews of her book. I do love Whispers of Rest. The photos of that cathedral are spectacular. What a work of love was put into it! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      I'm loving reading reviews of Bonnie's book too, and I just love the creative ways she suggests for us to step out and see and experience God in new and different ways. Which is what someone like me who likes routine and predictability needs! The cathedral really was stunning inside. I couldn't imagine how the workmen could haul materials up that mountain and create such a magnificent building! xo

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  2. Valerie, you said yes to the scary, the new and innovative, the different you found in a fresh environment. It doesn't seem too far removed from saying yes to the faith rides we often find ourselves on! I love your refreshing take on seeking to rest in your God-given identity and creativity. Sometimes our imagination hinders us from moving forward, as we mentally scan every reason not to. I'm so glad you found your brave in so many ways (except for the wriggly worm pasta which I'd have probably given a miss to!) and been inspired to begin "a new journey filled with potential and possibility, where God's presence guides us." Great post, thoughts and images, my friend! xo

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    1. Hi Joy,
      I love the words you chose -- faith rides -- yes that is what they are and what I need to do more of! There's so much more to experience when we open our hearts and minds to God's words and thoughts and characteristics. And I have to tell you, I wasn't crazy about the Orvieto pasta -- I much rather like noodles made with eggs! :) Thanks so much for reading, friend! xo

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  3. Valerie, isn't it interesting how our travels so often seem to have us facing those things that we have avoided growing up, whether it is the scary rides or maybe trying something completely different. But I think God requires us to say that scary yes every now and then -- just so that we can find Him faithful in every season and every moment. At least I find that fear holds me back so very often, while saying yes to God will always turn out to be the best thing (even though there might be some very hard things on the way). I loved your thoughts on this post, friend! God bless you!

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    1. Hi Ronja,
      I definitely agree that traveling takes us out of our familiar and comfortable places and although I'm not very adventurous, it seems there's always something new to do and try! xo

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  4. Dear Valerie,
    I love your review of Bonnie's book! She has surely given us more food for thought, hasn't she? :-) I am so glad that you tied in more of your recent travels in Rome, to bring the book to life. I think that is the beauty of her book--the Lord has given her ways to bring HIS presence into each life who reads her words. And just like your beautiful photos and words that bring me alongside your travels, those prayer prompts and Scripture thoughts help to bring Jesus alongside our daily travels. Thank you for always opening my heart to new beauty, dear friend! You are a blessing! xoxo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I love your thought that Bonnie's words give us new ways to bring God's presence into our lives! The prompts she suggests may be different and challenging to us but sometimes that's what we need to alter our perspective a little to gain new consideration of God! xo

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  5. The photos are stunning, Valerie, and I loved reading your thoughts on the book too! It is amazing how we can worry so much about something but when we actually do it we find that it isn't so bad. I want to be willing to step outside my comfort zone and say yes to God when he calls.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      I love reading everyone's take on Bonnie's thoughts, since isn't that what a good writer does, encourage us to think? Saying yes is something I need to do a little more of too!

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  6. Oh, my! Wild boar sounds just awful! It reminded me of my Daddy when you said that...if we walked into a restaurant that served sausage, he could always, always tell if some boar meat was mixed in. He used to tell me that it had something to do with how it was butchered or something...I forget the details, but he taught me to spot it, and if I detect it, it makes me almost sick. So, I can't imagine someone actually enjoying wild boar meat!! To each their own, I suppose...at least you can say you have tried it, right? LOL! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I have to say I wasn't too crazy about it! But I definitely had to try it since I was on a foodie tour and besides, other than the goat (which I refused) it was the most exotic thing I tried! :)

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  7. Hi Valerie :)
    This is so great!! I love your story and the pictures are beautiful! I don’t like to take risks much either- I am very happy with safe :) That part of the book spoke to me too, about saying yes- and taking risks- So hard !! It is hard to be uncomfortable - somehow doesn’t feel as safe to me haha! Anyway I love what you wrote about Bonnie’s book and how beautifully you wove it all together! Loved it! So glad to visit here with you tonight! xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I agree with you about taking risks -- I just don't think I have the personality traits that riskiness needs! haha I'm practical and look at all the ways it might not work -- I think I'm much too detail-oriented! Thanks for joining me on a virtual ride on the funicular! :) xoxo

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  8. Good Morning, Valerie! I love the interweaving of your journey with the encouragement you've received from Bonnie's new book (which I'm seeing everywhere this week!)

    You're brave venturing up those steep slopes ... I could close my eyes and hold my breath doing the same ... or maybe take those million steps.

    Not sure which I'd be brave enough to do, though.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      The book has some great prompts to take us to the very edge of our comfort zones, which admittedly, is not always the place I'd like to be! :)

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  9. What a wonderful piece Valerie! I wonder sometimes if our joy is found on the other side of our comfort zone, so that is why God-whispers for us to get out of the boat? And He never gives up on us even shown through how He brought another 'incline' in your life to ride (after saying no to the one in your home town) in a place so beautiful.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      I do think those original words to Peter and the disciples to get out of the boat certainly ring true for all who read them! If we look to their beautiful example maybe we can share in a little taste of their courage!

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  10. Oh my goodness-- I rode one of those incline things in Pittsburg on a business trip 10 years ago so I know exactly what you're talking about!!! Sometimes we psyche ourselves out thinking the journey to where we want to go will be treacherous when in reality it's not so bad. (I am preaching to myself now! haha!) And I often have the opposite problem of saying yes when it really should be no!! I love your "punny" title-- it took me til the second read to pick up on it! (slow morning..!) No boars or bears for me either--- someone at work had some bear jerky during the winter and it was not pleasing to the palate! Thanks for these beautiful pictures and thoughts Valerie. xx♥oo

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    1. Heather,
      You've been to my hometown?! How great is that! So how was the incline? :) We make a good pair with our first answers of yes and no -- together we'd really get something done! haha But I love your wise words that our journey only looks treacherous and once we're in the midst of it, it's really not so bad! xoxo

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    2. Yes ma'am I have! I remember thinking the incline was definitely weird- never seen anything like it before and it was filled with fellow workmates who were quite the party animals if you catch my drift so getting off that thing was a high priority despite the view! I stayed in a hotel right on the river and I also remember eating at a swanky penthouse restaurant- maybe we took the incline to it?? I'm not sure!

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    3. When I was growing up there were two swanky restaurants on top of Mt. Washington's -- LeMont and Christopher's and I have no idea if they are still there or not! Sounds like the quite the business trip! Thinking it's not where you're now working, right?! :)

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    4. haha! It actually was with where I am now! ;) Times they have a'changed!

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  11. The inclines are fascinating! I would love to ride both! Bonnie's book sounds great, I cannot wait to pick up a copy! You have written about her before, and now I am curious!

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    1. Brittany,
      Somehow I figured you as the ever-adventurous-round-the-world-traveler would like inclines! I think the Pittsburgh ones are steeper and more exciting to ride (or so I've heard, not from firsthand experience, of course!) xo

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    2. I will have to try them out! If I am ever in Pittsburgh, I will definitely get your advice on what to do there!

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  12. I love your stunning photos also and sometimes wonder where I was when you were taking them as I see new things I didn't see at the time....Mom

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    1. I'm still working on our photo albums too -- a little cropping and zooming and things look really amazing in the photos!

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  13. I always love your posts. A Foodie tour - I can only imagine how much my daughter would love that! Beautiful photos and Bonnie's book? I loved it too!

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    1. Hi Susan,
      The only problem with a foodie tour is that fellow foodies shame you into trying things so you don't look like a novice, which I really am!

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  14. I'm a non risk taker rule follower too so I am proud of you for doing what scares you! I also love coming here and seeing your beautiful pictures each week. It's nice to live vicariously through you :)

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    1. Sarah,
      I love it when you're here! :)

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  15. Valerie, I love your beautiful pictures which almost made me feel like I was a fellow-traveler in your foodie group. Thanks too for sharing about the book. For Mother's Day, one of the gifts I received was a mug reminding me to step out of my comfort zone (I know, right?!) so maybe a trip like this should be on my bucket list. :-)

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    1. Hi Marva,
      Thanks so much for being here! I think you would definitely love a trip like this and it should make your list! :)

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  16. Proud of your valiant heart to try new things, break the borders and live a full life! That's just what our Daddy intended :) John 10:10
    Praying you continue to pursue with abandon every good thing God has for you!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Sherry,
      Only with a great big push do I manage to try those new things! Love it when you're here, friend! xo

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  17. Valerie,
    It's interesting how God invites you again to conquer certain fears.
    Sometimes when I haven't conquered a fear, but cowered to it I feel failure set deeply in.
    Sometimes the opportunity does come up again, perhaps re-presented in a bit different fashion. Another opportunity to take a step of faith and rise above.
    I bet it felt kind of strange finally doing what you always avoided before.
    Kind of freeing.
    I know I've prayed lately that God would give me the ability to walk through doors of fear when I come to them. From now on.

    Those noodles did look a lot like worms. ;)
    I always enjoy reading whatever you write.
    The pictures definitely leave me wanting to go to Italy.
    Love you Valerie

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    1. Somer,
      It's so good to see you here -- I always love it when you stop by! I love what you said about refashioned opportunities and I think it's so profound and just the way God works to invite us into an experience with a slightly different twist. And between you and me (and the Internet) those noodles weren't all that good! xo

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