My wife doesn't deal well with motion sickness.

It's something we've had all of our marriage, something she's wrestled with her whole life - or at least the parts of her life that I've been involved in - so we plan around it.

So, it was unique when we found ourselves in a 4 x 3 foot enclosed "pod" traveling up a "ski lift" cable to a high spot in the Mayacamas mountain range near Napa, California.

ste_ft_m1_fw09The destination was a winery called Sterling - a modern building nestled into the side of a hill. We disembarked quickly, my wife glad to be alive and relatively nausea-free, and walked through the open gates to where the tour began. It was a self-guided tour, where we carried a glass and tasted at various points throughout. It was beautiful.

 

To see the barrels, filled and waiting. The patience of fermenting and time, the care of people for fruit that required timing and delicacy to keep from ruining it.

To see the tanks, a new way of fermenting, that keeps the chardonnay from having that oak taste and instead gives you a "fruit-forward" splash on the palate. Yes, I learned to talk some talk while we were there.

Along the way we connected with William and Gin (spelled like the liquor but pronounced "Jen"), who gladly volunteered to take our picture and vice versa. The perils of couples traveling alone is that all your pictures have one partner or another, never both. Tragedy averted.

William was a sketch artist for a nearby police department and Gin was a school teacher. William showed us some of his sketches, they were amazing. To hear a description and bring it to life was, not unlike winemaking, a delicate and precise gift. Especially when bringing a crime to conclusion is involved.

We walked, we drank, we talked, and we reveled in the weather that is Northern California. It was good.

One of the things we lose in the midst of all of our travels, work, interaction and even in suffering, is the sheer miracle of it all. God had made the Mayacamas, rumbling and ribboning upward from the earth like great green shoulders. God had made the grapes, trampled and resting and bursting with flavor over time. God had made the temperate zones that create the climate of the West coast.

God had made William, Gin, my wife and I along with the many others trotting the stone walkways at Sterling that day - some speaking languages that I couldn't identify and others with the slow sliding twang of the Southern U.S.

We are here. When we celebrate, when we suffer, when we talk, when we share meals and wine, we are present in an irreplaceable moment.

More than that, God is there. So for that moment, we were all in a window of the miraculous. Unshifting. Unsettled and unplanned. We sat because we were given the right, the freedom, the leisure to do so. We would return to work, to challenges, and to setbacks and in their own ways these moments are miracles too. At that precise instant, however, we sat free with strangers and knew that "surely God is in this place."

What moment today did you grasp on to the miracle of God's presence and gifts to you? Think through today, finding moments where God was tangibly present, and reflect on them. Who were you with? What was happening? What would it be like to find these miraculous moments in every single day?

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