Tuesday, November 28, 2006


As I wrote on Friday, Jen and I left the kids with my mom and off we went for 3 days of Sabbath rest at New Life Christian Retreat Center in Buchanan TN. When we pulled in we were greeted by the caretakers Gene and Susan Oliver and their two boys. They had the little cabin that I had stayed in back in April ready for us.

The Hermitage sat in front of a creek and you could hear the water flowing. It sounds amazing and was wonderful.

Jen and I both came with no agendas except some quiet, a couple of books and little bit of chocolate and junk food and a little r&r.

Usually when I go on my pilgrimage retreats I'm either by myself in solitude or Gavo goes along. So the idea of a couple's sabbath for us was a little different. Jen wasn't real sure at first what to make of staying in this little hermitage that seemed less like a retreat center for her and more like a small cabin in someone's yard. It took a little processing to move beyond feeling like we were staying in someone's spare room and more like these nice caretakers had extended hospitality to us.

It was wonderful to have time to just sit and read. Jen devoured some emo depressing book about young love and suicide. I keep telling her she is a closet emo grrrl. She keeps just asking me what emo means. :)

I spent time with Scott McKnight's Praying With the Church and Robert Benson's Venite.

Jen and I walked the trail and I noticed how beautiful the area was. At one point I just stopped and watched these little birds fly around and sing. It was amazing.

This creek was an area where chairs are set up and you can sit and chill, meditate, pray or read. I did all of the above.

sitting with scott mcknight's words on praying "with" the church. this book was really profound. he basically goes through all the different major prayer books that the christian traditions have and how by using these "fixed hours" of prayer we don't simply pray in the church, but pray "with" the church. it was an absolute gem. i do feel like i have a better sense of what i'm doing in my practice of daily prayers. out of the weekend i have devoted myself to chanting or saying the psalms twice daily.

On saturday morn we slept in a bit, said morning prayers and then went in to downtown paris, tn. what a cute little small town. one of the quirky things jen and i enjoy doing together is going to little small towns and visiting their local shops- especially the "junk" style antique stores. the more cluttered the better!!!
you never know what you are going to find in one of these antique stores!!!

one of jen's traditions when we go on little trips like this is to buy a christmas ornament to remember our trip and time together. i think it's a cool ritual.

i saw this episcopal church in the town square. i loved the doors and was drawn to the building. i tried to get into the building to pray the midday office but it was locked. too bad!!

We were walking in the town square and ole Uncle Sam jumped out of the window with his finger pointing right at me saying "I WANT YOU". I said sorry, Jesus Christ already has a claim on me and he doesen't allow me to fight my enemies. Geez, Sam is even in small town TN, but thank goodness, so is the Prince of Peace.
Susan, the New Life caretaker, suggested that we visit Miller's Country Store. So we drove out into a Mennonite community and found both Miller's Country Store and Yoder Brother's Meat Processing Plant. Since it is hunting season the Yoders were quite busy with a motley bunch of hunters.

I talked to Ms. Miller for a bit. She and Mr. Miller are both Mennonite and moved to TN from a community in Virginia. She thought that I was Mennonite at first and was pretty sure she had met me before. I thought this was funny since I am such a "wannabe" mennonite. Jen and I brought home some Yoder Brothers Bar B Q Sauce and some of Ms. Miller's Jam. Yummy!!!

Ok, so on the drive home from our Sabbath Weekend Jen and I passed this road sign. All I can say is- only in the rural south.... WOW!! You gotta appreciate that very very big family of God's children and all our crazy ideas.
Not the best pic but the best I could get with the timer set. I don't think either one of us was ready for the timer to go off. Oh well....


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emily said...

awww, = ) yall are so cute.

Anonymous said...

That sounds just lovely! We may have to go visit your new friends the Yoders.